Many people think that betta fish (or Siamese Fighting Fish) can never go in a community tank. They think that the betta will always kill anything that it is put into the tank with it. However, that isn't the case. While some bettas are aggressive and don't do well with any tank mates, many do excellent in a community tank. To make a successful community tank with a betta in it you need to start by choosing a laid back betta who is likely to do well in the community tank. Aggressive and fighting bettas will have problems with a community tank. However, the good news is that there are more laid back bettas who would love to join your community tank than there are aggressive bettas who would not do well in a community tank.

Wear Exciting Clothing.

On the day that you are going to go pick your betta out you should wear bright colors. Consider bright reds, pinks, blues, and purples. While bright is really good you want to make sure that they are also deep colors and not neon colors. When choosing your clothing think about the colors that you have seen bettas in and try to choose clothing that is of similar colors. If you are going with someone else then have them wear a different bright color. This way you can present a color that the betta may think is another betta.

Choose a Small Betta.

While it isn't always the case, a betta's size is often related to its age. If you choose a smaller betta he or she is more likely to be young. This doesn't mean that young bettas don't ever have a problem with tank mates, but it is much less likely because they won't have lived a solitary life for very long yet. He or she is also less likely to be territorial and he or she probably hasn't had many fights yet.

Pick Out a Few.

If you are planning on putting a male betta into your tank then you will only want one (though I have heard reports of people keeping more than one laid back male in a large tank I don't recommend it). If you are picking out a female you can choose one or a small group of three or five. It is best to always keep females in an odd numbered group. You shouldn't keep a male and a female in the same tank (I have heard of one or two accounts were people are successful in keeping a male and a female in the same tank, but really really don't recommend it). However, whether you are going home with one or five you should pick out a few different options so you can see who is most laid back.

Test Your Clothing.

Once you have a small group of bettas that you like hold each one, one at a time up to your shirt to see if he or she reacts. If they look curious that's okay, but you don't want to see them flare up their fins, start "dancing", or flare their gills. These are signs that he or she is likely to attack others in their tank. If you have more than one color than try those fish that stay pretty relaxed on all colors available to see if you get a different reaction.

Test Them On Each Other.

Now that you have narrowed your group down to ones that don't react to your clothing you should test them on each other. Do this by moving them around and seeing if some fish react with other fish. You want to take home the ones that react the least.

Make Sure They Aren't Sick.

While you are looking for a fish that is really laid back, you don't want to take home a fish that is sick. You should make sure that they are moving around. Their skin should be clean and not have any funny discolorations. They shouldn't be gray in color and their eyes should be bright and clear. If their fins are pulled tightly together (clamped) then you shouldn't bring them home.

Walk Around The Store a Bit.

Once you have chosen your fish you should walk around the store a bit. This will give you just a few more minutes to observe them and make sure that they aren't sick. You can also take them by the other fish and see if they react to seeing swimming fish near them. It doesn't have to be hard to pick out some laid back bettas for community tanks, but it should take a short while. It is best to give it at least ten minutes, but up to a half an hour is best.

Don't Forget Quarantine.

Fish keepers who have kept fish for a long time always quarantine a fish. It is easy to skip this step, but that can and often does result in deaths and not always the fish you bought either! You want to make sure that you are quarantining your betta(s) to make sure that they are healthy. Keep them in a separate tank or bowl for four weeks or more. During this time feed them well and make sure that they continue to look healthy.

After that you can then introduce your laid back betta to your community tank. If you are starting with him or her then you can let them be in there for about a week and then begin adding other members of the tank. Remember that it is best if you only add three fish a week with the exception of getting a small school of fish (such as neon tetras). Check out these articles for appropriate tank mates for your bettas: Female Bettas: Tank Mates For Small Tanks, Female Bettas: Tank Mates For Large Tanks, Male Bettas: Tank Mates For Small Tanks, or Male Bettas: Tank Mates For Large Tanks.

While many will swear up and down that bettas never make good community tank members that just isn't the case. There are thousands of laid back bettas who would love to be part of a community tank! These are fish that do well with other fish and that love to have large amounts of room to swim around and to enjoy themselves in. You can be one that has a beautiful betta in your community tank. We have had a few great bettas join our community tanks over the years and it has worked wonderful.