What is the Difference Between a Guppy and a Betta? (Here’s What You Need To Know)

Are you thinking of adding a small fish to your aquarium? If so, there’s a lot to know about picking the right type of fish for your tank.

Guppies and Bettas are two popular freshwater fish, but you may be wondering what the differences between them are.

Here’s what you need to know about the size and color variations, temperaments, water conditions, and other factors that make Guppies and Bettas unique so you can decide which one is right for your aquarium.

Short Answer

Guppies and bettas are both popular aquarium fish, but they have some distinct differences.

Guppies are small, colorful, and sociable, while bettas are larger, less colorful, and solitary fish.

Additionally, guppies prefer to live in groups and need to be in a heated aquarium, while bettas do not need a heated tank and are more content living alone.

Finally, guppies are omnivores and can feed on a variety of foods, but bettas are carnivores and should only be fed live foods like worms or brine shrimp.

Overview of Guppies

Guppies, also known as millionfish or rainbow fish, are one of the most popular aquarium fish species, prized for their bright colors and peaceful nature.

They are small, colorful fish that are native to parts of Central and South America, but they have been bred in captivity for generations to create a wide variety of colors and patterns.

Guppies are hardy and easy to care for, making them an ideal choice for beginner aquarists.

They are typically found in groups, or shoals, and they rarely display aggressive behavior towards other fish species.

Guppies also come in a variety of colors, from solid colors like blue and green, to more intricate patterns like tiger stripes and leopard spots.

They prefer warmer water temperatures, around 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit, and can tolerate higher levels of nitrate than other fish species.

Overview of Bettas

Bettas, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are a popular choice among aquarium hobbyists.

These beautiful fish originate from Southeast Asia and are known for their vibrant colors and long, flowing fins and tails.

Bettas are usually found in solitary environments, as they can be quite aggressive with other fish species.

They prefer cooler water temperatures and need very clean water conditions in order to stay healthy.

They also tend to be more sensitive to fluctuations in water quality, so they require frequent water changes and regular monitoring of water parameters.

Bettas come in a variety of colors and patterns, with some varieties exhibiting striking iridescent colors.

They can be quite hardy in the right conditions and live up to 3 years or more.

Size and Color Differences

When it comes to size and color, there are some distinct differences between guppies and bettas.

Guppies are small, usually no larger than 2 inches in length, while bettas can reach up to 3 inches in size.

Guppies come in a variety of colors and patterns, from solid to striped, and even multi-colored.

Betta fish, on the other hand, typically have solid coloration in shades of red, blue, purple, and green.

They are also known for their long, flowing fins and tails, which come in different shapes and sizes.

Their fins can be rounded, pointed, or even double-tailed.

Temperament Differences

The primary difference between guppies and bettas is their temperament.

Guppies are peaceful and sociable, living in shoals and getting along with other fish species.

Betta fish, on the other hand, are solitary and can be aggressive.

Bettas are known for their territorial behavior, and they will defend their space when threatened.

They are also more prone to stress and can become overly aggressive if their tank is overcrowded.

Guppies, on the other hand, are easygoing and typically get along well with other fish.

Its important to remember that both species can become aggressive if they feel threatened, so its important to provide enough space for them to feel secure.

Water Conditions

When it comes to water conditions, there are some distinct differences between guppies and bettas.

Guppies are hardy fish that can tolerate higher levels of nitrate than bettas, and prefer warmer water.

In contrast, bettas need very clean water conditions and prefer cooler temperatures.

This means that if you are keeping both guppies and bettas in the same tank, you will need to provide different conditions for each species.

For guppies, you should aim to keep the temperature of the water between 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit.

The nitrate levels should be kept between 10-20 parts per million (ppm).

You should also make sure to perform regular water changes to keep the tank clean and the water conditions optimal.

Betta fish, on the other hand, prefer cooler water temperatures, usually around 76-78 degrees Fahrenheit.

They also need very clean water, so you’ll need to do more frequent water changes to keep the nitrate levels below 10 ppm.

Additionally, because bettas are known to be more sensitive to changes in water temperature, it’s important to monitor the temperature closely to make sure it doesn’t drop too low.


When it comes to reproduction, there are some key differences between guppies and bettas.

Guppies are live-bearers, meaning that they give birth to live young, while bettas are egg-layers, meaning that they lay eggs which hatch into fry.

Guppies are prolific breeders and can give birth to dozens of fry at a time, while bettas typically give birth to fewer fry, usually between 10-20.

Guppies are also capable of breeding with other guppy species, while bettas are generally only able to breed with members of their own species.

Additionally, bettas are known to be very territorial and will attack and even kill fish of a different species, so guppies and bettas should never be kept together in the same tank.

Maintenance Considerations

When it comes to maintenance considerations, there are some important differences to keep in mind between guppies and bettas.

Guppies are generally considered to be hardier fish than bettas, and can tolerate more variation in water temperature and conditions.

They prefer warmer water temperatures and can tolerate higher levels of nitrates in the water, whereas bettas prefer cooler water temperatures and need very clean water conditions to thrive.

Guppies also don’t require as much maintenance as bettas, as they don’t need to be fed as often and don’t need to be treated for illnesses as often.

Additionally, guppies tend to be more peaceful and live in shoals, so they don’t need to be housed separately, while bettas are solitary and can be aggressive towards other fish, so they must be housed separately.

Final Thoughts

Guppies and bettas may look similar, but the differences between them are important to consider when deciding which one to add to your aquarium.

Guppies are small, peaceful, and come in a variety of colors and patterns, while bettas are solitary and have solid coloration and long fins and tails.

They also differ in their water temperature and nitrate tolerance, meaning it’s essential to understand the needs of each species to keep them healthy.

Now that you know the differences between guppies and bettas, why not take the plunge and add one of these beautiful fish to your aquarium?


James is a creative and imaginative individual. He loves to write and express himself through the written word. He is also a passionate pet fish owner, caring for and nurturing his fish with great enthusiasm.

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