Will Marine Betta Eat Cleaner Shrimp in My Saltwater Tank?

If you have a saltwater tank, then Marine Betta fish, a.k.a. Comet, will make a great addition to your fish collection. They’re beautiful with their white spots and unique appearance.

They are predators by nature, but they also have an interesting  “eye spot” near their tail which tricks other predators into attacking their tail instead of their head, accruing less damage in the process. 

You shouldn’t have any problems with predators for your Marine Betta fish in your tank so you don’t need to worry about that, but it is an interesting fact. 

Since marine bettas are predators, they will eat smaller fish and other creatures. However, many fish hobbyists find them to be very picky eaters and slow to adjust to new types of food and a new environment. 

Will Marine Betta Eat Cleaner Shrimp?

Yes, marine betta fish will try to eat the cleaner shrimp you have in your saltwater tank. Although they are typically shy and peaceful creatures, they see smaller fish and small creatures as prey. They won’t compete with the other fish in the tank, but if their prey swims past their hiding place, then they’ll attack. 

Adult cleaner shrimp can get pretty big though, so if you decide to buy cleaner shrimp then you might want to stick with the larger adult ones as opposed to the smaller baby shrimp which will make an easier target for marine betta fish. 

Also, if you introduce your Marine Betta to other shrimp when it is little, then it should become accustomed to the shrimp as a tank mate and not a source of food. 

What Can Live with Cleaner Shrimp?

You have to be careful of what types of fish you put in the same tank with your cleaner shrimp. If you plan on keeping them around, not as a meal for your fish, but as a pet, then you’ll need to carefully choose what fish you will have. 

It is not a good idea to pair cleaner shrimp with other types of shrimp because they are territorial. Other than that, they just do their job – cleaning their surroundings, as well as the other fish in the tank. 

Since they are pretty peaceful, calm, and harmless, they do pretty well with most types of fish because they are so helpful.

Be careful of aggressive fish like Hawkfish, Lionfish, Triggerfish, and Pufferfish because they prey on shrimp. It’s okay to have multiple cleaner shrimp in the same tank because they tend to get along well with each other.

What to Feed Marine Betta

Marine Betta fish enjoy meaty foods like shrimp, krill, squid, smaller fish, and mussels. When you first get your marine betta fish you need to slowly transition from feeding them live foods to feeding them frozen food, pellets, and fish flakes. 

Tank-bred Marine Bettas should take prepared food better than wild-caught fish. Quarantining your fish before you introduce them into the tank with the rest of your first will give them the opportunity to get used to a new diet without any competition from other fish. 

Once they have acclimated to the environment and prepared foods, they will eat frozen Mysis shrimp, scallops, fortified brine shrimp, and minced shrimp. Tank-bred fish might eat fish pellets or flakes, but it shouldn’t be the bulk of their diet. 

If your Marine Betta isn’t eating and going after the food you’re putting in the tank, try grabbing some live food with a pair of tongs and wave it in front of their hiding place, offering it directly to them. This should make them feel more comfortable because they won’t have to leave their hiding places.

Once they’ve gotten used to eating from a pair of tongs then you can remove it and intermix the live food or frozen food with pellets. These animals are pretty sedentary so in the wild they would have only eaten a few times a week. In captivity, they’ll need at least one meal a day and more if you’re thinking about breeding them. 

Are Marine Betta Reef Safe?

Although these types of fish are not usually housed in a reef-style tank, they are not going to bother or nibble on your coral, anemones, or ornamental items. They mostly keep to themselves and are nocturnal so you’ll rarely see them just swimming about and interacting with the other fish in your tank. 

As I stated above, they will try to eat anything that is small enough to fit into their mouths, so if you plan on having your Marine Betta fish in a tank with not only other fish but other sea animals, just be aware that they will probably try to eat them. 

Can Anything Live With a Betta Fish?

Bettas prefer to live with fish that are calm and noncombative. They may feel threatened by hyperactive, colorful fish and this will prevent them from eating and coming out of their hiding places. Since Marine Bettas are not the aggressive, bold type, then the color of the other fish shouldn’t bother them, but they will still feel threatened by the competition. 

Marine Bettas do well living with Fairy Wrasses, clownfish, jawfish, angelfish, anthias, smaller hawkfish, cardinals, large gobbies, and other non-aggressive fish. Fish you want to avoid are large hawkfish, lionfish, tangs, damsels, triggers, groupers, and large dottybacks. 

You CANNOT put two Marine Bettas together under ANY circumstances. They will try to kill each other. You can put a male Marine Betta with a female ONLY if you want them to mate. 

Be careful not to overcrowd the tank as this will also make your Marine Betta feel unsafe. 


If you’re thinking about buying a Marine Betta for your tank, then pay attention to all the questions and answers explained above. It will save you the time and energy of having to learn by trial and error. 

Overall, Marine Betta fish will make a beautiful addition to your fish family!

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