Can Anabas live in a community tank with small fish?

Are you thinking about adding Anabas, also known as the Climbing Perch, to your community tank of small fish? While Anabas can be a beautiful addition to your aquarium, it’s important to consider the potential risks and benefits. Anabas are known for their aggressive behavior and tendency to dominate their tank mates, especially when it comes to feeding time. This can lead to stress and even injuries for the smaller, more peaceful fish in your community tank. However, if you provide plenty of hiding places and ensure that there is enough space for all the fish to establish their territories, Anabas can coexist with small fish. You’ll also need to carefully monitor the tank to keep an eye on any signs of aggression or stress. Ultimately, with the right setup and careful observation, it is possible for Anabas to live with small fish in a community tank.

Characteristics of Anabas

The Anabas, also known as the Climbing Perch, is a species of freshwater fish that belongs to the Anabantidae family. These fish are native to Southeast Asia and are popular among aquarium enthusiasts for their unique ability to breathe air. They have a distinctive pattern of vertical bars on their bodies and can grow up to 12 inches in length.

Species Profile

The Anabas is a hardy fish that can adapt to various water conditions, including slightly brackish water. They are omnivorous and will eat a variety of foods, including insects, crustaceans, and small fish. The maximum size of an Anabas in a community tank can vary depending on factors such as tank size, diet, and water quality. It is crucial to provide adequate space and hiding spots as they can be territorial and aggressive towards their own kind and other species.

Behavior and Temperament

The Anabas is known for its territorial behavior and can become quite aggressive, especially when breeding. They are also known to be adept jumpers and can easily escape from open-topped tanks, so a secure lid is essential. Additionally, Anabas are labyrinth fish, meaning they have a labyrinth organ that allows them to breathe air at the water surface. This makes them an interesting addition to a community tank, but you should be cautious and choose tank mates carefully to avoid aggression and potential harm.

Requirements for a Community Tank

Any successful community tank requires careful consideration of the specific needs of the fish species you wish to house together. Anabas, also known as the Climbing Perch, can be a great addition to a community tank as long as the tank meets certain requirements.

Water Parameters

When it comes to housing an Anabas in a community tank, you should pay close attention to the water parameters. Anabas are known to thrive in slightly acidic to neutral water with a pH level between 6.0 and 7.0. The water should be clean and well-oxygenated, so a reliable filtration system is crucial. Additionally, you should regularly monitor the temperature of the water, which should be maintained between 75°F and 82°F for the best health of your Anabas. Any drastic changes in pH level, temperature, or water quality can be stressful for your fish and lead to health issues, so it’s important to maintain stable water conditions.

Tank Size and Layout

When selecting a tank for a community setup with an Anabas, you should keep in mind that they can grow up to 8 inches in size. A larger tank will provide more space for the Anabas to swim and explore. Additionally, Anabas are known to be territorial, so having plenty of hiding spots such as rocks, plants, and driftwood is crucial to prevent aggression towards other tankmates. It’s also important to provide a secure lid for the tank, as Anabas are adept jumpers and may leap out of open tanks. Ensuring a well-structured layout in your tank will not only keep your Anabas healthy and content, but it will also create a visually appealing environment for all the tank inhabitants.

Compatibility Factors

Unlike some other aquarium fish, Anabas have a unique temperament and behavior that may not always be compatible with small fish in a community tank. Here are some factors to consider when assessing the compatibility of Anabas with small fish:

  • Temperament: Anabas are known to be territorial and can become aggressive towards smaller, more timid fish.
  • Size: Anabas can grow quite large and may see smaller fish as potential prey.
  • Water Parameters: Anabas prefer slightly acidic water with plenty of hiding spots, which may not be ideal for some small fish.

This will help you understand whether Anabas will be a good fit for a community tank with small fish.

Assessing Temperament Compatibility

When assessing temperament compatibility, it’s important to consider the behavior of both Anabas and the small fish you have in mind. Anabas tend to be territorial and may become aggressive towards smaller, more timid fish. On the other hand, some small fish may be fast and assertive, which can lead to clashes in the tank. You should carefully observe the behavior of your Anabas and the small fish you want to add to the tank to ensure they can coexist peacefully.

Space and Resource Sharing with Small Fish

Another factor to consider is space and resource sharing. Anabas are relatively large fish and may consume a significant amount of food, leaving smaller fish with limited resources. Additionally, smaller fish may be outcompeted for hiding spots and territories within the tank. It’s essential to provide ample space and hiding spots for all fish in the tank to prevent aggression and ensure the well-being of all inhabitants.

Creating a Harmonious Community Tank

Keep in mind that creating a harmonious community tank requires careful consideration of the needs and behaviors of each species of fish you plan to keep. Compatibility is a key factor, as some fish may pose a threat to others, either through aggression or by outcompeting them for resources.

Research Your Fish

Before adding any new fish to your community tank, it’s crucial to research their individual needs, behavior, and adult size. This will help you select species that are compatible with each other and reduce the risk of territorial disputes.

Provide Adequate Space

Overcrowding can result in stress, aggressive behavior, and increased competition for resources. Make sure to consider the adult size of each species when determining the appropriate tank size and stocking levels. Adequate space helps reduce aggression and promotes a healthier environment for all fish in the tank.

Consider the Hierarchy

Some fish species have dominant behaviors and may bully or harass smaller, more peaceful species. It’s important to consider the social dynamics of the fish you plan to keep and ensure that there is a balance of personalities and behaviors in your community tank.

Provide Hiding Places

Creating hiding places with plants, rocks, and decorations can help reduce stress and provide refuge for smaller, more timid fish. These hiding places can also help establish territories and provide a sense of security for all the fish in the tank.

By following these guidelines and carefully choosing compatible fish species, you can create a harmonious community tank where your Anabas and other small fish can coexist peacefully. Remember to monitor the behavior of your fish regularly and make adjustments as needed to maintain a balanced and healthy environment for all tank inhabitants.


Q: Can Anabas live in a community tank with small fish?

A: Yes, Anabas, commonly known as climbing perch, can live in a community tank with small fish. However, it is important to consider the characteristics and behavior of Anabas when choosing tank mates to ensure compatibility.

Q: What are the characteristics of Anabas that make it suitable for a community tank with small fish?

A: Anabas is a peaceful and relatively small fish species that can coexist with smaller fish in a community tank. They are also hardy and adaptable, making them a good choice for a mixed tank environment.

Q: Are there any considerations to keep in mind when introducing Anabas to a community tank with small fish?

A: It is advisable to monitor the size and temperament of the other fish in the tank. Avoid adding aggressive or territorial fish that may pose a threat to Anabas. Additionally, ensure that the tank has plenty of hiding spots and vegetation to provide security and territorial boundaries for all inhabitants.