Can Male and Female Betta Fish Live Together?


Betta fish are almost always the choice for new fishkeeping enthusiasts. When setting up your betta fish aquarium, you may have heard the golden rule when it comes to bettas: don’t put two bettas in the same fish tank unless you’re ready for a fish fight. There’s a reason, after all, why betta fish are also called Siamese fighting fish! 

But what about male and female bettas? Can they live together in harmony in an aquarium? How do they breed otherwise?

We’ll tell you how to help your bettas get along in the same tank.

two betta fish swimming together

Can Betta Fish Live Together?

Male betta fish can’t live together at all, but male and female bettas can live together in the same aquarium or tank for a short period of time, only during the breeding period. Other than that, it’s not advised to keep both sexes together. This is because male betta fish are highly territorial, and they can sometimes kill the female betta fish.

What Happens if You Put a Male and Female Betta Fish Together?

First, let’s talk about the difference in appearance between male and female bettas, so you can more easily tell them apart.

Usually, the male betta is much bigger than its female counterpart and is typically more vibrantly colored than the female. Female betta fish are often less vibrant and have a simple body pattern. 

Male bettas generally have larger space requirements and might be possessive about their living spaces. It’s essential to create enough space for both sexes so that they can have the opportunity to feel comfortable and secure in their environment.

If you must keep two bettas (male & female) in one tank, use a tank divider to divide the tank or aquarium into two parts. Place the male betta in a tank that’s  large enough to allow him lots of opportunities to wander, but also ensure there’s a place for him to hide in case he feels vulnerable.

The same rule applies to the female; provide her with an area that has a lot of places to hide, like these stackable rock caves. Along with that, also offer her a section in which she’ll be able to roam freely.

Fact: Providing the optimal tank environment for both male and female betta fish indirectly enhances their lifespan.

How to Help Your Bettas Get Along

As a general rule, you shouldn’t house bettas together. If you must, however, steer clear of particular bettas that appear to be more hostile or aggressive in temperament. These specimens can destroy the peaceful tank environment by raising the stress levels of other fish. If a quarrel breaks out, separate the two fish before full-scale combat commences.

Other valuable considerations to take into account while helping your bettas get along include the following:

·   Make sure there’s plenty of space in the tank; having many bettas in close proximity might cause complications.

·   Maintain their aquarium in good condition without excessive clutter to keep them calm.

·   Clean their tank regularly to prevent debris or fish waste from stressing the bettas out and causing hostility. 

·   Give each of betta their food separately to avoid fights.

·   Regularly monitor their behavior; if they become too hostile to each other, put them in different tanks.

betta fish swimming alone

How Do Betta Fish Mate?

Betta fish generally reproduce in the same way as all other fish do. The only uniqueness in their mating behavior is that the male bettas build a bubble nest at the surface and attract a female to it.

Initially, the female fish releases her eggs by squeezing, and then the male swims up to them and sprays his sperm on them for the purpose of fertilization. When it comes to betta fish, to be more specific, the male betta will wrap himself around the female betta and actually help her release the eggs by applying pressure on his body.

After the male has completed this task, he will drive the female away and then use his sperm to fertilize the eggs by spraying them with it. This procedure is somewhat unique to only a few fish species, and bettas are one of them.

Fact: Due to their tropical habitat, betta fish may breed at any time of year (if the proper breeding conditions are provided). The season, the temperature of the water, and a few other things do not actually have that large of an impact on this scenario, and fishkeepers can artificially create a breeding environment for the fish at any time.

What if Your Male and Female Bettas Don’t Live Peacefully Together?

It’s uncommon to face this issue during the breeding time period. But, outside the breeding season, this is a common issue with bettas’ behavior. It usually happens when males and females are of two different sub-species or if they have personalities that aren’t compatible with each other.

If you see that your bettas are fighting more frequently than normal, isolate them in different tanks until you can find the source of the tension between them.

Is it Possible for Two Male Bettas to Coexist?

There’s no clear answer to this question because it’s determined by the males’ temperaments as well as the size of their tanks. Generally, it’s not a good idea to have two male betta fish in the same aquarium since they’re likely to become territorial and violent against one another; however, it is possible to keep two female betta fish in the same tank, as long as they have room to roam.

Can a Male Betta Fish Kill a Female Betta Fish?

Technically, yes. Male bettas can potentially kill a female counterpart if they’re housed together outside of breeding season. Additionally, female bettas can be in danger if there’s excessive debris in the water, and they can’t move freely because of it. In addition, all male betta fish are naturally more hostile and often bigger than their female counterparts, which means they might be intimidating to females.

If the female gets threatened and can’t escape the wrath of the male betta fish, she may become agitated or die due to internal injuries caused by the male. 

How Do You Successfully Keep Two Male Bettas in One Tank Without Fighting?

Well, it’s not advised. But, if you must keep two male bettas together, then you’ll need a significant amount of room for both males. In an ideal situation, you need ten gallons of space for each male betta and plenty of hiding spots.

Do Bettas Get Along With Other Fish Species?

Bettas are able to coexist peacefully with other fish; however, they could become more dominant in their presence. If you wish to have numerous fish in your tank, select a species that’s socially friendly to a betta. This will ensure that all of your fish will get along. In addition, make sure that the tanks are large enough to accommodate all of the species. Excessive congestion might result in aggressive and otherwise harmful behavior in the fish. The vast majority of fish can coexist peacefully with bettas, but you should still monitor their activity to ensure they aren’t coming too close or harassing the betta. 

Generally, betta fish get along well with goldfish, cory catfish, tetras, and cichlids.

Help your bettas keep calm and swim on 

Bettas, in contrast to a great number of other species of fish, don’t swim in schools and inherently will not get along with one another. They’re more comfortable swimming alone; therefore, you’ll need to create hiding places for them in their natural environment.

Don’t put males together in a tank if you can help it, and only put male and female bettas in a tank together for a short period of time while they’re breeding. Female bettas can be kept together, however, as long as you give them enough space to roam and hide.If you’re new to the fishkeeping game, keep these rules in mind, and be sure to check out our ultimate betta fish care guide to keep your bettas happy and healthy.

Logan Price

I created this website to help fellow fishkeepers get accurate and helpful information at the click of a few buttons. I've always loved caring for fish and their aquariums, but I've certainly made mistakes along the way. So I'm hoping to help people avoid common fishkeeping mistakes so they can enjoy this satisfying hobby alongside me!

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