Can Male and Female Betta Fish Live Together?

Betta is a unique fish variety that is prized for its vibrant colors and elegant long fins. Many owners choose Bettas as their first fish, however, these creatures need to be housed with special care.

Bettas are known to be incredibly territorial. As a result, it’s tricky to place them in the same tank as other fish without the right precautions.

A male Betta may act aggressively towards female Bettas. However, they may get along with the proper tank and the right introduction method.

Do Male Bettas get along with female betta fish

Keeping a male and a female betta fish in the same tank together can be risky. New owners should avoid pairing these fish if they are inexperienced with housing aggressive fish varieties together.

When placed in the same tank, your Betta pair may start fighting immediately. In some cases, a male and female Betta may get along initially, and then start fighting after breeding.

How can I keep a male and a female Betta together safely?

If you are interested in keeping a male-female pair of Betta together, you will need to get the right kind of tank.

As mentioned earlier, Bettas tend to be incredibly territorial. If you wish to house a Betta with another fish (Betta or non-Betta variety), you will need to get a large enough tank.

How big should your tank be? The following tank sizes are recommended for keeping multiple Betta together:

  • 15-gallon tank for 2 Bettas
  • 20-gallon tank for 3 Bettas
  • 25-gallon tank for 4 Bettas
  • 30-gallon tank for 5 Bettas

If you plan on keeping a single Betta, your tank should still be at least 10 gallons.

If you’re attempting to keep a male-female pair together, your tank should be at least 15 gallons. However, you may have to get a tank that is 40 gallons or larger if your male-female Betta pair are behaving aggressively towards one another.

In addition to getting a tank that is big enough, your aquarium should also feature plenty of plants and/or ornaments to provide your Betta with space to retreat and hide when they want to get away from the other Betta.

Your fish need some alone time as they often get stressed out by prolonged exposure to others in their territory.

If your fish get overstressed, they may stop eating and fall ill. Be sure to provide your Bettas with the right tank as their health and overall well being may depend on it.

Introducing a male and a female Betta

Introducing a male and female Betta into the same tank simultaneously may end in disaster.

Both fish could start fighting for territory during their first meeting if territories haven’t been pre-established.

Adding a second Betta to a tank with an existing Betta

You will have a much easier time introducing a Betta to a tank that has already been housing another one for a while. However, even this introduction needs to be handled with caution. Before you introduce male Betta to a tank housing a female (or vice-versa) you will need to keep each fish separately.

Start by keeping the new Betta in a separate smaller tank such as a fishbowl, and placing it next to your main Betta tank.

Keep these tanks close enough so that each fish can see the other. After a day you should be able to add your new Betta into the tank with your existing Betta.

Introducing Betta using a tank divider

Another option for introducing your Betta safely is to use a tank divider. Tank dividers are clear screens made of plastic that can be placed in a tank to divide it into sections.

These screens have small holes that allow water to pass through but prevent fish from getting to the other side.

Tank dividers are useful for housing aggressive fish in the same tank while preventing them from coming into direct contact and harming one another.

If you are using this method, you should make sure your existing Betta doesn’t lose the majority of their space. If you intend to house only two Bettas in your tank, you will need to place the divider so that each fish has an equal amount of room.

Install your divider in the tank and add your second Betta fish to the newly created section. Both fish may come close to the screen to investigate one another, but they won’t be able to attack or cause harm. Keep this arrangement for a day or two before removing the divider.

With any luck, your fish should get along and learn to respect each other’s territory.

However, if your fish start fighting, you will need to separate them immediately. So keep a net and your divider close by when you introduce them.

Introducing a male Betta to a group of female Betta

Keeping two male Betta fish in the same tank together is a bad idea due to their aggressive and territorial nature. However, many fish owners have had success introducing a male Betta to a tank with multiple female Betta.

Female Betta is usually less territorial than their male counterparts and can get along with other female Betta. When you place multiple female Betta into a tank together, they typically form a “sorority”. It’s better to add a male Betta to a tank housing a pre-established sorority, as opposed to the other way around.

Before adding your male Betta to the tank, you should remove the existing Betta sorority. You should then rearrange the items and layout of your tank. This will reset any territories held by the fish living there.

Add your male Betta to the tank before adding the female sorority back in. These fish may behave aggressively during their first direct encounter, but they should calm down after a few moments. Over time your Betta will learn to accept each other’s presence in the tank.

It should be noted that the introduction of a male Betta to a tank with a female sorority can spark aggression between female Betta.

Male Bettas typically mate with the dominant female in a sorority. This can cause infighting between females as they try and take this position in the group.

What if the Male and Female Betta don’t get along?

If you have taken all the aforementioned precautions but are still dealing with Betta who refuse to get along, you will need to separate them. You can choose to keep each fish in a separate tank or use a tank divider. However, if you are using a divider, your Betta may still get stressed from seeing each other all the time.

Owners should purchase dark-colored dividers that prevent their fish in one section from seeing fish in the adjacent section. This will make it more comfortable for them to live in a sectioned tank.

If you feel your separated Betta is getting lonely, you can get them some tank buddies. Many fish varieties can be housed safely with Betta to prevent them from getting bored.

Neon and ember tetras, cory catfish, endlers, and several others can live peacefully in the same section as your existing fish.

Your Betta will show less aggression towards these fish compared to other Betta. It is believed that bright-colored fish with long fins (i.e: those resembling other Betta) can set off your Betta’s aggression, so those fish varieties should be avoided.

Do Bettas get along with other fish?

Before we look at how male Bettas get along with female Bettas, we need to understand this fish variety’s general nature and learn about their interactions with other fish.

Bettas often go by another name: Siamese or Japanese fighting fish. These fish were prized for their use as fighters in betting games due to their aggressive nature. Unfortunately, this aggressive nature is often carried over into the Betta’s interactions with other fish.

Many new aquarium owners buy these fish due to their pretty appearance, but fail to account for their territorial nature.

Bettas are known to get into scuffles with other fish that invade their territory. Given that most home aquariums are smaller than the spaces the fish species are familiar with, they may consider a large portion of the tank to be “their” territory.

Some Betta fish will confront other fish as soon as they are added to the tank. Other Bettas may feel threatened by a larger or faster fish and attempt to back away and hide. Both situations can be very stressful for your fish. Due to this reason, your Betta may perceive even placid fish varieties to be a threat to them.

Summary

Keeping a male and a female Betta together can be a challenge for new fish owners. If you introduce your fish incorrectly or house them in a tank that is too small, they may start fighting.

Owners will need to purchase a tank that is at least 15 gallons if they wish to house two Betta together. This tank should also be decorated with plants and ornaments to provide their fish with places to hide.

The process of introducing a male Betta to a female (or vice-versa) should be done gradually as the existing fish may try to defend their territory. Owners can use a separate tank or a tank divider to help the fish get acquainted before releasing them into the same space.

However, not all Betta interactions work out. If you Betta keep fighting, you will need to house them separately for their safety.

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