4 Reasons Your Female Bettas Are Fighting (& 7 Ways To Stop It)

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Last Updated on 2023-05-24

Bettas are territorial and aggressive fish; being enclosed in a small tank only exacerbates these features, making them more likely to fight each other. Though female bettas are more peaceful than males, housing two or more together can still lead to potential problems.

Through this article, we’ll look at the main reasons why female bettas fight each other, the signs of aggression, and the steps you can take to prevent these.

Do Female Betta Fish Fight?

Female betta fish do fight, although it’s not as common as male betta’s fighting. Oftentimes females will fight when they’re protecting their territory, competing for food, there’s not enough space, they’re stressed, or there aren’t enough in your sorority

Why Are My Female Bettas Fighting?

Understanding what causes their aggression and how you can prevent this are crucial factors in maintaining the equilibrium of your tank.

Protecting Their Territory

Due to their territorial nature, betta fish will naturally fight with any other fish who come into their space. Though females are less aggressive than males, they are still prone to fighting.

Lack Of Space

Fighting is more common in tanks than in the wild due to the lack of space in the former. In its natural habitat, a betta fish has around three square feet of living space, but when kept as pets, bettas can often be housed in tanks that are too small.


Like humans, bettas who experience high stress levels can become aggressive as cortisol and adrenaline are released into their system.

To ensure that your fish remain stress-free, try these tips:

  • Make sure they have enough space
  • Maintain optimum water conditions in the tank (filtered water, 76°F to 80°F, pH7)
  • Keep bullies or aggressors away from gentle or passive fish
  • Monitor for illnesses such as Swim Bladder Disease or Fin Rot

Your betta behaving differently than usual could be a sign that the fish is stressed. Not swimming as much as expected, eating less food, suffering from recurring illnesses, excessive hiding, or color changes are all warning signs that your betta may be experiencing stress.

Competing For Food

It’s not only their abode that bettas will fight for, but any other resources such as food. If a dominant betta eats more than their share of the food, it may be worth feeding them separately.

By using a net, you can hook each betta to the surface and feed it individually.

Signs of Fighting in Female Bettas


A Betta will puff its gills and expand its fins to scare off potential infiltrators to their space, which is usually enough to prevent a fight in the wild. However, in a tank with a lack of space, this could lead to an attack.

If the perceived threat remains in the betta’s territory, they will soon become physically aggressive.


If you notice your fish ramming into the surrounding glass or other objects, it’s likely becoming aggressive.

Fin Nipping

A common sign that a betta has become physically aggressive is if you notice red patches or chunks of fin missing from your other fish.

Rhythmic of two betta splendens fighting fish over isolated black

How Do I Prevent My Female Bettas From Fighting?

Female bettas are not as aggressive as their male equivalents; a pair of female bettas can often live together peacefully if provided with sufficient space.

By providing the optimum living space for your bettas, you give them the best chance of living in harmony.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide about Betta fish care, click here!

Ensure Optimum Tank Conditions.

The minimum size tank for a betta fish is five gallons. For a community of around five fish, you’ll want a tank that holds a capacity of at least 20 gallons. A general rule is to add three extra gallons of water for every additional fish.

As natural environments for betta fish include marshes and shallow ponds, they will enjoy a closely adapted home. For example, they will prefer a shallow but wide rectangular tank instead of a tall and thin one.

Bettas regularly swim to the surface to breathe via their labyrinth organ, and if the surface is too far away, it can cause them to panic and become stressed.

Additionally, they prefer filtered water, the recommended temperature of which is 76°F to 80°F, with an optimum pH of 7.

Match Them With Ideal Tank Mates.

If you want to keep two or more betta fish in a tank together, you must match them to suitable companions. Assess each fish’s personality, temperament, and aggression levels before putting them in a tank together.

Picking bettas that are the same age is a good idea. Additionally, the younger the betta, the less likely they are to fight with each other. If you can’t source youngsters, opt for elderly fish to avoid aggressive displays.

It has been reported that owners succeed with various colors in their fish sorority. It’s believed that if the fish are all the same color, they may feel each other to be more of a threat.

Introduce Them At The Same Time.

It’s ideal if you can buy fish from the same tank; if not, at least try to purchase those that could see each other from their prior dwelling; they will be much more likely to get on than those who have never seen each other before.

Introducing the bettas to each other is particularly important. It is often best to introduce them all simultaneously to allow them to find their own territories. If some fish are introduced later, they may be bullied or attacked by the older ones who feel their habitat is being encroached.

Include mini-retreats for your fish.

When your fish are first introduced to the tank, you may want to add tank dividers to help prevent fighting and see how they react to one another.

Over time, as you remove the dividers, you can add features such as plants, rocks, or driftwood to create hiding spaces and separate areas that each betta can claim as its own.

Anubias, java fern, and betta bulbs are great plants for your fish; if you’re a beginner, java moss is an ideal starting point. Not only does the java moss provide a perfect hiding place, but once it grows, it creates an underwater jungle that will keep your betta entertained and improve their happiness level.

When adding props, the most crucial factor is to create spaces where the bettas can’t see each other; this way, they are less likely to fight.

How Do I Stop My Female Bettas From Fighting?

If you’ve taken steps to prevent your female bettas from fighting, but the aggressive behavior has continued and impacts other fish, it is worth taking action immediately.

By leaving an aggressor in a tank with companions, you risk severe and prolonged consequences to the health of the fish.

Use Aquarium Partitions.

A partition consists of a simple piece of mesh that slots into your tank to physically prevent the bettas from coming into contact with one another. It also provides them with their own unique territory or space within the tank.

Keep A Betta Fish On Its Own.

A Betta fish’s aggression can be tempered by providing them with their own space, which prevents territorial behavior from emerging. Betta’s do not get lonely in solitude, so don’t feel that you need to house them in a community.

Additionally, there are more than 60 different species that you can accommodate with your betta as an alternative to introducing other bettas.

Keep A Spare Tank.

If there is a single perpetrator of aggression, the best solution may be to move them into their own tank.

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Will Female Bettas Kill Each Other?

As females are the less aggressive gender, there is a reduced threat of fighting. That being said, some females still possess aggression and, though extremely rare, they can fight to the death.

Could A Female Betta Kill A Male?

Females are unlikely to provoke an aggressive pursuit on a male betta. It’s not impossible, but it is improbable.

Though a male may display some aggression during and after the spawning process, they will generally get along with their female counterpart just fine.

Are Female Bettas Aggressive Towards Other Fish?

Generally speaking, female bettas can live harmoniously with a range of other fish, though they are prone to aggression any time their habitat comes under threat.

Final Thoughts

While it is possible to keep a sorority of female bettas in a single tank, multiple vital factors go

into making this work: the age of the fish, their personalities (and even colors), the size of the tank, and how many hiding places you create.

The optimum group size is between three and five fish, and it’s a good idea to introduce them all to the tank simultaneously. Most importantly, monitor their interactions and have a spare tank on standby if you are required to move an aggressive perpetrator from the community.

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