Female Betta Fish – Behavior, Tank Mates, Requirements

Female betta fish come in the most vibrant, beautiful colors and are a lot more friendly than their male counterparts.

Since female betta fish are growing in popularity among aquarists worldwide, we’ve compiled detailed information on everything you’d need to know about keeping one – from their physical appearance to their environment. So, keep reading!

Key Takeaways:

  • Female betta fish exhibit territorial behavior, establishing hierarchies to create their own space.
  • While they can be aggressive, they are generally less aggressive than male bettas and can often coexist in community tanks.
  • Identifying the gender of a betta involves considering factors such as color, size, vertical stripes, body shape, gravid spot, beard size, and bubble nests.
  • Female bettas come in various color variations, including White Platinum Half-Moon, Koi Betta Galaxy, Hellboy Half-Moon, Gold Betta, and Blue Crowntail, among others.
  • To provide an ideal habitat for female bettas, a tank size of at least 5 gallons is recommended, with proper substrate, plants, and a filter that doesn’t create strong currents.

What Is The Typical Behaviour Of A Female Betta Fish?

Betta fish are typically fighting fish. Female Betta fish behave in a highly territorial manner , just like the males and are known to establish a hierarchy in order to create their own space.

And unlike males who can be more aggressive to their tank mates, it’s a lot more likely that you can keep your females in a community tank without any trouble!

If you feed them enough times, they’ll even come to the top of the tank when they see you approaching.

However, just like all fish, if you’re not meeting their needs (keeping the tank stimulating, and the water quality high) then it’s not uncommon for them to become extremely depressed, and bored. They often starve themselves to death if they don’t experience enough physical contact or a friendly connection with the beings around them.

(Find out the common reason your betta fish might be fighting.)

Are Female Betta Fish Aggressive, And Do They Fight?

Female betta fish can be aggressive, and they do fight with other fish to establish their territory. While female bettas aren’t as aggressive as their male counterparts, they still have an aggressive streak in them.

However, while they’re aggressive, they’re not aggressive for minor things like males are. They mostly lash out only when other fish threaten their space. In this case, they chase the invading fish out of their territories, nipping at them if necessary.

They aren’t as territorial as male betta fish, either. This is the main reason they make such great community tank fish.

Just make sure you’re giving female betta enough personal space and making sure the conditions they’re placed in don’t put them under stress should help curb their aggressive nature effectively.

If placed in the right conditions, which are conducive to their growth, female betta fish will thrive in sororities or communities.

Check out this video by Aqua Diary on how to identify male or female bettas.

9 Ways Tell If Your Betta Is Male Or Female

Sometimes, bettas look so alike that it’s hard to tell them apart. But some signs can help you distinguish between a male and a female betta. Here are some signs that can help you tell apart a male and a female betta fish.

1. Bright And Vivid Colors

Males are often brighter in color than females which is one way that can help you determine the gender. However, color alone is not enough to tell the betta’s gender. Make sure to check other indicators that will help you to be sure of your betta’s gender.

2. Size

Another easy way to spot whether your betta is a male or female is based on the size of them. Male bettas can grow up to 3″ in length, whereas females are only going to grow to about 2.25″ in length

3. Vertical Stripes

You can also tell what gender your bettas are by looking at the vertical stripes on their bodies. When a female betta is ready to mate, she will start to get vertical stripes on her body. These vertical stripes usually develop on both sides of the fish’s body in five or six bands.

4. Body Shape

You can also examine the betta’s body shape to determine gender. Most of the time, female bettas are shorter and broader than male bettas. On the other hand, male bettas’ bodies tend to be longer and a little flatter from side to side. 

5. Fins and Tail

And of course, one of the biggest ways to spot whether your betta is male or female. Usually, a male betta’s fins will be three to four times as long as a female’s. In most betta species, the females have shorter tail fins, while the males have longer tails. Males also have longer, thicker, more flowing dorsal fins than most female bettas.

6. Gravid Spot

You can tell if your betta is female by looking for a pregnancy spot near the anal fins. Most female bettas have a small area on their bellies that looks like a dot when they are fully grown. When a female betta prepares to lay eggs, this spot tends to get darker.

7. Beard Size

Bettas have a membrane called the opercular membrane that is under their gill plates. When the fish opens its gill plates, this membrane sticks out like a “beard.” To tell if your betta is a male or a female, look at its beard. A male’s beard is much bigger than a female’s, and it is often visible even when the male is not flaring.

8. Level of Aggression

You can also tell if a betta is male or female by its aggression. If the betta is very aggressive, it is likely male. Female bettas aren’t as aggressive as males, but they can still fight with each other and other fish. It’s best to keep at least 5 female bettas so that one doesn’t pick on the others.

9. Making Bubble Nests

You can also tell if your betta is a male if it makes a bubble nest. Males usually make a bubble nest out of saliva bubbles to protect the eggs when breeding. But this isn’t always a direct sign because female bettas sometimes make their own.

Common Female Betta Fish Variations

Female bettas come in a wide range of colors and patterns, so you’re sure to find one that fits your tank perfectly. Here are some of the most popular female betta fish color variations:

  • Female White Platinum Half-Moon Betta
  • Koi Betta Galaxy Female
  • Hellboy Female Half-Moon Betta 
  • Half-Moon Black Samurai
  • Wild Alien Betta
  • Fancy Koi Bettas
  • Half-Moon Gold Betta
  • Pink And Blue Half-Moon Betta
  • Double-Tail Silver Betta
  • Blue Crowntail Betta Fish 

1. Female White Platinum Half-Moon Betta 

One of the most common types of betta is the half-moon type. Their tails are in the shape of a D. The male’s tail is much bigger and more noticeable, but the female also has this trait. People often want and think that colorful bettas are more attractive, but this white platinum female shows that sometimes less is more.

2. Koi Betta Galaxy Female 

Koi bettas are called that because they look like koi fish and have the same marbled coloring. The koi galaxy betta is one of the most beautiful types of female betta. When the light hits it, the mix of blues, pinks, purples, and white that looks like opal makes it look like a faraway galaxy.

3. Hellboy Female Half-Moon Betta 

The Hellboy half-moon betta gets its name from the comic book character of the same name. Hellboy bettas often have at least five different colors. Males are mostly bright red, but females are just as beautiful, with colors that range from red to orange to copper. They can be one solid color, but they can also have spots of light and dark colors.

4. Half-Moon Black Samurai 

Black samurai bettas are a popular type of betta because hobbyists like their high-quality coloring and how the white and dark colors stand out against each other. Plus, their scales are made of metal, which gives them even more style. Usually, male bettas are more flashy than females, but this type is so unique that both the males and females are beautiful and unique. This kind of female betta stands out in any tank.

5. Wild Alien Betta

A female alien betta has scales all over its head, cheeks, and body, and its tail is shaped like a half moon. The colors of these fish vary, but most of them have stripes on their bodies and dots on their fins. Males are brighter than females, but the females have their own look thanks to small details like stripes and an iridescent shimmer.

6. Fancy Koi Bettas

Fancy koi bettas look like other koi bettas because they are marbled, and their name comes from the number of colors in the marbling. This kind comes in at least three colors. The pattern of the marbling is also different from one fish to the next. Some fish have a solid color on their heads and more marbling on their bodies, while others are marbled from head to tail.

7. Half-Moon Gold Betta

The gold or platinum type is a different kind of half-moon betta. This fish’s fins are all shaped like a D, and it is usually only one color. Females can be different colors, such as cream, rose gold, platinum, or pale yellow. In the right light, their bodies and fins look like they are made of gold.

8. Pink And Blue Half-Moon Betta

People think that female bettas aren’t as pretty as males, but some females are so colorful that you might have to look twice to figure out if they’re male or female. Each betta is different, and some females may have bright colors like pink, blue, and purple that will catch your eye.

9. Double-Tail Silver Betta

Double-tail bettas have B-shaped tail fins. The male’s tail is much longer than the female’s, but the female has a unique look that makes her stand out from other types of betta. Double-tails come in a variety of colors, such as silver, olive, and green with red accents around the tail fins.

10. Blue Crowntail Betta Fish 

Crown tail bettas get their name from the shape of their tails and fins, which are more spikey or crown-like than those of other types. This is extremely prominent in males but is also a distinctive feature in females. There are many different colors of crown tail bettas, such as blue, red, and yellow.

What Habitat And Tank Conditions Do Female Betta Fish Need?

In the wild, Female bettas generally thrive in shallow, warm water, which extends for miles and miles. This water should ideally be placid and clean. A good example of perfect natural habitat for a female betta fish would be a rice paddy.

However, with creativity and caution, you can create a great environment for a female betta fish to thrive in.

Following are a few tips and specifications that you’ll need to follow in order to ensure that your female betta fish is placed in the right conditions and habitat.

Capacity

You may have heard that you can keep a female betta fish in a 1-gallon bowl or tank, and for a very short period of time this is possible, but not for long.

Sure, a betta fish can survive in a small amount of water as well, but this will put them under a lot of stress and pressure, which may hamper their growth and chances of survival in the long run.

Also, keeping more than one female betta fish in a confined space may cause them to fight and injure each other as they’re quite territorial in nature.

If you want to keep a single female betta fish, a 5-gallon tank is acceptable but still bigger is better. If, on the other hand, you’d like your fish to have companions, a 10-gallon tank would be just about ideal—the more space they have for themselves, the better.

(Find out more about a betta sorority.)

Habitat

Female betta fish tend to be curious and restless, so you’ll have to be very careful with what decorations you’d like to place in your tank for them. The substrate is your first choice, and you can decide between gravel, sand or aquarium soil.

You should also add a few plants to your tank to simulate a natural environment for your females. And there are so many different choices to choose from! Anubias, java fern, java moss, and marimo moss balls are some of my favourites!

Having plants could also make it easier for your female betta fish to claim their own territory which will make them feel safe.

Also, remember female bettas don’t like strong strong currents as they’re adapted to swimming in calm waters. So when you’re choosing a filter to buy, make sure it’s not too strong.

pH level And Temperature

If you plan on keeping females, makes sure that you’re keeping the water warm enough for them. They’re going to need a water heater and filter for your female betta fish. They do best in when the temperature is 78°F, however, they can survive well in temperatures ranging from 75 to 80°F.

(Ever wondered whether your betta need a heater or not in the summer?)

Anything below this temperature range will likely stress them out and may even leave them feeling quite ill.

As for the pH level, betta’s prefer a pH that is as close to neutral as possible. However, if you have other fish, then they can generally tolerate pH between 6.5-8.5 quite well.

Another important factor to consider here would be water hardness. In order to keep your fish healthy, you’ll need to have water that’s about 5-35 dGH hard.

(Find out the ideal pH level and temperature for bettas.)

What Else You’ll Need

You’ll have to keep in mind some additional features when preparing an environment for a female betta fish. For instance, it would be useful to have a lid over your tank as female betta fish are known to jump out of their tanks.

After all, they’re adapted to jumping from one rice paddy to another, so this comes quite naturally to them. Even though you’ll need to cover your tank for their own safety, make sure you leave some room up top so they can breathe.

You should also have a light in your tank, for your betta as well as if you’re planning on growing plants in there. Light is an essential part of your bettas life and it helps them figure out when they should eat, and when they should sleep.

What Is A Betta Sorority?

A betta sorority is the name given to a group of female betta’s kept in a single tank. Sororities typically have about 4-6 betta fish, however, there is no upper limit as long as the tank is big enugh. Naturally, raising more than one female betta fish together will require an adequately large tank.

Though female betta fish aren’t as aggressive as their male counterparts, they do require their own space. Not giving them enough personal space – even around other female betta fish – will lead to fights between them.

A good way to keep a betta sorority is to have plenty of hiding places to ensure that each one of them can identify and protect their own space.

When you’re keeping a betta sorority, while it’s possible to keep them in a 10 gallon tank, I’d definitely advise keeping them in a tank which is 20 gallons or bigger.

What Are Some Good Tank Mates For Female Betta Fish?

Though female betta fish are territorial, there are a few other fish that they get along with fairly well. Following are a few species of fish that you should consider adding to your female bettas tank:

Remember, in order to keep your fish from attacking their tank mates, you’ll need to avoid keeping fish that have overly long fins or vivid skin colors.

These generally stress female betta fish out and put them on the defensive. Also, make sure you avoid any fish that resembles the male Siamese Fighting Fish at all costs.

On top of this some other fish to avoid are goldfish, angelfish, and red tail sharks. Being careful about what you keep in your tank with your female betta fish could prove important to her safety as well as that of her tank mates.

If your female beta fish doesn’t get along with her tank mates even after you’ve kept the aforementioned tips in mind, you’ll need to separate her from them at once.

What Is The Ideal Diet For Female Betta Fish?

All betta fish are carnivores by nature and feed on everything from insects to their own eggs floating in the water around them. To keep them healthy you’ll need to ensure you’re feeding them high quality betta pellets as well as live food whenever you can.

In nature, bettas eat things like mosquito larvae and insect larvae of all kind. Fortunately betta pellets can replace a lot of these meals, however, it’s still possible to add them to your bettas diet!

Frozen or live food are readily available in most fish stores, and they’re going to make an excellent snack for your betta. These are generally richer in nutritional value than dried foods. Dried foods may be more readily available, but they’re by no means superior to fresh or frozen food.

If, however, you do prefer feeding them dried food and can’t find any stores around that sell fresh/frozen food, make sure you choose high protein options, daphnia is my number one recommended choice in either case, however, bloodworms in moderation and other freeze-dried food will do just fine too!

Also remember female betta fish have fairly small stomachs, so you won’t have to feed them too often. Feeding them twice a day should suffice to keep them healthy. And make sure you only give them the amount of food they can eat up in 1-2 minutes.

(Find out more about the best betta fish diet.)

How Do You Care For Female Betta Fish?

Female betta fish are relatively easy to care for, all things considered. They’re adapted and well-equipped to grow in harsh environments and don’t require that much care as compared to many other fish species.

Routine checks and maintenance of their water is obviously vital as well as general cleaning of the tanks gravel and filter. Leaving your tank unclean for too long can provide a fertile breeding ground for diseases.

And of course, make sure you use only new, high-quality equipment in your tank, such as good water filters. It may require a little investment on your part, but it’ll ensure your fish remains healthy for long. Unclean water in your tank could give your female betta fish a bacterial infection such as fin rot.

Infections and diseases grow among female betta fish as a result of physical injuries as well. So you’ll need to make sure your fish has enough space and gets along well with its tank mates to avoid any fighting, thereby keeping such diseases at bay.

If, however, your fish does get infected, you’ll need to take immediate steps to separate it from its tank mates to avoid spreading the infection. Most infections that female betta fish contract require medication that’s readily available at local pet stores.

Your actions, too, could harm the health of your female betta fish. A good example of this would be overfeeding. Overfeeding your fish could lead to bloating, which in turn could lead to a general loss of appetite.

Make sure you’re careful with how much you feed your fish and how often you do. Having irregular feeding habits could greatly affect their overall health and even cause breathing problems on occasion.

Also, making sure you prepare their environment well to minimize any stress will ensure they stay healthy.

How Do You Breed Female Betta Fish?

In order to breed female betta fish, you will – naturally – require a male one as well. You should only mix the two sexes and allow them to mate successfully.

You’ll need to set up additional aquariums to give them adequate space to breed and for the fry to grow. Firstly, the male betta fish will require their own aquarium to build a bubble nest.

You’ll notice the bubble nest at the top of the aquarium, normally sticking to a corner of the tank.

Once the nest is ready, you can introduce your female betta fish to the male. The female will go on to inspect the nest, and if she is sufficiently impressed, she’ll allow the male to pursue her.

This process can sometimes get a little aggressive, and the male could end up severely injuring the female. If you sense that this is where their courtship is heading, you’ll need to separate them immediately.

Betta fish only breed when their environment is conducive to mating. You’ll need to ensure your tank water is clean and at least 78 degrees Fahrenheit.

As well as this, you should feed both bettas lots of meat and protein for a couple of weeks before introducing them. This way you’re going to condition them to think it’s time for breeding as well.

If the conditions are right and the courtship’s successful, the female betta fish will decide to lay her eggs. Once she does so, separate her from the male as he may attack her. Also, make sure she’s not left around the eggs as she may go ahead and eat them.

In order to make sure the eggs develop into healthy betta fish babies, you’ll need to be very careful while cleaning their tank. You’ll also need to install a lid to keep them safe from insects or pests in your home.

(Find out everything there is to know about breeding your bettas!)

Why Are Your Female Bettas Attacking Each Other?

Although female bettas are less aggressive than males, there are times where they’ll still fight with each other. These fights can make them feel stressed, which is terrible for their health. With that being said, here are a few reasons why your female bettas might be fighting.

1. Creating A Hierarchy

When kept together, female bettas usually form a hierarchy. They will chase or pick on each other, which can look like aggression, but it is how they act. However, you should keep an eye on them and remove any overly aggressive females from the tank to prevent injuries that could be life-threatening.

2. Fighting Over Territory

When female bettas need to defend their territory, they are very aggressive. They chase and drive other fish away, and sometimes they even aggressively hurt the other bettas. You can stop this from happening by putting them in a big tank which is densely planted with lots of hiding places, where they can set up their own territories.

3. Stress

One of the main reasons why female bettas get mean is because they are stressed. When a female betta is stressed, she is more likely to attack other females. Stress can be caused by things like bad water quality, sudden or significant changes in the water’s parameters, bad lighting, lack of space, high levels of ammonia and nitrite, and low oxygen levels.

4. Small Tank Space

Bettas are placed in small aquariums because they are known to be exceptionally hardy. However, smaller fish tanks are usually unstable and harder to maintain than bigger ones, stressing your betta. Not only that, smaller tanks mean fewer territories which can also lead to fighting. 

5. Food Scarcity

When bettas are hungry or not getting enough food, they can get mean or aggressive. Fighting with each other while eating shows that there isn’t enough food for everyone in the tank. Ensure they get enough food, but don’t give them too much, otherwise they may suffer from constipation, or swim bladder disease.

As a rule of thumb 1-2 betta pellets 1-2 times a day is the right amount to feed each fish.

6. Sick Or Injured

Your female betta might also attack other fish if she is sick or infected with bacteria or parasites. When this happens, they’ll lash out at others, so they don’t look weak or like they’re being picked on. Make sure to check on your bettas often so you can spot any signs of illness or injury early.

Female Betta Fish – Behavior, Tank Mates, Requirements

FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions that people have about female bettas!

Are Female Bettas Friendly?

Female bettas can still be aggressive, but they’re friendlier and more tolerant than males. You can also keep them in a fish tank with other fish, a lot easier. However, remember, just because they’re females doesn’t mean they won’t be aggressive to other fish.

Can You Put 2 Female Bettas Together?

Most of the time, it’s not a good idea to put two female bettas together because the stronger one will likely bully the weaker one. They should be kept in groups of at least four to six. This way, a hierarchy will be created.

Why Are Your Female Bettas Attacking Each Other?

When you put a group of female bettas in the same tank, they will immediately start making a pecking order or hierarchy. It could also be because their tanks are too small, stressed, sick, or fighting over territory.

Or in some cases your betta may just be more naturally aggressive.

Can Male And Female Bettas Be Kept In The Same Tank?

You can’t have male and female Betta fish in the same tank because they’ll kill each other. Males can be aggressive and territorial around female Betta fish. If they come close to their territory, they will attack them. It is okay to only put them together briefly when trying to breed them.

Recap

Female betta fish are more territorial than aggressive and are fairly easy to care for. Given enough personal space, clean water, and the right temperature in their aquarium, they’ll flourish easily enough.

They do have a more specific diet than other fish species with their protein requirements, etc., but they have no extravagant needs. The main issue you may face with them is their behavior.

You’ll need to be careful to separate them from male betta fish and can only introduce them to a very limited pool of tank mates. Having them live in female betta fish sororities could be a great way to provide them with companionship without necessarily risking their lives.

Sources

About the author

Hey! I'm Antonio!

Betta fish keeper for over 6 years now! Since owning a betta I've also housed all kinds of tropical fish, and have seen all manner of problems and how to look after them!

If you need any advice you can always message me or better yet join the Facebook group where a community can answer your questions!