Do Male and Female Bettas Fight?

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In this article, we will take a look at whether female and male betta fish can fight. Betta fish, or the Siamese fighting fish, are known as aggressive fish species that will become very territorial if it feels threatened.

That is why it is often not recommended to keep a betta fish with another betta male, or with other aggressive male species.

But do male betta fish and female bettas fight between each other? The general purpose of putting males and females together is to breed them; however, if you plan to have a community tank with both genders of the betta fish, then it doesn’t hurt to know a few things.

As we know, bettas can become territorial if they don’t have enough space. That is the biggest and the most important factor to consider if you want to have male and female bettas together. Not only can the male become aggressive, but the female will feel threatened and might become stressed.

Can Male and Female Betta Live Together?

The short answer is yes, they definitely can. Some people even have harem tanks where they keep one or two males and several female bettas. That is mainly used for breeding, and harem tanks are quite rare to see.

But yes, you can have a male and one or two female bettas living together, provided that your tank can accommodate their needs. Usually, the more females there are in the tank, the more aggression we can start to notice in harem tanks. So keeping only one or two females per male is possibly the best.

Though it is not natural to see males and females fighting with each other, it is way more common to see two betta males fight. So do be very wary of putting two males into the same tank, and make sure you provide them enough tank space, and you can even buy tank dividers. Generally, about 5 to 10 gallons of water per betta will be enough.

Fighting between male and female bettas can happen during breeding. That can happen if the male starts pursuing the female relentlessly, and the whole thing can turn pretty aggressive. The owner must be aware that he might lose one or both participants in breeding, as they can start to fight. Usually, it is the females that end up at the wrong end of aggression, and can get harmed during breeding.

Will a Male Betta Kill a Female Betta?

While a male might not directly kill the female during breeding, it can happen due to too much stress and injuries that a female can sustain during breeding. Indirectly, a female can die after breeding, or even when the male starts to chase her down.

Most of the time, putting just one female per male betta is not the best idea. That is because the male will have just one possible breeding partners, and he might start to chase her down constantly, resulting in high levels of stress in the female betta.

At least two female bettas per male are probably the best option, although that is also not a warranty that there will be no stress. Another thing you can do to reduce stress due to breeding is to put them in a larger tank; 10 gallons per fish might not be a bad idea if you want to have females and males together.

Put plenty of decorations and hiding spots for the female to hide, and you can even decide to get tank dividers to separate the two.

Why Male Bettas are so Aggressive?

As we already know, bettas are an aggressive fish species, and there is little you can do about that. They are territorial by nature, it is written in their DNA. Sadly, that makes them somewhat inappropriate for some tank setups. But those who love their male bettas will always find a way to accommodate them in a community tank.

They can turn aggressive especially towards other aggressive males, either male bettas or males from other species. The chance of that happening is significantly higher if the fish doesn’t have enough space to live normally. Aggression is bound to happen in that case, given the territorial nature of the betta fish.

Luckily, there are ways you can accommodate your betta with other fish, and we will take a look at them later.

Why is the Male Betta Attacking Other Fish?

There are many reasons why a betta can attack other fish. The biggest reason is their territorial nature, and they feel insecure or threatened by another fish species. If the male doesn’t have enough space to live in, aggression will follow, and you might see your betta attack other fish in the tank.

That is not a good thing, as other fish can get seriously hurt and may even die, especially if it is smaller fish species. In other cases, bettas can get aggressive and attack other territorial fish that are ready to fight. Bettas should be kept in a community tank only under the guidance of an expert.

How You Should Keep Your Bettas?

If you really want to have male and female bettas together, then there are some things you can do. To start with, consider putting two females per male betta, or even more. Another important thing to avoid is keeping two male bettas in the same tank.

A male betta can inhabit a community tank if it is given enough space to live in, and provide plenty of vegetation with hiding spots for the fish that are with the betta, especially females. In some cases, you can also get a tank divider to separate the betta from other fish, although that might make your tank look more unappealing, but considerably safer.


Bettas are one of the most beautiful fish species. Keeping a male and a female betta together should be done with caution. But if they are given the space and proper conditions to live, the bettas can thrive.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
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