Can Female Betta Fish Live Together? 5 Important Things to Know Before Pairing Them

Written by Alyssa Shea
Published: November 17, 2023
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Did you know that a group of female betta fish living together is called a “sorority?” Generally, female betta fish are less popular because they don’t have the same beautiful tail as males. Since their coloring is more dull, they tend to be less expensive. A tank of female betta fish can create a dynamic and exciting social environment that’s fun to watch. But is it right for you? Explore what you should know before diving into your first betta sorority tank.

Female of Siamese fighting fish (Betta) aquarium fish

This pair of female betta fish are known as Siamese fighting fish.

©kazakovmaksim/iStock via Getty Images

Betta Fish Are Aggressive

Even though female betta fish are known to be less aggressive than males, they are still naturally aggressive fish. Females can still be incredibly territorial, which can lead to fights, injuries, and even death. This species’ strong territorial instinct is innate, though it’s not typically found in wild betta fish. Training your fish to be less aggressive is impossible, so having a bigger tank is the only correct option to limit aggression. As long as you have plenty of hiding spots, numerous plants, and a lot of space, your betta fish can typically coexist peacefully. Keeping a tank at a minimum of 10 gallons can also help ensure your fish won’t become stressed.

Choose Your Betta Fish Carefully

The best way to ensure that you have a peaceful fish tank is to choose your female betta fish very carefully. Take your time while you’re shopping for your fish. Look for fish that have nip marks on their body because this will tell you if they’ve been fighting a lot. Avoid these aggressive fish at all costs. Your goal is to get females that are similar in size and temperament. A good rule of thumb is to avoid brightly colored female bettas because they tend to prefer more plainly colored fish.

You also want to make sure they’re all close in age. Getting all younger or baby bettas will help ensure older ones won’t bully the younger fish. It’s also smart to start with a sorority of younger betta fish rather than mature ones because they don’t show aggression until they’re older. Also, getting female betta fish from the same spawn will give you the best chance of them getting along, too!

Beautiful colorful female betta fish in fresh water tank

Female betta fish are born nearly white and will change colors as they age.

©ItsAngela/Shutterstock.com

Introducing Your Female Betta Fish

Most experts agree that having up to six betta fish in a tank is ideal. So, how should you begin introductions? If you start a betta sorority tank, the first crucial step is to introduce all of the fish to their new home simultaneously. Letting one acclimate at a time allows them to become territorial. This will be less likely to happen if they all go in simultaneously. You can expect there to be disputes initially, so don’t panic! Be sure you’re following the basic acclimation steps for all fish before you put your bettas in their new tank, too.

Be Ready to Separate Your Betta Fish

Once you’ve acclimated and introduced your bettas to the tank, give them time to explore and claim their areas. There might be some initial scuffles, which is to be expected, but when should you pull the trigger on separating them? You must be paying close attention during this initial phase, as the first 48 hours are crucial to the survival of the tank. Knowing how to spot stressed fish is the key to starting a successful aquarium. Stressed fish will have lower immune systems, leading to sickness and quickly spreading diseases. If you see gill flaring, ramming, or fin nipping, it’s time to take action. Removing the most aggressive one should help.

Colorful of female bettas in fish tank. Red and blue female bettas is freshwater fish, betta farm, Thailand.

Some female bettas might create bubble nests, though this is more frequently seen in males.

©Arunee Rodloy/Shutterstock.com

How to Separate Your Betta Fish

If you’ve noticed torn fins, missing scales, or increased hiding in your bettas, it’s time to separate your fish. The first thing you can try is a tank divider. This barrier will allow you to divide the aquarium into two sections. You can make your divider using various materials, including plastic canvas, fiberglass, or any other vet-approved material. This permanent solution will enable you to keep all your fish in the same tank. Otherwise, removing the aggressor and putting them into their tank is also an option. If you don’t have the time or ability to start a separate tank, you might consider rehoming the betta that is causing issues in the tank.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Arunee Rodloy/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

I'm a 36-year-old mother of 2 and military wife. I have 2 dogs and a cat that I'm thoroughly obsessed with. When I'm not writing for work, I'm writing as a hobby. You can find me knee deep in a pile of books or way too invested in a video game.

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