Female Betta Fish Sorority Tanks: How Many Can Live Together In One Tank?
Can you keep more than one betta fish together?
Yes, you can keep more than one betta in your aquarium – but let’s explain!
Most people know or have heard that male bettas just can’t get along. This is true – you cannot keep multiple male betta fish in one aquarium. They are handsome but hot-tempered.
However, this does not have to be the case with female betta fish. With the proper aquarium set-up and fish introduction technique you can keep more than one female betta fish in an aquarium.
Things to know before setting up a betta fish sorority tank
Before setting up a sorority aquarium you must understand the nature of female bettas. We all know male bettas will, let’s say, “get bitey” if more than one are placed in the same aquarium. Female bettas are much more social but they aren’t completely docile.
Female bettas are also territorial and will get into mild “quarrels” as they figure out the personality hierarchy.
The betta sorority should be a minimum of 4-5 females but no more than ten if the aquarium is large enough. Setting up a female betta sorority tank isn’t difficult but there are certain steps that must be followed to have success.
Setting up your betta sorority aquarium
Opinions differ on the minimum size tank for a female betta sorority aquarium. Some aquarists report the best success with tanks at least twenty gallons in size. The fact is this, the smaller the tank, the more likely the female bettas will fight.
Experienced betta-keepers recommend an aquarium size of 20 – 30 gallons. However a 10-gallon sorority can be successful – but you may have to remove a bully female if she won’t settle down and become sociable.
When aquascaping the aquarium (adding the plants and decorations) you should consider plenty of cover and hiding places for the fish. Each betta will select its own territory so adding plants, caves, pots or driftwood will help block the vision between fish – keeping tempers cool.
An aquarium heater and filter is a must. Once you know that the minimum tank size is 10 gallon (with 20-30 gallon being advised) you can follow our aquarium set up guide for further details.
Keep the temperature between 76-80 F.
Clean water is a must – water conditions must be optimal. Choose a filter with a gentle flow. This is preferred by the bettas due to their delicate fins.
Adding female bettas to the sorority aquarium
When selecting your “sorority girls” try to choose fish that are similar in size and age. This will help the fish feel more equal, reduce the tendency to fight and provide for long-term stability of the sorority.
Some betta experts even recommend buying all of the females from the same spawn to increase chances they will get along. This can be difficult unless if you have a local betta breeder.
All of the fish should be added at the same time. This allows the fish community to establish an order. If new female bettas are added later, the pecking order has to start over again and can result in fighting and damaged fins.
Don’t worry too much about small scuffles during the first couple of weeks. The female bettas will test each other out. There will be nipping and chasing but this is essential for the sorority to establish territories and a hierarchy.
Feeding and long-term care of female betta fish sororities
We have a detailed blog on feeding betta fish which can be followed for sororities.
Betta fish are carnivores, so their diet should be high in protein. Betta specific pellets or flakes alongside frozen brine shrimp and even live brine shrimp and blood worms for treats.
Often the new sorority may not want to eat a lot at first as they will be stressed from adjusting to the new aquarium habitat.
It is important not to overfeed your fish. Betta’s stomachs around the size of their eyes, if they eat too much it will bloat which causes many issues. Plus, any uneaten food will dirty the water.
A new aquarium has to develop a biological filter capable of handling the fish’s waste. Test the water every week for ammonia and nitrite. Both should rise and fall over the next couple of weeks. Once ammonia and nitrite levels are zero, the aquarium is biologically safe. Over-feeding simply boosts the level of ammonia, which increases nitrite and stresses the fish.
Making a weekly water change of 10-20% of the water will help keep the water quality high and remove dissolved organics and algae-promoting phosphate and nitrate.
With patience and proper care you can have a beautiful collection of female bettas-all in one aquarium!
Just how beautiful does it look to have many female betta fish living together? Check out the video below. It looks great!
Last Updated: October 18, 2021
Betta Condos and Tanks for Multiple Bettas
The number of bettas that can be kept together in the same aquarium depends on the gender of the betta. Only one male can be kept in an aquarium, as males will fight with one another (hence their common name, Siamese fighting fish). In the wild, one would retreat. But that isn't possible in an aquarium; fighting continues, to the death of one or both.
Females are only a bit more tolerant of each other. With adequate room, many can be housed together. However, if the tank becomes too crowded, females may start showing territorial behaviors as well. Do not mix males and females in the same tank, other than temporarily for breeding purposes.
Betta lovers will sometimes use a "betta condo" to allow them to keep multiple males in a single aquarium. The condo is simply a small container with dividers; walls are vented to allow water circulation through it. It hangs inside the aquarium, effectively keeping any fish inside separated from the rest of the tank.
Controversy surrounds the use of betta condos. Single condos kept in separate locations within the tank are acceptable. However, whenever betas can still see each other through clear walls, any close visual proximity will induce males and even females to flare in a fight stance. Bettas have excellent vision and can even be challenged by (and stressed by) bettas in another tank across the room!
Most betta owners feel that the stress caused by this unnatural proximity can negatively affect the health of the fish, thereby shortening its life. In the wild, fish never suffer such prolonged exposure to rivals. If condos are used, fish should be separated from all others by more than 12 or 15 inches, and they should have plants to hind behind.
Tank Size and Territory
The species is native to the Mekong basin in Southeast Asia, living in rice paddies and canals. In the wild, more than one male would live in a rice paddy. However, rice paddies are quite large, often encompassing miles of space. This allows each male to have its own territory. In small tanks, there simply isn't enough room for the establishment of territories, so it is not advisable to keep more than one male.
Tank sizes smaller than 20 gallons are usually a problem. Sizes larger than 20 gallons provide enough territorial space to allow multiple males. However, few people keep bettas in these larger tanks. Traditionally bettas are kept in very small tanks, hence the common statement of "one male per tank." A more accurate way of putting it would be one male per 20-gallon territory.
One additional factor is that domesticated bettas are the product of selective breeding for heightened aggression. In Thailand, they were collected specifically to fight in competitions. Domesticated bettas are more likely to keep fighting, whereas the wild breed would spar briefly and then retreat. This enhanced aggressive tendency makes it even more necessary to give each fish a large territory of its own.
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You might know you cannot keep two male betta fish in the same tank. Why not?
Well, bettas are also known as Siamese fighting fish, and for good reason. Male bettas are extremely territorial and will fight any other male that enters their space, sometimes to the death. Not only that, but any brightly colored, long-finned fish in the community are also often targets of a male betta’s aggression.
But what about female betta fish? Can two of them live together? In this article, we answer that question and more.
If you’re new to the world of bettas, welcome to an ever-growing group of enthusiasts!
Newbies to betta keeping will need to know how to tell the difference between male and female bettas. After all, you don’t want to accidentally put two males together in the same tank! That’s why you’ve got to know the difference between the boys and the girls, and that’s not as easy as you might think, especially if you buy a baby betta.
Female and male betta fish look almost identical as juveniles. It’s only when the fish begin to mature at around two months old that their gender becomes clear.
Betta body shape and finnage
Male bettas are famous for their spectacular finnage, especially the tail or caudal fin, which can be up to two or three times longer than the fish’s whole body! Male bettas typically have long ventral and dorsal fins, too.
However, there are types of bettas that don’t have long fins. Plakats, for example, are short-finned bettas with stocky bodies that were specifically bred to be strong and lethal fighters.
In contrast, female betta fish have short fins and lack the flowing tails of their male counterparts.
Another thing that makes male bettas such popular pets is their colors. Thanks to genetics and clever crossbreeding by betta enthusiasts, you can find these fish in just about every color and pattern you can imagine, including black, red, blue, green, pink, gold, chocolate, white, and marble.
There are many variations and combinations of these colors, too, including fish with gorgeous metallic scales that really pack a pop of color to your tank.
Female bettas are generally rather dull when compared to males, being mostly silver, dark gray, and occasionally white. So, if your baby betta has brightly colored scales, it’s most likely a male.
That said, females can become much brighter in color when stressed or during spawning.
Female betta fish have what’s called an ovipositor that’s visible as a tiny white dot next to the fish’s ventral fin close to its head. The ovipositor is used to deposit eggs during spawning, so of course, a male fish won’t have one.
Some juvenile male bettas, however, have a false egg spot. It’s thought that this is used to deter other potentially aggressive males, and it eventually disappears as the fish matures.
Female bettas are typically shorter and thicker-bodied than males, which are comparatively long and thin.
Another way of distinguishing male bettas from females is by observing behavior.
Male bettas are very aggressive when confronted by a perceived intruder in their territory. If you place a mirror next to your betta tank and watch the fish’s reaction, for example, a male will flare his gill covers at his reflection. Some male fish will even attack their reflections.
You generally don’t get that kind of dramatic reaction from females. When confronted with her reflection, a female may flare at first, but she’ll soon lose interest. A male, on the other hand, will keep up the attack until you take the mirror away.
Bettas have what is commonly called a beard. The beard is a membrane that sits underneath the gills and is present in both male and female fish.
The beard is usually brown or black, and males have larger, more obvious beards than females. In fact, the male’s beard can usually be seen all the time, whereas the female’s beard is only visible when her gills are shut.
In the betta fish world, it’s the male fish that are solely responsible for constructing a bubble nest before spawning. So, if your fish starts blowing bubbles in a corner of his tank or underneath floating plants, it’s definitely a boy.
Do female bettas fight?
Female bettas do sometimes squabble if they’re in a group. However, a pair of them tend not to fight, provided that one is not a bully.
Betta fish are remarkable creatures that each have a distinct personality. Some are more aggressive than their peers, while others are just plain chilled-out. So, whether or not they’ll fight depends on the personalities of the two females involved.
Besides, there are ways of ensuring harmony within your betta aquarium, starting with choosing a tank that’s big enough for both of them.
Tank for two female bettas
Bettas are not schooling fish by nature, living mainly solitary lives in the wild environment. That said, female bettas can live in small groups, or sororities, relatively peacefully. And two females can often pair up quite happily in the same tank, as long as they have plenty of space.
Ideally, the minimum tank size we would recommend for a group of four to six female bettas is 10 gallons, although two female bettas will do fine in a 5-gallon setup. Female bettas can do well in a peaceful community tank, too, but you’ll need more space if you want to add other tank mates.
The best tank shape for betta fish is a rectangular, shallow aquarium rather than a tall deep one. Bettas spend much of their time in the upper area of the water column, coming to the surface to feed and breathe via their labyrinth organ.
In nature, bettas live in shallow ponds, rice paddies, and marshes, so you need to replicate those places in the captive environment by providing a space that’s not too deep. If the bettas struggle to swim to the surface, they will become stressed and fail to thrive.
Bettas enjoy having somewhere to rest and hide when they want to, so be sure to include lots of dense planting, driftwood, caves, and floating betta logs in the tank.
That guarantees each fish has somewhere to shelter and relax when she wants to, which can prevent squabbling and bullying.
Betta fish are tropical creatures that need a water temperature of between 75 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature is too far outside those parameters, the fish may become stressed.
Stress in bettas weakens the fish’s immune system, leaving the animal open to attack by disease-causing bacteria and parasites. So, be sure to use an aquarium thermometer to check the water temperature daily, making adjustments as necessary.
It’s also worth noting that bettas can change color when they’re stressed. So, keep an eye on your fish to make sure they aren’t developing horizontal stress stripes on their bodies.
A fish tank is a closed environment, and unlike the betta’s natural home, there’s no rainfall or natural water flow to remove harmful substances such as ammonia from the water. So, you need an efficient filtration system to keep the water clean and prevent ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates from accumulating in the tank.
Although female bettas are not encumbered by a set of heavy, flowing fins like their male counterparts, they will still struggle to swim in a flow rate that’s too strong. In nature, betta fish live in very slow-moving or even stagnant bodies of water, so a strong current in the tank would be very stressful for your fish.
You’ll also need to perform 25 percent water changes every week to keep the tank water clean.
What are suitable tank mates for female bettas?
If you have sufficient space in your aquarium, you might want to add a few tank mates to keep your female betta company.
There are plenty of suitable fish species to choose from, including corydoras catfish and guppies. Basically, you need small, peaceful species that won’t try to eat the bettas. These fish are also suitable for a tank that has a male betta, too.
Other interesting tank mates include the excellent algae-eaters, Amano shrimp, and tiny African dwarf frogs.
Here are some of the most common questions asked by people considering keeping female bettas together.
Will female bettas kill each other?
Female bettas are generally not as aggressive as males, and they can live together. However, sometimes females do fight. In a betta fish sorority, there’s usually one dominant fish that takes charge, and there may be some fighting while the pecking order is established.
That said, although you can never say never, it is quite unusual for two female bettas to fight to the death.
Could a female betta kill a male?
Although you may see some aggressive behavior on the male betta’s part before and during spawning, a female and male betta will generally get along just fine.
It’s highly unlikely that a female betta would be feisty and aggressive enough to kill a male, but it’s not out of the question, especially if the female is strong, healthy, and fully grown while the male is a small juvenile.
Can two betta fish live together?
Yes. You can keep two bettas together, provided they are not both male. Keeping two males together will surely end in a fight to the death.
You can keep one male and one female betta together. The only issue here is that the male betta may harass the female to try and trigger spawning behavior. If she is the only female in your tank, your lady may become stressed by that, so be sure to provide her with plenty of caves and dense planting so she has somewhere to escape.
How many female bettas can I put in a 10-gallon tank?
If you want to start a betta sorority, you can keep up to six girls in a 10-gallon tank. However, bettas are not naturally schooling fish, so you must make sure the tank has plenty of dense planting and hiding places so the bettas can claim a space of their own and keep out of each other’s way when they want to.
How many female bettas can I put in a 5-gallon tank?
Since there’s not so much space in a 5-gallon tank, we recommend you only keep female bettas together in one. Remember, you need to allow space for lots of plants, caves, and the like so the girls have places they can get away from each other if they want to.
If you wanted to add two female bettas to your tank, you should be able to do so without having too many problems. Although female betta fish don’t have the male betta’s spectacular looks, they can still be beautiful fish that add interest to the upper area of the water column.
That said, every betta fish has its own personality, and some individuals are feistier than others. Usually, the dominant fish establishes her authority over the more submissive one, and things settle down.
You can help keep things harmonious by providing plenty of hiding places so the fish can avoid each other if they need to.
Can You Put Two Betta Fish Together?
Many people have this idea that it is only possible to keep one single betta fish in a tank and no more, more or less because they will kill each other, and yes, they may very well do that. However, there are people who put more than one betta (Siamese fighting) fish in one tank. The answer to the question is yes, you can put two betta fish together, but it has to be done properly or else you will end up with some dead fish, and nobody wants that.
Table of contents
So, Can You Put Two Betta Fish Together?
Yes, so you can put two betta fish into one tank, but there are a good number of things that you need to know before you do it so they can actually live with each other without issues. The bottom line is that having two betta fish in one small tank that does not have many plants, ornaments, and toys, you are asking for trouble. Betta fish are extremely territorial and they fight for dominance over a space and they fight for food too. Having the right tank is also important, we like this one.
Have you seen our Betta Fish E-Book? we have put together what we consider to be the Ultimate Betta Care Guide that covers all the essentials and more! you can check what it covers and a sneak peek here.
There is no fish that a betta fish hates more than a betta fish. Just try it. If you have one betta fish, put a mirror in front of it and watch it go nuts with blood thirst. This is the reason why most people would never recommend putting two betta fish in one tank, but that being said, it is possible, but it definitely needs to be done right.
How Do You House Two Betta Fish In One Tank?
There is a certain process that you have to follow and a few key rules that you need to abide by if you want to have a chance of housing two betta fish in one tank without them trying to kill each other. First of all, keeping female betta fish in the same tank is much easier than doing so with males. Males are far more aggressive and territorial than females, so if you are going to try this, you will definitely want to do it with females.
Second, a regular betta fish does not require all that much space. Something like a 5 or 10 gallon tank will do for a single betta fish, but multiple betta fish will need more space, much more. If you want to have two betta fish in the same tank, you will need a big tank, like a really big one.
If you are seriously going to try this you should be sure to have at least 10 gallons of water volume for each betta fish, and that is still pushing it. To be really safe you should have around 15 or even 20 gallons of space for each betta fish you have. So, you can see that having more than two betta fish in the same tank will require a seriously big aquarium.
Next betta fish love to swim in, over, and around things, plus they also like their privacy. This means having a whole lot of their own territory, plants, toys, rocks, driftwood, and ornaments. These things really like having their own territory where they can frolic in, hide in, take it easy, and most important of all, rule over the domain. So, if you want more than one betta fish in a tank, you need to be sure to have many different plants, pieces of driftwood, and lots of hiding spaces in general.
Next, if you are going to try having two betta fish in the same tank, you need to add them to the tank at the same time. This will seem more normal to them than if there is one in the tank and a new one gets introduced. A new betta fish being introduced to the already established territory of another betta fish will undoubtedly cause a fight to the death. The betta fish need to both be added at the same time so they can go about individually establishing territory at the same time.
Can You Put A Male And Female Betta Fish Together?
The short answer to this question is, yes you can house a male and female Betta fish together. It is widely acknowledged that betta fish are aggressive animals, but this is more in reference to the males than females.
Yes, males can be very aggressive and territorial, often bullying and killing other fish. So, males cannot be housed together. However, males, generally speaking, will not get into fights with females, and if they do, it is usually nothing serious.
You might also like these related posts;
If you are going to even attempt to put two betta fish in the same tank, you absolutely need to take all of the necessary steps to prevent them from fighting. One little thing you miss and they will undoubtedly fight and one, or both, will most likely end up dying.
Credit: panpilai paipa, Shutterstock
Tank two betta
Fish That Can Live With Bettas: Tank Mate Companion Guide (Male & Female)
Once you know an alternative name for betta fish is ‘Siamese fighting fish’ (sometimes Japanese fighting fish) you may wonder what fish can live with bettas without fighting.
Well, there are plenty of fish that can live with bettas peacefully and this guide will hopefully give you some ideas that will brighten up your betta fish tank. Although known to have aggressive tendencies (we like to say added personality) having other fish, even with male betta fish, doesn’t have to be a problem.
The Quick “what fish can live with betta fish” Checklist.
- No nibblers – if a fish nibbles at a Betta fish they will get bit back!
- Bigger fish and colorful fish could be seen to be intimidating – you don’t want to intimidate a fighting fish!
- Think of the size of your aquarium – you should always have 5 gallons of personal water space for your betta fish
- Many bottom feeders* are fish that can live with bettas
- Remember the dietary requirements for both tank mates
- Add a few tank ornaments and live plants for any intimidated fish to hide (just incase)
*Bottom feeders are fish such as Plecos / catfish. ‘Sucker mouth fish’ that tend to stay at the bottom of the tank eating algae from the tank.
The size and set up of your aquarium is important before adding tanki mates. Check out our thoughts of the best betta tanks here.
FAQ – Can two betta fish live in the same tank?
No, particularly when talking about two male betta fish. You should not have more than one male betta in the same tank. Betta fish are very territorial, not only will the two males end up fighting but the fact they are sharing the same space will stress your betta.
It is possible to have more than one female betta fish in the same tank. Although they are still aggressive female bettas can live together in groups and they look beautiful. Tanks with multiple female betta fish are called betta fish sorority tanks and will require a little bit of research before going ahead. Luckily we also have a guide on that!
We are about to go through a few suggested betta fish tank mate ideas. Once you know what fish can live with bettas you will see that owning betta fish with other fish is a lot of fun because it brings so much variety to your aquarium.
Neon Tetra with Betta Fish
Neon Tetra tend to stay around the mid-tank area, keeping their distance from any bettas so they will often get along. A large / long tank is recommended as tetras are schooling fish. You will need to have a minimum of six tetras in your tank – however, it is a good idea to have more (approximately 10 to 12 is sufficient). Once your tank features a colorful school you will see that keeping betta fish with other fish is not such a problem at all.
Other tetra types and betta fish compatibility? (Fin nippers)
You need to be careful with tetras as they are known to be fin nippers (and we don’t want our betta’s delicate fins nipped). Neon tetras kept in a school are generally ok, however if you are tempted by other species of the tetra family always research into whether they are fin nippers. A little fish nipping at your betta fish’s long flowing tail is going to end with stressed fish and casualties!
Bristlenose plecos with betta fish
The Bristlenose plecos are very shy, and they tend to be very reclusive. There are other various types of plecos that can live with the betta; however, some of these can become quite large. A bigger betta fish tank may be needed in time.
Having Plecos as a betta companion is generally a good partnership as the Plecos tend to stay out of the betta fish’s way. You will often find them at the bottom of the tank and feeding on algae from a piece of driftwood (which in turn keeps your tank cleaner longer).
Cory Catfish living with Betta fish
Betta fish with Glass Catfish
The glass catfish are a cool species – they get their name as they are completely see-through (even can see the internal organs – weird eh?)! They are a very calm fish that should not pose any threat to your betta fish. The glass Catfish do best in small groups, they will spend most of their day together at the bottom of the tank beside the plants.
Blue Gourami with Betta Fish
The blue gourami makes a great tank mate for a betta fish. These two fish are closely related meaning that the needs and conditions of the tank are the same for both fish – perfect!
The Blue Gourami does need a larger tank of around 20 gallons. With this factor met the Blue Gourami should be able to live peacefully with a betta fish.
Khulii Loach living with Betta fish
Check out this video of a Khuli Loach living with a Betta fish and a Pleco – all enjoying some brine shrimp treats!
Skip to the 55 second mark to see mr Betta! 🙂
What fish can live with bettas… ok, so these aren’t exactly fish…
African Dwarf Frogs with Bettas
The African Dwarf Frog and a betta fish are a common tank partner. There are many stories of success between these two tank mates and they are general quite easy to care for. One thing to mention for this tank partnership is that thy have the same diet. While this is a good thing in that they can eat the same food it is bad as the African dwarf frog is a rather passive eater be careful that your bett does not over eat and that your frog eats enough!
Betta fish with Ghost Shrimp
Depending on the size of your tank, you should try to put between eight and ten ghost shrimp in with your betta. However, betta fish have been known to make short work of these small ghost shrimp so it all depends on the aggression and personality of your betta. Try and choose the bigger shimp from the pet store – they have better chance at surviving and not just become a meal.
Siamese fighting fish are notoriously aggressive and not just towards other male betta fish, so you should not be surprised that you have to research to find fish that are suited for cohabited environments. The male betta fish are considered very aggressive and two should never be kept in the same tank. You also can’t mix male betta fish with female betta fish unless you are breeding betta; otherwise there will be betta fights and continued casualties.
So, now you have a better idea of what fish can live with bettas. Armed with this information, you should be able to maximize the visual pleasure of your betta fish tank.
Do you have any suggestions of your own for what fish can live with bettas? What fish shares a tank with your fighting fish? We would love to hear them in the comments below!
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Last Updated: October 18, 2021
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