Betta fish are popular aquarium fish because of their beautiful appearance and colors. However, it is not natural to take fish from the wild and some people believe you can just put a betta fish in a bowl with water.
Because anyone can go out and buy a betta fish, some of them die because the owner doesn’t do their due diligence when learning how to care for them.
This due diligence or homework is very important when wondering if two female betta fish can live together…
Two female betta fish can live together as long as there are at least five female betta fish to form a sorority. Some people say 4-5, but five females are the safest number. If you have males in the tank, then you need two females per male for the betta fish to get along. You need one gallon for each inch of fish and betta fish average 2-2.25 inches when fully grown. You can have just two female betta fish in the same tank but you should have a divider.
How Do You Introduce Two Female Betta Fish?
As stated above, it is not advisable to have just two female betta fish together without a sorority unless you have a divider between them.
As long as you have a divider you would need at least a 4.5 gallon since two female bettas could possibly grow to 2.25 inches each which would require 4.5 gallons of water according to the gallon per inch of fish rule for aquarium size.
If you heed this advice there is really nothing to worry about introducing a new female to the tank because the divider will keep them from harming each other.
If you already have a sorority and you are trying to add another female betta then there are some things you can do to ensure a smooth transition.
If possible you should quarantine your new female betta in another tank, but not everyone has this much extra equipment laying around.
You will probably bring your new female betta home in a plastic bag from the pet store so here is what you do:
- Pour a little water out of the bag.
- Take some of the aquarium water and put it in the bag your new female betta came in so they can adjust to the new water.
- Set the bag on top of your aquarium so it will float and adjust to the same water temperature.
- You can slip a thermometer inside the bag.
- Once the temperature is adjusted, you can let your new female free to meet her new sorority.
- Moniter your new female betta to make sure she isnt bullied or vice versa.
- If there are too many problems, then you can remove the new female but they should be fine as long as you put enough gallons of water for each inch of fish in the tank.
- Make sure there are plenty of hiding places for ecah female betta, becasue one will assert herself as the leader.
Pro Tip: When using any type of equipment for your aquarium, make sure it has never been used for anything but your aquarium, so you don’t introduce any foreign substances or chemicals that could harm your fish.
How Can I Tell If My Betta Is Male or Female?
You need to be sure that all of your betta fish are females when you put them together because male betta fish are known for fighting with each other.
It isn’t as easy to tell as it is with people because fish don’t have, well….. I don’t want to use the wrong language haha, so please keep reading and I’ll explain what you can look for.
Females have short fins compared to their male counterparts.
Male betta fish are known for their long flowing, colorful fins, and tail which is the easiest way to tell them apart from females.
It is usually easy to tell by the fins because almost all recreational fishkeepers keep the betta splendens breed which is essentially known as the betta fish.
If you venture away from the common betta fish, you need to be careful because there are other male betta fish breeds that have shorter fins.
There are a lot of betta fish by themselves in aquariums because it is hard to keep male betta fish together and they have certainly won out in all of the appearance categories over female betta fish.
Another of the key factors they have won is color which is one of the main reasons besides the males flowing fins, that fishkeepers choose fish because they are kept for observing, so of course, you are going to want the most attractive fish.
Even though females become much brighter in color during pregnancy, you should already recognize your betta fish beforehand if you are going to breed them.
However, don’t get discouraged because female bettas are still very colorful fish if you want more than one fish and don’t want to mess with the hassle of male betta fish fighting with each other.
They come in attractive colors like yellow, red, turquoise, marble, copper, and even multi-colored!
The ovipositor is a tiny white dot next to the ventral fin by the head of all females.
The ovipositor is so-called because it is used by females to deposit eggs when they are breeding.
Some male bettas will have a white spot like this known as a fake ovipositor. Some scientists say it is to deter other males who will also want to breed but the male’s fake spot disappears when they mature.
Male betta fish are usually long and thin compared to female betta fish. Female betta fish are shorter and more wide-bodied than their counterparts, so with the body shape and the fins together in adult betta fish, it makes it easier to tell males and females apart.”
Female betta fish are less aggressive than male betta fish but they both flare their fins when they are being aggressive.
A good test is to place a mirror in front of them. The female will flare for a few seconds, get bored faster, and leave. The male betta fish is stubborn and will continue to flare its gills for a much longer time. This is because the betta fish sees themselves in the mirror and perceives it as another fish that is competition.
Usually, a male betta fish will flare its fins until the mirror is taken away because if it were another fish they would flare their fins until the other fish left or one of them was defeated in battle.
Another easy way to tell females from male bettas is the betta beard. Just like humans, the male betta has a much more pronounced beard.
The betta beard is a membrane that sits underneath their gills. The way to tell is the male’s beard can be seen all the time, while the female’s beard can only be seen when her gills are closed.
The betta beard is usually brown or black.
Another way to tell a male betta fish apart is if they start blowing bubbles to make a bubble nest.
When a male betta wants to breed, it is responsible for making the bubble nest that will hold the betta fish eggs until the babies are born.
How Old Before You Can Tell
It will be 2-3 months after birth before you can tell whether your betta fish is male or female. The easiest clue to follow is the length and brightness of the fins as stated above.
Do Female Bettas Fight?
Female bettas my fight, but not near as much as male bettas in the same tank.
This is why it is important to start a female sorority if you want to keep female betta fish together. If you have five females with at least 12 gallons of tank space, they will establish a pecking order and their own territory.
The more space and hiding places you have, the better because they will have more room in case one of the more dominant females want more space for themselves.
If one of the females is fighting too much, you can always replace to remove her to have a more peaceful tank.
Setting Up A Sorority Tank
We already mentioned that you need one gallon per one inch of fish, which is a good rule to go by, but the more space you have for each female betta fish, the less likely it is for them to fight.
We recommend a 20-gallon tank for one female sorority of five females because this is plenty of room for each female to have their own space and hiding places. Remember, those decorations and plants you put in the tank, take up space as well.
When you set up your betta sorority tank, you want to have lots of plants, decorations like caves, driftwood, etc. to create dividers or spaces where the fish can’t see each other because then they will each have their own private space. This makes them less likely to fight with each other.
Once you have the required amount of gallons and plenty of decorations, it is a normal tank setup.
You will probably need a heater to keep the temp between 76-80 Fahrenheit.
You will need a filter system. We like the canister system that you can store under the tank. Or you can get a hang on the back(HOB) filter or a filter that sits inside the tank but then you will have less space.
Regardless of which filter system you chose, make sure it includes chemical, mechanical, and biological. Make sure the water has a very slow flow as betta fish come from standing water in the wild, plus they have delicate fins.
A new tank usually has to cycle for about a month to build up beneficial bacteria. You can set up the tank as described, get the water flowing through the filter system and add ammonia with feeder fish to start your tank or you can actually buy over-the-counter ammonia and add it to your fish tank.
You want to cycle your tank to add beneficial bacteria which keeps the bad stuff out of your tank.
When to Add Female Bettas
It is typically recommended to put all of the females in the tank at the same time after it has been cycled of course. If you add them at the same time, they will immediately establish a pecking order. IFf you add them at different times, it will keep starting over again and add more stress.
It will probably take a couple of weeks for the females to establish their pecking order so don’t stress too much. After two weeks, you may have to get rid of one of them if it repeatedly attacks the others.
You should select female bettas from the same litter that are the same size and age if possible. You can also choose five from the same tank at your local pet store that are already getting along.
The key is to pick five that are already used to each other.
If you have to choose them from different places just keep an eye on them until they establish their ‘pecking order’ which just establishes which female is the most dominant and so forth.
Feeding Your Female Bettas
Betta fish are carnivores, which means they are meat-eaters. Their diet is high in protein.
There are plenty of fish foods on the market specifically for bettas since they are such a popular fish.
You can feed them treats like frozen brine shrimp or blood worms.
Be careful at first not to overfeed your females. You may keep tossing in food because they aren’t eating at first but this is pretty common because they are in a new environment.
It isn’t hard to have female bettas together as long as you have a sorority with plenty of space. Just do your homework. You should know now not to put two female bettas together.
Enjoy your female sorority tank!