How Many Betta Fish In A Tank?

8 min read

Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are those colorful and gracious sea creatures that look like butterflies in water. With their fairy-like tails and rainbow colors, betta fish surely don’t remain unnoticed. They are a pleasant, relaxing addition to every decorative aquarium and help people relax when watching them.

Betta fish have volatile personalities so you need to be careful when considering how many betta fish can be together in a tank.

You can only have one male betta fish in an undivided tank. You can have more than one male betta fish in a tank as long as there is a wall between them and it should be dark so they can’t see each other. You can have female betta fish together as long as there are at least five females so that they can establish a pecking order.

How many betta can you have in a  tank

Interestingly enough, this type of fish is quite aggressive, especially the male ones. They tend to fight, and this is where their nickname ‘Siamese Fighting Fish’ comes from.

These beautiful but strong-willed fish are territorial – they like their personal space and enjoy having hiding places around them. If you are a beginner and have a male betta fish, it is recommended that you just keep one male betta fish until you get more experience.

Females are not as aggressive but are just as territorial and don’t enjoy being in each other’s way all the time. That is why you should provide them with enough hiding spaces, such as artificial caves or water plants, so they don’t stress each other out.

Frequently Asked Questions About How Many Betta Fish In A Tank:

How Many Betta Fish Can Live In A 3-Gallon Tank?

We don’t recommend anything smaller than a 5-gallon tank for a betta fish, but since this question is asked often, we will answer it because we know there will be plenty of people who will want to keep a 3-gallon tank as well.

A 3-gallon tank is a very small tank and only one betta fish should be kept. If more, there won’t be enough swimming space for all of them and they will be in each other’s way all the time.

The result might be the fish getting aggressive and turning against each other. Also, it is not advisable to have any other fish in the tank – bettas are not very sociable creatures and would not enjoy the company.

Betta fish need their water to be at a temp between 74-80 degrees Fahrenheit so it is rather hard to have a heater in a tank this small. You would have to have some type of “hang” on the back heater and the water would have to flow outside the tank, through the heater, and then back into the tank again.

With a 3-gallon tank, there isn’t enough room for plants or decorations to keep your betta fish stimulated as they like to explore decorations or play with toys. Betta fish also like to hide behind decorations, so they wouldn’t feel very safe in such a small tank which would in turn lead to stress.

Last, but not least, the water would have to be cleaned more than once a week with such a small tank and no filter. There isn’t enough room for a filter so again, it would have to be some type of “hang” on the back filter.

How Many Betta Fish Can Live In A 5-Gallon Tank?

The answer is once again – only one.

Betta fish are very territorial. A tank of 5 gallons is not a big one and since these fish are very territorial, this tank would provide enough space for only one fish.

Also, make sure you provide enough plants, decorations, and hiding places, so your betta can explore and keep itself entertained.

You can also place companions such as snails and shrimp.

How Many Betta Fish Can Live In A 10-Gallon Tank?

  • This is where the number of betta fish you can keep in a tank jumps up dramatically.
  • Still just one male – never put males together in an open tank.
  • If you search online, you will find that you can only keep at least 5 female betta fish together, because this is the minimum number needed to establish a ‘pecking’ order.
  • If you have less than five the stronger females will gang up on the weakest.
  • Some people online say that you only need a ten-gallon tank for 5 females which is called a betta fish sorority.
  • Most experienced aquarists will recommend at least a 20-gallon tank for a betta fish sorority, especially for beginners.

Expert Tip: The smaller the aquarium size, the more likely the female bettas will fight with each other because betta fish establish their own territories in the tank.

With that being said if you don’t want to take a chance of your betta fish hurting each other you can also keep a single male or female betta fish with one other critter in a 10-gallon tank as long as they are compatible. Here is a great list:

Betta Fish Tankmates

  1. Corydoras Clown
  2. Pleco Cherry Shrimp
  3. Ghost Shrimp
  4. Ember Tetra
  5. Guppies
  6. Harlequin Rasbora
  7. Kuhli Loach
  8. Otocinclus
  9. Zebra Snail

Can You Have 2 Betta Fish In A Tank?

Yes and no. It largely depends on the fish themselves and their “personalities”.

Two male bettas should not be kept together unless they have dividers between them. They will get aggressive and start competing for territory.

There have been owners who have successfully had two males together without a divider between them but the odds are not in your favor. So the short answer is to avoid this unless you want to deal with a dead betta fish.

Females can be kept together, usually up to 4-5 in smaller tanks. They form a “sorority” and begin to live in a community. The problems come if all of them decide that they are the dominant fish. If this happens, conflicts may begin to arise. The females are not as aggressive as the males but could show similar tendencies if they feel threatened.

To best sum it up:

You can not have two betta fish in a tank unless you have two males with a divider between them that is dark so they aren’t constantly flaring which can cause stress. You need at least 5 female bettas together so they can form a sorority and establish a pecking order, any less than 5 likely won’t work.

Can Female and Male Betta Fish Live Together?

Yes, they can. However, they might start fighting. The fact that they are from the same species and are male and female does not mean a lack of disputes and aggression. You can always try and see what happens.

Generally, when fish owners put two bettas together it is usually for breeding purposes or combined them temporarily for another reason. If you decided to place them together for breeding purposes, you have to make sure they are the perfect pair. Otherwise, breeding may turn into a traumatic and risky experience for both sides. Separate them as soon as the breeding is done.

female and male how many in a tank mating

A male betta fish usually sees the female betta as a threat. The aggressiveness subsides when he is looking for a mate. Look for mating signs! For example, the male betta starts to”build bubble nests.” The bubble nest is formed on the surface of the water for the female betta to lays her eggs. After that, she is chased away by the male betta. This is done to prevent the female bettas from eating the laid eggs.

Can Two Male Bettas Be Kept In The Same Tank?

Yes and No! Two male bettas can be in the same tank but in order to ensure they won’t fight each other a divider needs to be between them. If there isn’t a divider they will start fighting and turning aggressive because their instincts for dominance and territory are too strong.

two males how many in a tank

There have been some owners who have kept two male bettas together but you have to be very careful and make sure they have a lot of space and a lot of hiding places.

The only way two male bettas can live together is if one lets the other become the alpha male.

If they are constantly fighting, the weaker one will eventually die and the healthier one may end up damaged as well.

Do Betta Fish Get Lonely?

No one knows for certain. Generally, they are known as solitary creatures that do not enjoy the company of other fish species or of their own kind.

Some researchers admit that bettas could get lonely, sad, bored, depressed, and stressed. One thing to do to keep your betta fish happy is to provide plants, hiding places, decorations, vegetation, and shade.

Owners have also reported that their betta fish like to play with toys like floating ping pong balls, or swimming through hoops.

provide toys when betta live together
Betta Fish Toys

You can find sorts of toys and decorations for your betta fish to enjoy on Amazon or at your local pet store.

Some owners write or draw things on the side of their betta fish tank with a dry-erase marker to keep their bettas entertained.

Can Betta Fish Live In A Bowl?

There is some information online about how you can keep betta fish in a small ball, nanocube, 2.5-gallon hullabaloo, or whatever you want to call it, just because betta fish live so long in those tiny cups that you see them in at the pet store.

Betta fish can live in a bowl, but they shouldn’t because they are happier with more space, plants, or decorations to explore and hide.

Plus they are from tropical waters, meaning their water has to be warm in the neighborhood of 75–80 degrees Fahrenheit, not to mention it needs to be clean water.

Yes, clean, so you should have a filter system in any fish tank, especially a tiny bowl.

With this in mind, how are you supposed to make sure the water stays warm and clean in a tiny bowl?

So here is the best answer:

Betta fish can live in a bowl but they shouldn’t because there is not enough space for a filter and heater. There is also not enough space for toys, decorations, and plants to keep them entertained and give them a space to hide.


We trust this article has answered your question: “How many betta fish in a tank?”

As you have read there are many things to consider if you want to put betta fish together.

Here’s a quick summary of the most important points you need to know about betta fish:

  1. If your tank is small, keep only one betta fish, preferably without companions.
  2. Two males probably cannot live together unless there is a divider.
  3. A male and a female could live together but only for breeding purposes.
  4. At least 5 females can live together by forming a ‘sorority’.
  5. Both males and females are territorial.
  6. Both males and females can be aggressive.
  7. It is not completely certain whether betta fish get lonely. Some researchers claim that they do.

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Pet Aquariums

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