Wondering if you can put two betta fish together? This guide is for you!
Bettas are known for their aggression and need to assert dominance. As such, there’s a lot to consider in putting two bettas in the same tank.
Bettas can live together under the right conditions. You can put a male betta with some female companions in the same space without expecting much backlash. However, having two male bettas in the same tank is a recipe for trouble, as the two are likely to fight to the death. Groups of all females will work well most of the time.
A lot comes into play when two members of this species find themselves in the same space.
Because they are not social creatures, each betta is okay living on its own in a separate tank. However, if you decide to keep a male betta with some female companions, ensure there’s enough space for them to swim.
Can Bettas Stay Together in the Same Space?
Bettas are not social fish; they are not a schooling species. Their aggression and desire for aggression come naturally when two or more bettas find themselves in the same space.
Although a male can co-exist with female companions, the same cannot be said for two or more male bettas.
Actually, male bettas will fight any fish species that appear to threaten or challenge their dominance.
This is why male bettas are highly aggressive toward bright-colored fish, regardless of the species or type.
Bettas are commonly referred to as Japanese or Siamese fighting fish. This is in acknowledgment of their propensity to fight each other.
In some cultures, male bettas would be put in the same tank and provoked to fight each other, to the amusement of paying crowds.
Although this still happens somewhat, bettas are nowadays kept for their glorious colors and outstanding personalities.
They enliven our homes and offices.
It can be challenging to house more than one betta because of their territorial nature. A betta fish naturally consider other bettas its rivals and fight them for control and dominance.
Bettas’ aggressive and hostile nature is something inborn. It has been developed over years of evolutionary habits sown and grown in the rice paddies and small bodies of water in South East Asia.
Bettas have been fighting each other for centuries for control of the small patches of water they find themselves in.
As such, their aggressive nature has been ingrained into their very DNA. Unfortunately, it is not something likely to go away any time soon.
As a responsible keeper, you should embrace your betta’s temperament and learn to live with it.
How to Keep Two Betta Fish in the Same Tank
It is possible to keep more than one betta in the same space. However, this will not be as easy as keeping two other fish species together.
Because of their aggressive nature, bettas have special housing needs that need to be attended to before you can put any two members of this species together.
There are good chances your venture will succeed if you abide by a few important rules.
Never Put Two Male Bettas Together
It’s easier to have female bettas in the same tank than males. This is because males are more aggressive and assertive in protecting what they consider to be their territory.
If you plan to have two bettas in your aquarium display, they better be females.
Big Enough Tank
Keeping one betta is not a big hassle, really. A 5 or 10-gallon tank will be enough space for this little animal to swim, play, and live their lives to the fullest.
Actually, a 10-gallon tank can even hold a betta with a docile tank mate if you are strained for space. But this cannot happen with two bettas.
When two bettas are to live together, consider providing them with about a 20-gallon tank. Each betta should have about 10 gallons of water to carry out its activities.
At the very least, put them in a 15-gallon tank – although this would be stretching it!
Plant and Décor
Bettas love to swim around things. But, at the same time, they need hideouts where they can go if they are anxious or stressed or to get some privacy.
As such, you need to equip the tank with plants, ornaments, toys, driftwood, and rocks.
This paraphernalia keeps each betta in the tank busy as they carve out their own little territory.
Having more bettas in your home means a bigger tank, more plants, hiding spaces, and pieces of driftwood.
Put in the Bettas Simultaneously
To avoid putting any of the bettas at a disadvantage, put them into the tank simultaneously. Because of their territorial nature, a betta fish will be highly aggressive toward a newcomer.
The new betta will be bullied and may never find peace from the old-timers. Putting the bettas in the tank together allows them to establish a hierarchy on an even keel.
None feels entitled because they were the first to arrive in the tank.
Do Betta Fish Get Lonely?
Bettas are solitary creatures. In the wild, bettas are content to live in their own little patches of paradise, which they protect with their lives if need be.
Bettas in captivity have a certain level of tolerance for tank mates. However, they are picky and do not live with any fish that comes along.
A suitable betta tank mate must be docile and present no threat or competition to the betta. The betta fish may allow the tank mate to stay if the new fish show no predatory instincts.
Bettas don’t want to be challenged in their own tanks. If the new entrant is fond of biting or nibbling, there’s unlikely peace in the tank.
Before putting in the tank mate, ensure enough hiding places for this fish to take cover in case of attack.
Then, closely monitor the tank for signs of aggression between the betta and the new entrant.
Some fish make for better betta tank mates than fellow bettas. Look for docile and friendly fish species that your betta fish can tolerate as neighbors.
These species include corydoras, plecos, and cory catfish. Bettas are also highly tolerant of snails and other invertebrates.
Keeping Two Male Bettas in the Same Tank
We have said keeping two males in the same tank is a recipe for trouble, right? The truth is that the males will fight to the death when in the same tank.
That’s how they are genetically wired.
However, there’s a way you can go about this and keep your male bettas from killing each other.
Use Separate Tanks
This is the most obvious way of keeping two bettas in the same room and preventing them from killing each other.
Put each betta in its own tank and place an opaque screen between the tanks, so the two don’t see each other.
Each betta requires a 5-gallon tank with plants, rocks, and hideouts.
Use One Large Tank
Two male betta fish can live in the same tank under the right conditions. The tank has to be large enough to accommodate both of them.
We are talking about a 20-gallon tank or, at the very least, a 15-gallon one. Use a tank divider to separate the tank in the middle, so that each fish has adequate space to themselves.
The divider should be made of opaque material, as the two male bettas should not see each other.
Also, ensure that either side of the tank has adequate plants, décor, toys, driftwood, and other materials.
This is akin to putting two 10-gallon tanks together, with a male betta in each.
Keeping Female Bettas in the Same Tank
Two female bettas, or even a group of them, have no problems staying together in the same tank. A group of female bettas is referred to as a sorority, and brings together 4 to 6 females.
Female bettas are far less aggressive than their male counterparts. However, they exhibit signs of aggression toward each other, especially when they come together for the first time.
Female bettas fight when they want to establish a hierarchy in their sorority. But once they settle down, the fights become infrequent and less severe.
Keep your eyes open for any signs of alarming levels of distress and anxiety on any of the female bettas.
Suppose the aggression and infighting become too intense. In that case, you may have to separate the aggressor from the rest of the members.
However, things are unlikely to escalate to this level with this gender. Female bettas easily calm down when they have enough space and food.
Some female bettas are known to have an aggressive streak almost similar to that of males. You’ll recognize this female because they are the apparent bully in the sorority.
Thus female creates a dangerous place for the other bettas, as she keeps pushing them even when there’s enough space and food.
It’s best to keep this female alone and separated from the others.
Keeping a Male and a Female Betta in the Same Tank
A male can live with a female betta harmoniously in the same tank. However, this is not always smooth sailing.
A male and a female betta in the wild are likely to have fewer challenges than the ones in our homes. This is because we keep them in limited spaces in the aquarium.
So, what can you do to prevent fallout between this pair?
Provide an Ideal Tank Size
A 20-gallon tank is good enough for housing your male and female betta fish. However, a 30-gallon tank is ideal if you have the space and financial muscle to purchase and maintain it.
Ensure that you put enough plants and decorations in the tank to provide the female betta with escape routes if the male betta becomes too aggressive.
Protect the Female
Male bettas get increasingly aggressive when they want to mate. He may chase the female around and wear her out with his aggressive behavior.
Things get even more complicated if the two fish breed. Once the female lays the eggs, the male fertilizes them and takes them as his own.
From this point on, he perceives the female as a threat and will constantly be aggressive toward her. Therefore, you may have to step in and protect her by separating the two bettas.
Handle the Male Hatchlings
In all likelihood, some of the hatchlings will be male. As a result, their father will immediately mark them as enemy number one.
Although he may not fight the female hatchlings, he will view the female hatchlings as rivals and will try to kill them off.
You need to step in and save the young males by:
- Relocating them to other tanks
- Selling them off
- Giving them away for free
- Releasing them in the wild
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can two bettas live together?
Two bettas can stay together under the right conditions. However, it’s impossible to keep two males together without them fighting.
It’s easy to keep one male and a female together. However, the male may sometimes harass a female betta to trigger spawning behavior.
Two or more female bettas can live together quite harmoniously. At times, however, you may purchase a bully female who exhibits the aggressive behavior of a male betta.
The bully female will continuously bully the other female(s), and you’ll have to separate them.
Can a Female betta kill a male betta?
It’s unlikely that a female betta can be aggressive and feisty enough to kill a male. However, if the female is healthy, stronger, and bigger than the male, it could overpower the male and kill him.
What are the best tank mates for female betas?
You can add a few tank mates to your female betta’s tank if the tank is big enough. You need a docile, friendly fish species that will not unnecessarily strain your female betta.
Some of the best tank mates for your female betta include guppies, corydoras, and catfish. These species are small and peaceful.
You may also consider algae eaters such as the African dwarf frog and Amano shrimp.
Can male bettas kill female bettas?
Although a male betta will get along fine with a female companion, we should remember that males are aggressive by default.
A male betta may kill a female betta after breeding. He will also fight her to the death if he perceives her to be a threat for any reason.
Will female bettas attack each other?
Female bettas are usually less aggressive than their male counterparts. As such, they are likely to live together harmoniously.
For this reason, it is easier to house female bettas together in a sorority than you would bring males together.
However, females often fight among themselves to establish dominance. The alpha female will always want to bully others and show them she’s in charge.
It’s rare for female bettas to fight each other to the death.
How many bettas can I keep in a 5-gallon tank?
A 5-gallon tank can house only one betta. Putting more than one betta in this space would make living conditions untenable.
With one betta, there’ll be enough space for plants, décor, caves, rocks, and driftwood.
How many female bettas can I keep in a 10-gallon tank?
You can keep up to 6 female bettas in a 10-gallon tank. Since bettas are not naturally social creatures, ensure you provide enough plants and hiding places for each fish to have their own private space.
Bettas can live together under the right conditions.
Because of their predisposition for aggression and natural hostility, male bettas usually fight to the death when they find themselves in the same space.
As such, it is easier to put female bettas in the same tank than males.
To keep female bettas together successfully, ensure they are generally of the same age, size, and similar personalities.