We always hear from pet store employees and read in articles online that betta fish should not be kept in the same tank because they will kill each other.
But can 2 female betta fish live together and stay happy?
Bettas are also known as Siamese Fighting Fish because they are highly territorial. This applies to both male and females but the males are more aggressive. These fish have been bred in captivity to exhibit aggressiveness for fighting. They have also been bred and picked to showcase lots of color variations.
It is actually possible to keep more than 1 female betta in a tank. This requires patience and a lot of understanding of their behavior. If you set up a betta sorority tank, then you have come to a good place to start. Let us help you out with the information you need to equip yourself with to have success in this project.
What size tank does a betta need?
Before choosing a tank size for your betta sorority it is also a superb idea to have a backup plan just in case the whole project doesn’t go well as expected. It is possible that a betta fish will be more aggressive than other betta fish. Remember, each fish is unique just like you.
A separate tank as a backup is a great idea just in case a bully betta needs to be separated from the group. You can also ask friends who are into the fish keeping hobby if they will take in any female betta fish that are too aggressive for the sorority tank.
For a beginner, a 10 gallon tank will be a good choice to start with when setting up a tank for your betta sorority. It will be good to provide this much swimming space because betta fish are territorial and will want an area they can claim.
Other betta enthusiasts will go for 20-30 gallon tanks just to be on the safe side. If you have the space and the budget for such a size, then go for it. It will also let you more room for decoration. Aquascaping is a very calming and relaxing hobby. Seeing a well-decorated betta sorority tank is fulfilling.
Provide lots of sight breaks such as aquarium decoration, live aquatic plants or imitation plants made of silk, rocks, and driftwood. This will provide plenty of hiding spaces for any female betta that gets bullied by the more dominant or aggressive female betta fish.
What fish can female bettas live with?
One important detail to consider is to always choose fish that are smaller than the female betta fish. Any bigger fish that can fit the female bettas in its mouth will make a meal out of your female bettas.
Do not get fish that are fin-nippers and on the aggressive side. The female betta fish may have less flamboyant and flowing tales compared to male betta fish but their calm swimming demeanor may invite fin-nippers to chase them. A wonderful example of fin-nippers are Tiger Barbs.
Consider the amount of water available for every fish. A 10 gallon tank will most likely be too small to add more fish to aside from the 4-5 female betta fish in it. If you plan to have a betta sorority within a community, then choose the tanks with a larger capacity.
Keep in mind the 1 inch of fish per gallon guide. This is not set in stone as the golden rule but it gives you an idea if your fish have enough swimming space and that the tank is not overstocked.
Overstocking also stresses out fish making them more prone to diseases. This will also make the tank more cramped preventing fish from swimming to safety when they need to. It will also be a burden to the bacteria that break down ammonia into nitrites and into nitrates. Having an overstocked tank will not keep water parameters stable long term and will require frequent water changes. Ammonia spikes are lethal to fish.
Choose fish that are peaceful and show schooling or shoaling behavior. This will make it difficult for betta fish to single-out a target to pick on. Here is a list of fish that can live with female betta fish. Always have a backup plan though just in case your betta fish aren’t as friendly as expected.
- Neon Tetra
- Black Neon Tetra
- Ember Tetra
- Harlequin Rasbora
- Fire Rasbora
- Female Guppy
- Celestial Pearl Danio
- Cory Catfish
- Otocinclus Catfish
- Kuhli Loach
Can female bettas live with guppies?
Female bettas can live with female guppies. The female guppies will usually avoid the female betta fish and stay out of their way. Avoid putting male guppies with female betta fish because the male guppies may try to court the female betta fish mistaking them for female guppies and they may end up with tattered fins. Choose female guppies which do not have too colorful and flowing tails.
As always, there may be a female betta fish that will just not like the guppies at all and continuously harass them. Have a backup plan in order to avoid any fish deaths.
Do female betta fish fight?
Always expect aggressive behavior when it comes to Betta fish. As the saying goes, it comes with the territory! It is part of the betta fish’s instinct to set up its territory and amongst female betta fish a hierarchy is established. This may mean that in a group of 5 females one will emerge as the dominant female and may bully the last in the pecking order.
Giving lots of hiding spots will ensure that the aggression isn’t constant. Having a bigger volume will also let more swimming room for all. This also spreads out the aggressive behaviour instead of being confined in a small area.
It has been observed that female betta fish that are sisters coming from the same brood tend to be less aggressive towards each other. Consider this when looking for a group of female betta fish to put in a betta sorority tank.