As I started growing bettas, I found it challenging to have multiple females in the same tank. Yet, it was definitely easier than having several males. Luckily, as the years passed by, I learned about the must-have factors for this type of setting.
Female bettas can peacefully live together in the same tank. That can be achieved by picking a tank of at least 10 gallons that contains a sufficient amount of foliage and hiding spots. Also, it is best to start with a sorority of at least five bettas, as fewer might chase and attack one another.
As we move forward, I will take you step-by-step to ensure that you successfully grow multiple female bettas together. I will also show you why your female bettas might be chasing each other and how to deal with that situation.
Also Read: Facts About Bettas
Can You Keep Several Female Bettas Together?
This question matters because bettas are aggressive fish. The creatures are also highly territorial. In the wild, this isn’t a problem because they have plenty of room. If two bettas face off against one another, the loser can just retreat.
But an aquarium has a finite amount of space. Defeated bettas have no means of escape. If they fight, one or both of them could die. Fortunately, female bettas are not quite as intense as their male counterparts.
They have similar territorial tendencies. The wrong conditions can compel them to attack one another. However, in a well-maintained tank, female bettas can coexist peacefully with each other. This isn’t true for male bettas.
You can rarely keep two males in the same tank. But females can live in groups. It wouldn’t be accurate to call them schooling fish. That being said, a group (of four to six females) will enhance each betta’s quality of life by diluting their aggression.
Aquarists use the term ‘Sorority’ to describe a group of female bettas. It should be noted that the aggressive tendencies that people observe in bettas are often targeted towards their own kind. Despite their name (Siamese Fighting Fish), bettas can live peacefully with fish from other species.
Therefore, you are free to keep your female bettas in a community tank that has other fish. You don’t have to give the female bettas their own tank. Male bettas are the same. If you have one male betta in a large tank, it will coexist peacefully with other fish.
How Do You Introduce Two Female Bettas?
Follow these steps to introduce two female bettas successfully:
- Put each female betta fish in a different tank or use a divider.
- Place the two tanks in front of each other for 24 to 48 hours hours.
- Measure the water parameters in both tanks to ensure they are similar.
- Mix the two females while using the largest tank possible.
- Rearrange the foliage and decorations to remove pre-existing territories.
Even though female bettas are less violent than males, they are still aggressive. One female betta may perceive a new female betta as a threat to its territory.
This is why you have to apply caution whenever you introduce a new betta to a tank that has other bettas. The presence of a new fish could spark conflict.
Keep the following in mind:
1. Rearranging The Environment Beforehand
If your aquarium has a female betta, take it out and rearrange the environment. An older betta is more likely to attack a new betta because the older betta has already established its territory.
Rearranging the environment destroys all pre-existing territories. It forces the older betta and the new betta to start on an equal footing.
2. Using Separate Tanks
Rearranging the environment might not help if your goal is to introduce two female bettas simultaneously. The method may also backfire if the tank already has a betta.
Yes, rearranging the environment will force both females to start on an equal footing. But that might push them to fight for the new territory in the tank. This is why I encourage you to observe the aquarium to ensure that the females are getting along.
If they start manifesting aggressive behavior, and if that aggressive behavior escalates, place one of the females in a second tank. Then, put the tanks next to one another so that the bettas can see each other.
This will allow them to become accustomed to one another. After a day, you can combine them in the same tank. You can also use this Aqueon Betta Bowl Aquarium Kit (link to Amazon), which comes with a removable divider.
3. Adding A Divider
Add a divider if you don’t want to place one of your bettas in a second tank. It achieves the same objective. A divider has holes that allow water to flow from one side of the tank to the other. But the fish cannot cross over. They can see each other, but they cannot physically interact.
Dividers cannot resolve every single case of aggression in a tank. They will only help in situations where a female betta’s aggressive tendencies are temporary.
If one female is only attacking another because the first female is not accustomed to the second female’s presence, a divider can bring peace to the aquarium.
But if you have a female betta that keeps misbehaving no matter what you do, a divider will harm the creature in the long run. This is because it wants to attack the other betta whenever they see each other across the divider.
On the one hand, the divider won’t allow the violent betta to act on its aggressive instincts. On the other hand, those violent instincts won’t go away. Eventually, the resulting stress will affect the violent betta’s health.
4. Combining A Male Betta
A male betta cannot live with another male betta. However, a male betta can live with two female bettas. To avoid conflict, you should add the female bettas first. Give them a moment to establish a stable sorority before adding the male betta.
You need both genders to breed. Many people will add a male betta to a tank with a sorority of female bettas for mating purposes. Once the fry mature, they will take the male betta out of the aquarium because it no longer serves a purpose.
A male betta can balance the potential stress that might occur between two female betta fish. However, make sure not to add more than one. Two males won’t get along with each other, even in the presence of females.
Also Read: Why Is My Female Betta Making A Bubble Nest?
Why Are My Female Bettas Chasing Each Other?
Female bettas are calmer than male bettas. But the creatures have an aggressive streak that can manifest unexpectedly. Some of the factors that can compel female bettas to chase each other include:
1. They Are Trying To Establish A Hierarchy
Female bettas are territorial. They will also attempt to establish a hierarchy, especially in a new aquarium. They will do this by chasing each other around the aquarium.
They may go so far as to nip at each other. Luckily, this shouldn’t concern you. Such behavior eventually fades. You should only act if the aggression is escalating.
2. They Are Competing Over A Male Betta
If you introduce a male betta to a tank of female bettas, the presence of the male betta may encourage the females to fight one another. Male bettas are drawn to the most dominant female. The females will use aggression to secure that dominant position.
3. The Bettas Are Naturally Aggressive
Fish have personalities. Some are nice, while others are moody and hostile. Even though bettas have a reputation for being aggressive, don’t be too surprised if you encounter calm and friendly bettas.
The opposite is also true. Even though female bettas are supposed to be calmer and less aggressive than their male counterparts, every so often, an aquarist comes across a female betta that is as aggressive as a male betta. It is difficult to extinguish the hostility in a female betta that is naturally violent.
4. The Water Conditions Are Inappropriate
Poor tank conditions can turn even the most peaceful female betta into a nightmare. If your female bettas are continuously chasing and nipping at one another, check their environment for ammonia spikes, overcrowding, oxygen deficiencies, etc.
These are the ideal water parameters for betta fish:
- pH: 6.8-7.5
- Temperature: 76°-85° F
- Ammonia and Nitrites: 0 ppm
- Nitrates: <20 ppm
- GH: 3-4 dGH (50-66.7 ppm)
- KH: 3-5 dKH (53.6- 89.4 ppm)
To monitor the water parameters, I personally use the Freshwater Aquarium Water Master Test Kit (link to Amazon). That bundle accurately measures the pH, nitrates, nitrites, and ammonia in my tank. It also lasts for hundreds of measures, making it highly cost-effective.
You can also get these API Test Strips (link to Amazon), which cost less and also measure the water hardness. However, this kit doesn’t last as long as the Master Test Kit.
5. There Are A Few Males In Your Tank
Make sure all the fish in your tank are female. Male and female bettas share a lot of physical traits. However, the females have shorter fins and duller colors.
They also have an ovipositor, an organ that releases the eggs in their bodies. It looks like a grain of salt. The ovipositor is near the ventral fin.
Many aquarists have accidentally introduced both male and female bettas to their aquarium because they cannot differentiate between them. If one female betta is showing more hostility than you expect, it might be a male.
For your convenience, here is an excellent video that illustrates the differences between male and female betta fish:
How To Successfully Grow Multiple Female Bettas Together?
Keeping multiple bettas is challenging, even if those bettas are females. But it isn’t impossible, especially if you can take these precautions:
1. Pick The Right Number Of Females
You can keep two female bettas in a tank. However, you should know that you have a better chance of maintaining the peace in the tank by adding more bettas. A decent starting number is five. If you only have two female bettas, one may attempt to assert its dominance by bullying the other.
A larger group gives the dominant betta more targets. However, the number of female bettas has to match the size of the tank. There is no point in adding more female bettas if you don’t have the space. The resulting crowded conditions will lead to more violence.
2. Pick The Right Tank Size
A sorority of two female bettas requires at least 10 gallons. The larger the tank, the happier the bettas are. Their tank should be shallow because they have a labyrinth organ that compels them to frequent the upper sections.
3. Adjust The Water Conditions
I highly suggest maintaining the suitable parameters in your sorority tank. That includes a temperature of 76 degrees F to 85 degrees F and a pH of 6.8 to 7.5.
You should also place a few plants and decorations. As was noted at the start, aquariums have finite space. Bettas are more likely to fight to the death because a defeated betta doesn’t have the option of escaping.
But if the aquarium has driftwood, caves, logs, plants, and other objects, the defeated betta can hide. It can live peacefully in a tank that has aggressive female bettas.
4. Feed Your Bettas Properly
Please keep the bettas well fed. Female bettas are more likely to attack one another if they have to fight for food. As carnivores, they eat bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia, flakes, pellets, etc.
Feed them twice a day. But you should only give them food that can be finished in two minutes or less. Overfeeding will do more harm than good.
Also Read: Can Betta Fish Eat Tropical Flakes?
Bettas have a reputation for being aggressive. While males are more likely to show hostility, female bettas also exhibit this trait. To avoid that, I suggest maintaining the correct parameters in your tank. Having only two female bettas is not good either.
As a starting point, stick to a sorority of at least five female bettas. If they start chasing each other, check the water parameters. You should also ensure there is no male present.