Female Bettas in a Community Tank


Jezebel
Originally uploaded by Jezebel3.


Q: GT wrote,

Hi Christie. I would like to put together a female betta tank but I keep getting conflicting information on how big it should be and the number of girls you can keep together safely. I really don’t think I can afford anything bigger then a 10 gallon aquarium. Please help.

A: I’m so glad to hear of your interest in female bettas. In the past they have been severely under appreciated but lately folks have begun to recognize that they are just as colorful and spunky as the boys. Even major chain stores like PetCo have begun selling them. Unlike male bettas, females can be housed together safely so you can enjoy more of them without all the five gallon tanks set up all over the house. (Not that there is anything wrong with that. ;-) )

A ten gallon is a good start for a “girl tank“, as those of us bettaholics call it. It’s large enough to cycle and to safely hold 3 female bettas, which is the minimum you would want to keep in an aquarium with multiple females. Certainly, one female is just fine too but we’re talking about a community set-up here. The reason you don’t want to keep two females together is because typically one will assume the dominant roll and act out aggressively toward the other. While less aggressive then the males, the females still tend to lash out. Keeping a three or more in a tank will ensure that the aggression is dispersed evenly lessening the possibility for severe injury.

Here are some Dos and Don’ts to ensure a happy female betta tank…

1. Don’t overstock the tank. Bettas fight, even the girls, so don’t pack more then 3 in a 10 gallon. It’s better that they can find territories that they can call their own.

2. Do add lots of plants and hidey holes. Break up the sightlines so aggressive females aren’t always in view of the subordinates and so the weaker females feel secure. Brown thumb? Bettas don’t care if the plants are real or silk. You can try some driftwood or caves too.

3. Do have a contingency plan. Some females are just too aggressive for a community tank. Have a Plan B in place in the event that you have a real bully on your hand. This could be a spare tank, a friend or a local fish store that will take your female if she doesn’t play nice.

4. Do try a girl tank at some point. Females are a joy to watch and have magnetic personalities equal to if not better then their male counterparts. (Yeah, that’s right… I said it… what-da-ya gonna do about it?)

Girls Rule!

Written by

Christie F is a Betta splendens hobbyist that enjoys spending time caring for her fish and helping new betta keepers learn the ropes. More posts by:

6 Comments for this entry

  1. Anonymous says:

    i was just wondering what might happen if i put one of my male bettas in with the girls??? would they fight???

  2. Anonymous says:

    I did that a few days ago after getting a girl, BAD IDEA. I thought he wouldn’t bug her so much, but as it turned out the male was was too aggressive. After day 1, I already found the female with part of her fins ripped up, so I immediately put her into a separate tank.

  3. Anonymous says:

    A male betta should only be put in the same tank as a female betta during spawning, then they must be put back in their separate tanks.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I had a 10 gallon tank and had 5 girls successfully together. But keep in mind my tank was heavily planted and all the girls had been together since they were no bigger than an inch. There was a higherarchy, but no fins were nipped; only the occasional chase.

  5. Lindsay says:

    Do NOT keep female bettas in groups of less than 4. 5+ would be better. When there are only 3, 2 will pick on one and many fins will be nipped. I have a female tank, starting with three fish. They constantly were after each other. When I added three more, there have been no problems! All six of my girls are doing great in a 20g. :)

    NEVER put female and males together (unless spawning).

  6. Jacob says:

    If you have several females, do make sure they all get a chance to eat. If you have two, one will gorge herself on all the food and guard it from the weaker one. With 3 or more, there is less direct influence and there are generally enough distractions to prevent all the food from being hoarded by one female. Even if they are not hurting each other seriously you can end up starving out the bottom of the pecking order if you are not careful.

Leave a comment