It is a well-known fact that male bettas cannot share a tank. They are aggressive and will fight, sometimes to the death. Many people can and do keep their male and females (only one male betta in the tank) in community tanks with other fish like gourami’s and neon tetras
Females bettas are slightly different than their male counterparts beyond an ovispore and easy stress striping. They can be aggressive but the majority of females can live happily with other female bettas.
How do I put them together?
Females can be introduced into a tank much like you would any other fish. They do love to hide so having plenty of silk plants and/or hidey type decorations is a must have for these gals. I stretch the 1 gallon per inch of fish rule to 1.5 gallons per female betta. This gives them a little more swimming space and allots for the extra decorations.
How do I know if they get along?
Female bettas will immediately begin creating a hierarchy, or pecking order. They will chase each other. They will hide one from one another and what you think looks very aggressive could be a natural chain of events. If there is no fin nipping or biting occurring, give your females at least 36 hours together before you judge their personalities and split them up. There is a natural progression of time that it will take to get their pecking order established.
If your females do begin biting one another or fin nipping is happening, you will want to remove the aggressive alpha female… not the beta female (pardon the pun). Removing the alpha takes her out of the surroundings she has established as her own and allows the beta female to become more “mistress of the domain” so to speak. If you wish to try once again, in about 2 days, try reintroducing the alpha female back into the tank. If you have a repeat of before, she is just a female that is too aggressive.
Providing ample hiding areas for your females not only gives them a higher sense of security, which all females tend to like, it also gives them a space to retreat to if they are the one that is becoming the beta female. Once the pecking order has been established, the alpha female should then leave the other female(s) alone. She has let them know she is queen and they will then respect that.
I have my four females in a 5.5 gallon tank and enjoy them very much. They were in a 10 gallon community tank with a couple other fish but they ganged up and began hording space in the 10 gallon tank so I decided they were ready for a condo all their own.
In order of the pecking:
I love my girls very much and enjoy watching them interact with one another. I hope this article will help you better understand what is “normal” female behavior in a new community tank with other females vs. what is actually too much aggression.