Can You Put a Female Betta with a Male Betta?

In general, male and female bettas cannot be kept together; you need to separate them. However, for short periods, the two can be put in the same tank (e.g. while cleaning the other tank), and if you have a large enough tank, it is sometimes possible to keep a male and female together in the long term.

Have you ever wondered whether a female betta and a male betta can live together? These aggressive fish can be tricky to handle, but an experienced fish owner may manage to get them to cohabit in the right circumstances.

Can Male And Female Bettas Live Together?

In general, male and female bettas cannot live together, as the male will attack the female, especially outside of the mating season. Males are extremely territorial and will see all other bettas as a threat, including females.

A male will often chase and attack a female even if she stays away from him, and you need to avoid this, or he will tear her fins and leave her stressed. It is best not to put a male and female betta in the same tank in most situations.

However, there are a few circumstances in which you can have the two fish together. Firstly, if you are cleaning out the tank of one, it should be okay to temporarily place the fish in the other tank.

If you are going to do this, you need to observe the fish closely and watch how they interact before leaving them together. Watch some videos to learn the aggression signs that these fish display, and if there is any sign of a problem, remove the female again.

This can be very useful if you are a relatively new fish owner, because it will help you start learning the body language these fish display and will help if your long term goal is to co-house them. However, make sure that to begin with, you never leave them in the same tank for long, and don’t leave them unattended.

Two Red and Blue Betta Fish

How Can You Make Male And Female Bettas Live Together?

If you really want to keep a male and female betta together, you will need to first have a good understanding of their body language, and you will also need a large tank. It’s recommended that they should have 40 gallons or more, and plenty of width (not height) so that they can stay away from each other if they choose to.

Note that both the male and female will be happier if they do not cohabit, and you should always have a secondary tank available so you can separate them if you need to. Do not keep two of these fish together without a way to separate them if one turns suddenly aggressive.

Your tank should also have a lot of decorations in it, giving the fish places to hide and get away from each other. Put in as many plants, rocks, caves, bits of driftwood, toy castles, and other things as you can.

This will allow the bettas to avoid each other and stay out of sight, and may help to reduce aggression and territorial behavior, although it is not a guarantee. You still need to be alert to any worrying behavior or injuries, and ready to separate the fish if it becomes necessary.

You may also wish to consider using a tank divider to keep the two fish apart. This will let you safely have both in one tank, where you can enjoy them, without letting them interact.

There is then no risk of the female getting hurt, you’ll only need one tank, and you’ll get the full aesthetic benefit of these beautiful fish.

Is My Betta Stressed?

Even if your bettas are not actively fighting, keeping them together can cause stress, so you need to be looking out for this. If your fish appear lethargic and slow, they are not happy.

This can be a sign that they have been attempting to breed, or that the female is egg bound and uncomfortable. It may also lead to the female becoming aggressive toward the male, in which case, you will need to separate the two fish.

If your bettas appear unhappy, you should prioritize putting one in a different space even if they are not actively attacking each other. Stressed fish are vulnerable to diseases and nobody wants to make their aquarium inhabitants miserable.

How Do Male And Female Bettas Breed?

Of course, male and female bettas do need to come together to breed, but this is best approached by experienced owners, because it can be challenging. You will need to first make sure the two fish are capable of being in the same tank without attacking each other.

You will also need to be vigilant about the female, because as soon as she lays the eggs, she must be removed from the tank and put somewhere else. This is true even if she has coexisted with the male for years without a problem.

The male will immediately begin to attack her once the eggs are laid, because he will view her as a threat to their safety. He can remain in the same tank as the eggs until they start to hatch, but then he will also need to be removed, as he may eat the fry.

Can You Keep One Male With Many Females?

Sometimes having a male in a group of females can work, but you will still need to watch the behavior with care, and use a large tank.

To attempt this, introduce the female fish one at a time, and then remove all of them, rearrange the tank, and add the females back in, along with the male. Watch the behavior and monitor how aggressive the fish are being.

Hopefully, any aggression will resolve itself quickly and the fish will learn to cohabit – but make sure you have a backup plan in case they don’t.


It isn’t easy to keep a female betta with a male betta, but experienced fish owners may succeed. You will need to provide a large tank and keep a close watch on the fish and how they are behaving toward each other.