What Sex Betta Fish Should I Buy?

Fish Breeding

Topic: I am buying a Betta fish but I dont know whether to get a female or a male. I have no idea regarding the differences if them or if I can just put them together. Ive heard all Betta fish need to live on their own because they are Japanese fighting fish. This beginner needs some help. I am doing some research prior to buying and caring or the actual fish. I want to be completely ready. Please help this beginner.

*Awarded Answer
Reply from Tricia J:
I am more of a fan of the female Betta because they are less popular and just as cool. They may not be as beautiful but not all things need to be beautiful. It seems that 70% of Betta fish owners only want the makes evacuee they have this fighter stereotype and have long beautiful fins with vibrant colors. I understand how a person can love the male. It really amounts to what your looking for in your fish keeping. Here is a list of pros for each of them to give more of a visual layout.

Pros to Male Betta:

  • Beautiful Appearance One fish.
  • Easy to care for
  • Cool fighter stereotype

Pros to Female Betta:

  • Community Fish. Roommates
  • Less mainstream fish
  • Very Small. More Fish
  • Breeding Possibility

Reply from Danny U:
Its easy to see hands-down why the male beta fish is a lot more popular. It just has that beautiful look brand-new other fish has and its a really easy fish to care for and you can have it in the small little jar as to what people think. To get this great feeling because I can have the small little jar in the kitchen or else at the job place and put it on their desk when which they work at.

It would be cool if people started to really enjoy the female little bit more. I kind of feel like its the ugly duckling of the bunch and it doesnt get enough attention to be a pet fish. Its really cool to see an entire website devoted to the female the lake this year and people enjoy the kind of under rated ugly fish more or less. Think people who really appreciate the females are the dedicated aquarium owners that have been in the industry for a while.

Ive had a lot better luck with the female because you can put them with other fish like mollies and swordtail fish and such. I also had a 30 gallon tank in which I breeded her bred some females and I had almost 100 fish in there and they absolutely were awesome. You will find that if you overpopulate an aquarium with a lot of females you can put some males in there too and they get along just perfectly. Its kind of funny how when the male is outnumbered he can it just puts his aggression on the side its kind of just the same as a military aspect.

Posted by Nathan H:
I like to keep both.. call me a sucker but I couldnt make the choice and just had to go with both. I have a tank devoted to just females and a tank devoted to one male. It truly is a simple choice to just go with both sexes. Hopefully that helps. haha

Male Betta Fish Laying Eggs..?

Fish Breeding

Question: I swear to you that my betta is a female. It seems like everyone else says its a male though. The specialist at pet smart said that this particular one was actually a female even though it looks like a male. I think she might be pregnant too so that would really define her as a female right.?

*Awarded Answer
Posted by Ronny Y.
You are probably just thinking of what is known as bubble nests to be eggs. Do a bit of research on betta bubble nests and you will learn how they work. Quite fascinating actually. Dont take this wrong but those specialists at pet stores make like $8 an hour if that. They basically get payed to sit around and do nothing. I used to work at a pet smart and I only worked there for part time tell I was out of college. They dont have any qualifications and really dont know much about fish.

Now please know that I say that with a grain of salt because on the other end of the spectrum there are lots of specialists that are also employed. I have met very knowledgeable employees that work at my local pet stores but most of them are just college kids looking for just a part-time job. I wish they would take a little more Prakashan and hiring some of these people because theyre telling people the wrong things and these animals are actually dying.

I have read so many horror stories online about people saying that the pet store employee told them to do this and that and it turned into a total nightmare for them. It may not seem like a big deal when you spend five dollars on a small fish dies but the moral of the idea is that these animals are dying because the research and education is just not there. I have heard that some of them make these people that are employed take a small quiz and pass a test to be knowledgeable on these animals but Im still hearing these horror stories.

So if theyre taking these tests then why arent our animals or why are you still hearing these horror stories. And whatever happened to just holding your hand up high when he didnt know something and just going to ask someone else instead of just making something up and just going with the train of thought. These want to be no Woodalls of this generation just really bug me if you just dont know what the razor hand and just call it out and say I need some help your cause I dont know it.

Sorry about the small grant here but dont get me started or else I will never finish on the fact of hurting innocent animals.

Posted by Fred Z.
He is right on with that one. Just because Joey at pets America told u something doesnt make it true. Those guys dont know crap half the time! I told myself I was going to be done even talking I them because they claim thins they dont even know.

Posted by Vincent M.
I work at a pet store and am pretty confident in what I tell people. And yes I do make 8 dollars an hour.. How did you know that. It seems we all must be getting payed the same amount of money no matter what ehhh.. Kind of scary but I guess its the sad truth. Ive noticed a lot of these employees that work for pet stores are covered in tattoos too which I find very odd.

Posted by Matt R.
Betta fish are distinctly different between male and female. The female will look super plain with no exotic fins and the males will have long fins that make it very cosmetically appealing to the eyes. An about the eggs.. Maybe its feces .. Idk. Get back to us when u actually see eggs.

Bettas Together in One Tank? Behavior of Fish in One Tank..

Fish Breeding

Question: I have really grown an interest to the female Betta. These Japanese fighting fish are super cool when you get down to it. The male is so aggressive that it cant be in a tank with others and the female is totally the opposite. Anyways.. how many females can I put together inside one tank or aquarium at once? I want to get as many as I can in one tank. Please help me figure this out. Thanks!

Post from Danielle S:
You forgot to mention what size tank you have and some of the parameters around that. Im guessing you have a 10 gallon aquarium because they are super popular for beginners and a terrible tank to own but thats a different story. You could prolly get away with having 6 females in one ten gallon tank pretty easily. I have heard that people generally use the one inch of fish per every gallon of water rule. If you figure a Betta fish at 1.5 1.75 inches.. That puts you at the perfect amount of fish.

Post from Kevin E:
I use to be really into female Betta fish too until someone told me that they only life for around 2 years due to some sort of breeding and nesting issues. I was told that the fish only live so long because of they dont breed and get rid of the eggs inside of them they die due to over expansion. I could never really find facts to back up that idea but I literally could not get a female Betta to live longer than 3 years and I just started to believe it I guess. If anyone has more information regarding that I would be thrilled to read up on it. For now I switched over to gourami fish because they are tropical too but my passion is in the Betta for sure.

Post from Vicky T:
When I first started out, I had 10 Betta fish in one ten gallon aquarium and I filtered the water pretty strongly with no gravel in the tank either. The fish were happy but didnt care for the water movement or current from the filter. I tried to put a decoration right at the mouth of the filter to try and deter the current as much as possible and it did help some.

Post from David H:
That seems over populated to me and If they didnt like the current that might not have been good for their health. My main question would be how long did they live for under those stressed conditions. Do females show any spunk or personality towards other bettas or no? I just envision these fish to be so plain and boring.. not sure how you guys can be such fans to a boring fish like this. Molly fish on the other hand are super similar except they have tons more personality and they live longer and they are more beautiful in my opinion. Just trying to figure out what does it for people on these fish? I can understand the males because of cosmetics but the females I just dont know and Im unsure.

How to Breed Betta Fish Guide

Breeding & Sexing, Fish Breeding

Betta Splendens are egg layers. The male fish builds a bubblenest and the eggs are placed there until they hatch. Then after 2-3 days the eggs hatch. At this point the fry swim vertical. In the next couple days the fry will begin to swim horizontal when they absorb their yolk sacs. At this point the male needs to be removed and the fry need to be fed immediately.

It is a bit more involved than this but I want you to get a picture of the plan before we get into major detail here.  Please note that betta fry are very, very, very tiny.  They make guppy ( link here) fry look huge.

Breeding bettas poses a few problems and therefore is considered a bit of a challenge, especially if this is your first time or even second, 3rd, or 4th. Even experienced betta breeders have failures. There are also more things to be considered.

You will need the space to house 50 or more male Bettas and be able to take care of them properly.

You will have to cull fish or sell fish that have less than desirable traits.

You may have to sell your fish to pet stores and actually see them being taken care of poorly.

You will have less time to spend with your spouse or to work on other hobbies.

You may end up with very few fish or even none at first that meet your standards, especially if you buy pet store quality fish.

Here is a list of things you will need:

At least 1 choice male specimen compatible with at least one female specimen. (compatible meaning it will give quality offspring).

At least one female Betta compatible with your selected male.

10 -20 Gallon Aquarium

Tank Lid

25 50 Watt Submersible Heater

Two + Thermometers

Air Pump

Sponge Filter


Air Hose

PH test kit

Aquarium Salt


Variety Of Live And Frozen Food

Brine Shrimp Eggs & Hatchery

Microworm Culture

Vinegar Eel Culture


3 Way Gang Valve

Black Water Tonic or Wild Almond Leaves (optional)

Plants (for female to hide behind)

Styrofoam Cup

You will also need a pair of fish. Getting at least one back-up male and female is also suggested. Bettas do have personalities. Sometimes they dont like the female you like or sometimes the male just wont do the job. Choosing a male that makes a bubblenest in his jar is one consideration in selecting your male. Others will be color and fin style etc.

You will need to condition your fish 2 weeks or more before breeding. By conditioning you will be feeding your fish 4 times or more a day possibly. If you have been feeding your fish twice a day with quality live or frozen food you may be able to condition in as little as 1 week.

To start conditioning, select the fish you want to breed for the color and fin combination. You may want to look into betta genetics before buying fish. I suggest getting high quality fish of compatible colors and fin styles. I also suggest buying fish in pairs when possible. Now start feeding your fish 4 times a day and make sure you clean their tanks or containers after every feeding and when you see fecal material. You will want to perform partial water changes every day even after each feeding if necessary. We always do at least partial water change after feeding frozen bloodworms. Bloodworms are a great frozen food. Bettas love them! The thing is they cloud the water up and create bacteria plumes if unattended, so keep those containers clean.

You will want to let your males and females see each other. Nothing gets a male to building a nest like the presence of a female. This nest building behavior should continue on through the conditioning period. You may also want to let the male rest once in a while by placing a piece of cardboard or paper between containers when the male looks over worked and shows signs of stress such as torn or blown fins.

Once the fish are conditioned they will show it. The male and female will have a more plump appearance. The reason for conditioning your fish is because the male is going to spend days without eating and the female needs enough protein to produce healthy eggs. Healthy fish make healthy offspring. The females ovipositor will be clearly showing. It is a small white dot on her underside and this is where the eggs come out.

We like to let the pair see one another and watch how they react to each other. If they fancy each other, they will flare, dance, and strut. They will spend lots of time looking at one another. This seems to help induce feeding and gets the fish a little more ready to mate. Keeping the fish near 80 degrees will also help prepare for breeding.

Now would be a good time to set up the breeding tank. We prefer 10 gallon tanks for breeding. They are the perfect size and very inexpensive. Clean your tank thoroughly. Then put in 5 gallons of water. You can add black water tonic to the tank water if you choose. You can also float a single wild almond leaf  on the water surface. It is believed that the leaves contain minerals and nutrients that induce spawning activity and overall vitality to the fish. This theory comes from the Orient where the fish originate from. There is a location where many of these wild almond trees are extremely plentiful. The people from the area noticed the fish are more colorful, bigger, and more healthy than fish from other locations. It is believed that the tannins from the leaves make a more tranquil environment for the fish. The tannins make the water dark which creates a more natural breeding environment for the fish at any cost.

Place your submerged heater on the bottom of the tank in the middle. This will allow for a more even distribution of heated water. Keeping your breeding tanks in an environment with a more stable temperature will help you control the tank water temp better. Use at least 2 thermometers at different locations so you can make sure your tank temp is somewhat even. We like to keep a lid on our breeding tanks and even put a towel over the lid. Do not let forced air from your furnace or air conditioner come in contact with the inside tank air. We do not run the filter during mating;  start the pump when the male is removed.

Seeing the female and being in water with the proper temperature and conditions will stimulate the male into building a super nice nest.  You will want to give him a nice stable structure to build his nest under. We use a styrofoam cup cut in half the long way and float it on the water. You will need to tape it really well as tape inside a humid tank tends to let loose. Sometimes the male will build his nest elsewhere. This is usually due to commotion in the breeding room.  Bettas like their privacy. Dont bother them much and this process will go much smoother trust me. If you make your fish feel uneasy and disrupt them often, they will not spawn. Remember if this is your first time you have a good chance of failure. Being overzealous can be very negative, not only causing spawn failure but could end up injuring or even killing a fish. This is all very interesting, especially to a beginner and it is very easy to disrupt your fish.

Make sure you add some plants. We prefer live plants for a couple reasons. The main reason is that the plant creates a natural food source for the fry. Live plants also cannot tear fins or cause injuries.  We like to feed our betta fry live food such as microworms, vinegar eels and baby brine shrimp. If you do decide to use live plants, buy them from a live plant distributor that does not sell or raise fish so that you do not run the risk of the plants carrying disease. This is the same reason we raise our own guppies. The initial fish (guppies) are brought home and quarantined until we are certain they are disease free.

It is a good idea to monitor the behavior of your mating pair initially as the male can become extremely aggressive. Put your sponge filter in the back, kitty corner from the nest area and hook up the pump. If you want to run the filter for a day or 2 before you get the temperature set,  its ok but not usually necessary.

So now you have your tank set up. The temperature is constant. Slight fluctuation of a degree or 2 can be all it takes to cancel the show for the male. Did someone say show? Yes they did, and what a show it is. The male bettas are never more beautiful than when they are performing their mating displays and dances.

Now will be a good time to get your brine shrimp hatchery set up. Brine shrimp are a staple food for betta fry but are often too large for most betta fry in the first few days. Having microworm, vinegar eel, daphnia and wingless fruit fly cultures going will help greatly in keeping your betta fry alive, especially for the first 3-7 days. We like to offer freshly hatched baby brine shrimp as a food for the betta fry large enough to consume them. For this reason we normally mix microworms with brine shrimp. Another great thing about these 2 live foods is that they will live for a good while in the breeding water. We also like to get some vinegar eels in the fry feeding program when we have them. Feeding these live foods helps prevent bacterial build up from decayed uneaten food particles. It also provides a well rounded diet for your fry. We believe fry that are properly fed grow much faster and end up a bigger healthier fish in the long run .

If you are limited on space you could choose to feed mainly baby brine shrimp to start with. Doing this will cull the batch quickly as the smaller fry wont be able to feed and die. You will HAVE to remove ALL the dead fry. When feeding in this manner we have noticed that a higher than normal percentage of fish with deformed mouths arise. This leads us to believe that the baby brine shrimp are just to large for many of the fish. Although these fish could be culled, we prefer to just feed the fry food they all can eat. This helps ensure a more healthy spawn by giving the fry more variety. Once the fry are large enough, baby daphnia and other small live foods can be fed to the fry.

Continue to condition your fish. Make sure you condition some back-up fish as mentioned earlier. Once your fish are conditioned its time to introduce them to their tank. Once again you acclimate the fish as described earlier. If the fish are already in the same water as the spawn tank this will take less time and be less stressful on your fish. Just remember to acclimate any time you put a fish in a different kind of water. Keeping your fish in the same type water as your spawn tank will help induce spawning, especially if you have been keeping them in black water.

Now we like to put the female in first. We believe this helps out with his territorial nature. We could be wrong and have done this both ways and have had success. Putting her in first helps with the space issue of acclimating also. So we dont think its a huge deal which fish you introduce to the tank first; just remember to acclimate. The male should be very glad to see his new girlfriend! He should start flaring, dancing, prancing and most importantly building a nest. He will decide how to divide his time between nest building and displaying for his new spawn mate.

This is about all he will do now if he is a good fish. Dont forget to feed him during this time but DO NOT over feed. If you do, you have to clean immediately. Wingless fruit flies and adult daphnia are perfect foods right now as they dont create a big mess and are easy prey. Guppies can get the male excited enough that he will destroy his nest which happens easy enough as it is with his displaying activities. Feed the female as well through this part of the process. Be sure to remove all fecal material as well as food waste from the breeding tank.

The female should be responding in a positive manner also. She should get vertical stripes unless she has a colorless body such as an opaque or Cambodian type fish. She may get horizontal stripes for a at first but that should only last for a short while. Vertical stripes indicate readiness to spawn. Her ovipositor should be showing as well, but this is usually visible long before she is actually ready to spawn. Horizontal stripes indicate fear and/or irritability or uncertainty.

Once the male has finished his nest he will most likely start spending lots more time displaying for his girlfriend. When a female is ready to spawn she will be quite plump. This plumpness is actually from the infertile eggs inside her. After spending this time together both fish should be ready to spawn when the nest is complete. Just check for the obvious indicators as mentioned. It can be a little tougher on light colored females but the full body and her response to him should be a good indicator she is ready.

Now when the nest is finished and the female is looking responsive it is time to release her into the main tank. At this time many things can go awry, but lets keep our fingers crossed. You can expect to see some violent behavior usually from the male. You may notice the female gets horizontal bands when she is being so aggressively pursued. This is normal. She will go hide and eventually both fish will usually come around. If this is the bettas first time they will probably take longer to figure it all out. This especially holds true for the male. Often the nest gets damaged and the male goes back to repairing it. The female will go hide behind the plants or other cover. If either fish gets injured, it is back to the jar with MarOxy and or aquarium salt. You can replace either fish or both and try again if you have back-up fish ready. Just start all over.

What usually happens is this scenario: The female is released into the tank. The male senses she is in his reach and can physically get her. She will swim to his nest and normally will not be ready for all this yet. He seems to prefer to let her know he is king and ruler first and foremost. Once she shows submissiveness the spawn can occur. The female after being violently tormented will swim very slowly nose down. She appears to kind of float through the water displaying total submission. This is when the male will accept her and the spawn can take place.

Watching your bettas spawn is quite a sight to say the least. Now you will witness another awesome site most people never see, the actual mating. The female will kind of nudge the male softly in the side. He will roll her over gently now and kind of squeeze her in an embrace that lasts a few seconds or so. The first embrace rarely produces any eggs and it may take 5 or more embraces to start producing eggs.

After each embrace the female floats stunned in ecstasy for some time after the male snaps out of his. The male will swim down and collect eggs in his mouth. Then he will swim up to the bubblenest and place the eggs in the nest. Often the female will snap out of her haze and help the male collect eggs and place them in the nest. Sometimes she will eat the eggs she finds on the tank bottom, if so there is nothing you can really do. Sometimes they both eat the eggs. This is not usually the case in my experience. Natural instinct seems to be the norm unless heavily inbred.

Spawning can last several hours, usually 2-3 hours though. Some people claim to have witnessed 12 hour spawnings. The pair are done mating when the female no longer produces eggs. At this time immediately remove the female from the breeding tank and put her in a tank or jar with aquarium salt and/or MarOxy.

After the spawn it is time to get your brine shrimp hatchery set up. You should also have your microworm, vinegar eel, and daphnia cultures producing well.

Now the male has the honor of taking care of things while he patiently waits for the eggs to hatch. He will work on his bubblenest and retrieve eggs that occasionally fall from the bubblenest. It takes from 24-36 hours for the eggs to hatch. When the eggs hatch, the fry will swim vertical kind of jumping in the water like a mosquito larvae. When they jump out of the nest the male will swim to them and pluck them up and replace them back in the nest. This will go on until the fish begin to swim horizontal and even after. When they majority of the fry are swimming in a horizontal position, it is time to remove the male who should be very hungry by now. Put him in a container with aquarium salt and/or MarOxy treated water.

As soon as you remove the male, introduce some clean microworms into the tank. On the next feeding mix some baby brine shrimp in with the microworms. You can substitute vinegar eels for microworms or use in addition to microworms and brine shrimp. Be careful not to overfeed your fry. Do not remove fish from the water until they are big enough. A good indicator is when you see torn fins. Aggressive males must be removed from the community at this time.

Put them in their own containers and take care of them like a show fish! At a certain point you will have all the males jarred. Most of the females can be kept together and the water level raised. Remove aggressive females from community tanks and jar them like males. Females can be kept together like this if you move them to a larger tank or remove some and use 2 tanks to rear them in. We like to move to a 20 gallon tank or larger. That frees up our breeding tank for another round of fun! If you move the females to a larger tank do it quickly. Isolating even female bettas can make them aggressive toward other fish. Keeping many females in one tank is more convenient but they need to be properly fed and cared for.

We wish you the best of luck and hope this information helps you breed high quality Bettas!