How To Inform the Distinction


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People who find themselves new to the world of betta holding are typically stunned to study that the basic betta splendens fish with lengthy, flowing fins are all the time male.

The much less showy feminine betta fish are hardly ever seen within the passion and are solely saved by specialists who want to preserve a number of of them collectively in an all-female tank or to breed from.

However what are the opposite variations between female and male betta fish? Include me as I evaluate their look, and in addition discover how straightforward it’s to maintain every intercourse of betta fish.

Male vs Feminine Betta Fish Look

The obvious distinction between female and male betta fish is the way in which they give the impression of being. The scientific time period to refer to those variations is ‘sexual dimorphism’.

Fins and Tails

The enduring lengthy, flowing fins related to betta fish belong to the male of the species, and that is the primary purpose that they’re considerably extra standard than females.

As with different fish, birds, reptiles, and mammals, it’s normally the male that should entice and impress a mate with an elaborate look and spectacular shows of power and character.

However another excuse that male bettas have longer fins is for sparring with different males. When two males meet in a contest over a territory or breeding rights, they puff out their fins to make themselves look as huge and intimidating as potential.

A betta with longer fins has a greater likelihood of scaring off his opponent, therefore the evolutionary adaptation.

Since females have much less want for impressing a mate or scaring off their rivals, they don’t include the lavish fins that adorn the male.


For a similar causes that we mentioned above, male betta fish additionally are likely to have brighter, extra hanging colours than females. Of their native habitat, wild betta fish sometimes have emerald and darkish purple colours, however fashionable breeds of domesticated bettas are available each shade conceivable.

Whereas some captive-bred betta fish are pure white or pure black, when there may be shade current, males will usually be extra colourful fish than females.


In addition to having longer fins, male betta fish even have bigger our bodies than females.

If we exclude their fins from the measurement, male betta fish sometimes develop to round 2.5-3 inches lengthy. Utilizing the identical measurement, females normally solely attain round 2-2.25 inches lengthy, making them considerably shorter.

To compensate for his or her shorter physique, nonetheless, females are sometimes noticeably wider than males, particularly when she’s stuffed with eggs!

Egg Spot

A extra delicate distinction between female and male betta fish is the ‘egg spot’ that’s current in females however absent in males.

This tiny spot is situated between her ventral and anal fins and is the purpose from which she lays eggs throughout spawning. The scientific identify for this a part of her anatomy is the ‘ovipositor’.

Typically the egg spot is so small that you simply’ll want a magnifying glass to identify it!

Breeding Stripes

When a feminine betta is able to breed, her physique will put together eggs for fertilization and he or she’ll typically develop what are often known as ‘breeding stripes’ throughout her physique.

These vertical stripes will be distinct or delicate, however shouldn’t be confused with the horizontal ‘stress stripes’ or ‘concern stripes’ that may have an effect on each sexes. Breeding stripes are a standard and wholesome a part of a feminine’s breeding show.

Betta Beard

A bit like with male people, male betta fish will typically show a big beard. Feminine bettas even have a beard, however it’s a lot smaller.

However what on earth are we speaking about? Nicely, the opercular membrane after all! Probably not a beard, however a silky membrane that’s normally hidden underneath the gills of a betta fish.

In males, the beard is commonly so massive that it’ll poke out from his gills somewhat on a regular basis. In feminine bettas, the beard is barely seen when flaring. Extra on that subsequent!

Male vs Feminine Betta Fish Conduct


‘Flaring’ is the time period used for a betta fish’s show when it puffs out its gills, erects its fins and makes itself look as huge and spectacular as potential. Whereas each female and male betta fish exhibit flaring habits, they do it for barely completely different causes.

Male betta fish use flaring primarily as an intimidating show to scare away a rival male. They are going to typically additionally flare at their very own reflection, imagining it to be one other betta fish!

Feminine bettas, alternatively, primarily use flaring to claim dominance over one other feminine or different fish.

Typically female and male bettas will even flare at each other throughout courtship, which isn’t stunning, given what an aggressive and probably harmful affair it may be!

Swimming Skill and Leaping

Have you ever ever observed that your male betta’s lengthy fin seems to be creating drag and slowing him down?

Whereas his fins could also be excellent for impressing people and feminine betta fish, they’re not essentially the most environment friendly design for streamlined swimming. Fashionable breeding has solely accentuated this tendency even additional.

Which means that feminine betta fish are considerably higher swimmers than males and still have a better capability to leap out of the tank! Males can typically do that too, particularly in plakat betta males which have shorter fins.

Whether or not you retain male or feminine bettas, all the time make sure you preserve a decent lid on, simply in case!

Constructing Bubble Nests

Like gouramis, betta fish breed utilizing bubble nests. These floating, foamy constructions additionally typically make the most of floating plant materials to create a secure haven for fertilized eggs to be saved and hatched out.

However in contrast to many species of chook, it’s the male betta fish who constructs the nest quite than the feminine! Through the use of his sticky saliva and accumulating air bubbles, he makes his nest on the water’s floor in preparation for mating.

Curiously, male bettas will show this habits whether or not a feminine is current or not. Within the wild, males create bubble nests as a solution to entice females, so maybe in an aquarium, he’s simply ready for his dream woman to come back swimming across the nook!

Male vs Feminine Betta Fish Aggression

Male vs Female Betta

As you’ve in all probability understood by now, male bettas are typically much more aggressive than females!

It needs to be famous although, that temperament varies enormously between particular person betta fish.

Aggression in Male Betta Fish

Whereas some males can stay pretty harmoniously with different group tank species like tetras, guppies, shrimp, and snails, others will assault absolutely anything that strikes and must be saved alone!

However regardless of how peaceable they appear, male betta fish ought to by no means be saved in the identical tank collectively. Their different widespread identify ‘Siamese combating fish’ tells us all the things we have to find out about two male bettas in the identical tank – they’ll typically combat to the demise.

Aggression in Feminine Betta Fish

Feminine bettas are sometimes much less aggressive fish and may typically be saved in teams – if the chemistry is correct.

An all-female tank is named a ‘sorority tank’, and all these setups are standard with individuals who wish to preserve a number of betta fish in the identical aquarium.

However feminine sororities usually are not all the time plain crusing. Feminine bettas nonetheless have loads of fireplace within the bellies and may typically combat with one another identical to males can, particularly in the event that they’re saved in a cramped area with out sufficient hiding locations.

To scale back the chance of aggressive habits in a sorority tank, attempt to introduce all of the females on the identical time, and supply a number of vegetation and huge caves for them to cover in.

Since smaller teams of females encourage bullying, I’d suggest by no means holding lower than 5 of them, and for that, you’ll want a tank of a minimum of a 20-gallon capability.

Male vs Feminine Betta Fish in a Group Tank

Since feminine bettas are much less aggressive, you’d anticipate them to be higher group tank members with different tropical fish, proper?

Nicely, not all the time. Feminine bettas will be fairly assertive in a group tank and since they’re extra quick and agile, they will chase and pursue different fish extra persistently than males can.

In addition to slowing him down, the lengthy fins of a male betta fish can typically show an excessive amount of of a temptation for different fish to withstand.

Because of this, bettas ought to by no means be saved with infamous fin nippers like barbs and serpae tetra. Much more benign fish like neon tetras and guppies can often nip a betta’s fins, particularly once they’re burdened.

General then, there are execs and cons of holding each men and women in group tanks, and loads is determined by particular person temperament. Whichever you select, your different tank members must be chosen very fastidiously. That’s why we compiled a devoted prime 10 tank mates for betta fish listing here.

Protecting Male and Feminine Betta Fish Collectively

In addition to being unattainable to maintain with different male bettas, you possibly can’t preserve males with females, both.

Though placing men and women in the identical tank is critical for breeding, that is normally solely finished very briefly, for the minimal time potential.

Breeding betta fish is a really expert affair, a advantageous artwork greatest left to skilled betta keepers and professionals. As a result of males are larger and extra aggressive than females, they are going to typically assault a feminine earlier than or after mating, and typically fatally.

You will discover out extra about breeding betta fish from our breeding archive here.

Are Male or Feminine Betta Fish Higher for Novices?

As a result of holding a number of betta fish is fraught with issues, I’d all the time suggest first-time betta keepers select a single fish.

Whether or not your single betta is male or feminine doesn’t a lot matter, however 99% of individuals holding a single betta fish will select a male for his longer fins and brighter colours.

The primary purpose individuals go for females is once they wish to preserve a number of of them in a sorority tank, however I’d solely suggest this enterprise for superior fish keepers.

Sorority tanks are harder than many individuals understand and require a delicate understanding of fish social habits and a excessive degree of dedication to maintain all fish secure and glad.

If you wish to preserve a number of pets in your tank, I’d advise as an alternative to go for a single betta in a 10-gallon tank with some snails and shrimp, or a 20-gallon tank with some peaceable shoaling fish akin to cory catfish, kuhli loaches, or harlequin rasboras.

Male vs Feminine Bettas for Small Fish Tanks

As soon as once more, since males are usually saved alone, they’re extra appropriate to be saved in smaller tanks than a feminine sorority.

Whereas individuals have tried to maintain feminine sororities in 10-gallon tanks, I’d say it’s far too small. For a peaceable dynamic, you should preserve a minimum of 5 females collectively, and for that, you’ll want a 20-gallon tank to offer every fish its territory.

Male bettas will be saved in tanks as small as 5 gallons, however I’d counsel {that a} generously planted 10-gallon tank will provide extra pleasure to each you and your fish.

Shopping for: Male vs Feminine Betta Fish

Trying round in your native pet retailer, it’s possible you’ll even surprise the place you could find a feminine betta fish! The overwhelming majority of fish on sale are long-finned males.

However in case you have your coronary heart set on holding feminine bettas, don’t surrender. Bigger shops do inventory them, they usually’re additionally that can be purchased instantly from betta breeders.

As for pricing, the price of female and male bettas tends to be comparable when bought from fish shops. Chances are you’ll, nonetheless, have the ability to choose up females extra cheaply in the event you go on to the breeders.


There are all types of variations between female and male betta fish, certainly they’re completely different creatures altogether!

Whereas the primary purpose that individuals select females over males is the likelihood to maintain them collectively, all-female tanks are extra difficult than many individuals understand and will solely be tried by specialists.

For newcomers, I’d suggest a single male betta with some sturdy tank mates akin to snails and shrimp.

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