Male vs Female Betta Fish: What are Differences & Similarities

Betta fish are often called fighting fish. They’re usually sold alone, and you might think they all look and act the same. But in reality, male and female Betta fish are not alike. They have slight differences in how they look and behave, which can help you tell if they’re boys or girls. Knowing whether a Betta fish is a boy or a girl is important if you want to breed them someday.

Male vs Female Betta Fish: Differences & Similarities

Male betta fish are famous for their vibrant colors and long, flowing fins. They tend to be meaner than female betta fish and shouldn’t live in the same tank. Female betta fish are smaller and not as flashy as males, but they are calmer. You can put them in a tank with other fish, but make sure there are lots of spots for them to hide.

Choosing the Right Betta for You

If you want a fish that looks pretty and doesn’t mind it being a bit tough sometimes, go for a male betta. But if you prefer a calm fish that can live with other fish in a big tank, then a female betta is a better choice.

No matter which betta you go for, make sure it has a nice home. Bettas need at least a 5-gallon tank with places to hide. They also need good fish food to eat.

If you take good care of your betta, it can live happily for about 5 years.

Male and Female Betta Fish Comparison

CharacteristicMale BettaFemale Betta
FinsLonger and flowingSmaller and less colorful
TemperamentMore aggressiveShorter and less flowing
CompatibilityCannot be kept togetherThey can be kept together in a community tank
Colors Bright color tones More subdued color tones 
Vertical Stripes No vertical stripes Displays vertical stripes
ShapeLong, slim, and narrow Wide-bodied and short
BeardBeards are visible without flaringBeards are not visible without flaring
Bubble NestsMakes bubble nests every breeding season Rarely makes bubble nests 

Key Differences Between a Male and a Female Betta Fish

A big physical difference between boy and girl betta fish is their fin size. Boys have much longer fins than girls, and in some kinds, the boy fins can be four times longer! Also, the tail fins of boy betta fish are usually longer and thicker than the girl’s. This is true for their belly fins too.

Male vs Female Betta: Appearance

Male bettas are usually bigger and have more vibrant colors than female bettas. Their fins are long and can be three times longer than female bettas’ fins. Male bettas also have fancy beards that they show off when they’re feeling aggressive or want to find a mate.

Male vs Female Betta egg dpot

On the flip side, female bettas are smaller and their fins are not as long or flowy. They are not as colorful as the males and their colors are more subdued. Female bettas also have a small white or yellow spot between their back and belly fins, which is called an egg spot.

Male vs Female Betta: Temperament

Male betta fish have a reputation for being quite mean. They like to protect their own space and might get into fights with other male bettas or even other fish they see as enemies. Female bettas are usually calmer than males, but they can also get feisty, especially when kept in a tiny tank.

Male vs Female Betta: Compatibility

You should not put two boy betta fish in one tank because they will fight until one of them gets hurt. However, girl betta fish can live together in a community tank if you give them lots of hiding spots so they don’t fight.

Male vs Female Betta: Beard

Male vs Female Betta Beard

Betta fish have a special skin under their gill cover called the opercular membrane. This skin looks like a “beard” and can be seen when the fish spreads its gill covers wide. The boy bettas have a really big beard, so big that you can often see it even when they’re not showing off. Girl bettas also have a beard, but it’s much smaller and you can’t see it unless they’re flaunting it.

Male vs Female Betta: Care

Both boy and girl betta fish need similar care. They need a tank that’s at least 5 gallons big, and it should have a filter and a heater to keep the water warm, around 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Bettas also need to eat good fish food to stay healthy.

Male vs Female Betta: Breeding

Male vs Female Betta Breeding

If you want to make baby betta fish, you should put a boy and a girl betta fish in different tanks. The boy betta will make a particular nest of bubbles at the top of the water. After the nest is ready, the girl betta will put her eggs inside it. Then, the boy betta will put the baby fish seeds on the eggs and watch over them until they hatch.

Male vs Female Betta: Flaring

Male and Female Flaring

When male and female betta fish get all puffed up and show off, you can see how they’re different. The guys have a big beard, but the girls have a smaller one that’s not as obvious. Sometimes, the girls even tilt their heads down when they show off, which is something the boys don’t do.

Male vs Female Betta: Bubble Nests  

Male vs Female Betta: Bubble Nests  

Keep the water clean by changing it regularly. Bettas are sensitive to dirty water, so keep the water clean

Similarities Between Male and Female Betta Fish

Male and female betta fish are alike in some ways, even though they look and act differently. In this article, we’ll talk about some important things that are the same for both male and female bettas, like what they eat, where they live, how they make more bettas, and how they behave.



Male and female betta fish eat meat. They like to munch on tiny bugs, shellfish, and other small fish. In the wild, they eat different things like baby mosquitoes, red worms, and tiny shrimp. When we keep them as pets, we can give them different kinds of food like small round pellets, thin flakes, and frozen treats.


Betta fish come from Southeast Asia, where the water is not very deep, like in rice fields, swamps, and narrow waterways. They like the water to be warm, around 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit. Bettas can even gulp air from the water’s surface, which helps them live in places with not much oxygen.


Male and female betta fish work together to have baby fish. The boy betta makes a special nest of bubbles on the water’s surface, and the girl betta puts her eggs in it. Then, the boy betta puts his stuff on the eggs to make them grow, and he takes care of the nest until the baby fish comes out.


Betta fish are known for being a bit protective, especially the boy bettas. Boy bettas may fight hard with other boy bettas they see as a danger. But girl bettas are usually calmer and can live together in a big fish tank.

More Similarities

Besides what we talked about, boy and girl bettas have some other things in common, like:

  • Both boy and girl bettas are quite small, usually around 2 to 3 inches long.
  • Both boy and girl bettas can live for 3 to 5 years when kept in a tank.
  • Taking care of both boy and girl bettas is pretty easy, which is why a lot of people, whether they’re new to fish-keeping or have a lot of experience, like to have them in their aquariums.


How can I tell if my betta fish is a male or female?

You can figure out if your betta fish is a boy or a girl by looking at how it looks. Boy, bettas usually have bright colors, long fins, and a skinny body. They also have a thing that looks like a beard near their front fins, which they use for making baby fish. But girl bettas have shorter fins, not-so-bright colors, and a round body. They don’t have that beard thing that boys have. If you watch these things closely, you can tell if your betta fish is a boy or a girl.

How many betta fish can share a tank? 

You can only put one male betta fish in a tank because male bettas often fight with each other. That’s why they are sometimes called Siamese fighting fish. In the wild, they usually stay away from each other.

Do male Betta fish need more space than females? 

Both male and female Betta fish thrive in similar tank sizes. A 5 to 10-gallon tank is suitable for a single Betta, regardless of gender. Providing ample hiding spots and plant cover is essential for their well-being.

Do male or female Betta fish have longer lifespans? 

Both male and female Betta fish have similar lifespans, which typically range from 2 to 4 years. Proper care, diet, and tank conditions can influence their longevity.

Can male and female Betta fish be bred at home? 

Yes, male and female Betta fish can be bred at home. However, breeding Bettas is a complex process that requires specific conditions and knowledge. It’s not recommended for beginners, and proper research and preparation are essential.

Final Words

Even though boy and girl betta fish may look and act differently, they have a lot in common. Both male and female bettas like to eat meat, such as tiny bugs, shellfish, and other little fish. They both play a part in making baby bettas, and they’re both small fish that usually live for 3-5 years when kept as pets.

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