Tips for Keeping Betta Fish together

Once upon a time, my best friend and I got two Betta fish: a boy Betta and a girl Betta. And one tank. My friend’s little sister named the girl fish “Carrie.” The name was a premonition. We put the beautiful male in the tank, then the rather drab female. Seemingly outraged at his gorgeous plumage, Carrie latched on to his pretty tail and rode him around the tank. We managed to separate them, but the male was never quite the same. He lived for several years, but he always kept his tail curled up, and he had this twitch…

Keeping Bettas together
Male Bettas cannot be kept together. Period. And males and females can be kept together, but only for the purposes of propagation. If the conditions aren’t right for propagation, they will also fight! How do you know if it’s time for the fish to mate? This is tricky, since it’s based on water conditions and temperature. When these conditions are right, the male will begin building a nest out of bubbles at the top of the tank. At this point, you can (carefully!) introduce female Betta to his tank. Stand by and be ready to separate them if they don’t get along. After she finishes laying the eggs, remove the female from the tank. You see, after there are eggs in the nest, the male will defend the nest from all other fish, and that includes the female!

Bettas cannot be kept together in the same tank for any length of time. They are solitary fish, and only come together for propagation. Bettas can be kept in a community tank, but not with large fish or any with fancy fins like theirs’. And if conditions are right to build a nest, a male Betta will try to kill all his tank mate first!

Keeping Bettas in general
Please do not keep multiple Bettas in “Condos.” These are the tanks with transparent dividers. The Bettas can literally kill themselves trying to get at each other. There are tanks with removable dividers: these are for sick people who like to watch animals fight. However, if you remove all the dividers, these tanks can be used for a single Betta. A large rectangular tank is great for a single Betta. There is more surface area for breathing this way. Yes, Bettas breathe air at the surface, so deep round tanks are not optimal. Make sure that your Betta has enough area at the top of the water, that the water doesn’t get too cold, and that he is alone. The best way to keep a Betta is by himself, not with any other fish!