Female betta fish are different from male bettas in several ways. First, let’s look at what female bettas look like, what they eat, and how you can safely keep one in your aquarium.
Appearance & Characteristics
There are different types of betta fish, with female bettas looking different from their male counterparts.
Halfmoon betta fish are the ones you usually imagine when you think of betta fish. These fish have large, fan-like tails that spread out about 180 degrees. They also have large and flowy fins. The flowy fins and tails make these fish look elegant and beautiful, which is one reason why betta fish are so sought-after as pets.
Veiltail bettas are similar to Halfmoon bettas but have slightly different appearances. Veiltail bettas have shimmery tails that look brighter in the light.
However, female betta fish are usually different from what male bettas look like, and since most fish on the market are males, most people don’t know that there is a difference.
For example, female betta fish don’t have the trailing fins that males do and are much stouter than males – especially when they are gravid.
Betta fish are also known for their vibrant colors. However, females usually come with more subdued colors, though some varieties have equally vibrant female bettas.
Blue betta fish are common, with variations in the shade of blue. In addition, blue betta fish usually have some iridescence in colors – that is, the color will look different when seen from different angles.
Red betta fish are usually produced through specific breeding programs and are not iridescent. Some genes of red scales also have orange or yellowish shades rather than red ones.
White bettas are those that have albinism, and this condition is not very common in betta fish. Albinism causes melanin production to get disrupted, which causes the fish’s bodies to become white or translucent.
Koi betta fish will have two or more colors similar to koi fish. These fish usually have cellophane (clear, nearly translucent, or transparent) bodies with spots of red and black. However, they may have other colors as well.
Betta fish will live for about two to five years on average. However, the environment they live in can affect their lifespan as well. For example, betta fish are primarily carnivores and need to eat food that can give them the specific nutrition they need. Therefore, keeping your betta fish with flakes will reduce their lifespan, but giving them the food they need will extend this.
Tank quality also matters. The water should be clean, and the tank should be as large as possible. Betta fish are also very territorial and aggressive, so keeping them safe as long as possible involves keeping them separated so they don’t end up attacking each other. Females don’t fight as much as males, so your betta will likely be fine if their environmental conditions are ideal.
Habit & Aquarium Requirements
Betta fish need to be kept in clean water but not sterile. Some bacteria in the water are suitable for the growth and health of your betta fish. Make sure to change the water in the tank every once in a while, but do so in portions so that the fish’s system doesn’t get shocked by the sudden change.
The water should have a pH of around 6.5-7.5. Alkaline waters can harm your betta. Betta fish also thrive best in softer waters, but if need be, they can tolerate medium to semi-hard waters as well. For healthy fish, though, keeping them in ideal conditions is best.
Keeping some live plants in the water is also helpful, mainly because they contribute to good water quality. These plants also keep the fish separated and allow them space to hide.
The best temperature for betta fish is between 75 and 82 degrees for adults and in the mid-to-late 80s for betta fry. At this temperature, the metabolism of your fish works best.
Food Diet & Nutrition
In the wild, betta fish hunt for insects that are mainly protein since they are primarily carnivores. In aquariums, you’ll have to ensure you’re not keeping your betta fish on fish flakes, though some pellets are explicitly designed to provide betta fish with their required amount of protein.
Since betta fish usually have small stomachs, they don’t need to eat much.
You can also supplement your fish’s diet with other treats like mosquito larvae, bloodworms, and brine shrimp, which are also rich in proteins.
Personality & Behavioral Differences
Like all other animals, betta fish will also have species-specific personalities.
Betta fish also require sleep and will likely do so at the bottom of the tank or on the water’s surface. Some may fall asleep on a plant leaf if it is big enough. However, when sleeping, bettas will remain alert to danger and not fall into deeper states of slumber.
Individual bettas also have different sleeping behaviors. Some sleep at night, while others sleep during the day. Some do both. If you notice your betta fish is sleeping a lot, look for other signs of problems. If she’s otherwise healthy, there isn’t a cause for concern.
Betta fish are relatively aggressive and tend to fight over territory. While female bettas aren’t as bold as the males, they are still territorial and will fight to protect their space.
However, females can live together as long as they are placed in the right conditions and are not undergoing any form of stress.
Betta fish reproduce by external fertilization – that is, they lay eggs first, which are fertilized later. Therefore, female bettas are consistently producing eggs.
The age at which female bettas produce eggs depends on their size. However, the average is about six months. They will start making eggs at this age and are ready to spawn. However, the best age to breed is around a year old since they are most productive.
While female betta fish will remain fertile all their life, they are usually less productive once they reach 2-3 years and produce fewer eggs than before.
The size of the betta fish will also affect the age at which breeding is possible and productive. For example, some three-month-old females may be fully grown and can thus breed at three months. Others that are smaller may need more time. However, age is secondary to size in breeding since size determines whether they can carry as many eggs.
When the female betta is ‘pregnant,’ she is carrying eggs or in a gravid state. Female bettas do not get pregnant in the conventional sense of the word – they will be holding their eggs in an organ called the ovipositor. You will see the ovipositor tube as a white spot on her body when she is gravid. This is where the egg comes out when it is time to lay them.
The eggs remain in the ovipositor for about a week or two. If the female betta fish meets a male in this period, she will mate and release the eggs. Otherwise, they are absorbed back into her body for energy.
If she does meet a male, the eggs are laid and fertilized. Then, the male will take care of them in the bubble nest for about three days, after which the eggs will hatch.
Sometimes, the female may produce too many eggs and become ‘egg-bound,’ which can be dangerous since it can start blocking internal organs – especially the intestines. In this case, it is necessary to make the fish either absorb the eggs again or make her release them.
The former can be achieved by fasting the fish for 2-3 days and compelling her to turn to the eggs for her vital energy, while the latter can be achieved by showing her a picture of a male betta fish or a real male betta if an image doesn’t work.
Related: How Female Betta Get Pregnant
Betta fish are notorious for being angry and territorial, and when it comes to males, there is no chance of keeping them together without one or the other suffering from torn fins and attacks. However, females are different.
As mentioned before, female betta fish can live together if ideal conditions. This means that they should each have their own space that the other does not intrude on and should be able to have foliage or plants they can hide in. However, female bettas will still lash out if another fish encroaches on their territory.
The tank should be big enough to give each fish the two cubic feet of space they need, and it should not feel stressed by anything.
The female betta fish can get along in a community if these conditions are met. This is called a sorority tank.
Female Betta Fish Examples
Red Copper Galaxy Plakat Female Betta
Plakat betta fish are the most aggressive types and are usually selected for fish fights, which are legal in some Southeast Asian countries. In addition, Plakat betta fish are more stout than others, so they are more capable of holding their own than other bettas. While females are, again, not as aggressive as males, they will start a fight if they are brought closer to each other.
While most female betta fish are noticeable due to the size of their fins, Plakat betta fish have smaller fins as a whole. So instead, female Plakat bettas will have a ventral fin that looks similar to hair combs.
HMPK Copper Betta
HMPK stands for Halfmoon Plakat and is a specific kind of betta fish with a 180-degree spread tail. Copper bettas have a very distinct color and metallic-looking scales. These are commonly selectively bred to produce this copper shade, though their color is usually not set in stone until they are adults, so it is pretty standard for a fish to start with one color but end up with another. HMPK Copper Bettas will usually grow to be around 3 inches long.
Traditional PK Yellow Dragon Betta
The yellow dragon betta fish has the copper phenotype, which gives it its unique yellow color. These females have elongated bodies and shorter, rounder fins. Males of the same species will have larger fins than females. Dragon bettas can breathe outside air and will swallow it at the water’s surface. These fish will grow to be about 3 inches long.
Black Dragon Betta
Black dragon bettas are also very common as pets. Being the same type as the yellow dragon, albeit with different coloration, they also grow to be about the same size. Female dragon bettas can also undergo color pattern changes with mood swings.
Female Koi Betta
Female koi betta fish look very similar to male koi bettas, though they have a more streamlined look. They also have the exact differences between males and females as regular betta fish do. They usually grow to be up to 3 inches long.
Buying Female Betta Fish Online
You can buy female betta fish in many pet stores. While male betta fish is much more common and in demand (likely due to their larger, prettier fins and vibrant colors), females are also available in many places.
You can find female betta fish at your local fish store.
Females usually cost lower than males – again, likely due to the difference in their appearance – but their price will vary according to their appearance and what kind of betta fish they are.
What is an assorted female betta?
‘Assorted’ will usually mean the colors or varieties of the fish available.