What Do Female Bettas Look Like A Gender Comparison Guide

Estimated read time 10 min read

Today, most Bettas fish are raised in tanks. Knowing what female Bettas look like can help you take better care of your female Bettas. You may not be able to tell female Bettas apart from male Bettas because they’re similar in appearance. However, these two genders differ in more ways than you can tell at first glance. 

The population of the Siamese Fighter Fish, more commonly known as the Betta fish, is decreasing fast in the wild due to habitat loss and water pollution. Most of the Betta fish available today are tank-raised. It means that one should know the proper protocols for raising and caring for Bettas to ensure this fish species don’t become endangered. 

Both male and female Bettas are pretty different and require different conditions to thrive. So if you’ve got Bettas in your fish tank and want to be sure that you’re doing everything right, you’ve got to know what gender of the Betta fish you’ve got so you can take care of it the best possible way.

This blog post discusses in detail what female Bettas look like. In addition, this in-depth gender comparison guide will enable you to help the Bettas thrive in your fish tank!


Appearance & Sex – Female Betta Fish vs. Male Bettas

As we said in the beginning, you may not tell female Bettas apart from making Bettas on your first look at them. After that, it takes a much closer look at the fish to know whether the Betta is a female or male.

Let’s take you through a detailed comparison of what female Betta fish and male Betta fish look like.


Color isn’t a definitive factor in predicting the gender of Bettas. The female Bettas are usually less vivid in color than the males, but that doesn’t always mean that a more vividly colored Betta will be a male. Some female Bettas are pretty colorful. But generally, female Bettas are less vivid in color.

Vertical Stripes

If a Betta fish has vertical stripes on its body, it’s a female. This is because only female Bettas display vertical stripes when they’re ready to mate. These vertical stripes are called breeding stripes because they only display when the fish is looking to mate. Male Bettas don’t show these stripes, ever.

Body Shapes

Female and male Bettas differ distinctly in body shape. The average length of Bettas is 3 inches, but females are usually shorter than males. Female Bettas are shorter in size, but their bodies are broader. On the other hand, the males are longer, but their bodies are thinner.

Fins and Tails

Female Bettas have shorter fins. This is because their fins are much shorter than males (3 to 4 times shorter). Bettas have got 3 fins; anal fin, caudal fin or tail fin, and ventral fin. Let’s look at how each fin differs for female and male Bettas.

Anal Fin

The anal fin is located right behind the ventral fins on the underside of the Betta fish. The anal fin stabilizes the Betta while it navigates through the water. The anal fin of a female Betta fish is shorter than the male Betta’s anal fin.

Caudal Fin

The caudal fin or the tail fin is responsible for the fish’s propulsion in water. The caudal fin can be of different sizes, shapes, and even colors, and the beautiful colors of the caudal fin are one of the reasons Bettas look so attractive in a fish tank. Caudal fins are long and flowy, which is what everyone loves most about Bettas. Also, a female Betta’s caudal fin is shorter in size, which can help you distinguish a female Betta from a male.

Ventral Fins

Ventral fins help Bettas steer through water. In addition, bettas use these fins for swimming, turning, stopping, ascending, and descending in the water. These fins are more commonly known as pelvic fins. Female Ventral fins are shorter (a lot, actually) compared to male Bettas.


The tail, like the fins, is shorter in females than in males. In addition, the female Bettas’ tail is thinner, less tapered, and appears visibly smaller.

Egg Spot

Female Bettas have a tiny white dot between the anal and ventral fins. This white dot is the ovipositor or the egg spot. The ovipositor is a part of the sexual anatomy of a female Betta. The female Betta deposits its eggs at the egg spot during spawning. The egg spot is so tiny that you may be unable to see it. It’ll require a lot of focus to spot it. Male Bettas don’t have an egg spot.


Bettas have a beard just under the gill plate cover. The beard is the opercular membrane that becomes quite visible when the fish gills flare up to resemble a beard. The beard in female Bettas is less visible as compared to males. The beard in males is quite visible even when the gill plate isn’t flared, but it’s a lot less visible in female Bettas even with the gills fully flared.


When these fish flare, telling a female Betta apart from a male Betta becomes much easier. So if you don’t know if the Betta you’ve got in your fish tank is a female or male, you should wait for them to flare.


When the Bettas flare, the females display a smaller and less pronounced beard. Conversely, when males flare, their beards become profoundly visible. Moreover, females are usually seen in a head-down posture when they flare, but males don’t seem to exhibit any such posture when flaring.

Behavior Of Female Bettas

The Bettas are referred to as Siamese Fighting Fish for a reason. Bettas are given this name primarily because of the aggressive behavior of the male Bettas. However, there’s a contrasting difference between the behavior of female and male Bettas, with female Bettas being a lot less aggressive than males.

Let’s look at how female Bettas differ from male Bettas regarding behavior.


Female Bettas have got a better temperament than males. The male Bettas have a very poor temperament, so much so that if you keep two male Bettas together, it’ll most likely end with the death or maiming of one. As for the female Bettas, they can live in groups without killing or injuring one another. In addition, female Bettas display a much more sophisticated and acceptable temperament than males, making them more accessible and peaceful pets to keep.

Social Behavior

Female Bettas are more social compared to males. A male Betta can’t bear the presence of another Betta around them. They’re highly territorial and prefer living in solitary. However, female Bettas are different. They can live in peace with other female Bettas in groups without harming each other. So if you want to pet beautiful fish that can live together peacefully, you’re good to go with female Bettas!


Female Bettas aren’t as aggressive as males. Therefore, they’re peaceful when kept in community tanks. However, you can expect female Bettas to show aggression if kept in pairs. On the other hand, male Bettas are highly aggressive, so much so that they’ll show aggression towards other Bettas and other fish species with trailing fins. For this reason, male Bettas are kept in isolation, while female Bettas are kept in groups and community tanks.

Breeding Characteristics

Breeding in Bettas is very different. They don’t breed in the way you would assume. It’s not like a male and female Betta would mate to make the female Betta pregnant. We’ll discuss the breeding characteristics of female Bettas in detail below:


A female Betta can get pregnant, but pregnancy in female Bettas isn’t like pregnancy in humans or mammals. They don’t give birth to live offspring, but they birth eggs. And a unique thing about pregnancy in female Bettas is that female bettas don’t need a male to get them pregnant.

When a female Betta is ready to get pregnant or is pregnant, you’ll see white stripes clearly on her body, and yeh egg spot will become very prominent. The belly would also bulge out, but a bulged tummy alone isn’t a sign of the female Betta being pregnant. It could be due to constipation as well. The female Betta will lay its eggs through the egg spot. The process of egg release is known as spawning.

The building of the bubble nest by the male (a sign that they’re ready to mate) often triggers pregnancy in female Bettas.


After the female Betta has laid eggs, the eggs will stick to the egg spot until the make Betta extracts them. The eggs that the female Betta lays aren’t fertilized. The male fertilizes them after picking them off the female’s egg spot.

Bubble Nests

The male Betta builds a bubble nest made of saliva bubbles to keep other fish away from the eggs. Then, the male Betta will fertilize the eggs in their bubble nest, where the eggs will develop further. Finally, the egg will form tiny black specks, a sign that eggs have been fertilized and will grow into grown Bettas soon.

One surprising thing here is that the male will be able to fertilize the eggs only if the female Betta likes the bubble nest. If the female Betta doesn’t like it, she’ll either not allow the male Betta to extract the eggs or destroy the best before the male can fertilize them.


The Betta babies develop from fertilized eggs. After the male fertilizes the eggs, the eggs will develop tiny black specks, which will then develop into fully-grown Bettas.

Popular Questions 

Bettas are popular pet fish because of their vibrant colors and flowy fins. They’re gorgeous. However, there are some questions that people often ask. One of the most popular questions about Bettas is if male and female Bettas can be kept in the same tank. Continue reading ahead for answers.

Can Male and Female Bettas Be In The Same Tank

Female Bettas are peaceful by nature, but male Bettas aren’t. Male and female Bettas can’t be in the same tank. Male Bettas are highly aggressive, even towards female Bettas. They might end up killing or injuring the female Betta badly. However, if keeping the male and female Bettas is the need of the time, like at the time of tank cleaning, you shouldn’t keep the two together for more than a few hours, and even then, you must monitor them. The male and female Bettas must be separated as soon as you see any signs of aggression.

Final Thoughts

Female Bettas look much like male Bettas at first glance but are very different. Female Bettas are smaller, less vivid in color, and have smaller fins and tails. They also have smaller beards, and they flare less as well. In addition, female Bettas have an egg spot which male Bettas don’t. Female Bettas also display breeding lines on the sides of their bodies when they’re ready to mate (about to lay eggs), which is another characteristic specific to female Bettas. 

Female Bettas are less vibrant and smaller in color than males, but in no way are they any less beautiful. In addition, since female Bettas are more social and less aggressive, they’re more suitable to keep as pets and in community tanks.

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