The betta fish is often better known as the Siamese fighting fish, so it’s not surprising that many fish keepers worry about their betta fish fighting!
However, while it’s true that males of the species are often aggressive with other males, the betta can be housed with other fish, as long as you approach things carefully.
Read on to learn more about betta fish fighting, why they fight, and how to prevent this aggression.
Male betta fish fighting
It is the male of the species that is particularly aggressive with other males, and it is very unwise to keep two male bettas together within the same tank, unless it is very large and can happily accommodate two separate territories. Even then, two males may come into contact with each other within the tank, and will potentially become aggressive.
One male betta can happily live with a group of females, however, and often, with males of other species of fish too.
Female betta fish fighting
Female bettas are much less likely to be aggressive towards each other, and generally, can live happily in groups with other females and one male of the species as well.
If the tank is overcrowded or there are too many females in the tank or for the male, the females may become nippy towards each other. However, they will not generally fight in the same way that two males will.
Bettas fighting other species of fish
While male bettas are generally highly aggressive with other males of the species, often fighting to the death, they are generally calm within a community tank, and will rarely prove aggressive to other species of fish.
While it is always important to pick betta tank mates carefully if mixing species of fish within the same aquarium, bettas make good community fish if you introduce one male and a few females to a group tank.
One issue that can sometimes arise if keeping other dominant or predatory fish with bettas is that they will target your male bettas due to their bright colors and long fins and tails.
Bettas are relatively slow swimming fish, and this, added to their distinctive appearance, means that they will often fall victim to larger bullies of other species and get their fins and tails nipped.
Betta fish fighting displays
When two male bettas view each other as a threat and are preparing to fight, they will puff up their gills, deepen in color, and deliberately display their fins and tail in all their glory in an attempt to intimidate the other party.
Here’s a great tip: If you wish to see what your male betta looks like in threat display without risking their health, you can hold a mirror up to the outside of the tank. When your male sees his own reflection, he will think it is another male and display his fighting stance!