How do betta fish fight?

In this blog we will discuss, how betta fish fight with each other and reasons behind their fight.This blog will help novice betta keepers, how do bettas behave during fights.


In this blog

  • How  do betta fish fight ?
  • How do male bettas fight with each other?
  • How do female bettas fight with each other?
  • Do baby bettas fight with each other?
  • Do male and female bettas fight with each other?
  • How do bettas fight with other tank species?
  • How to avoid bettas from fighting with each other?
  • Summary 
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Reference 

How do betta fish fight?

Male fighting fish fight each other because they are incredibly territorial. In the wild they have to swim across miles of rivers and rice fields when it’s not the dry season.

When one male enters a foreign territory, they may show aggression, but there may not be a fight, as there is plenty of room to retreat.Betta fish fight for territory, including food resources, shelter, and access to females.

This is a common cause of aggressive behavior in many fish species. However, most male bettas are aggressive and should not be kept with other bettas.

The most common fighting behavior of a betta fish is known as flaring.Flaring is an act of intimidation designed to show dominance and appear bigger. 

It’s fine for bettas to do a little of this behavior every day, but more than a minute or so can cause the fish to become overly stressed.

How do male bettas fight with each other?

The male fighting fish will push both operculums, i.e their gill covers forward to suggest a larger body size. It is similar to the way a pufferfish expands its spines when they are under stress.

A fighting flash or flaring is a display of extended gills that occurs when a fish feels threatened. This behavior is common among male bettas when the fish are defending established territories or mating partners. Luckily, the fight is mostly limited to the display of flared and extended fins.

Male betta fish can sometimes kill each other and other fish by attacking their fins and causing open wounds.These open wounds can quickly lead to infection and/or fatigue.

If you’re lucky enough to catch signs of aggression before the real fight starts, it’s best to separate the two male betta fish in separate tanks.Male bettas are best kept in solitary nano tanks.

Male betta fish attack other fish by biting their fins.When they fight each other, the fight can last up to 15 minutes.In the wild, however, the fight will end (usually within minutes) when one of the two contestants backs off.

It would be inhumane to leave them all together in a tank where there are no plants or other places to hide.Never put two males together, where there is no divider to separate them and their visibility from each other.

The best way to keep fish from fighting is to keep only one male per tank.

If keeping bettas in separate tanks, place a visual barrier between the two tanks so the fish cannot see each other at all times.A simple aquarium backdrop or a piece of cardboard is an effective visual barrier.

How do female bettas fight with each other?

Female bettas are generally less aggressive than males and can live together, but do fight sometimes.In their sorority, there may be several battles,usually with one dominant female betta fish in charge, to establish the pecking order.

When a new betta is  introduced in sorority for the first time, it would be normal for them to squabble with each other.

Attacks between female betta fish while establishing a hierarchy are rarely as fierce as battles between male betta, but set betta community tanks until this process is complete.It is advisable to pay attention to them.

Female bettas do flare at each other.The difference is that female bettas tend to be semi-aggressive, while male bettas tend to be more aggressive, because they always claim superiority to each other, while female bettas may or may not do this.

If two female bettas are in an aquarium together, especially if the aquarium is small and not spacious, the two female bettas will fight. If you want to put female bettas together, you need at least 5 and 15 gallon aquariums.

Do baby bettas fight with each other?

  • Betta fry can stay together until the start of the fight.Male betta fry begin to show aggression when they reach the developmental stage. This is consistent with the brighter colors and longer fins. 
  • This usually begins at 8-9 weeks of age.
  • If you house two baby bettas together they may not fight at first, but as they get older they will kill each other.
  • You can keep the two baby bettas together unless both are male.

Do male and female bettas fight with each other?

Male and female betta fish also fight each other.They should never be kept together unless they are breeding and should be separated shortly after mating.Females typically eat eggs during spawning, and males chase and defend against this behavior.

Betta males are made to fight and may not be able to distinguish females from a threat. This male-female pairing often leads to quarrels and subsequent deaths. Even during periods of ovulation, the male may harass the female to the point of physical exhaustion.

The male betta sees the female betta as a threat to the eggs and attacks her relentlessly. Also, you have to keep in mind that if the two bettas produce juveniles, some of them are likely to become males. While this isn’t a problem initially, struggles do arise as they age.

How do bettas fight with other tank species?

  • Throughout history, the fighting fish, or Siamese fighting fish, has been constantly bred for its territorial aggression.This fighting instinct has never faded, even in those raised in captivity. 
  • For this reason, some fighting fish are so territorial that they can never coexist with other aquarium inhabitants.
  • Betta fish are known to be fierce fighters,especially against their species.
  • Betta fish are very territorial and may fight other fish that share an aquarium.Male betta fish especially like to bite fins and attack other fish.
  • In a community tank, bettas will attack other brightly colored species, but get along better with simpler, less colorful species.
  • Avoid species with long fins and large tails to avoid getting attacked by bettas.
  • Avoid colorful species to avoid getting attacked by bettas.

How to avoid bettas from fighting with each other?

To avoid bettas from fighting you should:

  • Keep male bettas separately in solitary nano tanks.
  • Keep bettas sorority in bigger and spacious tanks with lots of covers and hiding spots.
  • By providing spaces to each bettas, as they are very much particular about their spaces.
  • If adding them in community tanks, add them with less colorful tank mates, which are dull, faded,don’t nip fins, and don’t occupy the same tank levels as bettas.
  • A bottom dweller will do the needful.
  • Make sure you’re providing food to all of them, so that they don’t fight over food resources with each other.
  • Don’t overcrowd the tanks with too many betta species, overcrowded tanks are one of the main reasons for fighting due to lack of space.
  • Keep male and female bettas together only during breeding,as male tend to chase and harass female bettas for mating.
  • The simple solution would be to keep them together with tank dividers.


  • Despite their name siamese fighting fish & their fighting reputation, many bettas do not actually fight to kill each other.
  • Unless specially bred for aggression or occupying a small space with other bettas, most of them will nip on each other, but will not necessarily fight to death.
  • Betta, unlike other species, does not flock with each other and fights against each other regardless of gender.
  • You can keep two bettas together provided they are not both male. Keeping two males together will surely result in a life and death struggle.
  • Female bettas test each other by pinching and tracking, which is important for sorority to establish their territories and hierarchies.
  • The most aggressive fighting fish is selected for breeding.
  • Betta often causes damage by pinching or hitting enemy scales, fins, or tails.
  • The injuries can kill betta fish after combat,along with stress-induced infections.
  • If you find your betta showing its gills and fins for no apparent reason, this behavior may be due to stress, such as stress or changes in the water parameters.
  • In some scenarios, betta fights do not result in death.Non-lethal fights are more likely to occur in tanks with plenty of cover as well as ample space.
  • It is cruel to intentionally make a betta fish fight.

 Frequently asked questions

What is gill flaring at bettas?

Flaring is a term used to describe bettas inflating the flaps of the gills to effectively make them look bigger.

Are male and female bettas equally aggressive?

Male bettas are more aggressive than female bettas and more likely to be involved in fights with other male bettas, female bettas and other tank mates if housed together.