How to Avoid Betta Fish Fighting
Betta fish are also referred to as Siamese Fighting Fish, and there is
good reason for this nomenclature. Bettas - in particular, the males - are incredibly territorial and
aggressive fish. They are known to fight with one another as well as other fish, making the name very fitting
for these beautiful, exotic little fish.
Though they are aggressive and territorial, fighting is very stressful on the Betta fish and should be avoided
if at all possible. While it may be tempting to put two male Bettas together to watch them posture, or place a
mirror in front of the fish to confuse it into thinking another male is around, you are going to get a show, but
you will also shorten your Bettas life.
Avoiding Betta Fish Fighting in All-Female Community Tanks
Female Bettas, as opposed to males, can be kept together in a tank. Most communities range from 4-6 female
Bettas. Females are not nearly as aggressive or territorial as males, but they are still much more aggressive than
your typical fish. When introducing female Bettas to a new community, it is normal for their to be fighting and
posturing. Females are very hierarchical, and a chain of dominance must be established. Once the fish "know their
place" the fighting generally calms down. However, there are times when personalities just do not
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If, after a number of weeks, you still notice fighting, you may choose to separate the fish as they may continue
to fight until they are no longer in the same tank. The mating season is a particularly aggressive time for
females, so this is a time when you really want to watch them closely for unnecessary fighting behavior.
A Word on Male Betta Fish
No matter how much we might like to, there is just no safe way to keep two male Betta fish in the same tank.
They will fight for dominance, and will fight over territory. Pairing up two male Betta fish in the same tank is a
recipe for disaster, as the fighting will continue until one fish is injured or even killed.
Avoiding Fighting During Breeding
Males are quite aggressive around females too, and thus breeding Betta fish is a slightly more complex process
than that of other fish. To avoid Betta fish fighting, take the time to learn the proper breeding techniques. Be
sure to keep the male and female fish separated until it is time for the actual mating ritual to begin. Once the
female Betta has laid her eggs, she needs to be removed from the tank with the male as soon as possible. Leaving
her in the tank puts her at undue risk for aggression from the male Betta fish.
Fighting, while it may be an impressive and beautiful display, is very stressful for Betta fish. To keep their
environment as stress free as possible, keep in mind these general rules of thumb. When care is taken, Betta fish
fighting is not a problem - this will lead to a healthier and longer life for your Betta.
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