You are currently viewing How to Identify if you Male Betta or Female Betta Fish | 10 Things to note

How to Identify if you Male Betta or Female Betta Fish | 10 Things to note

The betta fish (Betta Splendens), also known as the Siamese fighting fish is a popular ornamental fish acclaimed for its dazzling colors, and aggressive nature.

It is much beloved by betta hobbyists and aquarium enthusiasts. The betta fish is a member of the gourami family and is native to the Mekong Basin in Southeast Asia. The betta fish is found in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.

The betta fish has a unique respiratory system known as the labyrinth organ. This special organ enables it to breathe air directly from the water surface.

Siamese Fighting fish

How to Care for Betta Fish for Beginners

The betta fish is known in history as the Siamese fighting fish, and its reputation as a tough and hardy fighting fish ensured the popularity of the betta fish since ancient times. To breed more aggressive Siamese fighting fish for fighting contests, people collected them from their natural surroundings which are; ponds, floodplains, and rice paddies, and specifically bred them to be more aggressive.

These fights eventually became so popular, that the king of Thailand began to license the use of the Siamese fighting fish.

However, present-day trade-in betta fish is open and unrestricted, and all the betta fish sold in pet stores are bred on large commercial breeding farms. The male betta fish is deemed to have more commercial value than the female betta fish.



The female betta fish lacks the luster of the male bettas, thus they are often sold en masse in large farm-level trades, leaving only a few female betta fish for breeding purposes.

So whenever you see a brightly colored betta fish in an aquarium, chances are high that it is a betta male.

Differences between the male and female betta fish are imperceptible at birth, but at 2-months, the male betta fish become more morphologically different from the females.

Male Betta Fish Facts

Features Characteristics
Origins Southeast Asia
Diet Carnivore
Size Up to 3 Inches
P.H level 6.0-8.0
Water temperature 25-27 degree Celsius
Lifespan 3 years
Temperament (Nature) Highly Aggressive
Can cohabit with same-sex betta species No
Can cohabit with betta fish of different sex Yes
Level of tolerance for fish of different species Low
Intensity of Multicolor display High
Change colors Yes
Have long Flowing Fins Yes
Have Egg Spot No
Body Style Thin
Body Size Bigger
Fin Size Longer & flowing

Identifying the Male Betta Fish

How to identify if you Male Betta or Female Betta Fish

Although the social difference between male and female betta is enormous, both fish exhibit aggressive behavior.

The male betta fish is highly territorial, and will not share his territory with
another male betta fish. This is one reliable way of identifying a male betta fish.

In the past, the male Siamese fighting fish was bred exclusively as a fighting fish. But that has since changed, and betta fish are now being largely bred as ornamental fish for aquarium display.

The betta fish size, his stunning colors, and flamboyant fins; characteristics that endear the male betta to enthusiasts, and aficionados are the results of selective breeding.

Male betta fish can be identified by the social behaviors listed below:

Aggressiveness towards another Male Betta Fish

The male betta fish can be easily identified by his display of aggression towards other male betta fish. The male betta fish aggression is easily prompted by the presence of another male betta.

If confronted with another male betta fish, he will flare his gills and spread his elaborate fins in an attempt to intimidate the other male betta fish, eventually resorting to physical displays of aggression such as tail biting.

The aggressive response to his Mirror Image

The male betta fish will display aggressive behavior towards his reflection.

Reinforced access to his mirror image will provoke a highly charged display of aggression in a male betta fish.

Aggression towards Female Betta Fish

The male betta fish is socially domineering over the female betta. He is more aggressive and will attack the female betta fish under certain circumstances.

Unprovoked aggressive behavior

The male betta fish is differentiated by displays of aggression not limited to the territorial incursion by another male betta, or other fish.

The male betta fish will display aggressive behavior towards other male bettas in nearby tanks, and to fish with similar features placed in the other part of a divided tank.



Violent pre-mating behavior

When a spawning female betta fish is introduced to the male, he begins a violent pursuit of the female betta in an attempt to woo, and force her into submission.

If the female is indifferent to the male betta fish advances, the male betta fish can escalate the wooing process by launching a physical attack on the female betta fish.

Aggression towards other fish

The male betta fish will become aggressive towards, and attack identical fish of different species. Fish with comparable physical features and colors as the betta male can be mistaken for a rival and attacked.

Building bubble nests

Before the mating process, the male Betta fish build bubble nests to receive female eggs for fertilization. When eggs released by the female betta fish fall to the floor of the tank, the male betta fish collects the fallen eggs and returns them to the safety of the bubble nest.

Protects the fertilized eggs and frys

The male betta fish is the primary carer for fertilized eggs. and protects young frys. The male betta fish protect eggs and frys, preventing the growth of supraglenoid fungus which is harmful to both eggs and frys.

Prefers to cohabit with bottom feeders

The male betta fish’s antisocial behavior makes it an undesirable tank mate to top-level feeding fish. Fish with labyrinth organs that needs to breathe air at the surface level, just like the betta fish, cannot cohabit peacefully with the male beta fish.

Also, the male betta fish is hostile to fish with comparable traits like stunning colors and long flowing fins e.g. the goldfish.

The Physical differences of the Male Betta Fish

The adult male betta fish is bigger, stronger, and more colorful than the female betta fish. This is the reason why the male betta fish is more popular and accounts for almost all pet store betta fish sales and aquarium displays.

Both male and female bettas are virtually indistinguishable after hatching. However, the difference between the male and female betta fish become apparent by adulthood which is about two to three months, when the male betta fish becomes noticeably larger and longer.

Body size and appearance

Adult male betta fish grow up to 3 inches, the female betta fish do not. The adult male betta fish is considerably bigger and longer than the female betta but tend to be thinner than the female betta fish.

An example is the male Crowntail betta fish with his long spiky crown appearance and extended flamboyant fins, and it looks remarkably different from the female Crowntail betta, which has shorter dimensions, and a less majestic appearance.

Color

The male betta fish is more colorful than the female betta, they are preferred by hobbyists and pet owners because of their amazing display of colors.

An example is the male Veil tail betta fish which comes in different color combinations.



Fins Style

In a large variety of betta fish, the shape, size, and color of the fin determine the difference between male and female betta fish. Male betta fish has a longer dorsal (top), ventral (bottom), and a caudal (tail) fin than the female betta fish.

The male betta fish has a drooping dorsal and caudal fin due to their length, and the caudal fins of the male betta fish extend 2-3 times the male betta fish body height.

Beard

The male betta fish has a membrane beneath their gills which is usually black or brown. This membrane is commonly referred to as a beard, and it is more visible on the male betta fish and is much less visible on the female betta fish.

Female Betta Fish Facts

Features Characteristics
Origins Southeast Asia
Diet Carnivore
Size Up to 3 Inches
P.H level 6.0-8.0
Water temperature 25-27 degree Celsius
Lifespan 3 years
Temperament (Nature) Mildly Aggressive
Can cohabit with same sex betta species Yes
Can cohabit with betta fish of different sex Yes
Level of tolerance for fish of different species Moderate
Intensity of Multi color display Low
Change colors Yes
Have long Flowing Fins No
Have Egg Spot Yes
Body Style Thick
Body Size Smaller
Fin Size Short & bristle

Identifying the female betta fish

How to identify if you Male Betta or Female Betta Fish

The female betta fish is more of a social creature than the male betta fish. Although the female betta fish share similar aggressive traits as the male betta, she is more inclined to live peacefully with another female betta-provided that hierarchy is maintained.

Female betta fish can be identified by the social behaviors listed below:

Can cohabit in a Sorority

When two or more female betta fish live in the same tank, it is referred to as a sorority. Female betta fish are reputed to be moderately aggressive to each other in a sorority although, a level of the hierarchy must be established in the community tank over some time.

In a sorority, a dominant female betta fish will emerge, and the remaining female bettas will submit to the dominant fish. This can be achieved without getting involved in regular and dangerous territorial fights like the male betta fish.

Mild aggression towards other fish

The female betta fish is moderately tolerant of other fish species. Although she is not as aggressive or territorial as the male betta, the female betta fish can exhibit aggressive tendencies towards other fish if she feels threatened.

Spawns

When spawning, the stomach of the female betta fish becomes roundish and yellowish and is filled with eggs. Her Oviposter (the tube which the egg passes through), is exposed and extends noticeably behind the ventral fin near the head of the female betta fish.



Does not protect the fertilized eggs and frys

After mating, the female betta fish does not care for, nor protects the fertilized eggs and frys. When around her eggs, she is more likely to devour them.

The physical differences of the female betta fish are:

Body size and appearance

Female betta fish are a lot less physically imposing than the male betta fish, and she is smaller in size. Female betta fish have a stubby body structure and, she is not as long as the male betta fish.

Egg spots (Oviposter)

A good method to identify a female betta fish is by trying to locate her egg spot. The egg spots also called the Oviposter, is white and shaped like a tiny dot. It is positioned between the edges of the ventral fin, near the head of the female betta fish.

Color

Like the male betta, the female betta fish also displays multiple colors. However, they are not as brilliant. An exquisite trait of the female betta is the shift in her color display when she is ready to mate.

The female betta fish develops colorful vertical stripes across her body when she is introduced to a proximate male. This should not be mistaken for stress stripes.

Fin styles

Unlike the elegant and flowing fins of the male betta fish, female Betta fish fins look stubby and ugly in comparison.

Female betta fish can be easily identified by their distinctive short fins. For example, the female Betta fish ventral fin resembles a hair comb.



Conclusion

Both sexes of the beautiful betta fish each have their personality. They are friendly and interesting fish with incredible long term memory and can learn tricks.

Betta fish recognize their caregivers, and some enjoy being stroked by human hands or being lifted out of the water. The betta fish is an emotional fish and can suffer from depression if neglected.

Apart from their magnificence, these traits are what make the betta fish great pets for people of all ages.