The Truth about the Female Betta
A female betta is a hard fish to locate. That’s because just about every single betta fish you will ever find being sold in a pet store is a male. If you are internet savvy, you can most certainly find someone somewhere in the world with a female betta to sell to you. In fact, some people breed bettas and might have both sexes available.
Most of the bettas that are sold in pet stores are Veil Tail bettas. The chances are pretty good that 100% of these fish are males. Pet stores love males because they have very bright colors and distinctive flowing fins. These are the kind of qualities that attract prospective fish buyers.
The truth is, a female betta can have just as many glowing colors as her male counterparts. Some may have colors that are duller, but you have much more variety in female colors and in the types of tails they have. The male betta has incredibly long and flowing fins because the large fins have been a focus of breeding for hundreds of years. A female betta has much shorter fins, and this is actually a positive characteristic, because males have trouble swimming in any current with their type of fins.
If you had a female betta, you would enjoy watching her swim and dart around the bowl or aquarium. If you have ever had a betta male, or spent time watching one, you probably noticed it is mostly a sitter. It sits and sits and sits in one spot and is very unlikely to dart even if he decides to go looking for food. A male betta has to be kept alone because he is too aggressive toward other fish. You cannot even put a female betta in the same bowl with him. Plus, males don’t do well with other fish and often have their fins damaged by nipping.
Other than by her smaller fins, the most accurate way to identify a female betta is by the ovipositor, or egg tube that you can see protruding from under her body. Unlike males, female bettas can live with one another. The situation works best if you can get fish that grew up together but any group of at least four females can live together peacefully.
There will be some activity between them for the first couple of weeks, but the females form a pecking order, and once the dominant female has been established, they will all get along fine together. While females pick on one another, it is rare that any of them will be seriously injured while the pecking order is being established. Get less than four females together, and you may have problems with fighting. Make sure your tank is big enough for the number of fish you have, and that you have plenty of places for the females to hide in case they are being pursued. Four betta females need a ten-gallon tank.
Once a female betta community has been established, do not add any other fish, not even another female betta or she will be aggressively attacked. If you decide you want to breed bettas, make sure to do a lot of research beforehand. It is not nearly as easy as many people think. Putting a male and female together is not going to do anything other than get the female killed. Bettas actually reproduce by the female laying the eggs and then the male fertilizes them and cares for them until the babies are born. It is a very interesting process with several twists and turns. And, if you successfully breed bettas the first time you try, it will have been pretty much of a miracle.