You are here:

Fish/Betta male & females



I have recently set up a small 25 litre aquarium to house 1 male betta. I was thinking of adding female(s), but all the information I have read seems very conflicting on whether this is possible.

I know it can be down to the personality of the male in cases, but can you tell me what you would/wouldn't recommend? Or is it all simply trial & error?

Thank you.

ANSWER: Hi Chris,
  If you put a female in with a male betta he will naturally try to mate with her. If she is ready to mate, then they will, at which point you should take the female out.  After she has laid, he no longer wants her around and will kill her to get her away from the babies and his nest.  Similarly, he will react aggressively towards her if she is not interested in mating in the first place.  

-- Ron C.
  Cichlid Research Home Page <>

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for your reply Ron.

Does the harem system work with bettas or will he simply attempt to kill all the females in the tank? Or would the females fight with each other?

Alternatively I could add the female/females to my community tank but there is a male dwarf gourami in there. Will he attack female bettas?

Thanks for your assistance.

Hi Chris,
 I am very sorry for the delay in answering.  If you put any female bettas in a small tank with a male, he will attack them once he has kids to care for.  The females will not generally fight with each other.  The male dwarf gourami will probably not care much about the female bettas unless he is guarding eggs. If he is guarding eggs, then he too can  attack anything that comes near the nest.

-- Ron C.
  Cichlid Research Home Page <>


All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Ron Coleman


I am an expert on cichlid fishes, particularly New World cichlids. My broader expertise includes the behavior, ecology and reproduction of fishes in general. (I am NOT an expert on Goldfish). Please do not use abbreviations, such as "my GT has a swollen eye" because I don't know what a "GT" is. The more clearly you can explain your question, the better chance I have of understanding what it is that you seek. I keep fishes both as a scientist and as a hobbyist and I currently maintain about 140 aquariums.


I am an Associate Professor at the California State University, Sacramento in the Department of Biological Sciences, and I run a website, called the Cichlid Research Home Page . I also write for many popular aquarist magazines, and I was editor of Cichlid News magazine for several years. I am a scientist and I spend my time teaching fish biology, ecology, behavior and evolution and doing research on the reproductive biology of fishes, particularly cichlids. I do research in the laboratory and in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Mexico. My main interest is understanding the evolution of parental care in fishes. I am interested in encouraging greater public awareness, understanding and participation in science.

Cichlid News, Tropical Fish Hobbyist, Freshwater and Marine Aquarium, Science, Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, Copeia, Canadian Journal of Zoology, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, AUK, Environmental Biology of Fishes

PhD (Toronto, 1993) MSc (Simon Fraser, 1986) BSc (British Columbia, 1983)

©2017 All rights reserved.