What’s The Difference Between Male and Female Betta Fish?

Difference between male and female betta fish

Updated on 2017-01-22 -- When you are are trying to figure out which type of betta fish to buy, it’s very important that you know how to spot the difference between male and female betta fish. Especially if you are planning on buying more than one. Why is it so important? If you’ve read my previous posts, you now know that it is very important not to mix a female and male betta together in the same tank, or it will be the quickest divorce in history! The only time you should really mix them together is if you plan on breeding them. I’m not going to get into breeding techniques since I haven’t really gotten into that myself, but this article will definitely help you get started on the right track to making sure you have one of each!

Difference Between Male and Female Betta Fish

To start, you should know that it is a lot easier to identify the differences when the bettas are more mature. It’s a lot trickier when they are just younglings because their colors and finnage haven’t fully developed yet.
Now on to the physical differences:

ColorIn general, males tend to have much brighter colors.Females can have the same colors as their male counterparts, however normally they are not as intense. 
FinsMales usually have long, flowing fins and tails. (2-4 times longer than females). Females tend to have smaller fins, which look more rounded in appearance.
AggressionThe male is definitely the more aggressive of the two, which is usually why they are left alone. Due to their non-aggressive natures, females can be grouped together.
BodyMales tend to have larger and longer bodies.Female bettas are usually smaller in size and should* have a small white spot/tube (called “ovipositor”) which can be seen on the underside of their bodies.  This is where the eggs come from during the breeding process.(*Not always noticeable on all females.)


BeardAll males have a membrane called a “beard”, which is found under the gill plate. When the gills are closed, this membrane looks like a beard.Females do not have this feature.


Male and Female Betta Fish -- Visual Aids

The following image will give you some visual cues to look out for:

Male & Female Betta

Here’s a video that shows a male and female co-existing:

Male And Female Betta Together In My Tank


Other Facts

  • Because their finnage and coloring is more impressive than the females, it’s usually the males that you see in pet store displays.
  • During the breeding process, it’s actually the male that is responsible for the care of the eggs. (The male usually chases the female away to make sure she doesn’t eat all the eggs).
  • Males must be kept alone (with the exception of “mating season”), while the females can be mixed with other females.


Updated on 2017-01-22 -- By popular demand, I included a video that shows a male and female betta fish co-existing together, to more easily see the difference between male and female betta fish.
Before you leave, please check out our SHOP for amazing deals on betta fish tanks, decorations, supplies and more!


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