Do Betta Fish Fight & Kill Each Other?

Do Betta Fish Fight & Kill Each Other?

Many bettas, contrary to popular belief, do not fight to kill. Unless specifically bred for aggression or unless they share a small space with other bettas most bettas will fight at each other, but they will not fight to death.


It’s no coincidence that they’re known as Siamese fighting fish. Males establish a territory around plants or rocks. They develop a strong attachment to their territory. Betta fish fight to protect their territory from intruders. They will fight until their opponent is injured or withdraws. Betta fish are kept in isolation to prevent them from fighting.

Betta fish was discovered in the wild. They were commonly found in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam’s shallow paddy field ponds. They were dubbed “biting fish” by the locals. They typically reach a length of 5 cm. They can live for 2–5 years if properly fed and cared for. Breeders have successfully developed brilliantly colored and long-finned Betta varieties through selective breeding.

How Do Betta Fish Fight?

During a fight, the two male bettas will fan their fins and puff out their gills (flaring) to appear twice their size. This act is performed to intimidate and scare the opponent away. If that doesn’t work, they’ll nip at each other until one of them gives up.

How To Recognize Betta Fish Want To Fight

Fortunately, you can tell when your Betta fish is fighting; hopefully, you will never have to see it!

Male Betta fish are more aggressive. They establish territories and defend them with their lives.

When another male Betta is added to the tank, the original male begins to exhibit warning signs. These warning signs include flaring their gills and spreading out their fins in an attempt to appear dangerous.

This will also give the other male time to flee before a fight breaks out. These displays, however, can also occur in response to another stimulus.

If male Bettas feel threatened while feeding or protecting their bubble nest, they may prepare to fight.

It is also believed that other brightly colored fish threaten betta fish, so they will fight a male who is particularly colorful.

If the threat is not removed, these warning signs will soon turn into physical violence. The betta will start nibbling on the fins of the other fish.

If you notice pieces of fin missing from one of your fish, red marks on their body, or a sudden change in behavior, it could be due to a fight with your betta.

If threatened, both male and female Bettas will fight. Female bettas are said to be more aggressive than males by some betta keepers!

Other Motives for Betta Fish Fights

Aside from their aggressive nature, betta fish fight for a variety of reasons.

  1. Bettas can become aggressive if their aquarium is overcrowded. Betta fish require space to thrive, and in an overcrowded tank, bettas will feel constantly threatened and will need to assert their position in the tank through aggression.
  2. Bettas have a large swimming area in their natural habitat where they can explore and expend energy. If you keep bettas in a tank that is too small for them, they will become aggressive. They can easily become frustrated and start fighting with other fish if they don’t have enough space to swim.
  3. Hunger is a stressor that can make anyone aggressive. Bettas are predatory fish that hunt when they’re hungry. When their predatory instincts kick in, they will actively hunt and fight for food with other fish.
  4. Illness: Bettas are more likely to fight when they are ill or injured. When they become ill or injured, they become vulnerable and aggressive in order not to appear weak to their tankmates.
  5. Males guard their bubble nests until they hatch after breeding.
  6. Betta eggs are delicious to other fish. A betta male will fight to the death to protect the eggs if another fish tries to eat them.

When do Bettas kill other fish?

Male Bettas are extremely territorial, so many aquarium owners keep them alone and separate from other fish. While male Bettas will frequently attack other males, housing two or more males with several females may be enough to keep them from fightingy most of the time. Females are generally less aggressive and can be housed peacefully with other fish, but they can still be aggressive on occasion.

This is also why Bettas will attack other fish species: any fish that resembles a male Betta will be perceived as a threat and attacked. Avoid keeping any fish with bright colors or long, ornamental fins with Bettas because they will perceive them as potential threats. Furthermore, the personality of a Betta can vary greatly between individuals. While some Bettas are content with just a few tankmates, others will attack and kill them for no apparent reason and will continue to do so. These Bettas should be kept alone.

If your aquarium is overcrowded, it is very likely that your Bettas will act aggressively because they will not have enough space. If you’re going to keep Bettas with other fish, make sure there’s plenty of room.

Also Read : Can Male and Female Betta Fish Live Together?

Fighting With Other Fish

Can betta fish live together with other fish? Commonly, no. Male bettas can never coexist. A male and female can cohabit for mating purposes, but must be separated after the male steals the female’s eggs.

Bettas are tropical fish which thrive well in warm temperatures of around 85degrees Fahrenheit. Other specie of fish selected to live with betta should also have similar tropical requirements. Platies, corycats, African dwarf frog, neon/cardinal tetras, and white cloud mountain minnows do well as bettas tank mates. Bettas tank mate should not have long fins as that would agitate the male betta into mistaking it for another male. Betta might harass and nip at other species that are colorful or have long fins. This makes it necessary to exercise care in selecting tank mates.

People shunning violence, hate to watch betta fish fighting.  As a result of cross-breeding, the aggressive traits of the bettas have greatly reduced. Bettas with their vibrant colors, colorful fins, and interactive personalities do attract a lot of people. People consider them the most wonderful freshwater fish around and are increasingly finding offices and homes as pets.

Why Do Betta Fish Fight?

Betta fish compete for territory, which includes food, shelter, and access to females. Many different fish species exhibit aggressive behavior as a result of this.

There is some debate about whether this fighting behavior is innate or the result of how Betta fish are raised. Bettas raised in a group have less aggressive tendencies, according to research. 1 It is difficult to know how your betta fish were raised and how aggressive they may be with some suppliers, and it may take a few weeks for you to be able to tell their level of aggression. However, most male Bettas are aggressive and should not be kept with other Bettas.

Betta fish have a long history of being kept as competitive fighters in their native Thailand. Observations of competitive fights have revealed that fish raised in isolation, without other betta fish, are more aggressive and fight for longer periods of time. 2 Keeping fish for this purpose, like dog fighting, is a major concern for animal welfare.

Female Bettas are not typically aggressive toward one another. Female bettas are commonly kept in a small group known as a “sorority” or “harem,” and individual fish in a group may be more or less aggressive than others, resulting in an established hierarchy. The addition of new females to the harem, once established, may result in increased fighting as a new hierarchy is established. Female bettas are commonly kept in aquariums with other fish of comparable size.

Male Bettas cannot be kept in the same aquarium as other Bettas, but a single male Betta can be kept in the same aquarium as other non-aggressive fish species. Betta females can be housed with other fish species. Some betta fish may be aggressive toward other species of fish kept in the same tank if they have flowing fins like another betta. It is critical to stock your aquarium with fish that are not aggressive and are good community members. Your betta’s personality will determine whether or not they can be kept with other species. Some bettas are far too aggressive to be housed with other fish. Betta fish should be added to the aquarium last to avoid any potentially aggressive interactions.

How to Stop Betta Fish Fighting

The best way to prevent your fish from fighting is to keep only one male fish in each tank. If you keep bettas in separate tanks, put up a visual barrier between them so the fish can’t see each other at all times. Visual barriers can be as simple as aquarium backgrounds or a piece of cardboard.

Mirrored visual toys or mirrors placed near the aquarium should also be removed. Bettas are known to react aggressively to their own reflections. Although these items may be considered “enrichment,” they are known stressors for bettas and should not be used in betta tanks. Betta fish can injure themselves when they attack toys or their reflections in a mirror.

Marijuana and Prozac have been used in treatments to reduce aggressive Betta fish behavior. Bettas responded to both treatments by exhibiting less aggressive behavior but became tolerant of the marijuana dose. Always consult your veterinarian before beginning any treatments for your pet fish.

Leave a Reply