Betta Fish Fighting: Why Do Betta Fish Fight Each Other?

There are several reasons for Betta fish fighting. The three most common ones noticed with Bettas are territory, food and attracting the attention of a female. There are different studies that show how aggressive Betta fish are. Some say that it is not a natural thing and that it depends on how your Betta is bred. There are facts that confirm that those bred in the group perform less aggression than those kept in isolation.

Why Do Male Betta Fish Fight?

It is a fact that male Betta fish are extremely territorial and therefore more aggressive.  If there is another male Betta fish around, your male Betta fish will almost instantly show signs of aggression before defending its territory with its life.

Your Betta fish will start flaring first, and then it will spread its fins. That way it tries to look bigger and more serious. This is a signal for the other Betta fish to leave before the fight.

There is also another thing that provokes this behavior, too. If a Betta fish is threatened while feeding it will also engage into the fight to protect its food.

Protecting the bubble nest is also one of the reasons for a Betta fish to become very aggressive and attack.

As you can see there is a reason why the other name for a Betta fish is the Siamese fighting fish.

Do Female Betta Fish Fight?

To keep it simple – Female betta fish do fight. Unlike male Bettas who show extreme aggression, it is believed that female Betta fish are less aggressive. In most cases, aggression between female Betta fish arises while setting the hierarchy in the sorority.  If you have more than one female Betta fish in your tank one will try to be dominant. So until that Betta fish takes charge there will be fighting among them. Once they establish a hierarchy they will stop fighting.

How Long Do Betta Fish Fight?

There are different opinions about how long a fight can last. Depending on your fish it can stop when one Betta fish is beaten and retrieved. In other cases, they don’t stop until one Betta fish is dead. 

There have been some Betta fights that have lasted even up to fifteen minutes.

How to stop Betta fish fighting?

There are things you can do to prevent fighting. The best is to keep only one male Betta fish per tank. That way you will eliminate the possibility of fighting two males over a female.

You can also set up a visual barrier so that fish can not see each other. If they don’t see each other they are not a threat to each other and there is no reason to be aggressive.

If you have a situation with a sorority, there is hardly a way you can stop fighting. A group of females will choose the most dominant female as a leader.  In most cases, the result of a fight brings one female to the pedestal. After the fight is done the strongest female, the most dominant one, becomes the one in charge of a sorority.

Will my Betta fight other fish?

We need to point out once again that Betta fish are extremely territorial and they don’t like to share their tank with other fish, especially males.

In most cases, male Betta fish will attack other fish for many reasons such as territory, food, a female etc. They usually bite the fins of other fish. However, there are some species that can actually get along pretty well with Betta fish in the same tank.

Final Thoughts

Bettas are commonly known as fighting fish, it is in their nature to be territorial and aggressive. That is quite a normal form of behavior for Betta fish, especially males. Females are rarely as aggressive as males but they can be too. They also become aggressive when there is a question of food and feeding.

If anyone or anything endangers their bubble nests, they are ready to attack. And finally, when it comes to females, they are also very aggressive. One male is ready to kill another in a fight over a female companion. So, if you like a vivid atmosphere and are able to provide great conditions in your aquarium you should keep this fish of magnificent colors and hard character to deal with.

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