When you get a colorful tropical betta fish (also known as a Siamese fighting fish), it’s normal to want more.
Many aquarists want to keep multiple bettas, but if you know a thing or two about betta fish, you’ll know that bettas don’t do well with tank mates.
Does that mean you need a separate tank for each betta fish? Not necessarily.
You can keep multiple betta fish in a single tank, but doing so requires some preparation.
First, you can’t keep betta fish in a small tank.
The minimum tank size for a single betta is five gallons; if you are keeping more than one betta, the tank needs to be much bigger.
So, how many betta fish can live in a 10-gallon tank? The answer will vary for male bettas and female bettas. If you want to know how many bettas to keep in a 10-gallon tank, and the necessary precautions you need to follow, keep reading this guide till the end.
How Many Betta Fish Can Stay In a 10-Gallon Tank?
In a 10-gallon fish tank, you can keep at least five betta fish, but there is a catch—you can keep up to five female betta fish together in a tank but not male bettas. If you want to house male bettas together, the number needs to be less. When you want to mix female and male bettas, things get even more complicated.
Male and female betta don’t do well together as male bettas are territorial and can attack female betta fish. If you want to keep more than one betta fish in the same aquarium, you’ll need to do research for:
- Males and females
Let’s learn how.
Keeping male betta in a 10-gallon tank
There are three ways male betta fish can live in one tank with other fish, which are as follows.
Male betta with other fish
A male betta fish can share its space with another fish in the 10 gallon tank. But you must be wise in selecting the other fish you are keeping your betta with. You have to think about the safety of both the fish, so select a species that’s not as aggressive as the betta fish.
Don’t keep a fin nipper with the male betta because it can damage the betta’s vibrant, colorful fins. Some species that can live with a betta are ember tetras, harlequin rasboras, pygmy corydoras, trumpet snails, cory catfish, and kuhli loaches.
Male betta fish with a female betta fish
You should keep a male and female betta fish together only for breeding. The male betta will not tolerate another female in its territory and will bully female betta fish. After the breeding period is over, separate both the fish.
Two male bettas in the same tank
If you plan to keep two or more male betta fish in a 10-gallon tank, you have to use dividers. Keeping multiple male betta fish together without using dividers is a bad idea as it stresses the bettas, and they start fighting.
So, how many male bettas can adjust well in a 10-gallon tank? No more than two or three bettas should be kept together as bettas need spacious aquariums.
Also, when you add dividers in the tank, use lots of plants as hiding spaces to keep the betta fish away from each other’s sight.
Keeping female betta fish in a 10-gallon tank
You can keep four to five female betta fish in a 10-gallon tank. When you put a group of female bettas together, It’s called a female betta sorority. Female bettas are less aggressive than males, so there is no harm keeping multiple in the female betta sorority tank.
But there is a catch as well.
When the betta fish assumes itself to be the dominant female, it may consider the whole aquarium as its own territory and start bullying other females. Experienced betta keepers recommend not to keep two or three female bettas together.
If you keep two females, there will be one superior female and one inferior female, making it difficult for the inferior one. If you keep three females, there will be two dominant females constantly attacking the docile betta fish.
Therefore, the best way to ensure female bettas live peacefully is to keep four to five fish in your betta sorority. When you keep four to five female bettas together, there will be no hierarchy for other female bettas to uphold.
Regardless of the aquarium size, you shouldn’t keep more than ten female bettas due to bioload issues—more fish equals more waste, which can drive up harmful toxins in your tank and make your betta fish sick.
When you keep multiple female betta fish in one tank, you must take proper care of the fish’s health. Maintain the water quality as more bettas mean more fish waste and other toxin build-ups. Change aquarium water regularly to keep it clean and hygienic.
Also, provide enough hiding places by adding live plants and other decorations. Bettas love to have their own space, and more hiding space means less interaction with other bettas, hence fewer issues with the tank mates.
But, like any rule, there are always exceptions.
If you choose to try a sorority, you must keep a watchful eye on the fish. If you notice they appear stressed or become territorial, separate them immediately.
When caring for a betta fish, it’s essential not to overcrowd the tank.
You can keep two to three male and four to five female bettas in a 10-gallon tank as long as you follow appropriate housing methods. For the males, use dividers in the aquarium so that they don’t hurt each other. For the sorority tank, house four to five females so that there is no aquarium hierarchy.
Additionally, choosing the right tank mates, allowing enough hiding spaces, a healthy aquarium environment also matter a lot to keep the betta fish happy in a 10 gallon tank.
No, betta fish love to swim around the aquarium, and they need lots of places to hide; hence a 10 gallon tank is not too big for a betta.
Regular cleaning is necessary for the betta aquarium, so try cleaning it at least once or twice a month.
If there is only one betta in a 10 gallon tank, changing the water once a month is fine. But if there are multiple bettas, change the water every week as more fish means more waste and other toxins build up in the tank.