How to keep male & female Betta fish together in the same aquarium?

Betta fish is a beautiful addition to the aquarium. Many people keep betta fish in bowls but they need an aquarium with a good filter. Betta fish are aggressive & territorial. It is advisable to keep betta alone in the aquarium because they fight with other fish including their own kind. But I am keeping both male & female veil tail betta in the community aquarium with lots of fish & invertebrates, & have no problem. All fish are living peacefully in the aquarium. I haven’t seen them fighting with each other, & the reason behind why my betta fish is living peacefully in the community aquarium is that I am keeping lots of live plants that provide hiding space for the fish. My aquarium is large so betta fish can form their own territory. I am keeping peaceful mates so there is no problem from the other fish too. Plus, there are no fin nippers that might nip the beautiful flowing tail of betta. Also, my aquarium filter is doing its job well such as it wipes out toxic chemicals that could otherwise stress my betta fish. I have explained all the tactics that I have used to keep betta fish peacefully in the community aquarium in this article:

  1. Heavily Planted Tank
  2. Large Aquarium
  3. Peaceful Tank Mates
  4. No Fin Nippers
  5. Good Filtration

Male betta fish in a community aquarium
Male betta fish in a community aquarium

1. Heavily Planted Tank:

Heavily planted community aquariums are best for keeping betta fish because there are plenty of hiding space for the fish. Make sure you have lots of live plants in the aquarium if you want to keep both male & female betta fish in the community aquarium. Live plants provide lots of hiding places for the fish. Fish can hide from bullies in the plants. Fish live happily in the plants, & they live calmly when not stressed. Some fish do not like the presence of humans & they are more comfortable if you provide an abundance of hiding spots in the tank. Along with plants, you can keep rocks, structures, & caves that provide more hiding places where fish can rest. My community aquarium is heavily planted & betta fish lives happily in the aquarium. Betta loves playing & hiding in the plants. Lots of hiding spots will keep your betta stress free & happy, & they will not be aggressive towards other tank mates.

How to keep betta fish in a community tank
How to keep betta fish in a community tank

I am keeping the following live plants in my betta community tank:

  • Rotala
  • Java Fern
  • Java Moss
  • Alternanthera reineckii
  • Staurogyne repens
  • Hygrophila
  • Ludwigia repens


Majority of hiding space is provided by Java Fern. Java Moss is providing good hiding space for shrimps


2. Large Aquarium:

Betta will need a large aquarium to form its own territory. Betta fish are territorial & they need large tanks to form their territories. Large aquariums will provide more space for the betta fish to form its territory so fish will seldom enter the space that betta are guarding. Make sure there is enough swimming space because betta along with other schooling fish, likes to swim. Plenty of free space will keep every fish happy & active. Large aquariums can be decorated with lots of ornaments, rocks, caves, structures & you can keep other objects that could offer hiding places. Also, many aquarists keep plants in their large aquariums. Large tanks need low maintenance because toxic chemicals released from fish waste need good filtration. Many filters can break down toxic ammonia into less toxic forms. But they can’t remove nitrates from the water which is the end product of the nitrogen cycle. However, certain bio media can even remove nitrates but fish keepers sometimes avoid them because these bio media overtime need replacement. Large aquariums have low levels of nitrates so they need partial water change of 25 percent after every 2 - 4 weeks. In small aquariums, more partial water changes are required. So, it is advisable to keep betta in a large community tank to keep them stress free & calm.

Female betta fish in a community aquarium
Female betta fish in a community aquarium

3. Peaceful Tank Mates:

Keep betta fish in the aquarium with lots of other peaceful mates. Good mates will not harass betta & will not fight them. Peaceful mates will allow betta to live stress free & peacefully in the community aquarium because there is no opponent with whom betta can battle. Even if betta starts a battle, the other fish will simply hide & the battle will be over. I am keeping the following fish in my betta community aquarium:

  • Male and female veil tail betta
  • Khoi Swordtail
  • Guppies
  • Molly
  • Platy
  • Endlers
  • Harlequin Rasbora
  • White Cloud Minnow
  • Clown Loaches
  • Cardinal Tetras
  • Red Cherry Shrimps

Make sure you take good care of every fish & keep species that have similar needs like water temperature, pH, hardness, & always keep fish that have similar nature. All of the fish in the betta community tank are hardy & they can survive in harsh conditions.


4. No Fin Nippers:

Do not keep fin nippers in betta community aquarium because they will nip betta’s flowing tail. Many fin nipper fish will attack the beautiful flowing tail of betta & will nip it. This could result in injury or death of the betta fish.


5. Good Filtration:

Good filtration will wipe out toxic chemicals released from fish waste, leftover food, dirt, dead plant leaves & other debris in the aquarium. Mechanical filter media will trap all the solid particles that will otherwise release toxic chemicals. Ammonia will be able to pass through the mechanical filter media. But bio media will break down ammonia into nitrites & nitrates. Nitrates are less dangerous than nitrites while nitrites are less dangerous than ammonia. Bio media that help in breaking down ammonia is known as nitrifying bacteria. This bacteria spreads on the large surface of the bio media but they are also found everywhere in the aquarium. They need oxygen for survival.

Denitrifying bacteria will wipe out nitrates from the water. This bacteria lives in oxygen rich places such as pores of the bio media where air can’t enter. Plants are another good source of filtration because it absorbs ammonia byproducts including nitrates from the aquarium water. Heaps of plants will clean water quickly & efficiently. Plus, nitrates fertilize the plants & help them in growth. Live plants also absorb other pollutants & heavy metals from the water. Even if you have plants / denitrifying bacteria then still you can’t skip partial water changes because freshwater has minerals that fish & plants need.

If you want to keep your aquarium water clean then ensure that your filter is drawing lots of water for efficient cleaning. You can choose a filter that has a flow rate of 6 times the volume of the tank water per hour. So, if you have a 60-gallon aquarium then your aquarium filter should have a flow rate of 360 gallons per hour.

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