How do Betta Fish Reproduce if they Fight Each Other?

BNelsonStarred Page By BNelson, 31st Jul 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Pets>Fish

A common question among people who keep Betta fish, is “If you cannot put male and female Betta fish together without them fighting, how do Betta fish breed?”. Read on to find out how Betta fish reproduce. Learn how you can become a breeder.

Can Male and Female Betta Fish be Put Together?

Sorry, you cannot just put male and female Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, together.  They are frequently called Siamese fighting fish because they are aggressive to each other, even fish of the opposite sex. 

Betta fish are very territorial and will fight and kill each other. In the wild they would not fight to the death, one of the fish would swim away, leaving the area to the victor, but in enclosed spaces, the fight is more extreme.

Having said that, there are times when a male and female Betta fish can be put together for the rather brief act of mating. 

How to Breed Betta Fish

A few days before you plan to breed your fish, be sure they are fed a good diet, many breeders feed brine shrimp to their breeding fish, being careful not to let their fish get fat.

Betta fish are egg layers, the female produces eggs which the male must “milk” out of her, fertilize, and guard. When the female fish is ready to lay her eggs she will enter her “breeding pattern” in which her color changes slightly and vertical (up and down) stripes appear on the sides of her body. She will be encouraged to enter this phase by being put in a tank with a male but separated safely.  They can "smell" each other in the water understanding the gender of the other as being opposite.

The male Betta fish should be in a fairly large, and clean, tank; one that can be fitted with a divider. The female should be put on the other side, with care taken to be sure the fish cannot jump out, or into the other side. Their must be enough room for both fish so they are not stressed by the near presence of the other. After a few days the male should start building a bubble nest and the female should enter her breeding phase.

When these two events have taken place you can remove the divider and let them be together. Note that the mating habits can seem rough, and can actually be rough, so you should stay and remove the female if needed. Normally the male will wrap himself around the female, squeezing out the eggs. He will then fertilize and collect the eggs and put them into the bubble nest. At this time the female should be removed or she will eat the eggs.

When the fry first hatch (within a week) they will not be able to swim and the male will be picking them up and spitting them back into the bubble nest. By the time they are able to swim well (a couple of days later), he will start to eat them, and as such this is when the male Betta fish needs to be removed.

How to be a Betta Breeder

The young Betta fry need to be kept warm and should be fed proper Betta fish fry food twice a day. When the get bigger they must have individual containers. You should be sure you have a market for the fish before you consider breeding your Bettas.

There are may different types of Betta, if you want to be a proper breeder you need to educate yourself on the types and have a goal in mind in regards to what type you want to produce.

You should start with good quality fish, not the ones sold in pet stores. Buy your breeding pairs from reputable Betta breeders.

Breeding Betta fish is only something you should do if you have lots of space, lots of time, and a buyer for the young fish.


Betta, Boy, Breed, Breeding Reproduce, Eggs, Female, Fish, Girl, Lay, Male, Mate, Pets, Siamese Fighting

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author avatar BNelson
I write on many topics but am mostly interested in pets and animals.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
31st Jul 2012 (#)

Great information on Breeding Betta fish.

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author avatar norlaw1935
31st Jul 2012 (#)

Very good article Brenda and beautitul pictures. Betta's are gorgeous.

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author avatar A K Rao
1st Aug 2012 (#)

I liked the article and I sincerely appreciate your efforts in present this article as a aquarium enthusiast ! I maintained aquarium for about 20 years but never had Betta in it ! Thanks !

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author avatar Buzz
3rd Aug 2012 (#)

I used to own a pair and observed as much when they mated. I took pity on the female whose fins were left shattered in the process.:(

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author avatar Jen
13th Aug 2013 (#)

Very good article, but there is a minor mistake. It's a common misconception that the male betta "squeeze" the eggs from the female during the mating process. Though it appears that's what he is doing...he is only tightly embracing the female, which allows the male to release sperm closer to the female's egg spot. This allows for immediate (and more successful) fertilization of the eggs as they exit the female's body.

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