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How Is Betta Fish Gender Determined?

Betta fish are of medium difficulty when it comes to determining gender. There are fundamental elements by which you can distinguish between female and male betta fish. In this article, you will learn how to correctly determine their gender.

By knowing how to distinguish between female and male betta fish, you can correctly identify their genders. Are they constantly fighting, or are they just playing?

Knowing the gender of your betta fish will help you understand if everything is going well in your aquarium. Gender determination is crucial for any hobbyist or betta fish producer who wants their fish to grow and live healthily.

We have explained in detail below how to determine the gender of betta fish, one of the most common aquarium fish.

Betta Fish Gender Determination: Differences Between Female and Male Betta

When determining gender in betta fish, there are various points to consider. Generally, the way to distinguish gender in betta fish species is the same (plakat species should be examined more carefully).

The following factors are the most common and accurate in determining the gender of betta fish.

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Male betta fish usually have brighter colors than females. However, color alone is not sufficient for gender determination. Occasionally, female betta fish can also be brightly colored.

Vertical Stripes:

Vertical stripes appear on the female betta fish’s body when it’s mating season. This does not occur in male bettas, making it suitable for gender distinction.

Fins and Tail:

This is a frequently used method for betta fish gender determination. The male betta fish’s fins are twice as long as the female’s. In some species, this difference can be up to four times longer. Additionally, the male’s pelvic fin is both longer and thicker than the female’s.


Behind the gill covers of betta fish, there is a membrane. The beard-like protrusions on this membrane are used to determine the gender of male betta fish. As the fish moves its gills, you can see this structure inside. Especially in males, it appears larger and is noticeable even under normal circumstances.


An adult male betta fish can reach a length of 8 cm. This size reaches 6 cm in females. When determining gender by size, it is important to ensure that the fish have reached their full adult sizes. Non-adult female and male bettas are roughly the same size.


Male betta fish are much more aggressive and territorial than females. They display their fins and showcase themselves to intimidate rival bettas. Female betta fish tend to be more social and docile. Females can be kept in groups without fighting.


There’s a reason male betta fish are also called fighting Siamese fish. Male bettas can be so aggressive and hostile that it can even affect their expected lifespan.

Therefore, two male betta fish should not be kept in the same aquarium, and outside of mating season, they should not be kept with female betta fish. Male betta fish are definitely not suitable for group keeping.

Bubbles, Foam, Balloons:

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Bubbles are something betta fish owners can sometimes, or occasionally, notice. During the breeding season, male betta fish create bubbles (foams) on the aquarium surface to build a nest. Even without a female betta fish in the aquarium, male fish can create bubble nests.

Egg Spot:

Adult female betta fish have a spot on their bellies where they carry eggs. In this spot of female bettas, an image called the egg spot is formed. Very rarely, male bettas can also have an egg spot. In some species, this spot is very hard to see. To best check, you need to take a picture of the fish and carefully look at the abdominal area.

Body Shape:

Male bettas have a longer and slimmer body. Females have a shorter and more rounded body shape.

Juvenile Betta Fish Gender Determination

There isn’t a definite method to determine the gender of juvenile betta fish. Since they haven’t reached sexual maturity yet, it’s impossible to make an accurate gender distinction. However, you can make estimates based on the above factors. You should wait for the fish to mature for an accurate gender determination.

Considering all the factors above, betta fish gender determination can be listed as follows:

  • Male bettas are brighter and more vibrant.
  • Vertical stripes appear on female bettas during mating season.
  • Most male betta fish species have long and full fins.
  • The body of male bettas is long, slim, and narrow.
  • Female betta fish have a shorter and wider body.
  • Adult male bettas can reach 8 cm in length, while females can reach 6 cm.
  • There’s an egg spot on sexually mature female bettas.
  • When showing aggressiveness, the male betta fish expands its gill covers.
  • Male bettas are very aggressive when kept with other males and fight.
  • Female bettas can be placed in groups in the same aquarium.
  • Male betta fish create bubbles on the aquarium surface (very rarely females can too).
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Why Does a Betta Fish Make Bubbles (Foam)?

This can be observed in two periods. The first is when the male betta fish enters its breeding season and creates bubbles for mating. The second is to assert dominance over another male betta fish in the same aquarium.

How Long Do Betta Fish Live?

The lifespan of betta fish is a maximum of 5 years. Very few bettas live up to 5 years, usually due to their aggressive behaviors, being fighters, or not being well-taken care of.

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