How Many Female Bettas in a 5 or 10 Gallon Tank?

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Male betta fish must be kept alone unless you have a large tank that can accommodate dividers. But did you know that you can keep a group of female bettas together in a sorority?

Female bettas lack much of the brilliant colors, patterns, and fancy tails of their male counterparts, but they can make a nice addition to a community tank, being less aggressive than males and just as much fun to watch.

So, how many female bettas can live in a 5-gallon tank? 

Although female bettas are pretty small, you can’t keep many in a 5-gallon tank, as there’s not enough space. Ideally, that size of a tank can only accommodate one or two female betta fish. That’s a problem since betta sororities usually have a dominant female that will bully smaller, weaker fish in the group. 

Ideally, you need to keep a sorority of at least three or four female betta fish, and to do that; you’ll need a 10-gallon tank. 

To learn more about keeping female betta fish in a 5 to 10-gallon tank, read this helpful guide!

How Many Female Bettas Can You Keep In A 5 – 10 Gallon Tank?

Though it may feel tempting to stuff as many female betta fish as possible into a small tank, it’s important to remember that these fish need plenty of space to swim and explore. A 5 or 10-gallon tank is simply not large enough to support a large group of bettas. Therefore, we recommend keeping between 1-2 female bettas in a 5-gallon tank, and 2-4 female bettas in a 10-gallon tank.

female betta
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These numbers may seem small, but it’s important to remember that bettas are very active fish. They need plenty of space to swim and explore, and a small tank simply cannot provide that. In addition, bettas are also very territorial fish. They need their own space and often become aggressive if they feel their territory is being threatened.

When stocking a 5 or 10-gallon tank with female bettas, it’s also important to consider the other fish that you will be keeping in the tank. If you plan on keeping any other fish with your bettas, you will need to take their needs into consideration as well. For example, if you plan on keeping a school of small fish with your bettas, you must ensure that the tank is large enough to accommodate all the fish.

As a general rule of thumb, we recommend keeping 1-2 female bettas for every 5 gallons of tank space. This will give your fish plenty of room to swim and explore and help prevent aggression between the fish.

Best Practices For Keeping Female Bettas In A 5 – 10 Gallon Tank

Now that we’ve provided some general guidelines for stocking a 5 or 10-gallon tank with female bettas, let’s go over some best practices for keeping these fish safe and healthy.

Provide Sufficient Hiding Spots

betta fish hiding
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Female fish may be a lot more peaceful than their male counterparts, but they can still become stressed out and aggressive if they feel like their territory is being threatened. To help reduce stress levels in your fish, be sure to provide plenty of hiding spots for them to escape to if they feel threatened.

In a 5 or 10-gallon tank, we recommend using live plants or caves to provide hiding spots for your fish. Live plants not only provide a place for your fish to hide, but they also help to oxygenate the water and provide a natural food source for your fish. These types of plants work best in betta tanks, because they don’t require a lot of light or maintenance.

Caves are also a great option for providing hiding spots in a betta tank. Not only do they provide a place for your fish to hide, but they also help to break up the line of sight in the tank. If you’re having trouble understanding why this is important, imagine how you would feel if you were constantly being watched by someone. It would be very stressful, right? The same goes for fish.

Observe Your Fish For Personality Clashes

Like us, fish have their own unique personalities. And, like us, some fish get along better with others than others. When stocking a 5 or 10-gallon tank with female bettas, it’s important to observe your fish carefully and look for any signs of aggression.

If you notice a particularly dominant fish or a fish that seems to be constantly bullying the others, it’s best to remove that fish from the tank. Aggression can quickly escalate in a small tank, and before you know it, you could have a fish fight on your hands. On the other hand, fish that are too submissive may end up bullied and stressed out by others.

The best way to avoid personality clashes is to slowly introduce your fish to each other. Start by adding one fish to the tank at a time and giving them a few days to adjust to their new surroundings. Once they’ve had a chance to settle in, you can add another fish. Repeat this process until all the fish are in the tank.

Invest In A Good Filter

As far as sorority tanks go, 5-10 gallons really isn’t that big. This means that water quality can decline quickly if the tank isn’t properly filtered. We recommend investing in a good filter to help keep your tank clean and your fish healthy.

There are a lot of different filters on the market, so it’s important to do your research and find one that’s best suited for your tank. As a general rule of thumb, you should look for a filter that can turn over the water in your tank at least three times per hour.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that female betta are notoriously messy eaters. This means that you’re going to want a filter with a strong intake so that it can effectively remove all the uneaten food and waste from the tank.

Perform Frequent Water Changes

Speaking of water quality, it’s also important to perform frequent water changes in a sorority tank. We recommend doing a 25% water change at least once a week, but twice a week is even better. You can get a good sense of how often you need to change the water in your tank by testing it regularly with a water test kit.

Cleaning the aquarium. Pumping water out of the aquarium. Close-up. Siphon Gravel Cleaner Tool In The Aquarium. Aquarium fish content and hygiene concept.

Water changes not only help to keep the water clean, but they also help to remove any built-up toxins in the water. These toxins can come from things like uneaten food, fish waste, and decaying plants. Having a good biological filter in place may help reduce the frequency of water changes, but it’s still a good idea to do them regularly.

In addition to water changes, it’s also a good idea to vacuum the gravel in your tank on a regular basis. This will help remove any uneaten food and fish waste accumulated on the bottom of the tank. The amount of filth and gunk on the gravel will give you a good indication of how often you need to vacuum it.

A final note on water changes: when you do them, be sure to use water that’s the same temperature as the water in your tank. Sudden changes in temperature can be very stressful for fish, especially bettas.

Keep Tank Décor Minimal

Last but not least, it’s important to keep the tank décor to a minimum. This is especially true for sorority tanks, as too much décor can make the fish feel crowded and stressed. If you only plan to keep one betta in your 5-10 gallon tank, then you can get away with a little more décor. But for sorority tanks, we recommend keeping it to a minimum.

The reason why it’s important to keep the décor minimal is that it gives the fish more space to swim around and explore. This helps to reduce stress and makes the fish feel more at home in their environment. In addition, it also helps to prevent aggression and territorial disputes between the fish.

minimalist setup with a no cat sign
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When it comes to choosing décor for your tank, we recommend sticking with live plants. Not only do they look beautiful, but they also help to oxygenate the water and provide a place for the fish to hide. If you want to add some artificial plants, that’s fine, but be sure to choose silk ones, and avoid those with sharp edges.

When I kept a betta sorority, I found that floating plants worked extremely well. The plants provided a restful aesthetic and pretty dappled shade effect in the tank, as well as giving the betta fish somewhere to hide and take shelter when they wanted to.

In addition, when you don’t want too much clutter in a small tank, floating plants are an excellent choice since they don’t occupy any space inside the tank. Just be careful not to completely cover the water’s surface since the bettas need space to breathe using their labyrinth organ.


Can you have 2 female bettas in a 5-gallon tank?

We’ve found that two female bettas can be successfully kept in a 5-gallon tank, but keeping a close eye on them is important. If you notice any aggression or territorial disputes, it’s best to separate the fish into two different tanks. Careful observation is of the utmost importance when keeping multiple fish in a small tank.

The reason why it’s hard to make generalizations about how many fish can be kept in a 5-gallon tank is because every fish is different. Some fish are more social and can do well in a sorority tank, while others are more solitary and do better when they’re the only fish in the tank. There’s no right or wrong answer, and it really depends on the individual fish.

Are dividers necessary in a 5 to 10-gallon tank?

Dividers break a large space into disparate territories, making it easier for the fish to establish and maintain their own territories. They also help to reduce aggression and territorial disputes between the fish.

If your female bettas are getting along well, then you probably don’t need to use a divider. But if you notice any aggression or territorial disputes, then it’s a good idea to put a divider in place.

In choosing a divider, be sure to choose one made of a material safe for fish. It should be opaque so that the fish can’t see each other and should be long enough to reach the bottom of the tank.

Do female bettas need a heater?

Female bettas do best in water that’s between 78 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If the water in your tank is cooler than this, then we recommend using a heater to raise the temperature. You can find a list of the best heaters for betta fish here and a list of the best thermometers here.

If you intend to breed your female betta, then it’s even more important to use a heater. This is because the fry (baby fish) are very sensitive to changes in temperature, and they need water between 78 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit to survive.

The best course of action is to use a heater and thermometer, so that you can keep the water at a constant temperature. This will help to reduce stress and keep your fish healthy.

The Bottom Line

A 5 to 10-gallon tank allows for a moderately-sized sorority of female bettas. You’ll need to be careful when choosing décor and using a divider, as too much décor can make the tank feel cramped and too little décor can lead to aggression between the fish. A heater is also necessary to maintain a constant water temperature.

Assuming that you have a good filter and regular water changes, you should be able to keep 2-5 female bettas in a 5 to 10-gallon tank. We recommend upgrading to a larger tank if you want to keep more fish. After all, it’s better to give your fish a little more space than they need than to crowd them into a small tank.

We hope that this article has been helpful, and we wish you the best of luck with your female betta sorority! If you know someone who’s thinking about setting up a sorority tank, be sure to share this article with them. And if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll do our best to answer them.

As always, thanks for reading!

Wanda is a second-generation aquarist from the sunny tropics of Malaysia. She has been helping her father with his freshwater tanks since she was a toddler, and has fallen in love with the hobby ever since. A perpetual nomad, Wanda does her best to integrate fish-keeping with her lifestyle, and has taken care of fish in three different continents. She loves how it provides a nice break from the hustle and bustle of life.

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