If you love your betta buddy’s bright colors, beautiful fins, and quirky character, you might wonder if your pet could get along with another betta. After all, that would mean twice the enjoyment and would really make your fish tank pop, right?
However, these beautiful tropical fish are not known as Siamese Fighting Fish for nothing, and putting two male betta fish in one tank surely spells trouble. But can you safely house more than one betta in a 10-gallon tank?
Read this guide to learn how many betta fish can live in a 10-gallon tank. The answer to that question might surprise you!
Can You Keep More Than One Betta in a 10-Gallon Tank?
In the wild environment, individual betta fish come together only to mate. Bettas are an aggressive fish species that are highly territorial and spend most of their days living alone, patrolling their patch, and driving away other intruding males.
That’s why if you keep two male betta fish in one tank, a fight is guaranteed to break out, and that can result in injuries or even death. However, it can be possible to keep more than one betta fish in a 10-gallon tank, provided the setup is correct.
So, putting two male betta fish, even of different varieties, in one small tank is asking for trouble. However, you could have one male and a sorority of betta fish in one tank relatively safely.
I kept one beautiful male betta splendens in a community fish tank with a small sorority of female bettas, and that worked pretty well. I found that introducing the fish to the tank gradually allowed them time to meet and greet each other without aggression.
In addition, I kept a varied community of suitable tank mates with my betta fishes. Although the females tended to stick together, the male seemed to enjoy exploring the tank, occasionally socializing with his hareem, and keeping tabs on the other fish and inverts in the tank.
Aside from occasional squabbles between the females, I never witnessed any serious aggression between the bettas.
If you want to keep more than one male betta in a 10-gallon tank, you must use dividers to keep the fish separate.
Rather than using a separate tank for your male bettas, you could use a tank divider.
You can buy tank dividers in different shapes and sizes or make your own, so finding one that’s suitable for your 10-gallon tank shouldn’t be a problem.
However, you must double-check that the divider is escape-proof while allowing a sufficient through-flow so that any fish waste and leftover food are pulled into the filtration system.
How Many Bettas Can Live in a 10-Gallon Tank?
So, how many betta fish can you keep in a 10-gallon tank?
If you decide to keep a betta sorority fish tank, you can have a minimum of four or five female fish. I don’t recommend keeping fewer females than that, as that can make a weaker fish vulnerable to bullying by the more dominant female.
That said, keeping more than five female bettas in a 10-gallon aquarium can lead to overcrowding and water quality issues.
Female bettas can still be territorial fish, although they are less likely to fight than males, and they are not solitary fish. Provide the ideal fish habitat with lots of hiding places, caves, tunnels, and lush planting that the females can claim as their own.
Floating plants are also a good addition, as the male betta can use them as an anchor point for his bubble nests.
How Many Male Bettas?
As previously mentioned, male betta fish cannot be kept together without dividers, as these feisty fish are aggressive and will fight, often to the death, in territorial disputes. So, you can’t keep more than one male Siamese Fighting fish in a 10-gallon tank.
However, if you use dividers, you can keep two to three male betta fish in a 10-gallon aquarium. Each division should be at least three gallons so that each fish has ample space to move around and explore.
Since being in close proximity to another male betta causes stress and aggression for the fish, it’s essential that you choose a divider that’s opaque and totally secure. It’s essential that the fish can’t see each other, so using transparent glass or acrylic material is not an option!
What Happens if You Get It Wrong?
Although working out how many bettas you can keep in a 10-gallon tank is relatively straightforward, it’s still easy for beginner aquarists to make a mistake and get it wrong, often with awful consequences.
No matter what fish species you keep, it’s crucial that you don’t overcrowd or overstock your aquarium.
In the case of betta fish, overcrowding the tank can be incredibly stressful for the fish. Remember that wild bettas live in expansive marshes, rice paddies, shallow ponds, and canals, where there’s little chance of running into another male betta. If you put your fish in a tiny tank with no hiding places, they will constantly feel threatened and in danger.
Stress weakens the betta’s immune system, leaving the fish more susceptible to attack by bacteria and parasites. Watch your betta for signs of stress, including flaring, flashing, and nipping at his fins.
An overcrowded tank also means more debris and waste, which places a heavier bio-load on your filter system and can lead to poor water quality. In addition, you’ll need to spend more time performing water changes, washing filter media, and keeping on top of general maintenance tasks.
Keeping Male and Female Bettas Together
Keeping one male and one female betta together in the same 10-gallon fish tank is a bad idea unless you specifically want to breed from them. Generally, a larger size tank is a safe option, provided there’s plenty of space and hiding places for these feisty aquarium fish.
Most male bettas will constantly harass the female, nipping her fins and chasing her around the tank. The female could end up injured, stressed, and might even die as a result of the male’s non-stop attention.
Poor Choice of Tank Mates
Depending on your betta, you can choose plenty of suitable types of fish to keep him company. However, there are some misconceptions about which species work well with bettas and which don’t.
Unfortunately, bettas can be somewhat unorthodox when it comes to their preferred choice of companions, and their behavior is often unpredictable.
Each betta fish I’ve owned over the years has had its own preferences when it comes to tank mates. Some bettas do fine with a large group of small tetras or barbs, whereas others are happiest with some larger gouramis.
If you’re not confident about which fish your betta buddy will get along with, why not introduce a few Amano shrimp or Malaysian Trumpet snails instead? The inverts will help keep your tank clean and tidy and keep your betta company.
I hope you enjoyed our guide to how many betta fish you can keep in a 10-gallon tank. If you did, please share the article with other betta fish keepers!
The number of betta fish you can keep in a 10-gallon tank depends on many factors, such as their gender, whether you want to use dividers, and how much maintenance you’re prepared to spend time carrying out.
If you want to use dividers, you can safely keep three male betta fish in a 10-gallon aquarium. If you want to keep a betta sorority, we recommend you keep up to five fish in your tank.
However, you must never overstock your tank. Overcrowding causes stress for your fish and usually ends up with poor water quality and extra work for you.
How many betta fish do you keep in your tank? Go ahead and share your experiences of betta ownership in the comments box below!