Is My Betta Fish a Male or Female?

How To Determine the Sex of a Betta Fish (with graphics)

Differentiating the sex of your Betta can sometimes be difficult. Many assume that males are colourful and have long fins, and females are drab, with short fins. This is not strictly true at all, now that bettas are domesticated. Forget about it.

 

A few different ways to sex your Bettas:

 

FINNAGE:

Male Bettas generally have longer fins, while females have shorter finnage. Although, this isn’t always true, as some males (such as the plakat) do have sort fins, while some females can have really long finnage.

 

Male Betta Finnage

 

Female Betta Finnage

Notice how she is blue? Yes, females do have just as much colouring as males. It is a myth that all female bettas are brown – this may have been true in the past, but they have since been domesticated.

 

Males generally have shorter bodies than females. This can be confusing to read, but females tend to have longer, rounder bodies, while males have shorter, flatter bodies.

 

EGG SPOTS

Females have egg spots. They look like a grain of salt, and are located on her belly, between her ventral and anal fins. This spot is the ovipositor tube, which the eggs will come out off during spawning. Sometimes males, however, have something that does look like an egg spot, just to be confusing.

 

 

VENTRALS

Males generally have longer ventral fins (the two long ‘dangly’ fins in front of the Bettas vent). So if you have a short finned Betta (such as a Plakat), and notice it has very long ventrals, most likely it will be a male.

 

Male Betta Ventrals

 

 

Female Betta Ventrals

 

Notice the difference between ventral length?

 

Ventrals on females generally go to the same length as their anal (bottom fin), where male ventrals are a bit longer on plakats.

 

BETTA BEARD

Males usually have more of a ‘Betta beard’, which is really a membrane that is located underneath their gill covers, and is properly named the branchiostegal membrane. This ‘beard’ sticks out when flaring. However, females also have this membrane, although it is usually smaller.

 

 

BUBBLE NESTS

Males blow bubble nests, while as a rule, females don’t. Although, some females have been known to do so. I’ve had a few females blow themselves nests (and they had spawned producing eggs, so they were definitely females).

 

 

 

FLARING

Male Flaring

Males flare and display to other males and females. Females also flare at other Bettas, but aren’t generally as showy as males.

 

 

Female Flaring

Female on the left, flaring at her male –

 

 

98 Comments

  1. Where can I buy a female betta. I don't want to buy one from Petco or Petsmat. They keep their bettas in small cups. I also don't want to spend a fortune on shipping. Thanks.

    • petco actuly has quite a few of the kinds and the are in desenct sized contaners for the size of the bettas and they have a wide varity of colours
      (i dont work at petco i am a child i just love bettas and i am studing them outside of school

    • I've gotten multiple bettas from simple places like Walmart and/or other stores that sell them. If you can take care of them well enough, they'll live for 5+ years, like most of mine do. And they're easily breed-able if you know what you're doing.

  2. Hello,
    I'm assuming since you mentioned Petco and Petsmart that you are in America.
    I'm in Australia, so unfortunately I cannot recommend you to anybody, sorry.

    You could try AquaBid.com I'm sure you will find a lovely female there.

    Good luck with finding a girlie,
    Sarah.

  3. Hi! I don't know if my betta is a girl or a boy. I also don't know what kind my betta is, its bluegreenred. Can you help me?

    • That’s not true. I have a large sorority of true females of all different bright colors. Blue, turqouise, green, red, pink, cellophane and gold.

  4. Hello, it is impossible to tell the gender of your Betta by just their colouring, if you could post a link to a picture, I'll be able to help you out.

    Sarah.

  5. Hi there, first let me congratulate you for this awesome guide, i read it all and i loved it, but i still have a little doubt about the water conditioning, i was planning to have a long aquarium with 25 cm (height)with divisions to hold some male bettas but as you stated before, my fear is the fact that they can be sharing water and the downsides it has, so i decided to have the divisions sealed waterproof, but now my biggest concern is the fact that the water doesnt circulate, that being said, the size of every division is 10x10x25 cm so like 2L capacity each, do you think they can have a decent amount of space, and last but not least, how often should i expect to do a 1/3 water change if i decided to seal the divisions.

    Thanks in advaced and once again congratulations for the article

  6. Hello there,
    Why thank you for your kind words. πŸ™‚
    Barracks can be a good option for multiple Bettas. Many I know have them, rather than house each separately, heating/filtering each compartment.
    I personally would leave it to be shared, it would help the water-quality stay better and you are able to heat all of them together, rather than separately.
    As for disease, if you keep the temp correct, good water quality, it should be ok – but then there is always that risk if one gets sick, they all can. If you start to notice one that has even signs of sickness, take him/her out and put it on its own until you are sure it is ok, or treated.

    As for waterchanges if you decide to seal it off, I would say you would be able to get away with once a week.

    I hope this helps you,
    Sarah.

  7. Thank you once again, and I'll stay in touch if anything turns up, keep up the great work Sarah

  8. Ok may I just say, you have no idea what your talking about. That picture for the thing you call "egg spot" which btw is actually called an oviduct, is not of a male Betta. It is a female you idiot. You can clearly see the egg sack inside her just behind her lower jaw. Males DO NOT have an oviduct. Nor are the hatched with one. Maybe you should learn more about fish before you go posting things like this article on the Internet.

    • Excuse me, I clearly stated that the fish noted is FEMALE, I never said it was a male.

      "Females have egg spots. They look like a grain of salt, and are located on her belly, between her ventral and anal fins. This spot is the ovipositor tube, which the eggs will come out off during spawning"

      Does that say males have an oviduct are are hatched with one? I don't think so.

      Maybe YOU should learn more about fish – and reading articles correctly – before you go posting comments on the internet, acting like you know everything.

    • You should think before you speak. You are the idiot for making such a comment. I do not see where you have even tried to help with anything related to the sex of a Betts fish. Sara you site has been very helpful thank you

    • hi guys. I am looking to see which one is better to get. should I get a male or female betta fish? I cant decide what one to get? any advice?!?!

    • To the anonymous person who called Sarah an idiot- Seriously? Do you really have nothing better to do with you time than call people idiots? Just saying if you would have been a bit more polite in the way you chose to word your comments, then maybe people would have actually thought about what you said. But FYI what Sarah said was true so please go and find something useful to do.

    • Thank you Sarah! You're site has been very helpful as I have been thinking about breeding my betta some time in the future (not now though, because I don't have most of the items I need, or a female betta, and my betta reacts negatively to other fish, so i'm thinking my next betta (Sorry Philip, I guess your not getting a girlfriend fishie) :P)

  9. And one more thing, your entire article is false. Read more and learn more about them before you go posting to the Internet acting like you know everything about them.

    • Dude, don't be an ass. This article was very helpful for a lot of us. Get your facts straight before you go running your mouth.

    • None of this is false. Owning bettas my self, I can attest for more then half of things in here. My limit is that I have only begun to try and breed, and she has more experience.

      Thanks for all this info, will help me a lot. I've been wondering about the biology of a betta for awhile. They are much different from Gold fish. =)

    • She knows what she is talking about. Clearly, you have no idea what you are saying. I own bettas and I have used this guide many times and I can tell you there is no false information in it. Please keep your false and rude comments to yourself because nobody needs to hear them.

  10. great and informative site sarah, as for the idiots who show there ignorance by not even reading properly then compound it by leaving stupid remarks under ( anonymous ) just ignore them well done.

  11. Boy, That Anonymous kid looks pretty silly good thing they are Anonymous. I find the posts very humorous, first one shows ignorance or stupidity, you can see the jealosy in the second post. I wonder what it tastes like to put your foot in your mouth like that

    • Thanks, Victor.
      Exactly my thoughts – not phased at all due to it. Always going to be somebody around like that, I just hope he doesn't spread misinformation to others.

  12. hi sarah, i have 9 bettas and they differ from one to the next( 1nd red male king or giant betta,2 female half moons,1 female crown tail,3 male veil tails, 1 unsexed dragonscale veiltail- but it is still young i can wait,) and 1 that i have only seen one other and it was on the net which i cant find again even after many hours of searching. have you ever heard of spade tails? because i have one, but sexing is proving to be quite difficult- description is as follows: deep blue coloration over the body with black head,dorsal, ventral,and the base and outline of the tail. there are some red and blue rays in the center of the tail. now onto finnage form and what makes it a spade tail. the fins are long like a veil's but dorsal&ventral fins both narrow off 2/3 of the way down and end off in an elongated single ray "whip" for the last 1/3. they are very pleasing to the overall appearance and match the length of the tail which looks exactly like a spade from a deck of cards w/ a long wispy tip. have you ever seen a betta like this? for all purposes this fish appears male.it is a heavily set,large, beautifully long finned fish that eats well and is aggressive. it builds … modest bubble nests and displays fiercely towards anything that moves, even dw. af. frogs in the bowl next door, AND… it has the very full rounded belly of a female full of eggs and an egg spot that it very easy to see. it was sold to me as female and when it was younger w/out the unique fins that came later i tried breeding it w/ my most beautiful male veil tail because it was so plump and i knew very very little at the time. i watched them for 10 minutes and the male was displaying and controlling her properly and steering her under the bubble nest so i made the mistake of leaving them to their own devices to get the job done. WRONG! those devices cost my male almost every single bit of every fin he possessed- so much he could barely navigate and now 6&1/2 mos. later he's just getting back to somewhat normal.- again this seems the behavior of a male. long story, i know, but what gender is this weirdo? please help me

    • Hello,
      I haven't seen or heard of anybody having spade tails… well… ever, really. They appear to be bred out, so not certain if you have one for sure (although not ruling it out), or a veil tail female, with a spade shape tail (I had one once).

      As for sexing, does seem difficult to tell!
      I've had definite females nest before (and I know they were girls as they spawned and produced fry). Some females do occasionally make nests better than some of my males. Females can also have long finnage, and be just as aggressive as any male.

      By the sounds of it being plump/showing an egg spot – sounds like a girl. Although, some males do tend to show something that appears to be an egg spot, but isn't really (had a male plakat like that).

      As for the flaring/beating up your guy – I've had female bettas kill some of my males if not watched over closely.

      I'm leaning towards this being a long finned veil tail female – but can't be certain without a picture. Is there anyway that you could post a link to a pic of this little mystery?

      Hope this helps you a little,
      Sarah.

  13. Hi! I just got a new betta today, and its the first one i've had, so im doing some research. πŸ™‚
    His tank is around 22 degrees C. Is this to cold for him? If it is, should i get a light and shine it on top of the tank to give him warmth? as im only using a glass fish bowl and i don't have a heater. Please reply back! Thankyou so much. πŸ™‚

    • Hello Bailey.
      Congrats on your first Betta, and well done on researching!

      I like to keep my Betta's tanks at around 26*C. A heater is definitely needed, and will ensure you have a constant, stable temperature at the right temp.
      With a light, there isn't anyway to control what temperature it heats the water, and you will also get major swings in temp – which will stress out your Betta.

      Hope this helps,
      Sarah.