Male or Female?


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:




Female Betta:
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.




Two male Plakats -



Female Betta -




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






Female on the left, flaring at her male -

57 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.

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  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.

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  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 blue\green\red. Can you help me?

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  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.

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  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

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello there,
    Why thank you for your kind words. :)
    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.

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

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  8. Thank you!
    Looking forward to hear about your plans. Good luck. :)

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  9. 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.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 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.

      Delete
    2. Don't listen to him Sarah! He's a douche! You're site is awesome!

      Delete
  10. 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.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 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.

      Delete
    2. Thankyou.
      Sadly, there are many people on the internet that do either run their mouths, or are just trolls.

      Delete
    3. Bro, if i only knew who you were, I'd shove a pirahna down your peehole.

      Delete
    4. 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. =)

      Delete
  11. Replies
    1. Thankyou, I'm glad you liked it. :)

      Delete
  12. 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.

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  13. A well set out, clear and concise read. Nice work!

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  14. 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

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    Replies
    1. 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.

      Delete
  15. 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

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    Replies
    1. 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.

      Delete
  16. Hi! I just got a new betta today, and its the first one i've had, so im doing some research. :)
    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. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 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.

      Delete
  17. Hello, I just bought a baby betta and I'm wondering how long it will be before I can identify if it's male or female?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      When you say baby, how old would it be? And do you know what tail type it is (half-moon, plakat, etc).

      Depends on the growth of the fish. This is often relied on waterchanges, live food, and then genetics.
      Generally fry start to colour and sprout from about 8wks old, and becomes more noticeable as they age.
      Have a look at their body shape. Males generally have shorter bodies than females. While females tend to have longer, rounder bodies. Check for egg spots on the female.
      And have a look at their anal fin (the bottom fin). If it looks elongated and pointy at the end, there's a chance it will be male.

      If you can post a link of a photo, I should be able to help you out.

      Hope this helped,
      Sarah.

      Delete
  18. I Bought A New Dragonscale Betta Yesterday And I Do not Know If It Is A Boy Or A Girl. I Checked To See if it had an egg spot and i think it does have one but im not sure. =/ Help?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey,
      Congrats on your betta.
      I can help you sex your betta if you can post a link in the comment to a photo.
      Alternatively, if you have Facebook, you can upload it to the Facebook Page's wall. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bubbles-Bettas/203497696445978

      Sarah.

      Delete
  19. I bought a Dragon Scale at Pet SuperMarket, it has a bubble nest please help don't know if male or female. file:///C:/Users/Kelvin.Keto-HP/Desktop/Betta%20Fish/photo.JPG file:///C:/Users/Kelvin.Keto-HP/Desktop/Betta%20Fish/IMAG0193.jpg file:///C:/Users/Kelvin.Keto-HP/Desktop/Betta%20Fish/IMAG0192.jpg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      I'm happy to help you sex your betta, but that link doesn't work for me, sorry.
      Is it from your documents on your computer? Try uploading it to a photo hosting site, such as Photobucket.

      Delete
    2. It was from my computer, here is a link from photobucket.

      http://s1271.photobucket.com/albums/jj639/Bryan0702/

      Delete
    3. No worries, that works well, thanks!
      He's pretty cute, a nice find for a petstore. Definitely a male!

      Delete
  20. Replies
    1. You're very welcome. All the best with your boy.. I quite like him! I once had a similar looking boy (very top of this page, photo for "male betta").

      All the best,
      Sarah.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, great site by the way. They do look alike.

      Delete
  21. Hi Sarah!
    Love your guide! It's super helpful! Anyways, I just recently got two beta fish from a new pet store that opened near my house. It got them because they were in those cup things and the cups were full of algae and they looked super depressed. They look great now though! But I'm still not sure on their gender. I was hoping that maybe you could look at some pics of them and tell me. I'll send you some tomorrow. Could I just send them to your email? It's a lit easier for me. If not that's fine too xD If they do end up being a male and a female, I wanted to know how they would be in the same tank together so I could try to breed them and how that process works. You kind of scared me when you said they could kill each other xP Ok well thanks!
    Dakota(:

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dakota,
      Thanks for the comment! Congratulations on your new Bettas, sounds like they are in good hands. :) Maybe you could run a care sheet into that new petstore... most stores don't know any better when it comes to care.

      You can definitely send me photos, and I'll try to help you with their gender. I try to keep my email private though, sorry. Maybe you could upload photos onto the facebook Page? May be easier than posting a link in a comment here. Link is here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bubbles-Bettas/203497696445978

      As for male & female living together - generally not a good idea. Males and females fight, and it's best to keep them separate. Only time they should be together is during spawning, and even then there is a chance they can fight.
      I'm currently working on an article on breeding Bettas and how to raise the fry - should be up within the next few days. :)

      Hope this helped,
      Sarah.

      Delete
  22. This isn't a question or anything, but I thought it was a curious trate :o I have a beautiful slate purple betta MALE with no beard. I know for certain he is male because he has no egg spot and the bodyshape and fins of a male, yet no beard at all!

    I tend to think of it as another defect due to his breeding, because the metallic color of his body is over his eyes as well making him nearly blind. Still love him though (:

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    Replies
    1. Males show their beards when flaring. My guess is that he hasn't been flaring, or has done so half-heartedly.
      Any chance you could share a photo please?

      Delete
  23. Hello, I'm a first time betta owner and my boyfriend and I both have bettas. Mine is blue and clearly and male and his is pink (he thought it would be nice if he had a female and I had a male)
    But, pink doesn't mean she/he is a female betta unfortunately and we always thought for her or him to be a female betta. The betta's name is Polo by the way. So we bought a divider today and introduced mine to Polo. Polo does have the horizontal lines I read about but pretty long fins. We were hoping to breed the two but can't come to terms the gender.
    Can females have long fins?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      Yes, females can have long fins... but Polo could still be a male.
      Males do get horizontal lines (stress stripes), but females tend to get them more often.

      If you could post a photo I could let you know if Polo is male or female.

      You can either post a link into a comment here, best to upload it to a photo hosting site (I use Photobucket), or post it onto the
      Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bubbles-Bettas/203497696445978

      Delete
  24. Hello , I need help! the Betta I got is said to be a female, but since I did a little research it says that males only blow bubble, but my female Betta is blowing bubbles too!, and I need to know if its a female or male

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      Sometimes females do blow nests, so there is a possibility you have a female.
      If you could send me a photo, I can help you sex your Betta.

      You can either:
      1. Upload the photo to a photo hosting site (I use Photobucket, for example), and comment the link.
      2. Upload the photo directly to the Facebook page. Link is here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bubbles-Bettas/203497696445978

      Hope this helps. :)

      Delete
  25. Hello,
    I am making a poster to explain different types of Bettas. Is it okay if I use some of your pictures? Specifically, the first two in this article. I am not making any money off of this poster, and I will credit you however you would like.
    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      Sorry for the lateness in my reply!
      Thankyou for asking, I really appreciate that. I'd be honoured if you'd use my photos... would love to see the finished product too, if that's ok. :)

      Sarah.

      Delete
  26. Excellent site you have :) I've been keeping bettas for about 12 months now, I've just received my 3rd today and already have another boy with another on the way this weekend! My first betta passed away from a tumour a few months ago :( I love your articles :) Make for interesting reading.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thankyou for the kind words. Sounds like you've been bitten with the betta bug!
      Sorry to hear about the tumor - they can be a pain I know.

      Delete
  27. great site,i enjoy looking. will be sure to visit your facebook page as well. I have several bettas. 2 plakets one male one female,3 double tail babies I think are all female but they are kinda small so hard to be sure,2 veil tail female babies,1 adult veil tail female,1 adult crown tail female and one spade tail adult female. the babies all live together,the plaket male and female live in tanks next to each other,and the adult females live together. I love watching them along with photographing them. I would be glad to share photos of my fish,past or present if you ever need different examples.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      Thankyou for the kind words! :)
      Sounds like you've got a little collection going on there. Thankyou for your offer, at the moment I'm in no need for photographs, but thanks for your generosity!

      Sarah.

      Delete
  28. I bought 2 female bettas, one is a veiltail and the other is a crowntail. They both have the white egg hole on their bellies and their is scattered bubbles ontop of the water! Can 2 females raise eggs together?? Also only one of them is doing all the work, im so worried i might lose the eggs because there isnt a male?!!
    ~love the site~

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello,
      Sometimes females do blow nests, even when they are definitely female. There is currently no scientific explanation behind why they do this. Some females also drop eggs, sometimes from stress or having too many eggs at the time - most eat them but some do try and raise them.

      However, the eggs will be infertile as there is no male - eventually she'll eat them or it is best to remove them or they'll fungus up. Two females cannot make babies.

      Delete
  29. Hello, I have no idea if my betta is a male or a female. I also dont know what type of betta he/she is, could you help? I attached a link to a picture of it. Thanks!

    http://www.backyardchickens.com/content/type/61/id/5954051/

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for visiting Bubbles & Bettas!

Feel free to leave a comment to let me know what you think. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask - I'll try to get back to you as soon as possible. Be aware I've been quite busy lately, so may be a little slow on replying, for which I apologise. I have written a short notice on the matter on the blogs sidebar and would appreciate if you would take the time to read it.

Alternatively, you can also share photos and ask questions on the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bubbles-Bettas/203497696445978

Thankyou for reading,
Sarah, site owner.