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 arenโ€™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 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

  4. Hello there,
    Why thank you for your kind words. ๐Ÿ™‚
    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.

  5. 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)

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Hi! I just got a new betta today, and its the first one i've had, so im doing some research. ๐Ÿ™‚
    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. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • 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.

  11. 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?

    • 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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

  14. 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(:

    • Hi Dakota,
      Thanks for the comment! Congratulations on your new Bettas, sounds like they are in good hands. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Hope this helped,
      Sarah.

    • was mislead male and female live peacefully but realize with in 15 minutes , they are getting along had to separate them. its headache now to keep them two places

  15. This isn't a question or anything, but I thought it was a curious trate ๐Ÿ˜ฎ 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 (:

  16. 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?

  17. 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

  18. 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!

    • 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Sarah.

  19. Excellent site you have ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™ I love your articles ๐Ÿ™‚ Make for interesting reading.

  20. 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.

    • Hello,
      Thankyou for the kind words! ๐Ÿ™‚
      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.

  21. 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~

    • 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.

  22. Hi sarah your site is marvelous but I have a question why does my male betta go to the surface of water and then poke it's mouth out like a kissing gesture I am just curious. Thx

  23. I'm having trouble sexing my betta. It has a definite egg spot, but unusually long fins for a female. Also, when I have held up a mirror to them they don't get obsessed with it or flare like my old betta did. I'm so confused with my androgenous baby T.T http://imgur.com/a/boSRl

  24. Hey I don't know what type of betta i have or what sex he or she is I just got it from a friend and they didn't tell me

  25. Hi there,

    I just wanted to say thank you for the great article. I just got a blue female betta (her name is Lucy) and I was a little worried because she had a white spot on her belly, but then I read what you said about the eggs spots and I am so relieved! I never had a female betta before, so it was news to me. Thank you, thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Hey Sarah, I'm not sure what kind of Betta I have. Well, I know two of them. Haha! I received a young Betta that I am thinking might be a female, and most likely veiltail but it is still really small. Probably a quarter of the size of my other two. I don't know how to attach a picture though! I'd be willing to describe him in detail if you'd like, but I'm just curious is all! Thanks so much!

  27. Qustion I'm trying to figure out what tail type my beta is but aslo the color type? My betas tail type looks identical to the first fish pic under flaring the colors main color is what is called a purple copper face is two different colors it's like the lights of its darker color is the main part then the darkest of its colors is speckled on top of the other lighter dark purple I know the two colors in the face are not the same as the copper color the tail is dun just like the first pic you put under flaring one of the colors I know one of darker colors in the face is on the tail but the other color is a dark cranberry mixed with like a fuschia purple

  28. If I post a pic could someone help me determine the gender of my beta? I got it from Walmart and it said make, but I think it's a girl

    Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. Su you use some social media so I can send u my fish picture, because I don't know if it's a male or a female, and I don't know how to send pictures here because this is the first time im commenting site like this…thx

  30. so i got a new betta few days ago and my old one never made a bubble nest until my new one moved in they have a shared tank with the divider another but they both make bubble nests and they both said boy on the cup but they could certainly be wrong could you help

  31. I just got a new veiltail white betta,when i got it home it refused to eat for a few days i thought it might be stressed and adjusting to the new environment so i gave it some time, but it still refuses to eat so i changed the pellets,i even checked the water temperature but the temperature was fine, its been 5 days straight he/she wont eat whatsoever (and also i don't know if its a he or she). Please help me

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