Can Betta Fish Live Together?

Frankly speaking male betta fish can't live together because they will fight with each other. Bettas love to have their own territories and if some other fish tries to dominate these then they will attack. This happens even in the natural environment where bettas fight for their privacy and territory in river basins. But since the expanse of water bodies is too large in the wild, it hardly matters if they live together or not.

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But in a fist tank since the space is confined, two male bettas will have a hard time coping with each other. This does not mean bettas wonít live with other fish species. You may introduce betta fish in a community fish tank with other fish species easily under certain conditions. Read this article on fish compatibility for bettas to better understand what other fish can live with a male betta fish. 
In case of females you can have 4-5 female bettas in one tank without much problem. It's not that they are not aggressive but not as aggressive as male counterparts. Females within themselves get used to other females easily as compared to male bettas. Normally you'll find that if you mix 4-5 females in one tank they will from a hierarchy amongst each other about dominance and their own unique position in the tank. Both male and female bettas love their own territory but males tend be aggressive and attack when their own position and area gets under threat. 

That is why never keep two male bettas in a smaller tank. Another very important point is keep male and female bettas together only if you are going to breed new fish. There is a definite step by step process of betta breeding that you can read here. Like males even female love their own territory, but can get along well with other females if they are peaceful While adding females to a fish tank start with just one peace loving one and gradually go on adding other females. 

While buying a female donít buy the most aggressive one first as she will form her own space in the tank herself and won't allow other females in her space. On the other hand if she is peace loving and docile then most probably she will get along well with other females that are added later. 

Does fish tank size matter for keeping more than one betta in one tank?

Size of the tank does matter if you want to add more than one in one tank. As mentioned above bettas love their own territory and it has got a lot to do with volume and size. In the natural environment since the expanse is not an issues, male bettas get along with other bettas by setting their own position and fighting for it. 

But in a fish tank since size is limited this can cause a big trouble for an individual fish. Size less than 20 gallons will definitely cause a problem while keeping up with their own territory. A 20 gallon tank measure about 24" x 12" x 16" OR 30" X 12" x 12". So anything less that this size is not a good thing for more than one betta. 

If your fish tank is bigger than this then it becomes somewhat easier for the individual betta to establish his own space in the "water universe". 

But the point is why invest large sums of money to just keep bettas?

That is why when the size becomes bigger most people prefer a community tank, instead of just bettas in it. So the decision here would be a

  1. Smaller tank with just one betta and other community fish
  2. Bigger tank with multiple male bettas (not recommended)

Economically the first option looks better and most people would love to see a colorful display of multiple fish swimming around.

Image Credits - By en:User:JohnnyMrNinja (My house, tank, camera) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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