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Why Do Betta Fish Fight?

By J W Chase

Want to know why Betta fish fight? Well there are many reasons for this aggressive behavior. The main reason is the people of Southeast Asia have bred them to fight for hundreds of years. Here is a history of this popular fish and the reasons the little fish wants to fight.

Betta History

Betta fish, also known as Siamese Fighting Fish since they are mainly found in Siam, now known as Thailand, can be found all over Southeast Asia. They normally can be found in rice paddies, ditches, stagnant water and slow-moving streams. With the current use of chemicals to raise rice, the Betta is slowly disappearing from the paddies.

The villages of Southeast Asia used to compete with each other to determine who had the best fighting fish. The winning village would have bragging rights over the losing village.

Why Betta Fight

Betta males are the ones that will fight the most, in fact they will fight other males at the drop of a hat. Usually they fight to ensure they have enough food, for control of their territory and to get the female for reproduction. Betta males can live with females in the same tank, but putting two males in the same tank, without keeping them separate, can lead to trouble.

To have two or more males in the same tank, you must keep the peace by ensuring they are separate. You can do this by providing them each their own space using a wire mesh to keep them separate or putting them in plastic containers with holes in it to allow circulation of water.

Which ever method you chose, ensure that the males cannot see each other by placing rock, plants or ornaments between the males.

When getting ready to fight the males will flare off at each other, almost doubling or tripling in size to intimidate his rival. Their gills and fins will flare out and their colors may become more intense.

Betta females on the other hand, are not as intimidating as their male counter-parts. But they will develop a pecking order if you keep two or more in the same tank. The top female Betta will peck at the other female Betta fish that are below here in the pecking order.


The reason Betta males fight is for more food, territory or to get the female for reproduction. The female fights other females to determine pecking order.

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