How Many Betta Fish Can You Keep In A 10 Gallon Tank?

Bettas can turn into a bit of an obsession.  It’s very hard to stop at just one.  But do we really have to get a separate tank for each one of them, or can we just throw a few into the old 10 gallon tank?

As a general rule, you can keep 4-5 female bettas in a 10 gallon tank. You can keep 2-3 male bettas, but only if you have dividers in between each of them. You can also keep a single male betta in a 10 gallon along with other fish such as pygmy corydoras, ember tetras, or harlequin rasboras.

Let’s discuss more about the different setups you can have for a 10 gallon betta tank.

Male bettas together through the magic of photoshop | Source: Deposit Photos

Keeping a Male Betta In a 10 Gallon Tank

There are 3 main ways to keep a male betta in a 10 gallon tank. Let’s discuss them one by one.

#1.  Male Betta With Another Male Betta

Male bettas can’t be kept in the same aquarium unless there is a divider placed in between them.  This will stress them out and cause them to fight each other – which is definitely not something we want in our aquariums.

You can keep 2-3 in the same tank if you place dividers in between them.  The benefit of this is that it saves space and reduces the amount you have to spend on aquariums.  The downside is that it can allow for disease to spread through all of your bettas if one gets sick.

If you’re using dividers, you’ll also want to make sure you put decorations and/or plants around the divider to break line of sight.  This will help reduce stress from your bettas seeing each other.

Colorful male and female betta fish | Source: Deposit Photos

#2.  Male Betta With Another Female Betta

Keeping males and female bettas can be risky – even though you’d think that a male and female of the same species should work well together.

Unfortunately, a male betta won’t tolerate any threat in its area – including a female.

They can be kept together to breed, but should be separated again as soon as they’ve successfully bred.  The male will protect the eggs, and if it sees the female as a threat, it will attack the female.

#3.  Male Betta With Other Fish

Yes, you can keep male betta fish with other fish in a 10 gallon community tank. But you have to be extremely careful while selecting the fish that will go with your male betta.

I’m saying this not just for the protection of the other fish. But if the other fish is a fin nipper, then it can damage the beautiful fins of your male betta.

A few fish that could work well (though it will depend on the personality of your individual betta):

  • Harlequin Rasboras
  • Pygmy Corydoras
  • Ember Tetras
  • Small snails (ramshorn, trumpet snails, pond snails, etc)

Avoid fish with long, showy fins (such as guppies).

How To Keep A Sorority of Female Bettas

A betta sorority is a community fish tank with multiple female bettas.

Although the female bettas are less aggressive, they are still not completely peaceful. 

They can become territorial once they think that they are the dominant female in the tank.

Beautiful Candy Betta fish | Source: Deposit Photos

Number of Betta Fish

Around 5 female betta would probably be best for a species only sorority tank.  Here is a table with specific thoughts on different numbers of fish.

No. of Female BettasGood or Bad Idea?Reason
1 Female BettaGoodNot a sorority, but you can add other types of fish.
2 Female BettasBadBecause one of them can become dominant and start bullying the other
3 Female BettasStill BadBecause two of them can become dominant and start harassing the other
4 Female BettasModerateYes, you can but still one more would be better
5-6 Female BettasIdealThis is the ideal case to maintain proper harmony
7+ Female BettasIs not so goodWay too many for a 10 gallon

Please note for 10 gallon tanks you shouldn’t keep more than 6 female bettas; because then it would get too crowded.

If you have chosen a bigger tank then it is okay to keep more female bettas. Even then it’s still not recommended to keep more than 10 female bettas.

Hiding Places

If you keep multiple female bettas in a sorority (especially a 10 gallon one), then it is important to have enough hiding places. This will reduce stress in your bettas and help them feel safer.

Having a bunch of hiding places – such as plants, decorations, etc – will reduce line of sight and give your bettas more privacy.  Because they will see the other females less often, you may have less issues with fighting or bullying.

Here is a useful video on betta sororities:

Can I Put 2 Betta Fish In A 10 Gallon Tank?

You can keep 2 male betta fish in a 10 gallon tank if there is a divider between them.  You can keep 2 female bettas in a sorority tank without a divider. In a betta sorority tank, which is a tank full of female bettas, it is recommended to keep minimum 4-5 female bettas.

Putting a male betta fish with many different female betta fish in a sorority can also be complex.

A male betta will typically try to mate with the dominant female betta. So other female bettas in the sorority may start fighting to take this position.

So you need to be very careful and always have a backup plan ready while keeping male with one or more female betta.  Ideally, you would just keep the male in his own tank.

Is a 10 gallon tank good for bettas?

A 10 gallon tank is a perfect size for a single betta to live in.  It’s also big enough to keep 2 bettas with a divider (3 is pushing it) or a small sorority of 4-5 females.  It is not recommended to keep a male with other bettas if you’re not using a divider.

Space is a much more important factor in keeping bettas. As per vetmed.illinois.edu, betta fish are naturally territorial.

So more the space you give to your bettas, lesser will be the chances of them coming closer and getting in a fight.

What fish can live with a betta in a 10 gallon tank?

As a general rule, those fish can be kept with betta that don’t trigger the betta to indulge in a fight. Pygmy cory catfish, harlequin rasboras, malaysian trumpet snails and ember tetras are some of the fish that can be kept with the betta.

Here’s a video about the 10 gallon betta tank mates. You can watch it to get some ideas

Wrapping Up

Here the key takeaways:

  • You can keep a male betta in a 10 gallon tank with other fish as long as you pick the right species.
  • Two male bettas can’t be kept together so in any size tank unless using a divider.
  • Keeping a male betta with another female betta or with multiple female bettas can be tricky and you should avoid it if you are a beginner aquarist.
  • You can keep multiple bettas in a 10 gallon tank making a betta sorority provided they are female bettas and that too you must keep at least 4-5 of them.

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