Are Betta Fish Aggressive: Causes & Prevention

Do you have a betta fish? If you do, you may have wondered if all betta fish are aggressive. In this post, we’ll explore the answer to that question and more.

Betta fish are not aggressive by nature. Many betta enthusiasts keep them in small tanks because they are so easy-going and calm. They are quite docile when kept in a tank with other compatible fish. Some people do report that betta fish can become aggressive when they feel threatened or when they are overcrowded, but this is relatively rare. However, if you do encounter aggression from a betta fish in your home, it is best to remove it from the tank or environment immediately.

beautiful ornamental betta fish, with blur background

Do Betta Fish Fight?

Rarely do betta fish fight with each other. Occasionally, two male friends may squabble over a female or territory; but this is usually limited to wild swimming and minor biting. Territoriality or aggressive behavior intended to establish boundaries around an aquarium or personal space is much more common in aggressive fish species such as guppies and cichlids. If you ever observe any fighting behavior between your betta fishes, please immediately remove them from their home and seek help from an experienced fish keeper.

Siamese fighting fish in fish tank

What Triggers Bettas to be Aggressive?

Unsuitable Water Parameters

Water temperature can cause betta fish to be aggressive. When the water temperature is too high, betta fish become stressed and may become aggressive towards other fish in the tank. As with many fish, betta fish are cold-blooded. So when their surroundings are too hot or too cold for them, they become stressed and aggressive. Water chemistry can also cause aggression in water that is not appropriate for the temperature of your tank or environment – one reason why you should regularly test temperatures on all levels of your current aquarium as well as before testing any new/old device such as a heater, filter or any additions to the tank.

Insufficient Food

Bettas will also become aggressive when their food is insufficient. This can be due to a wide variety of reasons including heavy stocking, general crowding in an aquarium, as well as starvation caused by overstocking your home with betta fish or overeating at one time – this, applies especially if you have been unknowingly feeding the same foods for long periods (e.g., frozen bloodworm and mosquito larvae).

Not Enough Aquarium Space

Bettas from the same species tend to live in their territory. Therefore, if you do not have enough aquarium space for multiple betta fish or are overstocking your current aquarium, this combination of factors is most likely going to lead to stressful experiences with other fishes and potential aggression guarantees. Simply put: Bettas don’t take kindly when they feel crowded! If there is a lack of room in an existing tank – first assess the amount of fish to be added. Remember, no additions can overstock in a setup that is already overcrowded!

Unhealthy Environment

Betta fish are often kept in small, unhealthy environments that can cause them to become aggressive. These fish are typically peaceful and will not attack unless they feel threatened or their environment is unhealthy. If your Betta fish is displaying aggressive behavior, it may be a sign that its environment is not suitable. You can try to move it to a better environment or treat its water with a quality filter.

Poor Water Quality

Water quality can be a major factor in how aggressive a betta fish is. In general, poor water quality will cause betta fish to become more aggressive. This is because poor water quality can cause the fish to feel stressed and unable to swim effectively. Additionally, poor water quality can increase the levels of bacteria and other toxins in the water. These toxins can cause the fish to become sick or even die.

How to Tell If Betta Fish Is Fighting?

If you notice any redness, swelling, or excessive stress on either fish’s body, they may be fighting. In addition to physical indicators of aggression (such as raised scales and a reddened appearance), Ich, a bacterial infection, may also cause the fish’s body to adopt a red color before an aggressive display. You must give your betta time away from the tank and cleaner water if they are indeed quarreling, as it can be fatal for them.

Can Betta Fish Kill Another Fish?

Betta Fish can’t kill another fish, but they will fight them using various displays of aggression to demonstrate their dominance. Betta Fish cannot kill another fish, but they will fight them using various displays of aggression to their dominance.

Each betta fish is equipped with its type of aggressive display as a means for asserting its independence and maintaining the hierarchy between each other members from one species to the next (tying closely to the hierarchical behaviors / ‘parent-child’ behavioral patterns ). When any fish challenges this order, it is in effect challenging its position relative to other members of the same species.

White Siamese betta fighting fish beautiful luxury movement dance power over isolated black background. Animal hobby underwater concept.

How to Stop Betta Fish From Being Aggressive?

As already discussed, betta fish are often considered to be one of the most peaceful and docile fish species. However, there are a few cases where betta fish can become aggressive. If you find that your betta fish is becoming aggressive, there are a few things that you can do to try and stop the behavior.

  • Make sure that your betta has enough space to swim and move around.
  • Keep your tank clean and free of debris.
  • Feed your betta a high-quality diet.
  • Provide them with plenty of hiding places.
  • Monitor their activity and temperament closely.

If these methods do not work, you may need to take your betta fish to a veterinarian for help.

Compatible Betta Tank Mates

There are many different types and ages of fish that can be successfully kept with bettas, but some of the more commonly cited compatible tank mates include:

  • Goldfish
  • Cichlids
  • Tetras
  • Guppies
  • Barbs
  • Catfish

The list goes on, but these are some of the more common fishes that can live harmoniously alongside bettas. It’s always a good idea to research any new additions to your aquarium before adding them to see if they’re compatible with other fish in your tank, sometimes an incompatible fish may be added unintentionally and cause tension between tank mates.