Red and blue Betta splendens.

Male Fighter Fish: Image via Wikipedia

Day 89/366 - my new female Betta fish

Female Fighter Fish: Image by Newbirth35 via Flickr

One of the difficult things which a fighter fish keeper faces is in determining its gender. It is more difficult in case of young fighter fish. Even the betta fish experts fail to determine the gender of fighter fish. Hence, if you fail in determining the gender of your fighter fish, do not be embarrassed. Below, there are some basic guidelines which can help you to determine the gender of a betta fish. They are as follows;

1. First, observe the fins. Normally, male bettas have fins which are 2 – 4 times the length of the female bettas’ fins. But you must keep in mind that only adult male bettas have long fins. Hence, it may not be useful to apply this rule on young bettas. When you observe the anal fin of a young fighter fish, if it looks longer than it did before, and pointy at the end, then the betta could be a male.

2. Another notable difference between a male and a female betta is the body shape. If compared to female fighter fish bodies, male bettas have less wide and more elongated bodies. Since, the difference is very slight, you will need a lot of practice.

3. Female fighter fish have egg spots. You can locate the spot under the female’s belly, between her ventrals and her anal fin. It is a tiny white speck, like a grain of salt, from which the eggs will come out during breeding. In some cases, you may see the egg spot in young male bettas. But in adult male bettas, you will not find this.

4. This may sound funny but it is true that male fighter fish have beard like feature. Actually it is a membrane located under the gill covers. When a male betta flares, the covers open up and the membrane will be displayed. Even when gills are closed, you can see the membrane sticking out a bit. Though female bettas have the membrane, it cannot be seen when the gills are closed.

5. Male fighter fish begins to make bubble nests when they reach adulthood but female bettas do not have this characteristic. However, you must be careful since some male bettas may not show interest in breeding even after reaching adulthood.

6. Male fighter fish flare at each other usually. Females, on the other hand, rarely do such thing. Hence, here also you will need a bit practice.

One thing you must always keep in mind that determining the gender of a fighter fish is not an easy task. It will need a lot of practice and patience. Above of all, you must not get discouraged when you fail to determine the gender of a fighter fish.

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