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Can Female Betta Fish Lay Eggs Without A Male?

As the popularity of keeping betta fish continues to see exponential growth with each year that goes by as well as more and more people choosing to keep a female betta sorority tank we have noticed more and more people reaching out with questions about keeping female betta fish.

One of the more common questions that we have seen people reaching out about is if female betta fish lay eggs without a male in their tank or not.

As we see so many people reaching out about this, especially people who keep female betta sorority tanks with multiple female betta fish in there, we have decided to cover the topic with our own article.

Our hope is that we will be able to help as many of our readers as possible who are curious if their female bettas will produce eggs or not without a male being in the tank.

We also hope that we will be able to help our readers better understand why some of the more common issues that we see people reaching out about such as “betta bloat” is nothing more than a female betta fish with eggs.

As we have noticed a number of similar questions about female bettas producing eggs without having a male in their tank that we want to cover, we have added our table of contents to our article below.

Can Female Betta Fish Lay Eggs Without A Male?

Female betta fish will start to produce and lay eggs in their tank between the ages of four to eight-month and continue to produce eggs for the majority of their life even if they don’t have a male in their tank.

This is totally normal for bettas and the majority of fish species that lay eggs will still produce and lay eggs even if there are no males present in their tanks.

This is due to the evolutionary process of having to find a mate in the wild so female bettas will still produce the eggs and then hold on them even if a male is not in their tank.

Most female bettas will retain their eggs for as long as two weeks but younger female bettas can retain them for as long as four weeks.

Once the female betta decides that the chances of finding a male betta in time to successfully fertilize her current clutch of eggs are minimal, she will release them with these unfertilized eggs usually ending up as a food source for her tank mates.

If your female betta fish has not released her eggs within two weeks then she may be egg bound. If you do suspect this to be the case then our article going over how to help a female betta that is full of eggs may be worth reading.

Can Betta Eggs Hatch Without A Male?

Once a female betta fish releases her eggs from her ovipositor, they will need a male betta fish to fertilize them to enable them to hatch. Without a male betta fish to fertilize the eggs, they will usually end up becoming a food source for the other fish in the tank.

In some cases, a female betta will actually eat her own unfertalized eggs too.

If you do carry out regular maintenance on your female bettas aquarium then there is a good chance that you will remove a large number of the un-fertalizd eggs that have not been ate by her tank mates during cleaning and maintenance.

If you are actively trying to breed your bettas then moving a female betta fish into a standard 10-gallon breeding tank with a male betta is usually the best option.

This allows the male betta fish to fertilize the eggs that are released by the female betta fish while reducing the chances of the other tank mates eating the eggs.

Why Does A Female Betta Fish Produce Eggs Without A Male?

Female betta fish will produce eggs even if a male is not in her tank. In the wild this is totally normal as a female betta can hold her eggs for up to two weeks before she has to release them from her ovipositor.

This would usually give her plenty of time to fine a male betta fish to fertilize her eggs in the wild.

This instinct and natural biological process remains in captive female betta fish that live in your aquariums.

Once their bodies are able to start producing eggs, the female betta will start the reproductive behaviors she would in the wild as she does not know that a male betta will not be added to her tank.

If you do keep a female betta sorority tank then it can be common to have multiple females releasing their eggs in to the tank at the same time.

As we touched on above, these eggs will not get fertilized without a male but the tank mates in the sorority tank will just eat the eggs as a nutritious, high protein snack.

My Betta Fish Laid Eggs Without A Male, What Do I Do?

If your female betta fish has released her eggs without a male present, you can manually remove the eggs if you wish but most people will leave them in the aquarium.

The other fish, snails, and shrimp in the tank will eat the unfertalized eggs with the eggs simply becoming part of the food chain.

The majority of our readers will be doing some type of tank maintenance on the aquariums that they keep their female betta fish in anyway. Any un-eaten eggs from your female betta fish will often be removed from the tank during the cleaning process anyway.

Just keep an eye out for any of your female betta fish becoming egg bound as we touched on earlier as they can sometimes struggle to release their eggs. If this does happen, you will usually have to intervene to help her as soon as possible.


That brings our article going over if female betta fish can lay eggs without a male betta fish in her tank to an end. We hope that we have been able to explain why a female betta fish will still release her eggs into the tank even if there is no male betta fish available to fertilise them. This can catch a number of people new to keeping betta fish out but it is totally normal and to be expected.