The Betta fish belongs to the tropical region of the world. It thrives in the steady waters mainly comprising of paddy rice fields, slow streams, and muddy waters. The origin of Betta fish traces to Thailand where they were first discovered. They are the most celebrated members of the Gourami family and thus get their behavioural name “The Siamese fighting fish”.
They have really bright and vibrant colors because of the multiple mutations they undergo during the process of their reproduction. This exquisite nature of these fishes makes them one of the most preferred pets all around the world. They inherit a large hue of colors which makes their pattern untraceable to recognise. But, the most common color of them is blue and its respective shades.
From ancient times of its discovery, Betta was known as warrior. They were aggressive and would die for their territory especially against a fish of their own species. Male Betta does not have a tendency of liking towards each other at all. If kept in the same fish tank, they would surely fight till one or both of them die. However, the compatibility of male Betta with the female ones is considerably good. Especially, during the season of breeding and reproduction both the genders take care of each other.
Betta fish has been since early times of its discovery been used for fight shows which started in Thailand initially leading to its fame all over the globe. But, these death sports are extremely deadly for the fishes even if the other one survives or wins. Their fins are torn out and body scarred which gradually kills them slowly or leaves them sick most of the time. But, it is not true that they are only bred for fighting purpose. People with pet fish tanks love Betta in the community because of the magnificent colors and features of this fish.
Betta fish are small in size.
They grow in height more than the length.
The average Betta fish can grow up to 3 inches in length and half an inch in diameter.
During their aggressive times, they spread their fins and tail such that they look nearly 1/4th times bigger than their original size.
Betta fish are fighters both in nature in life span. The eldest Betta till now in the records lived up to 6 years.
The only thing to consider is taking care of your fish to make it survive longer.
Average Betta lives for about 2-3 years.
A well kept Betta can live up to 5 years.
Male Betta fish live longer than female thus, if you want a longer lasting relationship with your fish mates, it is preferred to get a male one.
The origin of theirs belongs to rice paddy fields in South Asia.
They can be found in the natural habitat thriving in steady ponds, rice paddy fields, stranded water streams and dark shallow lakes.
Betta is a tropical fish and requires minimum 75 degree Fahrenheit temperature to live well.
An aquarium heater is compulsory for a Betta fish tank where atmospheric temperature varies a lot from day to night.
Betta fish like to stay alone and have territorial standing of large areas. Thus, a fish tank of minimum 2 gallons is required to house a Betta.
The Anabantoid nature of Betta
Betta fish belong to the Labyrinth family as it also can be seen from its upturned mouth. It breathes directly from atmospheric oxygen.
Betta fish needs oxygen directly from the air more than from water.
A low level oxygen tank would not harm the health of a Betta. But, their nature of jumping out of the surface makes it necessary to keep a cap or lid on the fish tank.
The Anabantoid nature of Betta can be seen in all varieties of Betta but the endurance varies in every fish.
Different Types Of Beta Fish, Names And Tails
Veil TailPlakatCrown TailHalf MoonDeltas & Super DeltasDouble TailRose & Feather TailRound TailHalf Sun
Veil Tails have a long tail, anal and dorsal fin. They are known for their bright colors and spectacular fins.
These are short-tailed betta fish. They are larger and stronger and less prone to injury.
Crown tail Betas have striking tail. They have teardrop shape to its tail while the twin tail is split.
They are one of the prettiest species due to their often unusual coloring and 180 degree, fan-like tail.
Deltas & Super Deltas
The Super Delta Tail Betta boasts a breathtaking color pattern in which the body coloration radiates partially into the fins.
Double tail Betta has a true double caudal fin, in which there are two distinct tails and not just a split in a single tail. Some varieties of double tail are also known as Full Moon Betta but its only a marketing term.
Rose & Feather tail
They are half-moon Betta with extra branching in the fin rays.
They can be compared to a Plakat with a large tail, and mistaken for a Delta. The fin shape is round, rather than the straight edges of a Delta, but fuller and longer than that of a Plakat.
Half Sun Betta’s are usually produced with crossing a Veil Tail and a Crowntail.
Betta Fish Bubble Nest
If you see any clusters of bubbles on the wall of your tank, do not freak out. Instead be happy. Why? Because it is an indication of your Betta fish being healthy and happy. This cluster of bubbles is known as Bubble Nest.
But why does it make The Bubble Nest?
It is a sign that your Betta fish is preparing for breeding. The process follows as such:
The male Betta fish will build the nest which can be up to 7.5cm in diameter.
Then, it will look for a female Betta fish for reproduction.
After finding and spawning with the female fish, the female fish will leave its eggs. It is the duty of the male fish to quickly catch the eggs in its mouth and place them safely in the bubble nest.
Betta fish due to its natural habitat being shallow waters are surrounded with dirt, small rocks and puddle. The bubble nest provides a natural habitat for the eggs to grow healthily. It prevents any dirt or external object from interacting with the eggs. The bubbles make sure that the eggs are always surrounded with rich oxygen and are moist.
Even in the fish tanks without a female fish, the male Betta will make the bubble nest because of its instincts. There is no specific time frame for them or period of cycle to observe. It is just known that they do it from time to time with their instincts that the atmosphere is compatible for breeding process.
Betta Fish Breeding Process
If you want to increase the count of Betta in your tank, you can usually breed them. Breeding is a good thing for both the Betta and its owner as it happens only if the health and atmospheric conditions are perfect and vice versa.
But, the breeding process is a very complicated and time taking one. So, you will have to possess enough patience along with regularity in checking the conditions of the tank. The complete process of breeding is given below step by step:
The Fish Tank
For any fish to breed, it needs to be healthy enough. So, setting up the fish tank and revising its condition before starting the breeding process is very crucial.
After setting the conditions of the tank you need to bring a female Betta and prepare another similar tank for it. The female fish needs to be of the same size and similar age as the male fish.
Note: A young breeding pair of approximately 14 months of age is best for breeding as this age is perfect for the process and the results are most optimum.
Do not place both the genders in the same tank. Betta fishes are territorial and will end up fighting to death for their territory. Even during the breeding time.
Wait for 2-3 months for the fishes to settle in the environment and then go further on the breeding process. After they have settled increase the temperature of the tank to 80 degrees Fahrenheit as this is the preferred temperature for the breeding.
Remove any gravel or similar substances and plastic plants from the tank as the eggs can get lost in them which will result in depressing the male fish and deteriorate the chances of healthy hatching of eggs.
The water level must be maintained at six inches from the lower surface of the tank. Try using an adjustable filter and heater to change the environment as required.
The Breeding Season
As the breeding period approaches start feeding the fishes live food and keep changing the water regularly to avoid any contamination. The two tanks need to be kept beside each other such that both the fishes could see each other.
The female Betta will show signs that it is ready to spawn. The belly will look swollen vertical stripes appear on the body of the female fish when it is ready to spawn.
Place the female in the tank of the male fish and observe the behavior of both. If there is any aggression in their behavior, remove the female fish and try again after a few days.
The signs that they are getting ready to spawn is that the male fish will spread its fins and flaunt its colors showing off its masculinity to attract the female.
Note: There may be slight bullying by the male fish as it snaps at the fins of the female Betta. As long as it appears to be harmless, do not try to interfere. This behavior may last for several hours or even days.
Then the male Betta will start building a bubble nest to attract the female to copulate. The female will then release the eggs and then try to stay away from the male.
Necessary point: The female will look paralysed while releasing the eggs. It is perfectly normal. Immediately remove the female after it starts moving again or it may try to eat the eggs itself.
Taking care of the eggs
As soon as the female releases the eggs, the male fish will catch them with its mouth and place them in the bubble nest to grow.
Before the eggs hatch, keep a stock of live small insects to feed the new born. The new born are called fry. They will usually swim at the surface looking for the insects and live food.
Cover the tank with a plastic sheet to avoid cold wind from getting in as the fries may develop pneumonia when they swim around the surface and catch the cold wind.
Betta Fish food and Diet Procedures
Betta fish is carnivorous and requires a high protein diet to thrive. In their natural habitat, they usually feed on live insects, blood worms, mosquitoes. Feeding your Betta with commercial carnivorous pellets is enough for a good diet.
Betta fish do like snack from time to time. The best snacks for them are frozen worms, freeze dried fish and blood worms. Though a Betta fish can eat anything it should and even if it should not, they do not. They are very choosy in the food they eat. Here is a list of their favourite and most nutritious foods:
Fish Pellets – Betta pellets are the best source of nutrition for the Betta fish on a daily basis. Feed your fish around 2-3 pellets twice a day and it will get enough protein to stay healthy.
Live Food – Live food for Betta includes insect larvae, mosquito larva, daphnia, brine shrimp and bloodworms. Live food is preferably fed to these fishes when they are in the healing process. When feeding live food, the tank needs to cleaned from the leftovers as they are likely to catch infection quickly.
Frozen Food – Frozen food is more expensive than other options but liked the most by the Betta. They are mostly fed as snacks once or twice a week. Frozen food is better as the freezing kills all the germs and makes it harmless. Unfreeze the amount you need to feed.
Freeze Dried Fish – This one food when fed regularly will make the Betta ignore any other food for ever. They like this food so much that they get addicted to it. Freeze dried fish is best for medication and vitamin intake for your fish.
How Often to feed Betta Fish
Overfeeding is one of the main reasons for the Betta to get sick. They do not have a proper control over their appetite and in good tank conditions will eat any amount of pellets you feed them.
This leads to constipation in them which is a major killer. The best option to void overfeeding is to provide only the amounts your Betta takes 2 minutes to devour.
An overfed Betta will look swollen if it gets constipated and the eyes seem to be popping out of the head too. So, try not to get into that or the treatment will cost more than feeding it because of a slight negligence.
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Last update on 2021-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
How Long Can Betta Go Without Eating?
Betta fish have a lot of endurance to starvation. So, if you plan to go out of town for a few days do not worry about your Betta as it will survive without eating.
Though, there are auto food devices which can be set at a particular time to feed to fish. They drop pellets into the water at the set times of the day which can help you in extending the vacation period without worrying about the tank either.
Betta fish Diseases
Betta fish are quite prone to diseases, so making it sure that the tank is safe from any external health deterioration is necessary. The best way is to keep the tank clean, the devices running and keeping a regular check on them.
But diseases come in a lot of varieties too and can hit your Betta even after it is kept in a very safe environment. The most common disease is constipation for Betta as they do not have a diet control. The other diseases that occur to Betta are fin rot, dropsy, tail rot, Ick, Gills mites, fungus and many more.
Beta Fish Names
It might sound weird to name your Betta fish but it is somehow a very important part of Betta fish care. Giving your fish a name not only lets you feel comfortable with them, it helps you distinguish between each fish and take care of them better.
Betta fish prefer to stay alone but if you want to populate the tank with some friends, there is not much to choose from. Betta fish are territorial, egoistic and aggressive. They would get into a fight with any fish that seems to be territorial, more vibrant in colors, attractive, or bigger in size.
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Last update on 2021-10-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The first thing to organise and take care of if you are wishing to keep a Betta in your aquarium is setting up your tank according to its conditions. Bettas are tropical fishes and need a moderately warm temperature to live happily. Not only this, they require regular observation and selective in some accessories too. For a complete guide on how to take care of aquarium and bowl read along to know more.
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[Revised and Updated for July, 2019]
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Written by Debra Hutchinson, founder of FishXperts