Betta Fish in Acquarium

Because of its beautiful colours and wonderful fin shapes, the Betta is popular with aquarists. The Beta fish originated in the hot, dampish rice paddies of
Asia. The Beta Fish developed a way to breathe oxygen directly from the
music, using a lung – like ” warren ” organ to survive as the rice paddies
experienced drought. This way the bettas could still obtain music, while
living in muddy, shrinking moisten holes and could survive until the rains
reciprocal.

Members of the genus Betta, to which the Siamese fighting fish belongs,
are a type of “labyrinth fish” (a name also given to anabantids) because
they have a labyrinth organ in their heads that allows them to take oxygen
directly from the atmosphere in addition to the oxygen taken from water
via their gills. The floor of the tank should have, as a minimum, a thin
(5 mm or 0.25 in) layer of gravel to increase the surface area for
nitrifying bacteria to colonize. Decorations can provide hiding places,
especially important when two males are housed in a divided tank, or when
the betta is living in a community tank. (Note that some bettas enjoy
leaping out of tanks, so a breathable lid is highly recommended.) If the
betta has no access to air, it will suffocate.

Bear in mind that fish with ‘fancier’ tail forms such as half-moons can be
more difficult for the novice aquarist to keep in optimum health. There is a stereotype that in the wild, bettas live in tiny muddy pools, and therefore that it is acceptable to keep them in small tanks, but bowls are usually too small. In reality, bettas live in vast paddies, the puddle myth originating from the fact that during the dry season, the paddies can dry out into small patches of water. It is not a natural state of affairs by any means, and in the wild, fish trapped in such puddles are likely to die in a short period of time when they dry out.

To maximize the lifespan of the fish and ensure their wellbeing, they
should always be kept in appropriate sized tanks. As a rule of thumb, for
each inch of fish there must be at least one gallon of water in its tank.
Bettas idealy should be kept in a filtered tank 10 gallons or more and
treated like any other freshwater tank fish. Although these conditions are
ideal, with proper care and filtration a betta can be happily kept in a
smaller tank.

Tankmates
Because of the aggressive nature of this species, tankmates must be chosen
carefully, and two male B. splendens should not be housed in the same tank
unless they are separated by a dividing wall. As a general rule, male
Bettas cannot be housed together. It is possible to house two male bettas
in a single very large tank, provided that there is plenty of cover (such
as floating plants) and enough space for both males to establish their own
territories. However, this is an extremely risky procedure because of the
male’s natural territoriality. These experiments in housing males together
often end in the death of one or both inhabitants of the tank. (Male
bettas do not ‘fight to the death’ in the wild; once one fish has clearly
won the encounter, the loser will retreat to a safe location. In an
aquarium, however, there is no place to run, and the winning fish will
continue to attack the loser, often ending in death.)

While they might eventually mate, keeping a male and female together may
prove too volatile since the male will often be much more aggressive and
mating conditions must be precisely conducive. Often, breeders have a
special container so the female may display without being harmed by the
male prior to induced breeding.

Females may or may not be able to coexist peacefully in the same tank
depending on their temperaments. They are not schooling fish, and are
still rather aggressive, but with enough room and many hiding spaces, they
can learn to get along. There should never be exactly two female bettas in
a tank together—a pecking order, a hierarchy, is necessary for them to
live peacefully. With only two fish, one will be the bully and the other
will be picked on. However, with three or more, a hierarchy is
established.

Before co-housing Siamese fighting fish with other species, their
compatibility should be carefully researched, and the owner should have a
back-up plan if the shared tank does not work. Common tankmates include
mollies, catfish, or loaches. Although bettas are most aggressive towards
each other, they have been known to kill very small fish or nip at the
fins of fish such as fancy guppies, perhaps mistaking their finnage for
that of another male betta. Certain fish should not be housed with bettas.

Schooling fish often become fin-nippers, making the betta a prime target
because of their flowing fins. Also, aggressive fish like barbs should not
be around bettas. Keepers have also reported problems when attempting to
keep Betta in the company of piranha, for obvious reasons. It is strongly
recommended that bettas given tankmates should be housed in a tank that is
at least 2 gallons per fish in the community (depending on bio load) with
plenty of hiding places. Anything smaller will stress the Betta. Only
females can be kept in communities, and you still must watch out for
aggressive females who will cause trouble in your tank.

Carnivorous, the betta feeds on zooplankton and mosquito and other insect
larvae. Domesticated bettas will feed on bloodworms, daphnia, and brine
shrimp. Betta pellets are typically a combination of mashed shrimp meal,
bloodworms, and various vitamins to enhance color and longevity. For
variety and fiber, bettas may also be fed finely chopped vegetables high
in protein such as soybeans, green beans, broccoli, corn, or carrots.
Bettas are primarily surface feeders, that is their mouths are upturned,
so any food items added should be able to float on the surface of the
water.

 Betta fish are beautiful and interesting fish to own. Beta fish are
intelligent and will quickly learn who their caregiver is. You will notice
that your Beta fish will soon learn when you approach and become very
excited! If you give your Beta fish the attention and care that he
deserves, you will be rewarded with a stunning and interesting pet that is
a pleasure to own.

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