What Is a Betta Fish?

In the cruel pet trade, betta fish (aka Siamese fighting fish) are fighting for their lives. Pet shops, discount superstores, florists, and even websites sell bettas who are forced to live in minuscule cups, small bowls, and even flower vases. Many people who buy these fish on a whim dont know enoughif anythingabout proper betta care, which is more complex and expensive than they realize. On this page, learn why you should never buy bettas (or any other animal) from a pet store. If you already have a betta fish companion, well show you how to give that animal the best possible life.

While some bettas are captured in the wild, the vast majority of those sold in the U.S. come from breeding farms in Thailand and other countries in Southeast Asia, where its common practice to keep them in small bottles. When its time to pack them for transport to the U.S., fish are haphazardly dumped into baskets covered with nets and scooped up into small plastic cups.

A diet consisting solely of plant roots may keep them alive for a while, but since it lacks the proper nutrients for this species, the fish eventually become sick and die. Too much uneaten food and waste material in aquarium tanks can overload them, causing ammonia and nitrite levels to become toxic. If aggression becomes an issue in any community tank, you should keep and maintain a separate, working quarantine aquarium in which individuals can be placed to avoid conflict with other fish.

Pet shops, discount superstores, florists, and even online catalogs sell decorative bettas in small cups or flower vases. Remember: Purchasing a betta fish from a pet store or breeder isnt rescuing an animalits funding the continued abuse and exploitation of that species.

Are betta fish good pets?

Bettas make great pets for beginning and experienced aquarists alike. Unlike some fish species, they are highly interactive and you can truly “bond” with them. The beauty of bettas also rivals many saltwater fish. There is an endless variety of colors and fin types which means there’s a betta for just about everyone!

What type of fish is a betta?

Siamese fighting fish

Do betta fish get lonely?

Do They Get Lonely? Betta fish are naturally territorial and should not be housed with any other betta fish because they will fight and injure each other, often resulting in death. They are unlikely to get lonely in their tank ; however, if they are in a small tank, they may get bored.

What is special about betta fish?

Betta fish have a special organ, known as the labyrinth organ, that allows them to breathe air at the water’s surface. … Thanks to the labyrinth organ, Betta fish are able to survive in waters with low oxygen content. This is how they can thrive in rice paddies, stagnant ponds, and lightly polluted waters.

Colorful, iridescent betta fish are popular starter pets. Pet stores often market the vibrant swimmers as being easy to care for because theyre smallso they take up minimal spaceand are inexpensive to care for.

Betta fish sold in stores have also been bred to have different types of fins, such as a double tail, crowntail, delta, halfmoon, and more. A quick glance down the fish aisle at your local pet store will likely and youll likely see rows of small plastic containers filled with immobile bettas.

A video released with the investigation shows betta fish confined to small containers that were not filled with an adequate amount of water to cover their bodies. PETA Asias undercover investigator visited ten different betta breeding factories and packing operations. The investigation found tranquilizers are sometimes added to the bettas water to keep the fish from consuming their own tails out of distress.

The Siamese fighting fish, or betta, is a vibrantly-colored fish often seen swimming solo in brandy sniffers and ornamental vases in both the office and home. But do these small, aesthetically-pleasing fish bowls provide a healthy environment for the fish? Is the popular betta bachelor in need of a companion or is it better off living alone?

You can find your local professional pet sitter on PSI’s Pet Sitter Locator . The betta was first discovered in Southeast Asia.

Making its home in rice paddies, drainage ditches and the warm flood plains of the region, the betta became accustomed to frequent storm flooding and devastating droughts. The cyclic, drastic changes in its environment helped the fish to adapt – becoming a true labyrinth fish. A labyrinth fish has the unique ability to breathe oxygen directly from the air and also take in oxygen from its gills.

As a result, bettas and other labyrinth fish can survive for short periods of time out of water and if needed, can inhale the air around them (provided they stay moist.) This also explains why a betta can sustain itself in stagnant, oxygen-deficient water. Although bettas can tolerate small spaces and poor water quality, they do best in small aquariums (at least two gallons) with regular water changes.

The preferred water temperature for a betta is 76-82 degrees F. The betta got its name from an ancient clan of warriors, called the “Bettah.” The fish were given a combatant name after the fighting fish became popular in the mid-1800s.

In fact, the sport became so renowned in Thailand that the former King of Siam had it regulated and taxed! Spectators of the sport based their bets on the bravery of the fish, rather than the damage inflicted by the victor. Bettas have upturned mouths and primarily feed on the water’s surface.

A good diet consists of dried bloodworms, brine shrimp or daphnia. Commercial betta food or pellets are best because it combines all three foods, in addition to vitamins and minerals. This improves the betta‘s brilliant coloring and longevity.

It is a common misconception that peace lilies or plant roots grown out of “betta vases” can sustain the fish. Nothing could be farther than the truth! Bettas cannot survive on plant roots and need a diet high in protein and fiber to survive.

Bettas, unlike other species, are not schooling fish and will fight with each other, regardless of gender. Bettas prefer to swim alone and also need a comfortable place to hide. Aquatic caves or dense, planted corners work great in making a betta feel safe.

When cleaning a betta‘s tank or bowl, make sure you only take out a third of the water each time and replace it with fresh water. This will gently allow the fish to adjust to the temperature and pH of clean water – while not upsetting the biological balance of the fish‘s environment. This should be done about every three or four days for small bowls or tanks.

If your water has a high level of chlorine in it, you may need to add a drop of declorinator to the tap water before adding it to the tank or bowl. And never use soap or disinfectants to clean off fish ornaments or decorations. This will harm the fish.

Plain warm water will work just fine for cleaning these items. You can also use a small turkey baster to siphon debris from the bottom of the tank. This will prevent excessive ammonia and bacteria from building up.

Bettas prefer slightly acidic water (pH 6.5 to 7) and warm water. Cold water can suppress the immune system and cause illness. Bettas have several different tail shapes – the most common being the “veil tail.”

Other tail shapes include the “half-moon,” “double tail,” “short-finned fighting-style tail” and “crown tail.” Bettas normally live 2 – 3 years, but there have been a few cases of bettas living well into their teens. The betta is known as “plakad” in its native Thailand and has often been referred to as “The Jewel of the Orient.”

As a pet parent, you can’t trust your pet’s care to just anyone. You want the best care for your best friend! This means using a professional pet sitter.

Search PSI’s Pet Sitter Locator to find a local PSI-member pet sitter. Find a Pet Sitter. PSI offers the online training, business forms and pet-sitter products youll need to succeed as a pet sitter.

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The Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens), commonly known as the betta,[2] is a freshwater fish native to Southeast Asia, namely Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam.[3][4] While there are 73 species of the genus Betta, only Betta splendens are eponymously called “bettas”, due largely to their global popularity as pets: they are among the most widely available aquarium fish in the world, due to their varied and vibrant colour, diverse morphology, and relatively low maintenance.[5][6]

Bettas are well known for being highly territorial, with males prone to attacking each other if housed in the same tank; without a means of escape, this will usually result in the death of one or both fish. [10] Bettas are exceptionally tolerant of low oxygen levels and poor water quality, owing to their special labyrinth organ , a characteristic unique to the suborder Anabantoidei that allows for the intake of surface air.

In addition to its worldwide popularity, the Siamese fighting fish is the national aquatic animal of Thailand, [12][13] which remains the primary breeder and exporter of bettas for the global aquarium market. Despite their abundance as pets, B. splendens is listed as ” vulnerable ” by the IUCN , due to increasing pollution and habitat destruction . Betta splendens is more accurately called by its scientific name or “Siamese fighting fish” to avoid confusion with the other members of the genus.

This name is used in Thailand for all members of the Betta genus, which share similar aggressive tendencies, rather than for any specific strain of the Siamese fighting fish. In captivity, Siamese fighting fish have been selectively bred to display a vibrant array of colours and tail types. According to Witte and Schmidt (1992), Betta splendens is native to Southeast Asia, including the northern Malay Peninsula , central and eastern Thailand , Kampuchea ( Cambodia ), and southern Vietnam .

Similarly, a report from Froese and Pauly (2019) identifies Betta splendens as native to Cambodia, Laos , Thailand, and Vietnam. Wherever they are found, Betta splendens generally inhabit shallow bodies of water with abundant vegetation, including marshes , floodplains , and paddy fields . The historic prevalence of rice farming across Southeast Asia, which provided an ideal habitat for bettas, led to their discovery and subsequent domestication by humans.

[21] The combination of shallow water and high air temperature causes gases to rapidly evaporate, leading to a significant deficit of oxygen in the betta‘s natural habitat. [21] This environment likely led to the evolution of the lung-like labyrinth organ , which allows Siamese fighting fishlike all members of the suborder Anabantoidei to breathe directly from the air. Subsequently, bettas can live and even thrive in harsher environments than other freshwater fish, which in turn leaves them with fewer natural predators and competitors.

The tropical climate of the betta‘s natural habitat is characterised by sudden and extreme fluctuations in water availability, chemistry, and temperature. [23] Consequently, Siamese fighting fish are highly adaptable and durable, able to tolerate a variety of harsh or toxic environments; this accounts for their popularity as pets, as well as their ability to successfully colonise bodies of water all over the world. In January 2014, a large population of bettas was discovered in the Adelaide River Floodplain in the Northern Territory, Australia .

The primary threats are habitat destruction and pollution, caused by urban and agricultural development across central Thailand. Bettas can be fed a varied diet of pellets, flakes, or frozen foods like brine shrimp , bloodworms , daphnia and many others. Due to their short digestive tractsa characteristic of most carnivores bettas have difficulty processing carbohydrates such as corn and wheat, which are commonly used as fillers in many commercial fish foods.

Bettas are susceptible to overfeeding, which can lead to obesity, constipation, swim bladder disease, and other health problems; excessive food may also pollute the water. [28] Bettas can go up to two weeks without eating, and it is not uncommon for them to have no appetite for one or two days, especially following stressful episodes such as a water change or being introduced into a new tank. If interested in a female, male bettas will flare their gills, spread their fins and twist their bodies in a dance-like performance.

Incubation lasts for 2436 hours; newly hatched larvae remain in the nest for the next two to three days until their yolk sacs are fully absorbed. Some people in Malaysia and Thailand are known to have collected wild bettas at least by the 19th century, observing their aggressive nature and pitting them against each other in gambling matches akin to cockfights . In 1840, he gave some of his prized fish to Danish physician Theodore Edward Cantor , who worked in the Bengal medical service.

In 1909, British ichthyologistCharles Tate Regan found there was a related species already named Macropodus pugnax , and thus renamed the domesticated Siamese fighting fish, Betta splendens, or “splendid fighter”. Betta splendens first entered the Western aquarium trade in the late 19th century; the earliest known arrival is 1874 in France, when French aquaria expert and ichthyologist Pierre Carbonnier began importing and breeding several specimens. In 1896, German tropical fish expert Paul Matte brought the first specimens into Germany from Moscow, most likely from the strain developed by Carbonnier.

Fighting fish were also present in Australia by 1904, based on an article written by British-born zoologist Edgar Ravenswood Waite and published by the Australian Museum in Sydney. [31] In 1927, an article was published in Germany describing the long, flowing fins of the “veiltail” breed, which indicates an emphasis on aesthetic beauty. The IBC aimed to breed varieties that would be healthier and more symmetrical in fins and body shape, with an emphasis on animal welfare .

[38] Due to their labyrinth organ , bettas can endure low oxygen levels, but cannot survive for long in unmaintained aquaria, as poor water quality makes all tropical fish more susceptible to diseases like fin rot . [40][41][42] Similarly, live aquatic plants provide a supplemental source of filtration, in addition to crucial enrichment to the betta. [40][41][42] Although some betta enthusiasts claim there is a minimum tank size, determining a strict baseline is somewhat arbitrary and subject to debate.

Although males bettas are solitary and aggressive towards one another, they can generally cohabit with many types of fish and invertebrates if there is adequate space and hiding places. [46] Species that shoal , such as tetras and danios , are considered most ideal, since they usually keep to themselves and can endure the territorial nature of bettas with their numbers. It is not recommended to keep male and female bettas together, except temporarily for breeding purposes, which should always be undertaken with caution and supervision.

Bettas are fairly intelligent and inquisitive, and thus require stimulation; otherwise they can become bored and depressed, leading to lethargy and a weaker immune system. [48] Decorations such as plastic or live plants, rocks, caves, driftwood, and other ornaments provide crucial enrichmentprovided they do not have rough textures or jagged edges, which can damage the delicate fins. In the wild, Siamese fighting fish spend most of their time concealing themselves under floating debris or overhanging plants to avoid potential predators.

[49] Floating plants and leaves can help bettas feel more secure, while also giving males an anchor from which to build their bubble nests. [49] Abundant vegetation of any kind is generally recommended to provide maximum security and to cater to the betta‘s instinct to claim protective territory. Indian almond leaves are increasingly popular for providing something closer to the natural foliage under which bettas would hide in the wild.

Their tannins allegedly confer several health benefits, [50] including treating certain ailments like fin rot and bladder disease, and stabilising the pH of the water. [53] A larger tank with proper filtration, regular maintenance, and an abundance of decor and hiding spaces, along with a rich, protein-based diet, increases the likelihood of a long lifespan. Like all tropical fish in captivity, bettas are susceptible to several kinds of diseases, usually caused by bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infections.

Betta splendens can be hybridised with B. imbellis , B. mahachaiensis , and B. smaragdina , though with the latter, the fry tend to have low survival rates. Breeders have also developed different colour patterns such as marble and butterfly, as well as metallic shades like copper, gold, or platinum, which were obtained by crossing B. splendens to other Betta species). Flirting fish behave similarly, with vertical instead of horizontal stripes indicating a willingness and readiness to breed.

They may set up a territory centered on a plant or rocky alcove, sometimes becoming highly possessive of it and aggressive toward trespassing rivals; consequently, bettas, if housed with other fish, require at least 45 litres (about 10 gallons). Betta aggression has historically made them objects of gambling; two male fish are pitted against each other to fight, with bets placed on which one will win. In general, studies have shown that females exhibit similar aggressive behaviours to males, albeit less frequently and intensely.

[74] An observational study examined a group of female Siamese fighting fish over a period of two weeks, during which time they were recorded attacking, flaring, and biting food. [75] The results of this research suggest that female Siamese fighting fish warrant as much scientific study as males, as they seem to have variations in their behaviours as well. Similarly, researchers have found that when pairs of male Siamese fighting fish were kept together in the same tank for a three-day period, aggressive behaviour was most prevalent during the mornings of the first two days of their cohabitation.

[79] In regards to oxygen consumption, one study found that when two male bettas fought, the metabolic rates of both fish did not differ before or during the fight. Siamese fighting fish are popular models for studying the neurological and physiological impact of certain chemicals, such as hormones , since their aggression is the result of cell signalling and possibly genes. Females were given testosterone, which resulted in changes to fin length, body coloration and gonads that resembled typical male fish.

In contrast, the female fish who were kept isolated did not continue to exhibit the male typical behaviours after testosterone was discontinued. The researchers concluded that exposure to these chemicals can negatively affect the mating success of male Siamese fighting fish. Siamese fighting fish were selected as prime models due to having comparable serotonin transporter pathways, which accounts for their aggression.

It was found that when exposed to fluoxetine, male Siamese fighting fish exhibited less aggressive behaviour than is characteristic of their species. Current understanding is so limited that there is little evidence for the genetic basis of basic traits, including sex determination. [86] A recent review article [86] argued for increased scientific investigation into the genome of the Siamese fighting fish, and listed several areas of interest which are paraphrased below:

Lastly, the betta fish is an excellent candidate for a model organism , particularly for aggression and pigmentation development, due to their extreme phenotypes in these areas. [86] Notably, the mitochondrial genome for the peaceful betta, P. imbellis , has also been sequenced, [92] potentially allowing for meaningful comparison between species in the future. [93] Past efforts to differentiate Betta species have been based on observable morphology , but given their visible similarity, this approach has masked much of the cryptic diversity in the genus.

[99] These studies have identified dozens of candidate genes in their respective model organisms which could serve as starting points for research into aggression in betta fish. The genetic basis for the synthesis and regulation of pigmentation in teleost fish is generally poorly understood, [86][6] and bettas are no exception. Later experiments confirmed the presence of genetic variation in hatchery stocks in Thailand, with low average numbers of alleles per locus and high heterozygosity rates.

He added that credible records show that pla kat of the Betta splendens species are native to Thailand and were first collected for fighting during the reign of King Rama III . [107] A scene in the James Bond film From Russia with Love shows three Siamese fighting fish in an aquarium as the villain Ernst Stavro Blofeld likens the modus operandi of his criminal organisation, SPECTRE , to one of the fish that observes as the other two fight to the death, then kills the weakened victor. “Capacitating the local farmers to enhance global marketing of Thailand’s national aquatic animal, the Siamese fighting fish” (PDF) .

“Artificial selection for male winners in the Siamese fighting fish Betta splendens correlates with high female aggression” . “Social Organization and Aggression Within Small Groups of Female Siamese Fighting Fish, Betta Splendens”. “Courtship By Subordinate Male Simease Fighting Fish, Betta Splendens: Their Response to Eavesdropping and Niave Females”.

“Male Siamese Fighting Fish, Betta Splendens, Increase Rather Than Conceal Courtship Behaviour When a Rival is Present”. ^ Vu, Trieu-Duc; Iwasaki, Yuki; Shigenobu, Shuji; Maruko, Akiko; Oshima, Kenshiro; Iioka, Erica; Huang, Chao-Li; Abe, Takashi; Tamaki, Satoshi; Lin, Yi-Wen; Chen, Chih-Kuan (17 June 2020). ^ Yang W, Wang Y, Zhu C, et al. De novo transcriptomic characterization of Betta splendens for identifying sex-biased genes potentially involved in aggressive behavior modulation and EST-SSR maker development.

^ a b c d e f Srikulnath, Kornsorn; Singchat, Worapong; Laopichienpong, Nararat; Ahmad, Syed Farhan; Jehangir, Maryam; Subpayakom, Navapong; Suntronpong, Aorarat; Jangtarwan, Kornsuang; Pongsanarm, Tavun; Panthum, Thitipong; Ariyaraphong, Nattakan (February 2021). “Overview of the betta fish genome regarding species radiation, parental care, behavioral aggression, and pigmentation model relevant to humans” . “Behavioral consequences of dietary exposure to crude oil extracts in the Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens)” .

“Fluoxetine inhibits aggressive behaviour during parental care in male fighting fish (Betta splendens, Regan)” . “Chromosome-level reference genome of the Siamese fighting fish Betta splendens, a model species for the study of aggression” . ^ Ahmad, Syed Farhan; Laopichienpong, Nararat; Singchat, Worapong; Suntronpong, Aorarat; Pongsanarm, Tavun; Panthum, Thitipong; Ariyaraphong, Nattakan; Bulan, Jakaphan; Pansrikaew, Tanawat; Jangtarwan, Kornsuang; Subpayakom, Navapong (1 October 2020).

^ Panijpan, Bhinyo; Kowasupat, Chanon; Laosinchai, Parames; Ruenwongsa, Pintip; Phongdara, Amornrat; Senapin, Saengchan; Wanna, Warapond; Phiwsaiya, Kornsunee; Khne, Jens; Fasquel, Frdric (December 2014). “Southeast Asian mouth-brooding Betta fighting fish (Teleostei: Perciformes) species and their phylogenetic relationships based on mitochondrial COI and nuclear ITS1 DNA sequences and analyses” . ^ Vu, Trieu-Duc; Iwasaki, Yuki; Shigenobu, Shuji; Maruko, Akiko; Oshima, Kenshiro; Iioka, Erica; Huang, Chao-Li; Abe, Takashi; Tamaki, Satoshi; Lin, Yi-Wen; Chen, Chih-Kuan (17 June 2020).

“Genetic variation in different varieties of Siamese fighting fish using isoelectric focusing of sarcoplasmic proteins” . “Allozyme revealed substantial genetic diversity between hatchery stocks of Siamese fighting fish, Betta splendens, in the province of Nakornpathom, Thailand” . ^ Amparyup, Piti; Charoensapsri, Walaiporn; Samaluka, Nusree; Chumtong, Parichat; Yocawibun, Patchari; Imjongjirak, Chanprapa (April 2020).

What Is A Betta Fish?

Betta fish are small, freshwater fish. They are members of theThere are more than 70 different species of betta fish in the wild. The fish live in shallow water, including ponds, flood plains, slow-moving streams, and marshes. They are carnivorous by nature. They have a wide-ranging diet that consists of small crustaceans, insects—including mosquito larvae, worms, and even smaller fish.Store-bought betta splendens—also known as Siamese fighting fish—are one of the more popular species of betta fish because of their vibrant coloring.However, these ray-finned fish look nothing like their wild counterparts. Wild betta fish typically have short fins and sport a dull grey coloring. The betta fish sold in pet stores are a product of selective breeding—the process of breeding animals to develop more desirable characteristics and traits, such as a particular color or size.Store-bought betta fish have been bred to display a wide variety of colors. Betta fish sold in stores have also been bred to have different types of fins, such as a double tail, crowntail, delta, halfmoon, and more.

Why Do Betta Fish Fight?

Male betta fish are highly territorial, compared to their female counterparts. As such, they can become aggressive toward other male bettas when defending their territory. Male bettas will also attack similar-looking fish of other species of fish with flowing fins. When disturbed or threatened, they will often flare their fins in order to show aggression.Male bettas are also fiercely protective of their offspring. They build bubble nests, which are formed by air bubbles that are coated with saliva in order to make them stronger, for their young. So they can also become aggressive when predators or other fish breach their territory.

What’s Wrong With Buying Betta Fish?

A quick glance down the fish aisle at your local pet store will likely and you’ll likely see rows of small plastic containers filled with immobile bettas.Some of these fish that are sold in U.S. pet stores are captured in the wild. But the vast majority are bred in countries like Thailand in Southeast Asia.An investigation by the Asian branch of animal rights organization PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Asia exposed the ways in which bettas suffer in the global fish trade. The exposé highlighted Thailand’s betta fish industry. A video released with the investigation shows betta fish confined to small containers that were not filled with an adequate amount of water to cover their bodies.PETA Asia’s undercover investigator visited ten different betta breeding factories and packing operations. Dead bettas were seen on the floor; some were seen left out of water for extended amounts of time while they were prepared for shipping.Once shipped, it can take days for bettas to reach their destination. The investigation found tranquilizers are sometimes added to the bettas’ water to keep the fish from consuming their own tails out of distress. Some bettas are dead upon arrival. A company that supplies betta fish to Petco told the investigator that of the 100,000 bettas shipped per week to the U.S., up to 1,000 of them die before reaching distributors.

What’s Wrong With Home Aquariums?

Bettas, and other fish, that are held in captivity in home aquariums can suffer from inadequate environments and lack of proper care.Unlike some other types of fish, bettas require warm water and supple filtration. They must be fed and have their tanks cleaned on a regular basis. They also need environmental enrichment. This can be in the form of caves and plants that they can spend their time traversing. Too-small of a tank and poor water quality can impact bettas’ overall well-being.Studies show captive bettas can suffer from a host of physical ailments. These include loss of color or appetite, listlessness, cloudy eyes, frayed fins, bloating, weight loss, labored reservations, and erratic swimming. They can also suffer from a number of other health issues like fin rot, bacterial infections, and fungus.Similar to humans and other animals, bettas can suffer emotionally. They can experience boredom, depression, and stress due to being held in captivity. A 2017 study into the potential welfare issues impacting captive bettas found that most captive environments lack the complexities common to their natural habitat. This negatively impacts bettas’ wellbeing.

What’s in a name?

The betta got its name from an ancient clan of warriors, called the “Bettah.” The fish were given a combatant name after the fighting fish became popular in the mid-1800s. In fact, the sport became so renowned in Thailand that the former King of Siam had it regulated and taxed! Spectators of the sport based their bets on the bravery of the fish, rather than the damage inflicted by the victor.

Dinner time

Bettas have upturned mouths and primarily feed on the water’s surface. A good diet consists of dried bloodworms, brine shrimp or daphnia. Commercial betta food or pellets are best because it combines all three foods, in addition to vitamins and minerals. This improves the betta‘s brilliant coloring and longevity. It is a common misconception that peace lilies or plant roots grown out of “betta vases” can sustain the fish. Nothing could be farther than the truth! Bettas cannot survive on plant roots and need a diet high in protein and fiber to survive.

Roommate?

Bettas, unlike other species, are not schooling fish and will fight with each other, regardless of gender. Bettas prefer to swim alone and also need a comfortable place to hide. Aquatic caves or dense, planted corners work great in making a betta feel safe.

Water Quality

When cleaning a betta‘s tank or bowl, make sure you only take out a third of the water each time and replace it with fresh water. This will gently allow the fish to adjust to the temperature and pH of clean water – while not upsetting the biological balance of the fish‘s environment. This should be done about every three or four days for small bowls or tanks. If your water has a high level of chlorine in it, you may need to add a drop of declorinator to the tap water before adding it to the tank or bowl. And never use soap or disinfectants to clean off fish ornaments or decorations. This will harm the fish. Plain warm water will work just fine for cleaning these items. You can also use a small turkey baster to siphon debris from the bottom of the tank. This will prevent excessive ammonia and bacteria from building up.

Cara

If they have been in the same tank for about a month and havent been breeding yet then they probably won’t becasue usaly if you put a female with a male in the same tank it would take about an hour or two for them to start breeding. It shouldnt take a month.

Cara

Is your fish new? If he is its’s normal for your new betta to not eat for a few days but if he’s not new then he’s probably sick.

Cara

If he starts to really dislike it then i’d take it out but it’s not a harm to him. The only reason he’s not liking it is either hes not used to it or it’s his personallity but theres nothing to worry about.

Stacy

I’m new to the betta fish owner world. Wanted to say hi and let you know I got a pretty handsome guy I’ve named Rule.Today I got him a gallon tank and a heater for it. He seems to dislike the air filter. Is this normal?

Cara

What do you mean by rest on the coral? Do you mean he lays on his side on the coral or is just near it and doesn’t move?

Cara

What pet store did you get it from? If it’s a local owned pet store it sometimes does not say on the cup you got it in, but if its not a local owned pet store like Petsmart ot Petco it should say what breed they are and what gender they are on the cup. And if its from a local owned pet store than my geuss would be to go to the pet store that you got it from and ask them yourself. If no one can answer you should probably search it up on google.

Cara

From my experience, yes fish bowls are fine. Just remember to keep the decorations low. Is your betta small or fully grown? And what type is it??

Cara

For my first betta I got her a 1 gallon tank… although she was a baby. But now I have two bettas that share a half gallon tank with of course a divider. But if you think that small cup is cruel at the pet store then maybe get your betta a 2-3 gallon tank. Bur honestly my full grown betta and my baby betta are fine sharing the half gallon tank

Emily

you are absoloutley right. the little cups they keep them in is cruel, but that cup is for the time being until they are sold. try to get a cube or tank 2-3 gallons or bigger or whatever he/she is confortable with. And BTW, I wish you the best with you and your little friend!

Karen

I also wonder, why something that lives in a yucky environment in the wild, and at times a very HARSH, environment, of Mud and warm gross water, become so BEAUTIFUL and brightly colored, Amazingly colored…? Anyone? Ideas? Thoughts? comments welcomed.thank you.

Karen

Tatia: sounds like your Betta may have ICK. there are tablets to put in water to help cure that.Carol. Chee AND Cara, Congratulations!

Kathleen

Sorry to hear Sharkey isnt doing well.. Please let me know how its going. I got you rmessage, but hesitate to post my email here for privacy. Sending you both love and luck!KM

Cara

It matters on there personality. Your betta may or may not like it because of there personality. But your betta shouldn’t die from an air pump. I’ve seen many people that own betta that have an air pump in there tank and haven’t died. It could cause stress depending on your betta‘s personalitty.

BatGurl

Sorry to hear about your fish. But if in my opinion animals are always worth it. If it doesn’t work out at least you’ll know you tried if it doesn’t work out and you’ll know you tried your best instead of feeling guilty. 🙂

BatGurl

Glad to hear it. sorry i couldn’t help more.

Cara

Thank you for trying to help me. MoonLight is fine now she just needed to ajust.

Cara

I’ve already separated them into diffrent tanks and MoonLight is still flaring. But not as bad.

Cara

Probably. I mean the wall has little holes in it.

BatGurl

Don’t worry, they normally only make bubble nests when theres a female beta around although it does depend on there personality.

BatGurl

Sounds really serious! I’ve never encountered some thing like that, sorry. Hope Sharky gets better!I am going to get another beta fish soon and i am super exited!

BatGurl

Don’t worry, if he isn’t swimming weird of anything that he’s fine. Neither one of my bettas makes bubble nests. 🙂

BatGurl

Warning! this might mean something is terribly wrong with your fish. One of my betas passed away from Dropsy, which is incurable, and started to show that kind of symptom.

robert

The two glass tanks always have a film on the top of the water! I clean the tanks, the stones, the plants etc with HOT water, then rinse with COLD. I add back clean room temperature water.After a day or two the (greasy looking) film has returned! ANY IDEAS???

ROBERT

trinity – I have a two blue Betta‘s and one is a girl and one is a boy . The thing is I want them to have baby’s and I heard they fight what do I do ?HERE IS WHAT I DID – ITS REALLY FASCINATING!YOU NEED TWO DIFFERENT BOWLS – FOR ME, I PREFER SQUARE ONES – MALE IN ONE; FEMALE IN THE OTHER. PUT THE BOWLS SIDE-BY-SIDE – THE MALE WILL BEGIN TO BUILD THE BUBBLE NEST – WHEN HE IS FINISHED, HE WILL TURN HIS ATTENTION TO THE FEMALE – TAKE HER OUT AND PUT HER IN WITH THE MALE — HE WILL TAKE HER AND WRAP HIMSELF AROUND HER SQUEEZING THE EGGS OUT OF HER – SHE WILL BE SEMI-PARALIZED, HE WILL PICK THE EGS IN HIS MOUTH AND SHOOT THEM INTO THE BUBBLE NEST! THIS WILL GO ON UNTIL HE HAS ALL THE EGGS IN THE NEXT. IMMEDIATELY TAKE HER OUT OF THAT BOWL AND RETURN HER TO HER HOME. HE WILL TAKE CARE OF THE NEST (MAKE SURE THERE ARE PLENTY OF LEAFY PLANTS FOR THE OFFSPRING TO HIDE. WHEN THEY DO HATCH – REMOVE THE MALE IMMEDIATELY (OR HIS KIDS WILL BE HIS DINNER!!!)THIS IS TRULY FASCINATING TO WATCH!!!GOOD LUCK …

lvelasco

i normally have him on a bowl which he really likes but i dont have a heater because i dont have enough money

Lana3662

My question was in my first post, and was wondering if there are any other fish that would get along with the beta, I have a 5 gallon tank as well!!

Lana3662

I thought this website was to help people and give suggestions! No one has helped me so I thought I would help you Izzy!! Good luck with this one!! They are pretty simple to keep alive!!! We recently just bought a few extra things to go in the tank for him and he loves the plant we put in the tank!!! They also need something to hide in, but ours does seem to like to hide, as soon as you walk up to the tank he comes right to the window!! He loves it!! My next thing is to get him a friend and get him the mirror and then start training him to eat from that spoon!!! And doing research does help… Good luck!!!!

Kate

I changed some food and my Betta is totally happy now:DDDGreetings, Kate!:)

Melissa

Madison, female betta fish can live together in something called a sorority tank. A sorority tank has to be at least 10 gallons and have lots of hiding spaces. Due to how complicated this living enviroment can be this type of tank isn’t recommend for beginner aquarist.

Jay

I have housed bettas together…in fact when I separated them they got depressed and I had to put them back together.It all depends on how you introduce the fish and the fishes temperament.

beth

2.5 gallon tankFoodDecorations/hiding. PlacesPebblesThe betaFiltersheaterThermometerWater treatment thingsAny thing else I may need?(I’ll check back in a few days)

puzzzled

i can’t figure why the one gets the film on the water!?!?!?the other two have the same plants etc. – NO FILM!!!ANY IDEAS???

Mary Ellen

Blue and green, BEAUTIFUL in colorI placed a small conk shell in the tank, I boiled a few shells and one small rock first. Checked the tank no where to be found than I saw it’s tail inside the shell which the fish was wedged. I took the shell out of the tank and did not know what I was going to do next. My husband was asleep I yelled for him I really must of sounded like a mad person. He said the fish is dead. I didn’t want to believe it. So he put the shell in a towel and used a meat pounder and broke the shell. I opened the towel and seen the fish just laying there and I touched it and it started to flop, so I threw it back in the tank.It is breathing heavy but gets a little fisty than goes to the bottom of the tank to rest. It is one hour now and it is still alive. I really named it Buddy but my DAUGHTER said toname it Hammer. Can you imagine how that must of felt wedged in the shell like that, but the conk did have a tiny opening so I am thinking that is how it was able to breath. But than to be pounded with a meat pounder. Wow what a miracle.

Sinbadll

do i need to provide a bigger bowl for him? 1/2 gallon, perhaps?Thank you

Robert

RED = FIGARO; WHITE = POSIEDON & BLUE = INDIGOI have FIGARO in a rectangle glass container – he is ‘trained’ to go to a specific corner in front of the tank to be fed! All three come over to greet me when I walk over to them, but FIGARO goes over to the front corner and waits for me to drop in his diner! I LOVE IT!

Siamese fighting fish

TheSiamese fighting fish are endemic to the central plain of ThailandBettas are well known for being highly territorial, with males prone to attacking each other if housed in the same tank; without a means of escape, this will usually result in the death of one or both fish. Female bettas can also become territorial towards one another in confined spaces.In addition to its worldwide popularity, the Siamese fighting fish is the national aquatic animal of Thailand,

Etymology[edit]

Outside Southeast Asia, the name “bettais used specifically to describeEnglish-speakers sometimes mispronounce betta as “bay-tuh”, after the second letter in the Greek alphabet. However, it is believed the name is derived from the Malay wordAnother vernacular name for Siamese fighting fish isSiamese fighting fish were originally given the scientific name

Distribution and habitat[edit]

According to Witte and Schmidt (1992),Wherever they are found,The tropical climate of the betta‘s natural habitat is characterised by sudden and extreme fluctuations in water availability, chemistry, and temperature.Wild bettas prefer to live in bodies of water teeming with aquatic vegetation and surface foliage, such as fallen leaves and water lilies.

Invasive species[edit]

The betta‘s worldwide popularity has led to its release and establishment in similarly tropical areas, including southeast Australia, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, southeast United States, and Singapore.In January 2014, a large population of bettas was discovered in the Adelaide River Floodplain in the Northern Territory, Australia.

Conservation status[edit]

Due to their popularity, Siamese fighting fish are highly abundant in captivity. However, wild specimens are categorised by the IUCN as vulnerable, indicating the species is likely to become endangered without conservation efforts.

Diet[edit]

Bettas can be fed a varied diet of pellets, flakes, or frozen foods like brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia and many others. Due to their short digestive tracts—a characteristic of most carnivores—bettas have difficulty processing carbohydrates such as corn and wheat, which are commonly used as fillers in many commercial fish foods.Bettas are susceptible to overfeeding, which can lead to obesity, constipation, swim bladder disease, and other health problems; excessive food may also pollute the water. It is generally advised to feed a betta at least once daily, with only the amount of food it can eat within 3–5 minutes; leftover food should be removed.Some sources recommend that bettas undergo a “fast” for at least one day to allow food to be fully processed.

Reproduction and early development[edit]

If interested in a female, male bettas will flare their gills, spread their fins and twist their bodies in a dance-like performance. Receptive females will respond by darkening in color and developing vertical lines known as “breeding bars”. Males build bubble nests of various sizes and thicknesses at the surface of the water, which interested females may examine. Most do this regularly even if there is no female present.Plants or rocks that break the surface often form a base for bubble nests. The act of spawning itself is called a “nuptial embrace”, for the male wraps his body around the female; around 10–40 eggs are released during each embrace, until the female is exhausted of eggs. With each deposit of eggs the male releases milt into the water, and fertilisation takes place externally. During and after spawning, the male uses his mouth to retrieve sinking eggs and place them in the bubble nest; during mating some females assist their partner, but more often will simply devour all the eggs she manages to catch. Once the female has released all of her eggs, she is chased away from the male’s territory, as she will likely eat the eggs.The eggs remain in the male’s care. He carefully keeps them in his bubble nest, making sure none fall to the bottom, repairing the bubble nest as needed. Incubation lasts for 24–36 hours; newly hatched larvae remain in the nest for the next two to three days until their yolk sacs are fully absorbed. Afterwards, the fry leave the nest and the free-swimming stage begins. In this first period of their lives,

History[edit]

Information on precisely how and when Siamese fighting fish were first domesticated and brought out of Asia is sparse.

Fighting fish[edit]

Some people in Malaysia and Thailand are known to have collected wild bettas at least by the 19th century, observing their aggressive nature and pitting them against each other in gambling matches akin to cockfights. In the wild, betta spar for only a few minutes before one fish retreats; domesticated betta, bred specifically for heightened aggression, can engage for much longer, with winners determined by a willingness to continue fighting; once a fish retreats, the match is over. Fights to the death were rare, so bets were placed on the bravery of the fish rather than its survival.The popularity of these fights garnered the attention of king of Siam (Thailand) who regulated and taxed the matches, and collected fighting fish of his own. In 1840, he gave some of his prized fish to Danish physician Theodore Edward Cantor, who worked in the Bengal medical service.

Aquarium fish[edit]

While it is unclear when bettas became popular in the aquarium trade, the early 20th century marked the first known departure from centuries of breeding bettas for aggression, to instead selecting for colour, finnage, and overall beauty for ornamental purposes.In 1967, a group of betta breeders formed the International Betta Congress (IBC), the first formal interest group dedicated to Siamese fighting fish. The IBC aimed to breed varieties that would be healthier and more symmetrical in fins and body shape, with an emphasis on animal welfare.

Water[edit]

As tropical fish, bettas prefer a water temperature of around 75–82 °F (24–28 °C), but have been observed surviving temporarily at extremes of 56 °F (13 °C) to 95 °F (35 °C). When kept in colder climates, aquarium heaters are recommended, as colder water weakens their immune system and makes them susceptible to certain diseases.Bettas are also affected by the pH of the water: a neutral pH of 7.0 is ideal, but slightly higher levels are tolerable.

Aquarium size and cohabitants[edit]

Despite frequently being displayed and sold in small containers in the pet trade, bettas do best in larger environments; while they can survive in cups, bowls, and other confined spaces, they will be much happier, healthier, and longer-lived in a larger aquarium.Although males bettas are solitary and aggressive towards one another, they can generally cohabit with many types of fish and invertebrates if there is adequate space and hiding places. However, compatibility varies based on the temperament of the individual betta, and it is advised to carefully supervise the betta‘s interaction with other fish. Tankmates must be tropical, communal, nonterritorial, and not have a similar body type or long flowing fins; coldwater fish like goldfish have incompatible temperature requirements, while aggressive and predatory fish are likely to nip at the betta‘s fins or erode their slime coat.Female bettas are less aggressive and territorial than males, and thus can live with a greater variety of fish; for example, brightly coloured or large-finned fish will not usually disturb a female. Generally, female fighting fish can also tolerate larger or more numerous tankmates than males.It is not recommended to keep male and female bettas together, except temporarily for breeding purposes, which should always be undertaken with caution and supervision.

Setup[edit]

Bettas are fairly intelligent and inquisitive, and thus require stimulation; otherwise they can become bored and depressed, leading to lethargy and a weaker immune system.Indian almond leaves are increasingly popular for providing something closer to the natural foliage under which bettas would hide in the wild. Their tannins allegedly confer several health benefits,

Health and wellness[edit]

When properly kept and fed a correct diet, Siamese fighting fish generally live between three and five years in captivity, though in rare cases may live as long as seven to ten years.Like all tropical fish in captivity, bettas are susceptible to several kinds of diseases, usually caused by bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infections. Most illnesses result from poor water quality and cold water, both of which weaken the immune system.If betta fish are kept in communal tanks, fin nipping from other fish can lead to the onset of fin rot and this can make it more difficult to diagnose.

Varieties[edit]

Over a century of intensive selective breeding has produced a wide variety of colours and fin types, and breeders around the world continue to develop new varieties.

Aggression in females[edit]

Wild bettas exhibit strong colours only when agitated. Over the centuries, breeders have been able to make this coloration permanent, and a wide variety of hues breed true. Colours among captive bettas include red, orange, yellow, blue, steel blue, turquoise/green, black, pastel, opaque white, and multi-coloured.The betta‘s diverse colours are due to different layers of pigmentation in their skin. The layers, from deepest within to the outermost,, consists of red, yellow, black, iridescent (blue and green), and metallic (not a colour itself, but reacts with the other colours). Any combination of these layers can be present, leading to a wide variety of colours within and among bettas.The shades of blue, turquoise, and green are slightly iridescent, and can appear to change colour with different lighting conditions or viewing angles; this is because these colours (unlike black or red) are not due to pigments, but created through refraction within a layer of translucent guanine crystals. Breeders have also developed different colour patterns such as marble and butterfly, as well as metallic shades like copper, gold, or platinum, which were obtained by crossingSome bettas will change colours throughout their lifetime, a process known as marbling, which is attributed to a transposon, in which a DNA sequence can change its position within a genome, thereby altering a cell.

Courtship behaviour[edit]

There has been much research in the courtship behaviour between male and female Siamese fighting fish. Studies generally focus on the aggressive behaviours of males during the courtship process. For example, one study found that when male fish are in the bubble nest phase, their aggression toward females is quite low. This is due to the males attempting to attract potential mates to their nest, so eggs can successfully be laid.One study considered the ways in which male Siamese fighting fish alter their behaviours during courtship when another male is present. During this experiment, a dummy female was placed in the tank. The researchers expected that males would conceal their courtship from intruders; instead, when another male fish was present, the male was more likely to engage in courtship behaviours with the dummy female fish. When no barriers were present, the males were more likely to engage in gill flaring at an intruder male fish. The researchers concluded that the male was attempting to court the female and communicate with its rival at the same time.

Metabolic costs of aggression[edit]

Studies have found that Siamese fighting fish often begin with behaviours that require high cost, and gradually decrease their behaviours as the encounter proceeds.

Behavioural effects of chemical exposure[edit]

Siamese fighting fish are popular models for studying the neurological and physiological impact of certain chemicals, such as hormones, since their aggression is the result of cell signalling and possibly genes.One study investigated the effect of testosterone on female Siamese fighting fish. Females were given testosterone, which resulted in changes to fin length, body coloration and gonads that resembled typical male fish. Their aggressive behaviour was found to be elevated when interacting with other females, but reduced when interacting with males. The researchers then allowed the females to interact with a control group of unaltered females; when the female fish stopped receiving testosterone, those who were exposed to the normal females still exhibited male-typical behaviours. In contrast, the female fish who were kept isolated did not continue to exhibit the male typical behaviours after testosterone was discontinued.Another study exposed male Siamese fighting fish to endocrine-disrupting chemicals. The researchers were curious if exposure to these chemicals would affect the ways in which females respond to the exposed males. It was found that when shown videos of the exposed males, the females favoured those who were not exposed to the endocrine-disrupting chemicals, and avoided those males that were exposed. The researchers concluded that exposure to these chemicals can negatively affect the mating success of male Siamese fighting fish.A psychology study used male Siamese fighting fish to investigate the effects of fluoxetine, an SSRI used primarily as an antidepressant in humans. Siamese fighting fish were selected as prime models due to having comparable serotonin transporter pathways, which accounts for their aggression. It was found that when exposed to fluoxetine, male Siamese fighting fish exhibited less aggressive behaviour than is characteristic of their species.

Phylogeny and cryptic diversity[edit]

Despite its commercial popularity, little is known about theAdditionally, betta fish have been used in several studies to assess the impacts of various environmental contaminants, including oil.Currently, the complete

Aggression[edit]

The extreme genetically-driven aggression in fighting strains ofAt present, use of the betta fish as a model organism for studying aggression is in its beginning phases. Little is known about the genetic basis of aggression in betas, though differential degrees of aggression have been observed in different domesticated betta populations.

Research to date[edit]

There is evidence that the genetic basis for aggression in betta fish is not exclusively sex-linked – a recent study found that female bettas of the fighting strain show significantly higher levels of aggression than their female wild-type counterparts, despite the fact that historically only male bettas have been used in fights and thus artificially selected for aggression.A recent study found that a fighting pair of bettas will synchronise their gene expression profiles, with particular emphasis on 37 co-expression gene modules, some of which were only synchronised after a certain duration of time had been spent fighting.Work to identify the genetic basis for aggression has also been performed more generally in other model species, such as zebrafish.

Pigmentation[edit]

Due to the incredible variation in pigmentation of adult bettas and visible pigment in developing embryos, bettas are an attractive model organism for studying the genetic basis for coloration.The genetic basis for the synthesis and regulation of pigmentation in teleost fish is generally poorly understood,

Work to date[edit]

In 1990, genetic differences (polymorphisms at several loci) were found between four different color varieties of bettas,Notable color phenotypes in

Other genetic work[edit]

Some of the few candidate genes identified in the literature specific to bettas are immune related genes, which were found in the first whole-body transcriptome of