Where Do Betta Fish Live in the Wild?

In Thailand, people call betta fish “pla kat,” which means “fighting fish,” and it couldn’t be a more appropriate name. Male bettas are known fighters, aggressively flaring their gill covers and nipping at the fins of other males (or even females) who get too close. In the wild, fights may last only 15 minutes, but people in Thailand have bred bettas that are capable of fighting for hours.

In the wild, the animals munch on unlucky insects that fall into the water, as well as small crustaceans, mosquito larvae and other aquatic arthropods. The fish have become a model organism for studying the behavioral effects of spilled crude o il, antidepressants like Prozac and fluoxetine , dissolved drug therapies like flutamide in waterways and even depressants like alcohol .

But if she’s unresponsive or uncooperative, the male can turn violent, nipping at her tail and fins so they tear and ripping off her scales, according to the Animal Diversity Web. Siamese fighting fish are considered vulnerable as their habitat has been lost for urban development and farmland, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List .

Where can I find wild betta fish?

In the wild, bettas live in Asia, where their homes are the shallow waters of rice paddies, ponds, or slow-moving streams.

What is the natural habitat of a betta fish?

The natural habitat of Siamese fighting fish is in large, heavily vegetated marshes, rice paddies and slow moving streams of South Asia (in Thailand and Cambodia) which although they are shallow, are deeper and provide a much more varied environment than the majority of fish tanks.

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.

How long does a betta live in the wild?

How Long Do Betta Fish Live In The Wild? Betta’s will live for roughly 2 years in their natural environment. Or that’s what the general consensus is anyway. A betta in the wild lives a much more stressful life than a betta in your tank.

Bettas are very beautiful and unique-looking fish. They have brightly colored bodies and long, flowing fins. Like all fish, they are happiest when theyre swimming freely in their natural habitat.

Instead of swimming as far as they want in the wild, bettas sold as pets are forced to exist in tiny glass bowls or vases that are way too small and cold for them.

The betta splendens — those colorful little living jewels found in teeny, tiny cups in pet stores — are not, as the pet store chains would have you believe, found in mud puddles or watery footprints of oxen. They actually live in a large, biodiverse ecosystem in parts of Asia.

When being kept as a pet, a betta does best in a warm room or a tank with a small heater to regulate the temperature, keeping the water at about 73 to 80 degrees. In Asia, there is a huge variety of flying bugs that make for a consistently diverse diet for bettas.

The domestic Betta splendens is a very popular pet fish and many people keep them because of their appealing looks and temperament. But the classic domestic betta isnt where it all started. If you have been seeing these fish in aquariums for some time, you might wonder where betta fish live in the wild.

Where do betta fish come from?

A total of 73 kinds of betta live in freshwater environments of Southeast Asia, and all of these varieties belong to the family Osphronemidae. But the species most people are familiar with isBettas are usually small, from 2.4 to 3.1 inches long (6 to 8 centimeters), and live for about two years on average. In the wild, male bettas never grow the beautiful, flowing fins commonly seen on pet store bettas, with their wildly different shapes and vibrant golds, reds, blues, greens and violets. Those characteristics are the result of selective breeding, according to the University of Michigan’sScientists have been particularly interested in bettas’ pugnacious behavior and the physiological mechanisms behind it. The fish have become a model organism for studying the behavioral effects of spilled crude oil, antidepressants like Prozac and fluoxetine, dissolved drug therapies like flutamide in waterways and even depressants like alcohol.The fish’s aggression has also long been exploited for people’s financial gain as they gamble on fish fights. People in Southeast Asia have caught and bred Siamese fighting fish for centuries to compete in staged battles, which people place wagers on, similar to cock fights. Such organized fish fights are illegal in the United States. Even using a mirror to make the fish think there’s another individual is considered unethical, although some companies have produced branded “exercise mirrors” to keep bettas flexing their fins to offset boredom and depression.

How do betta fish breed?

Reproductive behavior among Siamese fighting fish is a blend of beauty and terror, as their courtship can get a little dicey. It starts with a male blowing bubbles. He gulps some air at the surface and then blows out mucus-coated bubbles that sit at the water’s surface. The male does this for hours until a thick nest of bubbles forms. Then, he pursues a female.Male betta fish try to politely entice a female under the nest at first, flashing their fins and flaring their gill covers. But if she’s unresponsive or uncooperative, the male can turn violent, nipping at her tail and fins so they tear and ripping off her scales, according to the Animal Diversity Web.
When the female is finally cajoled into mating, ready to accept the male, the two dance, circling each other and nudging one another’s sides. The male eventually wraps one fin around the female in an embrace, flips her upside down and fertilizes her eggs. After he lets go, the female remains suspended belly-up, as if in a trance, and releases a few fertilized eggs, usually three to seven at a time. The male catches the eggs in his mouth as they sink and coats them with mucus before attaching them to his nest of bubbles.The male and female will perform this dance dozens of times until she has produced hundreds of eggs. When he’s done, the male aggressively drives away the female and guards the bubble nest until the eggs hatch, 24 to 48 hours later, according to

What is Their Home Like?

Fish image by Alhazm Salemi from Fotolia.comBettas live in rice paddies and river basins. Their natural territory is about three-feet square. The areas in which they live are relatively shallow and thick with vegetation. The streams are slow-moving and in the dry season can easily evaporate to almost nothing. When this happens, bettas are forced to live in shallow puddles where they can survive for a short time because, unlike other tropical fish, the betta has a labyrinth, or breathing organ, that allows it to get its oxygen from the air it breathes. Bettas are skilled jumpers and use this talent to get from a small puddle to a larger body of water. These puddles are connected by a network to larger bodies of water, and the water is always changing, keeping dangerous pollution at bay. When kept in tiny cups or little “betta bowls,” they can survive for a time, just like in puddles, but they will not thrive.

Betta fish in Malaysia

The best-known species living in Malaysia is Betta imbellis. Other less-known species who’s main distribution area is Malaysia are Betta bellica and Betta pugnax. Many other-species naturally occur in Malaysia. It is possible other species who originally lived in Borneo or Indonesia have spread to Malaysia trough The habitats in Malaysia is similar to those in Thailand.

Betta fish in Borneo

However most known species live on main-land Thailand there are many species that live on the island of Borneo, south of Malaysia. Habitats look different from those in Thailand and are in a more tropical environment since a big part of Borneo is rainforest (it is in danger though!) and there grow other types of plants. The pH can get as low as 3-4. They also live in shallow and mostly low-oxygen habitats. Some well-known species living on Borneo are Betta hendra, Betta macrostoma and Betta albimarginata.

Betta fish in Indonesia

On the islands of Sumatra and Java there live a lot of species. Habitats in Java and Sumatra are similar to those in Borneo. Some common species living here are Betta picta, living in highland streams, Betta bellica and Betta coccina.

What are wild bettas?

The betta fish living in the wild aren’t the same you see in stores. The Betta splendens, or as I will further call them ‘domestic bettain stores are humanly created. This means that all the bettas you see in stores are actually hybrids, which will never occur in nature. It’s often called just betta, but actually theBetta’ is a whole genus of 73 species divided into 13 complexes.This whole blog is about wild bettas, which simply means the collection of all Betta species who originally live in the wild. Maybe a little confusing, but Betta splendens is one of them. The domestic Betta splendens is in fact a hybridised version of the wild betta splendens, whose genetics are the base of the domestic betta’s. Because of this, they have given the domestic betta the same name as its wild version.Nobody really knows which species are all mixed to create the domestic Betta, but it will be a mix of species in the B. splendens complex with Betta splendens as the main base.The most commonly known wild betta species are those from the Betta splendens complex. The B. splendens complex is a group of 6 species, who are very similar in terms of morphologic characteristics, behaviour and reproduction (and so who can hybridize). Species in this complex include Betta splendens, Betta smaragdina, Betta mahachaiensis, Betta stiktos, Betta imbellis and Betta siamorientalis.In terms of appearance, the differences are very easy to see. All domestic species have bright and more ‘artificial’ coloration. Wild bettas such as Betta imbellis or Betta mahachaiensis have a natural green color and most species have a dark background behind the scaling. The fins of domestic betta types such as veiltail and halfmoon are way bigger.

Wild betta habitat

Like pointed out above, wild Betta fish mostly live in shallow water like rice fields, pools and swamps. Because these shallow pools warm up fast the water will be on the hot side, ranging from 74°F to 85°F. The combination of these hot temperatures and water where there is no movement, the oxygen can drop to very low amounts.Because of these remarkable conditions, bettas have developed a labyrinth organ. The labyrinth organ is a special organ that allows bettas to breathe air and take out oxygen directly from the air. Betta males also use this organ to build bubble nests used for breeding. Apart from bettas, gouramis also have a labyrinth organ and have similar breeding behaviour.It is a myth that bettas live in nasty puddles and polluted water. In fact, in most habitats there is a healthy ecosystem where many different species live and with lots of plants.In the natural habitat, tons of plants grow. These plants create some oxygen and provide great shelter. The plants form separated places where males can defend their territory and where it’s very easy for the fish to hide from each other. Because of the combination of lots of hiding places and shallow water, not many predators occur. If you want to keep wild betta fish you will need to have at least some alive plants in your tank to keep them successfully.The substrate consists of organic materials such as leaves and branches. Due to all these organic materials, bettas have extra hiding places and lots of tannins are released into the water. The tannins cause it to be brown and have an effect on water parameters like pH and KH too.This is why additions such as catappa leaves are great for bettas. Apart from having beneficial properties in terms of health, your tank will look way more natural. By adding organic materials to your tank you will mimic the natural habitat.

Other fish living with wild bettas

Some fish who live with it are gourami species, small rasbora species and other barb species. Rasbora species are great tank mates, gouramis and barb species might be too dominant.

Betta behavour in the wild

Betta fish are fully solitary. In the wild males have there own terretory, that can become multiple square feet big. Males will defend their own territory from other fish and defend it by fighting and impressing other fish.When feeling threatened or when wanting to impress another, they spread out their fins and show off to the opponent. Females are rather peaceful towards each other, but I have seen females flare at each other too. This caused wild betta males develop bright coloration and big fins.Because the water level is low and there is a ton of natural hiding and vegetation, it rarely comes to a fight until death. When fighting, they can easily get away and get back to the safe hiding places.