|Scientific Name||-||Siamese Fighting Fish|
|Weight||-||6cm - 8cm (2.4in - 3.1in)|
|Life Span||-||1 - 4 years|
|Conservation Status||-||Least Concern|
|Habitat||-||Mekong river in south-east Asia|
|Average Clutch Size||-||30|
|Main Prey||-||Insects, Brine Shrimp, Plankton|
|Predators||-||Fish, Cat, Salamander|
|Distinctive Features||-||Feisty temperament and long tail fin|
Betta fish are beautiful. With their vibrant colors and long, flowing tails, betta splendens are thought by many to be some of the nicest looking freshwater fish around. It is often said that betta fish require very little relative to other fish in order to survive and thrive; whereas most fish may require elaborate setups with filters, skimmers, heaters and more, the betta is fine in a small bowl without any equipment.
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.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.Interesting betta facts
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 - 4 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."
where the tail has a 180 degree spread when flared but tail length is short.
where the tail has a 180 degree spread when flared but tail length is short.
where the tail is either rounded or with a 180 degree spread and with elongated rays giving it a "spikey" appearance but the tail length is short.
This type of tail is long, with a long anal and dorsal fin also, and droops down from the caudal peduncle.
It is a genetic trait that causes the caudal fin to grow into two lobes rather than one.
This is a cross between a double tail and a veil tail.
The fin shape is round, rather than the straight edges of a Delta, but fuller and longer than that of a Plakat.
These are very similar to HM's but have less than a 180 spread when flared.
These are nearly an HM but not quite, Deltas are far less than an HM.
It is characterized by having the full 180 degree spread when flared, forming a "D" shape with straight edging. Dorsal and anal fins are also dramatically larger than those on other fin types.
This is the extreme end of the Halfmoon where the spread when flared is over 180 degrees.
It has the spread of a Halfmoon with the slight crowning of a Crowntail. The halfsuns have the tips of the rays protruding beyond the web, but not enough to be a crowntail or combtail.
They have the typical droop of the Veil tail but combined with some extended rays on all fins to varying degrees.
The rays are extended to varying degrees on all fins giving the fish a "spikey" appearance.
This type has an equal spread on either side of the fin, similar to a Round Tail, but with tail finishing in a point rather than a rounded edge.
A Rosetail is an extreme Halfmoon with excessive branching of the rays giving the tail a "ruffled" edge. If there is a huge amount of branching it can be referred to as a "Feathertail".
"Although it is an extension of the rosetail effect, the feathertail has much more than a ruffled appearance, the excessive branching actually gives it the look of feathers, with a kind of zigzag effect edge" -ibbledibble
Solid (HM male) - the entire fish is one color with no variations
Bi-Color- "The fins must be a different colour to the body to be a Bi-Colour." -ibbledibble
Cambodian- the body is pale, almost colorless, and the fins are a solid color
Butterfly- the fins have distinct bands of colours
Marble- irregular patterns throughout the body and fin
Piebald- pale flesh-coloured face no matter what the body colour is.
Mask- the face being the same colour as the body rather than what it would naturally be which would be darker than the body.
Dragon- rich strong base colour with the scales on the main part of the body a pale iridescent.
Multicolor- 3 or more colours on the body that does not fit into any other pattern category.
Bettas are quite sensitive to environmental factors that may increase their susceptibility to disease or parasites. These factors include poor water quality, inappropriate housing, inadequate diet, or even accidents.
The need to recreate an ecosystem that mimics the natural habitat of betta fish can never be overemphasized. Although this can be quite tricky, this is not impossible. Regular testing of water parameters and cycling your tank will significantly increase your betta’s chances of survival.
Tank Size: The ideal size for betta is a 5-gallon tank. Although you can see hobbyists keeping bettas in smaller tanks, the smaller size makes it favorable to temperature fluctuations and higher ammonia concentration. Thus, a bigger tank means better filtration, better water quality, stable water temperatures, and a more comfortable environment for your betta.
Water Quality: Poor quality is the most important reason for bettas to get sick and die. If you’re keeping bettas in bowls which are less than 5 gallons, you need to make 50% water changes at least twice a week to preserve water quality. When removing water, make sure you get the dirtiest half by also removing leftover food or fish poop that has accumulated on the tank’s bottom or in the substrate.
If you have installed a quality tank filter, you don’t have to worry so much about doing water changes as often if the tank has no filter. This may not be an option in smaller tanks, thus you need to conduct twice a week water changes, at the minimum. Also, some bettas hate the water flow created by filters in their tank, thus conducting frequent water changes is your key to promoting your pet’s longevity.
Note on water change: Water change ought to be done once a week, regardless of tank size. And every time you do water change, it should only be around 10-25% tank size as going beyond 25% may cause stress to animal who lives in the tank.Diet
Proper nutrition is essential for your betta’s health and well-being. The closest thing that you can give them to mimic their diet in the wild includes live and frozen foods. Just make sure that these foods are free from bacteria, viruses, fungi, and even parasites.
Bettas are voracious carnivores, although there are those that are super finicky eaters. Bettas thrive well when fed a variety of quality high protein food that may include frozen bloodworms, good quality pellets, and frozen brine shrimp. You can also give live foods such as bloodworms, brine shrimp, or glassworms.
A full betta meal includes only 3-4 bloodworms. Overfeeding may result in more health problems than underfeeding your bettas.Genetics
Although you may have less control over your betta’s genetics, purchasing from a reputable breeder will ensure that your pets have greater resistance to infection. Since fish breeders care for their reputation, they make it a point to give you only the best and healthiest of their stock.
Symptoms: Betta’s fins and/or tail seem to be getting shorter and shorter or they seem to be falling apart and dissolving, Black or red along the edge of the betta’s fins/tail, Bloody tips, Behavior may not change.
Treatment: Conservative: Treat with Aq.Salt at 1 tsp/gal. Increase water changes to 100% daily. Replace accurate amount of salt following water changes. Add Stress Coat to help repair tissue. If there is little to no improvement within the first 5 days, you can increase the salt dosage gradually to 2tsp/gal but do not continue any salt treatments past 10 days. Medication: If Conservative treatment is ineffective use API Tetracycline, API Fungus Cure, API Triple Sulfa, OR API Erythromycin. Also add Stress Coat to help regrowth. Continue until fins/tail stop receding and start showing some new growth.Advanced Fin and Tail rot
Symptoms: Fins and or tail start rotting away, usually starting from the edge, but sometimes it starts at the base of the fin (especially dorsal) and attacks the body directly. Diseases progresses rapidly as the tissues are being eaten away. Once fins have been consumed, rot will proceed onto the body. At this stage the disease is hard to reverse although the betta might continue to live for months if treated properly. If not treated, it will die promptly.
Treatment: Conservative: If the rot has advanced onto the body, skip conservative treatment. Do 100% daily water changes. Use a combination of Fungus Eliminator and Tetracycline. Continue until fins/tail stop receding and start showing some new growth. It may take up to 4 weeks to work, so don’t give up.Fin Biting
Symptoms: Not to be confused with Fin/Tail Rot, Fin or Tail biting is when a betta bites his own tail, tearing off pieces. Fins will be ragged, they will look like there are chunks missing, Fin loss can occur overnight, The tips of the fins are clean, no black or red edging, You may spot him swimming in circles, chasing his tail, There may be no other behavioral change.
Treatment: Bettas bite their own tails out of boredom or misplaced aggression. To cure his boredom, try getting him a larger tank, move things around in the tank to spark his interest, put a mirror up to the tank a few times per day to let him exercise, offer a variety of foods, get him some tank mates (research into this first though), or put his tank next to another betta’s tank ect… Owners of fin biters often have to deal with their tendency for a lifetime but do what you can to draw his attention from his fins. When your betta does have a fin biting episode, it is important to keep his water extra clean to prevent infection. You can treat him for a few days with Aquarium Salt until you see regrowth but you do not want to overuse it. Using Stress Coat as the water conditioner will help fin regrowth.Ick
Symptoms:Betta has white dots (looks like he was sprinkled with salt) all over his body and head, even eyes. Lethargic, No appetite, Clamped Fins, Might dart and scratching against decor.
Treatment: You can treat Ick either conservatively or with medication. Ick is a parasite. Because ick is contagious, it is preferable to treat the whole tank when one fish is found to have it. Ick is temperature sensitive: Leave your betta in the community tank and raise temperature to 85 F. Then you can choose to treat with salt or medication. Conservative: Add 1 tsp/gal Aquarium Salt 3 times, 12 hours apart so that you end up with 3 times the normal concentration. Perform daily 100% water changes to remove fallen parasites before they can reproduce. Replace the water with the right amount of salt. Do not continue this treatment for more than 14 days. If it fails or you do not want to use salt, treat with Jungle’s Parasite Clear, API Super Ick Cure, or Kordon Rid Ich Plus. If your betta lives in a jar/bowl, then it can be difficult to heat the water. There are heaters for smaller containers, but you can also float the quarantine container in a larger heated tank during treatment. Do a full water change every day and add an appropriate amount of medication to the water.