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Main Index > Detailed Fish Profiles > Anabantids > Betta Splendens
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Betta

Betta Splendens

 

Overview:
    One of the staples of the hobby, through selective breeding the betta has become one of the most colorful and sought after aquarium fish. Seen in small bowls this is far from the ideal living conditions for them. Just because they can live in confined spaces does not mean that they will thrive in them.

 

Quick stats:

 

    Listed tank sizes are the minimum
    Size: Up to 3" (8cm)
    Tank: Any, 5 gallon or larger is best
    Strata: All
    PH: 6.0 to 8.0
    Hardness: Soft to hard. dH range: 2.0 - 25.0
    Temperature: 73°F to 86°F (23-30°C)

Classification

 

    Order: Perciformes
    Suborder: Anababtoidei
    Family: Osphronemidae
    Genera: Betta

 

 

betta

Common name

    Betta or Siamese Fighting Fish.


Image gallery:
    Additional species photographs

Discuss:

    Badmans' Forum

Distribution

    India, particularly the Malay Peninsula, Singapore, Thailand and also Vietnam.


Biotope
    Marshy areas, including rice fields also canals in Thailand.


General Body Form
    Long bodied when compared with most other members of the sub order. Anal fin is very long and inserted. Ventral fins are saber shaped. Caudal fin is large and almost circular in shape. The Dorsal fin starts behind the middle of the body. By selective breeding the common Veiltail Bettas we see today bear little resemblance to the wild specimens. They can reach a length of two and one quarter inches (6 cm )
Female bettas
Beautiful Females




Coloration
    The long finned, highly colorful strains of the betta we know today vary greatly from the original wild forms. Today we have Flesh-colored, bright Blue Emerald Green, Red, Red-Violet and even Jet Black. These colors can be found alone or more commonly a mixture of two or more of them. The original form has much less variation. The colors are only intense when the fish is fighting or breeding and tend to be washed out at all other times. When this happens the Betta is a non spectacular Reddish-Brown with two transverse bars visible on the body. Females, even today are mostly Yellow-Brown, with short fins.
betta


Maintenance
    Bettas are not at all difficult to keep. They will be very happy in any well lit tank with a dark substrate. The addition of some floating plants will complete the setup. Bettas have an extra organ that allows them to obtain oxygen right from the air and so can be kept in very small quarters if needed. Being tropical in nature they should be kept in water with a temperature range of 73 to 80 degrees f. They have no special requirements regarding water composition and aeration and filtration is not necessary. Bettas like most fish relish live food but have no problems accepting the flake staple foods. Bettas tolerate all other fish well and can be put in a community tank set up. Be sure there are no fin nipping fish like Tiger barbs or your beautiful fish will be stripped of all its fins. The most important thing to remember is that male Bettas will not tolerate the presence of another male and will fight to the death to protect his territory. To this day some Species of Betta are placed together for the sole purpose of fighting, thus the other common name "Siamese Fighting Fish".


Breeding
    Bettas are probably the best known members of the "bubble nest" builders. The nest consists of air bubbles enclosed in saliva and are very strong. The nest is always built by the male and is located at the water surface among floating plants. The eggs when laid sink to the bottom and are gently picked up by the male and spat into the nest. He will keep the nest in constant repair and will try to guard it from all intruders. The female should be removed after spawning as the male may kill her after the eggs are laid. The eggs hatch in one to two days and are very small. The fry can eat only the smallest of food. Growth is rapid. Care must be taken in the first few weeks to maintain temperature as the development of the Labyrinth is sensitive to change.

    This is only a basic outline of the betta fish, for more detailed information please visit the sites forum or one of the specialized sites.


betta


Your comments:

 

Please remember that the following comments are personal experiences and may or may not apply to your setup. Use them as guide to help better understand your fish, like us all individuals will behave differently under different circumstances.

 


From: Lauren
Date:06/25/2014
I have kept bettas for most of my life. Since going off to college my interest in them has exploded and I had at one time 15 in my small bedroom of my apartment. I like to keep mine in a minimum of a 2.5g tank. Most of mine are kept in divided 10 or 20g tanks. The 10g tanks I keep 2-3 males and in the 20g ( that might have been a 30g since I got it used) I kept 6 males in. Each tank gets at least 1 filter and a heater. I have found that all of my males get along great with my platy fry once they get to big to be eaten by the bettas. The platys do not seem to notice the bettas and the bettas pay no notice of the platys. I feed floating pellets 5x per week and skip feeding 2 days a week. Each tank gets a 50-90% weekly water change. I have tried to keep a sorority and that did not work well. The females would gang up on one fish until it had to be removed and then would pick their next victim. I have found that bettas will bond with their owner in a short period of time. They soon recognize you and do a dance when they see you. My newest male I have had for 3 days and he is really coming out of his shell and is flaring and building bubble nest. I have also found that bettas LOVE to swim laps in their tanks and will do so all day. They are not lazy fish in any way except when kept in small tanks. One warning I give to anybody considering getting a betta, they are like potato chips, you can not just have one.
From: Brent Nolen
Date:11/30/2011
I have a crowntail Betta in a heated 10 gallon, planted tank with a couple Amano Shrimp. His finnage is HUGE! The general suggestions here for larger tanks and heaters should be followed. Use the smaller bowls only for temporary storage. You will not regret it.
From: Squidhead
Date:12/22/2008
I have kept many different fish in the last 30 yrs. Betta's are one of my favorite. I have kept them successfully in a community tank as well as solo in as small as 5 gallons and as large as 125G. I have never had any of them show aggression towards other fish. They would occasionally chase tank mates away, as will any type of fish at any given time. I think their are to many broad statements in this hobby, and saying that they do not make a good community fish is one of them. My set-ups are usually moderate to heavily planted tanks. This is probably a contributing factor to success with them as a community fish. Any fish, if not in the environment they are comfortable in can be aggressive or act out of character. Males should definitely not be kept in the same tank, but that's where I draw the line. I still have found no valid reason to keep a betta in a bowl or small tank. IMO, The ideal set-up is a 10G or larger heavily planted aquarium.
From: Shez
Date:11/23/2008
I am very experienced fish keeper, and I have had bettas in the past usually in a tiny betta tank that was about 1 liter (0.25 gallon) and the temperature was no warmer than 18 C (64 F) and they all looked extremely sick and unhappy. Know I keep a male veil tail betta in 28 liter (7 gallon) fish tank with a small angelfish, a large black skirt tetra, 2 male mollies, 1 female molly, 4 kuhli loaches, an albino cory catfish and a bronze cory catfish. The water is set to 25 C (77 F) and this betta could never be happier. He will sometimes flare at the tetra and the angel but they usually get along fine. To all betta keepers I strongly recommend that bettas should not be kept in a tank that has less than 5 gallons (20 liters) of water and should always have a heater at temperatures between 24-30 C (76-86 F). They should not be kept in tiny fish bowls. This species of fish live in gigantic but shallow rice fields that go on for hundreds of meters across. They can live in small, cold water, but it is cruel and they wont swim around as much, they will just stay at the bottom not moving. They also might catch disease in cold water and they wont eat as much. So stop the suffering and put your betta in a big, warm fish tank now.
From: Irene S.
Date:11/10/2008
-Here is what I have found out so far- neon tetras can live in harmony with female betta splendens as I have seen in one of my two tanks. Basically, they do not get in each others way. Once I did have two crown tail female bettas splendens in this tank but they ended up killing each other trying to establish who would be the alpha female or otherwise known as the leader. These two females locked jaws and no matter what I tried to do to separate them, they still fought to the death. Also, another female veil tail betta splenden got too close and one of these crown tails took a bite on the side of her next to her labyrinth -breathing organ so it could not get oxygen. So, in conclusion I found out, there can be times when you can have two females who will fight to the death. But most of the time, female bettas can live together just fine and with other fish about their size. Also,I have two tanks and with each one there is a divider. One-third of the tank is closed off from the female bettas (and in one of the tanks-neon tetras). In this one-third space I keep one male betta in each tank. This set up works well as the male bettas can flare happily with the females and vice versa. I really believe that it keeps them healthy and happy. The male bettas are constantly flaring and never appear bored. Their color is constantly vibrant. I do not ever take the dividers out as I do not plan to breed them. Of course it is somewhat hard for them as the females have protruding stomachs full of eggs and the females appear to really want to be spawned but no babies for me! I just enjoy the show that they put on for each other. Most importantly, they seem to be happy.
From: Betta Lover
Date:06/25/2008
I've had both male and female Bettas as well as various community tanks. Bettas are my favorite fish, but I find that most often it is best to keep them out of the community tank. A female Betta may be passive, but the numerous ones I've had would eventually be aggressive once accustomed to the tank or when the most dominant fish leaves and she's put in charge. Both male and female Bettas will relentlessly fin-nip other fish, even if their fins aren't very large. Some sites say that you can have several females together and they will simply form a hierarchy and live peacefully that way. I've tried it and they were very aggressive to one another and it caused turmoil in my tank. Also do not put male and female Bettas together. They will not co-exist outside mating time. Other times, like two males, they will duel to the death, with the female sometimes winning. I find that it is best for the Betta, the least stressful on them, and best for their overall happiness and health if they each have their own domain to call their own. I might add a couple of African Dwarf Frogs, as they seem to ignore each other and it adds spice to your tank. I won't keep an individual Betta in anything less than 5 gallons. Those beautiful, long, flowing fins need room to spread and swim.
From: Dave K.
Date:2/11/2008
To say that betas are good community fish is mostly true, they mix well with fish of different species in general, but there are some exceptions that I have found in my years as a beta and community tank owner. Female betas Generally have no problems with any fish at all, though you do occasionally get a female beta that as a temper issue. Male betas however, as stated, will kill each other, and cannot be kept together even in the largest of tanks. However, they ALSO will attack certain species of other fish. Any community fish with flowing fins is in danger from a male beta, probably because the fins resemble those of other male betas. Fish like the long finned variety of zebra danios, many species of goldfish, mollies, guppies, and the like, prove to be at a higher level of risk to attack from a male beta. Also beware of having a ram in the tank with a beta. For some reason, the male betas seem to really think that a male ram is a male beta, I suppose it may be their similar build, or the fact that they are both solitary fish, anyway male betas will go beyond simply shredding the fins of rams and will tend to go more for the kill though again, this is not always the case. Some male betas seem to have better vision or something, and leave the rams and other long finned fish alone.
From: Shelley
Date:9/20/2007
The statement "Bettas will tolerate all other fish well" is WRONG. They may tolerate some tankmates, but you must have a backup in case the betta is aggressive.
From: Hayley F
Date:5/4/2007
We currently own two males and have kept females in the past. My male is a pastel pink/blue crowntail (Practically perfect finnage as well, lucky me!) male with red masking and red fin tips, named Lord Fitzgibbon. An absolute character, he will flare up at practically anything and blow the hugest bubble nests in his little 5 gallon. The other male, Captain Paddy, shares a 10 gallon with a dwarf African clawed frog named Giblet and a little pond snail. Paddy's a regular royal blue veiltail, but absolutely enormous and with nicely developed muscles along his loins and gorgeous long trailing fins. He's spectacular to watch while flared up at his reflection in his exercise mirror, feeds well like the other but never really seemed interested in bubble blowing, even when females have been floating in the tank to stimulate his manly duties. Females have a lot of character too. We did have six at one time, but lost two to dropsy (failed to respond to treatment, sadly) and the rest in one go to a mystery fungus affecting only them, which also failed to respond to as many treatments as we could find. But I would definitely want to try them again in the future, and will most likely keep single males all the time from now on. I agree with another poster's advice on researching these fish. They do need a big enough tank to swim in, and it's terribly sad to see them stuffed into tiny unheated bowls and vases, bored and depressed. The myth that they only need little water is annoying, seeing as a rice paddy, (most people connect these fish to them) although low in water level, is vast in horizontal area. These fish are built to swim back and forth, rather than up and down, and it's a great privilege to watch them parading along their tanks, and a waste when they're so cooped up they can barely turn around in a circle.
From: Jack
Date:3/13/2007
I've had two male bettas to date; the first was in a tank with a Cory catfish, and they got along great. After the first died (of old age), I bought another betta. This one immediately taunted and attacked the catfish, so each betta has a different disposition. They are a great fish to have, but you might have to keep him alone if you get an aggressive one.

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