Whether or whether you believe your present tank will make an excellent home for betta fish, there are a few things to consider before making a trip to the pet store. Because of its distinctive appearance, the betta fish is beloved by many fish aficionados, but there is certain facts about it that most people are unaware of. We will go into the history of these vibrant fish, including how they earned their names, their origin, and their breeding patterns, so that you can make a more informed decision.
The origin of the betta fish
More than 70 different species of betta fish can be found in freshwater habitats throughout the Southeast Asian region, and they are all members of the Osphronemidae family. Betta fish are typically found in shallow areas such as marshes, lakes, and slow-moving rivers, where they can thrive. During the flood season, it is not uncommon for rice farmers to see these brightly colored fish swimming around their fields.
The aspect of the betta fish
They are quite little, measuring between 2.5 and 3 inches in length, which makes their aggressive behavior all the more shocking given their size. In the wild, males do not grow the eye-catching, vibrantly colored flowing fins that are commonly seen in pet stores and aquarium retailers.
When found in their natural environment, betta fish have a faint green colour and short fins, which they employ to attract breeding partners to their spawning grounds. Additionally, they use their fins to fight off predators like as cats, larger fish, and salamanders, among others.
According to the University of Michigan, the outstanding characteristics of the fins, such as their gold, blue, red, and green hues, are the product of selective breeding. The captive males use their fins in the same way as the wild males do, and their bright, striking colors may be of great assistance to them in their efforts.
How they got the name
Betta fish are also referred to as Siamese fighting fish, or in Thailand, they are referred to as “pla Kat,” which literally translates to “fighting fish.” The moniker is apt, as they are excellent fighters. These fish are well-known for their ability to fight back.
Male betta fish will aggressively flare their gill covers and begin nipping at the fins of any other male or female who comes too close to them. If a battle takes place in the wild, it might last for up to 15 minutes before one of the males decides to call it off. In addition, individuals in Thailand have deliberately bred betta fish that are capable of fighting for a few hours at a time. Most Western countries, on the other hand, consider this to be a kind of animal cruelty, and they prohibit it.
Betta fish illegal fights
Betta fish’s aggressive tendency has been exploited for financial benefit, with individuals wagering on fish battles as a result of its aggressive nature. These traditions extend back several centuries, and the fights are comparable to cockfights in style. Fish battles are prohibited in the United States, regardless of the species engaged in the fight.
Even placing a mirror next to the tank so that the fish believes there is another individual in the aquarium is deemed immoral because the fish will continue to act aggressively and hit the aquarium’s walls. Some pet firms, on the other hand, are offering a’mirror made to exercise’ so that the betta fish can continue to flex their fins in a magnificent manner.
The betta fish’s reproductive habits can range from being lovely to being bizarre. The male begins to blow bubbles in an attempt to attract a potential mating partner. His first action is to take a big intake of air from the water’s surface before starting to blow off some mucus-covered bubbles that have remained at the water’s surface. This continues for a number of hours, or until the bubble nest has grown to a sufficient thickness.
Finding a mating partner
By flashing his fins and flaring his gill covers, the betta male attempts to entice a female under the nest once he has constructed the bubble layer. If the female is unimpressed and continues to be recalcitrant, the male may resort to physical violence. He will begin nipping at her tail and fins until he tears and rips her scales off her body and back.
As soon as the female joins him under the bubble nest, the newly formed couple begins to dance around one another, nudging each other’s sides as they go around and around the nest. At the conclusion of this dance, the male wraps one of his fins around the female’s waist in an embrace, flips her body upside down, and fertilizes her eggs with the other fin.
After completing the fertilization process, he lets go, and the female retains the belly-up position while releasing a large number of fertilized eggs. In general, she will only release three to seven eggs at a once, depending on the circumstances. With great care, the betta male delicately collects the fertilized eggs in his mouth, wraps them with a film of mucus, and connects them to the bubble nest in the water.
How the betta male protects the eggs
They continue to do this dance dozens of times until they have produced several hundreds of eggs that have been fertilized by the fish. Immediately following the completion of the breeding process, the male will violently chase away the female and guard the bubble nest until the eggs hatch. In general, this takes between 24 and 48 hours after the event, depending on the environmental circumstances.
In order for the hatchling to finish devouring their yolks, the male will need to care for them for another three or four days after that. Once they are able to swim freely, they are fully on their own for the rest of their lives. After five or six months, the baby betta fish will reach sexual maturity and be able to reproduce.
What do they eat?
If you intend to keep a betta fish as a pet, you need become familiar with the fish’s nutritional requirements. They are carnivorous animals, and in the wild, they mostly prey on insects that land on the water’s surface or on insect larvae that hatch from the eggs of larger insects.
They are unable to subsist on a diet consisting solely of plant roots, in contrast to other fish species. It may be able to keep them alive for a short period of time, but because it lacks the essential nutrients for this species, the fish will become sick and die.
Don’t overfeed them
The quantity of food is just as significant as the composition of the meal. If you continue to overfeed the fish, uneaten food and waste material will build up in the aquarium, raising the levels of ammonia and nitrite in the water. The water will become harmful to the fish as a result of this.
How to feed them correctly
The amount of food you should offer your betta fish or any other type of fish depends on their size. There is an easy technique to figure out how much food you should give them. When you’re feeding them, keep an eye on them for around three minutes. If there are some pieces of food floating around, you may want to try lowering the amount of food you are providing them to begin with..
The betta fish might get lonely
It is preferable to get more than one betta fish because they may become lonely if they are kept alone.. Researchers believe people may experience frustration and depression as a result of their work. They may be content in a tank on their own provided you provide them with an enriching environment that includes caves, plants, and other areas for them to explore.
Adding a friend
However, if you plan on putting another fish in their aquarium to keep them company, make sure that the fish are compatible with each other first! Whenever the fins of a betta fish are picked by another fish in the same tank, the betta fish endures a significant amount of stress.
Providing the tank is large enough and contains adequate hiding spots, female bettas have a good chance of living in a harmonious community. Betta males may engage in combat with other males or Gourami males (a species with a similar aspect). Non-fish creatures such as ghost shrimps, snails, and frogs can coexist peacefully with betta fish of any type, including all varieties.
Setting up a proper tank
When planning to set up and maintain a decent aquarium for any sort of fish, keep in mind that the procedure may be more difficult than you anticipate. Generally speaking, people underestimate just how complicated, expensive, and time-consuming this procedure can be.
If you already have a tank, you may make it even better by including elements that are found in their natural environment. They will be able to enjoy their natural surroundings without being dissatisfied or unhappy as a result. As a general rule, no fish should be kept in a tank with a volume of less than 10 gallons, regardless of the species in question.
Betta fish can survive in a 5-gallon tank, but they will not have a happy life in that environment. This is especially true if you want to add another fish to the tank to keep him or her company.
Avoid using tap water
In general, chloramine and chlorine are present in municipal tap water, both of which are toxic to aquatic life. Before adding water, check to see that it has been adequately treated with a water conditioner. Install a water filter in the tank and allow it to run for a few weeks before putting the fish to it.
Every week, approximately 10 percent of the entire amount of water should be replenished, and waste material from the substrate can be removed with a tiny gravel vacuum, which can be purchased separately. In order to avoid harming the fish, you can temporarily relocate them to a smaller tank while you’re doing this.
Charles Reynolds is an engineer from New York University with a passion for fishing. His earliest memories of fishing go back to the days spent on the lake with his grandfather who taught him the sport. Reynolds spends a large part of his holidays fishing with his son and passing on the skills to the little one.