Bettas: The Siamese
Bettas with their brilliant colors, their long, flowing fins, and the males doing the betta dance make them one of the most recognized of all aquarium fish. Their beautiful colors range from red to blue to white.
When you enter the pet store you will see them in rows of small bowls, each bowl containing only one brightly colored betta. Believe or not that is actually the best way to raise them. They are called "fighting" fish for a reason! If two bettas are placed in the same tank they will begin doing their territorial dance, warning the other fish to leave. The results will end with long flowing fins being torn and damaged, and possibly a fight to the death of the weaker fish.
The Siamese fighting fish originated from Thailand (formerly called Siam), Malaysia, Vietnam, and parts of China. They live in shallow ponds, slow-moiving streams, and rice paddies. These are very tropical countries with very warm water often reaching into the 80's. These fish thrive on heat. If they are exposed to water temperatures below 75 degrees fahrenheit, they will become increasingly listless. Water temperature is perhaps the biggest argument against keeping them in a tiny bowl of water that cannot readily be heat controlled.
They can survive in water with low oxygen content, as they have a special respiratory organ that allows them to breathe air directly from the surface.
Optimally, the water for keeping your bettas should be soft, warm, and with a neutral to slightly acidic pH level. Water movement should be kept to a minimum, therefore, power filters and power heads are not suitable. It is ok to keep bettas in a community tank as long as the propere water conditions are being met and as long as there will not be any other aggressive fish in the tank. However, only one male may be kept in each aquarium, unless they are separated by a barrier.
Most pet stores will not sell the female bettas; they are a light grayish brown without any of the beautiful fins that the males have. Normally people are looking for the showy colors of the male and will only buy a female if they want to breed bettas. Breeding them is not an easy task and should only be tried if you have lots of time and patience, as well as after doing much research. If your goal is to watch fish grow from babies into adults then buying guppies will be your answer.
Feeding bettas is fairly simple. You can purchase food from your local pet store where you purchased your betta. They can be fed freeze-dried blood worms, live or frozen brine shrimp, or live black worms. Bettas will also do well if fed a choice of Bettamin floating flake food or Delecta. Feed your betta 2-3 times a day, and at each feeding, give him only what he will eat in a very few minutes. Over feeding will cause the water to cloud faster.
Once you learn the basics, you will find that you have a beautiful fish to enjoy that is low maintenance and very pleasing and soothing to watch.
Check these links for other related articles.
aquarium basic start up steps
Aquarium fish care
How to buy a koi fish
Salt water aquariums
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