What is the Betta Fish?
The Siamese fighting fish, whose scientific name is Bettasplendens, is a tropical freshwater fish popularly called betta. Although initially found in the rice paddies of Asia this beautiful, elegant fish has become a very popular pet and is present in the fishbowls or aquariums of many homes.
Male vs. Female Betta Fishes
The males and females betta fishes look very different. Males have longer flowing fins than the female’s fins, and the female fishes are smaller in size. The big difference, however, is in their temperament. Male Betta fishes are extremely aggressive kind of fighting fish. Therefore, there is a difference between the male and female Betta fishes in whether they can have tank mates and if they can, what are the best Betta Tank Mates.
How Best to Care for Betta Fish?
Betta fishes are exotic, tropical fish that thrive best in a specific environment. As the pet owner, your objective should be to create this environment to have happy and healthy Betta fish. Although the average lifespan of the Betta fish is 2-4 years, well-cared pets have been found to live more than ten years. What is the best environment for your beautiful pet fish?
- The fish tank should be spacious. A 5-gallon container is ideal, with the absolute minimum tank capacity being 2.5 gallons.
- Use a filtration system to reduce the ammonia and nitrate levels as well as encouraging healthy bacterial growth.
- Avoid direct sunlight which may make the water temperature too high. Ensure a tropical water temperature of 76-81 degrees Fahrenheit, with the water being slightly acidic with a pH range of 6.5-7.5.
- Monitor both the water temperature and pH regularly.
- Ensure the tank is covered because Bettas are jumpers.
- Condition the tap water to make it safe for the Bettas.
- Don’t fill your tank to the maximum. Bettas need to be able to go to the surface and gulp fresh air.
- Ensure the tank gets light during the dark at night. These fishes need to have their regular sleep cycle.
- Create a natural environment with plants and small rocks. Live plants are good because they are soft. Moreover, create a natural hiding place for the Bettas as well as removing the ammonia from the water. If artificial plants are used, then it should be made from silk. Plants create a natural environment for the Bettas making them feel safe and reduce stress.
- Ensure there is nothing in the tank with hard edges that may injure the Betta fish.
- Get to know your fish and recognize the signs if they are not well. The readily recognizable signs of an unhealthy Betta are:
- Betta fishes, especially the males, have dull, faded colors and are not aggressive.
- Betta fishes do not eat regularly.
- They appear to have damaged fins.
Betta Tank Mates
This is where the Betta fish differs from almost other pet fish. As their name suggests, they are fighters. These fishes, especially the males, are very aggressive. It is advisable that they rarely would need tank mates since they are loners. So, follow these guidelines:
- If you intend to house’ other fish with a male Betta, ensure the tank is big enough – at least 10 gallons. Space and plant life is critical.
- Two betta fishes should never be placed in the same tank.
- Other more docile fish can coexist with a male Betta.
Some examples of water animals that can coexist with a Betta and may not actually be fish, especially the males are:
In Smaller Tanks
- Zebra Snails
- Cherry Shrimp
- Mystery Snails
- Feeder Guppies
In 10-Gallon Tanks
- White Cloud Minnows
- Neon Tetra
- Ember Tetra
- Harlequin Rasbora
- Galaxy Rasbora
- Silvertip Tetra
- Pygmy Cory
Moreover, there are several more fish that may make good tank mates for the Betta fish. Research is, however, necessary on how the introduction of the species should take place.
An attempt has been made to provide a comprehensive guide on the Betta Fish, a remarkable fish with their own idiosyncrasies. Take these recommendations, and you will have happy Betta fish pets, for several years gracing the fish tank at home.