Betta fish are some of the popular breeds of fish available in the market today. One contributing factor to this is that they come in a variety of beautiful colors and hues.
They are also cheap, going for as little as $2 depending on the type. We should point out, however, that the mere fact that they are easy to care for leads to their mistreatment in some cases.
They are not just colorful decorations but living creatures that need nurturing and care just like any pets. We are here to provide you with all the relevant information regarding the betta fish, including different types of betta fish, betta fish care, and lifespan.
Types of Betta Fish.
There are about 73 different types of betta fish. Because of their small size, most Betta can live in a 5-gallon tank. The Betta splendens is the most popular type of fish in this category. Let us look at a few popular examples of betta fish.
These are some of the unique species of betta fish in existence. Remarkably, the most distinguishable thing about them does not come from their color, shape, or even tail. The most exciting aspect of the Dumbo betta is its fins. They look like the ears of an elephant; this earned them the name ‘elephant ear betta.
Dumbo bettas can come in a variety of different colors like red, blue, yellow, and even turquoise. In the wild, their hues can take on dull colors like brown, dark green, and grey. At full maturity, the Elephant Ear Betta can only grow up to 6.5 cm. Their relatively thin frame often gives off the impression that their fins are significantly larger than the rest of their body.
Double Tail Betta.
Arguably one of the most recognizable betta fish, the double tail lives up to its name, boasting two distinctive tails. These tails are separated at the base. Intriguingly, the double tail betta comes in a variety of colors with different tail shapes. Most double tails are a mixture of different colors, such as rose red and steel blue, or oyster white and turquoise. When comparing the two sexes, it is common for the male to be more brightly colored than the female to attract mates.
Double tail bettas originated from Asia. The gene that causes their tail to split into two also causes the double tail’s body to be shorter than other types of betta fish. Their dorsal fin is also elongated compared to other betta fish.
The Crowntail Betta is no more than twenty-five years old as a species. It derives its name from its impressive caudal fin and tail. They have significantly reduced webbing between the rays. This reduced webbing causes the tips to end in separate spikes, thus creating a crown-like appearance.
Interestingly, a betta can only be defined as a Crowntail if the webbing between the tips is less than 2/3 up the tail’s ray; if the webbing is more than 2/3, then it is a Combtail. Like most bettas, the Crowntail comes in a rainbow of colors, but the most common colors are dark shades of blue and red. The Crowntail is one of the larger betta fish and can reach up to 7.6cm in optimum conditions.
Right off the bat, one interesting fact about these fish is that you will never find a half-moon betta in the wild. This type of Betta was first bred in the 1980s by experts for Betta fish shows. The tail of a Halfmoon Betta spans 180 degrees, thus creating a semi-circle shape that is similar to a half-moon.
They are perhaps one of the more elegant betta types, appearing as if they are wearing a long flowing gown as they swim along with their tail behind them. When entering Betta shows, the half-moon’s tail needs to be a D shape, with sharp upper and lower corners. The Halfmoon Betta can reach up to 7.6cm in length, including the tail.
Over Halfmoon Betta.
The Over Halfmoon Betta has the widest tail of all bettas, spanning over 180 degrees and therefore creating a shape larger than a half-circle. These Bettas are a by-product of experts trying to breed Halfmoon Bettas for Betta shows.
Unfortunately, because the Over Halfmoon Betta’s tail is so large, it can often cause problems for fish when trying to swim. When bred with Delta Bettas, Over Halfmoon Bettas will create a Halfmoon Betta. This is a popular type of Betta that is frequently featured in Betta shows.
This type of betta fish is a mixture between the Halfmoon and the Crowntail Betta. Its tail spans out to 180 degrees, just like the Halfmoon. However, there is a slight crowning between the fin’s rays and webbing. This is similar to the Crowntail, which gives it the half-sun name it’s renowned for.
As you may have guessed, just like the Halfmoon, the Half-Sun Beetas were selectively bred in captivity by experts through mixing a Halfmoon with a Crowntail. Breeders are also able to control the colors of the Betta Fry by paying attention to the colors of the adults they have chosen to breed.
They earn their name from the black spot which is found on the dorsal fin of the male. Interestingly, this is not the only name it is known by, however. The Spotfin Betta is also known as the Brunei Beauty because it is unique to the island of Borneo. Living up to its name, the Spotfin is indeed a beauty; the male body glows a reddish-brown color, and the fins and tail sport a variety of black stripes.
Spotfin Bettas are found in very shallow waters of less than 30cm in the wild, generally in slow-moving rivers or streams. In the wild, they can grow up to 6.7cm; in captivity, this can increase to a staggering 10.2cm!
The Spotted Betta is also known as the Java fighting fish because it is endemic to Java and Sumatra. It does appear to have darker spots of color on its body, but is generally brown in color, with a line of blue on its fins.
Despite how easy the Spotted Betta is to breed and look after, unlike other betta fish, it is not a popular pet. This is most likely due to its duller coloring and the fact that it spends most of its time in hiding behind rocks unless it is feeding time.
The Veiltail Betta is the most common type of Betta fish. Their tail is very distinctive, as it is long, flowing, and droops. When the Veiltail is crossed with other breeds of Betta, the offspring will always sport a veil-shaped tail because of the Veiltail’s very dominant genes.
Despite being the most popular type of Betta kept as a pet, many betta shows prefer more unique tail types, such as the half-moon. Betta breeders often claim that Veiltails are the most outgoing fish of all the bettas, and enjoy swimming around their aquariums, wiggling their tails as they go.
The Spadetail Betta was quite common in the 90s but is now a rather rare type of betta fish. This species of betta fish looks similar to the Veiltail; the only difference is that the tail of the Spadetail comes to a point at the end, causing the shape to look like the spade found on a playing card.
They are less aggressive than other types of Betta fish. The Spadetail Betta comes in a variety of different colors and patterns.
The Plakat Betta is remarkably similar to the bettas that are found in the wild. Plakat is a shortened version of ‘Plakat Thung’, which is Thai for ‘fighter fish’. They have shorter fins, small, fan-shaped tails, and larger, stronger bodies than other types of betta fish.
When this type of Betta was originally bred, only the most aggressive fish were chosen, which has resulted in extremely hostile Plakat Bettas nowadays. They are known for jumping out of tanks, so need to be kept in a tank with no gaps or little holes to jump through.
These betta fish are believed to have come from South Asia, more specifically, in the regions of Thailand and Laos. They require a temperature of about 28 degrees in order to thrive in the sluggish waters which they inhabit. Fish owners should know that this betta fish requires shade in the aquarium they will call home. Driftwood is usually the most common choice.
In as far as their diet is concerned; we found that in the wild, the betta smaragdina typically feeds on insects and other invertebrates they come across. If you own this particular species of fish, then you have to be mindful of overfeeding them because they can easily get fat.
Giant Betta Fish.
These are a species of betta fish that can grow significantly larger than the rest. We found that they came about after some extensive breeding. Larger species of betta fish were carefully selected in order to ensure that they retained their size. The very first giant betta fish breed was bred back in 1999.
Alongside the King betta, the giant Betta is believed to come from the betta splendens family. Presently, most giant bettas are typically located in freshwater habitats. Some male bettas can grow as long as five inches. Remarkably, despite their increased size, they are no less difficult to care for than your average betta fish.
We also learned that these types of bettas can live up to three years. If well cared for, their lifespan can extend for two more years. There are a few signs you should watch out for as a fish owner in order to determine whether your giant is aging or not.
They’ll typically start to take more naps, construct bubble nests and even have trouble finding the food you set out for them. Despite being solitary fish, there are a few species of fish that can co-exist with them. These include the cardinal tetra, silvertip tetra, rummy nose tetra, zebra snails, and the guppy.
Because they are so large, the giant Betta requires a tank that is at least 5 gallons in size. Owing to their size, the giant Betta should also be well-stocked in protein. They are carnivorous in nature, and so you need to replicate the feeding patterns which they are used to in their natural environment.
With proper care, experts estimate that your betta fish’s life span is about three years. One important thing we should take into account however is that stores will typically start selling these kinds of fish when they are at least a year old. It is at this age that most of them will have already sprouted the bright colors and fins that make them attractive.
So numerically, you cannot expect them to give you the full length of their lifespan. Interestingly enough, female bettas mature in about half the time, six months to be specific. Despite this, most fish enthusiasts still opt for their male counterparts as they are significantly brighter. In general, if you acquire a betta fish from the pet store, you should expect it to live for about two and a half years before it reaches the end of its lifespan.
There have been some instances where some bettas’ life span stretched to a remarkable five years. This is only achievable if they are allowed to thrive in perfect tank conditions. Interestingly enough, the lifespan of the betta fish significantly decreases. There are a number of reasons why this happens. For one, it is not easy to regulate the water in which they live, especially when pollution becomes a serious issue.
Their food sources are adversely affected, which greatly hinders the betta fish’s ability to thrive. Pollution is such a serious issue that in Thailand, the Betta fish has been put in the red list of the most endangered species.
This is because most of the wild betta fish are being displaced from their natural habitats as people look to expanding their farming exploits instead. Another reason why wild betta fish have a reduced lifespan is that they can be very territorial, particularly the males.
They are much more aggressive and regularly get into fights with other male fish. In fact, this is how the Siamese fighting fish earned its name. The more they fight, the shorter their lifespan becomes.
How often do you feed Betta fish?
Ensuring that your betta fish is on a proper diet is one of the many ways you can improve its lifespan. So how often should you feed your Betta? Well, experts estimate that you should feed your betta fish only two times a day. Any more than that and you run the risk of overfeeding, which will all likely result in bloating.
This can grossly affect their ability to swim, and in particular their swim bladder. If not treated quickly, this can even result in your fish’s death. Feeding them twice a day increases the likelihood that your fish will thrive and live longer. Another important thing to consider is that you should only feed your Betta what it can consume within a two-minute time frame.
Switching focus to their diet, we found that proteins should be the main component of their daily food intake. This particular type of fish is categorized as carnivorous. Wild bettas usually feed on insects. Domesticated bettas do not have the same luxury. As a fish owner, you have to supplement your Betta with a steady supply of protein and fat, which ensures that their diet is rich in nutritional value. You can buy food pellets, frozen foods, and even flakes.
Some people also opt to create their own fish food in the comfort of their homes. Ingredients like the brine shrimp and bloodworms ensure that the fish are kept well stocked in protein.
Care of Betta Fish.
Like any other pet, the betta fish requires a certain amount of care to ensure that it thrives. If you are thinking about acquiring a betta fish, you are in luck. They do not require as much space as other fish, which makes them easier to care for. The Betta fish can also thrive in habitats with lower oxygen levels, owing to the presence of the labyrinth organ. Because of this organ, they can gradually swim to the surface to breathe in gulps of air.
This does not mean that you should become complacent and leave the betta fish to their own devices. Just like human beings, fish can also experience highs and lows, sadness, and happiness. There are several things that can affect your betta fish’s mood.
- Sharing a tank with other types of fish they identify as rivals increase the betta fish’s stress levels. They do not like to feel like they are trapped in small spaces. Remarkably, the betta fish does not even like seeing some species of fish in other separate tanks.
- The occurrence of a mycobacterium infection, which greatly reduces the betta fish’s lifespan.
- The absence of some kind of environmental stimulation can also cause the fish’s mood to take a negative turn.
Improving the health and Living conditions of your betta fish.
The first and most obvious thing you should do is to ensure that the betta fish you acquire is healthy, to begin with. You do not want to run the risk of putting a disease-ridden fish into your tank as it could infect other fish.
So what should you watch out for before acquiring your betta fish? Don’t go for a fish that has a ripped fin, pale color, or any type of injury to its outer body. Another important thing to consider in the care of the betta fish is the size of the tank you choose. Typically, pet stores will give you a 1-gallon tank along with your betta fish.
As we have mentioned before, the male Betta can be quite aggressive, and so needs to be kept separate from other perceived rivals. Experts however recommend a minimum 5-gallon tank to serve as your betta fish’s habitat. If you are planning on acquiring a female betta as part of a larger fish community, then you are going to need a larger tank.
If you have more than one male betta fish, then you need to remember to keep them away from each other. Betta male Fish are hardwired to be aggressive and were bred to fight. It is a trait that is unfortunately still common amongst this species.
If you keep two male bettas together, then they are bound to fight until one of them eventually kills the other. Another key thing to consider buying is a water filter. This will ensure that the water in your tank remains clean. Betta fish cannot survive in dirty water riddled with ammonia.
Betta Fish Plants.
One of the most important features to consider in your betta fish tank is plants. The inclusion of live plants in the aquarium leads to improved oxygen levels in the habitat. More oxygen leads to a much richer environment which will help your betta fish thrive. These plants will also help them adjust better in the tank as it mirrors various aspects of their natural habitat. Another benefit of having plants in the tank is that they can provide adequate hiding spots for your more timid fish. Some of the plants you can keep in your betta fish aquarium are:
- The Java moss- most aquarium owners opt for this plant as it is relatively easy to grow and care of. The plant originated from Southeast Asia and comes from the Hypnaceae family. Other than being easy to care for, the java moss can also give life to a visually dead tank. It brings a naturalness and color that will light up any setting.
- Brazilian Waterweed- this is another type of plant that is also easy to care for. People go for this plant because of its longevity. These plants additionally provide shelter and purify the waters around them to ensure that the betta fish remain healthy.
- Java Fern- This is one of the most popular plants available for aquarium owners. The ease at which it can replicate and its unique outlook makes it a great option for betta fish owners, particularly those starting out.
What other fish can live with Betta fish?
As we have already mentioned, the betta fish is not a type of fish that enjoys the company of other fish. In fact, experts usually advise fish owners to keep their bettas completely separate from each other. However, if you absolutely have to keep them in a communal tank, then there are a few species of fish that can be compatible with them.
In the wild, betta fish can get along with other types of Fish like the Rasbora. These are fish that originally come from the freshwaters of South East Asia. They are thin, very active, and also boast a prominent lower jaw. One of the most popular examples of Rasbora is harlequin fish. Other aquatic creatures that can peacefully co-exist with betta fish are Loaches, snails, the neon tetra, and the Bristlenose Plecos.
The betta fish has one of the most interesting mating rituals you can find. It starts with the male Betta constructing a type of bubble nest right at the surface of the waters. This bubble will generally draw potential female partners towards them. Once the female betta fish arrives in the bubble, the two embark on a unique courting ritual.
After the female Betta is finished laying eggs, the male Betta will collect and put the eggs in the bubble he previously constructed. In an interesting turn of events, the male Betta will then turn on its aggressive switch and driveaway its female compatriot. The male Betta will then stand guard until all the eggs hatch. Because of their unique mating rituals, there are several things that potential breeders should consider when it comes to betta fish.
The first step is to let your bettas gain a sense of their environment before pushing them to mate. Betta fish breeders also have to take into account the fact that males are more productive while they are young (less than 14 weeks old). Once your betta fish are sufficiently acquainted with each other, you can then focus on finding the right tank for them. Experts recommend a structure between 5 and 10 gallons.
The tank should also have a few places where these fish can hide, and also a reliable water filter. Breeders should additionally ensure that their tanks are devoid of gravel. Typically, once the female lays her eggs, they tend to sink to the bottom. If there is gravel at the bottom then the eggs might get lost once they fall to the bottom. An important aspect of breeding is introducing the proper diet. Most breeders are advised to provide their mating bettas with a steady diet of bloodworms, crickets, other insects, and brine shrimps.
Do Betta Fish Sleep?
While the answer to this may seem obvious, the question is not without merit. Most betta fish owners will tell you that they have never seen their pets asleep. Well, there is a simple explanation for this. Betta fish observe the same sleeping pattern most people do; they usually rest at night. Another reason why people remain uncertain whether their betta fish rest is the fact that they do not have any eyelids.
This means that when they rest, they still look like they might be awake. Experts advise that fish owners should avoid regularly tapping on their tanks as they might be resting. Even though they are safe in their tanks, Betta Fish will always remain alert.
They prefer resting close to the surface, where they remain unnervingly still. It leads to a lot of people assuming that they are dead. To improve their sleeping habits, betta fish owners should ensure that their aquariums have several hiding spots for them to rest in.
Another crucial thing to help Betta fish sleep is to ensure that all of the lights around them are turned off. This means that you have to switch off the tank lights, as well as the lights in the room. It is crucial to do this because fish tend to regulate their sleeping patterns according to the light around them.
Betta Fish Colors.
Owing to the varying layers of pigmentation located on its skin, the betta fish can take on several colors. Some of the most common colors they can take on include opaque, super red, super white, super white, orange, gold, copper, nemo, galaxy koi, and marble. The betta fish can also take on a variety of rare colors like Green, Turquoise, Super Green, Grizzle, and Mustard Gas. Interestingly enough, we have also had albino betta fish.
Its existence however has come few and far in between. You have to go all the way back to 1927 for the first recorded instance of an albino betta fish. The next would come in 1953. Scientists have not really been able to breed this particular species of betta fish.
Optimal Temperature: Do Betta Fish need a heater?
Betta Fish are traditionally hardwired to thrive in warm waters. It, therefore, becomes crucial to purchase a heater for your tank because fish cannot adjust their body heat as human beings do; the optimal temperature for betta fish to thrive in ranges from 75-80°F. So how does an aquarium heater work? Well, it functions by regulating the temperature with its inbuilt thermostat. Some fish owners however face the exact opposite problem.
In some countries, the temperature is hotter than average. Because of this, fish owners need to invest in coolers rather than heaters. Those with large aquariums also prefer to use more than one heater for their fish. An extra heater comes in handy if the first one happens to break down. Those with two heaters are also advised to keep them at opposite ends of the aquarium.
There are different types of heaters you can use in your fish aquarium.
- Submersible Heater- as the names suggest, they are set underwater. This brand of heater is more efficient than an immersible heater when it comes to the regulation of temperature. Its main distinguishing feature is an LED light that shows that the heater is functional.
- Filter Heater- some manufacturers opt to include both a filter and heater as part of one package. The process is quite simple; as the water passes through the filter, it is heated up at the exact same time.
- Hanging Heater- this device is hung over the tank, with a heating attachment that rests at the very bottom. It is the most common type of heater available for fish enthusiasts, particularly beginners.
After your betta fish have bred, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your eggs hatch properly. You should leave the lights on after your Betta has hatched its eggs. This will ensure that the male Betta collects all the eggs from the bottom. In the absence of light, he can usually miss a few. Eggs that are left at the bottom will go bad and not hatch.
Like most other eggs, betta fish also rely on temperature for hatching. This is believed to occur somewhere between 36 and 72 hours. At this stage, experts say that they are entirely dependent on their yolks for all the nutrients they require to thrive. After the third day, the Betta will start swimming around its bubble.
Cost of Betta Fish.
In order to acquire a betta fish, you’ll usually have to part with around $4 to $40. The rarer the type of Betta you opt for, the more you’ll have to pay. A lot of fish owners will tell you that they acquired their fish for around $10. Depending on the quality of tank fish you are interested in for your Betta, you’ll have to part with anything from $10 to $150.
Setting up a lighting system for your betta fish’s tank on the other hand costs an average of $20. This is a figure that may balloon to $40 if you opt for more LED lights around your tank. Another important aspect to consider is how much it will cost you to feed your fish. To ensure that your Betta’s diet is sufficient, you have to be willing to part with about $10 per week.
|Item Required||The acquisition cost|
|Plants (live) for their habitat||$20|
|Fish Tank Cleaner||$10|
|Initial total cost||$220|
The initial cost of owning a betta fish would be around $220. As we mentioned before, this is a figure that can rise or fall depending on the quality of fish and equipment you opt for.
Where do Betta Fish come from?
The Betta Fish is believed to have originally come from countries like Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia. These countries are all located in South East Asia.
Betta Fish Poop facts and disposal.
Like all other living organisms, the betta fish also produces waste matter, or in laymen terms, poop. Interestingly enough, you’ll often find all of their waste matter in one specific location. This is because the betta fish is very particular about where it chooses to go number two. They like their privacy, and so will often find an area with a few plants scattered around. Owing to their unique hiding spot, most fish owners will tell you that they have never seen their betta poop. We can assure you that this is not the case.
If you inspect the aquarium closely, you’ll realize that their waste matter has gathered at the bottom. Again, most people will confuse the betta fish’s waste for uneaten pellets. You should however know that betta fish waste is distinctive from these pellets. For one, they are clumpier. They are also longer than pellets and additionally stringy.
In regard to their pooping habits, we learned that they like to go regularly. This stems from a healthy diet. The frequency at which betta fishes excrete may vary depending on a number of factors. These range from sickness, a refusal to eat, and a possible case of constipation.
Like most other living organisms, the betta fish poops from its anus. One thing we should point out is that some betta fish can have hanging and stringy poop. There are a number of reasons why this may occur. The two main reasons are constipation and overfeeding.
It is also advisable to regularly check the waste matter your fish is excreting. If it’s round and brown, then your fish is healthy. However, discolored, long, skinny-string like poop typically points to internal parasites.
In order to avoid conditions like constipation, betta fish owners are advised to avoid foods like flakes. Fish owners are also advised to clean their tanks every month or so to get rid of the fecal matter that accumulates at the bottom. Most people prefer to use an aquarium gravel cleaner to vacuum the poop off the bottom. The water also needs to be changed once in a while.
How long can Betta fish go without eating?
Experts have found that your betta fish can go up to 14 days without food. Sometimes, fish owners will notice that their bettas are acting disinterested towards food. They should not be alarmed initially because this may be brought about by a number of reasons not related to illness. Their lack of appetite may be brought about by different environmental stress factors.
These include a change in temperature or being thrust into a new environment. Your fish may even get stressed out just from the cleaning of its tank. Experts additionally advise that you should skip at least one day of feeding every week in order to give your Betta the chance to process everything in their system.
Betta Fish Habitat.
A majority of betta fish inhabit shallow pools, ditches, gentle streams, and even rice puddles. One thing that these habitats have in common was the fact that they were oxygen-deprived and quite warm. Because of this, the betta fish developed a unique labyrinth that enables them to breathe air at the surface.
While the betta fish is vulnerable to any of the same diseases that other aquatic life are prone to, there are a few that are recurring. These conditions are usually bacterial in nature, and usually arise from a failure to properly maintain their aquatic surroundings. Rots on the tails and fins can be particularly vicious. These diseases are usually brought about by fungi that chip away at the Betta’s tails and fins.
In extreme cases, vets will recommend antibiotics like sulfadimidine. Another condition that may affect the Betta is Ich, which is a parasite that leaves your Betta with small white spots. Despite being highly contagious, the Ich is quite simple to treat; a salt bath would do the trick. The betta fish may also be susceptible to a condition known as Popeye.
This is a condition that makes the betta fish’s eye swell. Like the rots, a round of antibiotics can help alleviate the condition. Lastly, your betta fish is also at the risk of contracting a disease known as velvet. It is a parasite that results in the formation of a rust-colored coat of mist on your betta fish.