Betta fish are small decorative fish that come in bright and exotic colors. They have flowing tails and are quick swimmers, darting through fish tanks in flashes of color. They can even be put in quirky containers and fishbowls as part of house décor. They are popular with fish enthusiasts not only because they are visually attractive but because they are incredibly easy to care for.
Here are some fun facts about the Bettas:
- The Betta fish is known by many names, some of which are: Siamese Fighting Fish, Crowntail Betta, and in Thailand, Plakad or “The Jewel of the Orient”.
- They are called Siamese Fighting Fish for a reason. In the 1850s, fighting Betta fish was a popular and income-generating sport in Siam, now Thailand. It was immensely popular that people even bet money, properties, even their children! (We do not recommend Betta fighting and please do not bet your children.)
- They originated in Southeast Asia and China. They can be found in rice paddies, moving waters, and shallow ponds of Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, and China.
- The name is derived from “Bettah”, an old Asian warrior clan, because of their fighting nature. In Old Siam, where Betta fish fighting was a sport, the winning fish was the one who showed bravery, not the one that caused more damage.
- Male Bettas are notoriously territorial and aggressive. Only one male betta should be present in an aquarium, or a barrier should be used to separate them. Otherwise, male Betta fish will fight each other to the death.
- Males are also carnivores, feeding off of live foods like mosquito larvae.
- Male Bettas know how to prepare. In anticipation of the arrival of the eggs, male Bettas construct bubble nests at tank corners. The male Betta gulps in some air from the surface, coats it in his saliva, then spits the bubble out.
- Betta parents are not all good. Betta daddies build the nest, ensure that all eggs are inside, and protect the nest. Once the eggs hatch, the Betta father raises the fry. Betta mothers, on the other hand, are likely to eat her own eggs as is common in many fish species.
- They are jumpers! Since their natural habitats are shallow rice paddies and shallow waters, Betta fish have the ability to jump to get from pool of water to another. This is an important fact for Betta fish owners so that they can put lids on their tanks, aquariums, or bowls. This will prevent the fish from jumping into a non-existent pool of water, and will stop the behaviour of looking for one.
- Bettas can breathe. Betta fry, or babies, have “labyrinth” organs which are primitive gills. As they grow older, these stop functioning so they have special organs for breathing that allow them to take in fresh air. All they have to do is come to the surface of the water and breathe oxygen.
- Their lifespan and appearance can be improved by artificial means. For more brilliant coloring and longer lifespan, Betta fish are fed commercial betta pellets or food. The combination of vitamins, minerals, dried bloodworms, daphnia, and brine shrimp in these commercial foods extend their life and make their colors more vibrant.
- They are antisocial. Betta fish are not schooling fish and prefer solitude and places to hide. Put in corals, aquatic caves, and other such decorations in your tank for them to hide in.
- They are warm water fish. Beta fish thrive in water temperatures of around 80 degree F. They grow limp at temperatures below 75 degrees F, as cold water can suppress their immune system and cause sickness.
- Betta fish come in 65 species and their tail shapes vary as well. The most common type the veil tail. Other shapes are half-moon, short-finned fighting-style tail, double tail, and crown tail. The most common specie of Betta sold is the Betta Splendens.
- They mostly live a short life. Betta fish, on average, live up to 3 years. Those that are kept in tanks live up to 4-5 years. There are a handful of cases where Betta fish live up to their teenage years.
Betta fish are beautiful, fierce, and sturdy fishes. They are very low-maintenance and are good for kids and start-up fish lovers. Go ahead and get some now!