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Betta splendens
Siamese Fighting Fish

 Age of Aquariums > Freshwater Fish > Siamese Fighting Fish - Betta splendens

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Photo Credit: Ricardo Alves

Bettas are extremely tough fish; my boyfriend had one living in a jar for years and rarely changed the water; the poor fish! I have a Cambodian (white bodied) betta named Merlin (his long purple and red fins are like a cape!) in his own tank. I had him in the 40 L tank with my goldfish, and he shredded their tails. I always thought bettas were relatively peaceful toward other non-bettas, but I guess it depends on the individual fish. Bettas are great because they are easy to keep and have loads of character. Merlin eats food stuck to the end of my finger. He eats ANYTHING that will fit in his mouth; flake, protein pellets, blood worms, chicken, pumpkin, cauliflower, he even nibbles on the live plants in his tank! Most bettas don't mind being solitary, but PLEASE feed them a varied diet and keep them in clean, well-aged water (never raw tap water!) if you want your betta at its best. Enjoy!

Tips for breeding bettas: To set up a breeding tank, have a small tank (45 cm is ideal) heated to about 30C (make sure you allow your fish to adapt when you add them!) with no gravel so the male can find the eggs if they fall to the bottom of the tank, and 1/2 full of water so he does not tire out from swimming to the bottom. Have a shelter for the female to hide in post spawning (an egg cup is easy and ideal). Have a divider to separate the male and females. Let them see each other but not access each other at first. It is best to have one male and a few females to get a compatible couple. (This was my mistake; I had one male and one female and they did not like each other, as a result the female killed the male :( When the male has chosen a female (you will know by their excited behaviour) remove the other females and the divider. He will flare his fins and show off his bubble nest to her, and she should be round in the abdomen filled with eggs. Spawning occurs when the male wraps his body around the female and 'squeezes' the eggs from her. Remove the female soon after the spawning as the male may see her as a threat to the eggs, but he probably won't chase her as he'll be too busy caring for the eggs; you have to leave the male with the eggs and fry to care for them until they are free-swimming (he won't hurt them until they are big enough to challenge him, which takes a while). The fry will eat anything small enough to fit in their mouths (which doesn't leave a lot of options as far as what to feed them!) make sure you have something to feed them, and don't forget to remove and feed and care for your male once the fry are free swimming. A tip: don't over feed your fish! This makes the water dirty and it's hard to clean the tank without upsetting the bubble nest or fry. Having an air operated corner filter may help, but don't have too much water movement as it may disturb the bubble nest or fry.

Contributed by Jade in Oz

I've had 2 bettas in a 75 L tank for about a year. One is a beautiful midnight blue and brilliant red crown tail male and the other is a female with the same colors. She grew to be a lot larger than he is. Anyway, they have attempted to produce fry over the course of this year, but being in a community tank it's sort of difficult. I think the weight of his fins holds him back in many ways. The other day they were entangled in the floating plants at the top of the tank and acting very sweet and sensual wrapping around each other, they usually do this in seclusion, I'm assuming, because I had never seen them do this before, it was quite enchanting to see. Well, she didn't come to eat later on at night and was just laying in the plants with him at her side. She was in the same spot in the morning. I turned her over, she was very friendly and docile and not afraid. I noticed the side of her head was swollen and had some white-ish fuzz on it. I promptly put some medicine in and hoped for the best. It wasn't to be. The next morning I looked in at her and turned her over to see how she was doing, not well. When I went back to feed them about a 1/2 hour later she was gone. It seems like she waited till I came down in the morning to see her. The male stayed with her the whole time she was laying in the weeds. He didn't leave that spot for a few days. It was very poignant and beautiful. Not having very much experience with fish that have steady mates it was also a sad learning experience for me.

Contributed by Linda Kelly

I have 4 male bettas altogether. I've had them for about a year and a half. Two are veiltails, 1 is a doubletail and 1 is a crowntail. Each has his own distinct personality and striking coloration. One of the veiltails is very passive and has been in a community tank with some cories, an oto cat and some tetras for over a year. The other veiltail and the crowntail are in a divided tank and the doubletail is in his own tank. I feed all of them Hikari Bio-Gold betta pellets and occasionally frozen bloodworms. I would highly recommend bettas for those who love beautiful, interesting fish.

Contributed by Valeen Gonzalez

I have been keeping bettas for three years now. I started with one, but quickly bought three more. Each one is in a gallon tank, and have had many friends in there also. I first used ghost shrimp, but tend to lose them when cleaning their bowl, and dwarf frogs. They seem to do well with the frogs. The only problem I have had, was one i had in a flower vase with three fake roses, which i gave to my girlfriend. He couldn't move around to much, and lost most of his fins. He is now in a gallon bowl, and with the help of a fish remedy, his fins are growing back slowly.

Contributed by Andrew Mueller

Although I'm only ten years old, my sister and I are fish breeders. I have six bettas. One betta fish I want to tell you about is Ryan. Ryan is a three year old betta fish. His wife was Charlotte, she lived to be two and a half years old. I still have Ryan and he is 9 cm long (including tail), he is about a 5 cm tall. He is the biggest betta fish and the oldest I have ever had. He is actually really nice though, if I put my hand in his tank to get something out he won't puff up or be really scared like normal bettas, he just swims around it like my hand wasn't even there.

Contributed by Valerie Grafton

My partner and I decided to invest in a small 18 L fish tank for our male Betta and a few Zebra Danios, Tiger Barbs and Jumbo Neons. At first our male seemed happy, but over the next few days he developed white spots and unfortunately didn't make it. Although a little despondent, we decided not to give up after our first try and purchased our second male Betta (Arnold) and 3 female playmates, as we were advised by the shop assistant that the males liked to have an option for a female mate. Because this was our first experiment with Male/Female Bettas, we weren't aware of the repercussions. Our male seemed quite content showing off his stuff to his lady friends, but in my opinion he seemed to wear himself out and unfortunately we lost him to illness. Our girls, on the other hand, have come through with flying colours. We decided that after losing the male we needed to invest in a bigger tank and upgraded to an 80 L tank. This tank proves to be a much better investment, as we have a lot more plants and wood allowing them more room and more places to explore. At times they seem like such pleasant little ladies, but at the blink of an eye, they're mischievous and getting up to no good. Our terrible triplets each have their very own personalities and they differ completely. Our ladies don't seem to battle at feeding times with the much faster Danios and manage to get their fair share. In regards to a previous comment I read, we also watch less TV since buying our fish, as they keep us highly entertained. Our female Bettas are very beautiful and surprise us with something new everyday. Bettas are fascinating specimens and worth every penny.

Contributed by Chantelle Harvey

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