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Siamese fighting Fish are known under a variety of names including Betta, Siamese fighting Fish, or just fighters. There are in fact at least 50 separate species of Betta. The wild strains of these fish inhabit a fairly large range of Southeast Asia, including Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam and are neither as colourful, nor as aggressive. The so called "sport" of fighting these fish and wagering the outcome is also widespread through Southeast Asia, but the practice is thought to have originated in Siam (Thailand). At any rate the king of Siam was apparently an enthusiast of both the fights and the breeding of these fish in the early 19th century. he made a gift of one to a Dr named Theodor Cantor, and this is how the fish first became known to the west.
Contrary to many rumours which stated these fish lived in small puddles in the wild, and it was therefore acceptable to keep them in wine glasses or flower vases, the wild fish inhabits the rice paddies. The fish might very well survive in a very small unheated container for awhile. in this country it will die the first time your heating is off for a short while, but it can survive for some time at room temperature, provided your house is kept at 70 degrees or so. Of course the animal is suffering, and will die from this abuse eventually, but it looks pretty until it dies.
Although care requirements to vary from species to species, the basic requirements are:
A reasonable sized tank with a lid - I do think keeping Fighters in tiny plastic compartments long term is cruel. However one could be kept in a fairly small aquarium, either alone or with small community fish. I would consider a 2.5 gallon tank to be the absolute minimum for a single fish. Also these fish can and do jump. I once noticed one missing and was extremely lucky to find it still alive on the floor. The lid had a large gap at the back which the fish had escaped through. Fighters are antaboids, so can breathe air, but a fish out of water is living on borrowed time.
A temperature between 75 - 82 fahrenheit.
A predominately carnivorous, or insectivorous diet - ideally live or frozen blood worms , brine shrimp, daphnia etc.... There are also specialised foods developed for bettas, including TetraBetta floating pellets which go down a treat with our Fighter. While most bettas will eat flake, this is not a balanced diet for it, does require supplementation. Because of their upturned mouths, bettas prefer floating foods. For a special treat leave a container of water in the garden in the summer to collect midge larvae.
Suitable tank mates: The most common bettas here are extremely aggressive with other male bettas. Obviously, you can only keep one male to a tank. They will however often attack very brightly coloured related species, like dwarf gourami, or, occasionally very brightly coloured guppies ( usually ones with lots of red or blue). Most of the time though, the Betta is pretty peaceful with other species of fish. His long flowing fins attract many nippers and this fish should not be kept with species known for fin nipping like tiger barbs or angel fish. If you suspect problem, carefully inspect your Fighter for signs of damage to his fins, or especially white fungus. Bettas are prone to infection in injured fins, especially in less then pristine waters, nipped fins can often prove fatal. Ideal tank mates would include cardinal neon tetras, otolincus, kuhli loaches, corydoras, and ancisterus catfish. Very small neons are OK with a smaller betta. A large male might eat them, therefore I would prfer buying good sized cardinals, or perhaps glowlight tetras.
Water: prefers soft, adding bog wood will help in hard water areas. Also this fish does not like fast moving or turbulent waters.
Hiding place: Yes Bettas do like to hide too, but they also like to be near the surface. Any floating plant will give your fish a secure retreat that will help him cope with stress and keep him happy and healthy.
Idiot free zone: Some people love to harass Bettas to see them flare. Flaring is a sign of stress, please do not allow idiots to tease or torment the fish. A glass of cold water in the face can be quite effective.
Tricks: Not necessary but can be fun. If you keep a Betta for awhile you can make a practice of placing a hand against the tank and sliding it before feeding, or ring a bell, or any other signal. This means the good stuff is coming and a small amount of a very good food is added ( like thawed out blood worms or even better lie ones). After awhile the fish will race right to the top of the tank. You can then hold the food just the slightest bit above the tank, and many, but not all fish, will jump for it. If your fish does not jump, just give it to him anyway, don't tease him. Exercise common sense don't have your fish doing high jumps near the edge of a tank. Finally if he accidentally nips you, it's not his fault, he didn't think up the trick. I did find that my Betta who was really adept this lived 8 years - a massive lifespan for a Betta, but you do need a lot of time on your hands. Also live blood worms are wiggly, squishy and just plain gross, but you get used to it.
The most common variety of Betta in pet shops is the Betta splendens. This is the only species I have ever owned so the only one I can offer personal knowledge regarding. This species is popular due to it's intense, vibrant colouration and long flowing fins. this fish grows to about 3", although the female will be smaller. the female will also not have such large fins or vivid colouration. Theoretically many females can be kept together. In practice this has not worked so well for me, but it may just be bad luck, or perhaps the petshop sold me immature males, or perhaps male betta imbellis. At any rate, mine fought the peace out. I removed the worse off one to a separate tank, where it died. My large male killed the other one a few weeks later after seeming to get along. It is also worth noting if you keep a male and a female, and they decide to make a nest in a community tank, the male will insure the safety of his offspring. This means that anything that ventures near the nest dies.
Less commonly available is Betta imbellis. This fish is also referred to as the peaceful betta. It is less colourful and has smaller fins then betta splendens. In fact it looks very much like a colourful female of the Betta Splendens variety. however hobbyists seem to be breeding more and more brightly coloured specimens and some males are really lovely. They can often also change colour some turning brighter when annoyed. This fish is reputed to be far less pugnacious, and according to what I have read, a species tank can be set up housing both males and females together, and the USUALLY will not fight. I am stressing usually, and make absolutely no personal guarantees on this matter. Apparently some are more aggressive then others. I would advise if setting up a tank with more than one male to be prepared to evacuate other males if needed.
There are also a large number of varieties available usually only among fanciers. Unfortunately, I think most of these are bred for more intense "game" qualities, and I personally object to any creature being bred and forced to fight for peoples amusement. As it is unlikely you will find any of these in a local pet shop, I will not detail the different varieties. While most common in Thailand among fighting fraternities, some of these are making their way into the hands of tropical fish hobbyists, prized primarily for variety in colours. Betta smaragdina, or the guitar betta, is reputed to be a lovely metallic green shade, which would be nice just because it is different.
I've always loved owning fish, and over the years have gone through many different breeds to find out which I prefer, and the Siamese Fighting Fish won hands down, not just because of their colouring but their temperaments as well, the fact that none are the same and that they are complete individuals in a way I have never found with other fish. Yes, you can generalise, and I have done so in this but equally you can never be sure that yours will automatically follow the generalisations.
Betta fish or otherwise known as the Siamese Fighting Fish, originally from Cambodia and Thailand. The adult
fish will grow to approximately 7 cm (3 in), and the main thing that everyone knows about them is that males cannot be kept together! Well, I suppose they can - if you want to clear up the bodies of the loser! If you want to keep this kind of fish you can expect a lifespan (providing you don't keep males together) of 2-3 years, which to give credit isn't bad for a fish! They are one of the most colourful, most recognizable, and also one of the most controversial fish around for reasons that will be explained!
It is one of the best known fish of the freshwater aquarium, mainly because of it's amazing colours, and it's memorably long fins. The colours tend to range in either red, blue or white, sometimes with a mixture of all; because of this once you've seen this style of fish you won't forget them! The females aren't as brightly coloured and do have shorter fins (but are less violent to keep!), and they will if kept correctly display horizontal stripes.
They originate in the shallower waters of Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and parts of China, for example shallow shallow moving streams, and the rice paddies. All of the countries they originate from are tropical, and the temperatures they are easiest in are quite warm, reaching up to 80 degrees F. All of the areas in which they live are shallow and have ample room for breathing on the surface, as surprisingly they cannot just live off the oxygen in water, which is why they can live in very lowly oxygenated areas of water.
Because of the temperature that they originate from, Betta fish are far happier in high temperatures and as soon as their tank falls below 75 degrees F they get increasingly listless and dopey. This is a good argument for not keeping them in a small bowl as they cannot be heat controlled, whereas with a larger tank you can control the heat carefully (3 galleons is recommended). Other areas of care listed below:
OXYGEN: Contrary to popular belief, Betta's do not require less oxygen than other fish. The difference that most people somehow fail to take into account is that they have special respiratory organs, and this means that they can take oxygen directly from the surface. In fact, as a random fact, it has actually been proved that they need to do so to survive. In laboratory experiments it was shown that if you remove the equipment for breathing from the air outside water the fish would die from suffocation. It's easy to see therefore why it is so urgent that they ALWAYS have access to the surface.
WATER: Optimally the water PH should be between neutral and very slightly acidic, the water itself should be soft and warm, with very little water movement which means that power filters and heads are out of the question.
COMMUNITY: You can keep a community of Betta fish together surprisingly, the females are not usually violent, and providing there is no aggressive or fin nipping behaviour showing, then you'll be fine. However, I cannot stress enough: DO NOT KEEP TWO MALES IN THE SAME TANK, unless you are going to separate them using a plastic barrier.
BETTA IN A VASE: Some strange person created a craze in which you keep a Betta fish and a lily together in a flower vase. The basis for this was because you don't need pumps to keep a Betta fish because they don't exist in nature. Yes, Betta fish live in rice paddies and swamps, but what people fail to recognize is that these are full ecological systems which neutralize toxins and waste - this cannot be mimicked in a flower vase. Surprise, surprise. In a vase they cannot get their proper meat diet, which means they will be too susceptible to infection, as well as the fact that the water temperature will be too low. As a final major problem, they may find breathing a problem due to lack of surface area at the top, and may then suffocate. In basic, it looks attractive, but it is not healthy at all for the fish...
Almost entirely insects and larvae, they are naturally equipped with an upturned mouth that is perfect for grabbing any poor insect that happens to fall into the tank, but this won't be enough to keep them alive unfortunately (unless you have a fly invasion). Their digestive system is set out for digesting meat, not vegetarian food, so you are better feeding them live food, although you can get away with flake food and frozen foods together. Brine shrimp, Daphnia, plankton, tubifex, glassworms, and beef heart, are all options that would be worthwhile looking into. But if you can find a supply of fresh insects - that might be your best bet!
You are best breeding the fish at under 1 year old as this is when you are likely to have the most success (you tend to buy them at 6 months). They breed in bubble nests that the male makes himself, and you do not need any special equipment at all. The bubble nests themselves are quite spectacular and never cease to amaze me, it's well worth watching the male make it! Basically, you could do with a ten gallon tank, although smaller will work at 7.0 PH and 80 degrees F, as well as conditioning the fish in advance by feeding a diet of live food.
Whatever you do, give the female a hiding place as the males may become aggressive during breeding, and the last thing you need is an injured female! But even with a hiding place don't be too concerned if the female loses a few scales or end up with frayed fins.
As they begin to breed both will show far more spectacular colouring, and will begin to circle each other. When she expels the fertilized eggs they will begin to sink, the male will scoop them and spit them into the nest he made. The male tends the brood - REMOVE THE FEMALE!
Within 2 days of the eggs hatching you need to remove the male, as by that point he will not be needed to tend the bubble nest, and has a nasty habit of eating the young. Strangely you can feed the young very fine baby food, but baby brine shrimp is best about twice a day being careful not to overfeed.
In conclusion, Beta fish are a very attractive fish that actually takes very little work. The males will puff up to look bigger at their own reflection but this is not the point, providing there is no other male actually around. They are a wonderful and charismatic fish to keep, and well worth the minimal effort required!
I was like any other child when I was 8, desperate to keep my little goldfish alive, forgetting to feed it, being yelled at by my mum to clean its pitiful little bowl out. I was never really enthused by them as a pet, they just don't seem to have much in the way of personality.
Then I got into the 'rodent phase' and that was that.
Now I'm all grown up! I bought a tank for my little flat after I moved out of the house I shared with my ex, my first solo place, so I decided to make it homey. It was a small tropical tank not big enough for more than a few fish, and on the advice of the fish store owner I got a couple of danios, a weird sucker fish, which I later found out was a plecostomus and a Siamese Fighting fish that had been in the tank with them at the shop who was swiftly named Bob. Big mistake.
Betta Splendens, or more commonly, Siamese Fighting fish are quite possibly the most characterful and personality driven fish I have ever come across. I have kept Tropical fish before, but always more of an ornament than a pet.
Bob had been living in the tank with all the fish I brought home that day, but for reasons known only to himself, he preceded to bully everything he saw as soon as he was released into the new tank...including the plants. I hoped he would settle down, but after a couple of days of this I decided it wasn't fair to the others and split them up. However, I had grown so attached to the little bully that I couldn't bear to part with him, instead taking the other fish back to the store and keeping the Betta.
Bob never did calm down, he displayed at everything, the plants, a reflection, a mug I put down beside the tank....me...
It was adorable really. Another Betta owner told me hers would also display at her if she sat beside the tank, so I took it to be normal behaviour. Bob would also let me stroke him, if I waggled my finger in the tank, he would swim past me a couple of times, then rub his body against my finger.
Unfortunately, one of Bob's plants died and when I bought a new one it carried a disease with it, that I wasn't able to cure, and he died a few days later. I had him for a year and was very attached to him.
I soon bought another, George. Who couldn't be more different, and this is the point of these two stories, that these fish have personality. George lives quite happily in his tank with two Corydoras, that follow him around like his lackys and eat the food he doesn't want. George wont let me touch him, but has never displayed at anything, not even his own reflection, he wont display at me, but he does watch me, any time I move or come close he swims right up to the front of the tank to see what's going on.
Now for the science bit...
Bettas are freshwater fish and are members of the Gourami family, which are some of the most colourful freshwater fish available. Betta splendens are no exception. Generally speaking it is the males that are the bright and colourful ones, with long flowing fins in any colour you can think of, often two or three at once. I have seen pastel pink, deep midnight blue, scarlet, turquoise and even iridescent yellow in the stores. Pearl white fish are often extremely expensive.
Females are more drab, and have shorter fins, but are still good additions to a community aquarium as they are not aggressive.
In order to keep Bettas they must have access to the surface of the water, as they are labyrinth fish, meaning they have a special organ that allows them to take oxygen from above the surface. They can often be seen swimming to the surface to take a big gulp of air.
In the wild, Bettas were fist seen in the rice paddies of Asia, they live in stagnant water and their fins make them too heavy to deal with fast flowing current. Since a current means they can swim to the surface they usually drown.
Because of this inability to swim in a current, they are one of the few fish that should be kept in a tank without a fast flowing filter system, the water should be as still as possible. Bettas also like to patrol their territory, so too big a tank will exhaust them.
It has become the fashion in some areas of the world, especially in America to keep these fish in vases, it is claimed that the fish eat the roots of the plant. Since a betta is a omnivorous fish, this is not healthy and most of these fish die, they need changes of water to remove ammonia that normally a filtration system would look after.
Tempurature for bettas is a hotly debated area in fish circles, generally they are quite hardy and can live in quite cool waters, but they are in fact tropical and their optimum temperature is 75-86 F (24-30 C)
George seems to prefer the cooler end of this, and is happiest at 23C
When Bettas are happy and comfortable they will blow bubble nests that would normally attract females, they look like a raft of foam on top of your tank water. It is not scum, and is white, and is a good sign.
Bettas are at the carnivorous end of the scale, you can buy special food for them, but you don't have to, since I only have George and two other fish in the tank I feed them on "'tropical's betta mix for the professional aquarium." Which they all love, they should do, along with chunkier flakes to accommodate the Betta's top feeding method, and upturned mouth, it also has big chunks of dried bloodworm in it, for fish food, its practically gourmet! They do need a little meat in their diet, either in the form of supplemental bloodworm or something similar, but they probably couldn't swim fast enough to catch live food, I've never tried it, mine likes to feed from the surface.
I would recommend the betta as an alternative to the traditional goldfish if you don't want the hassle of a large tropical tank. They are just as easy as goldfish to keep and have a darn sight more personality. Just be careful about keeping it with other fish if it is male, and be prepared to split the tank up if it gets aggressive.
The more time you spend with your fish, the better
The Siamese Fighting Fish, or 'Betta Splenden' to give it its posh name, is a beautiful breed of fish. There are so many variations that each one is unique. The fish itself... A Siamese Fighting fish will typically grow no longer than 3" long from nose to the start of its tail. The picture on dooyoo shows a male Fighting Fish - these are instantly recognisable by their long flowing fins. Different varieties of fish will have different types of fins, but in general, the male will have a long flowing tail, and fins, that are smooth around the edges. The female is very similar in body shape to the male, however they lack the pretty flowing fins and tail - their's are much shorter, and shaped more like your average fish's fins! Colour-wise there's plenty of different colour combinations. Siamese Fighting Fish come in a whole range of colours from deep scarlet reds, to iridescent blues, purples, black, white, and all the colours in between! There are many breeders who work on creating new and unusual looking Fighting Fish by cross breeding different coloured fish, and fins with different shaped fins. The most common Siamese Fighters tend to be mainly blue or mainly red in colour, although males often have tinges of different shades or colours within their fins. This breed of fish originally originated from South East Asia, in Cambodia/Thailand. They live in the wild in shallow rice paddies and ditches around the edges of the rice fields! Seems like an unusual place to find such a tropical looking fish! The Name Suggests Aggression? Do They Bite or Something?! Siamese Fighting Fish are actually quite peaceful fish. Female betta's will normally live together quite happily. The males, however, need to be kept on their own - when more than one are kept together they will fight, and are quite happy to fight each other to death. Seems strange to think of fish fights, but they can get quite aggressive
! This isn't to say that female fish won't fight with each other - they occasionally do, but in general they are fine kept together. It's also very difficult to keep a male and a female together - again, they will fight, so should only be brought together when breeding. Siamese Fighting Fish are fascinating in the way they show who's boss! They do what is known as 'flaring'. Imagine gills on the side of a fish's head... now imagine that these are actually more like flaps - when they are down, the flaps stay flat to the fish's body, when they are up, it's almost like they are on hinges, and the stick out from the body of the fish creating almost a big collar! This is what it looks like when a Fighting Fish flares! This collar extends almost all the way around the fish's head and looks very impressive. A fish will flare when it sees a rival, for example another male fish, or when it sees a potential mate - in the first instance it's as though it's making itself big and scary to attack the other fish, and in the second it's showing the female how great it is! If you've got a Fighting Fish and haven't seen this before, try holding a small mirror to the side of the tank - the fish will catch the reflection and flare at it. I have read that this is actually a good way of choosing a male fish when you're buying one. One that reacts to the reflection and flares is normally one that is healthy and responsive, one that doesn't react could possibly be ill as this could be a sign of lethargy that is caused by poor living conditions or illness. So, If You Want a Pretty Fish It Has To Live On It's Own Then? Not at all! Betta Splendens will happily live in a community tank (this is an aquarium that has been set up with 'community fish' - community fish are those that are happy to live together with other species and are generally peaceful and unlikely to be aggressive to oth
er fish). It's important that, if you are thinking of getting a Fighter, that you ensure you don't have any fin-nipping fish in your tank. Most good aquarium stores will be able to advise you on the types of fish that tend to be fin nippers, but in my experience I have found that fish such as tiger barbs and black widows will happily munch on other fishes fins, as will fish such as polypterus. Even fish who are not typically fin nippers may take up the habit once they see the Betta swimming about! Where Do They Like To Live? You might see Siamese Fighting fish kept in small containers on their own, as opposed to being in a properly set up aquarium. Because of the type of fish these are, they will live in these conditions, however they won't thrive, they are much happier and likely to survive when in a better environment. They are best kept in water that is between 24C-29C. They are a labyrinth fish, which means that they breathe air as opposed to breathing through their gills like a typical fish - this means that they must be able to reach the surface of the water. They often swim towards the top of the tank, so it's good to have either some tall plants in your aquarium that they can still take shelter in when they're up at the top, or to have some floating plants. Male fish will often create bubble nests in plant foliage at the very top of the tank, or in an area at the top of the tank. They do this by blowing lots of tiny bubbles - these groups of bubbles are then intended for the female fish to lay their eggs in if the fish were breeding, as they are then protected by the bubbles! What Do They Eat? They are a carniverous fish. Most will happily eat tropical fish flake food (as this is meat based), though they will also enjoy live food such as blood worms and daphnia. Many shops sell particular brands of food aimed just at this breed of fish, however personally I don't think this is necessary - particula
rly if you are keeping your Fighting fish in a community tank, as I doubt the fish will all make sure they're eating the food intended for them if you sprinkle a variety in the tank! Where Can You Get One? Most shops that sell tropical fish will sell these. They are normally priced in the region of £5.00. If you're an enthusiast and confident in your ability to look after tropical fish properly, you may be able to purchase a more fancy finned and rarer coloured one from aquarium specialist, though obviously you would pay more for a rarer fish. These fish are easy to look after and make a beautiful eye-catching addition to your aquarium. However, should you notice that your fish starts to look ragged around the fins it is either being nipped at by other fish or may have caught a disease such as fin rot - it is important that you either move the fish to another tank to prevent the fin nipping problem, or that you treat it for fin rot if you identify it has the disease in order to stop your fish from becoming stressed, which could possibly lead to its death. In conclusion, I would certainly recommend introducing a Siamese Fighting Fish to your tank if you currently have a peaceful community tank set up. I would award the Betta Splended 4 stars, as although they are a pretty looking fish and generally mix well with other community fish, they are not the most easy of tropical fish to care for in terms of preventing fin-nipping etc. * * * *
Siamese fighter fish are really cool fish!!!!! In my opinion they are the best tropical fish, colourful and active. They glide through the water beautifully with the fins waving about, absoloutly wonderful. They are about 2 inches long so not too big or too small!! They might eat small fish like neons and tetra's so be careful when mixing in community tank, they can be quite aggresive and terrortorial. The legendary if you put 2 males together they fight till the death is quite true so dont do it, " for a laugh !". If you want more than 1 then idealy put the male in with 3 females and you should be ok. When I first saw siamese fish I was like , " I want 1 of those !". They are very good on the eye, they cost around £4.00 from pet stores or even cheaper suprisingly. They dont live as long a other fish but still long enough to enjoy them and well worth the money!! They are easily looked after, as long as you have good quality filtered water and keep the water at a tempeture around 26* degree's you will be ok, they will live on tropical flake food. The siamese fighter is the daddy of tropical fish so go and buy 1 if you havent got one!! Any questions then email me and I will get back in touch.
I'm not an expert on Siamese Fighting Fish, so this is just my experience of them. I had two in a large tank mostly populated with Guppies. These Siamese Fighting Fish chased the Guppies all over the place, and even picked on one continuously (HONESTLY!) to the extent where the bullied Guppy just went into hiding permanently. The two Siamese Fighting Fish I had weren't supposed to be both male - but I did find one floating belly up and a bit tattered one morning! I even found one of them flapping around on the floor during a cleaning session (must have jumped out the bucket??! He was in the bucket the last time I looked!). The surviving Siamese Fighting Fish managed to get itself completed wedged in a hole in of the rocks in the water. It was hilarious, it was just wagging away furiously getting more and more wedged. It wasn't funny trying to get it back out, and the fish did lose a few scales. So, my fish were crazy bucket jumping, hole wedging, muderous bullies. But they were very pretty nonetheless. If you do get some of these, make sure you know how to look after tropical fish, you can't just change all the water in one go like you can with gold fish! And get a good guide book - alternatively, get a kitten!!
Siamese Fighting Fish are a beautiful fish that every household should have, they are good in price and are worth every bit of money you spend for them, they don't need heaps of room, which is good in some ways. You are not allowed to have two MALE Fighter fish together as they will fight eachother till death, but you can have females together. Diseases are the biggest problem, but if you look after them well, then they will have less chance to catch them. Overall I rate the Siamese Fighting Fish (Betta Splenden) 5/5.