Also known as the Siamese Fighting Fish, the Betta fish is a vibrantly-colored, intelligent and beautiful species.
- What Kind of animal are they? Vertebrate and Fish
- Cold or warm-blooded? Cold Blooded
- What is their lifespan? Average is 2-4 years but have been known to live up to 10 years.
- How big are they? They grow up to 3 inches long
- What do they look like? They have brightly colored bodies, long, flowing fins and tails.
Fun Fact: Bettas have several different tail shapes – the most common being the “veil tail.” Other tail shapes include the “half-moon,” “double tail,” “short-finned fighting-style tail” and “crown tail.”
Where are Betta Fish from?
The betta was first discovered in Thailand. They lived in the warm tropical floodplains, in rice paddies and drainage ditches in the region. This environment goes through drastic changes with recurring storm floods and droughts but is never cold. This led the betta to adapt and become what is called a “labyrinth fish” but means you need to keep their tank water at a warm stable temperature all year.
Labrynth Fish and How they Breathe.
Labyrinth fish have the special ability to breathe oxygen directly from the air. They do this by gulping air outside the surface of the water and also by taking in oxygen through the gills. Due to this, labyrinth fish like the betta can survive out of water for very short durations out of water – as long as they stay moist. They need space at the top of the tank for air.
This also means they can be “jumpers” so always have a lid.
Why is it called a Fighting Fish?
Unlike other species, bettas are not schooling fish and the males are usually aggressive to other males and even females.
Can Bettas Share a Tank?
Bettas generally prefer to swim alone and you should never have more than one male in a tank, and a male and female should only be together briefly supervised for breeding. Females can sometimes get along in groups and bettas can live with certain peaceful non-coloured community fish in a large enough tank.
Bettas need a good place to hide. They feel safer when they can hide in aquatic caves or dense plants and sheltered corners.
They are not strong swimmers and can get stressed by big filters.
What Do Betta Fish Eat? Are they herbivores or carnivores?
Betta fish need specific food because they are carnivores and like meat. In the wild, bettas feed on insects and their larvae on the water’s surface.
Can I train my Betta?
Yes, you can!
Bettas are intelligent, curious fish that tend to be aware of their surroundings, claim personal areas, and they often develop amusing personality “quirks”. They quickly learn to recognize their human companions (Most fish species and not just Betta will recognize their owner over time, especially if this person is the one feeding them most of the time). They often learn when feeding time is, and they even get excited when you approach their aquarium.
You can train your Betta to do fish tricks. Not only is it adorable and fun, but it is also good for your pet as it keeps them active and helps prevent boredom (yes, fish can get bored). With patience and a little persistence, you can teach him to do things like follow your finger, eat from your hand, swim through a hoop, “play soccer”, and jump.
Fish Food is the best reinforcement for desired behavior. But just be careful not to overfeed your betta, especially in a small aquarium.
See how to care for your Betta here.