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The beautiful, half-moon fan-tailed betta fish is one of the most low maintenance pets.
Just because they are pretty doesn't mean they are hard to take care of. Bettas are common in countertop settings inside a glass vase with little more than floating vegetation to keep them company. You can find them at almost any pet store.
The betta's full name is actually the Siamese fighting fish due to its discovery in freshwater Asian rice paddies--areas susceptible to drought and notorious for wagered fish battles. Because of its limited aquatic habitat, bettas developed a lung-like organ that allows them to obtain oxygen through the air, not just by passing water over their gills.
This adaptation classifies them as a labyrinth fish. This means they can survive for a small amount of time outside of water! It is also the reason they are able to survive in fish bowls lacking water flow for oxygen. However, water quality is always important in fish care. Bettas will have a much better caliber of life if they are in a small, slightly filtered tank with good water conditions instead of a vase.
Betta fish tank requirements also include correct water temperature around 74 degrees (they like warm water). Each fish requires about a gallon tank of clean water.
Bettas, especially males, are aggressive. They will fight other betta tankmates, so keep them separated. Females can sometimes get along with other non-betta tropical fish, brine shrimp, or other aquarium fish. But even a male betta and female betta cannot cohabitate in a community tank.
Bettas like to have a place to hide such as floating live plants. They feed on floating foods, preferring bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphnia,and specialized betta pellets. They are carnivores so don't feed them fish flakes! Feed them as much as they will eat in two minutes. Diet is important for maintaining coloration in their flowing fins.
The Tropical Fish Care Guides explain that proper care includes feeding betta fish a special diet. And according to their experts, betta food consists of:
"A Betta's diet should be protein-rich and meaty. Pellets, frozen or live bloodworms, daphnia, and brine shrimp are best."
Freeze-dried bloodworms will work just as well.
Twice-a-week new water changes are ideal if the fish lives in a bowl to avoid fin rot.
If you're ready to add this beautiful fish with its bright colors to your home make sure you have your checklist complete. Easy care makes betta fish a popular choice with novice aquarists. The list should include the betta tank (females like larger tanks), betta food, live plants, and lastly your betta fish! And don't forget how important water quality (poor water quality is an issue) and water temperature is when you set up your betta tank. Pet shops like Petco and Petsmart sell betta fish and you can always call ahead with questions. Sales folks can help if you need to troubleshoot various aspects of your tank set up. Remember to let them eat shrimp so stock up!
The Red Dragon Half-moon Betta is an exquisite variety and extremely popular. Ask about the Dragon Crowntail Betta too!
Bettas' average life span is 2-3 years.
Hover over the image for more information.
Bettas can be one color or multiple colors from red and orange to blue and purple or even green! A healthy diet is important to maintain their vibrant colors.
Females are rarely multi-colored like the males.
Betta tail shapes can be half-moon, veil, crown, double or the fighting short fin.
Females do not have flowing dorsal fins.
The beautiful fins are easily damaged by sharp objects. For this reason, use real plants over plastic plants in a betta fish tank.
Bettas have a labyrinth organ that, like a lung, allows them to breathe air.
Do you have a betta fish? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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