Betta fish, also known as the Siamese fighting fish, is one of the most attractive and vibrant fish species of all freshwater aquarium fish. Its name ikan bettah, has been derived from a local dialect of Thailand. The Betta descends from its wild ancestors called pla-ka, native to Thailand and Cambodia. There are over 50 types, of which Betta splendens has found special favor among aquarium hobbyists in the United States, because of its unusual color schemes, and the low care and maintenance it requires to thrive.
The lifespan of a Betta fish is usually around three to five years, although if one takes into consideration all the care it needs, and provides the fish with it, the life expectancy may go up to eight years too!
Betta fish grow to an overall length of about six to eight centimeters. So, keeping this in mind, decide upon the number of fish you would want and what kind of an aquarium you will provide for them―a small fish bowl or a large aquarium. Don't overcrowd them, as they like their open spaces.
Once you have decided how many you want, head straight to an aquarium supply store, for not only will you get all the material you need to make your fish feel at home, but also relevant information about its food and basic care. Choose from a number of varieties―regular Betta, crown tail Betta, twin tail Betta, etc.
The basic thing one requires for setting up an aquarium for them includes a fish tank or bowl, made up of either glass or plastic, live or plastic plants, a pH balance test kit, aquarium thermometer, filters, heaters, clean sanitized gravel, lots of freshwater and food. You can get more decorative if you want to, but ensure that you don't crowd the aquarium, as not only will it curb the space for the fish, but also damage its delicate fins. The water in your aquarium should be at room temperature, between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, and with a 6.5 to 7.5 pH level.
There are two feeding considerations one needs to look into―nutrition and the right quantity. By nature they are carnivorous, and have quite a taste for water insects, mosquito larvae, and zooplankton. It may not always be easy to give your fish this kind of food, but the fish stores have a wide range of alternatives that will keep your fish well fed, and will increase their lifespan. They include water fleas, blood worms, shrimp, etc. One can get fresh or frozen forms of these fish foods too.
Another common food one can feed them with is Betta specific food pellets, which are basically vitamins added to a mix of shrimp and blood worms. Feed the fish two or three times a day, the quantity depending upon what you are feeding them with. During pre-spawning time, the fish can be fed more often. Nutritious food will boost the immune system and enhance their vibrant colors and longevity.
Here are a few facts that will tell you why you should have them swimming in your aquarium.
- Their other common name is 'Siamese fighting fish', which mostly refers to the male Betta fish, as they are more aggressive than the females
- Betta fish come in a variety of colors―white, orange, yellow, shades of blue, red, green, black, etc.
- These tropical fish were first found to be living in the rice paddies of Thailand and Cambodia.
- To intimidate other fish in its vicinity, the male will flare its fins and gills.
- Two males in the same bowl will kill each other, so always ensure not to keep them together.
- The males build bubble nests only for two reasons―one, when they are happy, and two, to protect the eggs.