Betta splendens, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are a large genus of fish. They are very small in size and usually brightly colored. They are part of the gourami family and have a ray fin. They are referred to as Siamese fighting fish due to their violent behavior when around other betta fish. Therefore, they tend to be kept separate from other fish.
Characteristic of a Betta Fish
Betta fish are relatively small. They usually only grow to be about 3 inches in length and ½ an inch wide. The natural coloring of a betta fish is brown and green, however many grow to be full of vibrant colors such as blue, purple, red and turquoise. These colors have been produced through selective breeding of the fish. All have flowy fins that are naturally small, but those that have been through selective breeding can have large fanned out fins.
Betta Fish Care
When keeping betta fish in tanks it is best to keep them separated. Male betta fish tend to fight when kept together. This also goes for male and female betta fish. They shouldn’t be kept together unless for breeding. Female betta fish are the exception. They can be kept in groups of three to seven as long the tank is large enough. There should also be plenty of hiding spots in the tank when they are kept together. Betta fish can however, be kept in the same tank as other breeds of fish. As long as they require the same water temperature and do not have any long fins, the betta should not attack.
Betta Fish Diet
Siamese fighting fish are carnivorous fish. They have upturned mouths and like to feed on the surface. In the wild, betta fish feed on larvae of mosquitoes and other water bound insects, as well as plankton. However, they will also eat some plant matter if needed. If you own a betta fish, you can purchase specific food call betta pellets. The pellets are a mixture of brine shrimp, mashed shrimp meal, wheat flour and bloodworms. They also contain fish meal and vitamins. You can also purchase frozen mosquito larvae and brine shrimp to feed your fish.
Betta Fish Breeding
In natural breeding, a male betta fish and a female betta fish come together to mate. When the male is interested in the female, he will flare his gills and spread his fins. When the female is interested, she will darken in color. The male will build a bubble nest at the surface of the water. The nests vary in size and thickness. The female will then release her eggs to the male who will then release milt into the water to fertilize the eggs. The male will use his mouth to gather the fertilized eggs and place them in the bubble nest. The eggs will grow in the bubble nest until they start to grow. Selective breeding is done in a lab and uses betta fish with specific features.
Betta fish are aggressive fish that need to be kept in a specific environment. Making sure that you maintain the proper environment and diet. If you do everything correctly, the betta fish will survive for two to three years.