Bettas the “Siamese fighting fish”
Bettas are beautiful, vibrant, and have a ton of personality. Unfortunately, they are probably the most mistreated fish in the hobby. There is a ton of information out there that is so wrong, yet it is treated as “common knowledge” when it comes to caring for these guys.
First mistake made with bettas is the tank. Many people (and stores) will tell you that they are fine in little bowls, vases, whatever you feel like throwing them into. That’s not at all true. In the wild, bettas live in flooded rice fields. They have miles of space and love to use it. A betta requires a minimum of around 3 gallons, but thrive in 5-10 gallon tanks.
Lighting and Temperature
Bettas need a heater. They are originally from Thailand and require warmer waters. Ideally they will be kept at about 78-80 degrees F. As for lighting, they can handle a variety so it is up to you what you would like to do.
Anything will do, but try to avoid anything sharp as it can rip their long fins. Heavily planted tanks are best, but silk plants are just as good.
Bettas are carnivores. A varied diet of betta food, bloodworms, daphnia, and shrimp will help keep them healthy and happy. With many fish, swim bladder disease can be helped with shelled peas, but do not feed your betta peas if this happens. Feed daphnia.
Tap water is fine, provided it is pretreated with aquarium water conditioner to remove chlorine and chloramines. Good filtration with a low flow (spray bars are amazing to help with this) is perfect.
Bettas are famous for their attitude. Males are extremely aggressive and territorial (most of the time, as with anything there are exceptions). They should be kept alone unless breeding. Don’t attempt breeding without a lot of research as it can quickly turn deadly. Females can be kept in a sorority, but it has to be done carefully as they can also become quite aggressive. A minimum of 20 gallons and five females is the baseline to start a sorority. Bettas have amazing personalities if taken care of correctly, they can play, beg, and learn tricks (seriously, look it up).
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