“That’s a Fighting Fish” any youngster can tell you. Bettas are the most colorful and well-known tropical fish in the World. Everyone recognizes the colorful Betta. You will run out of fingers and toes before you can count all the different colors and different types of fins currently available.

The females have short fins and are a peaceful fish. A small collection of three to six will can provide a lot of color in a community tank. They get along fine with other peaceful fish like Tetras or Livebearers. They do not bother live plants and will even keep the snail population down. (They eat small snails)

A single male is an especially flashy addition to most small tanks. They are peace loving and generally hover near the surface waiting for some insect that wants to become a Betta snack. Beware, this makes them a target for any tank bully who will sneak up from behind and nip the Bettas colorful fins.

Bettas originate in Southeast Asia. Wild Bettas called Plakats live in shallow water. They have an organ similar to our lungs that allow them to breath air. Because he has lungs, no expensive pump and air stone or filter system is necessary. Male bettas are territorial. Like many wild animals the male will fight to keep other males out of his territory. In the wild, the looser will swim away but in captivity, when two males are placed in a small container, the looser cannot run away and hide so the fight usualy ends in the death. Males will also chase off females unless they are ready to spawn and make baby bettas.

The perfect home for the adult male Betta is a clear container holding between one and three gallons of water. Although they prefer 80 to 84 degree temperatures, they do quite well at room temperature and no heater is required. Most Bettas enjoy a small potted or floating plant. Color accessories add a lot to a fish display, but you will find it easier to change the water if you put the decorations on the outside.

I’m sure you’ve all seen a Betta in a flower vase. It looks great. But Bettas breathe air and they must have room at the surface to get it. If the surface is covered with plant roots and there is no place to get air, they will die. Some people believe that the Betta can exist by eating plant roots, but Bettas are Carnivores and hunt bugs not plant roots and if you don’t feed them, they will die. Bettas like live food like mosquito larva, snails, brine shrimp, daphnia and small worms.

Most pet stores carry frozen food and freeze dried food as well as high protein pellets for bettas. Be careful not to feed your betta more than he can eat in 5 minutes. Excess food and fish poop will sink to the bottom and decompose in the water, poluting it and makeing the water turn cloudy. Without a filter system you will have to change the water in his home once a week, or sooner if it starts to get green or cloudy. Just remember to use de-chlorinated water, even though they have lungs and breath air, the chemicals we put in our drinking water can kill Bettas.

If you don’t have a Betta, try one or two or three. They are addictive. They all have personality and no two are the same. Some will eat out of your fingers, some will bite your fingers and some will not go near your fingers. Enjoy!

If you would like more information on keeping and breeding Bettas, contact the Houston Area Betta Breeders by clicking on the icon at the top right corner.