Betta Fish: Everything You Need to Know About the Species. Part 2

Betta Fish Everything You Need to Know About the Species
There is much debate in the Betta Fish community regarding the size container or tank your fish should occupy. But, everyone is in agreement that the small cup in which you likely brought your Betta home is not an acceptable permanent residence.

Give your fish some “fin room” to live and swim. The smallest size Betta tank you should consider is 3 gallons or 3 or 4 times his body length in diameter. This gives him room for hiding and swimming.

Avoid the “Betta Vase”

Another popular trend you may have heard is the “Betta Vase.” These vases contain a single male Betta. The bottom of the vase is covered with marbles and a live plant is placed on the top opening of the vase.

At first glance you may think this fulfills the fish’s needs since there is room for the Betta to swim. However, there are two problems with this environment…

  1. Bettas are surface breathers so they need to skim the top of the water to get oxygen. With a plant covering the surface, this action is impossible.
  2. Many manufacturers tell potential owners that they do not need to feed their fish in this Betta vase setup. They lead people to believe they can survive eating the live roots of the plants.

Bettas, however, are carnivores by nature, and even though they may nibble on these plants occasionally, nothing takes the place of meat for their growth and health.

Fin Varieties and Colors
Betta Fish Colors

One of the most exciting factors when choosing a Betta is the multitude of colors and fin varieties! Breeders have done an amazing job at creating some of the most beautiful fish in the world.

What is truly remarkable, however, is that for all the varieties of color, there exist only two different variations: the solid and the bi-color.

Some Betta varieties:

• Mustard Gas – bi-colored with green, blue and steel blue body – pictured above
• Pastel – white or any pastel color with pastel-colored fins
• Red – pure red is most desirable but variations include deep crimson and red/brown colors
• Chocolate – often referred to as brown which is actually a black and yellow mix
• Orange – a fairly new color and tends to lean toward the red family
• Melano – black in color and very difficult to achieve – most melano females are sterile
• Steel Blue – a cooler pigment of a typical blue with variants of grey, sometimes called metallic blue
• Royal Blue – a darker blue that looks almost purple in color
• Cellophane – no pigmentation at all – almost clear with transparent fins
• White – both opaque and solid, many have black eyes
• Yellow – varying shades of yellow; golden yellow is rare
• Various Patterned Varieties – butterfly, marble, piebald (white face), variegated, speckled

Fin varieties create a different look for each and every Betta. The most common tail shape is the “veil tail.” You will also find double tails, delta tails, super delta tails, heart tails, fuse tails, half moon, comb and crown tails and a variety of even more configurations.

The Ancient “Boring” Betta

If you’ve ever wondered how this beautifully colored fish ever survived in such shallow water without some type of natural camouflaging, there is an answer. They didn’t survive.

The original, natural version of the Betta fish looks nothing like the modern-day pet store varieties. Bettas were brown or black with a very little color. Tail varieties were also rather normal. They’ve advanced considerably in the past few years. Expect to see even more variations as breeders continue to experiment with genes.

Do not place two males together in the same tank.

Why is that? The Betta’s aggressive tendencies originate from their natural habitat. Existing in an environment where space was extremely limited, Bettas had to defend their territory fiercely. The contest meant more to them than territorial bragging rights. If they got tossed out of their home area by another fish, they quickly died.

Water was at a premium for much of the year in their natural environment. Even the shallow water of the rice patties would eventually dry up.

If male Bettas could talk, this is what they would say to each other, “This buffalo hoof print isn’t big enough for the both of us.”

Male Bettas also act out aggressively for breeding rights to a female fish.

While the majority of Bettas are now bred in captivity, they still possess this aggressive gene.

Don’t believe me? Try this quick and simple demonstration. Find a small mirror and place it next to the fish’s aquarium. Wait until he gets curious. He’ll eventually swim over to check out the “new fish in town.” The moment he sees his own reflection, he’ll begin to puff up.

This puffing action is called flaring. The male Betta performs this involuntarily, believing that his reflection is another male invading his territory. When another fish is involved, this flaring is interpreted as a signal that the territory is already taken. If the new male fish wants it, he’ll have to fight for it!

You can also find a lot of detailed information in: Betta Fish: Everything You Need to Know About the Species. Part 1

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