The Cute Betta Fish
Betta fish are most known for their colorful and iridescent scales, flowing fins, and aggressive nature. In the 1800s, betta fish, otherwise known as Siamese fighting fish, became popular when the King of Thailand took an interest in them. With their boost in popularity, betta fish were bred specifically to participate in fighting matches where one fish would surrender or even die. Today, fish fighting is banned in the United States, but PETA is still concerned for the well-being of the species in captivity as they are often kept in small cups until their sale.
In the Wild
Scientifically known as betta splendens, these freshwater fish are native to the calm, shallow waters in the rice paddies and canals of Cambodia and Thailand where they feed on bugs and larvae. Most betta fish in the wild are dull green or brown colors with much shorter fins. Wild betta will flash their fins to attract mates and to ward off potential predators and other betta in their territory.
Wild betta fish are similar to their aquarium counterparts in size, measuring at around 2 to 3 inches, but they are on the smaller side since their fins are shorter. In addition, female betta are smaller and are not as colorful as males.
Because their natural habitat has been steadily decreasing, wild betta fish are considered a vulnerable species. Breeding programs have even been started to help ensure their survival.
In the Tank
As aquarium fish, bettas are said to be one of the easier fish to keep. They can live to be around 2 to 4 years old, and unlike wild betta, these fish will survive on basic fish food. Betta like warm water temperatures, so their upkeep is usually minimal. And, they are beautiful to watch. Male fish are usually extremely colorful with combinations of reds, blues, teals, oranges, and purples. Female fish are less colorful, just like their wild counterparts.
Like in the wild, aquarium betta fish are territorial and solitary, so they should be kept in their own tank or in a tank that gives them room to spread out. Males that are kept too close to each other will typically fight. Female betta fish can often handle living in communities but sometimes can be aggressive as well.
Some people worry that their betta fish will get bored on its own. In fact, if a male betta fish gets too bored, he will start biting at his own fins, which can cause disease. In addition to having a lot of room (at least a 5 gallon tank), it is recommended that a betta fish has plenty of places to explore in its tank like caves and plants.
A cute addition to your tank
Betta fish have a long history of being mistreated. Their aggressive nature makes them great solo fish and somewhat easy to care for. With shimmering and colorful scales and flowing fins, they can be a cute addition to your tank.
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