Betta, Where Do These Beautiful Aquarium Fish Come From
Betta Splendens, also known as Siamese Fighting Fish are among the most beautiful of aquarium fish. Bettas found in pet stores are descendants of wild Bettas which are found in the oxygen poor waters of Thailand and Cambodia. Through evolution they have adapted and are able to thrive in conditions that would not be healthy for many other aquarium fish. Because of this, they are capable of living in smaller tanks and bowls than most other fish species, but to have success raising or breeding these colorful fish it is best to keep them in a more typical aquarium environment with proper filtration, temperature and tank maintenance.
Betta aquariums should only house one male because they are very territorial and will fight for domination in an aquarium environment. Although more than one male can be kept in a larger aquariums, they will still fight when they encounter each other and this will result in damage to their beautiful fins. In the wild this is not usually a problem because the looser can escape to safety which is obviously not possible in an aquarium environment. Although their fins will grow back they will likely never return to their previous splendor.
In the wild female Bettas stay away from males, except when mating, if they are together in aquariums males may chase and harass females. Female Bettas are not as aggressive towards each other as males, but it is a good idea to provide some hiding places in your tank if you are keeping bettas together.
The Planted Betta Aquarium
Aquarium plants are a great addition to any fish tank and Betta aquariums are no exception. Bettas are curious fish and they enjoy having plants, natural or artificial, in an aquarium that almost reach the surface of the water. When the plant leaves reach the water surface, they can be used by males to create bubble nests. Bubble nests serve as hatcheries when bettas breed. Live plants add a whole new look and feel to the aquarium environment because it is always changing, shifting and expanding.
Betta Health and Water Conditions
Betta fish are generally very hardy and are able to tolerate poor water conditions. Unfortunately this enables aquarium shops to display them in small bowls or jars which leads the inexperienced hobbyist to believe that they can thrive in these conditions. There is a big difference between thriving and surviving, so it is important to provide your Bettas with a decent environment to ensure they remain healthy, with regular water changes, proper temperature and an aquarium filter, just like you would for any other tropical aquarium fish.
One of the problems with keeping Bettas in small Betta bowls is that water conditions can deteriorate very quickly. As with any aquarium set up , water quality is very important. Ammonia, nitrate and nitrite levels, which are by-products of fish waste, can change very quickly in a smaller volume of water than in a properly setup and maintained aquarium. Water quality is very important and can easily be kept within acceptable parameters when managed properly. They can be monitored with aquarium test kits and managed very easily with water changes and proper filtration. Fish health can deteriorate rapidly if water chemistry is neglected.
Having a Betta aquarium in your home can be very rewarding and calming. Bettas are very easy to keep and suitable for most hobbyists who want to be involved in this wonderful hobby.
p.s. One of the best guides I have read about Betta care is “Betta Care Made Easy” by Adam Short, a fellow Betta fish lover. In his book he talks about some very important things like water conditions, Betta diseases and cures, and even breeding. I highly recommend this book for anyone who cares about the health and happiness of their fish.