|Scientific Name||Betta splendens|
|Common Name(s)||Betta, Siamese fighting fish|
|Origin||Mekong basin of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam|
|Water Parameters||6.8 to 7.4|
|Diet||Live foods preferred, will eat flakes and frozen foods|
Betta fish, or Siamese Fighting Fish, have a bad reputation as being difficult fish to keep. Don’t let the community scare you though. They can live in harmony with other fish, given the proper setup and care.
Choosing your Fish
It’s no secret that Bettas fight, however it’s mostly against other Bettas. Males are very aggressive and are effectively highlanders of the pond. Females however, are generally more docile and can live in groups. Both can be safely integrated into community tanks, the difference being that you can keep multiple females, but only one male at a time.
Betta Tank Setup
It’s always recommended to cycle a tank or to use a primer to condition the water. Some also suggest buying a heater, but if your home is naturally warm or your tank has a built in light and isn’t too large, it should be sufficiently warm. The tank size will be dependent on preference and population, but for a single fish, five gallons is usually recommended. They sell tanks specifically made for Bettas but they’re often small and made of plastic. Just because they exist doesn’t mean they’re any good. It’s highly suggested you get a tank that can support plants, a filtration system, and provide lots of room.
Bettas are sought for their beautiful fins, but those fins are fragile. You should keep only live plants if possible, and avoid any decorations with sharp edges. Be sure to watch the water level as Bettas have been known to jump as high as 3cm. If your aquarium has a lid, keep it closed at all times. If not, keep the water level a little lower than you normally would and try to keep reflective surfaces away from the tank unless it’s a supervised play session. They will fight their reflections. They also need plenty of shade as well as nooks and crannies to hide in. The more comfortable your Betta is, the less you’ll have to worry about it starting fights or trying to escape.
Betta Fish Food
With lots of Betta food on the market, you only need to know that if your Betta is part of a community, you still need to get proper Betta food, as it won’t be interested in standard flake food. It will share in any live food though, like brine shrimp and blood worms.
Males are aggressive toward other males and should never be kept together. Females can co-exist with other females as long as they have adequate space and places to hide. Both can be kept in community tanks, however, be sure to keep them with timid fish. They can be active but aren’t fast swimmers, and might get picked on by faster, more aggressive species. Be sure to research any additions to the tank, though in general, they can live with the usual suspects, like tetra and guppies (timid feeder fish).