Far from being another 10 cent goldfish from the pet store, betta fish can make an amazing pet for anyone wanting to take care of a fish that has a bit more to it. Full of personality, the care of betta fish is intricate and detailed. From where they live, to how you interact with them, having all the fun facts about betta fish will make you want to go get one right away!
In this article, we’re going to run through the fun facts about betta fish, and show you a few things you may need to get in order to take care of your own new pet. We hope you find this interesting and learn a few things along the way.
Fun Facts: What You Need to Know!
AKA: The Siamese Fighting Fish
Betta fish are also known as Siamese fighting fish and originate from Southeastern Asia. What you might already know is that they get this name because they are super territorial, and known to be aggressive with each other if the same-sex fish are housed together. It’s more common among males, but the females are known to attack each other as well. It is more likely that you’ll have problems with them if you keep more than one betta fish in a small aquarium environment.
Even the opposite sex betta fish should not be kept in the same habitat unless you’re trying to breed them. The history of their name comes from the fact that people used to host and bet on fights between betta fish back in the 1800’s. They were then bred for their aggression and color.
1. Gray in the Wild, Rainbow in the Tank
In the wild, you might not recognize a betta fish that’s hanging out in the stagnant water of a flooded rice paddy. That’s because betta fish are normally a full gray or green color. In the natural world, betta fish only turned brightly colored when agitated.
However, the betta fish that you see in aquariums were bred for aggression and are brightly colored. They are some of the most beautifully colored fish that you can find!
2. There Are Tens of Thousands of Color & Pattern Combos
There are literally over 20 different colors of betta fish out there. To take it to another level, there are also 12 different categorical color patterns that these fish can come in. If you want to get even more into the varieties of betta fish- there are also about a dozen different tail types as well.
3. Betta Fish Enjoy Large Habitats
Aquariums for betta fish should be large enough for your fish to have plenty of room to roam around. They are active fish, and a small fishbowl is not enough space for them to live a long and happy life. Some betta fish experts dictate a 5-gallon tank for your betta fish. If you research other types of fish, you can find some aquarium partners that will coexist with bettas and help fill your tank with more life.
4. They Are Carnivorous
A common misconception of the betta fish is that they only need to eat plants. This is simply not the case. Betta fish prefer to eat bugs to keep their diet balanced and rich. You can also feed them bloodworms or brine shrimp as treats. Plants help create a better aquarium habitat for bettas but are not a food source.
5. Bettas Are Warm Water Fish
As mentioned before, bettas reside in the warm waters of Southeastern Asia, and need to be kept in warm water if you have them as pets. Keep the water between 74 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit (23-28 degrees Celcius). We recommend using heat lamps, such as the Aqueon Submersible Aquarium Heatermight, as the best way to maintain water temperature.
6. Betta Fish Have Relatively Long Lives
For relatively small fish, Bettas can live quite long. The average betta lives around 5 years in captivity. However, in ideal conditions, they have been known to live longer- even as much as 10 years. Your decision to get a betta fish as a pet should not be taken lightly, they are a commitment.
7. They Are An Endangered Species
The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists Betta Fish as a species that is considered “Vulnerable” to extinction in the wild. What this means is that if their natural environment continues to be impacted in the way it is right now, they are threatened to become endangered. Many tropical fish in the wild are facing these same circumstances due to pollution, over-harvesting, and climate temperature change.
Humans can help reduce the risk to tropical fish, including bettas, by decreasing their waste and recycling. Another problem is the use of sunscreen in tropical oceans for snorkeling, swimming, surfing, and other activities. Some states and countries have begun to make it illegal to use anything other than reef-safe sunscreen in the water in order to help protect other vulnerable fish species like the betta fish. Our friends at EcoKarma have resources to teach you how you can help protect our fish friends!
8. Male Bettas Are in Charge of Childcare
Well…. close to childcare. The male betta fish create the nests and protect them from the female betta fish and other predators. While the eggs are developing into larvae and then into fry (baby fish, not food!) the male betta continues to protect the nest and rebuild it as needed for the week or so. If you breed bettas, females need to be removed from the tank after spawning or they will eat the fry.
9. Your Betta Will Recognize You
Betta fish are smart creatures, which is part of why they make such amazing pets and are popular with their owners. After just a few days of having them, they will start to get excited when you approach their tank for feedings. These fish show their excitement by eating betta food quickly. Bettas also show their happiness by swimming fast from time to time. Not eating quickly? Slow swimming? That’s a depressed betta.
10. You Can Train Your Betta
Training a fish may seem like a silly task, but it’s actually fascinating to watch betta fish learn and interact with you. After they start to recognize you, you can start using verbal commands when you feed them. They will then begin to recognize those commands as well!
Betta fish jump- which is another reason you should make sure to get them a secure aquarium tank to live in instead of an open bowl. Using treats, you can even teach your betta fish to jump out of the water on command. Take your time and make sure to start with hand-feeding first.
11. Betta Fish Can Breathe Air
Did you know that betta fish can actually breathe in air at the water surface? Betta fish are labyrinth fish, meaning they can actually process oxygen through the air as well as through the water. The type of gills they have is what creates this ability. It also explains why they can live in the wild in stagnant water that isn’t well filtered or large. It’s still good practice to keep your tank filtered with filters such as AquaClear Filters.
That’s All For Now!
How many of our fun facts did you already know? What surprised you the most or were there any we missed? Let us know in the comments below! Also, visit EntirelyPets Fish Supplies to start or add to your betta fish aquarium.