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Commonly Asked Questions About Bettas

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Commonly Asked Questions About Bettas Daniella Vereeken

Bettas are one of the most popular and easily recognizable freshwater aquarium fish. These FAQs cover the most commonly asked questions about Bettas. If you have other questions, feel free to email me at: freshaquarium@aboutguide.com

  1. What is a Siamese Fighting Fish? - Siamese Fighting Fish is a name that is often used to refer to Betta fish in general. However the name is specific to the species Betta Splendens, which is the species most often sold in stores.
     
  2. How many species of Betta are there? - There are approximately 70 species of Betta, however almost all Bettas sold in pet stores are the species Betta Splendens.
     
  3. What colors of Betta are there? - Bettas are available in a wide variety of colors, including red, blue, orange, yellow, green, purple, brown, and black. They may be solid colored, bi or multi colored, marbled, piebald, or variegated. In addition to a variety of colors, there are also a variety of fin types as well.
     
  4. How long does a Betta usually live? - Bettas typically live about three years. However, with good care it's possible for them to live longer than that. Male Bettas may be as much as a year old when sold in shops, to allow for full color and fin development. Female Bettas are generally about six months of age when offered for sale.
     
  5. Can a Betta be kept in a vase? - Bettas are not well suited to keeping in a plant vase because they require good water quality and warm water temperatures to thrive. Those conditions are more readily provided by keeping them in a filtered and heated aquarium, rather than a plant vase. More about keeping Bettas in a vase: Betta in a Vase
     
  6. What water temperature does a Betta require? - For optimal health, Bettas should be in water that is at least 78 degrees F. When breeding Bettas, water temperatures need to be above 80 degrees F. Bettas will become lethargic as water temperatures get lower, particularly when dropping below 75 degrees F. More about Betta habitat: Best Environment for a Betta?
     
  7. How often should the water be changed? - If the Betta is in a small container that is not filtered, the water should be changed every other day. If kept in a filtered tank, weekly partial water changes are recommended. In addition to changing the water regularly, it's important to remove uneaten food promptly so it does not foul the water. Bettas are sensitive to water conditions, and often fall prey to fin rot if water conditions deteriorate.
     
  8. Can I keep several Bettas together? - Male Bettas can never be kept together, as they will fight with each other, often to the death. To a lesser degree males will also attack females and should only be kept with a female for a brief period of time for breeding purposes. Multiple female Bettas can be kept together as long as there is plenty of room for each to establish their own space. More about multiple Bettas: Keeping Bettas Together
     
  9. What is the difference between a male and female Betta? - Males are more vividly colored that females, have much longer fins, and are more aggressive than females. Females are shorter and have a wider body, and when mature they will display an “egg spot” between the ventral and anal fins. Females lack the distinctive "beard" that males display when flaring. More about gender differences, including photos: How To Determine Betta Gender
     
  10. What do Bettas eat? - Bettas are carnivores that require foods high in animal protein. Their preferred diet in nature includes insects and insect larvae. In captivity they thrive on varied diet of pellets or flakes made from fish meal, as well as frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms. Live brine shrimp and bloodworms make an excellent supplemental food on occasion, and are ideal when conditioning breeding pairs. More about feeding: Top Betta Foods, Betta Feeding Video
     
  11. What if my Betta refuses to eat or spits his food out? - It is not uncommon for fish to not eat when first brought home. This is particularly true in Bettas, who have a reputation for being picky eaters. Feed small portions of a variety of foods and eventually your fish will eat. Don't be alarmed if the Betta spits his food out. This too is a common behavior, and is believed to be a mechanism for breaking down and softening the food. If all else fails, try some live bloodworms or live brine shrimp. That will almost always entice your Betta into eating. Take care to avoid feeding live foods too often, or your Betta may begin to refuse any other foods.
     
  12. What is a bubble nest? - A bubble nest is a floating bundle of bubbles that are blown by male Bettas. The bubbles are created from saliva, making them more durable and also slightly sticky so they adhere to each other at the surface of the water. The purpose of the nest is incubate eggs and young fry after spawning. Males will often blow bubblenests even when no female is present. Generally the blowing of a bubblenest by a lone male is a sign that he is healthy and comfortable in his environment.
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