Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, are known for their long fins that flow beautifully in the water, and their bright red and blue colors. Males are more colorful and have longer fins than the females. These fish originated in Thailand and belong to the Belontiidae family. Betta fish can also be found in the waters of China, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia, and they usually live two to three years with proper care.
Before buying one of these fish, you need to know some things about their preferred environment. Betta fish thrive in warmer temperatures, so you will need to have a larger tank (over five gallons) and maintain the temperature between 75 and 83 degrees Fahrenheit. You simply won’t be able to control the heat in a small bowl, so a tank is essential. One way to determine if the temperature is correct is to monitor your fish’s behavior: If your Betta fish is moving too slow, you will need to increase the water temperature. The opposite applies if your Bettas are swimming around hyperactively, so you should probably lower the water temperature in this case. The tank also has to allow these fish access to the air in the atmosphere, as Bettas often go to the surface of the water to breath in air. Even if the water has enough oxygen they can die if they do not have access to the water surface. Betta fish thrive better in a tank that has aquarium gravel and plants to replicate more of a natural environment. They tend to rest on the leaves of the plants, so getting live plants is even better than artificial plants.
Male Bettas are very aggressive and should not be placed in the same tank with other males. It is okay to place more than one female in the same tank, and a male and a female in the same tank. These fish can also be kept in a community tank with other fish that are not aggressive. If the fish are by themselves, you can occasionally place a mirror in the tank to keep them entertained. However, the male Betta fish in particular, will exhaust themselves if you leave the mirror in the tank, so it is better to only put it in the tank once in awhile.
You should prepare the fish tank before bringing home your Betta fish to ensure that the water temperature and salinity are correct. The PH level of the water should be very neutral; a PH level of 7.0 is ideal. When you first bring your Betta fish to the tank, leave it in the bag inside the tank for at least an hour for the fish to gradually get acclimated to the new water temperature. Then, cut open the bag and allow some of the tank water to seep into the water in the bag. After 30 minutes, you can release the Betta fish into your tank.
In addition to ensuring that the water temperature and salinity are correct, you need to be careful on how much you feed your fish. Adults need to be fed once a day; babies need to be fed twice a day. They prefer live food to other foods, but most people find it more convenient to buy freeze dried food. When you feed them, you will need to watch them for five minutes. Any food left after that time needs to be removed so that they do not overeat. In a natural environment, Betta fish eat mosquito larvae, and you can purchase these in a fish store. Once a week, do not feed your fish. A day without food helps their digestive tracks.
By taking good care of your Betta fish, you can have them for several years. Once you get into a routine for monitoring the temperature, salinity, and feeding schedule, taking care of these fish will become second hand, and these fish will be a beautiful addition to your freshwater tank.