If you are thinking of setting up your first aquarium but don’t know very well which are the best fish for beginners, this post will be of great interest to you. Here you will find information about Bettas and some tips on how to take care of them.
General characteristics of Bettas
Betta fish, also known as “Siamese fighters” or fighting fish, are 6-7 cm fish from Indonesia and the Southeast Asian region. Their name is due to the fact that they are very territorial and quite aggressive with each other, you cannot put two males in the same tank because they start biting each other and quickly destroy their superb fins. They are so fierce that, if none of the combatants withdraws from the fight, the dispute lasts until the death of one of them. Females are also territorial, but their fights are milder and they generally do not harm each other. They usually avoid fighting by performing a kind of power dance, by which they establish hierarchies.
The main attraction of the Betta is its marvelous fins, which look like veils moving with the swaying of the water. Males have larger and more colorful fins than females and can have different colors, usually in shades of blue, purple, red or white. When water conditions are right, they are active and playful, while slow moving means they are stressed or sick.
Betta are very popular fish because they are beautiful, fairly inexpensive and easy to care for even for beginners. They have the ability to take air from the water surface, so it is not necessary to install an aerator in the aquarium. However, they do need warm water, between 26 and 29°C, and a filter or plant system to control the accumulation of toxic nitrogenous wastes. The life expectancy of Betta is 2 to 3 years, but they will live much less if the aquarium conditions are not adequate.
The aquarium for Betta fish
There is a wide variety of nice aquariums for Bettas, but they are usually very small and can hold only one fish. In such a small volume of water (usually 2 to 4 liters), it is very important to make frequent partial water changes (25% of the water 2-3 times per week). It is also essential to take good care of the temperature, which can get too high with a heater or if it is in the sun and cool down a lot during the night. A small amount of water cannot maintain a stable temperature, which is very stressful for the fish.
The ideal is a fish tank of 20 liters or more, with plants and decorated with objects where Bettas can hide. It is better if it is elongated, with a large surface area for them to breathe. If you want to keep one male and 2 or 3 females, you will need a larger aquarium with a capacity of about 40 liters.
Betta fish feeding
It is common to see these fish nibbling on the roots of plants in the aquarium, but in reality Betta fish are carnivores and these roots are not good for them to feed on. You can use a fish food specifically for Bettas as a base and accompany it with live food to make the fish develop its beauty to the fullest. You can try feeding artemia, daphnia, mosquito larvae and other small crustaceans and see how they enjoy it!
Once a week it is convenient to give them a source of insoluble fiber, such as cooked peas, to avoid constipation problems so common in this species. Bettas are very sybaritic when it comes to eating, they can ignore some foods and eat others without stopping until they get sick. So you have to be very attentive and keep a close eye on their feeding. Do not forget to always remove the food remains that are deposited at the bottom of the aquarium, as they could contaminate the water when decomposing.
If you have decided to buy a Betta fish, you will enjoy watching them swim with their impressive fins. Keep in mind that, although they are hardy fish, they have certain basic requirements in order to live happy, healthy and beautiful lives.