The Betta fish is probably the second most popular fish kept, after Goldfish. The Betta Splendens is a favorite because of its beauty, its long fins and because bettas are relatively easy to care for. The male sports deep beautiful colors whereas the females are less colorful. Their stunning colors and flowing fins are some of the reasons for their popularity and the inexpenive purchase price (usually less than 5 dollars) helps too. However, due to this fish being such an easy sale it has led to some deplorable conditions in which they are kept while waiting to be sold. It is really sad to see how the Betta is kept in many chain pet stores in small jars or small cups, often in very soiled water.
Betta fish are called the Siamese Fighting Fish because of its behavior towards other males of the same species. You cannot keep two or more males in the same tank. If more than one male fish are placed in the same tank, they will fight until only one of them remains. They will flare out their gill covers and erect their fins showing the other fish their fighting posture. This behavior is also why they are kept separated in small containers at the store.
There are ways to see this behaviour without introducing another male betta fish. One way is to use a small hand mirror and place it up against the tank glass so that the male may see his reflection. The Betta will mistake his reflection as another male and the fighting posture should then be displayed. Doing this too often may lead to an overly stressed fish though.
You can get small tanks that come with dividers which will allow you to keep two in the same tank. Many keep them in a small betta fish bowl and they may live for a while in these small bowls. However, to get the most beautiful colors and optimal health for your fish, they will do better in a 10 gallon or larger betta aquarium with a heater that can maintain a constant temperature in the aquarium. If you plan on keeping yours in a small betta aquarium, please read the small tank setup page for ideas on equipment needed. Also check out the Betta Fish Aquarium Setup article written by COBC for the magazine that lists the equipment needed to keep a betta.
If you are looking for bettas for sale the prices on this fish can actually get kind of high, especially for show quality. At your local fish store they are usually around $2 to $5.Betta Tail Types Video
To determine the type of betta you have, read the forum thread (with pics) Betta Tail Types. For figuring out they type of female betta you have, check out the following thread Female Betta Tail Types.
Betta Care Facts
Scientific Name : Betta splendens
Common Names : Siamese Fighting Fish
Size : 2.5 inches (6 cm)
Water Parameters : ph 6 - 7.5 | Temperature 75°F - 80°F | Water Hardness 5° to 20° dH
Betta Life span : 2 - 3 years, possibly longer
Origin / Habitat : Thailand
Temperament / Behavior : Peaceful if given the right tank mates. They will become aggressive with other Bettas. They may also become aggressive towards other tropical fish with large fins such as guppies, angelfish and others.
Breeding Bettas / Mating / Reproduction : Can be difficult since the male will fight the female if not introduced at the right time. For more information please read the breeding bettas and general info or this one Breeding the Betta.
Betta Tank Size : Can be kept in small tanks as small as 2 gallons but they do best in larger tanks.
Betta Tank Mates : Not many because of their temperament and because of this betta fish fighting is an unfortunate "sport" in some parts of the world. Tropical fish with regular size fins may do well, but avoid tropical fish with larger fins like guppies or angelfish.
Betta Fish Diseases : Freshwater Fish Disease - Diagnose, Symptoms and Treatment
Betta Fish Food : Carnivore primarily, but will take flakes, freeze dried and live foods. Blood worms and brine shrimp can be used as well as foods made specifically for bettas.
Tank Region : Top
Betta Gender : The male has much more color and bigger fins than the female.
More Information : Mahachai Betta
Author : Mike FishLore
Betta Forum Avatars :
More Betta InformationMember's Betta Photos
Betta Fish Care Guide
Betta Breeding Guide
Important Betta Topics
|From: D via email|
Hello, I was wondering what fish are good tank mates for my betta. And if it makes a difference if it is a female or a male.
|Hi D. I don't think it will make a difference if it is male or female. If you have a heater and filtration in your aquarium, some good tank mates for them are Plecos, Corydoras and Neon Tetras. We would not recommend Angelfish, Gouramis, Silver Dollars, Tiger Barbs,and some of the larger Tetras. Also, don't have more than one Betta in your tank, otherwise they will fight constantly.|
|From: Carol - betta life span|
Approximately how long do bettas live?
|If they are well cared for they can usually live for 2 or 3 years.|
|From: Maggie - betta tank mates|
Just bought a male betta, I have other tropical fish in the same tank including a serpae tetra. Will these live together ok?
|Your Serpae Tetra may not be the most hospitable tank mate for your betta. Serpae Tetras are prone to fin nipping if they are not kept in a small school of maybe 4 to 6.|
|From: Elizabeth - sick betta|
I have a betta that has become listless. If he swims up to the top of the tank he will drop back down to the bottom nose first. What could be wrong with him??
|It sounds like your fish may be in the last stages of dying. Without more information it would be a guess as to what exactly caused this, but ammonia poisoning (see fish disease section) may be the culprit. Check your water parameters with a test kit and then perform a 50% water change with de-chlorinated water. Ideally, you want no ammonia in the water. If your aquarium has not cycled yet, you are likely to have high amounts of ammonia. Read up on the nitrogen cycle to learn more about this process. Good luck with your fish.|
|From: Amber - betta bubble nest|
What does it mean when your betta has foam on the top of his tank?
|The foam on top of the tank is most likely a bubble nest that your fish has built. This is a good sign that the male is ready to spawn. The bubble nest is used to hold the eggs from the female. The male would then guard this bubble nest until the eggs hatched. If you would like to read up on how to breed them, read the article on breeding bettas from the link above.|
|From: Melissa - when to introduce betta female|
When exactly is the right time to introduce a female betta to a male betta?
|When the female's belly is getting large with eggs, you will know that the female is ready. Place a small see-through container with the female in it inside the tank with the male. Many stores keep them in a small container and that sort of container will work well for our purposes. Leave the female in this container for a few hours and watch the male. Often times, the male will start building a bubble nest. After the bubble nest looks good, introduce the female. Here is some more information on breeding bettas.|
|From: Emily - betta tank mates|
I have a beta, I would like to get a Plecostomus (I think that is what they are called...the sucker fish that remove the algea & such from the tank) along with some tetras. Would this be ok? Thanks.
|This arrangement of fish may work, provided that you have a large enough tank to keep them. Plecos can get very large and to keep them comfortable you would need at least a 55 gallon tank. There are Bristlenose plecos that get to be only about 5 inches or so as adults. If you have a smaller tank, try to get a Bristlenose pleco. Depending on the type of tetras, they may be troublesome for your betta. Fin nipping is common with many tetras but you can help alleviate the fin nipping by getting 4 or more of them to keep each other busy.|
|From: Duane - sick betta fish|
Just got a Beta and he is the only fish in the aquarium that has things appearing to grow on him. It is white and feathery looking. What should I do? This started within a day of getting him. I tested our tank and the water is hard, the Alkalinity is high at 300 and the alkaline content is at 8.4. Thank you for any suggestions.
|It sounds like your fish may have a body fungus. Try Aquarium Pharmaceuticals BettaFix Remedy. Unless you have fish in the tank that require the high alkaline levels you may want to consider lowering your pH. They prefer slightly acidic conditions but will tolerate anything in the 6 - 7.5 pH range.|
|From: Matt - sick betta fish|
Regarding Elizabeth's post on her sick betta. I was in the same situation, and my fish has recovered and is doing better than ever! His color is back and he is very active. A month ago he was floating on his side (sometimes at the top, some time at the bottom-yikes). I didn't know about the Nitrogen cycle and I cleaned out his bowl (he had been fine). Then he got sick; So here is what I did: I got a 10 gal tank with live plants. The thank had to go through the nitrogen cycle, so he was VERY sick for two weeks. (Several times I thought he died). Anyway, I changed 10% of his water daily to keep ammonia level down while the bacteria could grow (mixed advice from people on this- some say it causes too much stress - they might be right???), used stress coat, seal salt, and enzymes. As I said, his color is back deep blue purple he has red on his fin tips that I had never seen before, and he love's every cubic inch of the 10 gal tank. I'm not an expert, but I got a lot of good advice (and perhaps some bad). However, when I was in your situation, I found no posts on fish that had recovered. So I'd thought I'd post this note for those in a similar situation.
|From: Amanda - betta tank mates|
My Beta is becoming aggressive towards my plecostomus that I bought today. Can you tell me if it is safe to keep them together or seperate them? They are about the same size.
|It depends. Plecos are quite still for long periods of time and the betta may be curious. Plecos have a fairly tough exterior and I would only worry if the betta started to visibly injure the pleco. If you do see injury to the pleco, separate them. I would also worry if you had the pleco in a fish bowl or a small tank with no filtration. Common plecos can get very large (up to 18 inches) but a bristlenose pleco only gets to be about 5 or 6 inches. Still, no matter which type of pleco you have, you need a filtration system that will provide adequate surface agitation.|
|From: Chris - betta food|
Our male Betta doesn't seem to be interested in the flake food but loves tucking into the algae wafers for the Pleco, he also loves bloodworms. A placid fish who floats around not bothering anyone else. He often loafs in the plants and seems to spend the night on top of the filter pipe at the top of the tank. Very interesting and attractive fish.
|From: Harry - betta breeding|
I have just bred my Bettas, and was wondering what to do with all the fry? A lot more of the eggs hatched then I expected, and I have no room to keep a bunch of Bettas! What should I do?
|Ok, bettas are not all that easy to breed. You actually have to put some time and effort into getting them to breed most of the time becuase of temperamental issues between the males and females. Why in the world would you breed them if you didn't have a plan on how to deal with the resulting baby fish? This thought never occurred to you before you started breeding them? This is mind boggling to say the least!|
|From: Peter - sick betta aquarium|
Friday night I brought to my new 20 gallon fish tank, 1 male and 3 betta females. They all looked healthy. Before and after the PH was around 7, going on acid and the nitrates and ammonia level were very good. Then suddenly they all started dying in turn. They would show damage to the lower fin and die, but before each one died the others kept looking healthy. By Monday morning all but 1 female were alive. I did notice she was constantly nipping the other fishes, but pestering only 1 until it died. May I assume it was her, or something else (disease) I may have overlooked.
|It may have been that female, but without actual water parameter values and more details on your setup and the acclimation procedures, etc. it's difficult to accurately determine the cause of these deaths. Possibly there were multiple issues at play that led to this. It's generally not recommended to keep male and female bettas together. Some hobbyists won't keep even the females bettas in the same tank because of temperamental issues between the females. What was your acclimation procedure like? Did you slow drip acclimate them or just float the bag? Also, you mention a new tank. Has the nitrogen cycle completed? Bettas can be tough little fish when it comes to water parameters though and if we had to guess it may have been fighting (since you mention the fin damage) amongst themselves that did them in.|
|From: Anikin - betta sick|
Hi everyone, I wish I had discovered this site when my betta was going through that "sinking to the bottom" problem. I just had no idea what was going on with him not wanting to eat and just staying low until I found out that a couple of days earlier he had been fed a huge amount of pellets by a guest! If only I had discovered this site then, Wolf could still be with me today (rest in peace, darling little one), as the matter could easily have been solved by a piece of frozen pea (I have a bag in my freezer)! What Chickadee wrote about bettas watching you and amusing you and sulking when not being paid any attention are all true. The morning I discovered Wolf lying sideways at the bottom of the tank, not rising to bite his feed, I panicked. The only thing I could think of doing was to change the water. Still he was looking unlike his usual self. Very worried that I was going to lose him that day, I packed him up and took him to work. While on our way, in the car, he sprang to life! Oh joy :) In the office, I put him on my CPU, and the CPU being tower-type, little Wolf was at eye level with me most of the time. I caught him watching me intently as I was going about my work. All through the day he seemed ok, his usual self, though he still was ignoring his feeds. I happened to stay home the next day, and still he was swimming around happily. This morning, again as I was leaving for work, he was at it again, lying low at the tank bottom. I thought he was crying wolf again, wanting me to take him with me to work. Before I discovered this site, I thought I imagined his attachment to me. Now I know that it was prolly true, and that he was also prolly very constipated. Though I have truly lost my Betta Wolf, I am grateful still for the all the stuff I'm learning here. I wish my own experience could help someone else seeking help here.
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