Betta Fish Care
Betta fish are easy to care for
Origins of the Siamese Fighting Fish
They have specific requirements that are simple to meet so the betta fish or Siamese Fighting fish is perfect
for the first time tropical fish owner. Betta fish originate from South East Asia and surrounding areas. They live and thrive in swampy habitats with poor water quality.
You will find wild siamese fighting fish living in small puddles in swampland and jumping from puddle to puddle eating bugs that happen to fly over the surface of the water. They are solitary and if two males cross
paths, they will often fight to the death. These fish have a life span of about 2-3 years. They are also called Siamese Fighting fish.
Why do they live in small bowls?
Betta fish are labyrinth fish which means that they have specially designed breathing system that allows them to retrieve oxygen directly from the air instead
of in the water like most other tropical fish, this makes them top-dwelling tropical fish. This is why they are perfect
candidates for small bowls because they do not need air circulation and a high concentration of oxygen in the water. A Siamese fighting fish
needs access to the surface of the water to get air.
Siamese 'Jumping' Fish
An important and often overlooked tip for proper betta fish care is to have the fish bowl covered. As mentioned before, Siamese fighting fish jump from stream to puddle in the wild and the same is true for
the captive ones, they jump! If you do not cover your bowl, one day you will eventually see your siamese fighting fish dried up
or flopping about your floor! Be sure to have a gap between the lid and the surface of the water because they need to access
the top of the water to breathe air. Always leave at least a half of inch space between the surface of the water and the lid
of the bowl. Be sure the lid has air holes so it does not suffocate.
Maintenance of the Betta Bowl
Betta fish care requires a 1/2 water change every week or two. Simply remove half the water and replace it with de chlorinated water that is the same temperature as the water in the bowl. There are two ways to replace the water: Firstly, you can use a thermometer to pour water the same temperature as currently in the bowl and add dechlorinator to the water and then top up the bowl. Another way is to leave water sit out overnight. The temperature will gradually adjust to be the same temperature as in the bowl and the chlorine will evaporate.
Once a month, you want to rinse out the gravel or substrate at the bottom to remove fish waste and leftover food because they
will eventually rot, increasing the amount of ammonia on the water and eventually killing your it. Dump the water from the bowl into a smaller container that has the volume of half of the bowl, keep pouring until the Betta has been dumped
out into the other container. Stir up the water in the bowl so that the fish waste floats out from the gravel, swish it
around and dump out the remaining water. You want to swish the old water around to 'rinse the gravel' because if you wash out
the gravel with tap water, the chlorine will kill the beneficial bacteria that lives on the gravel and will shock the
fish, increasing the risk of disease or death. If you need to rinse the gravel because of an excess waste buildup, do it with
de chlorinated, cool water. Hot water will also kill the beneficial bacteria and cause epoxy coated colored gravel to flake.
Fill up the newly cleaned bowl with de chlorinated water that is the same temperature as the container with the siamese fighting fish,
and return your betta into his home.
Watch those fins!
One word of caution and an important tip in betta fish care is to never use a fish net to catch a Siamese Fighting fish when doing water
changes because their fins are very delicate and can easily get caught in the fiber of the net and be ripped, causing damage
and stressing the betta. This is why we recommend to pour the water and the betta fish into the other container, this is the
easiest way to move this species of fish from one container to another.
Can a Betta go into a fish tank?
Betta fish care sheets always speak of small bowls. Why shouldn't they live in a large fish tank? After all, it seems so inhumane to keep these poor fish in a tiny little bowl! As mentioned before, Siamese Fighting Fish in the wild sometimes live with barely any water. This is natural for them to be in a smaller enclosed space for they feel comfortable. If you put a one of these fish in a large aquarium, you'll notice he seems uncomfortable, staying in one spot and acting nervous. They feel vulnerable due to the large number of aquatic snakes and other reptiles that can creep up to them from underneath! Of course they are safe in your home tropical aquarium but they do not know this and instinct always prevails, no matter how many generations away from the wild betta your betta has been bread.
Feeding the Betta
Proper betta fish care means proper feeding. Feed pellets designed specifically for them, however, they will
consume regular fish food. Feed a few pellets, 3-5 pellets every day or every two days. If you are feeding flakes, feed the
amount that they will consume in a minute. Excess food will rot and cause ammonia problems which is extremely toxic to all
tropical fish. They do not eat very much, their stomach is the size of their eye, and when you take that into
consideration, it's understandable why overfeeding is one of the main causes of a dead betta !
A good treat or even a staple diet for Siamese Fighting fish is bloodworms. There are freeze-dried variety and frozen variety. The
frozen blood worms are more palatable then the freeze dried bloodworms.
Betta Care Tips
These fish are not picky about temperature requirements. All that they prefer is a constant, preferably warm temperature.
They can easily be acclimatized to colder temperatures and do very well, however like any tropical fish, they will
become shocked and fall ill should their temperature fluctuate too much over the course of a day. Never leave the bowl
or tank in direct or even partial sunlight because this will skyrocket the temperature in a short period of time. Leaving the aquarium sun
exposed will also cause algae blooms which won't harm the betta fish, but it doesn't make the bowl visually appealing to have a
thick layer of green plant growth obstructing your view of your little pet!