The Betta splendens, more commonly known as the Siamese Fighting Fish, or simply “Betta” has been a mainstay of the aquarium hobby for many many years, and very much deserves its place as one of the most popular tropical fish of all time.
The Siamese fighting fish originates from Thailand and has now spread into other neighbouring Asian countries such as Cambodia and Vietnam. Thailand was historically called Siam, hence the “Siamese” part of the name.
Many decades ago, the people of Thailand/Siam would collect male Bettas and arrange local fights between the male fish. The aggressive behaviour of the Betta is a very impressive sight, and the winners were often much prized fish. Hence the “Fighting Fish” part of the name. Betting on the outcome of these fights was big business, so much so that the King of Siam started to license and tax the fish.
In the wild, they can be found inhabiting low oxygenated water bodies such as rice paddies, swamps, marshes, puddles and stagnant ponds. To enable it to breath in these conditions, the Betta has what is known as a labyrinth organ which it can use in a similar way to which a lung works. When the dissolved oxygen in the waterbody is too low for the gills to extract oxygen, it can take in a breath of fresh air from the surface which can then be transferred around the body in the blood to its vital organs.
In the Aquarium:
The Siamese Fighting Fish are incredibly popular, and quite rightly so. Its beautiful fantail comes in many different forms and shapes. Crowntail, veiltail, half moon to name just a few. Here at Friends In Soggy Homes, the Betta is a staple tropical fish in our store. We have access to some very good quality fighters from the Far East and now have our own dedicated fighter display system just for those alone. Just pop in and see us, we’re here to help you.
In the aquarium the lifespan is 2-5 years, with the average being 2-4 years. With good water, good care, sound advice and a good diet, there’s no reason for your Betta to not achieve it’s full potential.
Betta splendens reach around 6-8cm in size and are great for keeping in a smaller aquarium if space is an issue for you. The minimum size we would advise is 15 litres for a single fish. Although many often do well in less than this, but we want to aim for perfect. Specialist Betta societies often quote 5Ltrs as minimum, and there are many stories of them doing well in smaller tanks. Bettas in the wild are often in puddles that are less than this, but for the home aquarium we want to give our fish the best possible conditions. In our shop systems they’re in small, well filtered containers, but they’re only in there for a small period of time. We want them out of here ASAP and into your beautiful aquarium.
As for diet, Bettas do very well on a specialist or higher quality pellet food. But for the absolute best diet we would recommend that you also feed them a selection of frozen and live foods as well. See our special offer on Frozen Food below
Male Bettas should be kept alone for reasons mentioned above, they are very aggressive towards other males. Keeping two males together will ultimately result in one dying, maybe both. We will not supply you with 2 males for the same aquarium. Keeping a male and female together is also very risky and not recommended, certainly not for the beginner fishkeeper. Even then, they need a very big tank which is heavily planted and many, many hiding places.
If you want to breed them, then obviously they need to be together for a short while, but immediately after spawning the female must be removed. The male is responsible for the eggs. He builds a bubble-nest on the underside of a leaf and the female deposits her eggs in the bubble nest. The male will then guard the nest with his life, which means killing the female if he sees her as threat, which he most likely will.
Keeping male Bettas in an aquarium with other suitable fish is generally ok. Of course, with any fish it’s always important to monitor how they’re getting on with each other. There are certain kinds of fish we wouldn’t recommend to put with a male Betta, but certainly we can discuss all these finer details in store together.
Mainly down to YouTube channels across the water, the word Betta is often mispronounced as “Bay-Ta” or “Bee-ta”. It is in fact pronounced “better” as in “My Betta is “better” than yours”. So anybody reading this article and still pronouncing it Bay-ta in store, bay-ta be ready for a telling off!!
If you’ve read this far, you might like to know that we’re running a promotion from today (3rd May 2022). For every Betta sold in store, we’re giving away 3 packets of the fabulous Superfish frozen food of your choice. Just mention in store that you read this blog post - Ends Monday 9th May 2022