Bettas, also called fighterfish in parts of South East Asia, are intelligent and beautiful fish. They are fun to watch. Their graceful movement and their beautiful finnage make for impressive display.
The scientific name for this fish, Betta Splendens actually means Beautiful Warrior. The betta is a very popular aquarium fish.
They are also highly aggressive, particularly the males. This makes bettas mostly unsuited for community aquariums. Bettas have to be kept in a tank all to themselves. Female Bettas are also aggressive.
Female Bettas can be kept in aquariums, with fish of other species. Make sure that the tank has plenty of space. Provide hiding places where the fish can retire to when stressed. The tanks should have lots of plants, preferably floating plants. Female Bettas can be provoked with fish with bright finnage such as male guppies
Some aquarium keepers have large number of female bettas in large numbers say 10 or 15. In smaller numbers, they can become hostile to one another and other fish. The females will soon establish a pecking order.
Bettas are anabantids - a family of fish which can breathe air from the surface in addition to breathing through gills. The Betta fish has a special organ called the labyrinth with which it can breathe air. Bettas can survive out of water for long periods provided their skin is kept moist. In nature, Bettas are found in shallow streams and waterways and stagnant water in farms in South East Asia.
Bettas are surface feeding fish. They eat from the water surface. Bettas can be fed bloodworms, daphnia and brine shrimp. Bettas need food rich in protein and fiber to survive. There are many commercial bettas food available today fortified with nutrients which claim to improve the bettas natural coloring.
In their natural habitat, the territory of each betta fish may be several hundred square feet. Hence, Bettas should be housed in spacious containers. It is sad that many people keep Bettas in very small containers. While the fish can survive in such small areas, they will be stressed. Ensure that you Betta has adequate space.