If you are a betta fish owner you probably know that they are Siamese fighters by origin. So exactly what do we mean when we say they are fighters? Do they fight among themselves or do they take on other type of fish in their territory? Do they fight to the death or do they just have a scrap?
These are some of the questions that you may be wondering about if you own one fish and is thinking about buying another. Or you may be completely new to betta fish and just thinking about getting your first one. Your first line of enquiry should be your local pet-shop owner although we will answer some of these questions in this article.
One of the characteristics of betta fish is that unlike most aquarium fish they can live in smaller containers without any filters and aerators that the aquarium fish require, because they are natural descendants of the wild betta that lived in oxygen deprived environments.
Bettas are aggressive by nature and breeders must therefore always be aware of problems mixing them with other fish species. Betta fish range in size from about 2.5 inches to just over 3 inches and sometimes bigger. In the wild two male betta fish do not fight to the death. The loser will always retreat at the end of a fight. But in a tank there is nowhere to retreat so the winner will always continue to attack the loser until this results in death of the losing fish. Therefore breeders keep a partition to separate adult male beta fish from harming each other.
In the case of a male and female betta fish again breeders keep the female out of reach of the male who will kill the female. They are only brought together if they are breeding or they are juveniles in which case they can share a tank. And before breeding, breeders use a partition to allow female display before putting them together.
There are compatible other species that breeders can put in the same tank as female bettas such as the catfish or tetras but this is only done after careful consideration of their compatibility. But the males should not be kept in the same tank as these other species as it tends to nip at their long fins. Bettas are known to be particularly aggressive towards long fin species such as the long-finned tetra or the fancy guppy.
Gold fish are unsuitable tank mates for the betta as they are more suited to cold water whereas the betta is a tropical fish suited to warmer waters. Also the betta might eat the slower moving gold fish although it has been known for gold fish to bite the betta’s tail.
Also small fishes may be eaten by the betta. And due to the similarity in appearance of fishes belonging to the same biological species as the betta such as Paradise fish they should not be mixed due to cross-species aggression.
Contrary to what some people believe bettas do need to be housed in a large enough tank like other tropical fish unlike the small containers you see them in at pet shops. They need to be kept at temperatures of between 77 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. And make sure that if a large tank is used with filtration that the betta fish has enough space to avoid the strong current which can damage the betta’s fin making it difficult for it to reach the surface. I hope we have answered in this article the issues raised at the top of the discussion.