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Betta splendens (Green Siamese Fighting Fish, Green Fighter)

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Males are renowned for their bright colours, long fins, and aggression towards other males. Females are much more peaceful and can be kept in groups along with a single male.

Bettas primarily feed on small insects and insect larvae, please see diet recommendations below. They are very good jumpers, so the tank must be securely covered.

Males and females tend to be easily distinguishable, but occasionally a female will look quite similar to a male. When courting, both flare and their colours intensify. Generally, the female Betta is less beautiful than the male and her colours are dull in comparison. In most cases, her fins will not be as elegantly long or as showy, however, there are always exceptions. Often her caudal fin is roundish, in contrast to the very long and flowing fin of the male.

It is debatable whether Bettas make good community fish. They are rather shy and easily bullied, so cannot be kept with boisterous or aggressive fish. It is best to keep them alone or else with smaller, completely peaceful species such as cherry shrimp or peaceful Corydoras.

Under no circumstances mix them with fish prone to fin-nipping, such as Tiger Barbs, Angelfish, or Puffers.

Fish information (behaviour and breeding):

Female Betta splendens are not very antagonistic and will do well when placed together, although a pecking order will be established in the community tank over a period of time. One fish will establish herself as dominant and the others will act in submission to that fish. As long as there are no new additions placed in the tank, there will be peace.

Aquarium Set Up
Our recommended tank size is 7 gallons or more. Larger tanks are easier to maintain nitrogen cycles and temperature and require less frequent cleanings. One of the biggest myths regarding Bettas is how they can live just fine inside a tiny bowl or vase.

A major part of caring for a Bettas involves making sure they are content and not stressed. Mimicking their natural habitat is the best way to accomplish that. Bettas love places to hide so they can feel safe, especially when sleeping.

Don’t worry though, artificial plants are fine too, and they are inexpensive and resilient. Their quality has really improved in recent years and look almost identical to the real deal. Be careful with artificial plants and decorations because they can damage your Betta’s fins.

All artificial plants and leaves should be silk if possible. Logs and other hideaways should also be inspected for sharp edges and sanded down if necessary.

Bettas need natural or artificial light while they are awake during the day, and darkness at night so they can sleep. This establishes a regular day and night pattern, regulating their internal biological clock. Plants and other decorations provide shade if they do want to get out of direct lighting for a period of time.

Avoid direct sunlight entering your tank because it can quickly raise the water’s temperature to dangerous levels and ignite unwanted algae growth.

Bettas need specific food because they are carnivorous and like meat. In the wild, Bettas feed on insects and their larvae on the water’s surface. Replicating their feeding environment and food will keep them happy and healthy.

Betta food comes in different varieties including pellets, flakes, live, and freeze-dried options. The most common ingredients are meat, fish, and shrimp. Do not feed your Betta other tropical fish food because they need a specific protein-rich diet.

Bettas can sometimes be very picky eaters too. Persistent refusal may mean trying a different brand or blend until you find the right one. Although they will love treats once in a while, be careful as they might start to prefer them if you overdo it.

Freeze dried bloodworms and brine shrimp are a Betta’s favorites. Some owners prefer to use freeze-dried bloodworms or shrimp as their exclusive food source. Breeders may also stay away from manufactured pellets and flakes, opting for live foods to prepare for shows and breeding. The most important part, however, is ensuring a rich and varied diet.

Males will display to females by spreading their fins, and they will also perform complex threat rituals to other males. This is sometimes referred to as flaring. In aquaria holding a mirror in front of a male for a few minutes will usually bring about the male's threat display. Do not do this for too long or he will tire himself out.

Siamese fighters are bubblenest builders. In shallow water they will build a nest, usually among the leaves of floating plants, and the male will protect the eggs until they hatch. The fry emerge after about five days and will take tiny live foods as well as liquid fry food and hard-boiled egg yolk.

With proper care, your Betta splenens could live up to ten years despite their average life of 2-4 years. This discrepancy is largely due to misinformation in pet stores, on the internet, and from other Betta owners. Bettas are a beautiful and intelligent species of fish and deserve proper care.

Family Group: Anabantoids
Distribution Thailand, Cambodia
Temperature 25-30C
Size 7 cm
Water Parameters Soft water preferred, but adaptable
Water PH 6.5-7.5
Water Chemistry Adaptable
Diet Adaptable
Sociability Aggressive
Care Level Easy
Schooling Fish No

Useful sources of information:

To find out more about labyrinth fish the best resource available is the excellent book by Aqualog called All Labyrinths.The book covers all members of the anabantoid family with over 650 colour photographs. To buy a copy of this book click here