The Siamese fighting fish, or Betta splendens, is one of the most popular aquarium fish in the world. It can be found everywhere in the aquariums of both amateurs and professionals. And if the former value first of all the beautiful color, unpretentiousness in the content, interesting behavior, and ease of breeding of bettas, the latter contains a large number of breeding forms, many of which become laureates of specialized exhibitions.
- 1 General information
- 2 Appearance
- 3 History of existing
- 4 Habitat
- 5 Siamese fighting fish breeds
- 6 Care and maintenance
- 7 Compatibility
- 8 Feeding your siamese fighting fish
- 9 Breeding siamese fighting fish
- 10 How to choose an aquarium for a siamese fighting fish, how much volume does he need, what shape?
- 11 Why small and round aquariums are not suitable for siamese fighting fish
- 12 Special tanks for siamese fighting fish
- 13 What to choose
- 14 Choosing an aquarium for siamese fighting fish
- 15 Equipment
- 16 Plants
- 17 Setting up a siamese fighting fish aquarium
- 18 Medicines and vitamins
- 19 Best aquariums for a siamese fighting fish
- 20 Tips
Siamese fighting fish belong to the suborder of Anabantoidei fish. Their feature is the presence of a special respiratory organ called a labyrinth. This organ is represented by plates densely penetrated by blood vessels and is located in the accessory supragillary plane. Thanks to him, bettas can use atmospheric air for breathing. This type of breathing is vital for aquarium siamese fighting fish, therefore keeping in a closed vessel, even well saturated with oxygen, leads to the death of fish. Labyrinth appeared in bettas as an adaptation to living in reservoirs that are poor in oxygen.
The Siamese fighting fish is called a fighting fish because of its strong intraspecific aggression and territoriality.
The fishes of the bettas are extremely difficult to get along with each other, and very often the collision of two males leads to the death of one of them. This feature has been used since ancient times by the inhabitants of Thailand to conduct tournament battles for money. In some provinces, this tradition is still alive.
Interesting preparation methods are used to prepare Siamese fighting fish for tournaments. To increase endurance, the fish is placed in a tall bottle and forced to swim up and down for a long time. A mirror is moved along the glass, in which the betta can see her reflection. Creating a whirlpool in a round vessel also allows the betta to develop his strength. The fighting technique is refined when the Siamese fighting fish is placed next to younger, weaker males.
Despite the fierceness of the clashes, “bettafighting” is not devoid of nobility. A male Siamese fighting fish will never attack an opponent while he rises to the surface to swallow another portion of air. Also, if three males crossed in one place, the third does not interfere in the fight between the other two but prefers to fight with the winner.
The body shape of siamese fighting fish is oval; it is elongated and slightly flattened laterally. Betta is a medium-sized fish. The average length is 5-6 cm, while the females are smaller.
The pectoral fins are pointed, while the dorsal and caudal fins are rounded. In male Siamese fighting fish fish, fins are more developed than in females. The natural coloration is usually dark brown with rows of shiny green specks, but in the aquarium, the richness of the coloration of these fish is unmatched. The color of the scales of bettas can change depending on the surrounding conditions: during spawning or clashes with other males, the color intensity increases, and during rest, it weakens.
Modern breeders have bred more than 70 breeds of betta fish, differing in color and shape of fins. In aquariums, you can find various variations of black, emerald, blue, red, pink, and white tones. You can often observe how the scales of Siamese fighting fish play and shimmer when moving and in bright light.
Depending on the shape and size of the fins, about ten varieties of aquarium bettas are distinguished. For example, crown-tailed, delta-tailed, and many others.
History of existing
At the beginning of the 19th century, the inhabitants of Siam (modern Thailand) began to pay attention to ordinary-looking fish, which were distinguished by extremely aggressive behavior towards their relatives. They began to be regularly used to organize fights for money, which prompted especially enterprising residents to breed wild Betta individuals. The fish obtained in this way were called Pla Kat, which means “biting fish”. Some of the most successful specimens were presented to the King of Siam and lived in his palace.
In 1840, the King of Siam presented several valuable specimens of Siamese fighting fish to the Danish physician and naturalist Theodore Cantor. In his scientific works, Dr. Cantor referred the new species to the genus Macropodus. However, already in 1909, the world famous ichthyologist Charles Tate gave the species a new name – Betta splendens. Most likely, the name of the genus is a reference to the militant tribe Bettah that existed at that time, and the specific name is a modified “splendid” (beautiful, beautiful).
The first inhabitants of Europe who saw the Siamese fighting fish were the French and the Germans. A little later, in 1910, the fish came to the United States. It was brought here by Frank Locke, who became one of the first breeders who received a new color variation of the aquarium siamese fighting fish (although he mistakenly named it a new species – Betta Cambodia).
The appearance of the betta fish in Russia is associated with the names of domestic aquarists V.M. Desnitsky and V.S. Melnikov. The first of them brought an extensive collection of exotic fish from Singapore, and the second, at the beginning of the 20th century, was the first in the country to breed a number of labyrinth fish. A prestigious competition for the best fighting fish was named in his honor.
The homeland of the Siamese fighting fish is Southeast Asia. It is here that nondescript natural forms live, which can be found in slowly flowing or stagnant bodies of water in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Malay Peninsula. Betta is found everywhere in the muddy and oxygen-poor waters of rice fields, and often even in the drainage systems of large cities. An additional respiratory organ – the labyrinth – helps the maze to survive in such extreme conditions.
The breeding forms of bettas have become real cosmopolitans. They can be found in hobbyist aquariums around the globe. Local and international exhibitions and competitions are held on a regular basis, where you can meet the most unusual and outstanding representatives of the aquarium siamese fighting fish.
Siamese fighting fish breeds
Due to the fact that breeders around the world have bred a huge number of forms of bettas, significantly different from each other, there is a certain confusion among aquarists associated with the use of the word “species”. All modern aquarium siamese fighting fish, no matter what body color and fin structure they differ, are varieties of one species – Betta splendens, therefore it is correct to call them breeds, not species.
It is worth noting that in the genus Betta there are several species of siamese fighting fish, for example, Betta smaragdina or Black betta (Betta imbellis), which, unlike their closest relative, are relatively peaceful fish. Representatives of these species can be kept in groups and they can often interbreed with Fighting fish. Some representatives of the genus Betta do not build a nest from bubbles, but prefer to carry offspring in the mouth.
Modern breeds of aquarium siamese fighting fish are classified according to two characteristics: the color of the scales and the shape of the fins. Giant or royal fighting fish (distinguished by their large size) and bettas with the “Dragon” color (large body and a large number of silver-metallic shades on the scales, like chain mail) are distinguished into a special group.
Care and maintenance
Many hobbyists started their first steps in aquarium keeping with the purchase of a Siamese fighting fish. This is due to the tremendous endurance of bettas, the ability to keep an aquarium in small volumes (from 3 liters), and the absence of the need for aeration. However, keeping a betta in the aquarium should take into account some of the characteristics of this fish.
First of all, you need to decide on the volume and configuration of the betta aquarium. The most suitable option would be a classic rectangular aquarium with a volume of 20 liters or more. It will have sufficient volume for the comfortable living of a fighting fish, and will also allow you to install and decorate all the necessary equipment.
Keeping Siamese fighting fish in round aquariums is very popular.
Disadvantages of such containers: small volume, difficulties with equipment installation and maintenance, distortion through the convex glass. If the desire to have a round aquarium with a siamese fighting fish is very strong, it is recommended to buy branded round aquariums with built-in equipment (they have the necessary set of equipment for the life of the fish, as well as an attractive design).
In small aquariums, you can only keep one male betta and, if desired, several females. If you plan to keep several males, then you need to place them in an aquarium of at least 100 liters with a lot of vegetation and shelters or use a special plastic partition, pierced with holes for water circulation. You should not keep the males in pairs, in this case, an active male can kill a female that is not ready for spawning. The aquarium should be covered with a lid or net to prevent the Siamese fighting fish from jumping out of it. In this case, female bettas can be kept in groups in one aquarium.
It is best to use a dark soil, it is advisable to place it in a layer of 2-3 cm, with such gravel, siamese fighting fish look the most impressive and contrasting.
Watch this beautiful video about to solidify your knowledge about betta fighting fish. Be careful this video has sound!
The presence of live plants in an aquarium with bettas will have a positive effect on water parameters.
In addition, the plants will serve as natural shelters for the inhabitants of the aquarium. When installing artificial plants or decorations, you should pay attention to the absence of sharp edges, which can damage the delicate fins of the fish.
Sometimes bettas allow their owners to pet them. Do not overuse this procedure, as you can accidentally damage the protective layer of mucus on the scales, which will make the fish more vulnerable to disease.
Quite often, fighting fish lie at the bottom of the aquarium or on its side near the surface itself. This usually scares the owners of the siamese fighting fish, but for these fish, this behavior is typical and not dangerous. It is worth sounding the alarm only if such a phenomenon has been observed for a long time.
The average lifespan of a Siamese fighting fish in an aquarium is 3 years.
The siamese fighting fish nature of does not mean at all that the path to keeping them in a common aquarium with other fish is completely closed. There are several groups of fish compatible with betta:
- Species that get along well: viviparous livebearers, Cory catfish, Black tetra, Seluang fish, Rainbowfish.
- Species that get along, but can pinch fins: Barbus, Angelfish, Paracheirodon, Minor tetra.
- Completely incompatible species: large cichlids, Piranhas, Tetraodon, goldfish.
It is important to remember that keeping males with other species is only possible in an aquarium of the appropriate size. When having a siamese fighting fish in a shared aquarium, it is necessary to carefully observe the behavior of the betta. If other fish try to attack the fins, or the betta itself attacks some of the inhabitants, it is recommended to plant it in a separate container.
It is highly undesirable for fighting fish and species with long veil fins or bright colors to be close to each other – they can most often suffer from a siamese fighting fish attack.
Females behave more calmly, they rarely have problems with other fish of suitable size.
Feeding your siamese fighting fish
The basis of nutrition for siamese fighting fish in nature is aquatic insects and their larvae, zooplankton. Fighting fish do not disdain individual algae. When kept in an aquarium, feeding problems for these fish usually do not arise. The best basic food is complete dry food. Specialists have developed special food for fighting fish that meets their nutritional needs.
To add variety to the feeding process of siamese fighting fish, you can use treats – popular food organisms in nutritious jelly, highly nutritious tablets that can be easily attached to the glass of the aquarium and allow you to observe how the fish eat them with pleasure.
Breeding siamese fighting fish
Fighting fish can spawn in a common aquarium, but it is recommended to have a separate container for this purpose. Betta fish are placed in a spawning box with a volume of 20 liters or more. The water level in the aquarium should be 10-15 cm. Using the thermostat, raise the water temperature to 28 ° C. You should also add some floating plants with small leaves (duckweed, pistia) and small shelters for the female. It is not recommended to put the soil on the bottom: it will be difficult for a male siamese fighting fish to pick up eggs that have fallen from the nest. Aeration is also unnecessary, the jet of air bubbles can destroy the nest. Up to 200 eggs can be laid during one spawning, but usually, no more than 1/3 survive.
In addition to increasing the temperature, water softening serves as an incentive for the spawning of bettas. You can make the water softer by using specialized preparations to lower the pH, or by other means.
A couple of weeks before spawning, bettas should be on a high-protein diet. Such nutrition will contribute to the maturation of the eggs and their softening, which will prevent them from getting stuck in the female genitals during spawning.
The first to enter the aquarium is the male siamese fighting fish, which builds a nest from air bubbles, holding them together with his own saliva. As soon as the female’s abdomen begins to grow, it is necessary to plant her in the spawning grounds, followed by the process of fertilization of eggs. If several days have passed, and spawning has not come, you should replace the female siamese fighting fish with another. The male can also be replaced if he is extremely aggressive.
When the female of the siamese fighting fish is ready for spawning, she swims up to the nest, the male wraps around her and helps to squeeze out the eggs while fertilizing them with milk. After the end of the process, the betta fish collects the fallen eggs and puts them in the nest from the bubbles. The female sits down, and the newly-made “father” remains to look after the offspring until the fry can swim on their own. Bettas keep the nest clean, removes dead eggs, and return the fallen ones back to their place. It is advisable to leave low light in the siamese fighting fish aquarium at night. The fact is that eggs can fall out of the nest during the rest of the male, and he will not be able to return them to the nest. A weak light will allow him to constantly remain on alert.
After hatching, siamese fighting fish fry is fed with “live dust”, nauplii or brine shrimp or cyclops, grated egg yolk. Three weeks later, the first sorting of the offspring of the siamese fighting fish is carried out in order to prevent large individuals from eating smaller relatives. The maze is fully formed in betta fish at the age of one month. To speed up this process a little, it is recommended to lower the water level in the spawning box to 5 cm and turn on weak aeration. As soon as the fighting fish begin to show aggression towards their neighbors, the siamese fighting fish are seated and kept in separate containers.
How to choose an aquarium for a siamese fighting fish, how much volume does he need, what shape?
When you first enter the fish market, you often see long rows of aquariums in which bettas sit. Some of them are so small that the fish cannot turn around in them.
But despite what the sellers tell you, the siamese fighting fish needs a bigger aquarium! They don’t tell you that often these fish tanks contain water with chemistry that acts as a tranquilizer.
In addition, bettas are tropical fish, and when kept outdoors, without heating, they begin to freeze and become less active.
Having looked at all this, beginners think that the siamese fighting fish is a kind of Spartan, and can live in a spoonful of water. And then, when you look at the aquarium with him, you feel sorry for the fish. Often they live in wild conditions, the owners simply do not understand how uncomfortable they are with them, and how much they shorten the life of the fish.
So, you ask, what is the best aquarium for a siamese fighting fish? Let’s take a look at a few options.
20 liter, rectangular (or cube)
Yes, it looks simple and even boring, not at all like most fighting fish tanks.
However, a simple aquarium with a volume of 20 liters is ideal.
This volume is enough for one betta, plus it is already easier to maintain balance and stable temperature in it.
Plus, you can always create an aquascape in it using plants and driftwood.
For example, you can see how beautiful shrimp aquariums of this size look … Why is a siamese fighting fish worse?
10 liter rectangular
If a 20 liter aquarium does not suit you (not enough space, for example), then stop at a 10-12 liter aquarium. This is the minimum volume for keeping one male.
If it is less, then you are guaranteed to face balance problems, temperature instability.
Countless numbers of siamese fighting fish have lived and died in round aquariums. It would seem like a proven, reliable way to keep fighting fish. But, in practice, this is far from the case.
First, a round aquarium is difficult to maintain. Elementary algae on the glass and you cannot get rid of them with a scraper, the shape will not allow.
Secondly, round aquariums distort the appearance of the fish, making it harder for you to enjoy the beauty of the siamese fighting fish. Thirdly, in recent years, it is believed that they have a detrimental effect on the health and vision of fish.
If you turn to the English-language sources, you can see and they recommend using a classic, square, or rectangular aquarium.
In general, you can choose it, but believe me, the rectangular shape is much more practical.
Aquarium with a fountain and more
There are many different options here, from round ones with a lamp fixed above it to exotic compositions. It is impossible to consider all of them, but the rule is the same: the larger the volume, the better and the rectangular shape is better than other options.
The fact that the set includes a lamp, food, a net – do not deceive you.
It is a commodity, and its only purpose: to get you to buy. The siamese fighting fish does not need a lamp at all, plants need it, but there is simply nowhere to keep them in this volume.
You can just put on a table lamp and that will be more than enough. Food, landing net, filter, etc. – you can buy cheaper and often better quality.
When choosing an aquarium for a siamese fighting fish, stick to the classics, do not skimp on volume. It is in such an aquarium that the fish will be comfortable and you will enjoy watching it.
Why small and round aquariums are not suitable for siamese fighting fish
Fighting fish or bettas are known for their freedom and territoriality, which adds to the difficulty of caring for them. You need to choose a suitable aquarium for siamese fighting fish, conditions of detention, and neighbors.
Special tanks for siamese fighting fish
Males have been widespread in many countries for a long time, therefore, in order not to suffer with the choice of the right aquarium for these fish, special profile tanks have been created specifically for males. They take into account the peculiarities of character, color, activity, so the fish feel comfortable in them. Such an aquarium is a rectangular aquarium, approximately equal in length and height. Built-in overhead lighting enhances the color brightness. More often in the center, there is large driftwood, a stone embankment.
What to choose
Before choosing a container in which a siamese fighting fish will spend the rest of its life, you need to know about the pet’s needs. There is a fiction that in their natural environment Betta fish live in turbid shallow puddles, so they do not require special conditions and large volumes. This opinion is supplemented by the content in pet stores – more often the siamese fighting fish are in mini-aquariums. But this is not the case, siamese fighting fish need free swimming space and clean water for a healthy life, which are provided by a large aquarium.
But a mini aquarium is also useful, but not for permanent life. They breed fry in them or place sick fish for the quarantine period.
A reservoir with a waterfall is not suitable, because this is an unnatural detail for fighting fish. In the natural environment, siamese fighting fish do not meet with such streams of water, therefore they feel uncomfortable amid constant noise and splashing.
Choosing an aquarium for siamese fighting fish
What is important when choosing:
- The presence of jewelry, decor.
- Will a filtration system be installed?
- How water is heated?
- What equipment will be installed?
- How many fish are contained?
Mini aquariums for siamese fighting fish are not suitable, therefore, the choice of the size of the container must be approached more thoroughly. The minimum size is 12-14 liters of water. In smaller tanks, life for the fish will be a torment, it will ruin its health and psyche.
In addition, in a small aquarium, it is more difficult to care for a siamese fighting fish, because the slightest changes in ambient temperature negatively affect the water, quickly cooling it. The problem with the small volume of a mini aquarium is that it is difficult to install equipment in it that improves the quality of life of the fish. If kept inattentively, the water quickly decays from food debris and organic secretions.
In a 12+ liters aquarium, it is already possible to provide the fish with optimal living conditions, they have enough space so as not to get bored.
Better buy a bigger aquarium. Tanks of 20 liters are considered the ideal volume. This is enough for the life of fish, for planting vegetation, for decorating the bottom. This volume will fit all the required equipment.
The mistake that novice aquarists make when buying fighting fish is choosing to keep a round tank or a cocktail glass aquarium. This is harmful to the health of fish due to the small volume, lack of space for swimming. Uneven shapes create a distortion of the surrounding world for the eyes of the fish, due to which the siamese fighting fish in a round aquarium acquires visual and mental impairments, it experiences constant discomfort. Therefore, a round aquarium is bad.
Rectangular tanks with large straight walls are much better suited. In such an aquarium, it is easier to take care of the siamese fighting fish in the aquarium, because all the equipment is easily located and there is a place for planting plants that decorate the appearance and emphasize the beauty of the pet.
Plastic or glass
While glass remains the traditional material for aquariums, plastic is becoming increasingly common among aquarists.[table “20” not found /]
Males do not need specialized equipment. It is necessary to prepare a siphon for the siamese fighting fish in order to remove food debris and dirt from the substrate. Due to their tropical origin, fish are sensitive to temperature extremes, so if you cannot establish a constant comfortable temperature in a room with a tank, then buy a heater. A compressor can be not installed, they do well without additional oxygen in the water.
You will also need a water thermometer to know if the temperature in your aquarium is lower or higher. Any lighting, it is usually focused on the requirements of vegetation, and not pets, the fish feel good in an aquarium with backlight.
A lid is required, between it and the walls of the aquarium, there should be a medium-sized gap for air exchange.
Vegetation is carefully checked prior to planting in the tank. Be sure to treat infection and bacteria with a weak solution of manganese for a couple of minutes. Long roots are pruned, excess shoots are removed. Plants with algae are not allowed.
Fighting fish do not damage plants, so any species are suitable. They are planted along the edges and near the back wall.
Setting up a siamese fighting fish aquarium
- Choose a place for installation. Do not place the tank in direct sunlight or in noisy rooms.
- Wash the soil and fill it to the bottom.
- When planting living vegetation, a substrate layer of more than 4 cm is required.
- Place decorations, driftwood, grottoes.
- Install the equipment and check its operation.
Cleaning the aquarium
Requires a weekly cleaning of the aquarium and a change of ¼ part of the water. Cleaning is especially important in small tanks, where the water goes deteriorated faster. Also, the filtration system needs to be cleaned weekly. Every month the soil is siphoned to remove stuck food particles, waste.
Priming / Substrate
When designing an aquarium for a siamese fighting fish, an important role is given to the substrate for the bottom. This is not just a decorative element, its own microflora is formed in the soil, which affects the rest of the inhabitants. Microorganisms that populate the substrate maintain the biological balance of this environment. Plants extract nutrients and elements from the soil.
The soil for the aquarium is usually covered with small pebbles, gravel, river sand, colored stones, and a shell. The particles of the substrate are rolled in shape without sharp edges and chips, about which the inhabitant will get hurt.
Scenery / Decorations
Decorating and beautifying the aquarium is not necessary, the fish feels good without it, but additional elements in the tank will diversify the pet’s life and open up opportunities for research. Install clay pots, stone mounds, caves, grottoes as desired.
How to equip an aquarium for a siamese fighting fish: choose decorative elements without chips, sharp edges, which will easily damage the delicate fins and skin of the fish. The size of the decor is also important: the pet should easily swim out and swim in. Too little space will cause the siamese fighting fish to get stuck and not come out on its own. At least a few fingers of the hand should be free to enter the cave or pot.
Water is poured carefully so as not to erode the soil. Do not use distilled water. Immediately after pouring, the fish should not be launched, because the plants must get used to it, go through the stage of water turbidity. Microflora is formed in the soil, which helps to maintain biological balance. Only then start the fish.
The average value of water acidity for males is 6.1-7.4 pH.
If you take care of the siamese fighting fish according to the rules and replace weekly ¼ part of the water volume, then an additional filter is not required. Otherwise, it is purchased to make sure the water is clean or if there is not enough time for full care. But choose a filter with low power, because fighting fish do not like strong currents.
Before purchasing a heating device, find out how much it is designed for because if you choose the wrong one, there will be overheating or excessive cooling of the aquatic environment. A water heater often comes immediately with a thermostat, but if you buy devices separately, check their compatibility and performance in advance.
The water heating device can be located in different places:
- Under the substrate (as a heating mat).
- In the ground (in the form of cables).
- On the inner wall of the aquarium.
- In the water column.
- From the outside.
The enrichment of water with oxygen in the tank with the siamese fighting fish is not used, because they breathe with gills and lungs from the surface of the water. In addition, aerating devices create unnecessary water movement, which makes pets nervous.
Running / last step
First, place the bag of water and fish in the aquarium water for half an hour to equalize the temperatures. Then scoop up some water from the reservoir and pour it into the bag. After another 30 minutes, you can release the fish. If the pet has an appetite, activity, then acclimatization was successful.
Medicines and vitamins
- Fungus medicine – Rid-Fungus.
- Medicine to treat and prevent fin rot disease – Triple Sulfa.
- An agent that increases the immune defense and prevents the spread of infectious diseases – Garlic Boost.
- Vitamins to boost immunity and health – Vita-Chem.
- Accelerates wound healing, helps against nervous conditions – Fish Protector.
Best aquariums for a siamese fighting fish
The Tetra Betta Bowl is a miniature aquarium that holds almost 2 liters of water, with LED lighting. Betta siamese fighting fish aquarium only holds one inhabitant. The rounded walls provide more space for swimming and fish activity. Purchase soil, feed, equipment, decor separately.
Hagen Marina Betta Kit Fireworks is a 2 liter aquarium for keeping 1 inhabitant. The models vary in color, which makes the tank fit into any interior. Includes substrate gravel, background, pet food, and water conditioner. Possibility to place on the wall.
Fluval Chi is a tank not specifically designed for fighting fish, but suitable for tropical fish. Containers from 11 to 25 liters are sold. Additionally, the equipment includes LEDs, a filter, a water conditioner, a substrate.
Hagen Fluval EDGE is a spacious tank for keeping fighting fish. The volume of the siamese fighting fish aquarium is 23 liters, it has built-in lighting for day and night, filtration.
- The dark background emphasizes the brightness of the fish.
- Installing a baffle will reveal the full beauty of the males.
- Avoid natural sinks and marble pebbles as soil, as they increase rigidity.
- The filter and decorations should not be close to each other, so as not to interfere with water purification.