Common Myths About Bettas
True or false: In nature, bettas live in tiny puddles and actually prefer to live in small spaces?
Answer: False. Bettas are native to Asia, and are found in rice paddies, ponds, and slow moving streams. Like most living creatures, they prefer to have plenty of room to move around. If you transfer a betta from a small cup to a big aquarium, they will happily explore every inch of their new tank, and you will see their color improve dramatically. There is some debate as to the minimum amount of space that a single betta requires, usually ranging between 1 to 5 gallons. I wouldn’t keep mine in less than two, with five being preferable.
True or false: Bettas can breathe air, therefore, they don’t need a filter?
Answer: This one is a bit more complicated. Bettas possess a labyrinth organ which allows them to breathe air from the surface of their tank. This helps them to survive in low oxygenated waters. So, it is true that bettas can breathe air, and in fact NEED to breathe air from the surface of their tank in order to survive. But this does not mean that your betta does not need a filter. We must make a distinction between surviving and thriving. Just because your betta is surviving in two cups of water with no heater or filter, does not mean that he is thriving. Bettas are very hardy fish who can survive in poor conditions much longer than most other fish species, but it is inhumane to keep them in such a stressful environment. Here is another consideration: because of the betta’s long, flowing fins, they do not do well in the strong currents that some filters create. This is especially a risk in smaller tanks where it is more difficult to escape from the current. Under gravel or sponge filters work very well in these set-ups. It is also important to remember that bettas are tropical fish and unless you keep your home at a constant 80 degrees, he will need a heater. It is generally unsafe to heat less than five gallons of water—another argument for giving your betta more room to roam.
True or False: male bettas will fight to the death if put in the same tank?
Answer: This one is true. Male bettas are very aggressive with their own species and should never be housed with another betta, male OR female. They are called Siamese Fighting Fish for a reason! In fact, putting a male betta in a tank with any other fish is a bit risky. They can be aggressive towards other fish, especially anything resembling another betta. On the other hand, they have a tendency to get picked on by fast moving and/or nippy fish. Unfortunately, their beautiful, long fins slow them down and make them an easy target. Some people manage to keep a male betta in a community tank successfully, but I’m not willing to take a risk on mine. My boys each get half of a ten gallon tank all to themselves and they are very content. Tank dividers are available at most pet stores if you want to turn a ten gallon tank into two fives, keeping one male betta in each half. I’ve found this set-up to be ideal. Female bettas are another story. They are relatively peaceful with one another and can usually be integrated into a peaceful community tank. Just make sure they have plenty of space and lots of hiding places.
Bettas are one of my favorite fish species. There are several different tail types in many different colors, making it hard to choose just one. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with my female bettas, who tend to look dull in the small, dirty cups they are typically kept in at the pet store. Once they are in a better environment, they brighten right up, easily rivaling the males in terms of color. Bettas are beautiful, hardy, and easy to care for. When kept properly, they can provide years of enjoyment.
comments powered by Disqus
Most Recent Articles:
Aquatic Mosses for Freshwater Tanks
If you like the idea of a planted tank but aren't ready to take on the extra work load, start off small with some aquatic mosses.
Wavemakers for Saltwater Tanks
If you want to keep your saltwater tank healthy, you need to consider the ideal level of water flow. Installing a wavemaker in your tank will help you strike the right balance.
Choosing the Correct Temperature for a Marine Aquarium
One of the most important things you must to do ensure the health of your marine tank is to achieve and maintain the ideal temperature.
- More articles: General Aquarium Articles, Freshwater Aquarium Articles, Saltwater Aquarium Articles, Miscellaneous Aquarium Articles, Product Review (Saltwater)