The betta fish is and will forever be one of the most popular types of aquarium fish. What are people saying about betta in the new year?
Also known as the Siamese Fighting Fish, betta fish are some of the most popular fish in the freshwater aquarium industry. These fish come in a wide range of different colors, patterns, and tail types and they are generally easy to care for. Below you will find a review of some of the top betta fish trends and topics of discussion from popular betta fish forums and social media accounts for January 2017.
Betta Fish Housing: The AquaBlock Aquarium
One of the hottest topics related to betta fish that seems to make a resurgence several times a year is the issue of housing. In pet stores, betta fish are displayed and sold in small plastic containers barely large enough for them to move. Some aquarium hobbyists make the argument that, in their natural habitat, betta fish are sometimes found in puddles and dried-up rice paddies, but that doesn’t mean that this is the ideal environment for any fish. Unfortunately, there are many aquarium supply companies out there who propagate the myth that, not only can bettas survive in very small aquariums, but that this is the kind of environment that is best for them.
In 2012, The AquaBlock was released for the first time and the company created a Twitter account that same year to advertise sales and promotions. AquaBlock is a decorative, portable aquarium made from durable glass that measures approximately 8 inches long by 8 inches high and 3 inches deep – there is also a slightly larger 10-inch size. The AquaBlock is marketed as “the perfect fish tank for anyone, at any age,” though advertisements typically show it being used for betta fish. Customers are encouraged to choose from a variety of vibrant designs that combine colored sand and gravel, all glued down “for easy cleaning”, or they can create a custom design.
Though the AquaBlock company only has gained 250 followers and has written a total of 300 tweets since 2012, it has recently been a trending topic on Twitter. Having just released a new line of portable aquariums in 2017, AquaBlock is seeing a resurgence in popularity, as are other desktop-style tanks like the Zoo Med Betta Condo, the Aqueon Betta Bowl, and the Tetra Waterfall Globe.
Betta Fish Problems: Keeping Bettas with Other Fish
Users for the popular betta fish forum site, BettaFish.com, have recently been exploring the idea of keeping betta fish with other fish. One post from January 16th asked the question, “Do you think bettas are truly solitary fish?” The post was written by someone who has been keeping betta fish for more than 10 years and, during that time, has always kept his bettas in a planted community tank with livebearers and small tetras. This user makes the argument that, in the wild, fish do not live alone and even goes so far as to say that bettas kept in a community setting can live more fulfilling lives. When kept alone, betta fish are under-stimulated and under-active which could be a factor in reducing their lifespan.
Though this thread is full of comments about the dangers of keeping two male betta fish together, there is a surprising amount of support for the idea of keeping betta fish with small, peaceful community fish. One user writes, “My community tank is doing just fine with a male betta in it, and in the past I’ve had more issues with the other fish pecking at the betta rather than the other way around”. Another user makes the distinction that, “living with different species in a community tank does not mean they are not solitary”. So, while betta fish can get along with other fish, they are not a social species that enjoys the company of other fish, particularly from their own species. What do you think?
Betta Fish Problems: Extending the Lifespan of Betta Fish
Popular twitter handle @BettaInfo (Betta Fish Care) provides a lot of useful tips about betta fish and their care. On January 16, they posted a link to an article about betta fish lifespan and whether you can extend it with proper care. The article states that the average lifespan for the betta fish is 2 to 3 years, but suggests that there are things that can be done to maximize the lifespan. Betta Fish Care suggests that tank size is a major contributing factor in the health of a betta fish, recommending a minimum of 5 gallons per fish. Water quality and a diet rich in nutrients will help to maximize lifespan as well.
The issue of betta fish lifespan has also been discussed on popular betta forum site, BettaFish.com. While recommendations vary from one user to another, most users agree that 12 to 18 months is closer to the standard lifespan for these fish. There is also mention of the fact that you cannot always judge the age of a betta fish when you purchase it from the pet store – one user states that most betta fish sold in pet stores are 4 to 6 months old. You also don’t know what kind of stress the fish has been subjected to at that point which could have weakened his immune system. Being shipped from the breeder to the pet store and then transported home can put a lot of stress and strain on any fish, not just bettas in particular.
New Betta Fish Varieties
Aquarium hobbyists have been selectively breeding betta fish since the late 1800s which has resulted in the development of many different colors, patterns, and tail types. In early 2017, the Twitter account Aquarium Talks has been featuring some of the more unique betta fish varieties that have recently become available. Here is an overview of some of the varieties being featured:
Half Moon – This type of betta fish tail has a full 180-degree spread when the fish flares its tail, giving it the shape of a half moon or the letter D.
Crown Tail – This betta fish variety has spiked fins with rays extending well beyond the fin’s webbing, at least 33% further than the length of the fin webbing.
Rose Tail – This is a variation on the half-moon type but the rays of the tail branch more excessively at the ends so that the fin almost folds over itself, looking like the petals of a rose.
Double Tail – Betta fish with this tail type have a caudal fin (tail) that is split into two lobes – these fish may also exhibit broad dorsal and anal fins.
Delta Tail – This tail type flares out from the caudal peduncle to the fin tips, giving it a fan-like shape – it is very similar to the half-moon variety but with less spread.
Spade Tail – This type of tail initially flares upward and downward from the betta’s caudal peduncle and then tapers to a point which makes it look like a spade.
In addition to promoting unique varieties of betta fish, the Aquarium Talks account also advocates for the proper care and treatment of betta fish, recommending a minimum tank size of 5 gallons. They also encourage aquarium hobbyists to perform routine water tests and to avoid overfeeding their betta fish. Aquarium Talks also provides interesting facts about different species of aquarium fish such as the fact that betta fish can come to recognize their owners and can even be taught to perform tricks.
Betta fish are beautiful and relatively easy to care for as long as you meet their basic requirements. To learn more about caring for betta fish, try this article about common myths about betta fish or this article about choosing tank mates for your betta.
A recent paper published by the Conservation Research Group and the IUCN shows that more than 30 threatened species endemic to India are still being regularly exported, despite their conservation status.