Betta fish are approximately of the most extraordinary decorated freshwater fish you will ever find. Anyone who has every seen a betta automatically recognizes them as soon as they see one again. Bettas are uncomplicated to care for with the appropriate tank and wonderful to look at, so they are very popular. Nicknamed the Siamese Fighting Fish. Their name is pronounced beta, like the Greek letter and is often spelled wrong. There are over 15 different varieties of bettas, along with a multitude of color patterns.
Previously in history betta fish were called pla kat. They were bred and kept for competition fighting in Thailand by the people of Siam in the 1800s. The King of Siam saw how captivated people were by these fighting fish and decided he should start licensing and collecting them. In 1940, the King gave some of these award winning to Dr. Theodor Cantor who called them Macropodus Pugnax. Mr. Tate Regan realized that there was already a species called Macropodus Pugnax in 1909 and renamed the fighting fish Betta Splendens.
Bettas can grow up to two to 8 inches in length, depending on the variety the fish is. Most varieties stay around 2 inches. Female bettas have duller colors and much smaller fins then the males. Wild bettas are only green and brown with small fins. The brilliant colors and long fins are the results from years of specific breeding. They usually live 3-4 years in captivity.
Captive bettas enjoy a diversity of foods but prefer a meat based diet. Many of them enjoy feasting on small snails, live black worms and brine shrimp. They enjoy small live insects and can even eat dried or frozen plankton, glassworms, and daphnia and beef heart. If you are in a hurry, you can give them commercial betta pellets.
Bettas can be found with a large variety of fin shapes and tails:
- There is the Plaket, which is a short-tailed Betta.
- The Halfmoon Plaket has a short tail, 180 degree tail.
- A Crowntail Plaket has a spiky short tail.
- The Veil has long drooping fins.
- A Double has a split tail.
- Round has a fuller longer round fin shape.
- The Delta and Super Delta have a 160-170 degree spread when flared.
- Halfmoons have 180-degree spreads when flared.
- Over Halfmoon have spreads over 180 degrees.
- A Halfsun has a Halfmoon spread with slight crowning.
- The Comb and Crown has extended rays on all fins.
- Spade’s tails come to a point.
- The Rose/Feathertail is an extreme Halfmoon with ruffled edges or branching.
Bettas come in almost every color, but the most common colors are varieties of red, blue, purple, green and white. The colors can be solid, bi-colored, Cambodian, butterfly, marble, piebald, mask, dragon or multicolored.
A betta tank should be at least 2-5 gallons and have a temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit, so it will need a heater. The pH level of the tank should be 6.0-8.0. There should be hiding spots like a cave and a light filter to help keep the tank and water clean. Males cannot be put in the same tank with other males; they will fight until one of them ends up dying.