Bettas, Siamese fighting fish, Japanese fighting fish—these are the three most common names you see for these exotic little creatures. Possibly one of the most distinct variety of fish available, people love both the look and personality of a betta. Sassy and feisty, bettas are fun to have in your home.
Although Japanese fighting fish has become a popular term, it is somewhat of a misnomer. Bettas actually originate from Siam, now known as Thailand, and the surrounding areas. Siamese fighting fish is a more accurate term.
In the wild, you may have a difficult time spotting a betta. These fish typically live in the shallow murky waters in rice paddies. In addition, their appearance is much different from what is sold in stores. Bettas are actually quite unattractive—usually sporting brown or gray colors.
Through breeding and special diets, bettas have become one of the most beautiful fish, displaying a wide array of colors and fin patterns. While these flowing fins and vibrant hues would be a hindrance in the wild, in captivity they bring beauty and elegance to any aquarium.
Bettas As Pets
For some people, the thought of owning fish isn’t exactly thrilling. They may think that it is a lot of work and upkeep, or they may just not be interested in that type of pet. I have had several different types of pets over the years, and each one is enjoyable for its own unique reasons; yet, I believe my favorite pet is betta fish.
Perhaps I am biased—a betta was my first pet as a child. Speaking of which, bettas are great pets for children. It may be a good way to see if your child is truly interested in taking care of an animal. In the event that your child loses interest, little money was spent and you do not find yourself putting a lot of effort into the upkeep.
They’re also great for children because they’re so easy to take care of. Depending on the age of the child, you may need to assist them with cleaning the tank, but most daily tasks anyone can do, as long as they know how.
Another great reason to own a betta is that they don’t take up room. Even if you bought a 10 gallon tank for your fish, you still wouldn’t be taking up much space. For this reason, a betta is great for a college dorm room, apartment, or small house. While you may not be able to fit a dog in your space, a betta is accommodating and easy to place wherever it fits. And look at how clean he’ll keep your house!
Although I already mentioned it, the upkeep on a betta is super easy and requires very little time. This is one of my favorite things about bettas. Instead of spending a lot of time and effort taking care of my betta, I can use all that free time to enjoy my little aquatic friend. It’s so much fun just watching his graceful movements through the water and watch as the light reflects on his scales, giving him the appearance of changing colors. And each betta will be different. While my previous bettas were pretty docile, my current betta is the sassiest fish I’ve ever seen. And this has made it so enjoyable to have him.
Although many of the online sources today would have you to believe that bettas are delicate, these fish are actually quite hardy. They can survive in a variety of environments and are not overly picky about their water temperature, tank size, or ph levels. However, this does not mean that you should neglect your betta. Here are a few tips on ideal betta care and how you can keep your betta happy and healthy.
- Keep the water around 76-80° A betta can tolerate higher or lower temperatures, but it is not ideal. Use a heater to keep it consistent!
- Bigger is better when it comes to the aquarium size…within reason. Do not feel obligated to buy a 50 gallon tank for a betta, unless you really want to. While this is a debatable subject, 2-5 gallons is a good range for your betta.
- Do not over/under-feed! Watch your betta’s level of activity and size. Generally you can feed a betta once or twice a day, 3-5 pellets. If this appears to be too much for your fish, decrease the amount. A betta’s stomach is the size of his eye!
- Use a filter! This not only keeps your betta healthy and clean, but also makes your life easier. This inexpensive purchase makes cleaning less of a hassle! Full water changes only need to be done once per month, with partial water changes once a week.
- Use water conditioner to make sure your fish’s water is safe to use. Although you can use distilled water, conditioner has extra benefits that help to keep your betta healthy.
Although fish aren’t for everyone, I would recommend looking into bettas. For me, a betta is unlike any other fish out there. Bettas are extremely easy to take care of and their personalities and beauty will be an enjoyment to watch. So if you’re looking for a new pet, maybe a betta is right for you.
(If you would like to learn more about bettas, read my full post on betta care.)