20 Interesting Betta Fish Facts To Better Know Your Betta
Initially discovered in Southeast Asia and originally inhabiting flood plains, drainage ditches and rice paddies, the beautifully colored Betta fish is often kept as an aesthetic decoration in homes and offices. Also known as the Siamese fighting fish and 'The Jewel of the Orient', they are quite popular as aquarium pets, and require rather low maintenance and care. Most people know very little about the nature and characteristic of these multi-colored fish. Here are 20 interesting facts about Betta fish that will make you love and appreciate them, and perhaps even want to own some of your own.
If you enjoy this list you might enjoy learning about some of the weirdest animals in the world. And no, the Betta isn't one of them!
Upturned Mouth Structure
A fish's lifestyle is greatly determined by the positioning of its mouth. Downward-facing mouths, such as those found on Catfish and other bottom-dwelling fish, enable them to feed near the ground, from sand, rock surfaces, etc.
Betta fish have upturned mouths, a position known as the 'superior mouth' when it comes to fish. It enables them to efficiently feed near the water's surface, allowing them to catch mosquito larvae and small insects from the floating vegetation.
They Build Bubble Nests To Help Protect Their Eggs
Preparing the space for the arriving eggs is the responsibility of the male Betta. They will make bubble nests for the eggs by taking in air and then spitting out a bubble embedded in the spit. This process comes instinctively to male Bettas, and they might even engage in this behaviour if there are no females present around them.
The Warrior 'Bettah'
Betta fish derived their name from an ancient warrior group from Thailand, and were given the name in the 1800s once they became popular for their fighting skills. In those times Betta fish fights were a popular sport - so popular, in fact, that the King of Siam decided to have them regulated and taxed. Bets were placed on the bravery of the Betta fish during fights rather then on the damage inflicted.
Bettas Are Carnivorous In Nature
Generally, Betta fish are carnivores (or, to be more exact, insectivores). They prefer to feed on insect larvae, worms, fish pellet and flakes. They also feed on eggs of insects occasionally. In general, if you see Bettas feeding off of plant roots and such, it means they're very hungry and unable to find the insects they crave for.
Betta Fish Sport a Large Variety Of Diverse Tail Shapes
The most common Betta tail is the veil tail, which is an extra long, flowing double tail, and is particularly beautiful. Apart from this, there are several other tail shapes like double tail, half moon, crown tail and so on.
Wild Betta Fish Are Very Different From The Household Variety
Wild Bettas are usually a dull brown color and their dorsal stripes are darker then their household counterparts. They're all about survival in hostile environments, and so their colors help them camouflage themselves from predators. The Bettas are native to the Mekong Basin, flowing through Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. They are usually found in shallow, freshwater areas like ponds and streams.
Bettas Can Be Fooled By Mirrors, Believing Their Reflection To Be a Rival
If you place a mirror in front of a Betta, it will see its own reflection and think it to be a rival. Instantly it will go on a fighting spree, waving fins and moving about. Once the mirror is taken away, the Betta will feel triumphant, thinking that the fight has been won.
Feeding Your Betta - Frequent Meals Are Better
Your Bettas must be fed with small but frequent meals. Their stomach size is equal to that of an eyeball and the best feeding schedule is to offer it food twice a day. Pet Bettas literally beg for food when they see anybody nearby.
Betta Fish Taste With Their Fins
The delicate fins of the Bettas have some muscles, nerve cells and taste buds. This enables the Bettas to taste food or any other object with their fins.
Betta Fish Are Highly Intelligent (For A Fish)
Bettas score high on the intelligent quotient. With adequate training, they can be taught to go through hoops, jump for food and can also ring bells when hungry. The little pets can also identify their owners and swim towards the tank's front during feeding time.
The Betta Courtship Ritual Is Aggressive
This species of fishes lay eggs and go for an amazing courtship which looks more or less like a battle between the male and the female. This happens because before the actual courtship takes place, the female and the male will fight for the same territory. You might call this a real battle of the sexes!
Males Are The Child Raisers In The Family
Yes, it's the duty of the daddy Betta. For 3-4 days after the mating, the fries (baby Bettas) absorb nutrients from their respective yolk sacs. At that time, the males are the caretakers, returning any hatchling that falls from the bubble nest. This guarding activity continues until the fry can swim and feed on its own.
Betta Fish Are Bred In Many Strains of Colors
The Bettas display a plethora of color patterns and strains, with new colored fish constantly being developed by breeders. The primary color is red, but you will also come across species that are yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black or purple. There are also a few bettas which come with spots and stripes.
Male Bettas Often Flare At Each Other To Establish Dominance
When Bettas feel threatened they tend to flare by sticking out their gill covers and letting out the operculum, which looks like a big, black beard. This is their way of establishing dominance, but takes a big toll on the fish. Usually it's the males who flare, but the females of the species have been known to flare up as well when threatened.
Siamese Fighting Fish Can Live Up To 9 Years, In Optimal Conditions
Although on average Bettas live around 2-3 years, they can live as long as 9 years when the water conditions are good and they go through regular exercise. This is an extremely long life span compared to other fish species.
Bettas Can Suffer From Constipation
Constipation can be a deadly disease for Betta Fish, leading to an enlarged digestive tract and swim bladder disorders. The common causes are overfeeding and low temperature. A constipated Betta appears bloated and displays difficulty in defecating.
Feeding Your Betta - Brine Shrimp Are A Treat
Frozen brine shrimp in ice cubes is a real delicacy for the Bettas. Place an ice cube in the Bettas' tank or jar and you will find them poking at it, until it melts. On release of the brine shrimp from the melted ice, the Betta will happily being feeding.
The Males Of The Species Are Extremely Territorial
Ironically the male Betta fish behave in an extremely alpha way when around other aggresive fish of any kind, in particular other Betta males. They are highly territorial and have been known to fight until they kill, or are killed, by their opponents in order to protect their territory. This is the reason Bettas are often placed in secluded tanks at pet stores, or at the most with other, more docile fish - and you'll never find two Betta males in the same fish tank.
Betta Fish Can Breathe Air
Bettas have a special organ through which they can breathe in air like human beings. This unique organ, known as the labyrinth, is very crucial and helps the Bettas to survive in slow flowing streams and rice paddies, wherein the oxygen content of the water is comparatively lower.
The Color Of Siamese Fighting Fish Help Signify Their Health
You can quickly determine if your Betta is healthy and happy by the color of its fins. The brighter and richer the colors are, the healthier your fish is. This is a good rule of thumb for quick diagnosis.