Have you ever been to your local pet shop and seen the Bettas (also known as Siamese Fighters), in a tiny little tank? When I questioned my local pet store about the size of container they were kept in, they proceeded to tell me that it is what Bettas prefer! They had obviously been asked this many times, because they handed me a photocopied piece of paper explaining how to care for a Betta, and how they like to live in tiny spaces.
Now I don’t know about you, but I personally think it is extremely cruel, and I think the fish think so as well, as they look pretty miserable. A good indication of it is that they aren’t showing off their beautiful fins, instead they are usually skulking near the bottom, fins down.
Now the pet shop’s theory is that Bettas live in small puddles of water in the rice fields of Asia, but what they don’t tell you is that they move from puddle to puddle, and then on to bigger expanses of water. They are not stuck in one small puddle all their life, never meeting up with another fish! The species would be extinct by now if that was the case.
If you own a Betta in a small tank, please consider getting it a bigger home. You cannot keep two male Bettas together, because, as the name Siamese Fighter suggests, they will fight! You could easily keep your Betta in an aquarium with other tropical fish. Whatever you do, don’t keep them with fish that like to nip fins, like Barbs, and especially not with Guppies. Male Bettas view Guppies as competition and will most probably fight and kill them.
The other alternative is to get one or two female Bettas. It is much better to have a couple of females, rather than just one, as it will give each female a break from amorous advances. When the male is ready to breed he will make a bubble nest near the surface of the water. Once the female has laid the eggs, which can be anywhere from 400 to 500 eggs, he will guard them.
Make sure that the aquarium in which they live has some vegetation they can hide in, as well as easy access to the surface of the aquarium, as they like to breathe air at the surface from time to time.
So, if you do own a male Betta in a tiny tank, please think about this, give him a better home, and watch how much happier he will be.