Genus name: Betta Splendens
Also known as: Siamese Fighting Fish, Betta
Distribution: Southeast Asia
Length: up to 2″ (5cm)
Minimum Tank Length: 24″ (60cm)
Water Temperature: 77-83F (25-28C)
Diet: Worms, crustaceans, insects, dried food
Water: not critical, soft to medium-hard preferred
Breeding: Egg Layers
The Siamese Fighter is a popular aquarium fish, and is a member of the Gourami family. In some countries, particularly the United States, they are often referred to simply as ‘Betta’. However, the name ‘Betta’ is also used to refer to around fifty other types of fish, so it is not advisable to use this name.
The natural colouration of the Siamese Fighter is dull green and brown, and the fins of the wild Siamese Fighters are relatively short, however over the years the breeding by aquarists has resulted in the brilliantly coloured, long-finned varieties we see today.
The males are particularly aggressive and should never be kept together. It is best to either keep a pair, or at least three female Siamese Fighters, because if there are only two one will pick on the other. If there are at least three together a more healthy pecking order will be established.
Siamese Fighters can share a community aquarium, but care must taken in choosing companions for them. Do not selected any fish which are known for fin-nipping, like Barbs, and especially do not put in an aquarium with Guppies, as the Siamese Fighter male will see them as a threat and may kill them.
Siamese Fighters like to swim near the top of the aquarium, and can breathe oxygen from the air on the surface, so make sure that the surface of the aquarium is exposed to fresh air. Usually an aquarium hood with ventilation holes will be sufficient.
It is common nowdays to find a single male Siamese Fighter in a small tank on its own, and although they can survive like this, it is not ideal conditions. Do give them a better life and let them live in an aquarium.
The Siamese Fighter will breed fairly successfully in an aquarium. Firstly the male will build a nest using bubbles to bind plants together, and then he will court the female. The female will release her eggs into the nest, and the male with fertilise them, there could be anywhere from 300 to 800 eggs.
At this point the female Siamese Fighter should be removed from the aquarium, and the male will look after the eggs. When the young are 2-3 days old, it is advisable to remove the male Siamese Fighter as he may well eat the young.
If you are looking for a tank to keep your lone male Betta in, try this one from Amazon – it is a 3 gallon tank, so your Betta will have room to swim and show off his beautiful fins