Probably one of the most beautiful freshwater fish found in the world is the male Siamese fighting fish (also called Betta Splendens). Males cannot be kept together because their aggressive nature toward each other. This is why they became known as, “Siamese fighting fish”. Individuals can be kept in small bowls, but a 3 gallon aquarium is ideal. These graceful, slow moving fish are unique, and one of very few fish that can get air at the water’s surface when oxygen levels are too low. Female Betta’s can be kept together if desired, as they are not as aggressive as the males.
A general good quality Siamese Fighting fish flake or pellet food is adequate for your Betta’s basic diet, but it is best to Include blood worms or brine shrimp several times a week. It will keep them healthier and full of vigor. The most important thing to remember about feeding fish is that it is very easy to over-feed them, and it is very hard to starve any fish. So feed them six days a week, then skip one day. Fasting is good for fish, and people too. Start by daily feeding 3 to 6 flakes/pellets, bloodworms or brine shrimp. If there is any uneaten food after a few minutes you are probably feeding too much (remove uneaten food if it can be done without stressing the fish). If the fish eats quickly and completely add another pellet or two. It may take a few days to figure out the right amount and what his favorite food might be.
Different types of special fish foods should be offered at least twice a week instead of the basic diet. Variety is important. These extra foods can include frozen or freeze-dried brine shrimp, bloodworms, and other types of “meat”. Bettas are carnivorous fish.
A fish bowl can be used for Bettas, although they can be kept in a fish tank with other types of tropical freshwater fish. But some fish may pick on Bettas and Bettas may go after some fish, so be sure all fish will get along by asking you local aquarium store if all your fish will be compatible. One inch of gravel at the bottom will provide enough surface area for the good bacteria that help break down some of the Betta’s waste. A filter is not necessary, but it is recommended. Tap water can be used, but a water conditioner must be added to the water to remove chemicals like chlorine and heavy metals which can kill fish. Do not use distilled water with fish, it leaches minerals from their body.
Feed fish once every day, or every other day. Partila water changes are best done frequently (once or twice a week), and much less stressful for the fish. Condition the water by adding dechlorination drops. If you are changing 100% of the water it is best left out for 24 hours before hand. For filtered tanks over 3 or 4 gallons, change approximately 10% of the water once a week by siphoning or once a month remove one third or so (never change more than 50%) of the water by siphoning the gravel. Cleaning the gravel will keep the good bacteria healthy and take out excess solid wastes.
Fish will catch diseases whenever they become too stressed. Moving fish from one tank or bowl to another, not changing water frequently, overfeeding, and adding too many fish at one time can be causes of stress. Keep only one male Betta in a bowl or tank. The above featured tank has a divider between the two bettas.