Caring for your Siamese Fighting Fish

The Siamese Fighting Fish, sometimes known as the Betta, is a fresh water species indigenous to Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and some parts of China. They have become increasingly popular as pets because of their unique appearance and low maintenance requirements.

Diet & Feeding

Siamese Fighting Fish are carnivorous and require a high protein diet. There are pellets designed specifically for the fighting fish, which cover most dietary requirements and can be found at most good pet stores. Live brine shrimp or frozen bloodworms make an ideal occasional treat and have a number of health benefits. As with all fish, it’s important not to overfeed them by limiting feeding to only twice a day. Only 2-3 pellets should be given per fish at each feeding.

Male-Betta Female-Betta

Housing & Compatibility

Contrary to popular belief, Siamese fighters cannot be kept in a jar or bowl. They require a tank with a size of at least 1 gallon (3.8 liters) that is kept at a balmy 75 degrees (25 Celsius). The tank should have a filter, or alternatively, daily water changes should be performed to remove toxins.

Multiple male fighting fish cannot be kept in a tank together without a separator. As their name suggests, they will aggressively fight, usually until one fish is killed. Females can be kept together in the same tank, as they are not aggressive towards each other like males are. Males and females can be kept together (that’s where babies come from!), although multiple females should be housed with a male to spread his aggression between multiple fish.

Bettas can be an excellent addition to a community tank as they will cohabitate nicely with with a lot of smaller, non aggressive fish. It’s important to avoid keeping them with fish that like to nip at flowing fins, as you may find your fighting fish getting attacked. Similarly, male fighting fish can’t be housed with guppies as they may confuse the long flowing tails for a rival male and attack.

Image credits: “Sid Fishous” by Michelle Tribe, Female Betta by Krista Kennedy, Male Betta by Brooke, Betta by Awaya Legends on VisualHunt / CC BY-SA

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