3649 Fishinger Blvd. Hilliard, OH 43026
KEEPING THE SIAMESE FIGHTING FISH
By Bill Wymard, Marine Biologist
The Siamese fighting fish or “Betta” is one of the most popular of all aquarium fish. There are several reasons for this popularity. First, is their beautiful colors, often referred to as “splendid”; thus one of the more popular species Betta Splendens. They are in the family of fish called Anabantoids. As such, they have a special labyrinth organ that other fish do not. This enables them to get oxygen from the water surface as opposed to using their gills to extract oxygen from the water. Because of this special feature they are able to be kept in a smaller aquarium (desk top size, which makes them ideal for office staff at their desk, table top or counter!), whereas other tropical fish need a larger aquarium with added filtration.
Keeping the Betta is relatively easy. Contrary to popular belief it is not totally care free.
There is advice circulating around that they can be set up in a vase with a peace lily put into the vase. The concept, that the roots of the plant are down in the water, will supposedly allow the Betta to feed on the roots and thus having a self-sustaining eco system. This is not true. In the wild, Bettas feed on insects (i.e. mosquito larvae) not plant roots and will need to be fed regularly. Even though they can be kept in a smaller aquarium with a minimal filter (because of their ability to breathe oxygen from the surface) they still need to have their water quality maintained through regular water exchanges.
Typically, Bettas come from slow moving waters, even the edges of rice paddies in Southeast Asia. There are many varieties of Bettas available (Split Tails, Half Moon, Round Tail, Crown Tail, Dumbo Ear to name a few) and almost every color of the rainbow. An Aquarium Adventure fish specialist can help you select a beautiful specimen!