Peces betta: historia, características, alimentación, cuidados y más
Did you know that Betta fish are also known as fighters, and these small living beings can breathe with their heads out of the water? These are just some of the peculiarities of Betta splendens, as it is scientifically known. Would you like to know other significant details about this fish commonly found in aquariums and often kept as pets at home? Then stay tuned in this article because we will tell you everything you need to know about this species, from its history to its care.
History of Betta Fish
Betta fish are a species native to Southeast Asia, especially countries like Thailand and Cambodia. In Thailand, they are often bred in homes for combat, dating back to about 650 years. In fact, in the Kingdom of Siam, fights were so popular that the king established a tax for them. Due to the violent behavior among males, they were named betta, which comes from Bettah, an ancient clan of warriors. In 1840, King Rama III of Thailand gave several fighting fish to the doctor Theodor Cantor, and it was thanks to him that the West became aware of this fish. Cantor mistakenly named the fish Macropodus Pugnax. Its definitive name, Betta splendens, would not be assigned until 1910, when Dr. Tate Regan discovered that it was a different species from Macropodus Pugnax. Originally, Betta fish did not have such vibrant colors as commonly seen today, but instead were more muted green, brown, gray, and reddish-blue, their natural colorations.
Characteristics of Betta Fish
The taxonomic classification of Betta fish indicates that they belong to the order Perciformes and the family Osphronemidae. This species is characterized by the presence of an organ known as the labyrinth, which allows them to take oxygen from the air. That is why, as we mentioned earlier, they can breathe outside of the water. Thus, when they are in fish tanks, they often jump to take in oxygen. This feature allows them to survive in environments with little water, even in humid areas. On average, Betta fish can reach 6.5 cm in length and can come in different eye-catching colors, such as red, blue, black, purple, and more. Also, thanks to selective breeding, their fins can have different shapes, making them highly coveted aquatic species. If there is one element that distinguishes them and allows classification, it is their tail, which in all cases is striking. In this regard, the most well-known are crown tail, veil tail, half-moon, and double tail Bettas. Betta fish are freshwater fish and are found in their natural habitats in swamps, ponds, and other shallow sources at temperatures ranging from 24 to 30°C. Regarding their habits, they are diurnal, which means they are active during the day, and sleep at night. As for their swimming or movement, they are slow swimmers and move subtly through the water. As they are not good swimmers, it is common to see them resting at the bottom of the tank or on a plant. Finally, the average lifespan of Betta fish is between 3 and 5 years.
Feeding Betta Fish
As with other fish species, Betta fish are omnivores, meaning you can give them both vegetables and meat. It is common to feed them with specific fish food, but you can also include worms, vegetables, larvae, bait, and more in their diet. Keep in mind that although you can give them plants, a nutritional regimen would not be complete if you rely only on them. How much can a Betta fish eat? The sufficient amount is all that they can consume in about 3 minutes.
Betta Fish Care
If you decide to have Betta fish at home, it is necessary to know the basic care so you can provide them with a habitat where they feel comfortable and have them as a companion for a long time. Therefore, we will give you some suggestions that you should follow.
The Size of the Aquarium
As Betta fish can survive in small bodies of water, the idea has become popular that they do not need a large fish tank. However, this does not mean that you should put them in a very small place. It is true that the aquarium can be small, but do not abuse it. It should be a place where they have freedom of movement, and, above all, proportional to the number of specimens you have. Generally, a space of 20 to 30 liters is recommended.
We mentioned earlier that Betta fish are not good swimmers and find it difficult to deal with currents. Therefore, the water filter should have low power so that the stream does not bother them.
This species has a great ability to adapt to environments. However, they will be more comfortable with a water temperature of 26 to 28°C.
Accessories in the Fish Tank
Due to their curious nature, you can include different plants and accessories in the fish tank with which they can interact. Also, keep in mind that they often rest on plants and gravel, so having a good amount of these will be ideal. However, do not include large accessories as these may damage their fins.
One Male per Tank
The name fighter was not given in vain to Betta fish, as males can start fights that lead to death among themselves. Therefore, it is best if each tank has only one male and several females if you want to avoid fights. Males are very territorial, and if you put them in the same place as others, disputes will begin. Likewise, it is not recommended to mix them with other species because they could become prey due to their slow swimming.
Turn Off the Light
Betta fish need darkness to sleep. Therefore, when night falls, turn off the light of the fish tank or the room where it is located, so that they can rest well.
A Tank with a Lid
These fish go to the surface to take oxygen. Thus, an accident may occur if the tank does not have a lid, so be sure to include one.
Reproduction of Betta Fish
The reproduction of Betta fish is a very curious process that involves, among other things, the construction of a nest, courtship, and care of the young. Initially, it is important that both the male and female get to know each other before starting the courtship because otherwise, the male may attack the female as an intruder. Everything starts when these species reach reproductive age, which is usually at 5 months. At that moment, the male blows bubbles to create a nest on the surface. When it is ready, the courtship begins. The male shows off his fins and widens his gills as a way to attract the female. When she agrees, both start spinning around until the male embraces the female with a fin, flips her over, and fertilizes her. After this, the female will release between 3 and 7 eggs, which the male will capture and bring to the nest. This process can be repeated over and over. The male will now take on the role of faithful protector of the nest until the eggs hatch after 24 or 48 hours.