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FAQs on Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting Fish Selection

Related Articles: Anabantoids/Gouramis & Relatives, Betta splendens/Siamese Fighting FishBetta Systems, Betta Diseases,

Related FAQs:  Betta ID/Varieties, Betta System, Betta Behavior, Betta Compatibility, Betta Feedings, Betta Reproduction, Betta Disease,

International Betta Congress (IBC) http://www.ibcbettas.org/  

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Betta Success
Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

A group of female Bettas; stkg., comp.     11/26/15
I was wondering if female Bettas are destructive in groups?
<Generally they all get along fine
; in particular if grown up together and though it may seem counter-intuitive; the more crowded the better>
I have a 20 gallon tall and was thinking about such fish, but I saw them in the tank at the store and they were going after one another. One was dead, probably from harassment. I have a male alone, of course in a 5 gallon and I got a female that I can take back to the store in a one gallon. I do not want to put those two together in the 20 as I am sure he would kill her. Thank you
<Ah yes; don't put a male and female together permanently. Bob Fenner>

Female Bettas, comp.      2/10/14
Looked thru the site and didn't find the answer, so-o-o-o here's my question:  is it wise to house more than one female Betta per tank?  Got a 20 gal tank.  Also a 10 gal.  Saw some beautiful females on Aquabid and sure would love to have about three to five.  Thanks ~ Linda in GA
<It is fine to do so; makes for a more attractive display and more interaction for all. Bob Fenner>
Re: Female Bettas     2/10/14

Oh my gosh!  THE Bob Fenner?
<Heeee! Or someone w/ the same name>
 I'm not worthy!  Been a fan for years.  Saltwater and fresh.  Thanks for your advice.  ~ Linda in GA
<Ah, welcome. BobF>

keeping Bettas outdoors in tropical ponds? in pairs? groups?   4/13/12
Hello from Southeast Asia!
<Hello from Northwestern Europe!>
We are in the process of moving to Malaysia (yes, tropical!) where we have space for a garden and a small garden pond or ponds (container and/or in ground).
And have been thinking about what kinds of fish we can keep.  Its very warm here 20s to low 30s in terms of air temperature.  Once possibility we are considering are short-finned Bettas.
<Possibly, but all Bettas are amazingly good at jumping, so bear that in mind.>
I have kept B. splendens (veil tail, crown tail, super delta tail) in small tanks by themselves and a female in a community tank before, and they have lived a couple of years or more.  Now we have gouramis (Trichogaster leeri) in our indoor tank. But now since we are establishing our tropical garden we are thinking about keeping tropical fish outdoors (may try breeding if all goes well). I suppose deep down I have a soft spot for Bettas. I have been doing some research since I don’t really want to keep the long finned varieties outside and a lot of these seem frail lately anyway.
I actually prefer the short finned plakats (we have no intention of fighting these fish, just keep as pets) and some of the wild types like b. imbellis which are native to this part of SEA.  I have read that Betta imbellis and perhaps b. smaragdina, b. mahachai, b. stiktos can be kept either in pairs or small groups (males and females) but I have also read and heard otherwise.
<Ah, yes. A lot depends on the tank, I'm sure. In big tanks with lots of floating plants and tankmates of suitable size/behaviour to become distractions, I'm sure males and females of these species can coexist. They obviously do so in the wild! But in smaller tanks, or emptier tanks, or away from distractions, they can fight. The males of all Betta species are intolerant of both males and females, and only accept *breeding* females into their territories. Bubblenest species are usually more aggressive than mouthbrooders, but there's some variation among both sorts. I wouldn't trust a group of any species to get along without carefully judging the size of the tank, adding floating plants, and possibly adding dither fish of suitable size, such as Ricefish or Rasboras.>
It’s  a little confusing as most people who are keeping these (aside from fish farmers/breeders) are keeping them in smaller tanks or large community tanks but I think in our case if we have them outside we can have a pond or two with 40 gallons to a few hundred gallons so we would not be so constrained in terms of space for these fish.
<For sure. Ponds this size should be eminently suitable for groups of Betta spp.>
If they thrive, we could try breeding. I’m not sure about plakats, but perhaps even these could stay together if the fish are all are females, with plants to hide among, or if the pond(s) were large enough.  Or perhaps even a male can be kept with a number of females as long as they have enough space?
<Males guard patches at the surface around their nests. The more distance between those nests, the more likely two males will tolerate one another. As for the females, so long as they can avoid going into the territory, the male will ignore them.>
I guess I’m thinking of Bettas as ideal for our (future) small to medium garden ponds because these lovely fish are native to Peninsular SEA so they can tolerate  our warm conditions to begin with.  We originally were thinking of Koi; many people keep Koi in this part of the world but I’m not certain we have the resources to maintain these fish in good health with our very tropical weather. We also enjoy greenery and gardening very much and Bettas should fine with water plants such as water lettuce etc. Apparently they eat mosquito larvae and small insects too.
Hence in the long and the short of it, if one has the facility to keep Bettas in an outdoor tropical pond do you think is it possible to keep them in pairs or groups?  Imbellis or Mahachai in pairs? Females in groups? More than one male with females if there is enough space (20 gallons of water per male fish?)?
<Surface area is surely more important than water volume. I don't know the precise size of a Betta splendens territory, but would imagine it to be at least 30 cm in radius, and ideally, you'd want floating plants in between nests so rival males couldn't see each other.>
I understand it may depend on the species; not having kept plakats or wild type Bettas outdoors (only long finned splendens and their relatives gouramis  in indoor tanks), we just aren’t sure what to expect if we were to try for an outdoor Southeast Asian Betta set up, but it might be something really interesting and fun to try.   Please let us know what you think . . . Thank you so much for reading.  Best wishes, Carol
<Hope this helps, Neale.>

11th Pramong Nomjai Thai Tuala Show   4/2/12
More pics of Betta prize winners from the Bangkok show
<Very nice!>

Help choosing Betta! (personalities). Varieties and species!    1/12/12
Hello, I recently brought a 12 gallon eclipse for a Betta fish but am now stuck on what variety to get. My problem is that I am stuck between a veiltail or a Halfmoon, and my main concern is behavioral. Are half-moons less active than veiltail, or does it not make any difference?
<More individual variation... health...>
 Similarly, I have read somewhere that veiltail have the most
"personality". Would you say that there is any truth to that statement?
<Not necessarily, no>
Also, if I were to get a different species of Betta, would the care be more difficult?
<Some are more difficult to be sure, requiring a narrow/er range of water conditions>
Would it be less likely to be interested in people/personable than Betta splendens?
<The "real" Betta is about the most outgoing>
 It seems to me that it may be, seeing as it wouldn't be domesticated...
Are the giant varieties as easy to care for as regular sized ones?
<A bit more; some quite a bit>
Could they go longer without food? (not that I plan on starving my fish, but hey, things happen and it's good to know this stuff)
<Mmm, no... and some more-wild stocks generally require live foods>
What heater would you recommend for a twelve gallon eclipse? I'm having trouble deciding on that, too.
<Please read here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwheat.htm
and the linked files above, the FAQs and Steve's heater review>
If I tapped lightly on the tank
<Don't Do This! Very damaging to the life inside>
in a certain order to give my fish commands, would that stress it? Or would I be better off signaling with a flash light? (yes, this is a serious question...it's for a senior project...)
&<The light or even just an outside "clicker"... a classical behavioral study signaling tool>
Thank you for your time :)br /> Maggie Harris
&<Welcome. Bob Fenner>

Wild Bettas, sourcing     11/26/11
Hi WWM crew, let me start off by saying this is my favorite website for anything aquarium related, thanks for all your help. Now for the question; I know some of you might be from Southern California, and more particularly Orange County, CA. I was wondering if any of you know where I might be able to find wild caught Bettas offered for sale locally. Any information would be greatly appreciated and thanks in advance.
<I do live in S. Cal. (San Diego), and know how I'd set out to find/purchase Betta spp., including other than splendens.
First off, search the Int'l Betta site: http://www.ibcbettas.org/pages/
Further, I'd contact the local "fish clubs"... there's a few in OC and environs, and ask whomever is listed as principal contact if they know of members who husband these Anabantoids.
Lastly, am cc'ing Sabrina Fullhart here re... She is also keen on this group... and very likely has valuable input to offer. Cheers, and good hunting.
Bob Fenner> 

PetSmart Bettas  6/1/10
<Hello Marcia. Melinda here tonight.>
I have to ask this. Recently I was walking through the local PetSmart and noticed a HUGE display of male Bettas. They were housed in individual cups with no more than 8 oz. of water per fish.
<This is standard for the pet fish industry. Ideally, the water in these cups is changed daily. What individual companies/stores do is up to them, so you should probably inquire with management at that store.>
The cups had lids and were stacked. It dawned on me that there was no reasonable way to get to all the cups to feed these guys.
<I cannot speak for that company's policy on feeding fish, and I would suggest you ask the manager on duty next time you're in the store what their policy is. In any case, I can state that fish do not have to be fed every day, and in fact, can go up to two weeks without food. Obviously, not ideal, but then, neither is keeping them in little cups. If a store chooses not to clean those cups daily, then it is really better that the fish eat less, so that he produces less waste. On the other hand, it sounds like they would only have to un-stack the cups in order to feed the fish.>
I am horrified if my suspicion is correct. Please tell me it isn't.
<I cannot say. The person to ask would be someone at the store.>
Are the Bettas in stores like this considered "disposable?"
<I purchased my own Betta from a PetSmart. I have had him for about two years, and in no way consider him disposable. I really don't care what the store thinks; it is my action and my effort that matter to my particular fish. As for what the store thinks, I would guess that the store sees a Betta, sold for five or six bucks, as a stepping stone to a container, decor, and food sold with him -- I have even seen something called "Betta Water" -- all in all, a pretty lucrative business.>
I am wondering if it is the industry standard in this type of store just to order these fish, unpack them from the packing crate and leave them without care until they are sold or die?
<Again, if you are concerned, the person to ask is someone in management at your local fish store.>
Marcia Rasmussen
<--Melinda><<Well done Melissa... fair-minded, even-handed. BobF>>

To Neale; Writing and Betta bio.  12/02/08 I would like to thank you for all your tips in writing for magazines. It was a great help and I can't wait to write more. I can't tell you how much I appreciate your guidance. As a side note, if you recall I wrote to you about a sick Betta (he's actually the blue Betta in my article, aptly named 'Blue'). Well about a week after I spoke with you he passed away. And I agree with you that it HAD to have been age. It bugged me so much how quickly his demeanor changed....I thought I became a bad fish mommy. He's in a better place now...(the garden).....but my other two Bettas (Ghost and Sparks) are fine. Sparks is the other Betta in the article. Well, thanks once again for everything and I can't wait to snorkel again in the warm waters of Mexico. (it's very very cold here). Lonnie <Hello Lonnie, I'm glad you enjoyed writing for CA, and thanks for your contribution. I'm sorry about the demise of your blue Betta; at least he lasted long enough to make it into print! It's easy to become attached to happy, healthy Bettas, but the fact they're essentially annual fish in the wild means they never really last for much beyond a year or two in captivity. There are some other, larger Betta species out there, and I'd encourage you to try tracking some of these down. Betta unimaculata gets to over 12 cm/4 inches in length and should live for several years. They're mouthbrooders as well, so very different fish when it comes to behaviour. Anyway, have fun with your fish and your research! Neale.>

Finding Decent Bettas 11/17/2008 I am located in Sacramento, CA and I cannot find a site online that sells Bettas, can you point me in the right direction of Bettas for sale online? I have checked eBay; too expensive to ship from Thailand and what not....but any other places I HAVE found don't have anything in stock so do you know of any other Betta sellers online. My local pet stores carry un-attractive male Bettas...and I mean REAL unattractive! Thanks, Candice < The California Betta Society can be reached at http://www.cbsbettas.org/. They have great Bettas that are often put up for sale at fish club meetings. The Sacramento Aquarium Society might have some members that are part of the Betta club too.-Chuck>

Purchasing a Betta  -08/27/08 Dear WWM Crew, <Ave,> Hi, can you please tell me which is a hardier Betta to purchase, a Crowntail, Delta or a Halfmoon? <No significant difference. How long/well a Betta lives depends much more on the environment you create for it. For every Betta that survives in a bowl, there's at least a dozen that don't. So setting up a nice 5-10 gallon tank with a heater and hood will make a world of difference. Add some floating plants and if you want a few shrimps and snails to pick up any uneaten food. Perfect Betta habitat. All of these "fancy" Bettas are hopelessly inbred, so it's a bit of lottery what you get in terms of genetics, unless you're obtaining them from a dedicated breeder you know and trust. Pet shop Bettas are mass produced to a price, not a standard. So go shopping with your eyes wide open. Good livestock, whether a fish or a horse, rarely comes cheap.> Or it really does not matter what breed it is. <If it was me, I'd go for a wild-type Betta splendens or better yet some other Betta spp. any day of the week. Fancy Bettas are incredibly boring compared to something like Betta simplex or Betta imbellis. Your own tastes may vary, of course.> I did have a Crowntail Betta that lived for 2½ years. I do know what to look for when purchasing a Betta. <If you just want a pet, then pick one that isn't too big (i.e., isn't too old), has good colour and complete fins. That's about it really. If you want a "quality" fish though you need to research the variety and type, and then get a checklist of what the key points of that variety might be. For the top quality fish, spend some time tracking down respected breeders. Betta-specific forums will be able to offer you help here for breeders in your country/region.> I should check the following: the Surrounding Environment - the jars in which the Betta fish is kept in is clean, the Body, the Fins and Gills, the Color, the Eyes and the Behavior). <This is all absolutely standard for any fish. Yes, check the environment is clean and has things like uneaten food removed. Look to see that the fish is alert and moving normally. Check the fins aren't ragged (unless they're meant to be for that variety) and certainly avoid any fish with signs of Finrot or Fungus. Look to see that the abdomen is slightly rounded but not swollen.> Please give advise. Thanks ahead of time for your help. Jean <Hope this helps! Cheers, Neale.>

Female Betta stkg. -- Grammar/punctuation/spelling is your friend. -- 09/25/07 hello! <Hello there question mark person, Andrea with you today. The shift key is just below the caps lock on the left for future reference.> I will have 2 five gallon tanks left over, and was wondering how many female betas <bettas> could I fit in one. <I would say no more than three, and though much less aggressive than males, please do keep an eye on them, and separate if need be. Keep spare containers of an appropriate size, or a dividing mechanism available if they become aggressive toward one another.> I will have all live plants and a sponge filter in the tanks (the other tank I will be using as a hospital tank). <Sounds lovely, I am sure the ladies will love the plants and gentle filtration.> <You are welcome? Good day? Who are you? Grammar/punctuation/spelling is your friend.> <Andrea>

The Noble, Abused, Underrated FW Betta  7/21/07 What is the difference between a Fancy Betta Fish, and a Fighter Betta Fish? <Evening Renee, Andrea with you tonight. I hope you don't mind my using your query for a slight diatribe on one of my favorite fish. First off, allow me to point you to a fine source of information of the freshwater Betta splendens, our very own WetWebMedia.Com: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettafaqs.htm. Please feel free to read that, as well as the linked articles above. If you are considering a Betta, please, choose carefully and wisely, and provide it a proper home. Bettas are among the most misunderstood and mistreated animals in this hobby. I hope someday to write an article about the proper husbandry of these personable, beautiful and fascinating animals. In short, there is no difference. "Fancy" Bettas may be used to denote a more structured, bred Betta with a tail that is "Crowned", "Half-Moon", or "Plakat" among other types, or specifically bred for a color variant, such and the white lined "Butterfly" or the popular "Mustard Gas" color strain. The "Siamese Fighting Fish" is just another name for the Betta, and frequently what the "Betta in a cup" is sold as. Betta breeding is very popular in many countries overseas and is taking a foothold in the USA. These Bettas often sell for 10 to 20 times what you would pay at your local chain pet store, some upwards of hundreds of dollars, and quite worth the money if you ask me. If you are considering one of these fine animals for a pet, I encourage you to do plenty of research on providing them a proper life, and home, and please, come back and ask any questions you may have on doing so. I'll be happy to help you. > Kind Regards, Renee Kohncke <Thanks> <Andrea>

Betta care lament... deplorable conditions, cruelty, Wal-Mart and others  12/17/05 I have been on this computer for hours trying to get every bit of   information I can on how to take the best care of these Bettas possible. I  bought this poor little guy because he was sick and couldn't leave him at Wal  Mart to suffer. I had even sat him on the sink area where they would see him,  because, he looked like he was dying. I went back in 2 days later and there he  was, back on the shelf. I think if these stores want to sell Bettas they need to  get them into a regular heated tank with dividers and supply the proper   information to the purchaser when they adopt one. <I could not agree with you more> People don't seem to think  fish as something that hurts or how it would be to have to be at the mercy of  someone to make there world clean and safe. If more people would put themselves  in that animals place, be it fish or animal, they would take a lot better care of   them. Thanks so much for at least trying to help. Sincerely,  Brandy <Thank you... indeed your statements are gratifying to read, understand that others care and know... I don't shop at Wal-Mart generally, out of a sense of purpose (I don't agree with many of their policies... no health care for 1.5 million employees, buying life insurance for some older....) There is much more to business, dealing with others than "a/the bottom line", and the care of Bettas is amongst these. Thank you for writing, sharing. Bob Fenner> 

About my Betta Fish 10/13/05 Hello! My name is Patricia Flores.  <Hi! Catherine, here.>  I am from Bakersfield, California.  <Originally NC, now in Pasadena, CA.>  I have had my Betta fish since August of 2002. Is it normal for a Betta fish to live for more than three years?  <With good care these fish often live to about 3 years. About a decade ago, 5 was not uncommon, but as they've been bred and inbred, 3 seems to be about maximum. Congrats on good fish husbandry. Catherine> 

Crown tail/comb tail Betta - or a problem Hello, <Hi there> A friend gave me a Betta about a month or so ago - I had goldfish as a kid - but haven't had any for years - so this is my first real experience with fish. <A wonderful hobby> She gave him to me in a small bowl and he himself looked very small - and very skittish when I fed him or went near the bowl. I set up a 3 gallon tank with a light, silk plants, gravel, a filter etc - it is the Eclipse brand with the bio sphere and everything. Marz seems very happy in this tank - he is active, eats well, is no longer afraid of me - comes up to my hand to eat his food - etc. - he seems perfectly normal and happy. <Good> However - over the past 2 weeks or so, his tail has divided out and looks like what I have seen on the web called a crown tail or comb tail. His tail has not changed in color - and it is the same length (if not longer) as it was before it divided. The splits are uniform and stop about half way up his tail. Just yesterday, I noticed (or at least think I noticed) that his bottom fin starting to do the same thing. If he is a crown tail - would this have been present from birth - or does it develop as they mature? If there is a problem, what should I do to fix it?  <Does happen... developmentally. Nothing wrong here> BTW - I like your site and am going to start varying his diet as you suggest. Thanks, J <Thank you. Bob Fenner> 

Betta offer Hello. <Hi there> My name is Add, age 31. I have breed Betta by myself. I'm looking for Betta business. I'm Betta seller from Thailand , I would like to offer you about beautiful Betta in a wholesale price.  I hope you will be interest in my fishes. I can send them to you and alive delivery guarantee.  My Betta have many color and good healthy. See the example pic. I have superdelta , halfmoon 180 degree , crowntail , plakat Which type do you interest please contact me and you can contact me directly by MSN at  plathai@hotmail.com I'm looking forward to hear your information . Thank you, Add <Add, we don't sell livestock, but will place your message on our site and your pix with your email so people can contact you if they're interested. Bob Fenner>

Sorry and thanks for your kind. Date: Sat, 12 Feb 2005 Hi Bob   Sorry for disturb you. Really I don't know that. I just want to sell my Betta and I got your e-mail from yahoo. I  just start this business and I need customer. Please forgave to me. Thank you very much for post my  message on your site. Thank you for your kindness. Add <No worries. Thank you for your efforts and beautiful Bettas. Bob Fenner>

Betta's in Japan I hope that I am contacting the right person here. I saw this article at this web address. http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm I am assuming that this is your article & email address, if not sorry for the inconvenience. Anyhow, I am in a similar boat. I am a military spouse & we are stationed at Misawa AB, Japan. I love Betta's & I always thought that they came from Japan. So we were happy that we would have such an amazing selection. However, ever pet store we've been to does not seem to sell any Betta's. Do you know where I might be able to purchase them in the northern half of the main island of Japan or an online business that I could ship within Japan? Any information you can give me is greatly appreciated. <I can tell you that in September of last year, 2003 there were Betta's in the pet store in Osu Kannon.  I hope that helps. MacL> Thank you, Amanda Moore Betta's in Japan I hope that I am contacting the right person here. I saw this article at this web address.   http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm I am assuming that this is your article & email address, if not sorry for the inconvenience. Anyhow, I am in a similar boat. <No worries. Help is available> I am a military spouse & we are stationed at Misawa AB, Japan. I love Betta's & I always thought that they came from Japan. So we were happy that we would have such an amazing selection. However, every pet store we've been to does not seem to sell any Betta's. <Unusual> Do you know where I might be able to purchase them in the northern half of the main island of Japan or an online business that I could ship within Japan? Any information you can give me is greatly appreciated. Thank you, Amanda Moore <Thank you for writing. Betta's are amongst both the most beautiful of fishes and most easily shipped. Do try putting in the terms "Betta clubs" in your computer search engine and contact some of these (anywhere in the world). You will find there are many fine people involved in the keeping and trading of Betta splendens... who will come to your assistance in procuring specimens. Bob Fenner>

Bettas in Britain - 02/25/2004 Hi Robert! <Hi, Lars!  Sabrina here, today> I am a Norwegian Betta breeder looking for some new breeding stock.  My wife is visiting London soon because she is going to the Crufts dog show in Birmingham. <Sounds like fun.> I wonder if you have or know anyone in London with quality bettas? <To be honest, I do not know anyone specific to direct you to.  However, visit the website of the International Betta Congress (IBC) here:  http://www.ibcbettas.org/ .  I'm sure if you contact them, they'll be much better able to direct you to someone than we are.> Have a nice day :))) <You, as well!  And best of luck in finding some new stock!> Lars Torjussen <Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

New Print and eBook on Amazon

Betta Success
Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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