Betta splendens: Labyrith Fish

by Christie M Fournier

One of the major factors that make Bettas so desirable is their ability to be housed in smaller bowls without a filtration or aeration system. This is possible because they don't require oxygen rich water to survive. They have the remarkable ability to surface for air. Of course this doesn't mean we don't have to take care of their water. Monitoring water quality becomes even more important because of their simple bowl set-ups. With that said, let's discuss the term, labyrinth fish.

"Bettas use their labyrinth organ to take oxygen from the atmosphere."

Labyrinth Fish: (LAB-uh-rinth fish)

Labyrinth fish are fish that have a special lung-like breathing organ called a labyrinth organ, which allows them to take air right out of the atmosphere when they surface. This organ is located just above the gills and is made up of tiny folded bones that somewhat resemble a maze or labyrinth. These tiny bony plates contain blood vessels where the exchange of gasses occur when the fish takes a breath. This ability to pull oxygen right from the atmosphere is especially useful in slow moving or stagnant water where dissolved oxygen levels are very low such as ponds and rice paddies. It even means that some species of fish can actually exit the water, cross land and enter a new body of water without running out of oxygen. Fish who have this organ use it as a supplemental breathing apparatus and still have gills but will continue to surface for air regardless of oxygen levels in the water. There are many species of labyrinth fish that have been discovered but the most common include species of bettas, gouramis and paradise fish.


Special thanks to Christie M Fournier

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History And Background Of Betta Fish

By Michael Worthington

Historically speaking, Betta Fish are said to have gotten their name from an ancient clan of Asian warriors called the “Bettah.” They were given these warriors’ names because about 150 years ago people enjoyed participating in a popular sport that involved the fighting of two of these warrior fish. (In fact, the sport was so popular that it was regulated – and taxed – by the King of Siam!)
One interesting note about Betta fish fighting is that, unlike cock or dog fighting in the west, at Siamese fighting fish tournaments, the actual fight was more to test the bravery of the fish, rather than a fight to see how much damage would be inflicted, or a death match.
Spectators bet on how long a particular fish would fight, and which one would give up first. (In fact, most fish would only fight once or twice, and then live out the remainder of their lives being pampered and used for breeding.)

Natural Habitat
A Betta fish’s natural habitat is in shallow, tropical water. This is because they need to be able to surface frequently, in order to breathe air. They can be found in nature in rice paddies, drainage ditches, slow moving streams and fresh water ponds. Betta fish have even been known thrive in large puddles! Their natural food source is insects and mosquito larvae.

How Breeding Began
According to historical accounts, a close friend of the King of Siam, Dr. Theodore Cantor received a pair of breeding Bettas from the king in 1840. The doctor bred them and studied them for several years, and then wrote a scientific paper about them, giving them a Latin name of “Macropodus Pugnax.” However, shortly after his paper was published, Dr. Cantor discovered that a species by that name already existed, and so the fish were renamed “Betta Splendens.”

Several breeding pairs of Bettas where sent to Germany in 1896 and then in 1910, Mr. Frank Locke of San Francisco California imported several Bettas to the U.S.A.
One of the fish that he received had unusual red fins – and he excitedly thought he had discovered a new species, and named it “Betta Cambodia.” In reality, he had one of the first of the Betta splendens that had naturally developed new colors and characteristics through breeding.
Since that time, breeders have been able to develop Bettas with all of the vibrant coloring and varied fin shapes that we find today. Betta breeding has become a profitable and ongoing passion for many people today, many of whom started with just one or two Bettas in a small aquarium.


Mike owns Betta Fish Expert which helps people learn about betta fish care

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Basic Information about Betta Fish

by Yanik White

One of the really cool things about betta fish, is that they have extremely well-developed eyesight. Because of this, the betta fish will learn to swim to the surface when it sees your hand over the bowl to feed it.

Betta Fish are also called Siamese Fighting Fish. The name Betta is pronounced as the Greek letter beta, and because of this, the name is often misspelled in American English, with one t instead of two. The name is however unrelated to the Greek letter, and is derived from the Thai 'ikan bettah'. In Thailand, betta fish is known as pla-kad. Bettas live in freshwater. Betta fish are one of the most popular aquarium fish, mainly because of its appearance, since betta fish certainly are not one of the easiest fish to keep in an aquarium. Betta Fish originates from the Mekong basin in Southeast Asia.

Betta fish grows to about 6 cm, and its life-span is on average four years, but well-kept aquarium specimens can live longer than six years.

Sometimes, when betta fish are aggravated, they "puff-out". When they are "puffing-out", the fish puffs out the gill covers and fins to appear more impressive. They do it to either intimidate rival males, or as an act of courtship (to impress the female :-)

In Asian countries, the betta fish are often used in fights similar to cockfighting. These fighting fishes usually have much shorter fins than the betta fish we are accustomed to see in the west. Betta fish in the wild usually have very short fins, but breeders have developed brilliantly-colored and longer-finned varieties.

Betta fish creates bubble nests, which are floating masses of bubbles. They are blown with saliva bubbles. These bubble nests are meant as a place for fertilized eggs to be deposited. The bubble nest is guarded by the male until the small betta fishes hatch. The bubble nests built by the male bettas are made from air bubbles coated with saliva to increase the strength. When the male betta makes the nest, it makes a louder noise then it does when breathing normally.

After the betta fish have spawned, the eggs floats into the bubble nest from below, or the male betta carries them there while holding the eggs in his mouth, as if he were to eat them. The male betta will then guard the bubble nest for the next 24-48 hours until the eggs hatch. He also keeps a close watch, and retrieves any eggs or fry that fall from the nest. He will also repair the nest by adding bubbles where needed. After the fry hatch in 24-48 hours, the father will tend the fish for the next couple of weeks.


Yanik White have spent years researching, collecting and breeding Betta Fish, aka. Siamese Fighting Fish. He breeds Betta Fish for a living, and sells them through his pet store.

He writes about his experiences and shares his tips at his blog: Betta Fish

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The Amazing History Of Siamese Fighting Fish

By: FishGuru

Betta fish or "Siamese fighting fish" are valued not only for their colors, but also for their flowing and showy fins as well. To keep your Betta fish active, happy and healthy there are certain things you must do.

Betta Fish are tropical native fish to the Southern parts of Asia and the countries of Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. Betta Fish thrive in the natural wilderness, and in places where there is small reedy like pools, slow flowing creeks and shallow ponds. Considered the most beautiful of all tropical fish, they get their name "Siamese Fighting Fish" because of their aggressiveness towards other male Bettas.

They're also aggressive in nature too--because they have to survive in smaller bodies of water, and therefore tend to fiercely protect their area (where they live) or they'll loseg out on breeding with a female Betta (who shares the male Bettas pond, stream, etc.) to a more dominate male Betta fish.

Sometimes Bred For Fighting

People have been breeding Siamese Fighting Fish for MANY thousands of years. In places like Thailand for example... they even breed Betta Fish for fighting. The Bettas which are bred as ornamental types are usually MUCH prettier though, than the Bettas bred for fighting.

These Siamese Fighting Fish we love to call Betta Fish also have a very unique characteristic which actually makes them much different in some respects to other types of tropical fish.


Because these special fish can breath both through their gills, and through a special organ called the "labyrinthine" which allows the Betta fish to take in pure oxygen when there is a limited supply of oxygen found in its water environment.

Maintaining Healthy Betta Fish

Bettas are fresh water tropical fish which love shallow water, and thrive in warmer temperatures around the 30° mark. Nevertheless, if you live in a more temperate climate, then you'll need to add an aquarium heater to your tank. This is especially so if the temperature of the water tends to drop below the 18° mark.

The Betta fish can oftentimes survive in poorer quality water, but you should always endeavor to change the water frequently to ensure that your pet Betta is happy, healthy and active. These gorgeous long fin beauties really do need their water changed at least one to three times a week. And if you decide to put your pet Betta in a small bowl then you may need to change the water every few days.

Bettas are prone to pick-up a number of common diseases like "dropsy and fin rot" which in most cases is more or less associated with the quality of water in which they live. In a home tank environment there are special medicines available such as Bettafix which is excellent for aquarium fish like the tropical Betta Fish.

Aquarium Tank Space

Although not advised a Betta fish will live in small bowls and tanks. Many times Bettas are kept in small plastic jars and even smaller glass containers or a tank purchased from the local pet shop.

It's always best though to keep Bettas in separate containers unless you are thinking about breeding. Another thing to watch out for is trying to put different varieties of tropical fish in a single bowl ortank.


Because long finned, redish colored tropical fish almost always pick-on Betta Fish. Tropical fish such as tiger barbs, serpae, and even tetras which tend to attact the Bettas flowing fin.

Anyone can own a Betta Fish. They're an especially good animal to have as a first-time pet owner or somebody that has very little time or space in their lives for a regular size pet. And Betta fish are also very low maintenance as well.

About the Author:
Peter Myles is an expert in the care and breeding of betta fish. He provides some stunning photos, and great tips and free advice at his website

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Betta Care: Points to Remember

Author: Mike Hickmon

Once you have chosen the living space for your betta fish, then you are almost ready to add your fish to their new environment but there are some important points that you should take into account for optimum betta care to keep your fish free from danger and disease and to keep them healthy.
When decorating your betta’s home you should:
  1. Take care to avoid jagged rocks and decorations because the betta fish could tear their fins on these. Stick to smooth surfaces when thinking about optimum betta care.
  2. Make sure that you avoid any hard plastic plants as they can damage the betta’s fins because they can be quite rough. If you are not sure about the roughness of the plants, then why not try the ‘pantyhose test.’ Rub the plastic plant over a pair of pantyhose and if they snag or rip them then this means that the plants might damage the betta’s fins. To be safe, by silk plants to increase betta care and happiness.
  3. You don’t have to use live plants but they can be a great addition to the betta fish tanks. Betta’s enjoy hiding in the leaves to sleep and they can be much prettier than silk plants- and gentler on the betta’s fins.

Another important point to consider when it comes to betta care is the water preparation. You should always use a water conditioner for any fish when putting tap water into a tank, and it is important to note that chlorine in the water can be harmful to betta fish. You can also let the water stand for a few days to remove the chlorine, but it is still very important to use a conditioner to remove chloramines.
When you fill your tank, you should fill it to about 80% of its capacity if it is an open top tank because when motivated, betta fish can jump over 3 inches! And you don’t want your fish to leap out all over the place. you can use a mesh cloth which sits over the top of the tank so that the fish are not encouraged to jump and your can add extra water which will make the betta fish happier and can access the surface air easier. Before you add the fish to the tank, be sure to test the temperature of the water, it must be maintained at 78-82 degrees so a small heater will make this easier to do because the water temperature is often cooler than room temperature. You are now ready to add your betta fish to the tank!

About the Author:

The author has created a review site that provides you with the most in-depth and complete analysis of the best betta care guide called Caring for Betta Fish.

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Siamese Fighting Fish

By Shirlie Sharpe

Scientific Name:
Betta Splendens
Other Names: Betta
Family: Belontiidae
Origin: Cambodia, Thailand
Adult Size: 3 inches (7 cm)
Social: Males cannot be kept together
Lifespan: 2-3 years
Tank Level: Top dweller
Minimum Tank Size: 3 gallon
Diet: Live foods preferable, will eat flakes and frozen foods
Breeding: Egglayer - bubblenest
Care: Easy to Intermediate
pH: 6.8 - 7.4
Hardenss: up to 20 dGH
Temperature: 75-86 F (24-30 C)


The brilliant coloration, and long flowing fins of the Betta make it one of the most well known of aquarium fish. Colors range from red to blue to white. Females are not as highly colored, and have much shorter fins.


Bettas are one of the most recognized, most colorful, and often most controversial fish in the freshwater hobby. Debates rage about the appropriateness of keeping them in small bowls. To fully understand their needs it is important to become familiar with their native habitat.

Bettas originate in the shallow waters in Thailand (formerly called Siam, hence their name), Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and parts of China. They proliferate rice paddies, shallow ponds, and even slow moving streams. Although many fish keepers are aware that Bettas come from shallow waters, what is often overlooked is the water temperature.
The home countries of the Betta are tropical, which means the water temperature is quite warm, often into the 80's. Bettas thrive on heat, and will become increasingly listless when the water temperature falls below 75 degrees F. Water temperature is perhaps the biggest argument against keeping a betta in a tiny bowl (which cannot readily be heat controlled).

Even though Bettas do well in waters low in dissolved oxygen, that does not mean they require less oxygen than other fish. Bettas have a special respiratory organ that allows them to breath air directly from the surface. In fact they inherently must do so. In experiments where the labyrinth organ was removed, the fish died from suffocation even though the water was saturated with oxygen. For this reason, Bettas must have access to the water surface to breath air directly from the atmosphere.

Optimally the water for keeping healthy Bettas should be soft, warm, with a neutral to slightly acidic pH. Water movement should be kept to a minimum, which means that power filters and powerheads are not suitable. Bettas may be kept in a community tank as long as the water conditions are met, and if no aggressive or fin-nipping fish are present. However, only one male may be kept in each aquarium, unless they are separated by a barrier.

The use of plastic boxes that hang inside the aquarium are a suitable option for keeping more than one betta in a tank, or for keeping them in a tank with fish that might nip their fins. Females will generally not fight with each other, and may be kept in the same tank. NOTE: Selling a betta in a vase with a Peace Lily has become in vogue. However, a flower vase is not a suitable environment for the betta. For more information check the additional information links to the right.


In nature Bettas subsist almost exclusively on insects and insect larvae. They are built with an upturned mouth that is well suited to snatching any hapless insect that might fall into the water. Internally their digestive system is geared for meat, having a much shorter alimentary track than vegetarian fish. For this reason, live foods are the ideal diet for the betta, however they will adapt to eating flake foods and frozen and freeze dried foods.
Brine shrimp, Daphnia, plankton, tubifex, glassworms, and beef heart, are all excellent options that may be found frozen or freeze dried. If flake food is fed, it should be supplemented with frozen and freeze-dried foods, and if possible live foods.

Bettas have a fairly short lifespan, and are most successful as breeders when they under a year old (bettas in pet shops are usually at least six months old). They breed in bubblenests and do not require a large tank or special equipment.
Most breeders find that a bare bottomed tank of roughly ten gallons works well, although smaller tanks are also suitable.Ideally the fish should be conditioned prior to breeding, by feeding them a diet of live foods. The water should be at a pH of about 7.0, and temperature around 80 or slightly above.

The male will blow an elaborate bubble nest when he is ready to spawn. The female should be provided with a hiding place, as males may become aggressive during courtship. Even with a hiding place, it is common for the female to lose a few scales or have their fins frayed during spawning.

When they are ready to spawn, the pair will display intense coloration and begin circling each other under the bubblenest. The male will wrap himself around the female who has turned on her back. As she expels the eggs, they are fertilized and begin to sink. The male will scoop up the eggs and spit them into the nest. From this point on the male will tend the brood. It is advisable to remove the female, as the male may become aggressive towards her as he tends his young.

The male will continue to tend the bubblenest, spitting eggs that fall out back into the nest. In one to two days the eggs will hatch, and the fry will be visible hanging in the bubblenest with their tails pointing downward. They will feed off their yolk sack for another thirty six hours, during which time the male will continue to pick up any fry that fall out of the nest. The male should be removed within two days after the fry hatch, as they may eat the young once they are free swimming.

The fry should be fed a couple of feedings daily of baby brine shrimp or very fine baby food. Tetra makes a dry mixture specifically for egglaying fish, and many pet shops carry frozen baby brine shrimp. Take care not to overfeed, as the uneaten food will foul the water and can quickly prove lethal to the fry.

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Caring for Betta Fish: an Insider's Guide for Betta Lovers

One of the hottest new trends in the world of aquarium fish breeding has to be the care and upkeep of Betta fish. To be sure, there are many other fine examples of water creatures out there that would be well worth your while to purchase and raise. For some reason or another however, Betta fish care has clearly risen to the top of the heap and by all indications this trend will continue for many more years to come.

One of the primary reasons for this seemingly worldwide infatuation with Betta fish is of course the staggering beauty of these underwater denizens. The breathtaking colors and magnificent fins of these elegant creatures combine to produce a marvelous visual effect that is hard to equal in the underwater world—and indeed even above ground! Almost every color of the spectrum is well represented in the appearance of these fishes ranging from solid greens, to stunning reds with green accents on the fins, to golden yellows, to majestic turquoise and marble striped beauties…the range is virtually endless and you would be extremely hard pressed to find any two of these fishes that look exactly alike.

Far beyond any physical beauty, no matter how awesome and spectacular however is the inherent personality that is evident in each of these fishes that they appear to have a monopoly on compared to other underwater creatures. For these remarkable wonders of the natural world are capable of the most endearing antics and mannerisms that only serve to make them more lovable in the eyes of their owners and even manage to captivate the most casual observer. How many fish for instance have you seen or even heard of that wag their tails in a predictable manner? This would no doubt invite comparisons to that other well loved human companion the dog, but make no mistake: these are water creatures and perhaps the best known examples of them to be found. You would perhaps even be tempted to think that these fishes have minds of their own and going by the word of thousands of satisfied Betta owners, you would not be far off at all!

Are you convinced yet? If you are and now fond yourself wanting to know more about these beautiful creatures, you may want to check out a Betta fish guide such as the e-book Caring For Betta Fish: An Insider's Guide For Betta Lovers. This is an ideal companion Betta fish eBook for the aspiring Betta fish owner although even long time Betta fish owners will surely stand to gain valuable knowledge from this book too. Betta fish have the somewhat undeserved reputation for being quite finicky and difficult to care for but you will soon find out with the help of this e-book that this does not have to be the case at all. With a little care and the advice that you gain from this guide you may very well find yourself with a tank full of Betta fish, all swimming away happily in the best of health.

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