Basic Information about Betta Fish

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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.

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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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