We sure are destroying fishes, sea water dumping, oil leakages in mass scale; fish trawling for business, environmental changes due to pollutions and global warming are some of the atrocious human deeds endangering the marine life. While so many marine animals have gone extinct some like the beautiful betta fish are amongst the endangered fishes. Amongst the 73 recognized species of betta fishes, some are extinct while others are traveling on the same verge.
Blue betta fishes, colloquially known as Siamese fighting fish (B.splendens) are a large genus of seventy-three species, vibrantly hued and small (2.5 – 12.5) belonging to the gourami family scientifically known as Osphronemidae. Bettas have a typically unique organ known as the labyrinth which allows them to breathe atmospheric air making them anabantoids. With this ability they can thrive in water conditions with low oxygen levels which would normally kill other fish, in places like puddles, rice paddies, canals, drainage ditches and in almost stagnant streams bettas can easily live. They’re easily found in the basin of Laos, Vietnam, Thailand and Mekong. IUCN listed them as a vulnerable genus.
Bettas are some of the unique fishes; they have upturned mouths and feed on the water’s surface mainly. They enjoy a good diet of daphnia, brine shrimps and dried blood worms but commercial betta foods are the best. These commercial pellets include a diet of all necessary minerals and vitamins along with a mixture of all the food mentioned above, which are very nutritious and help in better development and enhancement of the length and the color of bettas. Forget the misconception of bettas surviving on plant roots or peace lilies; they require a healthy diet of protein and fibers.
Mixing up with other fishes
Some species of bettas don’t enjoy schools while others bear up with it. Blue bettas don’t prefer to live in schools of fish; they fight a lot with other fishes regardless of the gender and may cause harm to them. In many cases, bettas have broken the fins, blinded and injured other fishes in the same aquarium. Bettas prefer to live alone and swim alone; they may feel comfortable and safe in an aquatic cave or dense, if you have a planted corner you’ll find them peacefully living there.
Methods should be applied to maintain the PH of the water while changing it; this will not upset the fish’s biological balance. All methods to keep the tank clean from bacterias and ammonia should be used twice a week. Always remember disinfectants, soaps or aquarium decorators harm the fishes.
- Solid color- no variation in color, monochrome
- Bi-color- body has the same color except for the fins
- Cambodian native- color is pale with fins of solid color
- Butterfly- fins have diversified colors
- Marble- irregular patterns formed all over the body including the fins
- Pastel- body is pale and fleshy, light shades of color found only on fins
- Veiltail- common tail, one split only
- Crown tail- give the appearance of a crown
- Half moon- crisp ‘D’ shaped tail
- Rose tail- Finnage overlaps to look like a rose
- Ph 6.5- 7 is always preferred for bettas. Cold and alkaline water slowly kills their immune system and makes them ill, warm and acidic water suits bettas.
- Shapes of the tails in bettas vary especially depending upon the species.
- Some bettas have lived well through their teens while others live for 2-3 years.
The beautifully finned betta fishes are growing less in number; don’t let these flamboyantly hued precious bettas slip their lives away. Let them fight; let them make your aquarium an active place. Do the best to let these dazzling creatures live, save marine life.