Why Does My Betta Fight? Its All in the Breeding!

March 10, 2013

Have ever asked yourself the question, “Why does my betta fight?” In Thailand (formerly Siam) people bet on the outcome of a betta fight, and raising and breeding betta fish (called Pla Kat in Thailand) specifically for fighting has become a nationwide hobby. The increased popularity of this “sport” over the last several hundred years has actually made the betta a much more aggressive fish than nature intended, but shortened the betta lifespan. Let’s take a look at the way breeding has given your beautiful Betta Splendens its fierce nature.

Betta Fish Fighting

Betta Fish Fighting

Ever since American C. Tate Regan named this colorful fish Betta Splendens (splendid betta) in 1909, hundreds of color and fin varieties have been bred, but few know that the color of a betta has a lot to do with how aggressive he is. Going back hundreds of years, a betta’s colors were tracked, and if the offspring of a particular betta were noted to be more aggressive than another, the coloring was noted, and bred then with other bettas of another agressive coloration, creating a particularly nasty fish in an entirely new color variation. Lineage can often be tracked back several generations to a particular color or fin style.

When weaker fish were bred, as they proved to be less aggressive, they were discarded. Nobody wanted weak fish in a betta fight! Because of this, after hundreds of years, the fish you now see in your local pet store are much more aggressive and fighting-inclined than nature intended. Just think, your betta might be the ancestor of a great fighting champion. Hail betta!

Further evidence in favor of the breeding argument is the fact that a betta fight between two Pla Kat Tung (a betta raised in nature) lasts only about fifteen minutes. However, a betta fight between two Pla Kat Mor (commercially grown betta) can last up to six hours.

The best fighters fall into three categories.

1 – Hokmokwai

This betta has a gray-blue/green body and no red coloration in its unpaired fins, with black pelvic fins.

2 – Angchae

The Angchae has a totally green body with its unpaired fins only half red.

3 – Honkamten

This fish is identified by a brown body with rows of green spots and a crescent pattern on the tail fin.

A betta fight generally never leads to death, it is more chasing and nipping, so a healthy fighting fish can be used for years. Pet-store bettas don’t usually live longer than six months, though the betta lifespan can be stretched up to five years if proper steps are taken and the tank is maintained properly. There are basically three secret ingredients to raising a healthy, long-living Siamese fighting fish; tank conditions, proper diagnosis of disease (betta get sick very easily), and tank maintenance.

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3 Things You Must Do BEFORE You Buy Betta Fish!

March 31, 2010

3 Things to Do Before You Buy Betta Fish
By Elizabeth Christopher

I know, I know! You are all fired up and ready to buy betta fish, throw them in a bowl, and revel in their splendor. Well, there will not be that much splendor to revel in if you don’t do a few simple things first. And besides, you can extend your betta’s lifespan simply by following these three basic steps before you rush right out and buy betta fish.

1 – Buy Betta Tank and Supplies First!

People generally buy betta supplies after they have decided to buy a betta fish. They see a beautiful betta in a bowl, get the salesperson over, ask a few questions, and then say, “I’ll take him!”. Then they start asking questions about tank size, food, heaters, filters and everything else they will need. My friend, you will need to buy betta essentials and have your betta tank set up for at least 48 hours before you add your betta. When setting up a new tank, I do not even look at the bettas in stock. I get everything I need to have a happy, healthy betta and head home to set it up and get the water ready. Then, a couple of days later, I go on the hunt for that perfect betta.

2 – Betta Tank Size DOES Matter!

Even though betta fish can live their entire life in one of those tiny betta fish bowls, this will shorten their life dramatically. I can also honestly state that I have seen every fish that I transferred from a tiny bowl to a five or ten gallon betta tank become a whole new fish. Their colors will brighten tremendously. Their personality will develop in its unique way, and you will see a strong, healthy fish that interacts with you happily and daily. And if you ever plan on buying another betta, you can divide a ten gallon tank, thereby not having to purchase a new betta tank. Betta breeding is also made much more successful when you start with a five or ten gallon betta tank.

3 – Heat and Filtrate!

A sponge-type filter is perfect, because it allows good bacteria to develop in the sponge, and they help regulate ammonia levels. And a heater is definitely needed to keep that temperature in a nice 79 to 82 degree range. Make sure you buy betta heaters that have about 2 to 4 watts per gallon of tank size so it can keep up.

Guys, these are just a few steps to get you going in the right direction. Please consult a comprehensive Betta Care Manual for more in-depth explanation.

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Elizabeth Christopher


Betta Water – Proper Betta Tank Setup For Healthy Fish

March 30, 2010

Betta Water – Proper Betta Tank Setup For Healthy Fish
By Elizabeth Christopher

Getting betta water just right is the single most important step to increasing your betta lifespan from the industry average of six moths to a whopping three to five years. This will insure proper betta temperature and water quality. This generally covers heating, water set-up, filtration and substrate (tank flooring) before introducing your fish. Get a comprehensive Betta Care Guide to cover all the deatils.

Betta water in the wild is generally clear to brackish, with little or no water flow. However, betta water in captivity is a whole different situation. A betta tank must be cycled to lower ammonia levels, kept at a constant temperature range, and have constant water changes to ensure a happy, healthy fish.

An ideal betta tank is a five or ten gallon low, rectangular shape. Bettas do not live in deep waters in the wild, so purchasing a deep betta tank is a waste of resources, and your betta will not fully use or enjoy his surroundings. Get a glass or acrylic betta tank, because these do not scratch or fade like plastic, and provide maximum visual enjoyment.

Purchase a water treatment kit at your pet store, follow the directions and get your betta water ready. It is important to let the water sit for 24 to 48 hours to allow the chemicals to affect the water properly. This will get the nitrates started that are needed in your betta tank to offer the best environment for healthy fish.

Substrate is an important part of betta tank setup, since it plays host to good bacteria that form in the tank floor and eat harmful bacteria and ammonia that comes from the fish’s waste. A medium size gravel is fine. I have found that sand, while beautiful in appearance, is much harder to clean, and can grow algae much more rapidly than gravel will.

Purchase a heater that has 3 – 5 watts per gallon size of betta tank. This will keep the betta water at the proper temperature, 78 to 82 degrees. Also get a temperature gauge to double check the heater’s readout.

When purchasing a filtration system, get one that contains some type of sponge filter. This is a great place for good bacteria to live, and help your fish ward off disease by keeping the betta water at a healthy level. Just as the bacteria in your substrate cleans the water, this bacteria polices the nitrite and nitrate levels in your betta tank, keeping them at an acceptable level.

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