Siamese fighting fish, also known as bettas, are popular in aquariums due to their vibrant colors and interesting personalities. But do they make good pets?
The answer is yes – but with some caveats. Siamese fighting fish require special care and attention to stay healthy and happy. They need a clean tank, the right food, and plenty of stimulation to keep them content. If you're willing to put in the effort, these beautiful creatures can be an excellent addition to your home.
What Are Betta Fish?
Siamese fighting fish, or Bettas, are freshwater fish native to Southeast Asia. They are known for their vibrant colors and aggressive behavior. Bettas are popular among aquarium hobbyists because of their unique personalities and striking beauty. They can be found in various colors, patterns, and sizes. With proper care and maintenance, Siamese fighting fish can live up to three years in captivity.
They have become increasingly popular due to their low-maintenance requirements and ability to thrive in smaller tanks or bowls. Still, these unique fish have several requirements that you'll need to meet for them to thrive.
Betta fish are an excellent choice for those looking for an inexpensive pet. There is an initial cost of purchasing and setting up the aquarium, but the ongoing costs of keeping these fish are also minimal. All they need to stay healthy is food, water conditioner, and regular water changes. In addition, betta fish are easy to care for and can be kept in small tanks, which makes them ideal for those living in tight spaces.
Pro: Low Maintenance
Betta fish are an excellent choice for those looking for a relatively low-maintenance pet. They require less cleaning than other common fish like goldfish and produce less ammonia than other fish, meaning their tank stays cleaner for longer.
They generally require twice-daily feeding and frequent water changes to keep them healthy and happy. These fish only need a little space, with a 5-gallon tank being enough for one fish; they can be kept anywhere, from a desk to a living room.
Bettas are also self-contained, meaning they can take care of themselves without needing extra help from you. Furthermore, their independent nature means they won't need as much attention as other pets. They don't need to be taken care of daily and can be left alone when you go to work or school. Betta fish are happy on their own and require very little attention from their owners.
Pro: Beautiful and Interesting
Betta fish are some of the most beautiful and exciting fish you can find in the aquarium world. Their bright colors and flowing fins make a great addition to any home aquarium. Not only are they intriguing to watch, but they also have fun personalities that make them an even better choice for your tank. They are active swimmers and love exploring their environment, making them an excellent choice for those looking for an interactive pet.
Con: They Don't Play Well with Others
Betta fish are popular aquarium pets due to their vibrant colors and unique personalities, but they don't mix well with all other fish. This is because of their aggressive tendencies and territorial nature - especially males. Betta fish can also become territorial and fight with one another if placed in the same tank.
Still, temperaments do vary among betta fish, so it is vital to research the individual before placing them in a tank with other fish. Depending on the aggressiveness of the individual, they can sometimes be placed in a tank with nerite snails, ghost shrimp, ember tetras, dwarf frogs, and kuhli loaches.
Con: They Need Care and Attention
Betta fish are beautiful and captivating but require more care and attention than many people realize. They're not a "set up and go" type of pet, as they are sensitive to water quality; they also require slow filters to keep their tanks clean (their fins make it difficult to swim against strong currents). Otherwise, their small tanks can quickly become polluted without proper filtration. Therefore, it is crucial for anyone considering a betta fish to understand the level of care that these fish need to stay healthy and happy.
Siamese fighting fish require a diet that is both nutritious and varied. As carnivores, betta fish prefer live foods like brine shrimps or worms, though good quality pellets should form the basis of their diet. Daily meals are required, but it is important not to overfeed them as this can lead to health issues. Aim to feed them as much as they can in two minutes, twice daily. With the proper care and attention, betta fish can be an excellent addition to any home aquarium.
Checklist For Keeping a Pet Siamese Fighting Fish
Choose the right tank. Select a tank that is a minimum of 5 gallons (5-10 gallons is the optimum size for a single Siamese Fighting fish). Ensure it has a lid to avoid your betta jumping out and check that there is space between the water and the cover, as these fish sometimes like to come to the surface for a breath of fresh air. If you're housing aquatic plants in your tank, ensure that there is a light to help them grow.
Purchase a filter. A filter is essential for aerating and circulating the water in your tank; it also helps to remove toxic waste, helping to keep your fish healthy. Important qualities to look for in a filter are one designed for your specific tank size plus one that allows for a low flow rate, as betta fish will not tolerate a strong current.
Add a Heater. Bettas descend from tropical climates, requiring a warm temperature of between 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit to thrive. Many tropical fish tanks come with inbuilt heaters, but submersible heaters are a better option for Siamese Fighting fish as they provide a more consistent temperature. Adding a thermometer is also a good idea, as it allows you to monitor the temperature of your tank regularly.
Add Enrichment. Bettas are fun-loving, curious, and active fish who need plants and decorations in their tank to keep them entertained. Give your Siamese Fighting Fish new places to explore and provide places for them to hide. Artificial plants are an excellent alternative to natural ones as they will keep the tank clean for longer.