Chances are at some point you’ve noticed those loner fish at the pet store. You know, the ones that are in separate little fish bowls. They come in a variety of colors but usually are colored with deep blues, greens, and reds. These Siamese Fighting Fish are more commonly known as Bettas. Betta fish are generally easy to care for and maintain. They are great for people just starting out as a fish owner or for people who cannot devote much time to a pet. In the wild, Betta fish can be found in the rice paddies of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Cambodia. They are also found in shallow areas of freshwater such as ponds, canals, small streams, and river basins. Wild Betta fish feed on mosquitos, larvae, and plankton, and sometimes even algae.
How Long do Betta Fish Live?
In the wild, a Betta fish has a short lifespan compared to other fish. On average they typically live for about two years. In captivity that lifespan doubles or triples. Most pet Betta fish live between four and six years. There have been some that have lived up to ten years. When you purchase your pet Betta, make sure you buy a young one. You don’t want to get one that is older than one year. Most male Bettas are sold no younger than one year old. Females are sold at around six months of age. Here are a few things you can do to help give your pet Betta a longer life:
Feeding Your Betta Fish
Making sure that you take excellent care of your pet Betta will ensure many healthy years of life. Keeping the water clean and proper feeding, both play a big part in the overall health of your Betta. Visit your local pet store and ask the salesperson about Betta food. They should be able to recommend a good quality food that will keep your fish healthy. You can purchase Betta food in flake form, but remember that your Betta is an omnivore. Make sure that you also feed your Betta some meaty protein. You can try freeze-dried or fresh bloodworms, brine shrimp or daphnia. There are also Betta pellets that will provide your fish with the proper nutrients it needs. Make sure you don’t overfeed your Betta. They have very tiny stomachs, about the size of their eyeball. You can feed your Betta a very small amount once or twice daily. It is okay to skip a day in between feeding, only if you are feeding twice a day.
Just because your Betta is small, doesn’t mean it will be comfortable in a small vase. Some people leave their Betta fish in small fishbowls or vases. This is not good for your Betta and can shave years off its lifespan. Your Betta needs an aquarium. It doesn’t have to be big, but it should be one that has a filter and an aquarium heater to regulate the water. Your Betta needs a normal water temperature that should be about eighty degrees. You cannot regulate that constant temperature in a small bowl or vase at room temperature. Without a filter to get rid of harmful bacteria, you are subjecting your Betta to possible fin rot. Make sure that you have plenty of room at the top of the tank for your Betta to breathe. Your Betta is a labyrinth fish. This means that it will surface breathe oxygen straight into its mouth. They do still breathe oxygen through their gills, but they also tend to go to the surface for a breath of fresh air every once in a while.
Male Betta fish are very territorial. Therefore, they are often referred to as fighting fish. Two males in the same area tend to fight each other to establish who is the alpha. Fighting will put stress on your Betta and lower its lifespan. This doesn’t mean that you must keep your Betta in solitary confinement. You can have up to five Betta fish in a five-gallon aquarium. Just make sure there is only one male and that the rest are female. Your Betta can also coexist with certain breeds of fish such as neon or ember tetras, rasboras, and plecos.