Betta Fish Facts

Michael Bryan

Michael Bryan

Modified: 31 May 2023

betta fish

Betta Fish is highly territorial and often prefers to go by its own way alone. As colorful as it can be, it’s not suitable for tanks with other betta fishes because it will only lead to fighting. You can see them being displayed in small containers or fishbowls, but do they actually feel bored in a small space? The answer is yes.

Like humans, they would prefer a habitat where they can explore (so make sure to put some kind of “entertainment system” for them as a pet), nevertheless, this type of fish can thrive on bodies of water with low oxygen levels such as small, murky ponds, or semi-polluted water. Are you now more interested about the betta fish? If so, our team has prepared a series of interesting betta fish facts that you will definitely enjoy and learn a lot from.

  1. You can mostly find betta fish in freshwater.
  2. Scientifically, they are known as Betta splendens.
  3. Its roots originate from Southeast Asia.
  4. Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam are few of the Southeast Asian countries where you can find them.
  5. They are also called the siamese fighting fish.
  1. Betta fish are famous worldwide as pets.
  2. It is one of the most obtainable aquarium fish on the the planet.
  3. Commonly red, they also have diverse colors ranging from black, blue, orange, and white.
  4. You will scarcely see them in the colors: copper, green, metallic, turquoise, and even pink.
  5. Betta fish are popular with newbie pet owners and even with children because they are relatively low maintenance.
  6. Betta fish have been domesticated for more than 1,000 years now.
  7. This fish is native to Thailand’s central plain.
  8. Thailand’s King Rama III was the reason why they became famous internationally.
  9. Betta fish made its first appearance in the West near the end of the 1800s.
  10. Placing two male betta fish in the same tank will result in fighting each other to death.
  1. Betta fish were originally made to be hostile in order to fight in matches which resembled a cockfight.
  2. Other betta fish can sport two or more colors on their bodies with their tails having a look that is unique to them.
  3. Betta fish can draw breath right from the outer part of the water.
  4. Albino betta is the most uncommon betta fish color to ever exist.
  5. Betta fish can survive shallow oxygen levels and appalling water conditions.
Table of Contents

Betta fish is famous for being extremely territorial.

If put in the same tank, males will most likely fight one another. Female betta fish, on the other hand, can live together because they are usually not as aggressive as males. However, there are occasions when females do fight. Putting both sexes together in the same tank can be unsafe for them. In fact, the moment you do, your betta fish may start fighting immediately. In general, both sexes may act friendly in the beginning and will only attack each other after they mate.

two betta fish
Image from Adobe Stock

The betta fish is Thailand’s national marine animal.

Thailand is the predominant breeder of this fish, selling it all over the international market. The betta fish created enormous economic value for “The Land of Smiles,” like when Apple chose the betta fish as the background photo for iPhone 6 and 6s (photographed by Visarute Angkatavanich, a Thai photographer). BBC Earth has also praised the betta fish as the Pride of Thailand for leaving a wonderful image in the Thai culture since historical times.

There are five different types of local Thai betta fish.

There are five different types of local Thai betta fish. The country considers these five different types of betta fish as the forefathers of all betta fish which includes Plakad Pak Klang (Betta Splendens), Plakad E-sarn (Betta Smaragdina), Plakad Pak Tai (Betta Imbellis), Plakad Mahachai (Betta Mahachaiensis), and Plakad Tawan-ork (Betta Siamorientalis).

The Plakad Pak Klang is the first globally known betta fish.

Charles Tate Regan, a British scientist known for classifying fish, gave recognition to the Plakad Pak Klang (Betta Splendens) in 1910. Found in the north of Thailand all the way to Bangkok, and as far south as Chumphon and Ranong, the Plakad Pak Klang has a unique red stripe on the cheeks and green-blue scales sprinkled throughout the body.

Plakad Pak Klang, siamese fighting fish
Image from Wikimedia Commons

Betta fish enthusiasts often like to keep the Plakad E-sarn as pets.

The Plakad E-sarn (Betta Smaragdina) has a close resemblance to a snake. Found in slow-moving shallow or still water in the northeast of Thailand, and in Laos (this species lives in natural bodies of water in Nakhon Ratchasima up to the Laos border and into Laos itself), betta fish hobbyists often kept them as pets but are somewhat rarely available in the aquarium trade. The German researcher Werner Ladigas recognized it as a new species in the early 1970s.

The Plakad Pak Tai is widely available in most pet stores and online.

The Plakad Pak Tai (Betta Imbellis) lives in natural bodies of water throughout southern Thailand, from Surat Thani to the southern borders and further into Malaysia. In the mid-1970s, Werner Ladigas (a German researcher) recognized it as a new species. Also known as the ‘peaceful betta,’ the Plakad Pak Tai can still show aggression and be territorial. These species are among the smallest of the betta fish species and are widely available in most pet stores and online.

The Plakad Mahachai is an endangered species.

Close to the Gulf go Thailand, the Plakad Mahachai (Betta Mahachaiensis) is a kind of foam-nesting betta fish that lives in still waters such as swamps, and pools. Recognized as a new species on October 19, 2012, a group of Thai researchers, led by Dr. Bhinyo Panijpan at Mahidol University discovered the Plakad Mahachai, but unfortunately today, it’s on the brink of extinction. The Plakad Mahachai can survive in either freshwater or briny water, which is a characteristic that only betta fish have.

Betta Siamorientalis became a new species in 2013.

The Plakad Tawan-ork (Betta Siamorientalis) was internationally registered as a new fish species in 2013. Found in the Chachoengsao province (a province in south-central Thailand) up to Aranyaprathet (a town in Sa Kaeo Province in eastern Thailand), and across into Cambodia, its unique features are the smoky blackhead, green scales across its body, red-cut tails, and red fins.

Their overall population is decreasing.

Despite the betta fish’s abundance as pets, the IUCN has listed the betta fish as “vulnerable” because of the decreasing pollution and habitat destruction.

Siamese fighting fish
Image source: Pixabay

Betta fish are predatory.

Betta fish are predatory creatures and they mostly consume small insects, and their eggs, in their natural habitat. Although a diet consisting mainly of plant roots may keep them alive for quite some time, it lacks the proper nutrients suited for the betta fish, which will eventually result in them becoming sick and even dying.

So if you want to keep them as pets, it’s good to give them a variety of food such as pellets or flakes made from fish meat, as well as frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms.

It’s best to add some enrichment to their aquarium.

Bettas are relatively intelligent and inquisitive. Their environment requires a lot of enrichment such as plants, caves, a room to explore (to avoid boredom and depression), and ideally, the water temperature should be kept at 75°F to 80°F or 23°C to 25°C.

Unhealthy betta fish may experience loss of color or appetite, have cloudy eyes, elevated scales, spots or fungus on the body or mouth, unnaturally frayed fins, laziness, swimming erratically, weight loss, and bloating. Betta fish need an aquarium the size of at least three gallons, and it’s best to set up their new home one day ahead before they arrive.

An adult male betta fish is bigger than a female.

The male betta fish have bigger fins and flashier colors in comparison to females. Although both sexes start in the same size after being born, by adulthood, male betta fish become bigger than their female counterpart. A male betta fish can approximately grow up to 3 inches long, starting from the mouth to its tail’s end. On the other hand, female betta fish may only grow up to 2 inches.

They can live up to five years.

Their usual lifespan is between two to five years. Betta fish are at their peak for breeding at around four to twelve months. Although older fish are still able to breed, owners will have more success with younger ones, as older betta fish may pass on “poor genetics.” When breeding them, owners must consider their size (they should be roughly the same size) or the female must be a little smaller than the male.

Petco sells betta fish for as low as $2.49

The betta fish’s global popularity has led to its foothold and establishment in similarly tropical areas such as southeast Australia, Singapore, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and the southeast United States.

Petco (an American pet retailer company that sells pet products, services, and live animals) offers live betta fish for sale in the U.S. Moreover, there’s even a dedicated online betta fish shop or a one-stop-shop where customers can buy everything they need for their new pet. Interested? Some of them start for as low as $2.49!

There are now wild betta fish in Australia and the United States.

A great deal of betta fish was uncovered in the Adelaide River Floodplain in Australia back in 2014. As a territorial species, betta fish has posed a threat to some of the native fish in the country and other wetland wildlife.

Betta fish has also set up their presence in the semitropical areas of the US, and an evaluation that’s been made by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has decided that they are no threat to the natural environment.

Some of the betta fish’s color fade while they sleep.

Like humans, betta fish prefer to drowse off in the evening. Interestingly, some of the betta fish may lose their color while sleeping as a natural form of self-defense (although others lose their color due to stress, old age, injury, or illness). Betta fish rest in a variety of different poses—hunched, on the side, or straight, with their heads lowered.

Betta fish can live for days on an empty stomach.

As a pet, experts advise feeding your betta fish at least two pellets, two times a day. Pellets swell in water and serve as a substantial meal for your betta. Preserved or fresh food can be provided in place of their pellet meals at least twice a week.

Take note that some betta fish can live for days on an empty stomach. However, there are some circumstances you should consider before leaving your pet unattended for a long period of time, so consult your veterinarian or pet shop staff before you do so.

The Halfmoon betta fish is one of the prettiest species.

The Halfmoon betta fish is one of the most glamourous freshwater fish you can ever have in your aquarium. They have 80° fan-like tails with huge flowing fins. They are also famous for their brilliant colors such as blue, red, green, purple, and orange.

Generally, its lifespan is about three years. Most pet stores sell male betta fish after one year, which is the time when their fins are fully developed. Meanwhile, females are sold at around six months old.

lavender halfmoon dumbo betta
Image source: Pixabay

Betta fish have complex behavioral patterns.

Betta fish have complex behavioral patterns and social interactions, although they vary between individual specimens. Based on research, betta fish are able to engage in associative learning, in which they respond accordingly after experiencing a certain stimulus. These traits have made them subject to an in-depth study by doctors in many fields.

They can survive up to 5 hours outside of water.

A betta fish can breathe air and live outside of water for a few hours. In fact, bettas are anabantoids that have a unique organ that can let them breathe air. This is important for their continuity in the wild, which often becomes very polluted. This results in the water becoming oxygen-poor, that’s why it’s difficult to survive with normal underwater breathing alone.

However, this does not mean that pet owners should test their betta fish if they can do it. That’s why it’s still best to keep them comfortable in the water. In bad conditions such as no humidity, absorbent surface, and hot temperatures, it will be a miracle if your betta fish survives for 30 minutes outside of water.