Monday, May 18, 2009
Even though Bettas do well in waters low in dissolved oxygen, that does not mean they require less oxygen than other fish. Bettas have a special respiratory organ that allows them to breath air directly from the surface. In fact they inherently must do so. In experiments where the labyrinth organ was removed, the fish died from suffocation even though the water was saturated with oxygen. For this reason, Bettas must have access to the water surface to breath air directly from the atmosphere.
Optimally the water for keeping healthy Bettas should be soft, warm, with a neutral to slightly acidic pH. Water movement should be kept to a minimum, which means that power filters and powerheads are not suitable. Bettas may be kept in a community tank as long as the water conditions are met, and if no aggressive or fin-nipping fish are present. However, only one male may be kept in each aquarium, unless they are separated by a barrier.
The use of plastic boxes that hang inside the aquarium are a suitable option for keeping more than one betta in a tank, or for keeping them in a tank with fish that might nip their fins. Females will generally not fight with each other, and may be kept in the same tank. NOTE: Selling a betta in a vase with a Peace Lily has become in vogue. However, a flower vase is not a suitable environment for the betta. For more information check the additional information links to the right.
In nature Bettas subsist almost exclusively on insects and insect larvae. They are built with an upturned mouth that is well suited to snatching any hapless insect that might fall into the water. Internally their digestive system is geared for meat, having a much shorter alimentary track than vegetarian fish. For this reason, live foods are the ideal diet for the betta, however they will adapt to eating flake foods and frozen and freeze dried foods.Brine shrimp, Daphnia, plankton, tubifex, glassworms, and beef heart, are all excellent options that may be found frozen or freeze dried. If flake food is fed, it should be supplemented with frozen and freeze-dried foods, and if possible live foods.