Betta Fish: An Introduction to the Captivating Siamese Fighting Fish (2024)

Betta splendens, otherwise known as Siamese Fighting Fish, have become incredibly sought-after freshwater fish, with their vibrant, colorful tails being a highlight of many aquariums around the world. Their flamboyant hues have made them a favorite in the aquarium pastime, that’s why I thought it would be a good idea to write this guide to betta fish – to provide a comprehensive education about these delightful freshwater creatures. This guide will provide information on their origin, varieties, native environment, nutrition, and even how to keep them in your aquarium.

amazon store official logo for fishyfishpet
Shop Best Sellers for Pets!
Enjoy huge savings, fast delivery, and high-quality products - Last Used 3 mins ago.
Enjoy huge savings, fast delivery, and high-quality products - Last Used 3 mins ago. Show Less

Introduction to Betta: The Siamese Fighting Fish

Betta, a freshwater fish, is native to Southeast Asia and known as the Siamese fighting fish. These creatures are popularly kept as decorative fish in aquariums due to their unique and vivid colors and lengthy fins.

Introduction to Betta The Siamese Fighting Fish

Despite their beauty, Bettas are known to be incredibly territorial and can be aggressive toward other fish, including their own kind. They boast a labyrinth organ, which permits them to take in oxygen from the surface, allowing them to live in oxygen-poor environments. Bettas can be kept in bowls or tanks, both singularly or in a community with ideal companions. Furthermore, they are simple to breed and make great pets for novices.

History at a Glance

The Siamese fighting fish, also known as Betta fish, have a long history tracing back to ancient Siam (now Thailand). They were first found in the Mekong River basin, in the paddy fields and channels, where they were utilized to partake in traditional fighting tournaments. Bettas were selectively bred for their energy, different colors, and long fins.

In the nineteenth century, bettas were presented to the Western nations as decorative fish. They rapidly became famous among fish lovers, and breeding systems were established to create novel varieties of bettas with various colors and fin types.

During World War II, betta breeding was put on hold as resources were shifted to the war effort. After the war, the breeding and importation of bettas restarted, and new varieties were cultivated through selective breeding.

Right now, bettas are easily accessible in pet shops and online and are famous as decorative fish and for breeding. The rearing and displaying of bettas have turned into a much-loved pastime.

It’s essential to understand that wild Bettas are not as vibrant and showy as the bred ones, and their fins are not as long. They are also not considered suitable as pets due to their lack of hardiness.

Identify the Characteristics of Betta

Betta fish are renowned for their vibrant hues, lengthy fins, and combative nature. To identify a betta fish, look out for the following characteristics:

Identify the Characteristics of Betta
  • Body:

    Bettas possess a deep, elongated body shape, topped off with a small head and pointed dorsal fin.

  • Fins:

    Bettas have lengthy fins that can come in a triangular, round, or half-moon shape. Some of the most beloved varieties are the veil tail, half-moon, and crown tail. Male bettas usually have longer fins than females.

  • Color:

    Bettas come in various colors, including red, blue, green, purple, and yellow. They can also feature different patterns and color combinations.

  • Behavior:

    Bettas are known to be aggressive and territorial, so if you spot a fish exhibiting hostile behavior, such as flaring its fins or chasing other fish, it is likely to be a betta.

  • Habitat:

    Bettas are indigenes of Southeast Asia and can typically be found in rice paddies and waterways in the Mekong River basin. Bettas are also common in the pet trade and can be found in aquariums, bowls, and small tanks.

Be aware that Bettas come in various morphs and strains, each with unique attributes, colors, and designs. An experienced fishkeeper or breeder can spot the differences more accurately.

Species of Betta

Betta fish come in an array of species, morphs, and variations, each one boasting its own exclusive traits, hues, and designs, the most recognizable of which are Betta Splendens. Some of the more recognized and sought-after Betta species include:

  • Veil Tail
  • Half-moon
  • Giant Bettas
  • The Crown Tail Betta
  • Double Tail Bettas
  • Delta Tail Bettas
  • Plakat

This is the most common Betta, remarkable for its long, flowing fins and tail. These have a triangular shape and can be seen in a multitude of colors and prints.


This type of Betta is renowned for its broad, fan-like fins that reach an angle of 180 degrees when completely flared. They are widely coveted for their one-of-a-kind fin shape, and can also be found in various colors and patterns.

GIANT Betta Fish

This type of Betta is distinguished by its impressive size, growing up to 4 inches (10cm) in length. Like the others, they come in a large selection of colors and patterns.

The Crown Tail Betta

This is an eye-catching fish with an unmistakable fin shape that resembles a tattered or torn fabric. These fish are popular among hobbyists because of their special fin appearance and come in various colors and designs.

Double Tail Betta

They are famed for their unique split tails. One large and one small, the tails start from the same base. These fish come in a multitude of colors and designs, making them an excellent choice for anyone looking for a splash of creativity in their aquarium.


They are renowned for their eye-catching fins, which have a three-cornered shape and are especially prominent in the dorsal and anal fins. These fish come in a broad selection of colors and designs, making them a great addition to any aquarium.


They stand out for their shorter fins, giving them a more natural appearance than other varieties. An extensive selection of colors and designs can be found among these fish.

Are They Endangered?

Betta fish may not be classified as endangered. Yet, in the wild, their numbers have taken a hit due to human-made changes like urban development and contamination. Furthermore, the collection of wild bettas for the ornamental fish industry also adds to their population decline.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has not evaluated the conservation status of betta fish. Still, it is aware that human activities are putting many of their wild counterparts at risk.

However, the Betta fish we find in pet stores are not endangered as they are bred in massive numbers for commercial purposes.

It’s worth noting that breeding bettas in captivity can be a way of preserving their genetic variety and averting the extinction of certain strains.

In short, while wild betta populations may be affected by human activities, domesticated bettas are not considered endangered.

Betta as a Centerpiece

It’s no surprise that Betta fish, the famed Siamese fighting fish, are renowned for their dazzling colors, long fins, and distinct characteristics, making them an ideal choice to be the main attraction in aquariums. These creatures can be housed in bowls or mini tanks, making them perfect for confined spaces.

Betta as a Centerpiece

They can be placed in a living room, office, or any other area that needs a splash of color and life. Bettas can be quite the conversation piece and add a unique and fascinating focal point to any room. Bettas can be a great addition to an aquarium, as they are captivating, interactive, and easy to maintain. They will thrive with the right tank setup, pristine water, and a balanced diet. Bettas should be kept alone or in the presence of suitable tankmates to avoid fights.

Betta Fish Behavior

Betta fish have very energetic and unique behavior. Here are some of the common behaviors of bettas:

  • The behavior of Betta Fish:
Betta Fish Behavior
  • Aggression:

    Bettas can be pretty territorial and may become hostile towards other bettas and other fish species, earning them the reputation of being fighters. They will flare their fins and gills to express their hostility and may even take it a step further and attack other fish in their territory.

  • Flaring:

    Bettas will also flare their fins and gills to show off their vibrant colors and intimidate other fish. This behavior is often seen when two bettas are in the same space.

  • Building Bubble nests:

    Males, in particular, like to build bubble nests at the surface of the water, typically before or during mating season. These nests are constructed with bubbles and saliva and used to protect the eggs and fry.

  • Vigorous swimming:

    Bettas are not sluggish and often enjoy exploring their surroundings. They will often swim around the tank, voyaging in every corner of their territory.

  • Hiding:

    When Bettas feel nervous or anxious, they may take refuge in the plants, caves, or other ornaments in their aquarium, as a way of protecting themselves.

  • Leaping:

    Bettas are renowned for their ability to leap out of tanks if not kept in an enclosed container. With this species being such powerful jumpers, it is essential to ensure the tank is covered to stop them from springing out.

It’s worth noting that Betta fish will vary in their demeanor, determined by the atmosphere, stress, and other fish in the tank. Some Bettas have higher energy levels or are more aggressive than different varieties. Additionally, Bettas are renowned for their intelligence, making them ideal fish for those who enjoy observing fish.

Can Bettas be kept as Pets?

Betta fish are the perfect pets for those keen on keeping fish. They are not too hard to take care of, and they have stunning colors, long fins, and entertaining behaviors that make them a stunning addition to any aquarium.

Bettas be kept as Pets

Moreover, they have a labyrinth organ that lets them obtain oxygen from the water’s surface, so they can thrive in low-oxygen areas. This makes them an excellent choice for inexperienced fish keepers and veterans alike.

Can you keep two Bettas together?

Bettas are typically highly territorial and combative, especially male Betta fish, so keeping two male Bettas in the same tank is not recommended, as they can cause each other serious harm or death in fighting. Female Bettas can be put in the same aquarium, provided they have enough room and hiding places to set their own areas. Yet, it’s necessary to remember that even female Bettas can become hostile towards one another if they don’t have enough space or appropriate spots to hide.

Can you keep two Bettas together

It’s also worth mentioning that, despite their territorial and fierce nature, some Bettas can be less aggressive than others and even tolerate other fish or tankmates. Nonetheless, it’s always advisable to stay on the safe side and presume that Bettas will be aggressive toward different aquatic life, and as such, they should be kept in separate tanks or with very tranquil tankmates.

Can Betta Live with other fish?

Bettas are known for their combative and territorial nature, so having them with other fish with similar characteristics like tall fins, bright colors, or similar body figures is not suggested. A Betta may usually go on the offensive against other fish that they see as a risk to their space. Nevertheless, it’s essential to remember that while Bettas are typically belligerent and aggressive, some may be less hostile than others and might accept the presence of other fish or tankmates.

Can Betta Live with other fish

When housing Bettas with other fish, the size of the aquarium is essential to consider. Bettas need at least 2-5 gallons of water, a filtration system, and a heater. Furthermore, providing them with some hiding spots and plants in the tank allows them to mark their territories. It’s also advisable to slowly introduce the fish to one another and observe their behavior to ensure they’re not aggressive or stressed. You can keep small, peaceful fish with a Betta.

Best Tankmates for Betta

When selecting tankmates for Bettas, it is critical to ensure they are peaceful and not quarrelsome as there are few species that betta fish can live with. Additionally, they should not have any similar qualities, such as fin length, shimmering hues, or the same bodily configuration. A few of the popular fish companions for Bettas include:

Small Peaceful Fishes:

Neon Tetras, Guppies, or Corydoras catfish

Tiny tranquil fish, like Neon Tetras, Guppies, or Corydoras catfish, are ideal mates for bettas since they won’t create a fuss.



Mystery snails and Nerite snails are also good choices, as they don’t make a competition for sustenance and territory.



Ghost shrimp and Amano shrimp are likewise quite suitable, as they will not vie with the Betta for food or space.

Non-Nipping Fish:

Non-Nipping Fish

Rasboras and Harlequin Rasboras, which don’t tend to bite other fish’s fins, make for fuss-free tankmates.



Mollies, Platies, and Swordtails– known as Live-bearers – are peaceful and low-maintenance, making them a great option for betta companions.

These are all compatible to be placed inside a tank with one betta, the more gallons in size a tank is, the more new fish you can introduce, and hopefully will live together in the same tank.

A Care Guide for Betta

Caring for a Betta requires creating the perfect environment, starting with a tank that is no less than 5 and 10 gallons, with a minimum tank size of 2 gallons and equipped with a heater and filtration system. The water should be kept warm with a pH of 6.5-7.5 and have moderate lighting. Also, you’ll need to feed them a high-protein diet and change out the water regularly, and use water conditioner when needed to remove ammonia and other harmful substances.

Betta fish care can be a hassle as they tend to be territorial and aggressive, so keeping them alone or with compatible tank mates is necessary. They need sufficient space and hiding spots, and it’s important to keep an eye on their behavior to prevent overcrowding. Additionally, the tank should be covered to stop them from jumping out. If you give them the best care and maintenance, your Betta can live a long, healthy life.

What to Feed Betta

Betta fish are aggressive carnivores that need a protein-packed diet to stay healthy and show off their vivid colors. Here are some creative ideas for nourishing your Betta:

  • Food Pellets:
  • Freeze-dried meals:
  • Live food:
  • Veggies:
Betta FIsh Food Pellets

If you’re looking for an easy and nutritionally sound way to feed your Betta, commercial betta pellets can be a great choice. They come in a range of sizes and formulations, allowing you to select the ideal variety for your fish’s age and dietary requirements.

Freeze-dried foods

Bloodworms, brine shrimp, and other frozen food that have been dehydrated are excellent choices for Betta fish. You can provide these as infrequent snacks or as a daily diet.

Feeding Bettas with live food like brine shrimp, larvae, black worms, and daphnia can be an entertaining and nutritious diet choice for them. It’s a great way to naturally nourish them and keep them stimulated.

Bettas can get a nutritional boost from incorporating fresh or frozen veggies like spinach, lettuce, or peas into their diet.

Betta fish eat a variety of food but to keep healthy, their meals should be varied instead of just one type of food. Serving a range of healthy options is the way to ensure they’re getting everything they need. Additionally, too much food can be hazardous to their health, so careful not to overfeed, it’s best to offer them small portions multiple times a day instead of one hefty meal.

Ideal Aquarium Setup for Betta

  • Aquarium Setup:

Betta does well as Aquarium fish, so when deciding what kind of aquarium is the most suitable tank for your Betta fish, the size of the fish and the space you can spare should be considered. Bettas are relatively small creatures, requiring at least 5-10 gallons of water, along with a heater and filtration system. A larger tank will give them plenty of opportunity to swim and create a more enjoyable environment.

Ideal Aquarium Setup for Betta

When selecting an aquarium for your Betta, some key factors to mull over include:

  • Size:

    To ensure a healthy habitat for your Betta, you’ll need a tank that holds at least 2-5 gallons of water, complete with a heater and filtration system. A larger tank gives your finned friend more room to move around and a much better living environment.

  • Filtration:

    Your Betta’s home needs a filtration system that creates a moderate water flow sp the water stays clean and oxygenated.

  • Water temperature:

    Bettas are tropical fish, so they require a temperature of 76-82°F (24-28°C).

  • Water pH:

    Bettas love a pH level of 6.5-7.5.

  • Water quality:

    Their water must remain clean and warm. Regular water changes and a good filtration system will help keep the water clean and oxygenated.

  • Lighting:

    Bettas prefer moderate lighting, which you can provide with a fluorescent or LED light.

  • Decorations:

    Bettas need an area to hide, like caves, plants, or other structures. They also love swimming and resting in live or artificial plants and be sure to use the gravel per gallon of water rule.

For the safety of your Betta, it’s essential to have a cover on the tank, as they are incredibly agile jumpers. Additionally, the perfect aquarium for a Betta should provide plenty of room to swim, a heater to maintain the water temperature, a filtration system to keep the water pristine, and a selection of plants and hiding places to explore.

Betta Lifespan (In Wild and Captivity)

Bettas’ lifespan can differ depending on whether they exist in the wild or captivity.

In the wild, Bettas live in Southeast Asian habitats like rice paddies, ditches, and sluggish streams of shallow water and have to withstand varying water temperatures, low oxygen levels, and the danger of predators. As if that wasn’t enough, they must contend for food and territory with other aquatic creatures and fish. Because of these factors, it can be challenging for wild Bettas to survive for more than a few years.

Betta Lifespan (In Wild and Captivity)

Contrastingly, Bettas in captivity have a longer lifespan of 2-4 years if given proper care and attention. In captivity, they are protected from external factors and predators and can access the appropriate nutrition and medical care. Bettas kept in ideal living conditions with routine water changes, a balanced diet, a suitable tank, and a healthy environment can live up to 5 years.

It’s crucial to remember that Bettas housed in less-than-ideal living environments with low-quality water, overcrowding, and insufficient nutrition, will have a much shorter life expectancy. Providing them with the best possible living circumstances will guarantee them a healthy and long life.

Fun Facts About Betta Fish

Did you know Bettas are pretty extraordinary? They are labyrinth fish, which means they can take in oxygen directly from the surface and survive in environments with low oxygen levels, with no air pump necessary.

Fun Facts About Betta Fish
  • These colorful creatures are originally from Southeast Asia, particularly in Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam, where they were found in rice paddies, canals, and sluggish streams.

  • Bettas have vibrant colors and long fins, which they use to make an impression on other fish during mating rituals. They also have an elaborate courtship ceremony involving building bubble nests, fanning out their fins, and chasing potential partners.

  • Furthermore, Bettas are aggressive and display their colors and gills to scare off other fish. They’re surprisingly clever, too, able to be trained to do tricks like jumping through hoops, swimming through courses, and even playing fetch!

  • Bettas have a reputation for being capable of jumping out of tanks, so it’s essential to maintain a lid on the tank to keep them secure. In their natural environment, Bettas inhabit rice paddies, ditches, and slow-moving streams in Southeast Asia, where they are exposed to changing water temperatures, oxygen deprivation, and predation risks from other species.

Bettas are spectacular creatures, boasting an abundance of exceptional qualities and attributes, such as a labyrinth organ that permits them to breathe directly from the surface, brilliant hues, and long fins, making it so there are no true best betta. Bettas are an enthralling and interactive addition to any fish tank.


Ultimately, Betta fish, also termed Siamese fighting fish, are a trendy and exceptional type of fish that make great companions for those wishing to keep fish as pets. They are celebrated for their radiant colors, lengthy fins, and unusual behavior. Bettas are initially from Southeast Asia, specifically in the rice paddies and slow-flowing rivers, situated in countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam.

These fish need precise living conditions to prosper, including the right tank size, warm water, a pH inside a particular range, clean water, moderate lighting, spots to hide, and plants, along with a lid to stop them from jumping out. Caring for them properly will guarantee that Bettas will thrive and enjoy a long life, ranging from two to four years in captivity and two to three years in the wild. Bettas are alluring fish that can be educated to do stunts, leap through hoops and even play fetch, providing amusement for their owners.


How many betta fish should be kept together?

The number of bettas that can be kept together in th same aquarium depends on the gender of the betta. Only one male can be kept in an aquarium, as males will fight with one another (hence their common name, Siamese fighting fish), basically do not keep two males together. In the wild, one would retreat. But that isn’t possible in an aquarium; fighting continues, to the death of one or both. Females are only a bit more tolerant of each other. With adequate room, many can be housed together. However, if the tank becomes too crowded, female bettas may start showing territorial behaviors as well. Do not mix males and females in the same tank, other than temporarily for breeding purposes.

Do betta fishes get lonely?

Yes, bettas can get lonely. Bettas are social creatures and will often show signs of loneliness if they are kept on their own. Signs of loneliness in bettas can include lethargy, lack of appetite, and changes in their behavior. If a betta is kept alone, it is important to provide them with plenty of enrichment items and activities to keep them occupied. These can include things like plants, hiding places, and interactive toys. Additionally, it is important to provide them with regular interaction with their caretaker; talking to them, interacting with them, and providing them with regular water changes can help to prevent loneliness.

Are Betta fish hard to care for?

Betta fish are actually quite easy to care for, as they have fairly simple needs. They need a tank, water, filter, heater, light, substrate, décor, and food in order to live their best life, do not use colder water. They also need to be kept in warm water between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit and their water should be tested regularly for pH levels, nitrite and nitrate compounds, carbonate, and hardness. Additionally, they need regular water changes and occasional tank cleanings to stay healthy. With the right supplies and regular maintenance, betta fish can be easy and enjoyable to care for.

Can female and male betta fish live together?

Female and male betta fish can live together, but only for short periods of time and only for the purpose of breeding. Male betta fish are highly territorial and can become aggressive, so it is not recommended to keep them together for long periods of time. Even when kept together for breeding purposes, it is important to provide plenty of space and hiding spots for both sexes, to ensure they both feel safe and secure. Additionally, it is important to monitor them closely to ensure they are not becoming too aggressive. If they become too aggressive or territorial, it is best to separate them immediately.

What About Female Betta Fish?

Female betta fish are considered to be better suited for living in community tanks than male bettas. Female bettas are less territorial and aggressive than males and are more likely to cohabitate peacefully in a tank with other non-threatening fish species such as mollies, snails, shrimp, and bottom feeders. It is important to note however, that although female bettas are more tolerant of other fish, it is still important to monitor them for signs of aggression and to provide plenty of hiding places and stimulation for them to thrive.

How big of a tank does a betta fish need?

The ideal sized tank for a betta is 5 gallons or larger for a single male or female betta. There are a number of reasons why 5 gallons should be the minimum, such as providing enough space for the betta to move, explore, and exercise. Additionally, larger tanks are easier to keep stable and maintain good water quality. When it comes to tank size, it is important to keep in mind that bigger is better, as it provides more space for the betta to explore and a more stable environment for them.

How Big Do Betta Fish Get?

Betta fish have an average length of 2.25 inches (5.7 cm) when they are fully grown. On occasion and under the right conditions, a betta fish can grow to as big as 3 inches (7.6 cm). Wild betta fish are known to reach sizes of between 2.5 and 3 inches (6.4-7.6 cm) in length maximum. Generally, adult Bettas average 2.25 inches in length (about 5.5- 6 centimeters). Betta fish will generally grow to around 2.5 – 3 inches (not including the tail).

How Do I Know If My Betta Fish Is Healthy?

It’s good to have care for your betta fish, You can tell if your betta fish is healthy by looking for signs such as active behavior, vibrant color, full fins, and no signs of discoloration or tearing. A healthy betta fish will be active and visibly full of life, with vibrant colors and fins that move gracefully in the water. In addition, they will have a good appetite, swimming around the tank and responding to your movements. If you notice any signs of inactivity, discoloration, lethargy, lack of appetite, stress stripes, torn fins, scratching, or surface breathing, these may be signs of an unhealthy betta. If you notice any of these signs, it is important to consult a vet or aquatic specialist for the best advice on how to help your betta.

When betta fish sleep

Betta fish typically sleep at night and have a few naps throughout the day. Bettas may sleep while lying on the bottom of the tank, or while floating on the surface. When sleeping, they become still, with their eyes open due to their lack of eyelids. Betta fish may lose their color while sleeping (which is a normal phenomenon) and the easiest way to identify a sleeping Betta fish is to observe their behavior while they’re sleeping.

Are betta fish smart?

Betta fish are considered to be some of the smartest fish in the world. They can learn new tricks and behaviors very quickly, and they are capable of recognizing their owners. They are inquisitive and can be trained to do simple tricks like jumping or going through hoops. Research has also shown that bettas have an instinctive behavior that can be used to train them to perform tricks.


Aaron White

Senior Editor at

I am a passionate writer for FishyFishPet, a website dedicated to helping fish pet owners of all levels learn about the best practices for caring for their aquatic companions. On our site, you’ll find a wealth of information on everything from choosing the right fish species to setting up a healthy and thriving tank ecosystem. Whether you’re just getting started with fish ownership or you’re an experienced aquarist looking to expand your knowledge, FishyFishPet has something for everyone. Thank you for stopping by and I hope you find our site helpful and informative.

Leave a Comment