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Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens)

Quick Facts

Scientific name: Betta splendens
Life Span: 2 – 4 years (In captivity)
Temperament: Males are agressive, Females docile
Keeper Skill: Great for begginers

Enclosure Setup

Enclosure Type: Tank or bowl, 15L and up
Filter: Recommended
Diet: Flake or pelleted fish food, Bloodworms
Specialist Equipment: Heater set to 25C

The Siamese fighter is one of the most popular fish kept in the hobby only second to goldfish, but many of us don’t know what’s really needed to keep them in optimum conditions. In this article we will take an in depth look at these beautiful fish and get you keeping them successfully.

The Siamese fighter or Betta Splendens comes from Southeast Asia around Thailand and Cambodia, and are found in shallow pools in rice paddies, where the water is warm, and often poorly oxygenated. It’s for this reason fighters have a primitive lung called a labyrinth organ allowing them to come up to the surface and take a gulp of air. Many people keep fighters in small tanks with no heaters or filters, fighters can survive and tolerate this, but they will not thrive. A small tank with a small filter and heater is recommended to keep your fighter happy and healthy and will ensure you have him for many many years. As with any fish that is kept, they pollute their water with faeces and other waste products, so a weekly water change or 10% to 20% is recommended to keep the nutrient and pollutant levels low.

Fighters generally are not fussy eaters and will happily take many commercial pellet or flake foods, but having a varied diet you will notice that his health, condition and colour will improve. You can supplement with some frozen foods like, brine shrimp and bloodworms. Both these contain beta-carotene pigments to help improve the colouration of the fish.

It is a common myth that you cannot keep a fighter with any fish, this is only partially true. If you keeping your fighter in a small bowl with no heater or filter there is nothing that you can put with him, as two males will kill each other. If you do however have a heater and a filter there are a number of fish that can successfully be kept with the fighter. Any fish that is the same colour or has long flashy fins like angels or guppies don’t make good tank mates, as the fighter will see them as another male, and fight with them. The same is for fish that are known to be fin nippers, they will attack and bully your prized fighter. Good tank mates are Cory catfish, Ottos, various tetras like neons, danios, and rasboras.

In summery to keep your little guy happy, get the right equipment from the start, and you will be rewarded with a happy fish packed with personality who will learn to recognise you and follow you around his tank.If you have any questions on these amazing fish, feel free to pop in to the shop and ask any of our staff, or give us a call and we will get you going on the right path.