The betta is a popular freshwater tropical aquarium fish due to their variety of sizes, fin patterns and brilliant colors. It is hardy species which requires simple care and it makes them a favorite among hobbyists. It is labyrinth fish that has the unique ability to breathe oxygen directly from the air and also take oxygen from its gills. It can tolerate small spaces and poor water quality with regular water changes. It prefers water temperature which ranges between 76 and 820 F. The betta is not schooling fish and it fights with each other. It prefers to swim alone and also needs a comfortable place to hide.
Physical description of male and female betta fish:
Body of the male betta is longer, bigger and thinner than the female betta. Body color is generally greenish or reddish brown and white in female while in the male body is often dark blue or red. The female can grow up to 2¼ inches in length at the adult stage with short and rounded tail while male betta can grow up to 3 inches in length with much longer fins which are three or four times the length of the female fins. During mating the female betta displays vertical stripes and the tail or caudal fin of it is about a 1/3rd of length of the body. Egg like rounded spot or ovipositor tube is present in the female which is located between the ventral and anal fins. The egg spot looks like a small white speck or large grain of salt through which the female drops her eggs from this tube. The male bears a much larger beard or the membrane underneath the gill covers but a much smaller and non visible beard is seen in female. Generally only the male Betta creates a bubblenest to protect the egg.
Behavior of male and female betta fish:
A well-known behavioral characteristic of the betta is fighting. The male betta is very aggressive towards each other and many other fish. The male betta fish flares their fins when other male betta fish swims into their territory which is very important violent behavior of male betta. The female betta fish does not exhibit this type of behavior but it may pinch to other female bettas. The male betta is usually kept individually in smaller containers or aquariums but do best in containers of one liter or larger while one or more female bettas can be kept in the same tank. Female Bettas may be housed with other community fish. Good tank mates for female betta include platies, swordtails, mollies, angelfish, danios, gouramis, bala sharks, plecostomus and clown loaches. Male and female Bettas do not keep together but they may be kept together only during mating.
Both male and female bettas get along very well with other non-betta fish. They can live successfully in a community tank that does not have any aggressive fish like tiger barbs. Although male mainly hates other male, a male occasionally attacks a female. Male betta fish builds bubble nests to protect the eggs of female betta by gulping air from the surface of the water during the mating period. Female betta must be kept in groups of four or more in an appropriately sized tank with lot of plants and hiding places which helps to spread the aggression. Bettas can also jump out from the aquarioum or tank. To protect the fish during jumping use some plastic or a sheet of transparency paper.
The betta fish is one of the most popular aquarium fish in the world. Both male and female bettas are known as fighting fish due to their naturally aggressive behavior. Bettas are wonderful fish with a lot of personality, of which, some bettas are shy and easily stressed while others are aggressive and outgoing.