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General question


kuraiza
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I see a LOT of Japanese fighter fish kept in teeny tiny bowls. I saw one woman who kept hers in the bottom of a vase with some sort of ornamental plant growing out the top. I see those fighter fish basically dying in fish shops everywhere, in 5cm squared boxes.

Now I know nothing about keeping bettas, but this has always struck me as awful.

They're such beautiful fish, but I know nothing about keeping them so I have never tried. But can someone please give me the lowdown on how these fish WANT to live and how to best keep them?

Are they SO different from other fish? What about filtration and aeration etc?

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those types of setups are VERY cruel and obviously designed by people who have no idea what they are doing or how to PROPERLY care for the fish!

Bettas can SURVIVE these small amounts of water but that does NOT mean they like it! These type of things come about from people reading that they live in puddles in rice paddies in the wild, however they don't consider the fact that they can jump (yes bettas jump) from puddle to puddle, and generally these puddles would be occurring in a drought period...normally I would assume there would be a good few inches of water above the ground for them to swim around in!

Basically your average Betta should be kept in a bare minimum of one litre, preferably the larger the better! (imagine having to live in a closet your entire life and see how you like it!)

Bettas like room to move and spread their fins, they like to explore and play and are highly intelligent fish!

They ARE different from other fish in that they have an organ called the labyrinth, this means that they can breathe air from the surface of the water rather than doing the normal exchange through water like other fish.

In this sense they don't NEED filtration at all.

They MUST breathe surface air otherwise they will drown - so the lid of the tank must always leave a gap between it and the water.

If you are going to filter a Betta in a larger tank a sponge filter is a very popular choice, this filter must be set quite low as some bettas with more brilliant finnage can become stressed by a high flow of water, the current of a high powered filter can cause the betta to struggle to swim properly - basically if it looks like he has to make an effort to swim then the filter is set too high and needs to be turned down. (also when using some types a bettas fins can be dragged into the intake if it is set too strong - ouch!)

Unfiltered Bettas need to have their water changed, whether if be a 50% change daily for very small tanks or a weekly for larger tanks (it all depends on the size) Just like all fish Bettas produce ammonia as a waste product and this needs to be removed otherwise your Betta will become sick. So we either change the water by taking out part of the old and adding new or by filtering.

As with all fish water should be treated with a good quality dechlorinator/conditioner eg. Prime

Bettas tend to like a pH that is slightly acidic but anything between say 6.2 and 7.8 is FINE - in other words if your pH is between this range and stable don't mess with it!

They are also TROPICAL fish and therefore need to live in warmer water. a range of 22-30 degrees celcius would be their safety zone as if the water gets too high or too low their internal organs will fail. Optimal temp would be between 25-28 in my opinion, this means that in cooler areas or during winter your betta will need to be heated.

I think that covers the basics of what you asked :) hope that helps.

If I've said something wrong I'm sure someone will correct me!

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I have 2 which I think got wise to the reflection of themselves in the morror so now I have them side by side with a manilla folder in between the tanks and I take the folder out for about 15 or 20 mins a day or until one of them wimps out and hides ( got to keep up the self esteem after all they are fighters).

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