Betta fish (Siamese Fighting Fish) profile

Betta fish, commonly referred to as Siamese fighting fish, are one of the most popular fish breeds purchased by budding freshwater fish hobbyists.

Their stunning colouring, fins and tail patterns make the Betta fish popular freshwater pets. They are also members of the Gourami species, which means they are also labyrinth fish, gulping air at the water’s surface.


As a beginner, freshwater fish has the best chance of success in a home aquarium. There is a lot to learn for the fish keeper who is just starting out, and picking fish that are fun and easy to care for is important.

Most people who start off in the fishkeeping hobby, get hooked very quickly mainly because fish are so beautiful to watch and many have characteristics and personalities all of their own.

Here is a list of the most popular freshwater fish species as beginner fish keepers.


Betta fish are carnivores and are naturally aggressive fish, quite territorial. In the wild males especially will defend their own space and can fight to the death to protect it.

In their native habitat, although they live in shallow water, they are in trenches that go for kilometers, which usually gives the fish their own individual territory. When males meet each other they will fight until one back down and retreats to another territory.

characteristics overview


Betta fish, Siamese Fighting Fish


Betta Splenden




Cambodia, Thailand


Males cannot be kept together


3 inches (7 cm)


2 to 3 years


Easy to  intermediete


Swims at all levels but mid-top mostly


2 gallons


75-86° F, KH 0-25, pH 6.0-8.0


Carnivore. Live foods preferred or Betta colour enhancing flakes and pellets.


Betta males should ideally be kept in separate tanks. It is possible to house them in large enough tanks to let them retreat happily to their own personal territory, but separate tanks for each male is one of the best ways to encourage a long stress-free life for your fish.

Male bettas should not be kept with other fish that have similar body types and long fins, as they could mistake them for rivals.

gender differences

Males typically are more brilliantly colored and have longer and flowing fins. They also have a more distinct “beard” (under the gill coverings) and are larger overall than the females. Females have short fins and will display vertical stripes and an egg spot when ready to mate.

PEXELS | Wahyu Widiatmoko

betta care

Betta fish are usually sold in small containers such as bowls. Selling a betta in a vase with a plant has become a popular sales technique. However, a flower vase is not a suitable environment for the betta.

Betta fish will thrive most in clean, warm, filtered water. Ideally, the temperature should be kept between about 24-27 degrees Celsius.

Betta fish thrive best when they have plants in their tank which provide oxygen. Some of the best plants to pair with your betta fish include java fern and java moss, as well as anacharis. These are easy to take care of, generally hardy and won’t take over the tank. Plus, they really seem to make fish happy.

TOP TIP Bettas do well in tanks with some dense plantings, because the cover helps them feel secure and can minimize aggressive behavior.

breeding the betta

Male betta fish naturally create little clusters of bubbles called bubble nests that will sit at the surface of the water. It’s part of their natural breeding process – if paired with females this will be where she will lay the eggs, as the air bubbles provide protection for them.

Even without the presence of female fish, a happy and healthy male will make bubble nests from time to time because he feels like it.

When Bettas are mating they often lay still for long periods of time. This isn’t always for the reasons you may think.

diet and feeding

While good quality commercial fish pellets or flakes can be ok for the betta fish, ensure that the main ingredient is protein. Betta fish are carnivores and thrive on insects in the wild, so they need a constant source of good protein as well as fat to keep them healthy in the tank.

Betta fish have their own unique personalities and can be picky when it comes to food. Some will take frozen food but live foods are preferred such as brine shrimps and bloodworms.

Do feed the betta fish what it can consume within about a two-minute period, twice a day. While they have been known to last up to two weeks without any feeding, this really isn’t recommended. If you are going away make sure you put your fish in the care of someone who will stick to your feeding schedule.

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