Acquired: Fish / pet store
Huntington Beach, California, United States
Posted May 11, 2018
Bettas are like potato chips. Most people get more than one at some point in their lives. My adventures with the Betta, or "Siamese fighting fish" as they are commonly known, began in 1982 with a big, red beauty names Maynard. I found him in a tiny cup with air holes poked into the lid and he looked at me. I was horrified that he was in such a tiny container. The manager assured me that this was how they were shipped and that Bettas could literally survive in a small bowl of water, IF the water was treated properly and changed periodically. I was sold! After the first year, I decided to study up and breed Maynard and that was the beginning of a two year enterprise! The breeding process is fascinating and these fish are so beautiful that I often consider starting again. Once I started a family of my own, bettas became the first or "starter" pet for each of my daughters. When I began teaching Kindergarten, we kept them in bowls and/or the random aquarium as class pets and were used daily as a teaching tool for various units involving personal responsibility and citizenship. Bettas thrive with proper feeding and adequate temperature controls and can live for more than a year. Maynard was two and half when he passed! For vivid color and to showcase their beauty, feed live tubafex worms at least once a week (found at your local pet store or aquarium and kept in the refrigerator) and place a small mirror (or another live betta in a bowl) up close to the glass and this will provide hours of fighting stance display. The betta actually "puffs up" and extends his fins and gills to make himself larger and to intimidate his "opponent" and it is in that posturing that the betta is the most beautiful.
Males and females have significantly different sizes to their dorsal fins and coloring. The photo here is one of the most beautiful females I have ever seen. Typically they are brownish grey in color and have unremarkable fins. When breeding it is important to know that the female should be moved to a recovery tank as soon as all of her eggs have been expelled by the breeding process so that she might adequately recover. The ritual itself can be quite violent, so if you are considering breeding, I recommend studying one of the many books written about the subject prior to taking on this project. Overall it is a wonderful experience and I am so glad that I pursued it! These days, I am able to care for my three males that I keep in their respective vases except for three of four times a week when I slide them toward each other and watch the "tournament" unfold when they spy each other. Let the games begin!!