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About Bettas

Echo's Betta © Echo jackson
By: Echo Jackson
Common Name: Bettas
Latin Name: Betta Splendens
Origin: Thailand
Temperature: 78-80°F (26-27°C)
Ease Of Keeping: Easy
Aggressivness: Very Aggressive
Lighting: Nothing special
Adult Size: 1 1/2'' - 2'' (5cm)
Minimum Tank Size: 1 gallon
Spawning Method: Bubblenester
Hi! If your reading this then congratulations on getting your new betta! Or congratulations for study about your betta before purchasing! Bettas make great pets, require very little care and are so much fun to watch! They come in a whole array of colors, with each one having their own personality. Be careful, it's very easy to become a bettaholic!
So lets start with the basics. Betta Splendens originated in Thailand, from the slow running rice paddy fields. Once discovered people found out that the males were ferocious towards each other and very territorial. People soon made a sport out of them, by fighting them and gambling, much like dog fighting or chicken fighting, hence the name Siamese Fighting Fish. Which is why you always see them sitting in separate cups at the petstores. Never put male bettas together! They will fight until one kills the other.
Now what will be your bettas new home?
Your betta will need atleast a gallon container to live in. Many of the betta containers you see at the stores are way to small for your betta. Sitting at the store in a small cup for weeks is bad enough, he shouldn't have to live in one for his whole life though. In anything under a gallon your bettas water will have to be changed everyday to every other day, which can be very stressful on your betta. Not to mention if you don't change his water often enough that can also stress him out. In small containers ammonia builds up very rapidly, which can lead to a whole list of diseases and can even burn your betta. As reference for your container a one gallon container should be changed every 3 days. But every betta is different so I suggest getting.... An ammonia test kit. Test everyday from the first day you change his water, when you get an ammonia reading then you know how many days you can go inbetween water changes. Adding plants such as Java Moss or Java Fern, which are low light plants, help keep the water cleaner inbetween changes. Bettas can tolerate pH levels from 6.4 to 7.4 but would much rather have it between 6.8 and 7.0. Some people use bottled spring water. I wouldn't recommend doing this unless you know for sure your always going to have some on hand. The bottled water's pH is more then likely different from your tap water pH, and everytime you switch between the two you are putting more stress on your betta because he has to adjust to the new pH. If you live in the city then you will also need to get a water conditioner that removes chlorine and chloramines. These can be deadly to your betta. Most people also prefer to age their water for atleast 24 hours. This helps to get the extra oxygen out from running it from the tap. The bubbles from unaged water can result in gill burn if they get on your betta.
Let's not forget that your Betta is a Tropical fish. Bettas prefer temperatures between 78 and 82 degrees. The will tolerate temps as low as 70 but I would make sure to have my temperature higher then that. Some won't mind it in the 70's but some get lethargic and stressed being in that cool of waters. If your house stays cool I would recommend getting a Junior Heater which means you will have to upgrade your bettas home to atleast a 2 gallon, but it's worth it and I'm sure your betta won't be complaining.
Now that we have down the water basics, what will you feed your betta?
You can find many varieties of betta pellets, flakes and treats. A varied diet is always best! Most bettas will only eat the pellets and not even touch the flakes, and some are just the opposite. A staple diet of pellets or flakes will suffice. But your betta does get tired of eating the same old thing all the time. You can feed your betta freeze dried bloodworms or freeze dried brine shrimp, or a wide variety of frozen foods that include both above, plus beefheart, tubifex worms or baby brine shrimp. Then there is the list of live foods such as black worms, white worms, baby brine shrimp, tubifex worms or mosquito larvae. These should only be given on a treat basis, about 2-3 times a week.
So you want to decorate your betta bowl?
Well that's just fine! Your betta will thank you. There is a world of possibility of how you can decorate, just stay away from plastic plants! Bettas long frilly fins hang and tear very easily, esp. on sharp plastic edges. Only have silk or live plants. Try to stay away from adding an sort of seashells, which can raise the pH and make the water hard. As stated before Java Moss or Java Ferns would be perfect for your betta. These plants require no special lighting and reproduce quite quickly. Plus your betta's love to nap, so why not give them a comfy bed of java moss or a nice leave to use as a hammock?
Following the above instructions will help you and your betta enjoy it's life, full of energy and spunk! Enjoy!

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