Debunking Common Myths About Betta Fish

Image source: Ames Farm Center

Betta fish are undeniably popular among aquarium enthusiasts. However, there are several misconceptions surrounding their care that contribute to their reputation as poorly kept aquarium fish. In this article, we aim to debunk some of the most prevailing myths about betta fish, providing you with valuable insights to ensure the optimal well-being of these beautiful aquatic creatures.

Myth #1: Bettas Prefer Tiny Tanks or Cups

Verdict: Absolutely not.

First and foremost, let’s address the biggest myth of all – the idea that bettas enjoy living in tiny tanks or cups. While you may have encountered rows of these containers in pet stores, the reality is far from ideal. While cups provide a temporary solution for separating male bettas, it is not their optimal environment. Fortunately, pet stores are gradually improving their standards and transitioning to better setups for bettas.

Myth #2: Vase or Bowl Ecosystems are Low-Maintenance

Verdict: Nope.

Another widespread myth suggests that a vase or bowl containing a plant can create a self-sustaining ecosystem for bettas. This notion seems appealing, but it’s far from accurate. In reality, the smaller the container, the more challenging it becomes to maintain water parameters and safeguard the health of your fish. Just like a thimble of water, a small container is more susceptible to temperature fluctuations and changes in water quality. Remember, there’s no such thing as a maintenance-free fish.

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Myth #3: Bettas Thrive in Mud Puddles

Verdict: Not quite.

Contrary to popular belief, bettas do not naturally inhabit mud puddles. While they come from warm marshes, slow-moving streams, and rice paddies in Thailand and Cambodia, their natural habitat is vastly different from the tiny tanks commonly used for them. In the wild, bettas enjoy expansive environments with ample vegetation. Therefore, providing them with more space and a habitat that simulates their natural surroundings will contribute to their overall well-being.

Myth #4: Bettas Must Live Alone

Verdict: Not always.

While male bettas cannot coexist due to their territorial nature, it doesn’t mean bettas can’t live with other fish. In fact, bettas can thrive in a community tank, especially when paired with smaller, faster fish. However, certain precautions must be taken to ensure harmony among tank mates. Providing ample space, hiding spots, and avoiding fish with long, flowing fins (which bettas may perceive as rivals) are essential factors for successful cohabitation.

Myth #5: Creating a Betta Sorority is Easy

Verdict: Kind of, but it’s trickier than it seems.

A betta sorority refers to a tank containing multiple female bettas. While some hobbyists claim success with this setup, others view it as a potential time bomb. It is crucial to set up the tank correctly and make provisions for escape routes to prevent aggression between bettas. Although it’s not recommended for beginners due to the necessary monitoring, with careful planning and consideration, a betta sorority can flourish.

Myth #6: Bettas Consume Plants and Roots

Verdict: They may nibble on leaves occasionally, but they don’t eat plants.

Bettas are carnivores by nature and do not have an appetite for plants. Their diet primarily consists of mosquito larvae, insects, and small crustaceans. While live plants can enhance their habitat and replicate their natural environment, bettas do not derive any nutritional value from plants. Therefore, incorporating live plants into their tank serves both aesthetic and enrichment purposes.

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Myth #10: Bettas Lack Intelligence and Feelings

Verdict: Fish are smarter than you might think.

Contrary to the belief that bettas are merely “just fish,” scientific research suggests otherwise. Fish, including bettas, experience stress and likely feel pain to some extent. Additionally, bettas exhibit signs of intelligence, learning ability, and memory. Many betta owners have reported their fish recognizing and interacting with them, even learning tricks. These naturally curious and captivating fish can bring joy and entertainment to any aquarium.

Betta Breakdown:

  • Tank size: A minimum of 5 gallons is recommended.
  • Heater/Temp: Aim for a temperature between 75-80°F.
  • Filter: Consider using a filter for easier maintenance, ensuring appropriate flow to protect the delicate fins of bettas.
  • Food: Provide a diet rich in meat-based foods such as frozen brine shrimp and insect/animal-based dried foods. Feed appropriately to prevent overfeeding.
  • Accessories: Enhance your betta’s environment with live plants, rocks, driftwood, and hiding places.
  • Other considerations: Cycle the tank, acclimate your betta properly, quarantine when introducing new fish, use a tank lid or maintain a lower water level to prevent jumping, and avoid keeping male bettas together.

For more insightful content on betta fish care and exciting aquarium videos, visit Ames Farm Center. Stay updated and dive into the fascinating world of bettas!

Read Time: 7 mins