Betta fish, which are colorful and iridescent, are common beginner pets. The colorful swimmers are frequently marketed by pet shops as being simple to care for because they are small and inexpensive to maintain.
However, appropriate betta care is a little more complicated than what some pet retailers advertise. They are also among the fish that are most commonly exploited in the aquarium trade, despite the fact that their looks may make them desirable for display.
What Is A Betta Fish?
Small freshwater fish are known as betta fish. They originate from Southeast Asia and are Osphronemidae family members. They are fairly little, measuring between six and eight millimeters.
The Siamese fighting fish, often known as live betta fish for sale is a smart tropical freshwater fish that is common as a pet and frequently kept in a variety of home fish tanks. The betta lives in rice fields and still-watered canals in its natural habitat, which includes countries like Thailand.
The ones you see in family pet stores are also quite different in terms of size and color, with wild betta fish having considerably smaller fins and typically seeming to be a dark shade of green or brown.
They are inexpensive to keep and obtain, making them a great first animal to teach children the value of taking care of anything.
In the wild, there are more than 70 different betta fish species. The fish can be found in marshes, ponds, flood plains, slow-moving streams, and other bodies of shallow water. They are naturally carnivorous. Small crustaceans and insects, including mosquito larvae, worms, and even smaller fish are all part of their varied diet.
Because of their vivid colors, store-bought betta splendens, commonly referred to as Siamese fighting fish, are one of the more well-liked betta fish species.
These ray-finned fish, however, do not resemble their wild counterparts in any way. Typically, wild betta fish are grey in color and have short fins. Selective breeding, which involves breeding animals to produce more enticing attributes like a specific color or size, created the betta fish that are sold in pet stores.
Betta fish that are purchased from stores come in a wide range of color patterns. Additionally, betta fish that are sold in stores have been developed to have many fin types, including twin tails, crown-tails, delta fins, halfmoon fins, and more.
Why Do Betta Fish Fight?
Comparatively speaking to their female counterparts, betta fish males are fiercely possessive. As a result, when defending their area, they often exhibit violent behavior toward other male bettas. Male fish with flowing fins of other species will also be attacked by bettas. They frequently flare their fins to display anger when startled or threatened.
Additionally, male bettas are ferociously protective of their young. For the protection of their young, they create bubble nests, which are made of air bubbles coated in saliva. Therefore, when predators or other fish intrude on their territory, they may also turn hostile.
What’s Wrong With Buying Betta Fish?
You’re likely to notice rows of little plastic containers packed with unmoving betta fish if you take a quick check down the fish aisle at your neighborhood pet shop.
These fish, which are marketed in pet shops in the United States, were sometimes caught in the wild. However, the majority were born in Southeast Asian nations like Thailand.
The manner in which bettas suffer in the international fish trade was revealed by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Asia) research. The betta fish industry in Thailand was exposed in the exposé. Betta fish are seen being confined to tiny pots that aren’t filled with enough water to cover their bodies in a video that was made public alongside the inquiry.
The undercover agent for PETA Asia visited 10 different betta breeding and packing facilities. Bettas that had died were discovered on the floor, and some had apparently been readied for shipping by being kept out of their water for a long time.
Bettas can take several days to arrive at their destination after being shipped. According to the inquiry, tranquilizers are occasionally added to the water of betta fish to prevent the fish from eating their own tails out of grief. On arrival, some bettas are already dead. Up to 1,000 of the 100,000 betta fish transported each week to the United States, according to the supplier of betta fish to Petco, perish before reaching wholesalers.
What’s Wrong With Home Aquariums?
Bettas and other fish kept in captivity in aquariums at home may experience poor conditions and carelessness.
Betta fish, in contrast to certain other species of fish, require warm water and strong filtration. They need to be fed frequently, and their tanks should be cleaned. They also require a richer environment. They can spend their time exploring tunnels and various vegetation as a result. Bettas’ general well-being can be impacted by having a tank that is too small and having bad water.
According to studies, captive bettas can have a wide range of health illnesses. Loss of color or hunger, listlessness, clouded eyes, ragged fins, bloating, weight loss, laborious reservations, and irregular swimming are a few of these symptoms. Numerous additional medical conditions, such as fin rot, bacterial infections, and fungus, are also possible in them.
Bettas have the same emotional range as people and other animals. Due to their incarceration, they may endure stress, melancholy, and boredom. According to a 2017 investigation on the potential welfare issues bettas kept in captivity may face, most captivity settings lack the complexity present in their natural habitat. The well-being of bettas is harmed by this.
Should You Have Pet Fish?
Bettas require extremely specialized care, despite the fact that some people may think they are simple to care for. They also need an environment that is richer than their natural habitats. The goal of doing this is to encourage mental and physical well-being.
Regardless of the type of pet—whether a dog, cat, rabbit, or fish—choosing to add one to the family should involve careful thought and consideration. Check to see if someone in your neighborhood is offering fish for adoption if you are set on keeping a pet fish and already have an aquarium that is big enough and has a stimulating atmosphere in order to avoid supporting the fish trade.
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