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-In Progress- (hope I'm doing this right!)
Common name(s)-Betta, Siamese Fighting Fish
Scientific Name- Betta Splendens
Native geographical area-Thailand
Native habitat-Rice paddies in Thailand, unlike most poeple think, they had lots of space to swim around in here. There is no strong current, and the water is warmed by the hot sun.
Maximum Size-3 inches, although the giant bettas can reach about 6 inches
Minimum Aquarium Size-1 gallon, although 2 gallons and up would be preferred
Natural & captive Diet-They eat mosquitoe larvae and worms in the wild, but they will eat flakes and pellets, as well as bloodworms, brine shrimp, tubifex worms, and other live treats about once a week. If constipated, they should be fed peas.
Tank zone- Mostly middle and top, but sometimes forage the bottom.
Temperament & compatibility-Agressive fish, cannot stay with nippy or long finned and colorful fish, are sometimes bothered by fast fish. Males cannot stay with other bettas, while females can stay with other females as long as there are 3 or more.
Hardness range-medium Optimal hardness-medium
pH range-very adjustable to different pH ranges, but neutral is best Optimal ph-7.0
Temperature range-74F-80F Optimal temperature-76F
Salinity range-no salt Optimal salinity-none
Photoperiod-about 7hrs of sunlight a day, although it can go with no sunlight. Does not like to be kept in direct sunlight all day.
Seasonal changes critical?no
Notable sensitivites- does not like cold water, if water is too cold betta will become lethargic and paler in color. Since they have long fins, they aften get fin rot or rips in their fins.
Hardiness & Lifespan-Hardy fish, their life span varies, it can live to be 1 yr or 5 yrs, although it's usually about 2 yrs.
Physical description- Bettas come in many colors and patterns. They also come in a variety of tail types.The most common tail type is veiltail. Females have shorter fins than males, but a tail type called plakat (pk) that has short fins, and some females have longer fins. Here is my drawing of some tail types on male bettas, it is missing the deltas/super deltas though, and might be a little big...

and my betta anatomy drawing:

Caudal/tail fin-This is the tail of the betta, and ranges from different tail types, like halfmoon, plakat, and veiltail. The betta shown is a veiltail.
Dorsal fin-a dorsal fin is the fin on the betta's "back". This fin is longer in doubletails.
Anal fin-This fin is the fin on the "bottom" of the betta. It is called an anal fin because it is positioned right behind the anus, or where the poop comes out.
Pectoral fin-The pectoral in is the fin behind the gills, this fin is short.
Beards-the betta's beard shows on males when they are not flaring, while on females it usually shows only when flaring, and it's often short. Males have a longer beard.
Eye-Self explainable... eyes are used to see.
"Nostrils"-"Nostrils" look like little dots on top of the lips, they can sometimes blend in with the scales and are hard to see.
Ventral Fins-Ventral fins are long, narreow fins on the stomach of bettas. In males they are longer, usually twice or three tmes their size, where in females they are shorter.
Mouth-Self explainable... mouth is used to eat the food. Bettas do not have teeth, their mouth is curved down, so they look grumpy.
Rays-Rays look like veins in the betta's fins. They split themselves like tree branches. This veiltail, like all velitails, has only 2 rays. Different tai types have more rays, this is usually used to tell female tail types apart.
Activity peak-Bettas are usually active both day and night, although they may sometimes become slower at night.
Habits-Bettas are fish that arew very intelligent, and usually have very different and unique personailities. They will usually flare if they see another betta, their gills spread out with their beards showing, and their fins will spread out as well. Females flare less than males. If bettas are happy they will make bubblenests, which look like clumps of bubbles on top of the tank, they also do this while breeding. In the first few weeks or days that you get your betta, he may not eat... this is normal, and some treats like bloodwroms may get him to eat.
Spawning notes-Bettas are not easy fish to spawn. You will need at least a 10 gallon tank, a 20 for a grow out tan for an average sized spawn. You will need a decent pair that is not too young, but not too old. This is about 3.5 months, but can be anywhere from 2.5months to a year (although not usually recommended) you will need a glass cylinder, although a 2 liter plastic bottle or breeding trap works just a well. I suggest starting a microworm or vinegar eel culture, or baby brine shrimp before the spawn so you'll have food ready for fry. You will also need a styrofoam cup cut in half, or a piece of styrofoam, a couple of plants, some dechlorinator, a heater, small sponge filter, betta conditioning food like bloodwroms and brine shrimp, and lots of jars or betta barracks!
First, you will need to condition your bettas for the spawn. They will have to do some hard work, so you should provide them with lots of healthy, rich food for the next week or so so that they will be ready. Meanwhile, saet up you spawning tank. Fill it about halfway. Add you heater and sponge filter and let them run, also dechlorinate the water. Place in the couple of plants, make sure you have no gravel in the tank. Place in the cylinder, 2L bottle cut off from the top, or breeding trap. Also place in the half cut styrofoam cup or piece of styrofoam, floating at the top.You can let the tank running like this until your bettas are conditioned. When they are, add the female in the cylinder/breeding trap/2L bottle, let the male out in the tank. The male should flare, and build a bubblenest. The female, if light enough, will start showing vertical breeding stripes and possibly swim with her head down. When the male is done with the bubblenest and they are showing breeding signs, let the female out. Monitor them closely at this time. The male will chase and nip the female, and flare. Then, (this can take a couple of days) the female will start checking out the nest. Soon they should be spawning. When they spawn, the male will wrap around the female and squeeze and fertelize the eggs. Then the female will become paralized for a while, you may see her floating at the top. Meanwhile, the male will be picking up the eggs from the bottom of the tank, you may think he's eating them, but he's just storing them in his mouth. He will then take some trips at the bottom and at the top, spitting the eggs into the bubblenest. They will repeat wrapping for a while, until the female is out of eggs. When she is, the male will start chasing her again and you'll need to remove her. Now the male will be tending for the eggs, they will fall, and you'll see him picking them up and spitting them out in the nest. The eggs will hatch in 24-48 hours. When they do, little fry that look like hair will seem to be hanging out of the nest. The "hairs" are fry tails. They will still be falling, and the daddy will still be picking them up and spitting them out. In about 3 days, the fry will have eaten up their yolk sac and become free-swimming. They will be able to swim! Now, you can take the daddy out, make sure to feed him yummy treats because he'll be hungry! Now, you'll have to feed the fry. Feed them about 3 times a day with live foods. You'll need live food. In a couple of months, if cared for well, the fry will become adult bettas! You can have up to 500 fry, so make sure you have the room! When they start showing agression, you have to jar them. Good luck!
Sexing Bettas-There are different ways to sex bettas, the most common being the fin length. Females often have shorter fins, although some males have short fins, and some females have longer fins. Another way is by bubblenests and flaring, males tend to do these things often, while females do not, but a lot of females flare, and some will build bubblenests. The last way is by the ovipositor. This is a white spot behind the gills, on the tummy of a female, although some males have been known to have this. So what is the surefire way? None that I know of, just try all these things and see if your betta sounds more like a male or female.
Other notes-Bettas are very friendly fish and need lots of TLC, they are some of the most popular fish, being easy to keep and colorful and pretty. Bettas are labiryinth fish, and will come to the top to take a gulp of air. B. Splendens is a fancy betta, there are other wild bettas like B. Flax. Fish that are realted to bettas are gouramis and paradise fish, and these should not be kept with bettas. Bettas enjoy plants in their tanks, especially floating plants. They are tropical fish and can be found at most pet shops. The most common tankmates for bettas are cories, ottos, snails, and shrimp, although some bettas like to eat shrimp. Bettas do not like strong currents and, like all fish, like clean water.
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