Siamese fighting fish, who are often sold as "decorations" or
party favors, are becoming more and more popular. Pet shops, discount
superstores, florists, and even online catalogs sell Siamese fighting fish (Betta
splendens) in tiny cups or flower vases to consumers who are often
uneducated about proper betta care.
Many people mistakenly believe that betta fish must be kept in
"solitary confinement." Female bettas can live together, and while
male bettas will fight with other male bettas, they can be placed singly in a
"community" aquarium containing other species of fish.
Another common misconception about bettas is that they can survive without
being fed in a so-called "complete ecosystem" that consists of
nothing more than a vase and a plant. As a result, fish are being sentenced to
dull, lonely lives and slow deaths by starvation. These tiny containers are not
suitable for any fish.
Plant roots do not provide adequate food for betta fish. Bettas are
omnivorous; in nature, they eat mostly insects and insect larvae. A diet
consisting of plant roots may keep them alive for a while, but since it lacks
the proper nutrients, the fish eventually become sick and die. A plant placed
at the top of a vase may also restrict access that the fish needs to obtain
oxygen, since bettas (known as "labyrinth fishes") take their oxygen
from the surface of the water.
Betta fish are native to Asia, where they live in the
shallow water of rice paddies, ponds, or slow-moving streams. Since the water
is shallow, it is also warm, which is why betta fish in captivity require a
sizable amount of water in an aquarium that can be kept heated to at least 75
Bettas require a minimum of 10 gallons of water, according
to Gaddy Bergmann, formerly of the University
of South Florida department of
biology. Harro Hieronimus, former chair of the German Livebearer Society and
the International Rainbowfish Association , believes that fish must have a
minimum of 13 gallons of water in an aquarium approximately 24 inches by 12 inches
by 12 inches in size. His expert opinion was made the basis for law in Germany.
Please don't buy betta fish or support pet stores that sell
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