How do Betta fish mate

Fighting fish: tips on keeping, costs and breeding the fish

If you are looking for dazzling fish for your aquarium, you will find it among the Siamese fighting fish. We give tips on how to keep the fish species-appropriate - and explain what the name is all about.

Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) have long, fluttering fins and are available as cultivated forms in almost all shades of color - which makes them popular fish for the aquarium. They originally come from Southeast Asia, where the colorful fish are not only kept for ornaments.

Where does the name "fighting fish" come from?

The fish got their name because the males behave aggressively towards other male conspecifics. The result of a clash is fierce fighting until one of the opponents emerges as the winner. This pattern of behavior has been cultivated in traditional fish fights in Southeast Asia over the years.

Nevertheless, the fighting fish are more peace-loving than their name suggests. If the other fish in the aquarium show no territorial behavior, they are usually very peaceful towards them. They feel most comfortable with other species that swim calmly and deliberately.

Siamese fighting fish: attitude

A fighting fish is a nice addition to the aquarium, but you should make sure that you have a sufficiently large tank of around 54 liters when buying it. For a single male fighting fish that you want to keep alone in an aquarium, twelve liters is the minimum. The natural habitat of the fish can best be mimicked with many plants.

Since it is native to still waters, the fighting fish cannot tolerate currents in aquariums well. For this reason, you should use filters when keeping fighting fish, which hardly generate any current. The fighting fish likes it warm in the aquarium, the temperature should be between 25 and 28 degrees - with a pH value between six and eight.

As a carnivore, a fighting fish needs at least 50 percent of live food, for example in the form of larvae, water fleas and brine shrimp (Artemia). Special dry food for the fish is also available in pet shops.

Socialization in the aquarium: which fish are suitable for fighting fish?

If you want to keep more than one fighting fish in an aquarium, you should choose a male and a female or just female. Two males do not get along in an aquarium, otherwise the above-mentioned fights will occur, in which one male will die. Otherwise, snails are well suited for socialization in fighting fish. Fish with conspicuous patterns or specimens that like to pluck fins are less good company for the animals.

Siamese fighting fish: More peace-loving than its name suggests. (Source: Laraish / Getty Images)

The question often arises whether a fighting fish can be kept together with shrimp. However, there is no general answer to this. While some aquarists live together peacefully, shrimp in some tanks have to fear for their lives from the carnivorous fighting fish. So socializing is not necessarily successful.

Fighting fish: colors, cost, size, life expectancy

Siamese fighting fish belong to the labyrinth fish. The special thing about labyrinth fish is that, in addition to gill breathing, they can also breathe oxygen on the surface of the water through their labyrinth organ. As a result, they survive even in low-oxygen water.

The fighting fish are only six to seven centimeters tall and come in a variety of colors from blue, turquoise and green to red, pink, orange, yellow, white and black. The male is usually more colorful than the female fighting fish. Its pectoral fins are long and narrow, the other fins shaped more like flags. The female's fins are smaller. The fin shapes of the fish are also divided into different groups. These include:

  • Halfmoon: The fish have long fins that are reminiscent of a crescent moon when spread.
  • Poster: The fish have rather short fins and correspond most closely to the natural form of Betta splendens.
  • Doubletail: The fish have a double fin that is usually divided into two parts.
  • Crowntail: The fish have a "crown tail". This means that they still have fin rays, but the fin skin has receded.

If kept well, the Siamese fighting fish can live up to three years. The costs vary due to the color and shape of the fin, but are usually between five and 30 euros.

Fighting fish breeding: interesting facts about reproduction

If you want to breed fighting fish yourself, you should keep fighting fish females and fighting fish males two to three weeks apart before mating. Provide the fish with food that is particularly rich in protein and fat during this time, as the mating will require a lot of energy.

Siamese fighting fish: the male builds a foam nest. (Source: nayneung1 / Getty Images)

Then the breeding tank is the next station for the animals. You should not use a substrate, as eggs would later get caught and rot. Floating plants, on the other hand, are important in the breeding tank, as they offer retreats for female fighting fish. Then put the female in the pool first so that she can acclimate.

When the male arrives, he indicates his willingness to mate by building a so-called foam nest, which is formed from air bubbles that the male pulls from the surface of the water. The nest is usually placed under the leaves of the floating aquarium plants. Construction takes up to two days. Then it comes to a more or less impulsive advertisement of the male for the female, in which it is sometimes chased across the tank and seeks protection in the plants.

Only when the female forms vertical, thick spawning strips on the body, it is ready to mate. After a few false pairings, the actual pairing finally takes place under the nest, during which the males and females wrap around each other and the fertilized eggs emerge. The female falls briefly into paralysis while the male begins to collect the eggs and lay them in the nest.

The female should then leave the breeding tank soon, because the male takes care of the nest. After a few days the young hatch and feed on the yolk sac. Now it is time for the male to leave the breeding tank so that he does not mistake his offspring for live food. When breeding, the right food should also be provided for the offspring: liquid feed and, later, Artemia.

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