1. Betta fish have superbly developed eyesight and therefore they swim to the top of the tank whenever they see a human hand hovering over it to place the food in.
2. Another name for betta fish is the Siamese fighting fish and its name is pronounced in the same way as when we say the Greek letter beta, it is for this reason that some misspell the name and is why you often see it written beta fish, which is the American way. Some think that the name has something to do with the Greek letter, but it is actually derived from the Thai word ‘ikan bettah’. Betta fish are known as pla-kad in Thailand and live in shallow freshwater.
3. Because of the fantastic colours of the male betta fish and other advantages, they are the most popular aquarium fish. This of course doesn’t mean you can just put them in the tank and not look after them, they need a lot of looking after.
4. Betta fish actually originate from the Southeast Asia, Thailand, Malaysia and China.
5. They grow to about 3 inches and have a relatively short lifespan of about 2 years, but some live up to 4 years, it has been known that in well looked after aquariums, some have lived over 6 years.
6. When the male betta fish is in his aggressive stage he will puff himself out. During this puffing out he raises his gill covers and fins to make himself look larger than he is and therefore looks more impressive. This puff-out is done both through aggression and during the courting stage when he is trying to impress a possible mating partner.
7. Some Asian countries breed them for fighting similar to the cocks in cockfighting. The betta fish used in this manner have shorter fins than the ones we normally see in our aquariums in the Western hemisphere. In fact wild bettas have very short fins, it is breeders that have developed the bettas with longer, brilliantly coloured fins.
8. The betta fish seem to continually make funny bubbles on the top of the aquarium; this is just his way of making a nest. The male betta fish when in the wild makes bubble nests so that when the female happens by he does his tribal dance with his fins flashing to suitably impress her, when she is suitably so impressed she will spawn after which he will fertilise the eggs. Then being the perfect dad he will pick the eggs up in his mouth and place them tenderly into his bubble nest. That’s it; interlude over it was their ‘Brief Encounter’.
9. For 2 days after the eggs have been laid and are safely deposited in the bubble-nest, the male looks after them totally, if any of the fry fall from the nest, he picks them up in his mouth and puts them back, so it is the male beta who cares for the eggs until and after they hatch, after which he may or may not choose to devour some of his young, so much for being the perfect DAD!
10. If the female doesn’t then turn tail and get out of there as quick as possible, the male, just like the female black widow spider will turn on her male partner, the male betta will turn on the female.