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The Siamese fighting fish, or betta, is the second most popular ornamental fish in the world. Its long flowing fins and striking color, make them gorgeous. Unfortunately, Pet store myths and ignorance usually confine these beautiful fish to unfiltered, unheated cups, when, in reality, betas are perhaps the easiest fish to care for.
Housing
First thing first bettas will fight to the death when a male is kept with ANY BETTA MALE OR FEMALE, a group of females can be kept in a densly planted 10 gaallon tank with atleast 6 fish, also NEVER HOUSE A BETTA IN A BOWL OR A VASE! The death-traps are insufficient to any fish. The vase is the worst, because, in addition the being unheated, too small, and unfiltered, the betta cannot breath air from the surface (betas are labyrinth fish) and the vases instructions say to not feed them and change the water once a week! Bowls are just as bad, although air is available. A betta should be kept in at least a 2.5 gallon tank that is longer than it is tall, with a heater and a filter. The temperature should be between 72 and 82 degrees F. Any ornaments should be silk as to not tear the betas fins, when in doubt, rub a pair of pantyhose on it, if they snag, the ornament is to rough. A great impromptu betta home is a large 5 gallon Rubbermaid container with some form of lid (like foil).
Food
Your betta should be fed a high protein, low fat, high fiber diet. Use specialized betta foods (pellets or flakes [most betas prefer pellets]) as a staple, and use treats of live, frozen or freeze-dried shrimp, krill, bloodworms, daphnia, or tubifex worms (ONLY use frozen or freeze-dried tubifex worms to ward off dropsy), these can be staple foods but variety must be used. Possible human foods include rice, beef heart, and high protein veggies such as green beans, carrots, or peas (which are great for warding off constipation [see below]). Processed foods like baked beans or chips should be avoided.
Health
Always add chlorine remover to the water, and let the water sit before adding fish, at least 5 hours. It is useful to add 1 teaspoon of aquarium salt per 2.5 gallons of water. If your fish seems to be lying on its side and not swimming, it may be constipated. To treat, place the betta in a bare, shallow container to aid in breathing and allow you to see any droppings (if droppings occur and the fish is still sick, it has something else) and go a day without feeding him. If that does not work, thaw a frozen pea and feed your betta a portion of the inside about the size of his eye.
Thatís all the basics you need to know about keeping betas! If a left anything out, please let me know.