12 Interesting Betta Fish Facts

If you are new to the Betta world (or even an experienced pro) you may not know some of the following interesting Betta fish facts – these beautiful creatures are so much more than just flowing fins and a warrior spirit!

Let’s explore some of the most interesting Betta fish facts. You will definitely want to get one after reading this post!

betta fish

Fact #1 – Two-Part Breathing Abilities!

The Betta fish is one of the species that can breathe both oxygens from the water (through their gills) and the surface. This is made possible with an organ located just behind their heads called the labyrinth organ.

This specialized ability comes in handy in their natural habitat since they are found in slow-moving water bodies or rice paddies with low oxygen levels. It is also one of the reasons they are housed in tiny cups at the pet retailer – not ideal, but okay for a temporary solution. 

Fact #2 – Carnivorous Are We!

Since Betta fish entered the pet trade, manufacturers have developed well-balanced food pellets to feed them. These are convenient and easy ways to nourish this creature. However, in the wild, the Betta fish will search out protein in the form of bugs and insect larvae to dine on. 

We can also feed our Betta pets protein, and, in fact, it is recommended to give these fish live, frozen or freeze-dried daphnia, bloodworms, and brine shrimp as a treat. Not only do these foods provide a kick of protein, but daphnia can help with constipation in the Betta species. 

Fact #3 – GET OUT!

It’s no secret that the male Betta is territorial – that’s the other reason retailers keep them in their own separate containers. This trait has also earned them the nickname ‘Siamese Fighting Fish.’

If you were to place two males in the same tank, they will fight until one of them is dead. Some Betta species are less aggressive toward one another; however, it’s best to keep males separate and not place them with other fish with bright colors or flowing fins. 

Fact #4 –  Females in a Sorority?

Female Bettas aren’t as fierce as their male counterparts, so for this reason they can be housed together in groups of at least five (keep in mind the tank will have to be at least 10-gallons). 

But don’t be surprised if there are some spats in the first couple of days as the females work out their territories in (what is referred to as a) sorority tank. Keep an eye on any ripped or torn fins and be sure to provide plenty of live plants and aquarium objects for females to escape to and stake claim of. 

Fact #5 – Fascinating Courtship Ritual

Males and females will engage in a “light” battle before mating. This usually consists of a lot of chasing and gill flaring with both males and females. 

Once this settles out and the male is interested in breeding, he will build a nest made out of mucus-covered bubbles at the surface of the tank. The male will then try to woo the female by flaring his fins and doing a shimmy-like “dance” for her.

When the female is ready to lay her eggs, she will allow herself to be “caught” by the male.

He will cup her body so their vents are near each other. When she releases the eggs, he will immediately fertilize them. Once this is finished, the male will gently pick up the eggs and place them in the bubble nest where (in a couple of days) the fry will hatch from. 

Fact #6 –  Mr. Mom Betta!

Betta males make good moms (for a while) and are the ones that care for the eggs and the fry. In fact, he will drive away the female after she lays her eggs, so it’s best to remove her from the tank.

The male keeps watch over the eggs, picking up and securing any that fall from the bubble nest. Once the eggs hatch, he will guard the babies until they are free-swimming. However, it’s at this point that his “mommy” duties come to an end and he will start to dine on the fry. Remove him from the tank to avoid losing all your Betta babies!

Fact #7 – Jumpin’ Bettas, Batman!

Even though we are not sure why Bettas can and may jump from their tank. This habit could be derived from their natural instinct to escape poor water conditions. Of course, landing on the floor and drying out is not optimal, the poor Betta doesn’t realize the fate that awaits him.

The best way to prevent this from happening is to have a lid on your tank. If your Betta does make the leap and finds himself on the floor, he can survive around ten minutes outside the water, so get him back into his tank ASAP.

Fact #8 – Variety is the ‘Spice of Life’

Betta breeders have selectively bred the Betta splendens species to achieve a variety of colors and patterns. These include spots, dots, stripes, and even dragon-like scales overlaid with platinum, white, or copper colors. Their tails also come in a variety of lengths and shapes like the double-tail, crowntail, and half-moon. There’s no telling what color or design may be hiding among those baby Bettas. 

Fact #9 – Types or Color Variations?

Even though pet retailers and breeders may label a Betta as a different “type,” they are usually just a color variation. For example, the Koi, Bumblebee, and Rosetail are all the same species, they have just developed variations. 

These popular Bettas are intriguing to look at, but we must not forget that they are still Bettas and still need all the same requirements as the plainer variety. Plus, they can still be aggressive and will need to be kept alone. 

Fact #10 – Named by a Danish Doctor

Interestingly, the Betta didn’t start out as the “Betta.” It was actually called the Macropodus pugnax (as in “pugnacious,” for their aggression). Dr. Theodore Cantor was responsible for naming this exotic fish after receiving one as a gift in 1840 from the King of Siam. 

Dr. Cantor was so intrigued by this fish that he began to breed them. However, he soon realized that the name was already being used for a different breed of fish, so he changed it to Betta splendens (“beautiful warrior”) after a tribe in ancient Asia (known as Bettah). 

Fact #11 –  A Tail By Any Other Name…

Did you know the Betta species can come in at least 14 different tail variations? Some of these include; combtail, rosetail, round tail, spadetail, and dumbo ear. However, the most common found in pet retailers are the veil tail Betta. The half-sun and combtail are incredibly rare and may be difficult to locate. 

Why are there so many tail variations? Some are actually caused by genetic mutations, and, albeit, interesting to look at, these fish can be difficult to breed and some may also possess other genetic issues that could lead to poor health. 

Fact #12 – Maybe Not Fetch – But Trainable!

The Betta may “just be a fish” but they are trainable. Some pet parents have taught their Betta buddy to jump out of the water to touch their finger or to take food, while others have trained their Betta to swim through a hoop. Perhaps, it’s not as easy as training a dog, but the Betta does enjoy using its brain and interacting with its people, so take the time to teach your fish some tricks, it’s sure to please at your next gathering. 

Interesting Betta Fish Facts Conclusion

Who knew the Betta was so interesting? Whether it’s their fascinating mating rituals, their ability to learn tricks, or just their amazing colors, patterns, and fin shapes, the Betta fish is gaining in popularity every day. 

If you think a Betta would make a good pet for you, be sure to read our other posts on how to care for this species, so you can live with this beauty for years to come.