Are Bettas Tropical Fish? 5 Facts to Consider
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Betta fish have an extremely exotic look, with their odd fin shapes and the spectacular colors they feature. Observing them swimming makes us think of some far and unknown lands.
But then, on the other side, we often see them sold by pet stores in simple bowls with absolutely no additional feature. Often left confused, many people who are interested in adopting such fish are probably asking themselves are Bettas tropical fish or not?
Bettas are tropical fish that come from Asia, specifically Thailand. They prefer warm water, with temperatures ranging from 74-80°F (24-27°C). Also, they prefer slightly calmer water, which can recreate the conditions of shallow ponds and marshes.
Keeping Water Temperature Stable
Once you manage to obtain the desired water temperature level, it is of the highest importance for it to remain stable. Indeed, Bettas are extremely sensitive to the change of any water condition. This can only stress your fish out or bring it to a state of shock, and it can ultimately ruin its overall wellbeing.
The best way to control the water temperature across a tank is by setting up a heater. There are many different types available, and basically, any will work for a Betta.
These fish usually live in somewhat smaller tanks and they do not require super-high temperatures, so a heater for a Betta is certainly not that much of an investment. But it will improve its life by much in return.
When choosing the most suitable heater size for a Betta tank, you can simply apply the 5W/gallon rule of thumb. This can easily be used when calculating the heater size for smaller tanks as those for Betta fish. Also, most heaters today are surprisingly simple to install, so there is no need to worry about the setup.
The safest way of heating a tank up is doing that before the Betta arrives to its new home. And remember to add a thermometer to the mid-tank level, too. That way you will be able to spot any oscillation immediately and to react on time.
Bettas and Other Tropical Fish
Generally, Bettas can be kept with other tropical fish, as long as they are sharing similar water requirements. However, in practice, it is probably better to avoid placing any Betta in a community tank due to their specific, strong character.
Betta fish are quite territorial and have individual temperaments, and they do not mind spending their life as the only fish in a tank. But if you simply cannot settle of owning a single fish, you may want to know how to choose the appropriate tank mates.
Firstly, the golden rule of forming a community is to never start doing that with a male Betta. Or even worse, multiple male Bettas. They need their own peace and quiet and are happiest when living alone. Female Bettas, on the other side, seem to accept tank mates much better. Although they can become territorial, too.
When choosing the other fish species, make sure to look for either really small fish which are not likely to get into conflict but will be able to escape a Betta attack, or an oppositely larger fish that has a calmer temperament or likes spending time at the bottom of the tank.
Another thing to be aware about is that there are more water requirements apart from the temperature. Even if you find fish that need the same temperature levels as Bettas, make sure to do your research on other factors such as pH level, hardness, oxygenation, flow, and other.
Good companions which are proven to share the exact same water condition needs can be tetras, guppies, kuhli loaches or even corydoras.
Can Bettas Survive in Cooler Water?
Betta fish are able to survive in slightly cooler water temperatures, but it stops there- surviving. They are not designed to thrive or live a long and happy life in such conditions.
If a Betta happens to find itself into water under 74-degrees Fahrenheit, it has to be removed as soon as possible or will otherwise suffer from irreparable damage. In the best case scenario, its life will be shortened by much.
A Betta which is forced to stay in cooler water will soon have a slow immune system and will become lethargic, probably resting at the bottom of the tank. Fish absorb warmth from the water, as opposed to people who can generate their own.
So, once there is no warmth to collect anymore, a Betta will simply stop moving at some point. If this is not stopped, they may soon slip into a coma.
Can Bettas Eat Tropical Fish Food?
Most tropical fish flakes or pellets are not suitable for Bettas even though they are tropical fish. In fact, as opposed to most other tropical fish, Bettas are carnivorous.
Their diet needs to be based on protein mostly, so make sure to ask for appropriate Betta food while in a pet store. On top of that, they love getting some tasty meaty treats, either live or frozen.
If you own a community tank, it is important not to mix Betta food with others. If you have a Betta fish, you might want to try feeding them on one side of the tank while other fish eat on the other side. This can help avoid conflict between the fish.
If some of your other fish are bottom or mid-level feeders, that can be really helpful, because you can use sinking or slowly sinking pellets for them. Bettas, on the other side, like feeding at the top.
Bettas are tropical fish that live their happiest lives in warm water. Some pet stores still sell and promote them in simple bowls instead of proper aquariums, but a Betta can never have a healthy life at room temperature.
Indeed, this amazing fish needs a properly heated home to thrive and to live longer.