Some Q&A about Betta splendens or Siamese fighting fishes (Quora #3)

A couple of Saturdays ago I started a series which was intended to reproduce my inputs on Quora over here on this blog, as a repurposing and collating of them as well as a way of making sure I don’t lose my own content.

As explained last time to group answers around themes and I have a little sheet where I am preparing them for these Group posts, based on the format I’ll be doing today.

Please remember that my answers vary a lot from facetious to informative usually depending on my mood, the time available and what I think about the question. Be prepared for a rather broad range of approaches to questions.

Male Crowntail Betta by Wikipedia User Anandrajkumar

If you want to discuss or ask anything else around these themes, please get a discussion going in the comments. It’s what the comment facility is there for. I hope it is not onerous to log on and make some kind of utterance.

As mentioned in the title, the theme for today is Betta splendens, and these answers were given by me all in late 2015 or the first half of 2016.  It seems very random that I emerged as an expert on this species in Quora as I haven’t had an awful lot of them myself but I do know a thing or two about them.

1. What’s a good way to keep the temperature constant in a small fish bowl for a Betta?

Personally I would not keep him in a bowl at all. Just because an aquarium fish is hardy and will accept unnatural temperatures without dying and can breath air so that it is not affected by poor oxygenation it does not mean that the quality of life of a fish will be pleasant in a bowl.

A person needs to deserve to be looking after animals, you know, and the basis of that deserving is giving the animal a pleasant life. I would give a Betta a heater/stat and filter, gravel and plants and decent lighting and regular water changes and good food just like any other aquarium fish.

The specifics for Betta males is you can’t keep two of them together and you should avoid keeping them with fish that are likely to nip their lovely flowing fins. But you can keep them with small catfishes like Corydoras or Ancistrus no problem. I think it is nicer for them to have that kind of tank mate than be stuck on their own.

Views till now: 94
Upvotes till now: 4

About this question and answer: There weren’t any comments on my answer, as is often the case with a lot of the earlier part of Quora, in fact there is not that much Community activity even today. a 5% upvote to view rate is already good, I would say, and maybe 1% comment to views.

This is the earliest example of a message I and a number of other fishkeepers seem to be saying on Quora again and again, give your fish more space, give them better conditions, be an ethical aquarist. Really there is only so much of that I am likely to have patience telling people although for the sake of the fish I hope the patience won’t run out too soon…

2. I scared my Betta fish, what do I do?

Put it in a proper tank where you don’t have to get on its case when you do the water changes.

About this question and answer:  it has 1.2K views and 2 upvotes. There are 7 other answers including some even briefer than mine. The background to the question was that the asker had to catch his Betta every time he did water changes, which means he probably needed to do 100% changes which is no good anyway, he will be giving his Betta too much chlorinated water and too much thermal shock, and all of this can be avoided by simply having a proper tank and not a tiny microtank or bowl.

3. Is it poisonous to eat a Betta fish?

Anabantids are not poisonous, and the biggest one in the family, the giant gourami, is a food fish used by natives of South East Asia.

It is a pity to take a small and beautiful fish like the Betta and use it for food.

About this question and answer: it has 3,400+ views and 3, at the time of posting here.  There are 2 other answers and what I like about mine i that it covers the thrust of both the other answers in rather fewer words.  I suppose this could also be in the Culinary topic but I don’t even want to encourage people to think of the betta as food. I can easily imagine how some people might see it as an attractive garnish on a fish dish, which could also be tucked into by diners but this would not be beautiful, it would be extremely ugly and would upset any fishkeeper who had tried the species in the whole room.

I would also remind you of what I said last time we had a Quora Q&A about the use of tropical freshwater fishes like Panga in cuisine. I don’t recommend it and readers of mine will know I don’t recommend eating small things where it is many deaths to fill one stomach, rather than one death to fill many stomachs.

4. Is my tank suitable for my betta fish?

I am all in favour of giving fish more space than that, but most owners seem to be giving less and getting away with it, so you wouldn’t be the first on my hitlist if I were to go on the rampage avenging the abuses the species has had to endure.

About this question and answer: it has just under a thousand views and 2 upvotes, at the time of posting here. There are 7 other answers and opinion is totally divided in whether the image of the tank shown was enough space for the fish or not. My answer was a “could do better” without wanting to put undue pressure on a beginning aquarist who had at least taken the trouble to check, as this puts the asker already in a different class to a lot of people who get this species thinking it’ll be an easy keep.

5. How do neon tetra and Betta fish interact in the same environment?

I would avoid this mix. If the Betta does decide to try to ingest a small neon – and they swim faster than you might think since they have their flowing veils to slow them down, but they can fold them in when they want to strike, don’t you worry – then you have lost your neon and possibly also your Betta. I have seen the fish die from having another fish stuck in its throat which disables the breathing function in a labyrinth fish.

The best tankmates for Betta are Corydoras and Ancistrus. (It’s as easy as ABC).

About this question and answer: it has managed to get 1.3K views, but without geting any upvotes, at the time of posting here. There are 2 other answers with the opposite view, saying that neons are fine with Bettas.  OK, well, don’t blame me if you try it and end up with the issue described.

6. My betta fish keeps jumping out of the tank, what do I do?

Betta are air breathing fishes and so the usual reason fish jump out of tanks, ie lack of oxygen, is unlikely to be the reason.

Either this is something to do with water quality, in which case you have to do more water changes, check the temperaturę, use a better filter and avoid over feeding or overstocking, or else the fish is jumping at flies. It could also be a way to avoid a fin-nipping tankmate.

What else is going on, how big is the tank and what else is in there with him?

About this question and answer: it has managed to get 12.7K views, 7 upvotes, at the time of posting here. There are 4 other answers with similar approaches.

OK, that’s probably enough for one go.

Your thoughts welcome, by all mean reply also to other community members!