|Betta Splendens, also well known
as Siamese Fighting Fish, are fighters by nature. However, fighting is by
far their only feature. Their fighting nature usually only applies to
their fellow species, other bettas. To the contradiction of many beliefs,
bettas do make a good tank mates with many other species (see
our page on Tank-Mates for Bettas) Aggression and fighting does not
only apply to male bettas, however, females are also well known for their
spunk and sometimes killer instinct. See below about female aggression.
|Why Bettas fight...
Male bettas have a built in instinct to fight other
male bettas. Males, by nature, will fight until their opponent is near
death or has swam away in defeat. Reasons for this could range from
territory to the typical male ego (no offense guys, lol). Mating, I believe,
also plays a large role. Just like in many other species the alpha male
gets the girl. Whether there is a female around or not, males will always
be competing for the Alpha role. This instinct comes in very handy when
you have a stubborn male in the spawning tank, sometimes another male in
the tank (not loose, of course) will be just the right dose of jealousy to
get him going.
In some rare cases I have heard of two males being kept
together, but I would not suggest this. I have had sibling males get along
that were raised together and kept together in a large tank, that is the
most daring I have been with temping two males.
|Why Bettas flare ...
| Flaring, also called
displaying or strutting, goes right along with my Alpha male theory,
flaring and intimidation precede most fights. The art of flaring will make
a betta appear much larger than before, their gills 'flare' out as well as
their gill membrane. Their fins will spread to their fullest size and
stand erect. Their colors will usually grow more intense and bright as
well. The betta pictured would nearly triple in size when he displayed.
The art of flaring will intimidate many 'wimpy' bettas into retreating and
save the betta from having to even battle at all. If their opponent is
also just as intimidating, a battle will soon begin. Females are also
known to flare and display, most times at other females (see below about
If you only one one betta (I can't imagine that, lol) then
you can get this same result by placing a mirror in front of your betta.
He will begin displaying as though he is going to intimidate his
reflection away (or maybe he is admiring himself?). This is actually very
good for your betta is you have no other bettas for him to interact with.
Not only is it fun to watch, it is good exercise for them. I keep all my
bettas within view of each other. I occasionally rearrange them for a new
view and new neighbors to bully!!
|Why is there bubbles . .
Bubble nests are a VERY normal part
of a male bettas life. Yes, females do blow them occasionally as well. I
get many, many emails from worried owners wondering why their bettas is
blowing all these bubbles even though there is no female around! Well,
when a male betta is healthy and happy, like most men, he wants to
procreate ;) He feels like making love :) Well, whether or not a female is
present doesn't deter those feelings. In the wild, a female doesn't have
to be placed with the male, she just happens to swim by. The pet betta
doesn't realize that a female isn't going to just swim by, so he gets
prepared for her thinking she will come. It does NOT mean you have to go
out and buy a female and breed them. I repeat, you do NOT have to breed
your male jus because he blows a nest. Be thankful for your male's nest,
it means he is happy and healthy. I have had females that blow nest, I
don't know what makes them feel as though they need to build one, but some
just do. I have even had a female that while spawning, would steal some of
her own eggs before the male got them, and swim them all the way across
the tank to her OWN nest. She would come back to embrace and do the same
thing. Once they were through she began to tend the nest. Strange, but
|Female aggression . . .
Females are also known to be nippy. You can keep several females in
a community tank together unlike males. Females will develop what is
called a pecking order. I have mentioned it to many in emails and figured
I had better get it on a page and maybe I wouldn't' have to answer it any
more( lol, yeah right!). It is actually better to keep more females
together rather than just 2 or 3. With 2 or 3 bettas, they will be getting
picked on more often than if there were say 10+. With 10+ bettas, the
nipping gets spread out. They will establish a 'pecking order' where betta
A will pick on betta B, and betta B will then pick on betta C and betta C
will pick on betta D all the way down. They get this order so everyone
(except the last little betta) feel as though they are in some sort of
control. This spreads the pecking out so that not just one or two bettas
is being picked on constantly. This goes hand in hand with the male's
Alpha mentality, the Alpha female will rule the tank. This aggression is
seen even early on in fry tanks, even before you or me can tell if they
are males/females. The alpha game starts from very early on.
Females are also known to aggress towards males. In most cases, she
is just telling him that he can't bully her around but in some cases, she
is just truly vicious. I have had some truly mean females and no matter
what I tried I was never able to tame them.
|Personalities . . .
This is the main reason why so many people fall in love with
bettas. They seem to bat their eyes at you, look at you longingly in hope
that you will give them that extra little bit of food ... Bettas know how
to get your attention and love. My husband was just amazed with my bettas
and told me they were more like dogs than fish. I agree, they will beg for
food, wag their tails, 'sit pretty' for their food and even jump for it if
they want it bad enough. I even had one that had a dog house (see
picture)!!!! I have bettas that will show complete enthusiasm at my
presence in the room but show no reaction at all for others. I have always
been a fish lover, but bettas will always be my favorites.
Where most fish just swim aimlessly bettas truly interact.
Where most fish couldn't care less about much, bettas are different. It
always break my heart when I pull a male out from his fry and he sits and
sulks for days. Some of my males could care less, they just want their
next woman, but some males don't want a woman neighbor, food or anything
for several days. These are usually the best fathers I have.