Crowntail Betta, also known as the Siamese fighting fish, is a popular freshwater fish. This vibrantly colored species has gained fame thanks to its ray-finned caudal. The origin of this fish is traced back to the rice paddies of Thailand and Cambodia.
Due to its beautiful structure, vibrant colors, and easy breeding, these little beings are often seen in ornamental vases, fish bowls, and tanks in offices, malls and homes. However, in most cases, none of these aesthetic fish bowls and vases provide a proper habitat for this fish, or as a matter of fact for any fish.
The Crowntail Betta, or simply Betta is known for their aggressive nature, keeping it as a first pet might be challenging. Mostly, owners have to use tranquilizing waters. To handle this feisty little being, it is better to be a seasoned pet owner.
In this article, we’ll tell you all that you need to know about this type of fish:
A Little History
First discovered in Southeast Asia, the Crowntail Betta was usually found in rice paddies and warm flood plains in the region. Since the fish was usually located in warm flood plains, the species got accustomed to devastating droughts and storm flooding. Thanks to the rapid changes in the environment, the fish learned to adapt to its surroundings, making it one of the easiest fish to breed.
People in Malaysia and Thailand started collecting this beautiful species before the 19th century from the wild. Initially, they were only bred for heightened aggression and were used for fish fights.
Later on, when Rama the third, king of Thailand saw how popular the species was getting, he started collecting and licensing the breed.
Crowntail Betta has been one of the most popular fish breeds for centuries now thanks to its vibrant tail fin. The caudal fin is what helps in recognizing the breed. It has large extensions which can grow up to eight inches in diameter, which is three times the size of its body.
The caudal tail extension has a light webbing between them giving it a crown-like appearance, hence the name ‘Crowntail Betta’. The crownlike appearance is even enhanced by the small spiky tips of the extension.
Fully mature Betta is at least 2.5 inches in size. Large size Betta can grow up to 3 inches in size. This is the largest that we have seen till now.
A common misconception is that every Betta is Crowntail Betta. This is not true. The confusion arises since there are many other types of Betta that look like the Cowntail Betta. These include Veil Tail, Red Betta, Half-Moon, Rose Tail, Delta, Super Delta, and Spade Tail.
As mentioned, Bettas are known for their tearing and biting nature. Conducting fish fights was a common pastime in South Asia and that is how Bettas fostered the aggressive behavior pattern, Crowntail Betta is not an exception here. Like all other Bettas, it is extremely aggressive, especially towards its tank mates.
You can expect behavior problems like dominance, aggression, and territorial tendencies. Due to their huge territorial standing, most Bettas like to live alone. However, this does not mean they cannot have tankmates. If properly introduced, Bettas can live with their tank mates peacefully.
On average, Crowntail Bettas live for five years, however, if you buy fully-grown Betta from a pet shop, it is highly likely that the lifespan of your fish will have a low life expectancy. Mostly, fish bred in pet stores don’t make it to the fourth year of their life because of a lack of care and lack of natural habitat.
It is also common for wish tank water in pet stores to not be clean. It contains unhealthy bacteria which lowers the lifespan of a fish.
Also, due to their aggressive and jumpy nature, Bettas usually end up hurting themselves or killing themselves by jumping out of the tank. Thus, it is up to the owner to keep them safe.
Habitat and Tank Conditions
Since Crowntail Bettas can be found in South Asian nations in freshwaters and rice paddies where there is a lot of vegetation, the same conditions need to be replicated to keep your Crowntail Betta healthy. The first step towards caring for your Betta starts from getting its habitat in place.
Before getting a tank for your Crowntail Betta you need to consider two things:
·The type of Betta species you want to keep in the tank
·Whether you want to introduce tank mates
If you wish to introduce tank mates, later on, it is better to go for a 10-gallon tank or larger, since that is the only way to ensure the wellbeing of your fish. In a smaller tank the Betta will constantly crash its fins and will end up damaging it.
Bettas can thrive in the presence of natural acids in their environment mainly because they are used to living in rice paddies and have adapted to that. Their habitat consists of slowly mobbing streams which keep on filtering water and bringing more beneficial natural acids.
Since you cannot manage any of these, it is important that you add almond leaves, preferably Indian. They will release all the important natural acids to keep your Betta healthy.
Crowntail Bettas are very high jumpers and there have been cases where these fish have leaped to their death by jumping out of their tanks. Hence, to keep your fish safe, ensure you have a well-fitted lid on your aquarium or tank.
A Little Special Care
Aeration systems can damage the beautiful and delicate Betta tails, so it is better to avoid installing them. This will not affect the lifespan or health of your fish since Bettas, over their time in rice paddies, have learned to be labyrinth breathers. Which means they can breathe oxygen from both air and water. Thus, your fish will be fine without aeration.
Lastly, cleaning of the tank is extremely important, since, as mentioned, Bettas are used to living in clean filtered water. If you are using a 10-gallon tank for your Betta, make sure you change the water every two to three days and clean the tank thoroughly once a month. While cleaning your fish tank, it is better to keep a little of the old water so that the water is not rid of all the beneficial bacteria.
Not doing so will also ensure your fish feels at home as replacing the entire tank can make it uncomfortable for the fish.
Taking Care of Other Elements
Now that cleaning and maintenance are out of the way, another extremely important factor in the fish tank is the electronic lighting and the UV rays. In most cases, owners keep the lights at their maximum which is an incorrect way to go about it. Ensure that these lights whether UV or electronic are dim so that the rays don’t affect water temperature.
Floating plants are a very good option when it comes to keeping the temperature moderate, they also help the Betta feel more at home.
We will talk about water bubble nests later, but the presence of some floating plants also helps the Betta in building more bubble nest which is beneficial for them.
As far as the substrate is concerned, fine sand and gravel work perfectly fine. However, if you don’t want to invest in a substrate, not applying anything can be fine, too. But, remember that using substrate always helps the Betta feel like it is in its own habitat. Moreover, among sand and gravel, gravel can, in some cases, cause damage to your fish’s caudal fin.
Tank Water Conditions
Unbalanced tank water conditions can slowly and gradually kill your Betta. Since it is a freshwater species, you need to pay special attention to the following three variables:
- PH level: This should be between 6.4 and 7, which means it should not be alkaline at all.
- Water hardness: Carbonate hardness can vary. However, according to reports, Bettas grow most healthy when the carbonate hardness is between 2 and 5.
- Temperature: Considering the water temperature in freshwaters and rice paddies in South Asia, the temperature of the tank should be somewhere between 76 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
All these conditions are extremely important for the good and healthy metabolism of the fish. However, among the three, the temperature plays the most important role.
A mere increase of 2 degrees Fahrenheit can cause extreme damage to your fish. Hence a good Betta heater will be the right way to manage the temperature.
As mentioned, Crowntail Bettas are extremely aggressive and territorial freshwater fish, hence, introducing tank mates can be a pretty difficult task. Shopowners usually keep bettas in small tanks with tranquilizer liquids to keep the other fish safe.
However, despite the fish’s aggressive nature, you cannot keep it in solitude, it is necessary for them to socialize and mate. As mentioned earlier, they may feel lonely and depressed if kept alone for too long. This is only possible by introducing fish community that can be tolerant towards the Betta’s aggressive and territorial nature.
The species that mostly make good tank mates with Crowntail Bettas are Shrimps, Guppies, Neon-tetras, and African dwarf frogs. Adding another Betta will lead to a blood bath, so, no matter what, don’t introduce another Betta to the same tank except for mating purposes.
Another important factor you need to consider is the number of mates you will introduce. Overcrowding your tank is a big ‘no no’. Since Crowntail Bettas are extremely territorial, they cannot put up with crowded tanks.
Also, if you have a male Betta, introducing another male would not be a good idea. In most cases, it will lead to the death of one of the males.
Swimming stratus can also help you find the best mate for your Betta. Crowntail Bettas usually like swimming in the middle or top stratus of the tank. So many species that live in the lower or lower-middle stratus of the tank will do since it will not cross paths with the Betta.
Introduction of a Tank Mate
Introducing a tank mate to your Betta can be pretty critical and complicated. The fish takes its time to adjust with a tank mate, however, if you see signs of aggression in the first meeting, unfortunately, that is it for the tank mate.
To slowly introduce a tank mate to your Betta put in a clear bag filled with water and place the bag in the Betta’s tank. If you see any signs of aggressive like the puffing of gills, remove the fish and try again another day. If the same goes on for three days, the Betta will not accept the new tank mate.
Now, if you want to do the other way around and introduce your Betta to an existing tank, you must use a Betta cup for that. A transparent plastic cup will do as well. Place your Betta in the Betta cup and let it float on the top for 30 minutes on the first day. If you see signs of aggression in your Betta or in any of the existing fish, not putting your Betta in this tank will be a good option.
Just like everything else about Crowntail Bettas, the breeding process can be slightly difficult to understand. Mainly because of the fish’s aggressive nature. Introduce the male and female beforehand to see if there are any signs of aggression between them. Do not put them in a tank together right away.
However, before introducing the male and female for mating, ensure both are more than 14 months old. This will not only be healthy for them but will also ensure that the female is ready to accommodate the eggs.
Introducing the male and the female can be a long task considering how territorial Bettas are. Hence, their breeding process is pretty long. If your Betta is less than 2 inches in length, you will have to wait for it to grow before it can start mating.
To know whether your Betta is ready for mating or not, look out for bubble nests around the floating plants. These are the nests that will be later fertilized by your Betta. In most cases, the Betta constructs the bubble nests even if they don’t have a mate in the vicinity. It is an indication for the owner to introduce a mate.
Breeding Crowntail Betta is possible but the overall process is very time consuming and can turn out to be pretty expensive as well if you want to outlay the spawn. A single outlay costs somewhere around $2,000.
Bettas are very demanding and the level of care they require is high. Bettas as a whole are an omnivorous species however, Crowntail Bettas are categorized as carnivores since they require a lot of protein for proper survival. Now it is up to the pet owner to provide the required levels of protein to keep their fish healthy and strong.
Bettas, like all other fish, have a small stomach, hence feeding them three to four small meals rather than two large meals is more appropriate. Overfeeding might result in early death.
To ensure that you are giving your Betta enough food, time track the amount of time it eats and add enough food for two minutes of eating time per meal. Anything more than two minutes is overfeeding.
As a Betta parent, you always have to look out for different signs including signs of aggression, signs of breeding and mating, signs of stress, etc. Similarly, to ensure you are not overfeeding your fish, you have to look for a few signs.
If by any chance you feel like your Betta’s body is swollen or eyes look like they are going to bulge, it’s a clue that you are overfeeding your pet.
Overfeeding your Betta can turn out to be disastrous. It not only disrupts the nitrogen cycle making your fish sick but will also cause severe constipation. For any fish, constipation can lead to death, since their delicate stomachs cannot deal with the pressure.
Food and Treats
Keeping a variety of foods in your Betta’s diet is the best way to ensure it gets enough protein and nutrients. Mostly Bettas are choosy when it comes to what they want to eat. Hence, initially, you might have to try out a number of different foods before you find out what your fish prefers.
Live foods like pellets and frozen foods are good options but it depends on what your fish likes. However, make sure to provide your pet with all that it needs.
Frozen foods like Blood Worms, Black Worms, Black Mosquito Larvae and Brine Shrimp make good treats. However, do not use them for typical meals.
Live foods like Wingless Fruit Flies, White Worms, Insect Larvae and Mosquito Larva can be good for proper meals. You can also use pellets for typical meals once or twice a day.
If you want your Betta to grow properly with vibrant colors, devising a proper meal plan that ensures the consumption of ample proteins and nutrients will help you reach your goal.
Frequently Asked Questions
Since Bettas are very complicated pets, Betta owners usually have a lot of unanswered questions. Some of the most frequently asked questions are:
1. How to properly clean the bottom of the tank?
Since Crowntail Bettas are a freshwater species, keeping the tank clean is extremely important. Apart from adding fresh water after every 2 to 3 days, you should clean the bottom of the tank bi-monthly or at least once a month at least.
Dirty water not only emits a foul smell but also provides a habitat for unhealthy bacteria that might make your fish sick. The best way to clean your fish tank’s bottom part is by using a turkey baster. It rids the tank of all the debris and waste particles stuck at the bottom.
2. How to maintain the PH of my fish tank?
pH is a significant factor when it comes to maintaining your freshwater tank. Usually, the pH of tap water is not exactly what your fish needs. Hence, for a fish owner, it is important to know how to check and alter the pH level.
You can check the pH of tap water with a pH testing kit. These kits are easily available on the market and you can even buy some online.
First, you need to check whether your tap water changes its pH after 24 to 48 hours or not. If it does, you need to invest in two buckets and airstone. Fill the bucket with tap water and let the airstone sit in it. It will take about 24 to 48 hours the pH of the water will be adjusted to what it is supposed to be.
You can use this water to change the tank water. This is because of the carbon monoxide dissolved in the water. Usually, the pH water is lower than what is required for your Betta. This can be changed via aeration, adding substrate or by adding baking soda.
You can easily find out the amount of pH raises required by the test and trial method. Adding shells into your fish tank can also help keep the pH in a safe range.
3. Is soap bad for my Betta?
Usually, while cleaning the fish tank, owners try to clean the rocks, plants, and gravel with liquid soap or surf. Since all of these objects have millions of microscopic pores, the soap seeps and is released slowly into your fish tank water. This is not only dangerous for your fish’s skin and fins but also upsets the pH of the water causing permanent damage to your fish.
It will also dull the colors of your Betta. The proper way to clean all the ornaments in your fish tank is by using warm water and an abrasive brush. If you see any stubborn debris, you can soak the item in warm water for a few hours and then clean it.
4. Does Crowntail Betta recognize its owner?
Most owners ask this question as they want to know if their pet fish is able to form a connection with them.
In most cases, fish owners don’t have a connection with their pets, however, for Bettas, this is not true especially Crowntail Bettas. They are extremely intelligent and can develop a connection with their owners.
Since these Bettas are aggressive jumpers, you can teach them to perform tricks. Also, they understand when their owner asks them to do something. They will not perform the tricks with a stranger.
5. How to create a stimulating environment for my Crowntail Betta?
In addition to all the above-mentioned tips, you can provide a stimulating environment to your Betta by adding ornaments like floating plants, stones, ceramic objects, fish toys, etc. for the Betta to explore.
Crowntail Bettas are extremely active and like to enjoy their surroundings. This is also why it is common for them to get bored very easily. Keeping a few toys in your fish tank will help them stay active.
Also, changing the toys every now and then is a good option as well. It helps in breaking the monotony. Also, it is extremely important not to startle your fish with any noise or loud sounds. It can give them severe stress and anxiety.
6. How to know your fish is unwell?
No matter what, you cannot replicate the freshwater habitats a Betta needs, which is why Betta can get sick very soon. Some of the typical signs of sick Betta are inactiveness, sloppy behavior, reducing to eat and non-responsiveness.
If you see any of this behavior in your Betta then consult a vet immediately.
Crowntail Bettas are one of the most famous pets mainly because of their crown-shaped caudal fin. However, despite being famous these species are often hard to understand as pets. This article was all about helping you understand the basics of keeping Crowntail Betta as a pet.
The best part is that this species can improve its owner’s mental health. This is why people dealing with depression and anxiety should keep Crowntail Bettas as a pet. When we talk about Bettas, we are talking about more than 70 species, however, among these 70 species, Crowntail Bettas are the most intelligent and the prettiest.
You can tame and train them to keep their dominance and aggressive nature at bay. Since these species, unlike many fish species, recognize their owners, most of the owners adore their Betta. So work with your pet and explore its quirky side.