Orchid betta fish is a species of B. Splendens that grows to 6.5cm (2.6inches) in length. This aspect is well known for its bright colors and large flowing fins. Also, they have lots of elegant and beautiful varieties. It is now a popular species among betta enthusiasts. Its body is characterized by the elegant crowntail body. This specimen has a color variety of overall black coloration mixed with maroon, white and metallic blue-green highlights. They live peacefully with most animals that live on the other side of the water column and are too big to take them as prey.
Caring for your betta is quite an easy task, even as a beginner. The basic material that you need is a proper tank with enough space. Low water flow in the tank, heating at a specific temperature, filtration, and other standard care is, however, a requirement to ensure the long life of your betta. The good news is they don’t require many expenses for feeding. All that they need is a variety of dry, meaty, flake and frozen foods.
In this article, you will discover the beauty in orchid betta fish, which will give you reasons why you shouldn’t be scared of having one. Not only orchid betta fish is a beautiful creature, but you will also know important things about it, In terms of the feeding method, how to care for them, their lifespan, how to know if your betta is healthy or otherwise and other helpful information.
Although, there is a trait of bettas that make some pet owners, change their minds as regards getting them, which is their aggressive nature. But the good part is, by following appropriate measures (as you will discover as you read further), you are surely good to go with your fish.
Orchid betta fish appearance
Orchid betta fish caudal fin usually has big extensions, that they sometimes reach 8 inches in diameter, which is more than the body size. Thus, when mature, they grow to 2.5 inches and some even reach 3 inches in size. Although they are known for their varieties in color, the prominent color is dark shades of red and blue.
Size of Orchid betta fish
Generally, orchid betta fish size is solely dependent on the size of their fins and tails. The fins can grow up to a length that triples the natural body size. Moreover, the fins and tails are their main features. However, for a healthy Orchid betta that is fully matured (within 7-9 months), the body size (minus the tail and fin), is usually within the range of 2.5 – 3 inches.
Betta fish habitat
When you want to care for your fish, the first thing to start from is the type of habitat chosen. A 5 gallon is suitable for your betta if you are willing to nurture without breeding with other species. As smaller tanks cause bettas to damage their fins. Thus, when they live in a natural environment, their habitat is usually filled with vegetation and streams which naturally filters the water with the slow movement. You may also add Indian almond leaves to their aquarium to release natural acids that are beneficial to your betta. So as them not to jump out of the tank, you should cover the tank with a well-fitted lid.
However, for appropriate tank conditions, you should regulate the tank PH level within 6.5-7.0, and the temperature within 75 degrees Fahrenheit to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Monitor your betta tank temperature well and ensure the betta’s metabolism is going on well. Thus, when you suddenly adjust the tank temperature, even for a little while, it can harm your betta.
Tips on choosing an appropriate tank condition for your betta;
- You can use 2.5 gallons for a betta that is not fully grown in size. However, that should be the minimum, to ensure safety.
- Do not fill your tank to the maximum volume. As they need water surface for a breather.
- Probably your idea of using a small tank is to cut costs, but small tanks usually require much maintenance than bigger ones.
- Larger tanks help to maintain the nitrogen cycle and temperature than smaller tanks.
- Betta fish requires natural daylight and night light cycles.
- Avoid placing two male bettas in the same tank to prevent them from attacking each other. Likewise, you should not put male and female bettas together, unless breeding.
- Use a tank divider when housing two bettas in the same tank.
- Female bettas can live together in at most 10. But the tank to use should be 10-gallon size or more.
Cleaning and maintenance of your betta habitat
It has been said earlier, that small tanks require more maintenance than larger tanks. However, to promote and maintain a healthy betta fish, you should have a systematic maintenance schedule. Thus, do not use soap when cleaning your betta tank. Instead, you can use distilled white vinegar or regular bleach.
Also, the most common reason that is associated with unhealthy betta is the increased level of ammonia and nitrites. Hence, ammonia accumulates from uneaten foods and waste. This leads to an increase in the PH level of water. If your fish gallon size is large, and it has a good filter, it will help reduce the PH level and enhance healthy betta. Also, when you add live plants to the tank, it will help reduce the level of ammonia In the water naturally.
Ordinarily, if you are just removing 25-50% of the tank water, there is no need to remove your betta. Removing your betta unnecessarily can lead to potential injury or shock. This may be a result of a sudden change in water temperature. Because of this, you should cycle your betta tank more than doing a complete water change (removing 100% of the water). Thus, while refilling the tank with new water, make sure to add dechlorinated water.
What are the appropriate cleaning means for your betta tank and decoration?
- When the tank is filled, use a magnetic cleaning wand for regular algae removal.
- Clean filters by rinsing them in the present tank water to preserve healthy bacteria.
- Wash all decorations (including stones), thoroughly in hot water to remove dust and other contaminants.
- An alternative, you can apply distilled white vinegar to remove stubborn stains.
- Use regular bleach that does not contain detergents and perfumes, especially after a disease.
- Always rinse all washed surfaces with clean water before refilling.
Natural and artificial light
Having knowledge of the appropriate light that is for your betta, will help you in proper regulation of the tank light. Firstly, prevent direct sunlight penetrating into the tank. As it can suddenly increase the water content temperature and causes the growth of unwanted algae.
You can control the daylight by placing the tank away from windows and using artificial lighting. At night, they need darkness in order for them to sleep. If they want to get away from direct lighting for a short period, plants and other decorations in the tank provides shade for them.
Keeping your betta fish water warm
Generally, it is good to maintain the temperature of your betta tank as they are very sensitive to the environment. You wouldn’t want a too hot nor too cold temperature for your betta, as it is harmful to them.
Installing a heater
You must ensure that the tank water is warm to maintain the health of your fish. However, the type of heater you can get from a pet store varies, depending on the gallon size.
- A submersible aquarium heater is appropriate for tanks larger than 2.5 gallons.
- You should get a 50-watt heater for a 10-gallon tank, while, a 25-watt heater is appropriate for tanks between 2.5 and 5 gallons.
- You should purchase submersible 7.5-watt heater pads for a tank smaller than 2.5 gallon.
- Avoid using lamb for heating your betta tank, as bettas do not like bright light.
Installing a thermometer
A thermometer will help you in keeping an eye on the temperature of the tank. Also, you should place the thermometer where you can easily read the temperature. Also, a sticking thermometer to the side of the aquarium is not an accurate use.
Ensure to place the tank in an area in your house that is stable in terms of temperature. Also, do not let the aquarium be close to a heat source.
How to acclimate your betta
Before you acclimate your betta, make sure you have prepared the tank and the environment is healthy before introducing your betta into it.
- Floating the betta – Make sure the bag or cup in which you are placing your betta has enough air that will enable the betta to breathe. Then, allow the bag to float at the top of the new betta tank. This will allow the water temperature of the bag containing the betta to be the same with the water temperature of the tank. Ensure this process stays for 10-15 minutes.
- Use scissors to cut a small part of the bag at the top. Then, use a small cup to take water from the tank and pour into the bag. This initiates the exposure of your betta to the water in the tank. Ensure you hold the bag upright and avoid tilting it sideways during this time.
- Repeat the previous step one more time by adding cup water from the tank into the bag containing the betta. Let the water stay for 15 minutes. This will help your betta adjust well to the PH level, temperature and mineral hardness of the water in the tank.
- After you have acclimated your betta for at least 30minutes, turn the bag sideways and allow the fish to swim into the tank. However, your betta may take some time to adapt to the new environment, but it should be comfortable with the water condition. You can also use an aquarium net to place the fish into the tank after acclimating betta fish. It’s normal if your fish does not eat for the first few days, after Introducing it into the new tank, but this should not take a longer time than necessary.
Feeding your orchid betta
Generally, bettas are carnivores that feed on a high protein diet to survive. The way you care for and feed them can increase from a moderate to a high level. Avoid feeding them a large volume of food, as their stomach is too small and can’t contain a lot. Appropriate feeding is, providing a little portion of meals frequently per day. You should feed your betta for at least 2 times a day. Thus, observe your betta feeding duration. If you notice that it takes more than two minutes for them to consume a meal, then, you are overfeeding them. You should remove any unfinished food before serving them the next one.
However, when a betta is being overfed, his nitrogen cycle starts to fluctuate. This is a major cause of constipation in bettas. Meanwhile, constipation is the most common cause of death for most bettas. When your betta is overfed, you may likely notice these two symptoms; their eyes start to pop out of their heads and their body appears swollen.
Frozen foods such as blood worms, black worms, black mosquito larvae, and brine shrimp, are appropriate for snacks and treats and not for the main dish. While the type of typical meal you can serve them are live foods like, wingless fruit flies, white worms, insect larvae, and mosquito larvae. You can also serve betta pellets, which should not be more than 2-3 pellets per feeding. For optimum growth, their diet should include varieties of high protein sources.
However, Wild bettas are known for eating most food in their environment, as they have limited food choice.
How to tell if your betta fish is healthy or sick
Having the ability to identify the state of your betta will help you know the type of care that you need to give your betta over time. Thus, here are some characteristics that will help you tell if a betta is healthy or not.
For healthy bettas;
- When you get close to their habitat, they swim up to investigate.
- Your fish will flair at you or show any other aggressive stimuli.
- Their fins are rather in good shape and not damaged.
- They are usually bright in color, especially the male bettas.
- They feed often and finish their meal without delay (except when served too much).
For unhealthy or sick bettas;
- For a long period of time, they feed less than usual due to loss of appetite.
- They move slowly and frequently hide in the tank corners.
- Torn fins with black dots at the edges
- Dull appearance, especially for male bettas
- Black spots on their mouth or body
- Difficulty in breathing
- Swollen body
- Inability to swim normally
How to prevent your Orchid betta fish from diseases
To prevent your Orchid betta fish from disease, these important measures should be taken into consideration.
First aid kit
Your betta fish will likely be infected in one way or the other in his lifespan. So, it’s wise to have a prepared betta first aid kit that will ease the stress of having to get medication that will help heal your betta quickly and effectively. The following can be included in the betta first aid kit;
- Jungle fungus eliminator
- Maracin 1 and Maracin 2
Doing a 25-50% water cycle once a week
This will help keep the water clean, as it removes waste and decaying organic matter from leftover food and dead leaves from plants. The following should be put to mind while doing a water cycle;
Check once in a day, to ensure that the tank water is not foamy, cloudy or has an unpleasant odor. This could be a sign of bacterial invasion. And it may require that you do a 50% water cycle more than once a week. Thus, this will help protect your betta from bacterial infection.
Also, use an algae scraper to remove algae from the top of the tank before you change the tank water. You can also use siphon to remove any dirt in the decorations and gravel.
Thus, removing any of the decorations from the tank can kill the good bacteria that have been filtering through the tank. Also, do not remove your betta from the tank when doing partial water change; this may stress your fish too much.
Adding small amounts of aquarium salt to remove any bacterial infection
You should not use table salt in place of aquarium salt, as table salt contains additives like iodine and calcium silicate.
How to treat your betta fish disease
Your betta fish is acting all weird and you have probably figured out he is in a bad state. Here is how to make your betta fish well again.
Quarantine the Orchid betta
If your betta stays with other fish in the tank, place him in a smaller tank system with appropriate equipment using a clean net. This will allow you to check out for and treat the disease in the tank without harming your fish in the process.
Applying Ampicillin or tetracycline to eliminate fungus
Fungus infection causes fin or tail rot. This medication will help destroy any fungus that could damage your fish. You should change the tank water completely and add tetracycline or ampicillin to the new water.
Addition of BettaZing to the tank to Wade off external parasites
External parasites like anchor worms or velvet can cause adverse conditions to your betta. You should change at least 50% of the tank water if these parasites symptoms are in your fish. Then, treat the remaining water with BettaZing to kill any left parasite and their egg. You can get BettaZing from most fish stores and pet stores.
Treating ich by applying salt baths
In treating ich, you can raise the temperature of the tank if it is more than 5-gallon size. You can both remove the fish from the tank, and then raise the water temperature to 85 degrees to kill the inch parasite or raise the water temperature when the fish is in the tank. But this should be done incrementally, to avoid shocking the fish. The water should also be treated with a salt bath.
Bonding with your Betta
Sometimes, it may seem difficult to play with your Orchid betta due to their aggressive nature. But all it requires is proper taming. Therefore, the tricks on how you can get to know your betta is explained further. Also, they are very easy to apply and mostly yield positive results.
Place your betta in an active environment
Bettas often like to stay alone. However, they sometimes get bored and require a place with more action. You can place your tank in a house section where a level of activity takes place. Such as the kitchen or living room. They like to hear movement and tend to pay attention to their surroundings. This will help your betta get interested in what is going on around him.
Give your betta a name and talk to him
Bettas are usually sensitive to the movement or vibration of tank water that results from a sound. Some people use this to test if a betta is familiar with their voice or not. It’s usually hard conversing with a creature without a name. Thus, you can make findings for possible names to give your betta fish. Also, talk to your betta. It creates chances of the fish having to listen to you talk.
Make visual signals
Use interesting objects that will help make your fish focus on the object of conversation. You can make pictures on a sticky note to the tank. Avoid using a mirror as some people do. Male bettas especially, flair when they see their own reflection, due to an assumption of another threatening betta. Using a reflective mirror should be avoided as your betta could harm himself if he is so aggressive towards the object.
Breeding your orchid betta
Generally, when your male betta produces cluster of bubbles on top of the tank, it shows your fish is healthy and also ready for breeding. In choosing a breeding pair, 12-14 months betta is the best pair for compatibility. Your betta is likely not sexually mature if he is less than 2 inches in length.
Stages involved in breeding of Orchid betta
These are the stages involved in breeding Orchid betta.
Placing both male and female betta in the same tank
Bettas mating behavior begins when they start to flair at each other. The male shows interest by spreading his fins and also twisting his body. The female also responds by curving her body in a back and forth direction, with her body getting darker in color.
After the male must have released bubble nest at the top of the tank water. He induces the female to release eggs by embracing her. Each time the male betta wraps himself around the female, the betta releases a clutch of 10 to 37 eggs. The male betta continues to embrace the female until no egg is further released from her. You should remove her from the tank as soon as she stops releasing eggs.
Fertilization and incubation
After removing the female betta from the tank, the male betta then fertilizes the egg externally by releasing milt into the tank. Moreover, the male betta prevents the eggs from sinking by picking them with his mouth and placing the eggs in the bubble nest.
Removing the male betta from the tank
The eggs then begin to hatch after 24-36 hours. Thereafter, the young bettas will begin to swim freely after they have absorbed their yolk sac after another 2 to 3 days. Remove Male bettas from the tank as some may likely eat the fry.
How to tell how old your Orchid betta is
Most adult bettas are usually 3 inches (7.6 cm) in length. You can use a measuring tape to determine the length of your betta. If your betta length is below 7.6 cm, then, it is likely a juvenile. Most times, it can be difficult to measure a betta length using a measuring tape. You can hold the tape against the fish tank and estimate its length. However, this requires patience, as most healthy betta does not stay still.
Adult betta’s fin is usually long and nice flowing fins. Tiny fins are characteristics of Juvenile bettas. However, some things should be noted;
- Female bettas don’t always have long, flowing fins like that of males.
- Also, orchid bettas naturally have “torn looking” fins. Their fins are usually scattered.
Older bettas sometimes would have undergone minor wear and tear. Their fins may be tiny and shredded at the end.
Young bettas usually exhibit a brighter color than older ones. In old bettas, their scales may be slightly faded. However, wild bettas are usually grey or dull in appearance. They exhibit flashes of color only when fighting.
As a betta gets older, they sometimes appear paler and their back begins to bend. The hump is usually rounded and shouldn’t be confused for a spinal problem.
Older betta tend to flair with lesser energy than they initially use to while at a young age. Check your betta pace when given food. Old bettas usually move slowly towards food and it takes a couple of times before they spot it.
Orchid betta Lifespan
Particularly, orchid betta can live for extra years (5-7), beyond the absolute 3 years of living, if appropriately and adequately cared for. However, if you purchase your fish from a store that has kept it for a long period, there is no guarantee of a long life.