Betta fish fun facts are the best way to teach your kids about betta fish. Certainly, these colorful aquarium fish are bound to captivate kids. Therefore, make staring at this fish fun for your kids by telling them fun facts that they would remember each time they look at a betta fish.
So, what are the Betta fish fun facts every kid needs to know? Betta fish are unique and intriguing in nearly every aspect. They have incredible brains and biology which separates them not only from other pets but also from other fish, making them a truly unique pet to keep. Hence, from their appearance to their behavior, betta fish are cool and interesting to keep.
Kids love bettas as much as any adult betta owner, as a result, they would love to know more about them. Tell your kids these fun betta fish facts and they would appreciate it!
Betta Fish Come in Many Different Colors
One of the most fascinating aspects of bettas is the sheer number of colors that they can come in. They come in any and every color, and in several hundred types of patterns. Are you looking for a pet that matches your favorite color, or colors? Well, you’d be hard-pressed to find a purple and white dog, but you’d have no trouble finding a betta with those colors!
No matter what taste or preferences you have when it comes to colors and patterns, you will be able to find several bettas that will match your specific style. Whether you pick a black samurai betta, an orchid betta, a tricolor, bi-color, mustard gas, or any other betta, your new pet will be a joy to own.
One of the best benefits that come with going to pick out your new pet is their color variants. Their popularity makes them very common, so any pet store will have dozens of color and pattern varieties.
Bettas Come in Different Shapes
Not only do bettas come in a near infinite amount of colors, but they also have many fin and scale varieties. Bettas come in over a dozen different tail types, though there are only three primary scale types.
Bettas can have normal, metallic, and dragon scales. Normal scales are, well, normal; they come in every color, but there is not an overwhelming distinction between scales. Metallic scales come in a wide range of colors and are highly reflective, similar to metallic colored pencils or gemstones. If you shine a flashlight at a metallic scale betta, their scales will shine and sparkle.
Dragon scale bettas have very thick and well-defined scales, meaning you can see each individual scale as distinctly separate. They normally have bold colorations to go with their bold scales but are not purely limited to bold colors.
As for their fins, bettas can be separated into two main categories; long-tailed and Plakat (which is essentially a short-tailed betta) and several subcategories. The subcategories mainly apply to the shape of the fin, so both long-tailed and short-tailed bettas will have about the same subcategories.
Veil Tail: Found only in long-tailed bettas, the veil tail is a very long, drooping tail, and is one of the most popular tail types.
Comb Tail: Comb tails have dips between the tail rays, and these dips come to a sharp point at the tip of the ray, creating a comb-like appearance.
Crown Tail: Comb tails have dipped spaces between the tail rays which come to a flat point at the tip of the ray. These tails look like the spacing a crown would have, hence the name.
Halfmoon: A Halfmoon Betta generally has a very large tail, dorsal, and anal fins. They always have a tail fin that fans out to exactly 180 degrees and has very impressive finnage. These bettas are some of the most common, due to their beautiful looks.
Delta: Delta looks nearly identical to Halfmoon, except their tail fins fan out less than 180 degrees.
Over Half Moon: Over Half Moons greatly resemble Halfmoons, except their tail fins, have a wider angle than 180 degrees.
Spade Tail: Spade tails occur in both longfin and shortfin bettas, but are much more popular in bettas with shorter finnage. The tail is shaped exactly like a spade, fat at the base, coming to a rounded point.
Rose Tail: Rose tails, while they have significant health issues associated with their tails, are strikingly beautiful. Their finnage is enormous, so much so that it overlaps like flower petals, and they arguably have the largest fins.
Double Tail: Double tail bettas only have one tail, but it appears to be split horizontally in the middle into two separate, circular, smaller tails. While this mutation is intriguing, it is normally associated with a shorter lifespan.
Bettas Can Change Color Over Time
While all bettas will get a little duller over time, similar to people getting gray hair as they get older, some bettas will undergo huge color changes across their lives. Part of the reason that we are able to get bettas in so many colors is the marble gene. While this gene produces perfectly beautiful bettas, it, unfortunately, means that your betta may not stay the color that it currently is.
The marble gene causes random color changes in a betta over time, and these changes are referred to as “marbling”. While most bettas only marble once, some will marble multiple times. The color change is nearly always random, but your betta’s overall coloration tends to become darker after each marble.
There are many species of fish that change color as they grow older, but it is incredibly rare to find any fish that doesn’t follow a specific pattern as they age. Most fish that change color change only at the juvenile and adult stages, and they all end up looking incredibly similar, or the same.
On the other hand, betta can marble into nearly any pattern or color. Marbled patterns tend to be patchy or splotchy, but there is no definite pattern that will occur. They can marble red, blue, purple, orange, and many other colors, though a light-colored marble (white/yellow) is incredibly rare. Bettas are one of the only existing fish capable of spontaneous, random, and often permanent pattern and color change.
Bettas are Highly Intelligent
Many aquarium fish are hailed as being intelligent, but the betta is in a whole other category. Even beginners can train bettas, and they adapt very well to schedules, are capable of recognizing their owners, and have long memories.
The best thing about keeping intelligent fish is that these fish tend to be highly interactive. They are cognizant of what is happening outside the tank and are fully capable of interacting with you. Much other fish of lower intelligence, such as tetras, rasboras, and others, are not able to distinguish what is happening outside of the tank, and normally cannot interact with their owners.
Bettas will grow accustomed to you and tend to greet different people in different ways. Some will even take a disliking to particular people and react aggressively to them each time they see them. Others will dance for certain people, or just mill around the tank. Bettas make perfect pet fish due to their intelligence, which is relatively unique in terms of popular tropical fish.
Bettas Can See Just as Many Colors as We Can
While most people think their pets can only see in grayscale, bettas have just as many color receptors as we do. All of the colors we see come from just three different cones: blue, green, and red. While bettas also have red and blue color receptors, instead of a green one, they have an orange one.
While we don’t know exactly what colors bettas can see that we can’t, or what colors we can see that bettas can’t, we do know that they are able to perceive the exact same number of colors that we can. As far as we can tell, bettas are able to see the same colored lights that we do, so they can tell when their aquarium light is on, even if you set it to be red, green, orange, purple, yellow, or any other color.
Bettas Can Breathe Air, Just Like Us
Now, this one may come as a shock, but betta fish need to have access to the air to breathe, just like us. Most fish only have gills, and while you can see gills on your bettas, they also have what are essentially primitive lungs. Bettas need to be able to breathe with both their gills and their primitive lungs, called labyrinth organs, so be sure that your betta’s water and air are clean.
Bettas come from slow moving warm areas of the world. Slow moving water does not have a lot of oxygen in it, and warm water has even less. Over time, bettas evolved to live in these conditions with their ability to take oxygen in from the air, not just the dissolved oxygen in the water.
If they had been unable to evolve to live in their oxygen depleted environments, bettas would either have moved elsewhere and adapted to that area, making them look quite different, or they would have died off. The modern betta would not have existed without their magnificent labyrinth organs.
Bettas are Carnivorous
When you look at a betta and compare it to other fish, they tend to look quite small. And of course, they are a very small fish, with most staying between one and two inches in length. Despite their looks and small stature, bettas are pure carnivores.
In the wild, bettas eat bugs, small fish, and small crustaceans that they find. They are not able to digest plant matter, so be sure to never try and feed your betta fish any vegetables, fruit, or food meant for veggie loving fish. Ensure that your betta’s food has high amounts of protein and fish meal.
Even though they are carnivorous, this doesn’t mean that you should be afraid of them. Carnivores are generally thought of as scary creatures, but bettas are by far the opposite. They are generally very sweet to their owners and most are even tolerant of other fish in their space. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should antagonize your betta by wiggling your finger in its tank, as they can still bite. Even so, their bites are very small and won’t hurt; it is much more likely that by biting your finger, your betta will injure its jaw.
Bettas Can Be Kept With Other Fish
Most people think of bettas as solitary creatures, hunting alone, living in tanks alone, sort of the lone wolf of aquariums. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
While it is a bad idea to keep multiple bettas together (though this is possible for advanced aquarists), even a beginner can keep a betta with much other fish, as long as a few basic guidelines are followed. Bettas are territorial creatures, but if you give them enough room, they will get along with compatible tank mates.
A single betta can live in a tank as small as five gallons, but in order to house your betta with other fish, you will need a tank of at least 20 gallons. Bettas prefer long tanks more than tall tanks, so a standard 20 gallon or a 20 long would be the best tank to get.
Be sure to add lots of decorations to the tank! This part is the most fun, and it provides areas for your betta to hide in and establish a territory around. The decorations also act as sight breaks, which means if your betta becomes aggressive towards other fish, the decorations will break its line of sight to the other fish, which reduces the aggression.
Once you fill your tank with decorations, cycle it, and have all the necessary equipment, it is time to add your fish. Some recommend adding the betta last, others recommend adding your betta first. As long as there is enough space and decorations, you can add the fish in any order.
For a tankmate to work with a betta, they need similar water preferences. Bettas like soft tropical water between 78-80 degrees. Popular tankmates include Corydoras catfish, harlequin rasboras, celestial pearl danios, and many others.
Bettas Need Space and Are Good Swimmers
As previously mentioned, a betta needs a tank of at least 5 gallons, which may be shocking to some people. Bettas are classically seen kept in small bowls or vases, similar to goldfish. But did you know that goldfish can easily reach over a foot in length if kept under proper conditions? This fish is not suitable for a bowl, and neither are bettas.
Aquariums are closed systems, which means anything that goes in, stays in, until you remove it. Toxins build up extremely quickly in these conditions, and without a proper biological filter (which takes about a month to establish and is also known as the Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle), betta fish will die far too young.
Bettas are also very accomplished swimmers, given that they are, well, fish. They live in the water. There is a common misconception that bettas live in puddles and will drown in water if it is too deep, but this is ridiculously farfetched. Any fish will drown if it is unable to get enough oxygen from the water, and bettas are not unique in this.
In fact, bettas are actually less likely to drown that much other fish due to their labyrinth organ. Remember, this organ evolved because a betta’s natural habitat has very low levels of dissolved oxygen, and fish can die from this. However, bettas uniquely evolved to combat this occurrence, meaning that they are much more likely to survive low oxygen levels than other fish.
Bettas Make “Bubble Nests” to Hold Their Eggs and Young
As we have already discussed, bettas are unique in several ways, including the way that they care for their young. Most fish simply lay eggs, some provide limited parental protection, but many simply spawn and leave the eggs. Bettas provide weeks of parental care, but the way in which they do so is rather unique.
Before they spawn, betta fish create what is known as a bubble nest. A bubble nest is a floating nest made out of bubbles that bettas create with a mix of their spit and water. The bubbles are very small, normally less than an eighth of an inch thick, but the nest can be over a foot long, though smaller is more typical.
These nests float on the top of the water and are normally between 3-4 bubbles thick. Bettas can take anywhere from several days to just a few hours to build a completed nest. Males normally build the nest, but sometimes a female will help out, or even make her own nest, and soon they will cover the whole tank in a massive bubble nest.
These nests allow bettas to float their young near the surface of the water, which is the safest level. The young won’t be able to move for a few days, so the parents must protect the babies from danger.
Male Bettas Care for the Babies
While the general view of parental care in the animal kingdom is that the females care for the young, the reverse is true in bettas. Male bettas create and defend territory in the wild, while females tend to swim around, going from male to male, and spawning with one that they pick.
After spawning, the female betta will swim off, normally to recover after laying eggs, and the male will stay with the eggs in the bubble nest. For the next 3-5 days, and sometimes longer, the male betta will not eat as he devotes all of his energy into caring for the babies.
For the first few days, he will watch the eggs in the bubble nest, rearrange them, and blow more bubbles. Then, the eggs will start to hatch and wiggle, which causes them to pop their bubbles and fall. Once the eggs begin to hatch, the male will frantically blow more bubbles and place dropped fry back in the nest. During this time (24-48 hours), the fry will cascade down to the ground in droves.
This is an incredibly difficult task, though very few males fail. They are hardwired with strong fraternal instincts to care for their young. The fathers will devote all of their time and energy into caring for the young until they can swim off and hunt on their own, which takes between 1-2 weeks.
In conclusion, betta fish are fascinating pets; they are much more intelligent than most people believe, they have long memories, and are very interactive. Just like any other pet, they require some effort to care for them and keep them alive, but they are not demanding. Their interactive and hardy nature, coupled with many unique traits, make them perfect pets for anyone willing to give them care and love.