Friday, April 23, 2010

Betta Fish Care - Learn The Quick and Easy Ways to Keep Your Betta Healthy, Happy and Disease Free

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Betta Fish Aquariums

Aquarium Size

Betta Fish Aquariums usually vary in size, ranging from small fish bowls to larger, full-sized aquariums. To fully comprehend the needs of a betta, we must look at their natural territory as a basis. Bettas are in fact from the slow moving streams, ponds, and rice paddies of Asia. And those conditions should be replicated in order to effectively rear bettas. So, to mimic those conditions, Betta fish tanks should range from 5 to 10 gallons.

Though you can have moderate success in using small fish-bowls to house a betta, the size of a 5 to 10 gallon tank would be beneficial to both you and the betta, since the temperature in a bigger body of water tends to be more constant and would only change slightly when ambient temperature changes. The larger tank would also help you since that means less regular water changes.

Aquarium Water

With the size of the tank out of the way, we need to settle the other aspects of our betta fish aquarium. The type of water is also crucial to a betta's survival. Contrary to popular belief, using distilled water isn't the best for bettas because of the filtering process that removes most minerals in the water. Tap water is usually adequate for bettas provided that you treat the water to remove chlorine or let it sit for over 24 hours before adding it to your tank.

Aquarium Filters

Filtering the water could also be an issue. Bettas are quite used to the tranquil or slow moving water in ponds and rice paddies, which means that using a high flow filter inside your betta fish aquarium is already out of the question. These types of filters will cause too much turbulence and the betta would find it hard to come up to the surface to catch a breath (Bettas have a specialized organ called a labyrinth that allows them to breathe air).

Aquarium Gravel

You must also purchase a natural looking substrate or gravel to place inside your betta fish aquarium. Taking pebbles from your backyard simply isn't going to be the best replication of its natural environment. You must also keep the tanks' temperature to closely resemble the tropical climate of roughly 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Final Thoughts

Building appropriate betta fish aquariums is not that difficult a task. You just need to have a tank that is adequate in size. Keep in mind though that the suggested size is for one betta fish. If you would like to add a well-suited fish, you may have to upgrade your tank's size so that they can be properly accommodated. Aside from the proper betta fish aquarium, you must also understand how to maintain the right levels of ammonia, nitrites, and pH. You must maintain these levels in the water so that it doesn't become noxious to your betta. You should also learn about the right food and feeding schedules so that your betta fish remains fit and lives for a long time.

Learn The Quick and Easy Ways to Keep Your Betta Fish Healthy, Happy and Disease Free


Betta Fish Pictures

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Teach Betta Fish Tricks

Many people ask if they can teach their bettas to do tricks. Definitely Yes.
Here are some techniques of cool tricks you can teach your betta.

Following your finger

This is one of those tricks where you either get it on your first try or your 100th try. However, it's also one of the most important tricks to teach your betta because once your betta knows how to follow your finger, it makes teaching new tricks easier. First, as a sort of pretest, place your finger on the outside of the aquarium near your betta. If he responds and moves towards it, reward him with some food. If not, shake your finger until he does notice. Slowly start moving your finger to opposite sides of the tank and reward your betta each time he follows it. Now move your finger verticall up and down to see if he follows it. Again, reward him if he does. Just keep practicing until your betta masters it and then you're done!

Jumping out the water
This trick is proably the easiest trick to teach your betta because it's one of the natural habits of bettas. It's also practical in that you can use this trick to feed your betta when he or she is housed with other fish that may take the food that is meant for your betta. If your betta can jump then all you need to do is stick a piece of food at the end of a skinny straw (the one you use to stir coffee) or a popsicle stick and hover the food just above the water surface so your betta can reach it and not the other fish. You can also use the tip of your finger instead of a straw or popsicle stick.

Flare on command
This trick is also a useful and practical trick to teach your betta in that it provides exercise, can be used to promote bubblenest building, acts as a stimulus to prevent your betta from being "bored", and it's a great way to get beautiful pictures of your betta. The only supplies that you need are a small mirror (if you don't have one, a printed picture of a male betta would work as well) and a pen with a black or red cap. First, get your betta to flare by placing a mirror or picture in front of the tank. Once your betta starts flaring, place the pen right next to the mirror or picture. Repeat placing the pen and mirror/picture in front of the betta a couple more times. Once your betta starts to instantly flare, take away the mirror and leave only the pen. It's important that the pen is the same color throughout training so that your betta will be able to recognize it. Reward your betta with food each time he or she flares at the pen. Continue until your betta flares each time you show the pen.

Swimming through a hoop
This trick is one of the hardest trick to teach your betta, but it's also one of the most amazing and satisfying because you're teachinga fish to swim through a hoop on command. It's a great trick to show your family, friends, betta fanatics, etc and when combined with other tricks, you can have your own betta circus. The only material needed for this trick is a pipe cleaner, which you can get at your local craftstore.

To set up the hoop, simply bend the pipe cleaner into a circle with a diameter of 2 inches and hang it on the side of the aquarium. To begin training, have the hoop perpendicular to the side of the aquarium and touching it. Move your finger across the outside of the aquarium in the direction you want your betta to swim through the hoop. Each time he or she swims through the hoop, reward him or her. Repeat this until he or she masters it. Slowly decrease the size of the hoop until it is a little larger than 1 inch in diameter. Remember to take your time and repeat each step if necessary until you're sure that your betta knows what to do. Next, move the hoop farther away from the sides of the aquarium. Once your betta can swim though the hoop in the middle of the aquarium you're done!

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Feeding Betta Fish

Learn The Quick and Easy Ways to Keep Your Betta Fish Healthy, Happy and Disease Free

Step 1

Ensure that the betta fish have a clean and fresh water supply at all times. Their tanks must be kept tidy and free of impurities, as this species is very susceptible to disease and death from waterborne bacteria.

Step 2

Make sure that the betta sees his food entering the tank. Bettas prefer eating from the top of the tank and from the top of the water column. Drop the food at his nose when he sees it.

Step 3

Bettas are very finicky eaters and should have a diet that includes betta specific food pellets, yet they also enjoy brine shrimp and frozen bloodworms. Ensure that the betta is given perhaps 6 to 7 brine shrimp at a time. If all are eaten, give him a smaller second portion.

Step 4

Feed the betta fish more during times of pre-spawning. During this time the betta fish can eat blackworms, fruit flies and mosquito larvae. Feed the fish no more than 4 times a day.

Step 5

Encourage small, betta fish fry (newborn bettas) to eat only after they are 5 days old. Feed them several times a day with baby brine shrimp or boiled egg yolk.

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Breeding Betta Fish

Learn The Quick and Easy Ways to Keep Your Betta Fish Healthy, Happy and Disease Free

Breeding betta fish is a very easy task. However, there are a number of factors that should be understood well before starting this rewarding endeavor. You need time, knowledge, patience, proper resources and total commitment to breed bettas. You should learn everything about the species care and breeding methods. Be well aware of betta genetics and behavior. Also consider the reason you want to breed betta fish. Bettas lay 600 eggs in a single spawn. Thus you may end up with at least 500 bettas to be taken care of. If you want to supply them to a local pet store it may be a good business venture. Betta fish breeding is a serious undertaking that may require a lot of investment, both your time and finance. It is not a profitable venture initially and may take time to give you returns. If you have made up your mind to breed betta fish as a hobby or business venture then the following instructions will show you how to breed betta fish?

Selection of the Right Betta Fish: You should buy a pair of Siamese fighting fish that are not more than 14 months old. They should be nearly of the same size, with vibrant colors and without any injury or missing scales. They should have smooth gills without any visible swelling. They should have clear dark eyes and their fins should be free from tear and holes. You should locate a reputable breeder online or in your area to purchase the breeding pair. It is very important to have information about their genetic traits. Most of the fish in pet stores have unknown genetic background and you may end up breeding sickly or undesirable fry.

Types of Breeding Betta Fish: There are 10 groups of betta species with 42 types of individual bettas. They have different methods of breeding.The 'Bubblenesters' that include spendens, bellica and coccina make a nest out of bubbles to support the eggs. Then there is the 'Mouthbrooders' like the forrest betta or the green throat mouthbrooder. The males of these species carry the eggs in their throat, hence the name.

Setting Up the Breeding Tank: You will require a breeding tank of about 5 - 10 gallons. It should have a removable divider, hiding places and heater set to 80ºF. Do not add gravel or sand at the bottom as the eggs may get lost when they fall to the bottom.

Introducing the Fish to Each Other: Keep the fish in the opposite sides of the tank to get them accustomed to each other. When they do not show aggressiveness and do not try to attack each other through the divider, it means they are interested in each other.

Observe behaviour: If the bettas are interested in each other then the male will swim around the tank displaying his fins, flaring and showing off to the female. The female displays vertical bars on her body and submissively holds her head down. Slight aggressiveness is fine, but if they try to attack each other, seperate them and try again later or else, try another pair.

Breeding Time: The male builds a bubble nest when he is ready to breed. The female displays the typical submissive behavior and a bloated belly meaning she is ready for egg production. Release the female in the male territory or remove the barrier. Keep an eye on the pair, when they are together. The male may bully the female and nip at her fins and chase her around. It is fine as long as there is no danger to the life of the female. The hiding place provided will help the female escape the bullying male for sometime. When the female is under the bubble nest, they embrace each other. This act helps in squeezing the eggs out of the female's ovipositor. The male swims down and scoop the fallen eggs and put them one by one into his nest. During this time the female becomes zombie like as the eggs fall down from her ovipositor. They embrace many more times and finally the female stops releasing eggs. When the female comes out of her zombie like state, she may help the male in carrying the eggs to the nest. Be very vigilant as the female may eat the eggs. Once she finishes releasing the eggs the male starts bullying her again. Scoop her out and put her in her side of tank. Treat the tank with Maroxy as it is very helpful in treating her injured fins and preventing fungus from killing the eggs.

Removing the Fish: After about three days you will observe the fry swimming out of the bubble nest. Scoop the male and female from the tank and place them in another tank with a divider or barrier.

Feeding the Fry: feed the fry with live microworms twice a day. If live microworms are still present in the tank till the next feeding time, skip giving more food. When the fry is about a week old you may feed them some baby brine shrimps.

Best Growing Conditions: The fry requires temperature of about 80oF for growth. Gradually increase the amount of their feed. When they outgrow the tank space, place them in a larger fish tank. Many of them do not survive the first few weeks and if plenty of them are dying each day, you should check on the temperature, chemical levels and water cleanliness.

Caring for the Growing Fry: When the fry are about a month old, slowly wean them off the live food. Feed them frozen dried flake or pellets. When they are about 5 - 8 weeks, separate the males to avoid them from injuring one another. Place the transparent cups or tanks near each other as they may not be used to living alone. Males may not eat for a day or two, thus stimulate their appetite by giving live food. Isolate the males with opaque dividers as they may wear themselves out trying to attack the other male in the adjacent tank.

Future of Your Fry: The adult traits are visible within 10 - 11 weeks. You may start selling your fry after this period. If you want to continue breeding betta fish, then select the best fish from each spawn. The others can be sold or given away.

If you own a pond, you can release the adult bettas in it or you can gift them to your friends and family. You can sell them to the local pet store and build a long business relationship of selling betta fish. Breeding betta fish is an expensive hobby and you should have ample time and space to spare. Do not breed betta fish if you are not sure that you can sell or give away all the 500 fry produced by a single pair. If you have weighed all the pros and cons of breeding betta fish, then have a great time carrying out this marvellous yet different hobby.

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Betta Fish Care FAQ

Learn The Quick and Easy Ways to Keep Your Betta Fish Healthy, Happy and Disease Free

Helpful Betta Fish Care FAQ

Question: What is the scientific name for betta fish?
Answer: Betta splendens

Question: Where do betta fish come from?
Answer: Cambodia, Thailand Southeast Asia.

Question: How big can they get?
Answer: Three inches

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Question: What is their lifespan?
Answer: Two to three years

Question: What is their diet?
Answer: It's best they have live foods. They can also have flakes and frozen foods.

Question: How do they breed?
Answer: They lay eggs in a bubble nest.

Question: What should be the water pH be?
Answer: 6.8 to 7.4

Question: What about water temperature range?
Answer: Seventy-five to eighty-six degrees Fahrenheit

Question: How can you tell the males from the females?
Answer: Males are usually more colorful and have long, flowing fins.

Question: How many bettas can be in one tank?
Answer: There should be just one male per tank. There's no limit on the number of females as long as there is enough room. But 4-6 is a good number of females.

Question: Do bettas need special equipment?
Answer: They don't need air filters. A heater might be good because they like warm water. If there's room, you can put in caves and plants for them to hide in when frightened.

Question: Are there any special considerations?
Answer: Clean water. Leftover food and fish poop that accumulates on the bottom should be kept out of the tank. A turkey baster will do this. If left, the debris will decay and pollute the water. This can cause the fish to get sick with fin rot which bettas are susceptible to.

Learn The Quick and Easy Ways to Keep Your Betta Fish Healthy, Happy and Disease Free