The Siamese fighting fish also known as the betta is a very popular fish for the aquarium enthusiasts. Southeast Asia is where you will find Bettas. It used to live in rice fields, warm flood plains, and water drainage ditches. The bettas have swum with the storm floods and even droughts as well. They have vibrant colors and people love to keep this ravishing fish in the aquarium. If you are a betta owner then you will often notice your betta fish swimming alone here and there in the tank and you may think “Is it lonely? ” In this article, we will discuss if betta fish get lonely and bored. We will also discuss what you can do to make your betta fish happy.
Do Betta Fish Get Lonely?
The short answer to this question is ” No”. Betta fish doesn’t get lonely at all. Bettas are highly territorial and aggressive fish. The name Betta comes from a tribe of an old clan of warriors known as “Bettah”. In the mid-1800s, these fish became famous for its fighting, thus named as betta. The sport of fish fighting became so popular that the King of Siam taxed and regulated it. The volunteers used to bet on the bravery of betta fish. But no one cared about the loss of the victor.
We are humans and that’s why we relate everything with us. We usually assume that the other subjects feel the same as us. Because we feel alone in a solitary environment, we assume bettas will be too. But, now you can understand well that your betta fish has a different kind of nature. They have different requirements and feelings and enjoy living alone.
Bettas, specifically wild males, love solitary living. They live happily in their own territory. You should not keep two male bettas together in a single tank. The reason is, when they run, they collide with each other. This situation often ends in a fight. The fish still have an ornery disposition even after bred for generations. In an aquarium, the betta fish might want another fish in.
If you are having bettas in your aquarium so will be well known to its nature. If you add another animal or fish to the betta’s tank, it will result in serious damage. This act doesn’t mean that bettas never become bored. But don’t worry, keep plants, shade, hiding places in the water tank. That’s all that betta needs. He will be happy with such stuff.
Do Betta Fish Prefer Being Alone?
Now you know about the solitary nature of bettas but it doesn’t mean that this always wants to be alone. It depends on the mood of your betta. Sometimes betta came out of his shell when present in a community tank. But in some cases, the presence of a snail makes him territorial.
Keep one thing in mind. Never ever keep two male bettas together. This will end up with the death of one. This will be the worst experience for you.
Tank Mates for Betta Fish:
You can add shrimp, platies, catfish, snails as tank mates for your betta. Because the presence of other mates makes betta happy. He also feels happier when other fish moves around him. Probably he feels safe in their company.
The presence of fish in the tank will make the betta feel that there is nothing to get afraid. This will make him come out of the shell and enjoy swimming. But make sure to choose the right mate fish for your betta.
How to keep bettas with Other fishes:
If you are planning to buy fish mates for your betta, keep a few things in your mind.
The size of the tang should be big enough. This is the basic and the most important thing your betta requires. Betta fish loves to have a 5-gallon tank. If you are going to add more fish, you should also increase the tank size. We suggest using 10 gallons water tank or bigger. Make sure to check the water need of the fish before buying it. Redtail needs a tank of least 55-gallon size.
-Places to Hide
While you enhance the size of your tank, make sure to increase the number of hiding places. More the fish, the more are the places required. Hiding places makes the fish feel safer. Lots of hiding places in the tank will enable the fish to swim around without being afraid.
Whenever you introduce a new fish to the tank, visit it as often as you can. It’s very necessary to keep an eye on the tank. Because a new fish may get buddied by betta. New fish can also bully Betta in some other cases. If you catch them bullying each other, buy another tank or separate the tank using the divider.
-Choice of Tank Mates
Moreover, make sure to choose the tankmates carefully. Bright colors and longtails will not be a good choice. Before all these, don’t bring any fish that swims on the top of tanks. It is the place where your betta loves to swim. If he finds another species in his territory, he will get tempered and could attack them. Add a bottom feeder with your Betta. At the time of territory, the bettas will stay at the top. Whereas the bottom feeders will remain at the bottom without causing any clash.
Do Female Betta Fish Get Lonely?
You are well known about the nature of male bettas that they can’t live together. But how will females react? If you want to keep female bettas and you have enough big tank, a sorority is a good idea. A sorority is a group of female bettas living in one tank. Females have their own unique behaviors and territories. They don’t dislike the entry of other fish in their territory. They can also live together happily and peacefully. But sometimes they get aggressive and peck order is also observed. But, it happens a lot that female betta feels lonely.
How to Create a Female Sorority?
While you are planning to start a female sorority, you have to introduce bettas, one by one, to the tank. Never try to introduce all them at once. It may cause damage to the ammonia cycle. Additionally, if there is any problem with the beta, it will be easy to detect the one. If you insert all bettas at the same time, it will be difficult for you to arrange them. It will be easy to adjust the arrangement of one than many bettas.
Another thing you must keep in mind that females can also get weird. They can be worse even more than males. Female bettas have small fins that enable them to move fast and attack the other fish miserably. So, don’t forget this aggressive nature of female bettas as well.
How to play with your Betta fish?
You can play with your lovely betta fish so that it doesn’t get bored and lonely. Here are a few tricks:
-Mirror as a trick
You can also use a mirror to stimulate the other fish. Bettas react when they see their own reflection. Betta when looking into the mirror, he flexes his body muscles, this is the required exercise for him. And once you remove the mirror, your betta will like he has won the fight. Moreover, the use of a mirror makes the betta feel like he is not alone. He thinks that there is another betta fish swimming nearby. He will also start patrolling in his tank. This act will no more make him feel alone.
Even if you have no interest in aquatic life, bettas love human interaction. He observes the human activity from their tank and enjoys it. The response to the person standing near to the tank. They rush towards humans and swim side by side. Some bettas will also follow your finger. In some cases, new bettas might be shy and stay away from you. But within a week or two, they will be normal. Some bettas also get stress due to the light and dark horizons of humans. But in a few weeks, they will get familiar with their owner.
You can also use toys to make bettas have fun. But the lack of toys will not make your betta unhappy or boredom. Mirror present on the side of the tank is good to use. Bettas when they see in the mirror, they observe their bodies, open their fins and beard. Such an act makes him feel bigger and prettier. You can also float ping-pong balls on the surface of the tank.
Males being aggressive in nature, play with toys. They love to dart the ping-pong and smack the ball suing their heads. You can also use small toy logs and floating beads or objects. You can add a picture that mimics the size and color of betta fish. Be careful while adding something to the aquarium. Make sure the object is aquarium safe.
Fish Tank and Food for Betta Fish
Bettas can live in small aquariums of about 2.5 gallons with a daily water change. But we will suggest getting an at least 5-gallon tanks for your betta fish. This shows that bettas can survive in both small spaces and poor-quality water. The temperature of the water should be 76-82° F.
The fish have upturned mouths and usually feed on the surface of the water. Its diet should consist of brine shrimp/ daphnia and dried bloodworms. Preferred is the commercial betta food as it’s the combination of the three foods. Moreover, it contains vitamins and minerals as well. Such food improves the color and durability of bettas. Bettas need food rich in proteins and fiber. It cannot survive on the plant roots. The misconception that plant roots can sustain bettas is absolutely wrong.
Plants for betta are the enrichment to hide and explore, these are not the source of food. Betta fish eat insects and their larvae and are also known as carnivores. You should feed flake food to your betta. Like other animals, overeating can harm betta’s health leading to obesity. Give a specific amount of food that betta can eat within 3-5 minutes. Make sure no food remains. The excess food sinks to the tank bottom making the water quality poor.
You can also give a treat to your bettas. Use a protein-enriched feed such as blood worms, brine shrimp. Make sure that the treatment should be moderate.
Betta is a Labyrinth Fish
As the environment changed drastically, the bettas adopted those changes. This turned them into a labyrinth fish. Labyrinth fish is a fish capable of breathing oxygen from the air as well as through its gills. This ability helps betta fish to survive without water for a short duration. And if needed, betta can inhale air from the surrounding. This is the reason that makes the betta enable us to survive in low oxygen and stagnant water bodies.
Generally, do not add fish to the betta tank apart from ottos and cory catfish. It will never be a good idea. Use tetras in some cases but it cannot be safe. Snails make the bettas curious; they swim around snails. Other aggressive fish including Dwarf gouramis are never recommended. They are so aggressive that you will immediately need a divider to separate them from bettas.
So now you know betta fish doesn’t get lonely. But it can become boring. You can play with the fish sometimes to remove its boredom. and one last thing, never try to add a fish to your betta’s tank, if you don’t have enough time to keep them under observation. Before purchasing a new fish, always keep another tank for the new fish. So that you can move it to the other if the beta reacts. Some bettas also dislike toys. So, if you add a toy and your betta fish gets stressed, remove it.