The Cycle of Betta Splendens and their unique behaviors

The Cycle of Betta Splendens and their unique behaviors


            Betta splendens are apart of the kingdom Animalia, phylum Chordata, and class Ctinopterygii. They are a member of the gourami family and are known to be highly territorial. Bettas can be found in standing waters of canals, rice paddies, and floodplains. They are widely known for their brilliant colors and large, flowing fins. In captivity, their lifespan ranges from 3 to 5 years and they grow to an adult length of 2.8 in. Compare to female, male betta fish have high levels of aggression and will attack if they feel threatened. These attacks usually result in the death of one or both fish. However, female betta fish can also be territorial in front of another female betta fish. If a female betta fish is placed in the same tank, one of them would declare their dominance while the other one becomes submissive to the dominant female. So, it is recommended not to place betta splendens in the same tank.  


            In the wild, betta splendens feed on a variety of thing; such as zooplankton, crustaceans, the larvae of mosquitoes and other water-bound insects. However, in captivity, they feed on a varied diet of pellets or frozen foods such as brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia and many others. Betta splendens are also naturally insectivores and do not naturally consume vegetation; plants. 

Reproduction and early development

            Mating is a natural thing in nature that every species exhibit. However, different species have different ways of showing interest. In fish, specifically male bettas, they typically show their interest by using their fins. Male bettas tend to flare their gills, spread their fins and twist their bodies in a dance if interested in a female. If the female is also interested, her color will darken and she will develop vertical lines known as breeding bars as a response.  Upon mating with the female, the male betta fish will wrap his body around the female and embrace her so that she releases eggs. Fertilization of the eggs will then take place externally as the male betta fish releases milt into the water. The female betta fish can release a range of 10 to 30 eggs upon embrace. The male bettas are generally responsible for building bubble nests at the surface of the water for offsprings. During and after spawning, the male betta fish will use his mouth to retrieve sinking eggs and deposit them in the bubble nest. The female will sometime assist the male to retrieved the eggs but she is more likely to eat them when she catches them. Because of this, the male betta fish will either chase the female away or kill her if she’s not removed from the tank. The male betta fish will then take care of the eggs and keeps them in his bubble nest until they hatched.


Bettas Behaviours 

            Both male and female betta fish show aggressive behaviors. These types of behaviors can be observed when they feel intimidated or as an act of courtship. They would make themselves appear bigger and impressive by flaring or puffing out their gill covers (opercula). However, flaring out their gill is a common thing that can be observed when they are intimidated by a movement or when there is a change in the environment. Though it is fairly simple to tell when a betta fish is scared, they would display pale horizontal bars in moments of stress or when they are frightened. These colors changes are very common in females of any age but typically rare in mature males. Female betta fish rarely show aggression towards male betta fish and will flare at female bettas more. Therefore, Betta fish in general exhibit aggression when feeling threatened and are very territorial. 





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