Are Bettas really a type of fish at all? - Betta Fish and Betta Fish Care
 
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-07-2013, 06:25 PM Thread Starter
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Question Are Bettas really a type of fish at all?

I'm confused. I've heard somewhere that a betta fish can actually drown in water. So, it comes to the surface every now and then to breathe air humans breathe, then swims back down and resumes it's thing. So, they breathe actual air (unlike most fish), and males choke females during breeding (totally different from every other species of fish). Palm Trees aren't really trees at all, yet people keep calling them trees. They're actually a type of grass, like bamboo and corn. I was wondering if Bettas have that same scenario, where they're called fish but are scientifically something else. If Bettas aren't really fish, then what on earth are they? Can you settle my confusion for me? Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-07-2013, 06:53 PM
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They are fish. :) They still can and do get oxygen from the water, which is why you will see them breathing even underwater - this is most pronounced if they are sick, in which case they will often 'pant'. They do all that the way a normal fish does.
HOWEVER, because they originally come from hot, slow-moving water which has low oxygen content and poor oxygen exchange, this is not usually enough. As such, they developed the labyrinth organ to supplement this by oxygen from the surface. It is true that if you remove the labyrinth organ, or prevent the fish breathing from the surface, it will suffocate, but that is because it isn't designed to rely solely on one set of lungs or the other - it needs both. It will also suffocate if you prevent it absorbing oxygen from the water.

So, they aren't like dolphins, holding their breath underwater and breathing exclusively from the surface, and are in fact proper fish. :)

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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-07-2013, 07:04 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, now I understand. They have two sets of lungs and one set is for underwater breathing while the other is for above surface breathing. What really had me confused though is that if you remove betta fish from the water, after a few minutes they'd die yet they can breathe our air. Now I know why and it's no longer confusing.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-08-2013, 09:10 AM
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Technically, all fish can drown. Gills merely extract the air from the water in order for them to breath. Should you keep any fish in an air tight jar it will drown.

BettaSmart: My personal blog dedicated to ending the myths and misconceptions on Betta fish care through educational articles. Topics range from basic care to raising awareness about the dangerous marketing practices in the fish world.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 03-08-2013, 11:44 AM
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Okay, now I understand. They have two sets of lungs and one set is for underwater breathing while the other is for above surface breathing. What really had me confused though is that if you remove betta fish from the water, after a few minutes they'd die yet they can breathe our air.
Supposedly, if they jump out of the tank and you find it later on, it can still survive as long as the body has not dried out. Some people on here have claimed they found their fish on the floor after some time, put it back in water and it managed to survive.


Gourami's are also another popular species.

http://animal-world.com/encyclo/fres.../labyrinth.htm

https://scontent-a-lga.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/1396036_10151774258717861_1754587068_n.jpg


Last edited by Tikibirds; 03-08-2013 at 11:55 AM.
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