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Old 06-06-2012, 01:26 PM   #1 
Sivan's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Plattsburgh, NY
Finding Official Sources/Documents/Information on Betta Care

I have been doing research into betta fish in order support claims that prove hearsay wrong. However, I have noticed that most websites with the best information are like this forum or are personal websites owned by hobbyists. While I know certain information to be true and trustworthy, in the end these types of websites/sources are also just hearsay. While we are experienced members, there are many differing opinions on certain aspects of betta fish keeping.

I am looking for purely factual content, not the nitpicky details of whether or not it is better to use IAL or oak leaves, or even arguments over whether veiltails should be a recognized breed. I only want facts. I want science to back up these facts. I want trust resources but do not know where to begin looking.

What I am specifically looking out for are books, magazine articles, humane society articles, etc. I have a very small number of articles I like and some of them are just websites without credibility, such as a hubpages article I like. I want to weed out information like this unless I can cross-reference from an official source SOMEWHERE.

I am not even looking for sources that have 100% everything correct. For example, I like Animal Planet's betta care book for reasons that include taking down several harmful myths and much of the needs of betta fish being addressed but I do not agree with its promotion that a betta can live in a minimum of 1 quart of water because it is a hardy fish. I would like sources such as these to look into so I can compare information and better educate myself in betta keeping.

Some concepts I would like good sources for include:

-Information on female betta fish. I have zero experience with them and know only in theory or from advice of experienced female owners on how to best suit their needs.

-Egg binding. This is a specific female betta issue I want to do more research on but cannot find anything but forum posts on the topic. I feel like people get their information from somewhere and I want to find the course of that information.

-Chemical water conditions. We all know that 0ppm is an ideal state for ammonia and nitrite, with a little nitrate to remove through water changes. I want information on water conditions specifically for betta fish and a more precise source on the rate at which these chemicals build up.

-Breeding. I am interested in learning about breeding and because I have very minimal knowledge on it, I would like to begin learning through official sources. I do not want to breed myself but am fascinated by IBC standards, betta genetics, and breeding habits, as well as how breeders breed their fish.

-History on betta fish. I know that betta splendens are a man-made species created through breeding. I have heard multiple stories on how betta fish got their name, ranging from the King of Siam favoring these fish and naming them himself to the species being named after warriors called Bettah because of their fighting abilities. I would love to when/how the betta splendens branched into their own species and some basic history.

-General betta care. There are so many things I forget are not common knowledge and many things I assume based off information I have here. I would love some official sources on general betta care that do not contain myths on the fish.

I wish I knew where to begin looking for this information but I do not. I do not mind internet sources as long as I can back up their validity (such as being from an SPCA organization or from a well-known authority) and would appreciate books. Even I cannot find or afford to buy the books, I would like to know their titles and see if maybe I can get them through a library or used book store, ect.

I know about some magazines but they are not betta specific. I do want to learn about other species too but I can only handle learning about one fish at a at a time.
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Old 06-06-2012, 01:42 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: NYC
I think what you are looking for will be har to find. sure there may be a scientific formulae for betta fish keeping, but betta like people are all different. Some loves 1 gallon bowls and hate large tanks, vice. versa. We all have differing opinions because we all have different fish. And rather than being an expert on Betta fish we become experts on our own fish.

Think about it this way, the best cooking comes from experie nce and not just following the recipe gram by gram.

And to figure out certain things like how fast chemicals build up, it is completely possible to do a water test yourself. But these also depends on many factors, water parameters, plants or no plants, cycled?

I think it was Sakura8 who had a good thread on her egg bound fish, it's pretty close to a factual log of how her fish pulled through.

enough blabber from me, have you tried joining the IBC?
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Old 06-06-2012, 02:08 PM   #3 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
All I can say is good luck....most information on this species and well as tropical fish in general are mostly opinion based on experience and personal experiments conducted by hobbyist.
There are some science based information based on facts in regards to the anatomy/physiology of Betta splendens, water chemistry, Ichthyology...etc....but can be hard to find and some of the research papers you have to buy.

The way I find trusted science based information on the internet-I look for the specific subject usually not related to the Betta per se-for example-Oak leaf-vs IAL I look for the spectrographic analysis.

Fish keeping isn't an exact science.......sometimes you have to pick though all the information and find your way....what works for one may not for another for one reason or the other.....

What ever info you do sure and share it by posting a long as it doesn't have a forum on fish keeping....

Good luck...
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Old 06-06-2012, 02:36 PM   #4 
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I would contact some of the old timers in the IBC and they may have some sources.

Most older books are geared towards betta breeding. Just an FYI.
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Old 06-06-2012, 03:14 PM   #5 
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Who's going to put money into actual experiments on betta fish? No one but hobbyists. I'm kind of glad for this because we have better things to spend money on, lol.
There isn't too many specifics in the hobby chemistry wise... We have our general numbers, our general cures... We got a lot of mumbo jumbo in our hobby, you are totally correct. It's accepted by pretty much everyone. Something that cures magically. Where is the proof of this, that we cannot say. I have even seen published books on fish in which I could pick out things that were clearly just wrong.
Information is passed on person to person, changed greatly, most things really cannot be backed up confidently. "It worked for me" is not backing up something. You really need intensive research into a subject.. in the case of fish, it calls for tons of necropsies and experimentation, something the average hobbyist will not be willing to do.

For example.. recently I was trying to decipher the garlic for fish claims.. it cures disease and helps with appetite mainly. It did not take long at all for me to figure it out... As far as we know this whole tale comes to us from a Mr. Wattley, a discus expert. He DID preform intensive study into using garlic as a cure for worms in discus fish. You can find the article here.
All of a sudden, this information was crossed over to another, unrelated species. Who on earth thought that garlic tempts the appetite? I've seen this fail for tons of people on the forum. This is the biggest flaw in our hobby, you are right to want to learn about one fish. There is no magic number, no cure all, for every fish species.. They are all different, as you know some medicines are toxic to betta, but fine for other fish.

I could cross over tons of chemistry information to you for different fish species which have been studied more, but this will be of little to no use for your purposes.
Our aquarium chemistry is particularly iffy since, well not everyone's water is the same. Take this fact.. "Generally 1 to 3mg of ammonia is produced for every 100mg of feed." This would put 1 liter of water at 1-3ppm of ammonia, toxic, or a 100 liter aquarium at 0.01-0.03ppm of ammonia, unnoticeable. What is the composition of the feed, what fish is eating it, if it is being eaten.. I think this fact is taking into account uneaten food. Take into consideration the conversion of ammonia to ammonium in acidic waters.. Ammonium has completely different properties, we aren't even sure if it's the same bacteria species that eats both, though people will say that ammonium is more easily eaten by our bacteria. Any expert hobbyist will comfortably admit that we know almost nothing about the details aquarium water chemistry.

It will be hard to find information "official" enough pertaining to betta, no arguments to that. If you want, I do suggest PM'ing our member bettababy with your questions on egg binding and water chemistry.. She is a fish nutritionist, I believe, she went to school for this stuff, she really will be able to help you out.
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Old 06-06-2012, 03:56 PM   #6 
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Location: Plattsburgh, NY
I find it amazing that betta fish are so hard to find cited information on. I really want to gather official sources together and put them in one place so they are not so hard to find. I will definitely share here when I am done with my research. My betta hobby does not stop at merely caring for my fish but continues on into expanding my knowledge on them.

I will take a look at the IBC. Any other suggestions? Books? Vet manuals? Organizations? I don't mind asking members but I really want to cite published material.
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Old 06-06-2012, 04:02 PM   #7 
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Location: Plattsburgh, NY
Thanks for the replies, guys. my internet keeps failing me so most of my responses disappear before being able to be posted. Here are the topics, which will turn into subtopics, that I will focus my research on:

Betta History

Betta Anatomy

Betta Gender Differences

Betta Habits/Behaviors

Betta Requirements

Betta Upkeep

Betta Community Tanks

Betta Water Conditions

Betta Nutrition

Betta Health
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Old 06-06-2012, 06:00 PM   #8 
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Betta: Your Happy Healthy Pet
By John H Tullock
Here is one thing that can be found within this book: "Because of the Betta's reputation for physical hardiness, many hobbyists make the mistake of providing Bettas with inadequate living accommodations (small glass bowls and jars) and poor water conditions."

How to Care for Betta Fish Like an Expert
By David Chipperfield
Exert: "These fish tend to inhabit still or slow-moving waters such as those found in rice paddies, swamps and ditches as well as small streams and ponds."

These are just the first two books that I found that had good information in them. There are other books out there. Some with bad information and some with good. Just takes some looking.
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:18 PM   #9 
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Thank you! I will search for these. Are they still in print?
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Old 06-06-2012, 08:32 PM   #10 
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I would look at the external links and reference sections in all the wikis about bettas.
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