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Old 02-17-2013, 10:36 PM   #1 
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Question Natural habitat for bettas?


I am curious if anyone has studied the native habitat (in Thailand?) of the betta. What fish are in that habitat? Or are bettas simply solitary not only with regard to bettas but with other animals?

I have a ten gallon tank and have had a male betta in it for a year and a half. There are currently two apple snails in it and a ton of black, pond snails. I feel terrible for this betta. I don't really have much time to spend hanging out with him, apart from a few minutes when I feed him. He does seem to enjoy the feeding time and having some time to interact. I do try to spend a few minutes during the feeding hanging out.

If I could put in some other animals that would be companions for him (to make the environment more entertaining), that would be a good idea, I think.

So, I was thinking that maybe some Thai species might be something to think about?

I've done a bunch of looking in general for what fish enjoy living with bettas, but I have not really seen any info on what bettas have evolved living with.

Any idea?

I suppose this could include fish and larger animals, but maybe also water bugs, snails?

One thing I have tried recently is this neat video: . It's a rice paddy at night (in Japan). I play it for an hour at night.


I can post a separate thread for suggestions on tankmates in general (or maybe do some more browsing), but if you feel like giving any ideas that would be great.

I have a medium-gravel bed, with a couple broad-leafed plants. There are some hiding toys/decorations. There is a betta log. And there are some floating plants as well. The temperature is around 74 F. I use a carbon-filter water filter. I turn it off at night occasionally. I do a 10% water change every week or two. But I do not monitor levels of stuff in the tank. I just bought a gravel vacuum.

Last edited by Awed; 02-17-2013 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 02-17-2013, 11:16 PM   #2 
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Bettas seem to appreciate floating plants as they age. You could add a temporary mirror to "entertain" your betta. Ultimately, most domesticated bettas rarely live longer than 4 years. If the betta has always been kept alone for more than a year, he will most likely be happiest alone in general.
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Old 02-18-2013, 02:00 PM   #3 
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Unless you have a wild-caught betta, the splendens species has no "natural" habitat. They have been speciated out of their wild cousins due to many many many years of selective breeding. They can only survive in a closed-controlled aquariums.

I suppose you can make it a planted tank and have a few bottom feeders and maybe a small school of some-other-fish if you really want to spruce up your 10 gallon.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:36 PM   #4 
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Thanks for the advice, bahamut, re a tank setup. But regardless of a hundred years of breeding, betta fish are still evolved to live in a particular habitat, with other particular flora and fauna. Maybe this changes when we breed them. But, for example, they are still tropical fish and prefer warmer temperatures.

I wonder if there are other fauna that they might be used to living with.

The reason I ask this general question is that I see lots of posts from apparent amateurs who have found various experimental results of pairing bettas with other species. There is lots of educated guessing here, but it seems to be, for the most part, amateur and small scale experiments. So one alternative to that is to figure out what the fish actually does in nature.

The general ideas I have found are great (and even though they are small experiments there are still a fair number). I am certainly not ruling out ideas I have read, but I wonder if there are other options and sources of information. A basic concept to have a larger fish or a fish that hides or a bottom feeder or a quick fish, and one that does not have flamboyant fins, seems smart to me. (That is more or less what I've read so far.)
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:40 PM   #5 
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I have mine with 3 pygmy cories and 3 dainty (hasbrosus? spelling sorry) corys. I wanted a variety and they school together and my betta likes watching them and tries to chase them in play, never in anger
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:41 PM   #6 
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really there are very few animals from a betta's original ecosystem available to the common aquarium trade, and those that are generally fall into two categories: animals that the betta will kill and likely eat, or animals that will kill and likely eat the betta. you're much better off going with fish from different places but with similar climate needs to those of bettas, such as tetras, ADF's, cory cats and duller-colored livebearers.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:46 PM   #7 
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That's a good point about predators and prey. It may be that a lot of aquatic animals are one or the other.

In terms of livening up the tank, any animals (that are not prey or predators) are probably OK (depending on the fish; mine may be freaked out by lots of tankmates).

I have been searching for catfish and African dwarf frogs. Tetras are interesting but I have the feeling that a school may be too big for my tank.

I don't know if the frog or bottomfeeder would interact much with the betta.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:53 PM   #8 
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I think most of the fish caught alongside or in the same kind of area as wild betta species, tend to be smaller species of things such as rasbora and gourami. I think maybe some species of loaches as well?

I found a blog a while back where they were hunting for wild bettas (not splendens) and they had several pictures of fish they had found in the same area.

But I do agree with Bahamut. I own wild bettas and I have owned domesticated splendens and domesticated splendens really don't care what kind of environment you keep them in. They are a product of the aquarium trade and usually look and behave differently from their wild cousins.
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Old 02-18-2013, 10:19 PM   #9 
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I've heard that loaches are from the same habitat as betta. And they seem to do well together from what I've gathered from threads on here. might be something to think about?
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:28 PM   #10 
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If you search around you will notice that many southeast asian loaches are definitely from the same habitat as splendens. However, I have never clearly found exactly which loaches species live with bettas in the wild.
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