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Old 10-20-2007, 11:35 AM   #1 
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Mythbuster: Do bettas really live in "tiny" puddle

Okay, folks, after a research breakthrough and reminiscing of memories on how I often see people suggest to use vases and bowls for bettas considering "they live in tiny mud puddles", I decided to crash this myth in an effort to put a stop on what we call betta abuse simply by placing them in a container with no heater, no filter, etc at all. I've read plenty of books and discovered there is a lot more than what you see on a betta. It has always been a misconception that bettas live in mud puddles. Everytime I see people saying this, I keep thinking to myself "Is this possible?" Even the mud puddles dug by animal hooves would be quite horrible for a betta. What were those labyrinths for?

Before I go further, please note there are several betta species more than you can think of distributed around Asia, however, the human developments have seriously depleted their habitats with some species already lost and feared extinct.

While roaming around on forums for possible summaries, I discovered this paragraph (I don't own a lot of books however I do spend plenty of time in bookstores but I cannot copy every important bit without purchasing the said books which are expensive.)

Information is taken from Labyrinth Fish: The Bubble Nest Builders written by Horst Link and published by Tetra in 1991.

"In my opinion, the natural distribution range is very much smaller than had been supposed until now and is, in fact, restricted to central, western, and northern Thailand...Betta splendens lives in paddy fields and associated ditches, in marshes and flooded grass pits and in the klongs (canals) of the residential parts of towns and villages. At different times of the year, they may be very numerous."

A very important advice...
The view that fighting fish often live in mudholes and therefore can be kept in such conditions is not really tenable. The fish will exhibit their full finery in a well-established, balanced aquarium and it is only under such conditions that their keeper will be able to appreciate their beauty at its best

So the questions now are..
What exactly is a klong?
A picture is worth a hundred words.
Klong of Thailand

What paddy field are we talking anyway?
Is this really a mud puddle? Is it really small?

What is your conclusion on the whole?
Going to back to the above, I've shared to you my thoughts. Now to answer the question, What were those labyrinths for?, this doesn't mean all anabantids can live in mud puddles as previously suggested by several people but this means it allows them to survive in warm, shallow, slow moving waters with very low oxygen levels.

So like other fish, we should treat the bettas with great care. Efficient filter, heater, etc just like what other tropical fish deserve.

~End of lecture.~

I will sticky this so people won't have a difficult time searching for answers like this.

This site provides excellent information as well.
An important thing to know when housing a Betta Splendens is that most metals are lethal, and never should metal decorations be used unless they are marked for this purpose. Copper is especially dangerous. Nonetheless, to keep an individual B. splendens, a minimum tank size of 3 U.S. gallons at least is recommended, if it will be kept in a warm room. Decorations can provide hiding places, especially important when two males are housed in a divided tank, or when the betta is living in a community tank. Every decoration must be free of rough areas or sharp points which can damage the delicate fins of the betta. For this reason, silk rather than plastic plants are recommended. Live plants will improve the water quality. Also, since the betta obtains oxygen from the air, the tank must not be covered with an air-tight lid and the betta must be able to easily reach the surface. (Note that some bettas enjoy leaping out of tanks, so a breathable lid is highly recommended.) If the betta has no access to air, it will suffocate.

In Canada and the United States, the Betta is sometimes sold in a vase with a plant, with the erroneous claim that the fish can feed on the roots of the plant and that it can survive without changing the water. This is dangerous for the betta in two ways. First, the betta has a labyrinth organ which allows it to take in oxygen from the surface air, similar to the human lung. If the betta can not reach the surface of the water, which can be the case if a plant's roots are covering the surface, the betta will suffocate in a matter of hours. Secondly, Betta species are carnivorous and an appropriate food must be provided, such as dry "betta pellets" or live or frozen bloodworms or brine shrimp. However, most aquarium-bred specimens will accept dried flaked food suitable for tropical fish. When kept in a small container such as a vase, the fish need frequent water changes, and the container must be kept in a warm room. A larger tank with a heater will provide better living conditions. Wherever the fish is kept, water must be treated with an appropriate water conditioner before use.

There is a stereotype that in the wild, bettas live in tiny muddy pools, and therefore that it is acceptable to keep them in small tanks, but bowls are usually too small. In reality, bettas live in vast paddies, the puddle myth originating from the fact that during the dry season, the paddies can dry out into small patches of water. It is not a natural state of affairs by any means, and in the wild, fish trapped in such puddles are likely to die in a short period of time when they dry out.

To maximize the lifespan of the fish and ensure their well being, they should always be kept in appropriate sized tanks. As a rule of thumb, for each inch of fish there must be at least one gallon of water in its tank. Bettas idealy should be kept in a filtered tank 10 gallons or more and treated like any other freshwater tank fish. Although these conditions are ideal, with proper care and filtration a betta can be happily kept in a smaller tank. I, personally, keep my Betta in a tank holding 2 gallons of water and it is perfectly happy and healthy.

Other good links:
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Old 12-30-2007, 08:58 PM   #2 
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Sometimes in the wild they do. If it was a mild rain season, but it is a common misconception that this means 'bettas love a tiny amount of water'. In reality, they can survive in small amounts (usually) but not thrive.
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Old 01-02-2008, 11:33 AM   #3 
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Wow, thanks for posting this and making it a Sticky.
That was somewhat of a shock when I saw that big klong! I wish there was a such thing as a Worldwide that everybody would realize that bettas aren't supposed to be stuck in tiny cups and suchlike.
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Old 01-04-2008, 12:29 PM   #4 
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This is a great article, Im going to look for a 20+ gal for my betta and add some gentle fish to it.
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Old 01-05-2008, 05:43 PM   #5 
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Bettas don't live in tiny puddles, but some killies do.
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Old 01-08-2008, 09:36 PM   #6 
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i keep my betta in a 1 gallon fish bowl it has a light above for heat but no filter i cange the water 2 a week and feed it 2 times a day four pellets is this a good enviorment or should i change a few things
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Old 01-09-2008, 07:15 AM   #7 
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Originally Posted by dirtbiker250dualsport
i keep my betta in a 1 gallon fish bowl it has a light above for heat but no filter i cange the water 2 a week and feed it 2 times a day four pellets is this a good enviorment or should i change a few things
A good environment is a 5g tank or larger with a weak filter. A heater is necessary because when you turn your light off at night the temperature drops quite a lot, and keeping the light on all night doesn't give any sense of a day/night cycle.

Twice a week water changes sound good, just don't change all the water, change about 25%.

Your feeding sounds fine, but try to vary his diet, give him bloodworm and/or brine shrimp once of twice a week, and if he eats flakes, you coiuld give him these some days as well. :)
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Old 04-21-2008, 12:20 PM   #8 
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Yea there is a lot of turth to this but there is also not. I've been there collecting bettas not a yr ago and 85% of the bettas we got came from streams less then 1 ft deep and a ft wide at any point in the stream it would drop in depth to less then a inch and there would be more betta albimarginata. and falx in this lower level water then in the deeper water. I went with a Thialand breeder who found almost all his wilds in small small watering holes left by rain over flowing streams. Yes there are alot of miss consaption oout there that they live in larger rice patties but most are found in water less then a foot deep. I'd say 85% to 70% of all we collocted was in very small water puddles.
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Old 05-02-2008, 04:22 AM   #9 
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yeah they do!!!!!! i was freakin scared wen i found this out 'cuz wot if my tank is to big ? or small?
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Old 05-02-2008, 11:12 AM   #10 
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what are u talking about
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