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Old 03-06-2012, 08:38 AM   #1 
Whiplash4ever
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Duplicating the betta's natural habitat

Okay, so I'm thinking about setting up a betta specific habitat but I'm looking for info on what that habitat generally consists of.

I know it's recommended that the temp should be kept at 73 to 83 degrees, but what is the most common temp from their native land... or is that it?

What's the most common depth they live at?

What's the substrate consist of?

Most commonly found in rice patties, but short of being able to grow rice, what's a close substitute?

Is there any other plant life native to their territories?

Am I missing anything? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

I plan on building the tank myself, so it's going to be built specifically with the betta in mind.


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Old 03-06-2012, 09:28 AM   #2 
Aus
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I'm pretty new to owning bettas, but have done some hardcore research. I know this much:

The waters bettas live in are shallow but wide and not oxygen rich as they are either still or move very slowly. There's a lot of tannins in the water, and they like this being artificially reproduced with Indian Almond leaves (roobis tea, and dried oak leaves can give a similar tannin quality, but IAL also has therapeutic qualities, it's said).

Looking at rice paddies, people standing in the water are in most pictures up to their upper calves in water, which would be about 30cm. Rice paddies are just the man-made version of thier preferred environment though, as are the shallow canals - they also live in wetlands and slow moving streams.

I've been interested in researching native Thai water plants, too, and found this extremely useful site:

http://www.ku.ac.th/fish/mfish.html/.../aqpindex.html

You might find java fern, java moss, anubias, cryptos and water wisteria all suit bettas and low light/tannin water well.

I'd love to see pics of your tank when finished! My dream is a natural/native looking tank with a B. macrostoma pair...

I also found this great site explaining how to duplicate blackwater pools:

http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.u...ent.php?sid=66

Last edited by Aus; 03-06-2012 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 03-06-2012, 09:34 AM   #3 
Sena Hansler
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I agree with the above post. indian almond leaves are perfect for them, better than any other method. Males and females in the natural habitat are able to live together, but because they have tons of room (thousands of gallons wide, while remaining shallow). during the dry season the water is lower, and the air tends to be more humid. during the rainy season (inbetween these seasons they breed) the water tends to be higher.

You could use bamboo. bamboo is a fast growing substitute, that are not poisonous to bettas. they grow in and out of water :) substrate would be dirt (OFL knows more on that!!)
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:04 AM   #4 
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Bamboos just love having their feet wet and will grow happily with their roots in water, but won't fare well totally submerged in the long run - maybe best as some dwarf ones on water's edge in a vivarium situation (if I could, I'd have giant betta vivariums all over the house - heart is willing, flesh is weak, wallet's full of moths... sigh...).

Here's another site - I found this one fascinating, it's a wealth of information on native Thai wetlands/bettakeeping/culture:

http://www.plakatthai.com/smarag.html

Main site: http://www.plakatthai.com/
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Old 03-06-2012, 10:53 AM   #5 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiplash4ever View Post
Okay, so I'm thinking about setting up a betta specific habitat but I'm looking for info on what that habitat generally consists of.

I know it's recommended that the temp should be kept at 73 to 83 degrees, but what is the most common temp from their native land... or is that it?
73 is a bit low.. normally closer to 80, and they are fine into the 90s.. during the summer months their waters (in the wild) are commonly found at around 90*F.. but keep in mind these are wild bettas (which you can buy and have shipped.. they just don't have the long fins).. and the domesticated breeds are generally fine in the low 90s, but wouldn't go up to a 100* with them.

What's the most common depth they live at?
Only a few feet- if you are handy, you can make your own tank using acrylic and the proper glue and bindings, stand, to make a shallow pool similar to a pond..

What's the substrate consist of?
It depends upon region, as wild bettas are found in multiple asian countries, and some species even in Australia. When building rice patties they tend to use gravel with top soil on top of it- for recommended safe top soil I would PM Oldfishlady and ask her, as she uses various soils for her natural tanks.

Is there any other plant life native to their territories?
I would look for asian aquatic plants, such as Vallisneria spiralis, Rotala wallichii, Hygrophila angustifolia, Cryptocoryne lucens, Hygrophila difformis, Microsorium pteropus, Barclaya longifolia, Rotala rotundifolia, and/or Cryptocoryne wendtii to get plants that are typical in the southeast asian countries.

Am I missing anything? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Keep in mind, that the bettas you tend to buy are domesticated and altered breeds.. they can tolerate small differences in things.. but overall they still prefer no to slow moving water, do better in naturally planted tanks and live foods are great for them. You don't want to make the substrate too deep though to try and simulate a shallow pool- again, that would be something to ask Oldfishlady about.
The pH, GH, and KH also have wide swings, to which the Betta has adapted to, however keep in mind that rapid changes in pH can still harm or even kill a Betta and should be avoided.


I plan on building the tank myself, so it's going to be built specifically with the betta in mind.
Oh! Well then! As mentioned above you can easily build it to their specifics! I would personally have it roughly 2-3 feet deep, 3 ft being the highest.. rice patties tend to have some slope to them- unsure whether you can recreate that with the tank, or would use substrate to create it. With the proper plants, soils, etc you can create a greatly balanced and healthy ecosystem that needs minimal care.
Higher tanks aren't a bad thing, and the bettas will explore all levels- especially females as they tend not to sit in one place naturally.

Very interested in seeing you do this step by step- I think it's great you are trying to give them so much better then the typical bowl or vase :) I love creating natural environments and have made tanks myself over the years.. but as of late, moved to a new state and a smaller place, everything is on hold until the right house comes up hehe. So for now, all I can do for them is keep them healthy and safe. :)
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Old 03-06-2012, 02:22 PM   #6 
Luimeril
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get some IAL. Indian Almond Leaves. they tint your water, making it look like tea, and bettas LOVE it. i have one tank that looks so natural because of it. :B

they probably have sand or dirt on the bottom.... rice paddies to up to about your calf, from what i've seen, so nothing taller than a foot or two. lots of plants. LOTS of plants. and floating things. plants, lily pads... just... floating things... x3
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Old 03-06-2012, 06:21 PM   #7 
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Just want to say, guys...I'm pretty sure it's a rice paddy, not a pattie. A pattie is a burger.

Other than that, I second what Myates has said. :) A good temperature to try and aim for in the tank would be a nice steady 80F, I reckon.
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Old 03-06-2012, 06:40 PM   #8 
Sena Hansler
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mmm rice burgers?
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Old 03-06-2012, 11:43 PM   #9 
Bombalurina
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The vegetarian option! :p
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Old 03-07-2012, 12:14 PM   #10 
Aus
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It's paddy - from padi, which is actually the Malay (IIRC) word for rice field. The Thai term for rice paddy is khao (rice).. plus something for 'field', I forget. My memory sucks..
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