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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was chatting with a friend of mine, who is also in to fish keeping, and she was telling me about how her mother keeps bettas in a small bowl without a heater or filter, changing the water once every two weeks or more and they live for 3-4 years. Obviously my friend expresses her concern to her mother and constantly tries to get her to get a proper set up.

Now I know that colder temperatures may increase the bettas lifespan because it slows down metabolism and bettas are incredibly hardy fish so while it is not desirable to keep a fish in this condition, people do it all the time.

However, our conversation took a turn and it brought up a interesting question. For the most part, my friend's mother would keep a simple VT (mostly the basic blue) and those fish would live (unhappily) for 3-4 years. However recently her mother has been buying the more "fancy" types - like HM, DT, even an EE (which i know isn't really a tail type) but they only last 6-9 months.

So basically our conversation went this way. When we both started keeping bettas, 15 years ago, they only had VTs and were mostly red or blue. Occasionally there would be some odd colors (my first betta was actually a purple VT). The more "fancy" types are more recent.

So is it possible that the blue and red VT varieties are a bit more hardy? My friends mother has been keeping her bettas in her "set up" for years and it is only recently that she started buying the more fancy varieties.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

I'm not saying we should keep our bettas the way that my friend's mother does but it is an interesting topic for discussion.
 

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Yes very interesting. VTs are tough as nails immune system wise. At the other end of the scale are the giants which have an incredibly weak immune system. My sister in law keeps a couple VT betta in a large vase and has had one live for 6 years now. She does frequent water changes but no heater or filter. I gave her a nice HM and he only lived 9 months so very similar.
 

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I am sort of starting to think the VTs are more hardy to these things. I was actually thinking about it because it seems to me that EEs(at least in my area) are extremely delicate. I have yet to see one alive in the stores. Even when the rest of the bettas of all types were just fine(by pet store standards) with the same care. It's sort of puzzling.
 

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Its quit believable, think about all the various dog breeds.. a lot of them which were breed for specific traits and then inbred (for one of many reasons-lack of desired sires/dames (won't use the canine term for it on forum), high demand for puppies, etc) leading to a lot of messed up genetics.. hip dysplasia, breathing issues, highly prone to certain infections (like ear and skin).. countless other complications. If you look at the basic 'old breeds' they were much hardier and longer lasting. Same thing applies to bettas.. over breeding and inbreeding for desired traits (tail/fin/color types) has wrecked them.. they're being pushed too far from the original genetics of the species (waaaaay back at the wild types).
 

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So would the placket type be closest to the original wild betta? And would that mean it is hardier than the VTs?

(I'm not a betta keeper; I just lurk here) :)
I want to say the plakat was not the first variation of betta splendid to be generated from wild types (though it does look the closest).. so I can't say if it would be hardier than a vt...but I really don't know betta history/breeding that well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I expect it is due to less inbreeding.
This was my thought too.

To the discussion on PK. I do think that VT were the first spleden varieties to be sold, since 15 years ago I do not remember PK being avalible. It is possible that they are supposed to "mimick" wild type bettas but I don't think their body shape or tail shape actually looks that much like wild type bettas.
 

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I'm not sure either way,but (coincidently?) my very first Betta was a beautiful red VT boy named Link,this was quite a few years ago (when I believed petstore talk & before I knew about this site and more info on Bettas in general),but he lived in a big glass fish bowl,approx. 3-4 gallons,with gravel,plastic plants,no filter & (I could cry now when I think about it) no heater.Just a lamp & a woollen scarf wrapped around his bowl at night in winter. :oops: I did one 100% water change every fortnight (!),I always added water conditioner but never tested the water.But I can tell you truly that his little pond always stayed looking crystal clear and Link was just perfect looking,NEVER had the slightest wear to his fins,they were stunning,and he would be the only VT I've ever had whose fins were never damaged.He was always very frisky and funny.I had him for 3 years. :-D

I don't know if it was a case of great genetics,complete luck or a case of ignorance is bliss,but he was a wonderful little boy.Here he is - :mrgreen:
 

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My first betta was a big red VT. He lived in a .. idk gallon? container thingy.. it's around here somewhere. Anyways, since he wouldn't eat pellets I got frozen blood worms for him and he got fed those daily. No water conditioner (well water here). No clue on the water changes, probably not more than once a week at most. I think he had a bit of deco gems and a plastic plant.

Never had health issues from him, he was always feisty and friendly. I'm sure he would have matched up to the claims of living many years - if my mom hadn't of poured out half his water and refilled with warm water because she thought he looked "cold". Died of temperature shock.

My aunt also had a betta in a vase with a plant so overgrown with roots I don't know how it got air. It was over 6 years old. I don't think she fed it either. Me and my cousin offered to take it off her hands and my cousin gave him a home for a few months before he died.

Anyways, I completely agree that VTs seem to have a tough immune system.

@Reccka. My store takes horrid care of their bettas, yet my EE betta Lux was there 3 weeks before I gave in and brought him home. He wasn't even declining in health. And there was another EE there recently, he was there for over a week and in even worse care conditions, he wasn't looking too bad yet.

I think it depends how inbred they are. I'm sure some of the fancier ones aren't as tough.
 

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As I remember, blue VT were the first Betta available to the general public followed closely by red. I got my first Betta in the late 1960s. What people don't realize, and why so many "oldsters" don't see a problem with small, unheated, unfiltered bowls is because filters and heaters for such weren't available until, maybe, 25 years ago. I kept all of my first Betta in two or three gallon bowls with 25% water changes three times per week. I did a real happy dance when they came out with small, round undergravel filters for bowls!

Raymond, my first, lived for four years+. He was a Blue VT. Very active, very healthy with no fin rot or ich or anything else. But we also didn't add tankmates ... Betta kill other fish, you know ;-) ... so there was not that added stress for some.

So I agree VT stronger and probably, as AquaAurora said, in great measure because there's not a lot of breeding going on to "improve" them.
 

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I think everyone pretty much hit the nail on the head: the fancier betta types are the product of inbreeding for beauty only, not longevity. When I was very young, my mother kept a betta in a little (probably 1 gallon) vase with no heater and filter. I'm not sure how often she changed the water, but I'm sure it wasn't up to par. The bettas (all blue or red VTs) all lived for years....I shudder to think about it now :(

The fancy betta types that I keep now definitely seem more prone to disease. They live in remineralized RO water perfectly suited for their needs (it looks like a chemistry lab when I'm doing water changes) because my tap water is bad. They get fed a variety of frozen foods (with a vitamin supplement) and high-quality pellets. They each have their own 10 gallon tank and water quality stays pristine (0 ppm ammonia and nitrite, no higher than around 3 ppm nitrate). I have faux sand/gravel bottoms to avoid trapping debris and soft silk plants, so no organic matter to even possibly contribute to dirtying the water. I do at least a 30% water change weekly and siphon poops as soon as I see them throughout the week....and yet they still seem more prone to illness/infection, granted they are rescues and were on death's door when I got them. But, I will say that I kept fish as a teenager and had the same thing happen, and not all of these guys were rescues (although they all were still petstore fish). I love my boys, but they sure are delicate creatures! I'd like to give wilds a try soon and see if they are a bit more hardy....plus they are just neat fish :)
 

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Quick Question (because I made my weekly trip to petsmart tonight), What about the facny colored VTs? It was discussed about the fancier types but when it comes to faces VTs is that inbreeding as well or is that just... luck/pure awesome?
 

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I would love for the IBC to start including a VT class and a Giant class. Your fancy VT should be a hardy specimen. Responsible breeders do not inbreed past a certain point. I prefer to outbreed after f2 to a completely different line. Others may go to f4 but it really becomes pointless and regressive after that imho.
 
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