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Betta can survive in cold bowls of ammonia-laced water for a surprisingly long time. Ammonia lowers the pH which turns the harmful ammonia into relatively harmless ammonium. And the cold water slows their metabolism so they live longer. But it doesn't seem like much of a life to me.

Besides a clean, cycled, well-maintained tank, a high-quality diet is most important. New Life Spectrum Betta pellets or Omega One Betta Buffet.

That's a very good insight about genetics. In order to maximize profits, a lot of breeders these days are selling a weaker line of fish that, in earlier times, would have been culled. Hopefully your current pet is strong, healthy and active.

A healthy active Betta is a joy to it's owner. If it doesn't live quite as long, it's life will have been full of cheer and have been worth living.
 
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