Betta: The Perfect Fish For A Fish Bowl

By Steve Dale

It’s a mistake to feed your betta fish (Siamese fighting fish) only fish flakes, according to aquarist Dave Taub, of Contemporary Aquarium Design in Coral Springs, Fla., a former betta fish breeder of 13 years. Frozen bloodworms should be about 60 to 80 percent of a betta fish diet. You can fill out the remaining percent depending on availability – since some of these foods can be hard to come by. Here’s what you can choose from: freeze-dried bloodworms, frozen mosquito larvae, freeze-dried mosquito larvae, freeze-dried tubifex worms, freeze-dried brine shrimp and freeze-dried chopped beef hearts. Best of all, if you can find them, offer live bloodworms. To a betta (Siamese fighting fish), a live bloodworm is even better than a chocolate bar. Yummy.

America’s best friend with fins is the goldfish. But this is a long-standing disservice to goldfish. A far better choice for a carnival prize fish in a plastic bag is the betta or Siamese fighting fish.

Here’s the sad truth: goldfish don’t like living in bowls. That’s why after only a few days – or if you’re lucky, a few months – little Johnny or Janie will say, “Look, Moby is floating on the water.” Goldfish do much better in a tank with a filter system. But betta fish thrive in turbid water.

Bettas are hardier than goldfish, and way more suited to life in a bowl. When the water begins to become foul and oxygen deficient, that’s about the time a goldfish begins to fail, and eventually goes belly up. A betta fish doesn’t much care; it just reaches above the surface and takes in a breath of fresh air. Betta’s have a rudimentary lung-like organ called a labyrinth.

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