Getting off to a good start with Betta splendens

Betta splendens, fighter fish, Siam fighter – this beautiful, graceful and characterful Asian fish has not only many names but also many varieties, some more beautiful than others. We have summarized for you all the basic information to breed a fighter fish: prices, food, fighter aquarium. This summary will give you a good starting point to welcome in your home this emblematic fish for aquarists.

Betta splendens (fighter fish): prices and presentation

The Betta splendens, whose common name is a fighter or Siamese fighter, is a beautiful fish with a very colorful canopy, relatively easy to maintain and generally recommended for beginners in aquaristics.

In the Southeast Asian countries where this fish originates, the fighters are primarily bred and selected for animal fights (from where their name comes from). However we speak here rather about the aquarium fish appreciated by the aquarists for the beauty of its veils which take forms and colors of an impressive diversity. According to the aspect of the sail we distinguish a good number of different varieties of this fish. Beauty contests are organized all over the world by the different associations of the Betta splendens lovers.

The price of a fighting fish can vary very considerably depending on the variety, the color of the sails or the rarity of the specimen. The average price of a male is about 7 $ but can in some cases be as high as several tens of euros.

Fighters live in aquariums on average from 2 to 3 years. Curious fact: the fighting fish is part of the list of the 5 species of fish considered as pets.

Aquarium for fighting fish

Aquarium dimensions

To raise your fighter fish you can use a 20 liter nano aquarium without any worries. It is a minimal volume to acquire a fighter fish but it is enough for him to live correctly since this fish spends its time swimming on the spot. If you want to offer your Betta ideal conditions then you should plan a 30 or 40 liter tank, without exceeding 50 liters.

The height of the aquarium should not exceed 20-30 cm. The fighters come to the surface to breathe (thanks to the special breathing organ, the labyrinth) and you will be doing them a great service by reducing the distances they have to travel.

The fighter aquarium should be covered. Firstly, because it is a jumping fish. If you don’t want to find it on the ground one day, it is better to take precautions. Secondly, as mentioned above, Betta splendens breathe the air on the surface of the aquarium and keeping this air at the same temperature as the water avoids risks of diseases.


The filtration of your tank must be soft because the Betta get tired very quickly if they are forced to swim against a too strong current. The best solution is an enhancer (a small foam filter that can be made by yourself quite easily) working with an air pump. The recommended flow rate is 0.5 to 2 times the volume of the tank per hour (never exceed 3 times the volume of the tank per hour).

Plants and decoration

A fighter aquarium does not require many plants. You can make do with a few floating plants. They are highly recommended for Betta because these plants make it easier for male Betta to create bubble nests used for marking territory.

The most important thing in the aquarium decoration for the Bettas is the absence of any objects that could tear or damage their fins.

Recommended water parameters for Betta splendens

Temperature: ideally maintained between 24 and 28°C the temperature between 23 and 30°C is acceptable. For reproduction we advise 26-27°C.
PH: 6.5 to 7.5 (7 for reproduction)
GH: around 10 ideally
Advice on total water hardness can vary widely among specialists. When buying your Betta fish, find out the parameters of the water in which it was reared and adapt it to the new conditions gradually.

Living with other fish

The Betta is a fish that has a character of territorial domination, that’s why it can be very aggressive at any time, either with fish of its species or with other fish. It is therefore strongly advised to keep the fighter alone in its aquarium, ideally the male separated even from the females, and in any case never put several males in the same aquarium.

Food for fighting fish

Betta splendens are carnivorous fish, therefore it is advisable to prefer live food for their diet. Unfortunately, there are no 100% safe recipes for these fish whose tastes vary from one variety to another and even for each fish taken individually.

This is why the best advice we can give you regarding the fighter’s diet is to vary the menus while emphasizing live prey.

Here are a few ideas of food for your fighter fish:

Artemia (this is the number 1 favorite dish of the Bettas because it has an excellent nutritional value and almost never causes any problems; it exists in all forms: live, frozen or freeze-dried food).
Mud worms (well appreciated by the fighters they must nevertheless be well dosed because of frequent digestion problems: no more than 3 times a week, 5 worms per day)
Tubifex (to be used with caution as these worms can quickly contaminate the aquarium water and even cause serious diseases to the fish)
Jelly (artemia, but also mosquito larvae, Daphnia can be given to Bettas in jelly; beware of the dirty aspect)
Pellets (rich in nutritional elements and easy to digest, pellets are generally highly recommended as food for fighter fish, especially for beginners; they can be the basic food for your fighter, 5 pellets a day will be sufficient for most).