What is the origin of the name “betta fish”?

In this post, we will answer the question “What is the origin of the name “betta fish”?”. We will also discuss some basic care for betta fish. 

What is the origin of the name “betta fish”?

Originally known as the “Bettah,” the betta derives its name from an ancient warrior clan of the same name. After fighting fish became popular in the mid-1800s, the fish was given a combative moniker. The sport became so well-known in Thailand that it was regulated and taxed by the old King of Siam. 

However, although some Americans pronounce the word “bay-tuh” after the second letter of the Greek alphabet, it is believed that these fish were given their name in honour of the ancient Asian Bettah military tribe, which is pronounced “bet-tah” in English. It’s best to think about it this way: “My fish is betterah than yours!” In Thailand, they are referred to as “plakat,” which literally translates as “biting fish.” 

“Siamese fighting fish” or “labyrinth fish” are other names for bettas, which are scientifically known as Betta splendens. Regardless of their moniker, these fish are highly sensitive and complicated creatures that suffer greatly when exploited in the pet trade. 

The Evolution of the Siamese Fighting Fish 

Thailand has been practising betta keeping for more than 150 years (previously Siam). According to legend, children would catch territorial fish in rice paddies and group them together to watch them fight, hence the name “Siamese Fighting Fish.” Very rapidly, the practice of placing bets on these events spread. 

Because of their widespread popularity, the King of Siam wanted to control and tax them as much as possible. In 1840, the King gifted some fish to a man, who in turn sent them to Dr Theodore Cantor, a Danish physician, who used them as a laboratory experiment. Eventually, they were given the scientific name Macropodus pugnax by the doctor, who had raised and researched them for years. As soon as it was realized that another fish with the same name already existed, Charles Tate Regan renamed the fish Betta splendens, which literally translates as “beautiful warrior” and is still in use today. It was in the 1890s that bettas were first introduced into France and Germany, and it was in 1910 that Mr Frank Locke of San Francisco, California, brought the first bettas into the United States for the first time.

Instructions for Taking Care of a Betta Fish 

Betta splendens may be found in ditches, rice fields, tiny pools, and slow-moving streams in Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, as well as in other parts of Southeast Asia and Africa. They have a unique labyrinth organ that allows them to breathe the air above the water surface in order to survive in these heated, oxygen-depleted settings, but they also have gills like other fish, which allows them to communicate with the outside world. 

Bettas, according to some, may be housed in small bowls or flower vases as a result of their ability to tolerate confined spaces. It is recommended that bettas be placed in a filtered, heated aquarium with enough of area for decorations as well as swimming space, and that the tank be maintained at a temperature of 76° to 84° F. At colder temperatures, they become sluggish and more susceptible to illness. 

Plants and other decorations for cover, as well as a robust top, are required, especially in small containers, in order to prevent your betta from jumping out of its fish tank in search of a cleaner, larger body of water to live in or to mate with. Bettas are predators that live in the wild and prey on insects and insect larvae, as well as other small animals. These fish do best in aquariums where they are fed protein-based frozen, pellet, and flake foods. 

Betta Fish Facts and Information about Their Life Span 

Apparently, bettas can know their human companions and will follow your finger around the tank, and they can even be trained to do tricks. Betta fish live for an average of 3 to 5 years in captivity, although under rare circumstances, they can survive for up to 8 or 9 years in a tank.

During betta fish breeding season, male bettas construct a bubble nest on the surface to attract a female. Once a pair has been formed, they go through a lengthy courtship/mating procedure. When the female begins to lay her eggs, the male retrieves them and sets them in the nest, where they will hatch. He then drives the female away from the nest, which he subsequently protects until the eggs are hatching. 

Betta Fish Facts 

Betta fish are native to Asia, where they may be found in marshes, ponds, and slow-moving streams where they can thrive in the presence of other fish. Betta males are devoted dads that use their teeth to make bubble nests for their young and actively guard them against predators. They are also excellent swimmers. Betta fish, like ourselves, are active during the day. Because they are active during the day and sleep at night, they must take advantage of darkness in order to have a decent night’s sleep. 

While some bettas are collected in the wild, the great majority of those sold in the United States are bred on breeding farms in Thailand and other Southeast Asian nations, where they are kept in tiny bottles as is customary in the region. When it comes time to pack the fish for shipment to the United States, they are rapidly put into baskets covered with nets and scooped into little plastic cups before being shipped.

What do Bettas feed on?

Betta fish cannot subsist only on the roots of plants. Bettas are carnivorous creatures that, in the wild, prey mostly on insects and insect larvae, as well as other small animals. The fish may survive for a while on a diet consisting solely of plant roots, but they will ultimately become sick and die as a result of a lack of adequate nutrition for this species.

Don’t feed your fish too much. In aquarium tanks, too much uneaten food and the waste material can overload them, generating hazardous levels of ammonia and nitrite. You should only feed your buddy fish as much as they can ingest in three minutes if you already have a betta fish or another companion fish in your aquarium. 

Is it possible for Betta Fish to get bored with being alone? 

Betta fish are prone to feelings of frustration and sorrow. The bulk of them are capable of surviving in a tank on their own; yet, they still require a variety of enrichment, such as caverns, plants, and enough of the area to roam about. They are also agitated, especially if their fins are picked at by unsuitable fish in the same tank, which may be very stressful.

Is it possible for Betta Fish to coexist with other fish? 

Female bettas may be able to live in a tranquil group if they have enough space and hiding spots. However, they may be able to live alone in a “community” tank with other gentle fish such as Cory catfish, kuhli loaches, or guppies if they are kept with other males and male gouramis (a closely related species). Non-fish species such as snails, ghost shrimp, and frogs can coexist with them. 

If you notice signs of aggression in a community tank, you should set up and maintain a separate, functional quarantine tank where individuals may be kept isolated from other fish to avoid interacting with them.

Betta Fish Behavioural Patterns 

Betta fish, according to PetMD, can recognize their human caretakers. When they sense their guardian arriving, they usually swim around eagerly. They are inquisitive and will explore new items placed in their tank, which helps keep them psychologically active. 

How to Make a Betta Fish Aquarium?

Setting up and maintaining a suitable aquarium for any fish species is far more complicated, costly, and time-consuming than most people believe, which is one of the reasons PETA advises against buying fish as “pets.” For those who already have betta fish, you may make their life simpler by putting up a habitat that closely reflects that of their natural environment. While caged fish will never be able to live a natural life, the following guidelines will help them live as happy a life as possible. 

If the tank capacity is smaller than 10 gallons, it is not recommended to keep any fish there. A single betta, on the other hand, may survive in a 5-gallon tank, though greater space is normally preferable. Because most municipal tap water contains chlorine and chloramine, which are toxic to fish, you must use a water conditioner to adequately purify it before using it in an aquarium. 

Water must be cycled for many weeks before fish may be introduced to a tank that has been correctly set up with a working filter (bettas like low-flow settings), substrate, and decorations. Testing kits can assist in determining when the tank has completed its cycle. This will give the beneficial bacteria time to thrive, which is necessary for breaking down poisonous ammonia after fish are introduced to the tank. 

It is only via regular water changes that these bacteria can convert fish waste to nitrates, which can only be eliminated by changing the water. It is recommended that tanks be emptied and replenished once a week, and that waste material from the substrate be cleaned with a gravel vacuum once a month. The use of soaps and other harsh chemicals to clean a fish tank is not recommended since they are hazardous to the fish.


In this post, we answered the question What is the origin of the name “betta fish”?”. We also discussed some basic care for betta fish.

If you have any questions or concerns, please let us know in the comments section below!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What is the origin of the name “betta fish”?

Do betta fish get lonely or depressed? 

It is best to keep betta fish in separate tanks, as they are territorial and will fight and hurt each other, ending in death. They are unlikely to feel lonely if they are in a large tank, but they may become bored if their tank is too small. 

What distinguishes betta fish from other aquarium fish? 

In order to survive in shallow water, betta fish have a mechanism known as the labyrinth organ, which allows them to breathe air from above the water’s surface. Their bodies have a labyrinth organ that allows them to survive in low-oxygen settings. This is how they can survive in rice paddies, stagnant ponds, and somewhat contaminated water. 

Does it seem like it’s feasible to get bitten by a betta fish?

Being bitten by a betta is not harmful to humans because their lips and teeth are simply too small to inflict severe bites. The other bettas, on the other hand, are going through a difficult time. The “love” bite is usually more of a tickling sensation than anything else. The betta fish may bite and refuse to let go, not because it is attempting to harm you, but because its jaws have been locked together. 

When your betta fish sees you, do they get excited? 

They rapidly become used to recognizing their human partners and are alerted when it is time to re-supply them. The staff members are enthused as well as you approach their aquarium. 

Why are betta fish sold in cups, and what does that mean?

Betta fish are a type of fish that can survive and thrive in shallow water. It will be able to obtain the oxygen it requires from the atmosphere above the surface of the planet. Male Betta fish are maintained in different containers from female Betta fish due to the aggressive temperament of the males. ​​This is a space-saving approach used by pet enterprises, but it is only effective for a limited time. 

Is it feasible for bettas to breathe air when they’re not in the water? 

A labyrinth fish is unique in that it has the ability to collect oxygen straight from the air through its gills, in addition to obtaining oxygen from the surrounding water. Bettas and other labyrinth fish can survive for short periods outside of their tanks thanks to these adaptations, and they can even take oxygen from their surroundings if necessary (provided they stay moist).


The Fascinating Origin of Betta Fish- www.aqueon.com/articles/origin-of-betta-fish-and-facts

Betta Fish Q&A: Why These Animals Aren’t ‘Starter Pets

Song, M. (2006). Caring for Betta Fish. Lulu. com.