Top 5 Betta Fish Myths Debunked
Betta fish are unique and rather popular fish these days. They are typically found in many pet store chains and are so widespread you might even see some at Walmart! As popular as these fish are, it’s surprising that bettas have accumulated many myths around them. Mostly perpetrated by uninformed employees trying to sell to new betta owners. However, I hope to break this trend by debunking some of the most popular betta myths that we see today.
MYTH #1 BETTAS DON’T NEED A HEATER
You might have been told that bettas don’t need a heated aquarium by a pet store owner or employee, but this simply isn’t the case. betta fish are Tropical fish. This doesn’t mean keep your tank at room temperature. While bettas can “survive” at room temperature, they will more than likely be stressed and prone to getting sick and lethargic. This is where a common misconception of betta fish being lazy comes from. These fish are too cold to move around making them seem lazy. bettas live in waters that stay in a temperature range of mid-70’s to mid-80's. Unless your room falls in this range year round, you're going to need a heater to see your betta fish thrive.
Myth #2 Wild Bettas Naturally Live In Puddles
The wild ancestors of the common betta we see today come from low lying regions of rice paddies, wetlands and other shallow bodies of water. While it’s true that these bodies of water may be shallow they are by no means small puddles. These areas stretch for miles long. So, where does the myth come in? During the dry season, these areas tend to dry up dramatically leaving puddles where bettas are easily seen. But, guess what? During this dry season, many bettas die off. As their puddles dry up, bettas go into survival mode hopping from puddle to puddle hoping to find a bigger body of water to wait out the dry season. By placing your betta fish into small jars and bowls you are causing them unneeded stress. Housing a betta isn’t hard, most fishkeepers would recommend a tank size no smaller than a 2.5-gallon tank. Typically, the bigger the tank the better.
Myth #3 Bettas Don’t Need A Filter
While it’s true, bettas don’t need a filter. I would still strongly recommend one. Most people will explain that bettas breathe air and because of this, they don’t need a filter. Yes, this is true as well. But, a filtered tank provides other benefits besides oxygenating the water. Filtered tanks have the added benefit of keeping your tanked cycled with beneficial bacteria colonies. These good bacteria will help keep your water quality in pristine conditions allowing for less frequent water changes. So, while it’s true betta fish don’t require a filter, a filtered tank will help fishkeepers with their water changes. If you do decide to go the filter route, (Highly recommended) I suggest you choose a filter that is betta friendly. Bettas prefer calmer waters due to their heavy fins. I would recommend a gentle flow filter such as a sponge filter or a filter that has adjustable water flow.
Myth #4 Bettas Only Build Bubble Nest When They Are Happy
Many fishkeepers make the assumption that a betta will build a bubble nest when they are happy. This is simply not the case. Bettas build these nest on instinct, an innate desire to mate. A betta will simply build a nest in any conditions that their in, whether the conditions are bad or good. On the flipside of this, a betta that isn’t building a bubble nest doesn’t mean they aren’t happy either. They just don’t have the drive to mate or the surface water is too agitated for them to maintain a bubble nest.
Myth #5 Bettas Are Lazy Fish
I believe this myth comes from many betta fish keepers noticed that their betta seems sluggish or inactive when watching them. Because of this people naturally, assume that these fish tend not to do much. This, however, is simply false. Most of the time the reason for this slow betta is due to the betta’s tank being too cold. Betta's are cold-blooded animals. If their tank is cold, their body and metabolism slow down. Given the appropriate temperature and room to move, these fish are active and curious fish. In fact, these fish are so inquisitive that they prefer tanks with decorations* or live plants to keep them stimulated in their tank. *Side note: Bettas have long flowing fins and because of this sharp decorations have been known to tear their delicate fins. If you want a list of some betta friendly tank decorations, feel free to check out my post on this topic. => Best Betta Toys & Decorations