A modern home aquarium is not only a stylish interior decoration, but a real separate world with its shady thickets of plants and fast colorful inhabitants.
Often, when choosing aquarium residents, the question arises of the difficulty of caring for fish or installing additional equipment. Therefore, for a beginner aquarist, labyrinth fish will be the best solution, the brightest of which are bettas.
This article takes a detailed look at how to care for bettas, what to feed them, and how to tell the difference between male and female betta fish.
Features of labyrinth fish
All types of labyrinth fish are native to swampy lakes and slow, shallow rivers in Africa and Southeast Asia. In the hot season, the water level in such reservoirs drops sharply, and the oxygen content in swampy water also becomes very low. To survive in such uncomfortable conditions, the ancestors of labyrinth fish have a special organ that allows them to breathe atmosphericair. This organ, called the labyrinth, is located in the head of the fish and consists of a series of plates pierced by blood vessels.
It is this feature of all labyrinths, and betta fish among them, that makes them the most unpretentious inhabitants of home aquariums.
These bright fish with beautiful veil fins are not just called cockerels. Male cockerels are frank bullies, they do not tolerate rivalry and encroachment on their territory. Observing their behavior, it becomes clear how to distinguish a female cockerel fish from a male. The male is very self-confident, noticing an opponent, he immediately spreads his fins, trying to appear larger and changes color to a brighter one. Moreover, becoming even more aggressive during the spawning period, the male can attack not only a competitor, but also fish of other species. If the aquarium is not large enough or does not have plant and decoration cover, collisions can cause serious injury.
Female bettas are always less brightly colored and don't have such luxurious long fins. This is one of the main signs by which it is visually clear how to distinguish a female cockerel fish from a male.
Varieties of cockerel fish
All bright colorful varieties of aquarium beauties of bettas are descended from their wild counterpart, nondescript dark olive fish. Sometimes dark stripes and spots were added to the green color of wild bettas.
As a result of long selection, more than 40different types of cockerel fish. They differ in different colors, the size of the dorsal and pectoral fins. The sizes of the fish themselves and even the shape of their body can be different.
But no matter what kind of breeding cockerel, how to distinguish a female from a male is always clear. Female bettas are smaller in size, always more modestly colored and not at all aggressive towards representatives of their own species, and towards other fish too.
The most popular types of betta fish
Thanks to many years of selection, there are a lot of varieties of cockerel fish. But some of them are most commonly found in home aquariums.
- Veil cockerels are probably the most popular species. Their luxurious fins and tail most of all resemble a luxurious fluttering veil. The color of the scales in this type of betta is very different (blue, red, emerald, even white), most often one-color individuals are found. It is very easy to understand, looking at a veiled cockerel fish, how to distinguish a female from a male: the female never has such long fins.
- The two-tailed cockerel is distinguished by its double dorsal and caudal fins. The fish of this species are very beautiful, the fins shimmer with different colors in bright light. They are not recommended to settle with active aggressive fish of other species, which can take their luxurious fins for prey and bite the tips.
- Royal or giant cockerel. This is the largest variety of cockerel fish, males can grow up to 7.5 cm. These cockerels have fins and a tail of almost the usual size, therefore, asto distinguish cockerel fish - a female from a male, is not always clear. Differences will only appear in color intensity and behavior - females are more peaceful.
- Halfmoon, or crescent-tailed cockerel - a luxurious bright fish, whose spread fins resemble a crescent.
The colors of cockerel fish are simply unrealistically diverse: green, red, blue, purple - the variety of colors is endless. In addition, stunningly beautiful two-color bettas have been bred, with the body of one color and the fins of another.
The cockerels of the so-called dragon coloring look very unusual: they have a one-color body, most often red, and the scales have a pronounced metallic (silver or golden) tint. Under the light of aquarium lamps, such a handsome man looks fantastic!
How to distinguish a male from a female in a cockerel fish and how do they differ? All of the above characteristics of bright scales, various colors and beautiful long fins apply only to male bettas. For many years, enthusiastic aquarists have been trying to develop a breed of bettas, where females will approach males at least in brightness, but they have not succeeded. Female betta fish do not have bright species differences at all and are very inconspicuous.
Maintaining betta fish in an aquarium
Petushkov can rightfully be called the most unpretentious aquarium inhabitants, even among labyrinth fish. Caring for them will not cause trouble even for a completely inexperienced aquarist.
However, this does not mean that forthey do not need to create suitable conditions at all. Many pet store salesmen assure customers that a betta fish can live even in a small plastic cup. Maybe, but not for long…
Like any fish, a cockerel must be able to swim in order to live. The minimum volume of the aquarium for keeping one cockerel is at least five liters. And even a child will not be interested in watching only one fish.
Despite the myths about the convenience of round aquariums, low, not higher than 50 cm, rectangular containers are more suitable for males. It is desirable that the aquarium is planted with plants and has several shelters where frightened inhabitants can hide.
If you plan to put several betta fish in the aquarium, it is better to choose one (maximum two) males and several females. It is better to buy fish very young, growing up together in the same aquarium, they will be more tolerant of each other. In young cockerels, external differences between the sexes are not yet strongly pronounced. Observing the behavior of juveniles will help to understand how to distinguish a female from a male in a cockerel fish.
Features of the breathing of betta fish
Like all labyrinth fish, bettas can breathe in two ways. They can absorb oxygen dissolved in water, or they can breathe atmospheric air, capturing it from the surface of the water.
Therefore, if only cockerels live in the aquarium, you can not install an aeration system. But the aquarium must be closed with a lid and leave a space of at least 15 cm high between the water and the lid. This will allow the fish to breathe air.suitable temperature and prevent active males from jumping out of the aquarium. This is another sign of how to distinguish a male from a female in a betta fish - the behavior of females is much calmer, and they almost never try to jump out.
Cultivation of cockerels in an aquarium
Breeding aquarium bettas is not at all difficult, sometimes changing the water to fresh water or a slight change in temperature is enough to stimulate spawning.
When breeding betta fish, the differences between the female and the male are more than noticeable. Surprisingly, females play a minor role.
The male himself builds a nest of air bubbles on the surface of the water, fastening it with saliva for strength. Small plants floating on the surface (such as duckweed or riccia) can be added to the spawning aquarium to provide the male with additional material for building a nest.
When the nest is ready, a female with caviar is placed next to the male (whether the female has caviar can be determined by the enlarged round abdomen).
After spawning is over, the female should be removed from the spawning aquarium as soon as possible, the male will perceive her as a threat to offspring and constantly attack.
The male takes care of the eggs in the foam nest, and if everything went well, in a couple of days the tiny fry will begin to swim. Then the male should also be removed, because he may well take his offspring for food.
It is best to feed the fry with small live food, then they grow quickly and will be he althy.
Cockerel fish: how to distinguish a female frommale
External differences of cockerel fish begin to appear only at the age of four months. Males begin to grow longer fins and tail. Differences in size also become noticeable: males become larger and more massive. But in some short-tailed species (for example, poster cockerels), it is difficult to navigate by the size of the fins. There is one external difference, noticeable even in young fish.
In the photo, how to distinguish male and female betta fish is clearly visible: the ventral fin of the male is always thin and long, while that of the female is wider and rounder. The females also have a more rounded abdomen and often a distinct white dot can be seen on the abdomen. Although young males may also have a white dot on their abdomen before reaching maturity.
Behavior of betta fish
Besides purely external differences, cockerels have strong differences in the behavior of males and females. Males, even young ones, are extremely jealous of their own species, the fights between them for territory and the attention of females can be very cruel.
In the photo of a cockerel fish, how to distinguish a female from a male is immediately noticeable. The male spreads his fins, outwardly even increases in size. The color of the scales of an angry male becomes brighter, literally shimmers. He threatens his opponent with his formidable appearance and tries to drive him away.
Even in a fairly large aquarium, densely planted with plants and equipped with shelters for fish, peacefullife between male cockerels. There is an opinion that fish raised together will be more tolerant of each other, but this does not always work.
Aggressive males, especially during spawning, can attack not only an opponent, but even a female not ready for breeding.
The behavior of females is very different: they live quite calmly in a group of several individuals, never divide the territory and almost never attack other fish. Observing their behavior will help you find the difference between a female and a male aquarium fish cockerel.
Compatibility of males with other fish
Despite their fighting nature, betta fish get along well with their tankmates. They can be kept with all types of catfish, bots, medium-sized viviparous fish.
It is not recommended to add other bright fish with long fins to bettas, they may perceive them as rivals. Violent territorial conflicts are possible with cocky cichlids, and small fish like zebrafish can be mistaken for food by bettas.
The most colorful aquarium fish
A novice aquarist may have a question: why keep these quarrelsome cocky cockerels? They can fight among themselves, offend other fish and jump out of the aquarium…
Despite a slight behavior problem, the cockerel is one of the most popular fish in home aquariums. Their aggressive behavior can be corrected by choosing the right neighbors and providing the fish with the necessary shelters.
And the fantastic beauty of aquarium bettas, the richest range of colors and absolute unpretentiousness to the conditions of detention rightfully make them the favorites of many aquarists.