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Why Do Betta Fish Fight?

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Why Do Betta Fish Fight?

beautiful male betta fish

Betta fish, also dubbed Fighting fish, is a rare type of fish that is commonly used in the aquarium trade.

This type of fish is seldom friendly to one another, most probably owing to its trait of being highly territorial.

The fish’s antagonist behavior, coupled with their uniqueness in appearance, has been the chief reason for use in the aquarium trade.

Some people often made them fight for tax charged on the viewers.

Betta fish belongs to the order Anabantiformes & Osphronemidae family.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anabantiformes

They’re native to a handful number of countries; Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, to list a few.

So that having been demystified, I’ll take you straight to the target of this article: To educate you on the reasons that lead to the fight between any two of these fish. Read on, pals.

So why do betta fish fight?

There are plenty of reasons as to why. And, the same reasons have also caused fights in other types of animals, so they aren’t very much unique.

To begin with, male Betta fish are usually the ones involved in most of the fights.

The primary reason for this is attributed to their territorial trait.

A male Betta fish will be happier in an environment alone. If another one shows up in the same environment, the original inhabitant will turn out to be cruel, a response that will be retaliated by the ‘intruder,’ leading to a fight.

Before the battle, both fish will always try to scare away each other. Each will flare its grills as it also shows off the fins. If none surrenders at this stage, they’ll bump on each other to get the winner through this hard way.

angry betta fish ready to defend its territory

 

Secondly, these fish can also fight for food.

Source: http://article.sapub.org/10.5923.j.ms.20140402.01.html

Just like it may be expected of them, they do not usually have a mentality to share the available food, even if it is in plenty. The one that has discovered the food will want to enjoy it all.

If another one pokes its nose, survival for the fittest test will have to be done ~ a surrender stamped fight.

Another cause for a fight between male beta fish is the need to protect their respective bubble nests and/or “wives’ ” eggs.

betta fish bubble nests

 

 

The male Beta fish always blow out a bunch of bubbles that build-up to the surface of the water.

When the female one sees this, it will immediately know that a male is at that point, and advance to that location for mating. One me fish won’t allow another one to enjoy its own attention-seeking sign to be enjoyed by another one. This can also lead to a fight.

While protecting ‘their’ eggs, the males will usually stay around for about 24 hours before they’re hatched.

After the female has laid its eggs, the male will often fight or scare it away so that it doesn’t eat the eggs. The responsibility of taking care of these eggs (making sure that they don’t fall off the bubble nest, and sink) remains to the male that was involved in the Nuptial Embrace (mating). Once any other fish comes around, the responsible male beta won’t let it stay around.

Can Betta Fish Fight To Death?

It depends. On what? I hear you ask… On a lot of factors. First, in the available space.

Remember, these animals fight until one surrender.

Surrendering, in most cases for them, is running away to a hiding place.

On a river, for example, the defeated one will find a lot of space to seek refuge; thus, the fight ends. But, if space is limited, one fish may hurt the other such that it cannot bear the injuries, succumbing to death.

Such deaths are mostly seen in the organized fights by gamblers due to the little space in glass that is left for them to fight. I suggest that letting these animals free to fight to the death is quite a cruel thing to do.

Source: https://phys.org/news/2018-12-thailand-honor-beautiful-violent-siamese.html

What of Females? Do They Also Fight?

While male betas are the most aggressive, female ones have also been seen fighting over some reasons like in the males. They do not take care of their own eggs, thus can’t fight over them. But, they also do battle for food and territory, like males.

However, most of them can always coexist in one environment, called a sorority.

female betta fish sorority

Within them, you’re likely to find crueler types that must initiate a fight at one point.

If you’re tempted to verify this, make sure that you don’t keep less than 5 in the same environment, as the fewer they are, the more the chances of antagonism.

Also, they need plenty of space in the sorority so that each one of them has an ample space to inhabit.

Can Opposite Sexes Also Fight One Another?

Yes, they can. A male and female betta fish can also fight, even to death.

How Do they Mate if They Fight One Another?

Of course, the species hasn’t yet become extinct, neither is it endangered. So? The opposite sexes mate, but the time that they have together isn’t as long as can be quickly thought.

Remember, these fish have a territorial habit, and it stays with them. They, therefore, cannot tolerate one another in their respective territories, regardless of the sex.

Secondly, referring to the section in which I briefly described the mating process, they can’t stay for long with one another (opposite sexes).

The only occasion in which the different reproductions come together is during mating. When the process ends, the female beta immediately becomes a menace to the eggs, which the male won’t allow.

In the process of chasing it away, the female also fights back for defense.

So? Yes! They actually do fight, too.

Are Betta Fish Also Aggressive To The Other Types Of Fish?

Beware to put a gourami fish together with a betta fish, they will fight to the death!  Here is a video taken from one my fish tank on a very dangerous and aggressive gourami!

Not at all. These types of fish, especially the females, can only tolerate the same species, and under conditions (ample space, large number, … Remember them? Otherwise, they are extremely cruel to others as well.

Betta fish are even crueler to other fish that resembles them.

They chase away such fish to free up space for their own.

Also, they will fight other aggressive fish than their fond of fights. In the case of the different types of fish possessing long fins, they’ll also fight.

Betta fish also fights other fish if the available space is too small to accommodate both of them.

The main focus of the article is why do the Betta fish fight?

What could be the reason for the species to be known as fighting fish and what makes them so unique?

They are small, multi-colored and very interesting.

Those are just a few of the adjectives that could describe the Betta fishes. The species were first noticed back in the 1800s.

They were named after a group of warriors who are known as “the Bettah”.

The species actually have a very illustrious history.

Source: https://www.fws.gov/injuriouswildlife/pdf_files/Betta_splendens_WEB_9-15-14.pdf

It’s unknown when exactly they were first found, however, they are known to have been a phenomenon in Thailand as the fighting fish.

thailand rice paddies

Back in the 1800s, the people from Siam used to collect the fishes than they were obsessed with the fights between the fishes.

This obsession eventually led the former King of Siam to actually include taxes and regulations so that the fights are at least profitable.

ancient siam

The most insane thing about these people is that some of them lost not only money but their houses than they were too obsessed with earning money from that type of “sport”.

This goes to show how important the species have been in the past and why they are known as the “Siamese fighting fish”.

When you actually look into at the name of the Betta fish you could understand the story behind their name.

Nowadays they are known to be great asset to an aquarium than they have a very beautiful and unique look that separates them from the rest of the fishes that can be watched in an aquarium.

beautiful male betta fish

The Betta fishes are one of the most territorial fishes ever, even though they are not huge or super big. They are quite the fighters for their size.

Most of the species are now being watched in aquariums by the humans than they all have great looks, however, that is just a small taste of what people can expect when they buy Betta fishes.

There is something like a regulation that you need to know before you own a Betta fish and that is that you need to keep males and females away from each other because that is not a good idea.

The fact that they are territorial might give you an idea why. It is recommended to keep male and female Betta fishes together only for a short amount of time.

For example, this could happen when you are looking to breed the two sexes and create new Betta babies.

Other than that it is very unlikely that there will be any harmony when there are mixed Betta fishes in one tank or aquarium.

There are many reasons as to why the Betta fish fight. One of them, and perhaps the main reason, could be because it’s in their nature to fight and because they are highly territorial.

There is the dominant feeling that goes around when you have a group of females but the same cannot be said about the males.

When a group of male Bettas is places in the same tank, the battle for territory will most likely be more aggressive and will last a lot longer. The same thing cannot be said for the females.

As soon as there is a dominant female established, there are no more aggressive behaviours. Perhaps the fighting spirit and aggressive nature comes from the “ancestors” of the species.

It is a known fact that some of the first kind were in the wild and in the wilderness the situation is totally different.

In the wilderness, whether it’s in a river or a paddle, they will be able to live in a bigger space where they can have their own territories so most likely they will not be able to bump into each other.

Even if they do bump into each other, it is highly unlikely for them to actually start a fight as it would be pointless.

So it seems that the fact that they are put together in a small place such as tank or aquarium could cause them to fight more than they bump into each other a lot more.

 

Other reasons that could cause the Betta fish to fight could be because of food. Just like most animals that are watched by humans, when there is food, there is fight.

Even though it is most likely enough for all of them, some of the animals do fight. Same thing happens with the Betta fish than they attack each other because of food.

There is also the idea of a fight when a male is trying to protect his nest or eggs. An interesting fact about the male Betta fishes is that they start to blow bubbles on the water as a sign that they are ready to mate.

That’s another valid point as to why they fight. The good thing about these fights is that they do not last longer than a minute or two.

As long as there are plants or any other accessories in the tank or aquarium that are able to create a distance between the males that will be okay.

If you leave two males without anything and they are able to see each other, they will most likely fight all the time.

The same thing cannot happen when there are things around them that will prevent them from bumping into each other. At first sight it might seem very natural of them to fight over various things such as breeding, dominance, food or territory but it’s in their nature to fight.

It’s very important to point out that it’s not the fights that kill some Betta fishes.

During their fights they could usually injure each other’s scales, tails or gills and it’s either the injuries or the stress that can kill them.

This is how the Betta fishes got their name so it’s highly unlikely, especially for the males, to ever stop the aggressive behaviour.

The only solution would be to make sure they live in a big place that will not allow them to see each other.

Bottom Line.

You now understand the reasons behind these fights. What I dislike, however, is an intentional action of allowing them to fight to the death. It sounds so cruel to me, I repeat. Meanwhile, best of luck, see you next time, pals!

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