Animals

Discover Why Betta Fish Fight and Are So Territorial

Some of the most vibrant and aggressive fish available for aquarium commerce are bettas, sometimes known as Siamese fighters. Their fighting prowess and tendency to be territorial have earned them a reputation for killing or seriously injuring other bettas. This behavior can be confusing to novice betta fish keepers since they don’t think a fish this beautiful could be so aggressive. So why are betta fish so finicky about their territory, and why are they unable to coexist? You will find all the information you require in this article.

Origins of The Popular Fighting Fish

Betta fish originated in Southeast Asian nations like Thailand and Indonesia in the 1800s. Nonetheless, reports and studies using genetic analysis suggested that bettas and humans may have been related since the fourteenth century. Prior to 1939, Thailand was known as Siam, which is why the betta is often called the “Siamese fighting” fish.

In The Wild

Freshwater habitats like marshes, ponds, streams, and rice paddies are home to wild bettas. They would create territories with nearby bettas and populate these environments. A lone male betta is said to defend and repel intruders from an area that is one square meter in size.

A wild betta had enough of room to flee when they realized they were losing the battle. In aquariums, where betta fish are kept in cramped quarters with little room to swim, this is difficult to accomplish.

Fight-related deaths were probably uncommon because wild bettas were not as aggressive as domesticated bettas. except when their environment was reduced to puddles during the dry seasons, they might have had no alternative except to murder each other.

Early Domestication

The betta was first domesticated in the 1800s, or perhaps even earlier, when they were employed as weapons by the Thai people. According to some reports, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian nations maintained betta fish for combat.

Kids used to collect and house bettas only to see them spar with each other. Adults would wager money on these fish to speculate as to which one would prevail in betta fighting matches. Keepers would deliberately breed bettas for their aggressive and territorial qualities; this was known as cockfighting.

The betta was more likely to prevail in a fight if they were more aggressive. As bettas gained popularity, the King of Siam began to control their care and imposed taxes on them. Bettas were cherished treasures and well-liked by the Thai royals during that era.

Overview of the Remaining World

The betta wasn’t brought to Europe or other parts of the world until the late 1800s. Around 1896, bettas were brought to Berlin, Germany, and then France and Russia. Finally, betta fish made their way to the United States in 1910 due to their growing popularity. Bettas were originally kept as fighting fish, but they are now being kept as ornamental pets all over the world. They nevertheless exhibited the same aggressive and territorial characteristics that we do.

Why Do Betta Fish Fight?

Betta fish engage in combat to demarcate and defend their areas. Compared to their wild relatives, modern bettas have been carefully developed to exhibit more aggressive characteristics. Betta fish will lengthen their fins and flare their gills to appear larger and more menacing during a battle. They might engage in combat, chase after, and fin-biting until the loser gives up.

The lost betta may perish if they have nowhere to swim or hide. Even if a betta manages to escape a fight with serious injuries, they may eventually pass away from those wounds.

Betta fish fight, both males and females, but the males are usually more violent. Aggression and territoriality are traits shared by bettas, as some are intolerant of other species occupying their space.

Why Can’t Male Betta Fish Live Together?

1. They Are Territorial

For a number of reasons, male betta fish shouldn’t be kept in the same aquarium. Male bettas are fiercely territorial and aggressive, and they will fight against intruding bettas, which is the main cause. This may result in serious injury or even death for one or both betta fish. For bettas, territoriality and aggression are innate instincts that cannot be suppressed; they are not personality traits.

2. It Is Stressful

The second reason is that keeping male bettas in the same housing unit can be quite stressful. Male betta fish do not typically live together after they reach adulthood. These fish’s lifespan and general health may be negatively impacted by the ongoing stress of constantly being afraid and battling over territories.

Any betta fish can be negatively impacted by stress, which can also lower their resistance to disease, appetite, and general quality of life. In addition, the wounds that the bettas cause to one another are vulnerable to diseases that have the potential to be lethal. Male bettas should preferably be kept out of the line of sight of other betta fish at all times.

You should put up a visual barrier between your bettas if they are housed in different tanks but are still able to see each other.

3. It Is Unnatural

Just like it is abnormal for wild betta fish to share a home, domesticated betta fish shouldn’t do the same. There is no need to keep betta fish together because they don’t experience loneliness or a need for company.

Can Female Betta Fish Live Together?

Even though female bettas are marginally less hostile and possessive than males, it is still not advisable to keep them together. Similar to their male counterparts, female bettas mark out and defend their territory against other bettas. It can be extremely stressful for all parties involved and even result in serious injuries to house female bettas together or with males.

A “sorority” aquarium is what some hobbyists have tried to keep female betta fish in. Only professionals should attempt betta sororities because they typically have a poor success record. Nonetheless, a lot of knowledgeable betta fish keepers disagree that any betta fish, male or female, should be kept in the same tank. The typical fishkeeper may find it difficult to devote the necessary time, resources, and careful planning needed to maintain betta fish populations.

In summary

As a hostile and territorial animal, betbas are native to Southeast Asian nations. Throughout their existence, they have lived true to their nick moniker, Siamese fighting fish. Although bettas are little, bright fish that appear to be harmless, they can be shockingly strong when fighting. The safest and least stressful method for bettas to live is in separate housing, which applies to both male and female bettas.

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