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King Betta Fish: Care Guide, Pictures, Varieties & Lifespan

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By Lindsey Stanton

Multi color Siamese fighting fish(Rosetail)(halfmoon),fighting fish,Betta splendens,on nature background

Betta fish have been popular pets for over 100 years. Their popularity has likely grown because of their beautiful colors and reputation for fighting. These interesting fish have specific care needs like all pets. If you are thinking of adding a king betta fish to your home, continue reading to learn more about their needs.

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Quick Facts about King Betta Fish

Species Name: Betta splendens
Family: Osphronemidae
Care Level: Medium
Temperature: 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit
Temperament: Unsocial
Color Form: Red, orange, yellow, white, blue, turquoise
Lifespan: 3-4 years
Size: 2-2.5 inches
Diet: Fish pellets, frozen shrimp, fish flakes
Minimum Tank Size: 5-10 gallons
Tank Set-Up: Square tank, plants
Compatibility: Shouldn’t be kept with other bettas

King Betta Fish Overview

Siamese fighting fish Rosetail halfmoon
Image Credit: panpilai paipa, Shutterstock

The king betta fish is also known as the Siamese fighting fish. This name is primarily the result of watching the behavior of male bettas, which are known for being very aggressive and territorial toward other male bettas.

The only real differences between a king betta and a regular betta fish are that king bettas tend to get a little bigger when fully grown and they have shorter fins. The care requirements are the same as for other species of bettas.

These popular pets are not social creatures. Instead, they prefer to be alone, or at least not in the company of other bettas. However, they are beautiful fish that are fun to keep in a tank. They come in many different colors and brighten your fish tank.

How Much Does a King Betta Fish Cost?

The cost of a king betta fish can range from $5 to $20. The price will be higher for a rare color combination or unique-looking fish. These fish are found at most pet stores. Along with the purchase of the fish, you’ll also have to consider the cost of a tank and other fish supplies such as food and aquarium decor.

Typical Behavior & Temperament

Although they have a reputation for being fighters, king bettas are generally only aggressive toward other bettas. They will leave most other fish alone unless they are provoked. Bettas do prefer to be alone and do best when they are in their own tank. They are quite shy and like to have hiding places to dart behind when frightened.

Appearance & Varieties

King bettas are known primarily for their unique look. They have fan-like fins and brightly colored bodies. The colors of their scales can include any shade of the following:

  • Red
  • Orange
  • Yellow
  • White/beige
  • Blue
  • Turquoise
  • Black
  • Green
  • Brown
  • Purple

As you can see, a betta can be just about any color. These fish also have countless patterns and color combinations, including stripes, spots, blotches, rings, and solid. Each tank at the pet store might hold a completely different-looking betta.

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How to Take Care of King Betta Fish

King betta fish have some specific environmental needs to survive and thrive. These include the tank size, temperature, alkalinity, and filtration.

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Image Credit: napat, Shutterstock

Habitat, Tank Conditions & Setup

The biggest factor in the lifespan and health of your king betta is a properly set up and well-maintained tank. These guidelines will give you information about how to set up your new pet’s environment.

Tank Size

The king betta should only be kept in a tank, not a bowl. They can survive in areas with lower oxygen than other fish. Instead, a 5- to 10-gallon tank is ideal. This gives the fish plenty of space to swim around and hide.

Water Temperature & pH

The ideal water temperature for king bettas is between 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. A tank heater will be needed to maintain a warm enough environment for your betta.

The water pH level should be between 5 and 7.5. Aquatic plants can help maintain a healthy pH level.

Lighting

There aren’t any specific lighting recommendations for a betta fish. However, a regular aquarium light is typically used so that you can view your fish. Lights will also help keep your live aquarium plants alive if you use them.

It is important to keep in mind that lights will impact the temperature of the water. You’ll need to monitor the temperature and turn the heater down slightly when the light is on if it makes the water too hot.

Three gallon betta fish aquarium with live aquatic plants
Image Credit: Sandra Burm, Shutterstock

Filtration

You’ll need a good filtration system for a king betta. These beauties are highly susceptible to fin rot and other bacterial infections.

However, the filter you choose should not create too much churning in the water. In the wild, bettas live in slow-moving, calm water. Too much turnover from your filtration system is not good for the betta. Internal tank filters or sponge filters are typically the best types to use in a betta tank.

Substrate

King bettas need a layer of gravel or sand at the bottom of their tank. Gravel is nice because it can hold down plants or other items in the tank.

Plants

Bettas should be kept in environments similar to their natural living space. In the wild, bettas live in ponds with rice patties and other aquatic plants. While you don’t want to go overboard in your tank, a few aquatic plants will provide your betta with a place to hide and can keep pH levels regulated.

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Are King Betta Fish Good Tank Mates?

The king betta prefers to be alone and will not do well if there are other bettas in the tank with them. Males, especially, are aggressive toward one another and will attack if kept in the same tank.

Bettas can coexist with other species of fish; however, other fish might be tempted to bite the betta’s long fins. Therefore, it is best to let your betta be the only fish in the tank for their safety. Small snails or other bottom-dwelling tank mates are the best options for bettas.

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Image Credit: subin pumsom, Shutterstock

What to Feed Your King Betta Fish

King betta fish should be fed fish pellets or flakes once or twice daily. They also can have freeze-dried shrimp or worms as supplements. Typically, you should feed your betta an amount of food that equals about 5 percent of its total body size. They should be able to finish their food in about 2 minutes.

Keeping Your King Betta Fish Healthy

The best way to keep your fish healthy is to keep their tank clean. King bettas are sensitive to bacteria and can easily develop fin rot if the tank environment is not properly maintained.

Bettas, like all fish, can also die from tank water that has not been sufficiently dechlorinated. You should also be careful to properly dechlorinate the tank water before putting your fish back in the tank after a water change.

Breeding

Because they should not be kept in a tank together, it is not recommended that you try to breed king bettas on your own. It’s best to leave breeding to the experts who know how to properly monitor and care for the fish when they breed.

If the female is not removed from the tank soon after the female has released all of her eggs, the male will try to attack and kill her. The female may also eat all of the eggs that she laid.

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Are King Betta Fish Suitable For Your Aquarium?

King betta fish are beautiful. Their color and pattern combination possibilities are endless. They also have an interesting reputation as fighters, although this is generally only true if you pair two male bettas together.

Are you thinking about starting a new fish tank but want a minimal number of fish? If this sounds like you, then a king betta might be a good choice. They do best when kept alone with a few aquatic plants for company.

Looking for more varieties of Betta? Try:


Featured Image Credit: panpilai paipa, Shutterstock

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