Bettas are not often known as Veiltail Bettas….this is the kind you’ll most often encounter and that most people are familiar with as the “Siamese Fighting Fish”. The fins are very long and the tail is long and droopy. When the betta flares, the top half and bottom half are not symmetrical. Males are typically more colorful and brightly colored than females, and females usually have shorter fins.
Bettas are one of the most beautiful of all the anabantoids (gouramis, or “air-breathers”). Their ability to breathe air directly from the atmosphere enables them to live in the stagnant pools and puddles in which they naturally occur.
Bettas have evolved a very intense territorial aggression to the point where they are best kept by themselves. They do not tolerate other males and females are only tolerated when breeding. This natural behavior and their ability to breathe atmospheric air makes them ideal for keeping in bowls and small aquaria. As long as the water is kept relatively warm and is changed regularly, they do very well.
Bettas are carnivorous fish and must be fed meaty foods. There are many special prepared Betta diets (flake/pellet) that are excellent foods. Blood worms, brine shrimp, and plankton are also excellent as treats. Keep in mind that a betta has a stomach about the size of it’s eye. It should be fed an eyeful every day to maintain it’s shape and health.
It is very popular to keep bettas in a flower vase with a terrarium plant like the peace lily. This is an excellent setup for the fish but the water must be changed weekly or more and the fish fed regularly to keep it healthy. You must also keep a fair amount of space between the water level and top of the vase, because bettas need an open space to breathe atmospheric air. Also, BETTAS DO NOT EAT THE ROOTS OF THE PLANT! This is a popular misconception about this particular setup. If you happen to see your betta nibbling the roots, this is probably just out of starvation (if you aren’t feeding it) or boredom.