Betta Fish Facts: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

The betta fish is one kind of fish that people like to keep as pets. This lesson will teach you about betta fish, where they came from, what kind of environment they need and some other cool facts about this fish.

What Is a Betta Fish?

You enter a pet store and see all kinds of fish, from big to small, but one kind catches your eye. It is brightly colored, has long, flowing fins and seems to be looking right at you. When you get closer, its fins and tail perk up, making it look bigger than it really is. You are looking at a betta fish!

A betta fish (pronounced BEH-tuh), is a small, brightly colored, freshwater fish with long fins. There are many different kinds of bettas, and they are also sometimes called a Siamese fighting fish, and for a good reason. Bettas guard their territory, and the males are very unfriendly toward each other if they cross paths. They can't be kept in a tank together because they will fight each other, sometimes until one of them is dead.

Female betta fish don't have long, eye-catching fins, but male betta fish have very long, flowy fins, like they are wearing a fancy outfit. Those fins fluff up when there is danger, and when they are trying to get the attention of a female.

Fluffed up betta
Fluffed Up Betta

Pet Betta Fish

Betta fish didn't start out as pets. They are originally from the continent of Asia and still live in freshwater ponds and streams. They are a brownish green color, which helps them blend in and not become a snack.

People have bred bettas as pets to get bright colors like red, light blue, yellow and green, and for different tail shapes. Those are the fish you see in pet stores, and they make interesting pets.

Male betta fish
Red Male Betta Fish

Betta fish are like the kangaroos of the fish world! They can jump out of their tank or bowl if it doesn't have a cover.

Like you, betta fish enjoy warm water, but they don't need extra oxygen pumped into their tank like some fish do. Although they can take in oxygen through their gills like other fish, they can also breathe air, just like you! They come to the top of the water, stick their mouth up and take a breath.

You may see a male betta fish blowing bubbles, but he's not doing it for fun, like you do with bubble gum. He is making a bubble nest. If a female lays eggs, he puts the eggs in those bubbles where he will protect them until they hatch.

Betta bubble nest
Betta Bubble Nest

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