Paradise fish / Chinese bettas

What distinguishes the Paradise fish / Chinese bettas?

Paradise fish / Chinese bettas are among the oldest cultivated aquarium fish in Europe. In 1869, a French soldier brought the first specimens to France, from where they quickly spread among aquarium enthusiasts. The male animals sometimes show very beautiful bluish to orange shades, which intensify further to the courtship display. The attractive appearance and its tolerable nature make the paradise fish a popular inhabitant for all freshwater aquariums. They are kept at least in pairs, also in community aquariums together with tiger barbs, loaches or small Asian bearfish.

  • Freshwater fish
  • easy in posture
  • also suitable for community aquaria

The appearance of the paradise fish

© Mirko Rosenau

Paradise fish have a brownish-orange to yellow ground coloration. Most species are drawn bright blue along the upper and lower side and on the caudal fin. Along the trunk 6 to 11 horizontal stripes are drawn in the ground colour.

Head and neck can have dark brown, green or black markings. Typical for the Paradise Fish is the blue to green shimmering and red or orange operular patch on the gill covers.

The male specimens show beautifully thread-like elongated fins on the back as well as on the belly. In addition, the caudal fin is deeply forked and has a veil-like end. Overall the body of the paradise fish is elongated and laterally flattened.

Housing conditions

The fish is kept in groups of one male with at least one other or more females. Male paradise fish react extremely aggressively to their sexual partners and should really only be kept individually. The Paradise Fish belongs to the labyrinth fish and must ascend to the water surface to take a breath. Draught over the aquarium must be avoided at all costs. A cover reliably ensures that the temperature of the air you breathe is approximately the same as the water temperature and that the Paradise Fish does not catch a cold when breathing. Paradise fish are lively animals, like to hide and enjoy a varied aquarium.

  • Keeping at least in pairs
  • bear one male at a time
  • Aquarium must be covered

Gender differences

The males are slightly larger and longer than the females with a body length of about 11 cm, which remain at about 8 cm. In addition the females are generally paler in colour and the fins are smaller and more discreetly shaped. During the courtship display the colourfulness of the males is clearly intensified.

Water values for the paradise fish

Paradise fish are quite tolerant fish. They usually make do with pure, slightly stale tap water. Moderate fluctuations in water quality and values are usually also very well tolerated. They are suitable for cooler waters and some keepers even transfer them to the garden pond in summer. The water temperature must never drop below 16° C, neither in the aquarium nor in the field.

  • Water temperature: 15° C-20° C, for breeding up to 24° C
  • pH value: 6.0-8.0
  • Total hardness: 5°-20°

Food and nutrition for the fish of paradise

As far as food intake is concerned, the Paradise Fish continues to be uncomplicated. Ready-made food in powder, tablet or granule form is just as readily accepted as live food. The Paradise Fish can open its mouth quite wide and can also eat larger pieces of food without any problems. Suitable are mosquito larvae, Cyclops, and Artemia. To avoid an unbalanced diet, the food supply should be changed regularly.

The ideal aquarium for the fish of paradise

The minimum dimension is 80 cm pool width. Paradise fish like to move and should have sufficient hiding places. The aquarium may show good plant growth, herbaceous water plants are preferred by the paradise fish. Nevertheless, the growth must never become too intensive. The fish must be able to reach the surface of the water at any time without any problems to take a breath. Floating plants such as Ceratopteris cornuta are suitable for nest-building and offer additional protection.

  • from 80 cm basin width
  • with plenty of hiding places
  • Surface must remain free for air intake

>> Read on: Paradise fish: Breeding and rearing

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