5 Tips For Picking A Friendly Betta

For best results, purchase betta from a breeder who has recently received a new shipment and stores the fish in a clean, healthy environment, as they will be healthier and happier than betta bought from a chain pet store, where they have likely been kept for long periods in sub-standard conditions.  

This article will help you identify how to choose a healthy and friendly betta and also compare genders and breeds so you can make the best choice for you and your aquarium. 

Are There Any Friendly Bettas?

Yes, although betta fish are typically classified as ‘fighting fish’, they are not always aggressive and, given the right conditions, can be successfully integrated into an aquatic community and make popular pets. The friendliness of the fish will vary, depending on their breed, gender, and individual personality. Since they are often kept alone in a bowl or tank, people wrongly assume they are hostile or unfriendly. This is certainly not the case; bettas often integrate well into a community tank and are also happy solo. 

Many fish owners favor male bettas due to their spectacular appearance, but they tend to be much more territorial than females. If you want to integrate male bettas into your tank, you must first make sure there’s enough space for them to peacefully co-exist with more mild-mannered fish, then carefully observe its temperament, as occasionally you will encounter a male which won’t integrate and prefers to be kept solo.

Female bettas are more tolerant than their male counterparts and friendlier to other fish and pet owners alike. They are not as territorial as males, which means they are ideal for keeping in a tank with smaller fish or fish of comparable size. Females respond very well to human contact and can even be taught tricks, making them a more interactive pet than the males and a popular choice for children. Alert and curious, female bettas crave attention and often surface at the top of the tank to be stroked. When deprived of adequate attention and affection, female bettas suffer from ‘emotional malnutrition’ and will even starve themselves to death in the absence of friendly connection or interaction. 

How Do I Pick A Friendly Betta?

Whether selecting a betta to keep with other fish or alone, you can tell if it is thriving and happy by observing its appearance and behavior. As a general rule, the healthier the fish, the happier it will be, so always buy from a decent breeder. Listed below are 5 tips to help you identify a friendly betta.

  • Check if the betta looks healthy: a healthy betta is a happy betta – it should have clear eyes, be vibrantly colored, have long flowing fins, appear vibrant and curious, and swim with ease. If it has visible skin problems, discoloration, milky eyes, or ragged fins the betta is not healthy. 
  • How responsive is the betta? Tap gently on the wall of the tank and if the betta reacts quickly, this is a sign he’s healthy, alert, energetic, and friendly. 
  • Observe how the betta interacts: watch the betta’s response to his other tank mates; notice if he is swimming around them or past them without appearing stressed. If the betta is flaring his fins, chasing, or nipping at other fish then this is a sure sign he’s not friendly and needs to be kept on his own. 
  • Is he kept solo or in a mixed tank? If a male betta is housed solo and you want him to join your aquarium, check with the supplier as to whether he can be integrated into a community tank, and also how long he needs to be quarantined before joining the rest of your fish.
  • Use your intuition: buying a pet is a personal choice, so choosing the right betta is often an intuitive process. Notice which fish you are most drawn to, whether it comes to greet you when you tap the glass, and how receptive it is. 

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What Is The Friendliest Betta Fish?

Veiltail bettas, which are brightly colored with long, impressive fins, are generally regarded as being the most easygoing species of betta, making them a popular choice for new fish owners and hobbyists. This variety of betta is ideal for integration into a community tank given its friendly, social, and docile nature, as it will interact well with other species of fish. 

The Betta Imbelis, or Peaceful Betta, is also considered one of the friendliest breeds of betta due to its passive temperament. This breed has a crescent-shaped tail fin and is much gentler than other bettas, such as the more aggressive Betta splendens. It should be kept alongside other calm fish and will happily co-exist in a pair or multiple pairs if you have a larger aquarium.