Bettas (also known as Siamese Fighting Fish) are often misunderstood. There is a lot of mis-information floating around about these guys, so please take a minute to read through this guide to provide a better fish-owning experience.
Misnomer #1 - Bettas like small bowls Truth: In their native land (Thailand), bettas can be found in puddles in rice fields during the dry season. In the wet season, all of these puddles become interconnected and offer a lot of space. Yes, a betta can survive in a vase or bowl. Will he be happy and healthy? No, he won't. In Thailand, the temperatures are significantly higher than in most homes here. Your fish bowl will be very cold compared to those puddles in Thailand. Besides, they are only trapped in puddles during the dry season, temporarily.
Misnomer #2 - Bettas must be kept alone Truth: Male bettas will fight each other to the death. They don't do well with other fish that have long flowing fins, as they are likely to mistake the other fish for a rival male betta. Betta fish do great in heated community tanks. They are more active and tend to live longer when they have a heated community tank with a filter and a good hiding spot. Many bettas will pick a plant, decoration, or corner of the tank that they designate as their territory. They will spend much of their time in this area, and may even chase other fish out of their space.
Misnomer #3 - A betta in a vase with a plant doesn't need to be fed Truth: Bettas are very much like any other fish in that they do require food. There is no nutritional value to plant roots, and while your betta may survive for several months before starving to death, it is not healthy and your betta will die if you fail to feed him. Even a few flakes once a week is enough to keep your betta satisfied without clouding your water, though daily feeding is recommended. Also keep in mind that bettas do not breathe through gills. They breathe through modified lungs, which means they must be able to reach the surface of the water or they will drown!
Misnomer #4 - Bettas don't live very long Truth - With average beginner care, bettas can live 18-months to 3 years. With excellent care, diligent water changes, and attention to hygiene (immediately treating any diseases that may arise), bettas can easily live to be 6 years old!
Misnomer #5 - Bettas require special betta food Truth: Bettas will just as readily accept tropical flake food or small pellets as anything else, though freeze-dried bloodworms do appear to be a general favorite.