Betta are an easily kept aquarium fish, and average at 2 and 1/2 to 3 inches in body length (tail fin length varies, with some specimens reaching 4 inches in total length). Males are the most common specimens found in pet stores, and are brightly colored with long fins. Females, once nearly impossible to find by non-breeders, have been trickling into pet stores for sale, though at first glance female bettas may be mistaken for a completely different species of fish. Females are the same size as male betta, often lack the same bright colors and never have the large amount of finnage that males have.
Bettas do not require airation in their tanks. The fish posses a "labyrinth organ" inside of their heads which allows them to breathe air. It is an adaptation to their original habitat, in Thailand, where natural-form betta live in the stagnant, muddy, warm (usually over 80 degrees) water of rice paddies and ditches.
Bettas are predatory fish, and must be kept on a high protein diet in order to survive. Special betta food is needed for them to live, but to thrive they *need* to be fed on live foods, such as mosquito larvae, bloodworms, small fruit flies, and fruit fly maggots.
Males of this species are naturally competitive and agressive towards one another. The fish are often fought for money in Siam and Vietnam, in tents set up for the purposes, rather like aquatic cockfighting.
Betta have an average lifespan of 2 years (24 months). From hatching to death.