Betta splendens, oftentimes known as Siamese fighting fishes or simply bettas, are also known for the wide range of colors they have. Imagine any color under the sun and there will probably be a betta in that color. Bettas also have different color patterns, each with a different name to them. Right now, we’re focusing on the candy betta. Sounds sweet, huh?

We asked Czarina Tan from Betta Enthusiasts Philippines some questions about candy bettas and bettas in general, and she shared with us some things she’s kept in her betta diary.

A fish by any other name

Something that might confuse first-timers is whether or not “candy betta” and “dalmatian betta” are different from each other. As it turns out, they’re not really all that different.

“Candy bettas differ only in color,” says Czarina. “They are still Betta splendens or fighting fishes. There are a variety of colors in bettas besides the candy color.”

Czarina tells us about her “sugar daddy” — he was her favorite candy betta. “I bought him in Indonesia. I love his color, a pinkish color with yellow and orange shade, [and] cellophane in some part and with shiny scaling.”

She also says that even Sugar Daddy, given how “sweet” he looks, just acts “like any other ordinary betta: aggressive, territorial, bubble nesting to show he is contented and ready to breed.”

Different personalities

It’s easy to assume that since bettas are called “fighting fishes”, they’re all just aggressive by default. Apparently, not so. They all have different personalities and little quirks that make them all unique.

“Some are docile, some are really aggressive swimmers, [and] some jump for their food when they see your hand on top of their tank. Most of them go towards the front tank when they see you,” says Czarina.

She shares with us a story of how she gave a friend two betta fishes. They were, in her words, “very, very, and I mean very docile.” Her friend placed them in a tank together and during feeding time, they would “go towards the front tank together side by side.” Talk about adorable.

Beauty pageants for Bettas

Czarina shares with us that she enters some of her bettas in shows. Now, knowing that animal shows are a thing, it should come as no surprise that even bettas have these events, what with the different colors they all appear in.

“Betta shows are like beauty pageants: We base them on a standard form and color.”

According to the official standard set of rules for betta shows written by the International Betta Congress (IBC), there may not actually be any fish who can match their standards 100 percent. And, that’s okay; nobody is 100 percent perfect — not even our beloved animal companions.

Tank tips

So, how does one care for a betta?

Czarina says that what one might find on Google isn’t always right. “They will teach you about a bigger tank with a minimum of five gallons, hiding places, and plastic plants — not even real ones — and a filtration and heater system. The plastic plants are good for decorative purposes and for the heater. But we are in a tropical country, so we do not need a heater for adult bettas.

“Just a simple set up with just a 4x6x8-inch tank that is almost one gallon [should suffice],” she says. “Make sure to change the water once a week.”

If you happen to have more than one betta, Czarina says that “females may live together in a community.” One can’t say the same for the male ones, but again, not all bettas have the same personality. Discretion dictates if they can be together in a single tank or not. Just remember to keep the males separate from the females unless it’s time to breed.

This appeared in Animal Scene magazine’s April 2019 issue.