That is kind of an interesting
question, one that (I am sure) all betta owners have asked
themselves at one time or another:
"To flare or NOT to flare,
that is the question"....
Since I do not have scientific evidence
of the impact of flaring activity on a betta's life span, I
can only go by what I 'think', 'feel' and have observed. Keep in
mind that there is no set way to handle bettas. Each betta breeder
swears by her/his method. All of us have tried no less than
3844859764500 ways of doing the same thing. Sometimes to go right
back to doing it the same way we did it the first time LOL. We
try, we wait, we see, we experience success or failure (vini,
vici and diei LOL) , we go back to the drawing board and then
we try again. This philosophy of "trial and error" (also
known as "crash and burn repeatedly" LOL) is pretty much
what drives our hobby. That is why, if you look up any topic on
the net, you will find no less than 2 zillions opinions and ways
of doing things (some in clear contradiction of each another).
Who's right? Who's wrong? Well, that is a simple question:
Everyone knows I AM ALWAYS RIGHT (hehehehehehe... Especially Mr.
181 LOL). Just pulling your leg. I would never pretend to be right
all the time, or even half of the time. What I do know is that I
have been doing this for quite sometime and that I do better at it
than many ;).
So now here is my way of looking
at things when it comes to deciding on letting the bettas see each
other (and flare) or not. Below are some of the arguments that
fuel my decision to let them see each other:
- bettas are social beings.
Time and time again I have observed bettas becoming very
lethargic and "depressed" (sulking) when isolated.
They need interaction. My feeling is that (logically) they
come from rice paddies, hence smaller bodies of water. It is
likely that quite a few bettas (considering how quickly they
spawn and multiply) share the same puddle, so it is likely
that they do interact with each other quite a bit in the wild.
- social interaction seems
to be beneficial to betta's health: I once wrote an
article about this phenomenon which was published in the FLARE
magazine. In it I shared how I was able to heal 'sickly'
bettas by providing them a more 'social' interactive
environment. Bettas went from not eating, to a full recovery
(note: this is not the solution for all betta diseases, if it
was noone would never have a sick fish)
- a betta that flares is a
betta that is more active. Being active has been linked by
an experiment with longetivity. A betta lived to be 7 years
old by having a)- a very large tank and b)- being gently
encouraged to swim around every day (they chased him with a
net around the tank, but gently, to make him swim). Hence if
active bettas live longer and if flaring activity makes the
betta more active, then flaring may help the betta live longer
- bettas are not stupid.
No, really. If you put two jars with a male each right next to
each other, the males will see each other and usually this
will result in a lot of displaying/flaring (at first). However
I have yet to see a betta drop dead from the excitement. These
are FIGHTING fish guys, they are BUILT for that. And they know
when to stop. If they get tired, they rest. This is clearly
obvious if you watch the bettacam. At times the bettas just
lay there doing what bettas do best: NAPPING. Then they resume
the playing and flaring. So they know when they need to tone
it down and rest. Also after a few days the bettas get used to
each other and not much flaring can then be observed.
- is flaring stressful for
bettas? I believe that not all stimuli are stressful, if
so swing dancer would all drop dead LOL. If the flaring is
combined with great fear, than yes it is stressful. For
example, spawning bettas is very stressful for the female, for
she is actually being attacked and quite scared. Bettas that
are separated by a partition figure out quite fast that they
are not in reach of each other's jaws and it is more "for
show" then for "killing" that they display. I
do not believe it stresses them as much as being isolated and
- bettas simply look
"happier" when allowed to see their kind. Think
about it: Would YOU like to be in solitary confinement
for the rest of your life? :(((
Now let us look at a few of the
downsides to this system:
- bettas will jump. if
you do not cover your jars bettas will be more likely to jump
out if excited by the presence of a female of male near them.
But that is easy to solve: ALWAYS COVER THE JARS! Duh!
- Halfmoon males are likely
to blow their tail if allowed to flare. These guys are
high maintenance! Their super heavy tails tear very easily.
Usually it ends up tearing at some point of time regardless of
what you do, but extra flaring will speed up the process. :(
- Planning to show your
males? Then, better not let them flare all the time!
Breeders who send males to the show circuit will 'train' the
males to flare by "carding" them. Small cardboard
cards are placed between the jars to hide the bettas from each
other, then removed about 1 hour before feeding. The bettas
are left to flare at each other, then fed then carded again.
Every day the same routine. The reason why this is done is
because when you send a male to a show, it will be
carded until the judge comes to evaluate it. It will
then be uncarded and allowed to display to the judge so the
judge can assess the finnage, deportment etc of the betta. And
if the betta does not flare you will LOSE. So show breeder
will "save" the betta's flaring for when it is
uncarded for the judge.
Other than above, I have not
observed any negative side effects to allowing a betta to freely
express his aggressive behavior. Please note that a pet store
set-up cannot be treated as a home set-up. If you guys use very
small cups (Boooooooo) for your fish, then having them flare might
not be such a great idea. If I worked at a store I would keep
bettas in at least 1/4 gal critter keepers with the top on and let
them see each other. But fish stores usually give bettas very
little space and only tiny cups. With such set-ups I would advise
to keep bettas activity to a minimum (and pray they sell soon!).
I hope you all found the above
interesting and remember: NEVER EVER PUT A MALE BETTA WITH
ANOTHER BETTA, WHETHER MALE OR FEMALE. Unless you intend
to breed and have read this website carefully to learn how to. ;).
Bettas can be social AS LONG AS THEY ARE SEPARATED by
a clear partition.
Wise Faithyoda spoken once again
PS: Nice ears! ;P
PSS: He who has nice ears, let him hear...
PSSS: I am so whacked, it is not even funny (or is
it?) LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL ("sooooooomebody STOP me!" - what
movie was that from?) (contest?) (nops) (ok that's it) (the end)
(no, REALLY for sure this time :) ).
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