Betta splendens, also known as the Siamese fighting fish, is a colorful addition to freshwater aquariums. The blue veiltail variety is commonly sold in tiny bowls at pet stores and carnivals (a practice that aquarists discourage). Hailing from the shallow waters of Southeast Asia, your blue veiltail betta will be happiest when it has ample room to move around, and no other males in sight.
The blue veiltail betta's ancestors come from the rice paddies and slow-moving streams of Cambodia and Thailand. Its average lifespan is two years. Wild bettas eat insects, larvae and even some smaller fish. They can reach six inches in length; in captivity, however, they are more likely to reach about 3 inches, not including the male betta's majestic tail. In the wild, the male's tail tends to be smaller, and its coloring is not as luminescent.
Due to selective breeding and the lack of nipping predators, blue veiltail bettas intended for aquariums have a swooping, elongated tail and a lustrous color that shines like jewelry in bright light. This is due to translucent portions of the fish's skin and bone structure interacting with its blue pigmentation. The longer tail of the male betta flows in soft ripples, and lacks the sharp barbs of other betta species.
Bettas will coexist with other fish that don't look anything like them, and they can live together under certain conditions. If you put two blue veiltail betta males in the same tank, only the strongest fish will survive. If you put that same betta in a tank with unrelated species of fish, and as many short-finned female bettas as you can fit, you'll have peace (along with plenty of large, bubble-shaped eggs).
The blue veiltail betta requires a change of water roughly twice a month, and at least one feeding per day. To match the fish's natural environment, your aquarium should remain at 74 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Although the blue veiltail betta is an anabantid fish, meaning that it can breathe through its gills as well as through its mouth, you must properly filter and oxygenate the water to avoid cutting your blue veiltail betta's life short.