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Meet Cobalt the office mascot

May 2, 2007 - Amy Jo Hanna-Eckenrode

cobaltPlease meet, Cobalt, our office betta fish. He is the proud owner of Amanda, my marketing assistant, who would desperately love to fill her home with critters but currently resides in an apartment with all implied restrictions. So, until Amanda can be set free in a home that she can fill with creatures, her current obsession is focused on her fish.

All I ever thought I knew about bettas was that they were the poor, unlucky fish to be featured at local carnivals and won by unsuspecting kids who had no clue how to care for such delicate creatures. Their fate was inevitable.
The other fact I thought I knew what that betas cannot live harmoniously together and must be kept in separate tanks. So, because Cobalt is now one of "us" I thought it fitting Amanda fill us in Cobalt, so we could all become a bit more edjumacated about fishies!

Thanks to Amanda for the following lesson on "The Betta, or Siamese Fighting Fish"
The betta is a labrynth fish, meaning that they breathe air from the surface of the water as well as through their gills.  They not only can breathe air, but they MUST breathe air, so a tank with lots of open surface area is a must.  The labrynth organ is why they can survive in small amounts of water.
However, just because they can survive in small amounts of water does not mean that it is healthy for them.  A betta is a tropical fish, meaning that it needs to be in water between 78-82 degrees F.  You can not keep small amounts of water at a stable temperature.  This is the number one reason why it is not ok to keep a betta in a vase.  A betta is best in a 5 gallon or more heated and filtered aquarium.  A betta in a 5 gallon tank will be much more lively and much more healthy than one kept in a smaller container.  Besides, the established rule in fish keeping is 1 gallon of water per inch of adult fish, so the smallest tank would be 3 gallons for an adult betta.
Contrary to popular belief, you can keep a betta in a community aquarium as long as they are the only betta in the aquarium.  Bettas will fight with their own species, male or female.  However many live happily in a community aquarium as long as some precaution is taken.  Never put a betta in with fish that are known fin nippers or with fish that have large flowing fins.  Bettas do well with Cory Cats, Ottos, Snails, and some tetras as long as the tetras are in a large enough school to prevent nipping.
Bettas each have their own personality.  Lots of people laugh at the thought of fish having personality, but anyone who keeps bettas can tell you that each one is different.  I have four, 2 males and 2 females.  My male betta, Cobalt, is very calm, never flares and eats right out of my hand.  My other male, Spike is a very different story, he thinks he is a shark and acts appropriately.  My girls have just as much spunk.  Lila needs constant attention and if she feels that she isn't getting enough, she scoots the gravel in her tank to make noise until you come back to see her.
For more information about bettas from the people who keep them, take a look at this forum:  Click Here and you can see my water babies at the Altoona Mirror's CU Photo Sharing Website: Click Here 

Amy here: I’m not much help in the fish arena. All I can tell you is Jesse and Mazey love to eat baked fish lightly seasoned with lemon and pepper….. So, feel free to send your comments or questions to Amanda about betta or other fish!

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