Siamese fighting fish, or betta fish, fight with other fish in the wild. Although bettas prefer to live alone, they will play with you if they are trained. In the beginning, train the betta to follow your finger. When he learns, teach him other tricks like jumping or stretching. In addition to avoiding boredom, the betta fish will exercise when performing these tricks.
Part 1 of 2: Preparing to train your betta
Step 1. Learn about your betta
Amazingly, the betta is able to recognize you. The fish can get very attached to the owner. If you spend a lot of time with the betta, it's likely to recognize you. This will help with training. If you've recently acquired a betta, give it at least a week to recognize it. You'll know the betta is ready if it starts swimming toward you when you spot it.
Step 2. Check the fish's welfare
The color of the fish must be clear and clear. The fish's fins must have no tears or holes. Scales should have a smooth appearance. The fish must move quickly and not be dragged. Bubbles on the surface of the water are a sign that the betta fish is okay. If you want to train your betta, it's important that it's in excellent physical condition.
Step 3. Gather treats for training
Buy snacks like frozen worms. This type of food is good as it is small and can be broken down. Betta fish also eat tubifex worms, mosquito larvae and daphnia (small crustaceans). While snacks are great for training, overfeeding the fish can be dangerous. The adult betta should eat no more than three grains of feed or four worms per meal. Fish must be fed twice a day.
- If your betta appears bloated, cut the feed. It could be that he is constipated. It is possible to detect constipation by looking at the digestive area on the side of the fish. If the area is swollen, it is likely that he is constipated. It may also be that the fish will stop defecating. If this happens, do not feed it for two days. Then offer the inside of a pea (without the husk). The piece offered must be the size of the fish's eye.
- Remember to thaw the food before offering it to the fish.
Step 4. Wash your hands
Before starting to train the fish or approaching the aquarium, wash your hands. Use hot water but no soap. Soap can be toxic to fish. Just wash your hands with soap after the training session is over.
Step 5. Get the betta's attention
Tap the glass lightly and make sure the fish has looked at your hand. If he hasn't looked, give him half a worm to get his attention. When he focuses on his hand and his fins start to move quickly, it's time to start training.
Do not hit the tank too hard or repeatedly. This will scare the fish
Part 2 of 2: Training the betta
Step 1. Teach the fish to follow your finger
Drag your finger across the aquarium glass. If the fish moves toward your finger, quickly reward it with a treat. If he doesn't notice, keep moving your finger until he notices you. Move your finger in different directions. First, move your finger in opposite directions of the aquarium. Then move it from top to bottom. Reward the fish whenever it follows your finger.
- Train the fish for three to five minutes at a time for several days. When the fish learns to follow your finger, teach them other tricks.
- When the betta learns to follow your finger, it will be easier to teach other tricks.
Step 2. Teach the betta to widen when you tell him to
When a betta sees another in the wild, it widens. The betta's flare occurs when it stretches its fins and spreads its gills as wide as possible. This makes the fish double in size. It is possible to teach this trick to the betta. Enlarging serves as exercise, prevents boredom and promotes bubble nest building. Bubble nests are the clumps of bubbles on the surface of the water, caused by the methodical blowing of fish. Just make the betta spread three to five times a day, otherwise the fish might end up exhausted. Follow the steps below:
- Get a small mirror and a black or red pen. Always use a pen of the same color during training so that the fish will recognize it.
- Place the mirror in front of the aquarium.
- When the betta fish widens, place the pen near the mirror.
- Repeat this process two or three times.
- When the betta fish instantly starts to widen, remove the mirror and leave only the pen.
- Offer the betta chow or a treat whenever it enlarges.
- Continue training until the fish learn to widen whenever it sees the pen.
Step 3. Teach the betta fish to jump
Jumping is a natural action for betta fish. To teach him, place a half-finished worm on a stick. The food must be placed in a place within reach of the fish. In the beginning, place the stick in the water until the betta fish gets closer. Next time, move the stick to an area closer to the water's surface. Wait for the betta to approach. Then move the stick to the surface of the water. The betta should swim to it. Lastly, place the stick just above the surface of the water. When the betta learns there's food on the stick, he'll even chase you out of the water. You can later try this same trick using your finger instead of a stick.
- By offering the worms half full, you'll avoid feeding the betta too much. Remember that fish should consume a maximum of four worms per meal.
- You can teach the betta to recognize the feeding stick during regular meals.
- Betta fish naturally jump when excited or frightened. Cover the aquarium to prevent the fish from jumping out. Remember that the fish can jump when you uncover the tank when feeding it.
Step 4. Train the betta to swim inside an arc
Purchase a pipe cleaner. Fold it to form a circle 5 cm in diameter. Hang it on the side of the aquarium. The bow should be perpendicular to the side of the aquarium, touching it. Move your finger around the outside of the aquarium, in the area where the bow is located. Each time the fish swim through the arch, offer a treat. Repeat this process until the fish learn to swim through the bow regularly. Decrease the size of the bow gradually until it is just a little more than 2.5 cm in diameter. When the fish knows how to perform this trick well, place the bow farther away from the side of the aquarium. Continue to move the bow away until the fish learns to pass through it when it is positioned in the center of the tank.
- This is one of the hardest tricks to teach. Don't be discouraged if the fish takes a long time to learn.
- Make sure the pipe cleaner is new and free of toxins that could be harmful to the fish.
Step 5. Keep trying
Eventually, the betta will deduce that he will receive a reward whenever he does what you want. Do a training session once a day and be persistent. Just be careful not to exhaust the fish. Give him enough time to rest and relax. Don't try to force him to play if he doesn't want to. Remember that fish is not a toy.