Feb 9, 2014

The Guide to Owning Bettas

by Gene Wolfsheimer

This book wasn't what I expected, and a little disappointing. I was eager to learn more about betta fish, but the author is obviously passionate about breeding fish and discusses little else, in spite of the subtitle highlighting care, diseases, variety, raising fish and breeding. The book is actually most about those last two subjects.

I did enjoy reading the first section and learning about the history of betta fish. There is some interesting, albeit brief, information about their physiology (mostly the air-breathing labyrinth organ) and aggression (they show inclinations to fight each other very young, at nine weeks!). Some guidelines on feeding, proper temperature and water quality- although here I balked because the author plainly states he keeps his fish (especially in his breeding facility) in individual quart jars. Too small! The most detailed part about the book outlines how to breed the fish and raise the young, with a few interesting little anecdotes. The paragraphs on betta competitions do not outline how a show is conducted or how to prepare and participate in one, but merely detail what standards the fish are judged by, with the author offering his own opinion on such. Next he mentions the rare occurence of a truly albino betta, and frequently mentions the strains of a particular betta breeder he seems to admire. And with the mention of albinos, the book ends very abruptly. I turned the page expecting more, and there was just an index. What?

I do admit the photos are spectacular, showing many colors and tail shape varieties of betta I had never seen before, although the author seemed to favor the mottled and pale-colored ones that are not really popular. I would have liked to see more variety, although I wonder if the kinds of fish I see in the stores nowadays were simply not common when this book was written. It leaves a lot to be desired and has some plainly incorrect advice as well.

Rating: 2/5    61 pages, 2003

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