Bettas are the best pets

Despite their reputation as low-priority animals, betta fish provide a plethora of benefits to their owners.

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Bettas are the best pets

by Sophia Durone, Features Editor

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Arriving home before my younger siblings, my pets’ were the only faces I saw at 3:15 p.m. each day. My dogs instantly became less interested in my presence upon realizing I was no intruder. My cat never cared in the first place. However, for my first two and a half years of high school, one particularly friendly smile always greeted me: Dolphin’s. 

Named after my favorite species, my pink and purple betta never failed to listen attentively to my ceaseless rants and bits of commentary. Regardless of my family members’ claims that she only loved me because I fed her, I know we had a true connection. My experience raising Dolphin taught me that betta fish are capable of forming equally close bonds with their owners as dogs and cats can, making them severely underrated pets. 

In addition to their friendship-forming abilities, betta fish are proven to limit their observers’ stress. A research study by MentalHelp.Net found that the animals can reduce anxious feelings by up to 12% due to their tanks’ calming water flow. Nature has consistently been recognized as a reliable source of stress reduction — betta habitats fit this description. When feeling anxious about a homework assignment or pending life event, Dolphin was always there to calm me with her mesmerizing swimming until I could begin my work again. This quality of hers had an extremely positive effect on my life, especially during the stresses of junior year. 

Going hand in hand with limiting anxiety, watching bettas can also decrease a viewer’s blood pressure. Studies by BettaBuzz have shown that simply observing an empty tank with rocks and seaweed can reduce a person’s BP by up to 5% — I believe adding bettas to the habitat likely improves this statistic. When worked up over an argument or challenging task, the tranquil flow of Dolphin’s tank paired with her fins’ hypnotizing color show surely aided in my self-soothing. 

With reduced stress levels and blood pressure, individuals can find the calm they need to achieve restful sleep as well. I saw my interactions with Dolphin encouraging my daily after-school naps — I consistently felt relaxed by our daily debriefings and could better recognize my need for a nap or a good night’s sleep after observing my fish tank.

Although this has not directly impacted my life, observing bettas, catfish and snails can reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease according to Purdue News. Participants in the study exhibited less aggression, yelling, pacing and wandering upon engaging with the aquatic animals. Bettas can also improve their observers’ short-term memories which helped the Alzheimer’s patients reduce their medication dosages. Although bettas cannot entirely nullify the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, I believe their healing powers further prove their magnificence as a species. 

Although her time on Earth was short in comparison to my other pets’, Dolphin’s impact on my life was just as great. In addition to having stress-reducing, blood-pressure-decreasing, sleep-bettering effects on me, Dolphin was an excellent listener despite her inability to speak. Nurturing another living being improved my responsibility — I am now successfully raising three fish and a snail using the lessons Dolphin taught me. I firmly believe that the benefits of having a betta are significantly undervalued. If you have the opportunity to care for such a unique animal, be sure to express your gratitude to them each day; I wish I could still do the same with Dolphin.