Betta Fighting Fish

Created by:
Carrie Schultz
Brea Olinda Unified School District

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UCI Summer Science Institute WebQuests - 2001

UCI Science WebQuests from all years


  • Students will review the scientific method.
  • Students will observe the behavior of a Betta Fish.
  • Students will design an experiment to determine "What is it about the Betta's that make them react as they do? Is it shape, color or movement?


  • small fish container with Betta Fish - Labeled A
  • small fish container with Betta Fish - Labeled B
  • mirror
  • Internet access


The Betta splendens, Siamese Fighting Fish, are a member of the Labyrinth Fish Family.  Like all individuals within a population, they interact with one another.  In this lab, you will observe the interactions that occur between the two Betta Fish and design an experiment to determine the cause of these interactions.

Click here to review the Betta Fish anatomy.


Activity 1:  Observation of Betta's

  • Observe Betta Fish A and Betta Fish B for 5 minutes.
  • Record observations.
  • Arrange the two containers side by side.
  • Record the behavior of each fish (looking carefully at the fins, mouth, tail and gill covers).

  • Let fish rest 15 minutes before beginning Activity 2.

Activity 2:  Observation and Internet Search 

Activity 3:  Scientific Method

A scientist solves all problems by a process called the Scientific Method.  In order for you to determine the causes of the
interactions between the Betta Fish, you need to define the problem and perform an experiment.

  • To review the Scientific Method, play the movie and take the quiz.  Click here to begin.
  • For more extensive review of the Scientific Method, click on the Science Concepts and do the lab.

Activity 4:  Design and Perform Experiment 

  • With the problem statement as; "What is it about the Betta's that make them react as they do?  Is it 

  • shape, color or movement?, write a hypothesis.
  • Design an experiment, using the Scientific Method.  Make sure the control and variable(s) are clearly

  • defined.  Include list of materials, the procedure, in the form of a flow chart (directions with pictures), 
    and data table and have teacher check it.
  • Perform experiment and record the behaviors in a data table.
  • Answer questions. 

  •     1.  Was the hypothesis correct? Why or why not?
        2.  Are there any hidden variables?
        3.  What are the sources of error?
        4.  What would you do differently?
    Report conclusions to class.


  • Here is another example of a fresh water fish that has aggressive behaviors. Click here to get more information.
  • Now it is your turn to come up with another example and find information on the web.  Go surfing!
  • Write a one page summary of your fish, comparing and contrasting it to the Betta Fish.
  • Adapted from "The Betta Lab" by Betty Rudd

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August 10, 2001

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