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Tips & Tricks: Aquarium Photography for Betta Fishes

2017-10-30

Betta fishes are tropical freshwater fishes that live in swamps. They are common in the Southeast Asian region, such as Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam.  Enthusiasts of betta fishes divide them in three categories: ornamental, fighting and wild. The Indonesian betta fish is called Betta Channoides and it is found in Pampang in East Kalimantan.

betta fish photography with canon eos 60d

EOS 60D; EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM; f/20; 100mm; 1/125 sec; ISO-100

Betta fishes have unique forms and characters. They are small in size with the biggest ones reaching only five centimeters in length. They are aggressive and territorial, and can survive for a long period of time even if they are placed in a small container without aerator.

There are a number of types of ornamental betta fish including Halfmoon, Dumbo Ear, and Crowntail. Each species has their own characteristics. Halfmoons have symmetrical fins and tails that resemble half-moon, enabling them to swim gracefully. Dumbo Ears are hard to find in Indonesia. What makes Dumbo Ears unique is the size of their pectoral fins. Meanwhile, Crowntails have split fins that mimic a hair comb.

betta fish photography with canon eos 60d

EOS 60D; EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM; 100mm; f/22; 1/125 sec; ISO-100

Here are some tips and tricks to capture betta fishes:

Be patient and learn every move of the fish

In order to get the perfect shoot, pay attention to details and be patient. As a photographer, learn and observe their swimming patterns inside the aquarium. Once you are familiar with their movements, it will be easier to capture that perfect shot.

betta fish photography with canon eos 60d

EOS 60D; EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM; 100mm; f/20; 1/125 sec; ISO-100

Capture them during feeding time

It’s best to capture them when they are hungry. Why? Because they’d move constantly when they feed, and when they swim around, it is a great opportunity for you to capture their unique and beautiful motions.

betta fish photography with canon eos 60d

EOS 60D; EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM; 100mm; f/18; 1/125 sec; ISO-100

Prepare a pointed object

Bettas are territorial. When trying to capture them, use the tip of a  pencil or any pointed object to provoke them so that they more around.

betta fish photography with canon eos 60d

EOS 60D; EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM; 100mm; f/20; 1/125 sec; ISO-100

Use macro lens and black backdrop

Avoid using a busy backdrop as it may distort the view. Instead, use simple colours or black as the background. The use of macro lens can also enhance the results.

betta fish photography with canon eos 60d

EOS 60D; EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM; 100mm; f/22; 1/125 sec; ISO-160

Flash and other lighting

Use flash and other lighting to achieve an even and smooth focus. Make sure that you have adequate lighting for the fish tank. Learn on what to prepare and how to set-up flash and lighting in this article.

canon eos 60d betta fish photography

EOS 60D; EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM; 100mm; f/22; 1/125 sec; ISO-160

Aperture setting and shutter speed

Use aperture setting of 20-22 and higher shutter speed since you’re going to capture a fish that has fast, unpredictable moves.

betta fish photography with canon eos 60d

EOS 60D; EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM; 100mm; f/20; 1/125 sec; ISO-100

Use tripod

Tripod helps you hold the camera for long hours of photo shoot. Based on my experience on fish photography, perfect shots take time. If you are not sure which tripod suitable for your photography needs, you can read the tips here.

betta fish photography with canon eos60d

EOS 60D; EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM; 100mm; f/20; 1/125 sec; ISO-100

Check out the article below on how to capture fish in an aquarium:

The Canon EOS 80D - A Mid-range DSLR with Enhanced AF

EOS M10 Lesson 3: Techniques of Taking Beautiful Photographs in Aquarium with Creative Assist Mode

Capturing Swimming Fish without Blur


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Nyoman Arya Suartawan

Nyoman Arya Suartawan

I took up photography in 2010, when I was a video editor at TVRI Bali, a local TV network in Indonesia. I learned the ropes through self-learning and guidance from my friends, who are professional photographers. Photography is important for me because it allows me to capture moments that only happen once.

www.nasbali.com  or Instagram: @nyoman_arya_suartawan