Betta fish are one of the most popular fish in the world. Specifically, whether it’s because of their vivid appearance or energetic behavior, these small beauties never fail to impress. However, it may seem like these species will be easy to care for, but this is unfortunately not the truth. Therefore, contrary to popular belief, they require lots of care.
Generally, betta fish are very exciting fish to keep and will bring life to virtually any tank. Particularly, their appearance will impress anyone. Also, in good conditions, their lifespan is 3 years. However, these fish are not the most demanding. Nevertheless, they are definitely among the most beautiful ones.
Table of Contents
- betta fish care sheet
- how to care for a bettas
- ways to set up your betta tank
- how to care for betta
- what do bettas eat?
- bettas tank mates
- tank maintenance
- common bettas diseases
- interesting betta facts
- betta fish care: healthy vs sick checklist
- betta tank size and environment
- light: natural and artificial
- plant, hideout, and decorations
- thermometer and heater
- water temperature and quality
- thermometer and heater
- habitat care, cleaning, and maintenance
- food and feeding
Betta Fish Care Sheet
|Minimum tank size||5 gallons|
Carnivore (frozen/dry foods, granules/flakes)
The common ones include fin rot, overfeeding, white spot disease, lymphocytes and, hypodynamia
Allowed (carefully placed live plants)
Weekly water renewal (25%) and daily maintenance tasks
How to Care for a Betta Fish
First, you need to understand how essential the water environment is. In particular, to the well-being of your Betta fish.
These fish are really capable of surviving a range of different environments in the wild. However, you should never underestimate the importance of keeping water parameters consistent.
Particularly, sudden or frequent changes in temperature can hurt their health.
Also, another key factor for their health is nutrition. In particular, just like any other fish, a balanced diet can singlehandedly improve or completely deteriorate their health.
However, other things that you might not consider that significant at first include the tank setup and position.
Particularly, this might seem like something very basic, but don’t let that confuse you.
How to Set Up your Betta Tank
Generally, the most important part of any setup is the tank itself.
In particular, you will need to choose the right tank. Likewise, you need to know how to pick the right equipment, prepare the aquarium and set it up.
Meanwhile, let’s start with picking the right tank. Particularly, this will depend on how many betta fish you are planning to keep. Generally, the minimum tank size for a betta fish is 5 gallons. However, you should research your specific breed.
Meanwhile, once you have your tank you will need to set it up. However, avoid placing it under direct sunlight, like near a window. Likewise, lots of noise will stress your fish, so the best place for your tank is a dimmed and quiet part of your home.
Also, after the tank is in position, you need to consider the necessary equipment. In general, betta fish enjoy light, and for that reason, the aquarium must be well lit.
However, intensive lighting can promote the growth of algae. Thus, to avoid this, try using luminescent or LED lamps.
Also, a filter and heater are essential for your betta tank too. Thus, a normal internal adjustable power filter is an ideal solution. That is, you can easily regulate it, adjusting the intensity of flow to make the tank comfortable.
In particular, betta fish are used to living in tropical waters in Asia. Thus, you will need to use a heater to warm the water too. Also, you can use a fully submersible one. However, the best water temperature for Betta fish is between 75.2-80.5°F.
How to Care for Bettas
Now the aquarium is set up, to give your betta fish the best possible life you will need to know:
- What to feed them
- When to change the tank water
- How to maintain the tank
- And how to choose the best tank mates
- We are going to talk you through step by step how to do that.
What Do Bettas Eat?
Generally, betta Fish is an incredible looking species. Particularly, their bright colors and diverse appearance is ultimately what makes them so popular worldwide.
Therefore, to keep them looking colorful and bright however, you will need a healthy and consistent diet.
Additionally, to best understand what to feed them it’s a good idea to look at their natural environment. Meanwhile, their natural habitats are diverse and warm basins in Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
In particular, these waters are usually filled with numerous
- insects, and
- other small organisms.
Particularly, betta fish are carnivores that live up to their name.
Basically, in the tank, you can easily recreate these conditions. Therefore, given the popularity of bettas, finding suitable foods is not a problem. Generally, there are many different options to choose from. Meanwhile, one of the most popular choices is flakes.
Specifically, these types of foods can save you a lot of time. Thus, if you are just starting, premade foods can help you avoid all the hassle in preparing live foods.
Likewise, if you want to treat them, their diet can include both frozen and dry foods.
In particular, you can feed your bettas brine shrimp or bloodworms, by far the most popular choices for Bettas.
Thus, because these fish are so small yet so active, they can often end up eating more than they can digest. Therefore, if you notice that your fish looks exhausted or starts swimming in a strange way, don’t feed them for a day.
Particularly, to avoid overfeeding pay close attention to how much you feed Bettas. Ordinarily, you should feed adults twice a day. However, if you are using premade foods, the portion should be about a pinch or enough to fit on the tip of a knife.
Betta Tank Mates
Particularly, the appearance of these fish comes at a price. That is, they rarely get along with each other, let alone other species. Specifically, male bettas are very territorial and often end up fighting each other.
Also, because of their combative nature, it’s best to keep only one male to a tank.
Alternatively, you can get two female betta fish and a male.
Meanwhile, it’s much easier to say what fish should be avoided rather than name the ones you can keep them with. First, ensure to cross all peaceful and tiny fish off the list right away.
Likewise, you should avoid fish that have large flowing tails like Guppies. Also, other fish that you should avoid are
- Killifish or
- Acaras, to name just a few.
However, compatible fish include
- Black Tetras,
- Bloodfin Tetras, Catfish,
- Croaking Gouramis and
Meanwhile, you need to take extreme caution when picking tank mates to ensure the best possible conditions for every fish. Thus, apart from simple compatibility, also check the required conditions for every fish beforehand.
Ordinarily, some of them might require a specific volume or water conditions that differ from what bettas need. Particularly, this can narrow down your list quite a bit.
In particular, consistent water parameters are the cornerstone of any successful aquarium. Therefore, you need to make sure that you keep them within a suitable range and don’t jump around.
Particularly, any sudden or prolonged change can lead to sickness. Hence, it’s in your best interest to keep the water conditions stable and healthy.
Generally, you can do this in a variety of ways. Meanwhile, one of the best habits you can develop is to measure water parameters every few weeks.
Likewise, it is a good habit to do daily health checks each time you feed your fish. Thus, check the equipment is all functioning, that the water temperature is correct and that the fish are well.
Generally, water renewals are another very important aspect of maintenance. Particularly, imagine being in one room with closed windows. Meanwhile, breathing the same air for a week or two.
Specifically, that is what fish feel when you let your aquarium just live its own life.
Also, in their habitat, fish depend on natural circulation to take care of that. However, in the aquarium, you take the role of nature.
In general, about 25% of the water in the tank should be renewed weekly to ensure that conditions are stable.
Particularly, use a gravel siphon to clean the gravel once a fortnight. Also use an algae magnet to remove any algae build-up.
Therefore, once every few months, you will also need to change the filter media.
Common Bettas Diseases
Although betta fish are great warriors, they are not invincible. However, they can get sick from time to time but looking after their tank will help minimize the risk.
Therefore, the most common issue is the infection that starts to develop after a cut. Thus, with betta fish, this is very common as these tiny soldiers will often have combat scars. And these scars can lead to all sorts of nasty infections.
Also, it’s a usually sharp substrate that causes this. Therefore, make sure that it’s smooth and safe for the fish. Likewise, the same goes for any decorations that you put in the tank.
However, most other diseases develop when the water is not kept clean. For example, fin rot is common with these betta fish. Particularly, this is a bacterial infection that will cause inflammation and irritation.
Likewise, introducing bacteria into the tank can cause fin rot. Therefore, it can end up in the aquarium with new aquarium equipment that you got from someone or poorly cleaned substrate.
However, fin rot can also really be a symptom of other diseases.
Thus, if that happens you should treat it as soon as possible. Basically, the sooner you start the recovery process and medication the better.
Also, another disease, although you may not consider it one at first, is overfeeding. Ordinarily, if you do not spot it, it can lead to problems with the digestive system that can ultimately lead to the death of the fish.
Likewise, if you find your fish overeating, just give it a day to process all the food. However, if that does not help, it could indeed be the diet itself.
5 Interesting Bettas Facts
In particular, betta fish have a unique labyrinth breathing organ. This organ allows them to take in oxygen from the air, just like humans do.
Also, in their native Thailand, they promote them for the rank of the national fish.
Particular, you already know how pretty their tails can be. However, did you know that there are a lot of multiple types? Generally, they are all shaped differently and include
- veil-like tails,
- crown-tails and
- flag-tails as well as others.
In particular, when bettas receive threat they will stick out their gill covers. Meanwhile, they’ll expand all their fins to make them look bigger and more intimidating.
Generally, during the breeding period, when betta fish become very exalted, their coloring becomes brighter and looks more saturated.
Betta Fish Care: Healthy vs Sick Checklist
Particularly, you should be able to identify the difference between healthy and sick betta. In general, this affects what type of care you will need to provide him or her overtime.
Also, even when first purchasing a betta fish, it’s important to choose one that is healthy. However, experienced caretakers may purchase sick bettas to help save them from death and disease.
Therefore, below are common characteristics of healthy and sick bettas.
Healthy Betta Fish
- In general, they swim up to investigate when you get close to your bettas habitat
- Also, they are aggressive and may flare at you or other stimuli
- Possess bright colors, especially male bettas
- Are hungry and eat regularly
- Undamaged fins
Sick Betta Fish
- A gradual loss of appetite for extended periods
- Also, lethargic and frequently hiding
- Likewise, dull coloring, especially in male bettas
- Next, tattered fins with black edges
- White growths on body or mouth
- Swimming abnormally
- Labored breathing
- Clamped fins
Betta Tank Size and Environment
- Generally, 5 gallons are best, 2.5 is the absolute minimum.
- Next, smaller tanks are more work, requiring increased maintenance.
- Particularly, no bowls. Those are for eating cereal out of!
- Next, betta fish are jumpers, always secure a lid on your tank.
- Also, don’t restrict access to the water’s surface, or fill your tank to its maximum capacity.
- Likewise, betta fish need natural day and night light cycles.
- Next, tank mates are tricky.
- Also, never place 2 males, or a male and female in the same tank unless breeding.
- Generally, females can live together in a “sorority” of 5 or more.
- Lastly, consider a tank divider to house two bettas in a single tank.
Particularly, the absolute minimum tank size for healthy betta is 2.5 gallons. However, the recommended size is 5 gallons or more. Also, larger tanks are easier to maintain nitrogen cycles and temperature. Likewise, it requires less frequent cleanings.
Generally, one of the biggest myths regarding bettas is how they can live just fine inside a tiny bowl or vase. Meanwhile, to put this into perspective, you could survive inside a tiny wooden box too if given food and water right? You definitely wouldn’t be very happy or healthy though.
However, in the wild, the betta splenden lives in
- shallow oxygen-deficient streams,
- rice paddies, and
Nevertheless, many of these areas are still expansive in water volume. Similarly, your betta fish needs room to swim around and places to hide.
Also, you’ll enjoy him or her that much more if they have ample space to put on a show.
Light: Natural and Artificial
Generally, betta fish need natural or artificial light while they are awake during the day. However, there will be darkness at night so they can sleep.
Furthermore, this establishes a regular day and night pattern, regulating their internal biological clock. Also, plants and other decorations provide shade if they do want to get out of direct lighting for some time.
Similarly, avoid direct sunlight entering your tank. Particularly, because it can quickly raise the water’s temperature to a dangerous level and ignite unwanted algae growth.
Specifically, artificial lighting is best, placing your betta fish’s habitat away from windows. In particular, this way you control light is on during the day, and off at night with the simple touch of a button.
Plants, Hideouts, and Decorations
- In particular, betta fish need plants and hiding places to feel safe.
- Also, mimic a betta fish’s natural habitat to reduce stress.
- Particularly, live plants are ideal for their added cleaning benefits.
- Also, fake plants and leaves should be silk and not sharp plastic.
- Lastly, be careful of sharp edges on hideouts and decorations.
Generally, a major part of caring for a betta fish involves making sure they are content and not stressed. Meanwhile, mimicking their natural habitat is the best way to accomplish that.
Particularly, bettas love places to hide so they can feel safe, especially when sleeping. Hence, think of hiding places like their homes.
Likewise, their natural habitat has lots of places to hide, including
- plants and
Particularly, live plants are the best for aquariums because they can help remove ammonia from the water and they’re soft.
Don’t worry though, as artificial plants are fine as well, and they are inexpensive and resilient. Meanwhile, their quality has so much improved in recent years. Particularly, they look almost identical to the real deal.
Thus, be careful with artificial plants and decorations because they can damage your betta’s fins.
Also, all artificial plants and leaves should be silked if possible. Specifically, logs and other hideaways should also be inspected for sharp edges and sanded down if necessary.
In general, betta owners like to use what is called the ‘pantyhose test’, running it down the plant or decoration to see if it snags. Thus, if it does, the plant or hideout will likely snag a betta’s delicate fins too.
Water Temperature and Quality
- Particularly, maintain a tropical habitat at 76-81 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Specifically, betta fish prefer water in the pH range of 6.5-7.5.
- In particular, ammonia should ideally be zero parts per million (ppm).
- Also, nitrate should be less than 40 parts per million (ppm).
- Ordinarily, nitrite should ideally be zero parts per million (ppm).
- Also, use a water conditioner/dechlorinator to make tap water safe for bettas.
- Particularly, use an aquarium thermometer to monitor your tank’s temperature.
- Ultimately, filters reduce ammonia, nitrate and nitrite levels, and preserve healthy bacteria.
- Also, avoid drastic changes in water temperature and water quality.
- Lastly, use test strips to monitor water parameters.
Originally, betta fish come from a tropical climate in Thailand. Therefore, they require warm water in their tanks. However, never let the water in your tank drop below 65 degrees or go above 82 degrees.
Also, try to keep it in the range of 76 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. Generally, this is the temperature bettas are happiest and active at.
Ordinarily, the average room temperature in a home is 68 degrees Fahrenheit, which is well below their required temperature. Therefore, if your habitat’s water is consistently too cold your betta will become withdrawn and eventually sick.
Particularly, this is the quickest way to reduce their potential lifespan. However, the only time a heater is not required is if the surrounding temperature in the room the tank is in is at least 78 degrees Fahrenheit.
Thermometer and Heater
Importantly, purchase an aquarium-safe thermometer to record the water’s temperature. Thus, if the temperature is too low, purchase a small aquarium heater (e.g. 20 watts). Particularly, heaters that are adjustable and contain a built-in thermostat are the best solutions.
In particular, while filters aren’t mandatory, they highly encourage them for aquariums larger than 3 gallons. Ordinarily, filters reduce harmful bacteria while supporting healthy bacteria.
Also, they are your little helpers when it comes to tank maintenance and caring for your betta fish. Likewise, a filter is relatively inexpensive and is best when included with an entire setup.
Furthermore, betta fish are not very strong swimmers and a filter can stress them out if the current is too strong. Also, prolonged agitation can lead to
- ripped fins,
- acute stress, and
- even death.
Therefore, choose a filter that is adjustable or best for a betta fish. Particularly, baffle intake tubes and exits with pre-filters if necessary to reduce strong currents.
Generally, water added to the tank must be free of chlorine and other contaminants. Thus, if you use tap water, be sure to use a betta water conditioner to remove
- ammonia, and
- other heavy metals.
However, this prevents any potential harm or death. Hence, never use distilled water either, because it has been stripped of all the essential minerals that betta fish need to thrive on.
Also, betta fish prefer their water’s pH to be slightly acidic. Basically, they do best in the pH range of 6.5 to 7.5 (7 is neutral).
Likewise, some tap water and spring water may be significantly higher than 7.5. Basically, this means you should always test your water before adding it to your betta’s tank.
Therefore, consider purchasing a pH kit to keep it in a healthy range if necessary.
Similarly, consider adding aquarium salt to your aquarium’s water to reduce stress and swelling, and to promote healthy fins.
Food and Feeding
- In general, betta fish are carnivores. Particularly, they need protein-rich food.
- Also, keep the water’s surface unobstructed, they are surface feeders.
- Generally, bettas tend to be picky eaters and may prefer a different brand or blend.
- Ordinarily, overfeeding causes a lot of adverse health problems.
- Specifically, feed 2-4 pellets, 1 to 2 times daily.
- Also, a varied diet is the best diet.
Generally, part of betta fish care means regular feedings! Thus, betta fish need specific food because they are carnivorous and like meat. Likewise, in the wild, bettas feed on insects and their larvae on the water’s surface.
Particularly, replicating their feeding environment and food will keep them happy and healthy.
In general, betta food comes in different varieties including
- live, and
- freeze-dried options.
However, the most common ingredients are
- fish, and
Note: Do not feed your betta fish other tropical fish food because they need a specific protein-rich diet.
Also, betta fish can be very picky eaters too. Hence, persistent refusal may mean trying a different brand or blend until you find the right one.
Likewise, betta love treats once in a while. However, they might start to prefer them if you overdo it.
Particularly, freeze-dried bloodworms and brine shrimp are a betta’s favorites. However, some owners prefer to use freeze-dried bloodworms or shrimp as their exclusive food source.
Similarly, breeders may stay away from manufactured pellets and flakes. Therefore, opting for live foods to prepare for shows and breeding. However, the most important part is ensuring a rich and varied diet for your betta.