Betta Fish Care | Betta Care
Betta fish are awesome pets. They are low maintenance (once you get their home squared away), beautiful, and fun to watch with their individual personalities. If you are considering a betta or already got one on a whim it is time to learn how to care for a betta fish! Read on to learn all about Betta Fish Care.
General Information About Betta Fish
Betta fish are tropical fish. They typically live to 2 to 5 years in captivity with good care. Betta fish average about 2.5 inches at full size. However, Giant Betta Fish typically grow to 3 to 5 inches. Betta fish are primarily meat-eaters. There are many different types of betta fish. Rare varieties include Alien betta fish, Galaxi Koi betta fish and Halfmoon Betta Fish.
How To Properly Care For A Betta Fish
Betta Fish Care: Betta Tank
For a single betta, choose a plastic or glass tank that is at least 2 gallons and preferably 5 gallons. These pet fish can jump out of tanks so be sure your tank has a lid! Get a hideout or 2 for your betta fish. Choose a real or silk plant and/or decor with smooth edges to avoid any fin damage. While filters are not necessary for betta fish, they are nice to have to keep your tank cleaner and healthier. Always choose a low flow or gentle filter for bettas. You don’t want them stressed or even injured from strong currents. Add a water heater to your tank to maintain the appropriate water temperature for these tropical fish. Keep your betta tank clean. How often you need to clean your tank varies a lot with the size of your tank, how many fish you have, whether you have a filter or not, etc. You can do partial water changes to keep the water healthy for your tropical fish. Full tank cleanings should be rare as this can remove beneficial bacteria that keeps your betta’s aquarium healthy.
Betta Fish Care: Water
Water is a crucial part of betta care. Water should always be treated with a water conditioner before adding it to the tank. Conditioners remove chlorine, chloramine, and heavy metals from tap water, making it healthy for your betta fish. Avoid using distilled water. The distilling process removes essential minerals that are good for your fish. Water temperature should be around 76 to 81 degrees for tropical fish like bettas. The water pH should be between 6.5 and 7.5. It isn’t likely your tap water pH will be lower, but it could be higher than this range. So checking your water acidity is a good idea before setting up your tank especially if you know you have hard water.
Betta Fish Care: Food and Feeding
DO NOT OVERFEED YOUR BETTA FISH! I know. I know. You just want to keep giving your baby snacks, but it is bad for bettas (and most of us). Stick to 3 to 5 pellets once or twice a day unless otherwise instructed by the particular betta food that you feed. Betta fish are carnivores that need a high protein diet. So choose a premium betta pellet food that lists proteins as the first ingredient(s). There are other options for betta fish feeding in the form of freeze dried, frozen, and fresh foods, but these are best fed cautiously and as a treat. Frozen and fresh foods are best, but carry a risk of disease or parasites. That being said, bloodworms, daphnia, and brine shrimp are nutritious, high protein foods that bettas enjoy. JV betta carries safe disease and parasite free live daphnia for sale. Cooked vegetables and hard-boiled eggs in tiny portions are also great supplemental food treats for betta fish.
How To Clean A Betta Fish Tank
If your hands will touch the water or decor when you are cleaning the tank, you want to wash them thoroughly prior to cleaning the aquarium to remove chemicals and residues that may be harmful to your pet fish. For a routine clean, you will want to siphon/vacuum the bottom of the tank to remove debris and waste. You can perform a partial water change instead of a full water change if you are able to remove most of the debris collected on the bottom of the tank. Use an algae scrubber to remove any residue on the tank walls.
Note: Complete water changes should only be done when absolutely necessary. Beneficial bacteria live on the decor, substrate and in filters. So never perform all of the below tasks at once unless you are cleaning your tank for storage.
When performing a deep clean, gently remove your fish from the tank. Then place your fish in a small bowl or extra tank with water from his/her aquarium. Remove decor and any fake plants and scrub under hot water if needed to remove algae. Check the filter system to see if it also needs scrubbing and cleaning. You will still want to vacuum the substrate during a deep aquarium cleaning unless you plan on removing all of the substrate to clean it thoroughly (this can deplete beneficial bacteria). You can use a colander with small gaps and hot water works well for this type of intense cleaning. If you do remove the substrate you can also scrub the bottom of the tank to remove any residue. Hot water and a good algae scrubber is typically all you need to deep clean a betta tank, but if necessary you can use a 3% bleach solution to soak the decor or tank in for about 15 minutes, but you need to completely remove any bleach residue from the tank and decor. Thoroughly flush off anything that has come in contact with the bleach solution and allow it to air dry. You should not be able to smell even a hint of bleach. Once air dried, you can place the decor back in the tank and add dechlorinated water into the tank. If you perform a deep tank cleaning, at the very least do not replace the sponge in your filter system to maintain some beneficial bacteria. If cleaning the filter sponge is necessary, wash it in existing tank water, not fresh water.
How To Care For A Betta Fish Without A Filter
You may be surprised to learn that betta fish can live healthy and happy lives without a fish tank filter! Well, they definitely can, but you will need to do water changes more often to keep the water within the healthy parameters for your betta. Be sure there is decor and/or substrate for beneficial bacteria to grow on.
How To Take Care Of Betta Fish For Beginners
Things you MUST have:
- A tank that is at least 2 gallons.
- An aquarium heater
- A water dechlorinator/conditioner
- Decor that won’t snag your betta’s fins where you fish can hide and rest
- High quality high-protein betta fish pellets
Things you MUST do:
- Treat your water with a dechlorinating water condition before adding it to your fish’s aquarium.
- Keep your betta’s water clean. How often you clean depends on the size of your tank and whether or not you have a filter. Smaller, unfiltered containers should be vacuumed if possible to remove debris at least once per week during partial water changes. Larger filtered aquariums with substrate can be siphoned/vacuumed during partial water changes about every other week or so. You can monitor the condition of your water with test strips to get the best and most accurate idea of how often to clean your betta’s water.
- Feed your betta fish once or twice per day. (Skipping a day once a week or so is beneficial to a betta’s digestion.) A varied diet is ideal for the best health. We recommend at least a mix of betta pellets, live daphnia, live, frozen or freeze-dried (least nutritious) bloodworms and brine shrimp.
How To Take Care Of Betta Fish In A Bowl
While a betta fish can live in a bowl, it isn’t the ideal set up for a number of reasons.
- You will need to do frequent water changes, maybe even as often as daily. This can be time consuming for you and stressful for your tropical fish.
- It is incredibly hard to maintain the proper water temperature (76-81 degrees Fahrenheit) for a betta fish when they are in a small bowl. The smallest tank heaters are typically made for aquariums that are 2 to 10 gallons.
- There isn’t room for your pet fish to exercise. While this aspect may not kill your fish, he or she definitely won’t be living their best life.
How To Care For Baby Betta Fish
1 to 4 month old betta fish
Young betta fish should be cared for just like older bettas except they require slightly less food. Say you feed an adult betta 4-5 pellets of food per meal, feed a baby betta a pellet or 2 less depending on their size. Obviously the diet you feed your betta will be more varied than pellets, but just so you get an idea of how much less you should feed a young betta fish. A good way to know how much to feed your betta fish is by looking at the size of one of their eyes. Their stomach is about the same size.
For betta fry, the care is different. Water conditions should be excellent. The water temperature should be 85 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit and ideal water parameters should be met. This means keep your water at 7.0-7.2 pH, Ammonia and Nitrites 0 ppm, and Nitrates <20 ppm.
Nutrients are provided by the egg sac for about 2 days. After this, you can offer the betta fry infusoria, microworms, vinegar worms, live daphnia, baby brine shrimp, and/or finely ground egg yolk or egg yolk solution 4 to 5 times per day until they are around one month old. There are commercial fry foods you can purchase as well.
Can Betta Fish Live With Each Other?
Male betta fish are very territorial and are not ideal tank mates for each other. Female betta fish are territorial too, but not to the extreme that males are. Females can live together with each other in betta sororities. These should be monitored especially for the first couple of weeks. It is ideal if you can get an existing bonded sorority or get young female bettas from the same fry. JV Betta does sell bonded betta sororities. Male and female pairs are not advised except short term for breeding.
Can Bettas Live With Other Fish?
Betta can live with other non-aggressive fish. Some good fish friends for betta fish are guppies, tetras, plecostomus, corydora, kuhli loaches, mollies, and rasboras.
What Are The Best Tank Mates For Bettas
Any of the tropical fish mentioned above or other non-aggressive fish that are smaller than bettas are good tank mates for betta fish. Ghost and amano shrimp are also good tank mates for bettas. Snails like nerite snails are a great addition to your betta tank. They will help clean your tank and your betta fish won’t even notice them. If you have plenty of room your betta won’t mind African dwarf frogs in their tank either. You may have a hard time keeping your betta from stealing all of their food though!
Betta Fish Problems To Watch Out For
Poisoning from Poor Water Conditions
Symptoms: Labored breathing, clamped fins, spending most of the time at the water’s surface, pale color
Symptoms: White patches on head and/or body
Symptoms: Fins look ragged
Ich (White Spot)
Symptoms: Tiny white spots that look like salt all over body and head, lethargy, clamped fins, loss of appetite, rubbing on decor
Symptoms: Fine gold spots all over, reduced activity, loss of appetite, clamped fins, rubbing body on decor
Symptoms: White mucus on body
Symptoms: Weight loss while eating normally, sometimes lethargy
Symptoms: Pale white or gray spots on head and around gills and fins
Symptoms: One or both eyes swell and bulge
Symptoms: Bloated stomach and raised scales (pine cone appearance)
Symptoms: Difficulty swimming, specifically swimming upwards (swim bladder decrease in size) or downwards (swim bladder increase in size)
How To Tell If My Betta Fish Is Sick?
If your fish is acting differently than normal, it may be sick. Some common signs of illness or disease in bettas are lethargy, loss of appetite, lying on the bottom of the tank, difficulty swimming, labored breathing, horizontal stress stripes that haven’t gone away after a couple of weeks, and rubbing against tank decor.
Do Betta Fish Need Light?
Yes and no. They don’t need any specialty lighting in or on their tank per say. If the room they are in gets natural light or has a light on during the day and off at night that will be perfect for bettas. They have a similar schedule to us humans in nature. So, in order to keep to their ideal, natural schedule, light during the day and limited or no light at night is just right for betta fish.
How To Take Care Of A Betta Fish: Conclusion
Now you know how to take care of a betta fish. Once the tank is set up and ready to go, betta care is relatively easy. Feed them and clean their tank from time to time and betta fish are generally happy. However, proper Betta Fish Care is important to know when you have a pet betta to keep them happy, healthy and living the longest life possible.