Undoubtedly, betta fish remains one of the popular fishes in the world. Bettas are a bright-colored fish with a solitary mindset and One of the intelligent ones. They are also known as the Siamese fighting fish. Bettas are fun to keep. Interestingly, bettas don’t get along with others and are happy to live alone. They are from a tropical part in Thailand which means they need to be kept in tanks with a temperature of about 76 to 81 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, your betta fish will be very happy and healthy. However, it takes a lot to be able to take care of a betta fish. If you are wondering what you need to do to make sure your Betta stays happy, read on to find out how to take care of a betta fish.
Interesting Facts About Betta Fish
- Bettas have a unique organ that lets them take oxygen from the air just like we do. This organ is known as Labyrinth.
- In Thailand, the betta fish has been promoted to the rank of the national fish.
- During the breeding period. They become very aggressive, bright – colored and tend to look more saturated. The make bettas do this to attract female bettas.
- When they are threatened, they stick out their gill covers and puff out their fins to make them look bigger and very intimidating.
- They have beautiful tails – in fact, there are different types of betta tails. The difference lies in the shape. They include crown-tails, flag – tails, veil-like tails, amongst others.
Being able to take good care of a Betta fish means that you need to know the things that make them happy and healthy. You also need to know those things that could trigger stress and diseases in them so as to avoid then. In our guide, we will teach you everything you need to know about taking good care of your Betta fish. You will also learn everything that’s required to keep them healthy and happy. All of which include the recommended water temperature, the recommended tank size, water quality and management, feeding, and so many other things.
If properly taken good care of, a Betta fish could live up to a decade, despite an average life of 2 to 4 years. The discrepancy and your lifespan are as a result of misinformation in many pet stores, and different articles online, as well as Betta fish owners. Betta fish is not only beautiful but is one of the few intelligent species of fish and so they deserve proper care.
If you’re reading this now, chances are already own a Betta fish at home. But if that’s not the case, it’s impressive the fact that you’d love to know about such a beautiful creature. It is only normal to know about a fish prior to getting one as it will definitely make things easier. This works when it comes to purchasing the tank and the needed accessories for the first time.
How To Take Care Of A Betta Fish?
Knowing when your Betta is sick is one of the ways to make your Betta fish live longer. You should be able to tell the difference between a sick betta and a healthy one. Knowing this will ultimately affect the type of care you provide him or her as time goes on. When purchasing a Betta fish for the first time, you need to choose one that is very healthy.
Signs Of A Healthy Betta Fish
- A healthy Betta fish always investigate when you get close to their tank.
- They are usually aggressive and may flare at you or another fish mate.
- They’ve got bright-colored skin, especially the male ones.
- Healthy Betta fish won’t have any damaged fins.
- Healthy Betta fish always be hungry and will eat regularly.
Signs Of A Sick Betta Fish
- Sick bettas usually have a loss of appetite for a long period of time.
- They are lethargic and always hide in their hiding place.
- A sick Betta fish will often have dull-colored skin. This mostly happens with male bettas.
- A Betta fish will have tattered fins with black edges.
- A sick Betta fish will often have clamped fins.
- They become bloated and will swim sideways.
Tip 1: Don’t keep Your Betta In Small Bowl
You may often notice bettas are kept in small bowl or vases. But this is not a good way at all to take care of your betta fish. Betta fish have the capability of breathing air and surviving in an oxygen-depleted environment.
Bettas are able to do this thanks to their labyrinths. However, Betta fish don’t actually prefer small habitat. They tend to use the environment to avoid predators and competitors. Being aggressive, living in a small habitat will limit their chances of survival.
Bettas are sensitive to the effects of ammonia exposure just like every other fish species. They are also prone to feel hot and swim bladder diseases. Having a poorly maintained or small fish tank will increase the susceptibility to these diseases and infections.
So, if you own a Betta fish, you should also ensure that you have enough space to thrive and survive on their own.
Recommended Size For Betta Fish Tank
The minimum tank size for a Betta fish is 2.5 gallons but we will recommend for 5 gallons or more. A big tank will make maintenance quite easier. You’ll be able to maintain temperature and nitrogen cycles easily. One of the other things that make larger tanks the right option is that they require less cleaning. One of the false beliefs regarding betta is that it can live in a small bowl or vase. Surviving in a small tank is quite different from living in a big tank. Just because betta fish can survive in a small bowl doesn’t mean they will live healthily.
Back in the wild, bettas live in shallow streams, puddles, and rice paddies; All of which are oxygen deficient. If they have a lack of oxygen, they will make up for it. Your betta fish should have enough room to swim around as well as spots to hide.
Avoid filling your tank to the maximum volume. Betta fish need access to the tank surface to gulp in the air using the labyrinth. The labyrinth organ is responsible for extracting oxygen from the air as a perfect substitute for their gills. You should have a led on your tank as bettas are great jumpers. If your betta fish jump out of the water, it’s hard to save them. You can take a look at this article on why bettas jump out of water.
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Tip 2: Ensure Perfect Lighting For Your Betta Fish
Both natural and artificial light will be just fine. Betta fish need both forms of light while they are awake during the daytime and darkness at night to enable them to sleep properly. These tend to establish a regular day and night pattern, and it also regulates their internal biological clock. They also need plants and other decorations as these plants can provide shade.
Exposure To Direct Sunlight
Sunlight can quickly raise the water temperature to turn on the comfort level and thereby triggering unwanted algae growth. A perfect substitute would be artificial lighting. You should also place your Betta fish tank away from Windows. With artificial light, you’re able to control lighting during the daytime and at night.
Tip 3: Keep Your Betta Fish Safe From Diseases
Even though bettas are really strong (health-wise), this doesn’t make them invincible. They also get sick. But to minimize the risk, you have to look after them and spend quality time with them.
When it comes to issues that are common to betta fish, the infection that develops after a cut is the popular one among them. These tiny but deadly scars and cuts will lead to deeper infections that are deadlier. The usual culprit is the sharp substrate. Make sure these substrates are smooth and safe for your betta. You should also take note of the decors you’ve installed in the tank as they can be harmful too.
Asides sharp substrate, most other diseases can develop when the water is polluted. For instance, fin rot occurs when the water is not kept clean. It is a bacterial infection that causes inflammation and irritation. This disease can also be triggered when an infected tankmate is introduced into the tank. This could happen through aquarium equipment borrowed, or poorly cleaned equipment or substate. However, you need to understand that fin rot can be a symptom of other diseases.
Another condition that is worth talking about when it has to do with knowing how to care for a betta fish is constipation. Often seen as a disease, it is caused by overfeeding. When you overfeed your betta, it leads to a damaged digestive system. This is why it is necessary to starve your betta once a week.
Tip 4: Feed Your Betta Fish Regularly
1. Right Quantity of Food
The quantity of food to give a Betta fish determines whether or not it will experience constipation. The amount of food a Betta can eat in a day is about the size of his eyeball. So, giving your Betta fish a pinch of food that is a small as his eyeballs would be great. You need to understand that they won’t stop eating. This is why you should time yourself while feeding. Whatever he is able to eat within two minutes should be enough.
2. Feed them regularly.
Forget what you’ve heard about Bettas going for days without food. The maximum number of days betta can live healthily without food is three days. Make sure your betta is fed daily. But it’s ok to skip a day to avoid overfeeding and in the long run, constipation. We recently wrote an article on how to feed your betta while on vacation. If you go on vacation for days, you will need to have someone come in to help with the feeding. A betta will be fine if it goes hungry for a day. You shouldn’t feed him extra before you go or after you get back. Just stick to the same quantity of feed even if you skip their meal a day.
3. Different Diet Will Do The Trick.
Bettas aren’t supposed to eat the same meal all the time. At least, make sure to add something different once in a while. You can also choose two different foods and alternate between them each day. Need some ideas? Here are some ideas that will be of great use to you:
- Brine shrimps.
- Pieces of frozen beef heart.
- Frozen or dried bloodworms.
- Fruit fly larvae or fruit flies without wings.
4. Don’t Feed Your Betta Fish Only Pellets Or Dried Flakes
One important part of taking care of a betta fish is knowing when to change things. Giving your betta fish pellets or dried flakes all the time should be avoided. While it’s ok to feed them with these food options, consuming them daily will affect your betta in a negative way. If you are opt-in for dried foods, you should soak them first before feeding your betta.
Tip 5: Choose Your Betta Fish Tank Mates Carefully
Most bettas are aggressive and won’t tolerate any tank mate. They prefer living in solitude and will be aggressive towards the other inhabitants. However, they can play it cool with some tank mates that don’t have bright-colored skin, long fins or are not aggressive.
You can enhance their ability to stay with other tank mates by adding them to a community of fish in a larger tank. Make sure the large tank has enough spaces and spots to hide. 8 – 10 gallons tank is highly recommended. When you have enough space in the tank, it will reduce the territorial instinct of the betta fish and may ultimately lead to a decreased aggression in the betta fish. You can learn more about this by asking local stores around you.
Avoid putting two males in the same tank because they will always fight and nip at each other. This may continue until one or both is dead. Males should never be housed with another male. However, they exhibit this same aggression towards female bettas too. Female bettas, on the other hand, can live together in groups for a long time. You just have to make sure the tank is 10 gallons or more.
You can check our other article on tank mates for betta fish!
Tip 6: Keep The Water Temperature Steady
Bettas are also sensitive to temperature change. You will need a tank heater. This is a necessity for betta fish and not an option. Bettas prefer temperatures that are between 78 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit which is higher than most of the tropical fish.
Clean Your Betta Fish Tank Regularly
When it comes to taking care of a betta fish, you also need to develop tank management skills. So, how do you clean your betta’s tank?
1. Getting the replacement water.
Prior to the time, you will be cleaning your fish tank, you need to fill an empty water jug with enough tap water. Preferably, this should be done a day before you clean your tank. Don’t cover the top to allow the chlorine present in the water to escape. Make sure the jug has the same temperature as the fish tank.
2. Get your supplies ready.
Before cleaning your tank with the supplies, you need to make sure the supplies are properly cleaned. These supplies will make things a lot easier for you. Some of these suppliers include:
A sponge (you can also use an algae pad).
You need an aquarium vacuum.
3. Do you need to move your fish?
The main reason why you’ll need to move your fish while cleaning your tank is that you don’t practice enough tank maintenance. Inconsistency in cleaning your tank will lead dirt compiling in your tank. When you don’t feed your betta too much, and clean as at when due, there won’t be a need for you to bring him out while cleaning. However, if this is the case, use a fish net to pick him out into the replacement water jug.
4. Take out some of the water.
To practice effective cleaning, you need to take out at least 20% of the water. A polluted tank or one that has an excess volume of nitrate will require taking out more than half of the water in the tank. The water can be removed by siphoning into a bucket.; be careful not to siphon your betta while doing it.
5. Clean the tank properly.
While cleaning the tank, you need to also clean the sides of the tank too. You can use a algae pad sponge to clean the tank. Avoid adding detergents or cleaner. The pad will do the job perfectly.
6. Vacuum the gravel or marbles.
Use a tank vacuum to clean the rocks or marbles. Push the vacuum to the base of the tank to stir up the sediments. If you have a small rock in the tank, the vacuum cleaner may be used to suck them out. To make the sediments float, use your fingers to stir up the tank.
7. Wash the decorations and accessories.
You need to take out the decorations and wash the decorations and wash them off using clean water. Once again, you should avoid using detergents. Instead, rinse them off with distilled water.
8. Adding new water.
Once you’ve cleaned up the aquarium, carefully add the prepared water. Once the tank has been filled with water, test the nitrate level. Make sure the nitrate level of the water is not high. If it turns out that you have excess nitrate in the tank, reduce it by taking out some of the water and adding more of the prepared water.
Tip 7: Remove Your Betta Fish Safely
Along with knowing how to take care of a betta fish, you need to know how to safely remove your betta fish when cleaning your tank or when you are trying to isolate it due to an infection. There are ways to safely remove bettas from their tank.
1. You should take them out, but only when it’s necessary.
You should only take out your betta when circumstances demand it. if it’s not necessary, then you should try cleaning the tank with the fish in it. However, if it is totally necessary, then you should move him. If it’s not for cleaning or moving the fish to a new tank, then it’s not necessary.
2. Make use of a temporary container.
If the tank needs to be cleaned, and you want to, all you need to do is to scoop out some of the dirty water from the tank and place it in a big jug. The container needs to be tall enough so as to prevent your betta from jumping out. You can also cover the tank to be extra safe.
3. Scooping the fish with a net.
To bring out the fish, you need to use an appropriate net or cup. If you don’t have a scooping net, you can try plastic cups. You should be gentle and careful not to squeeze the fish between the net or cup.
Knowing how to take care of a betta fish greatly affects the overall health and life span of the fish. Once you know how to take care of a betta fish, you should try as much as you can to spread the news to the other betta keepers. With time, we’ll be able to bring down the myths, misconceptions, and the death of our pet friends as a result of misinformation. If you find this article helpful, please do share it. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.