The appeal of the betta is obvious: brightly-colored fish with attractive fan-like fins.
These Southeast Asia natives are most at home in their natural habitat of shallow streams and waterways but can thrive in home aquariums.
We’ll cover everything you need to know to get you started on your journey to being a new betta owner.
So, check out this betta fish care guide with all the information you’ll need, from tanks to feeding requirements.
We’ll start with the basics to get an overview of the care of betta fish, such as their maintenance and lifespan.
Are Betta Fish Easy to Care For?
Bettas are reasonably low maintenance compared to other tank fish, but one of the significant problems they face is people believing they can be kept in tiny spaces.
A large enough tank, a heater, and proper habitat will be necessary to care for your fish.
How Long Do Betta Fish Live?
Most bettas live to be at least two years old and can live up to ten years.
However, most fish only reach the age of four or five.
Betta Fish Tank Requirements and Basics
Let’s take an in-depth look at one of the most important parts of owning a fish: the tank setup.
Here we’ll cover everything you need to know about making an ideal home for your betta.
What Size Tank Does a Betta Fish Need?
Contrary to many common examples, betta fish cannot be permanently kept in a simple bowl.
These fish require at least a five-gallon tank, and you’ll need to go even bigger if you want tankmates.
What Do Betta Fish Need in Their Tank?
Betta fish require a variety of accessories to thrive.
We’ll look at the standard tank equipment for most fish and see if they’re required for housing betta.
One of the most critical components is the lid, as bettas like to jump.
Do Betta Fish Need a Filter?
Filters will make things easier for you and your betta as they remove debris and waste that make the tank dirty.
The buildup of these materials makes animals sick.
A filter cleans this up for you and helps increase the time between water changes and tank cleaning.
Do Betta Fish Need an Air Pump?
Bettas don’t necessarily need an air pump.
Unlike other fish species, bettas have a labyrinth organ that allows them to breathe air from the surface.
Still, having an air pump can help increase the oxygen content of the water, which is especially ideal if your betta will be sharing the tank.
Do Betta Fish Need a Heater?
Bettas thrive in water temperatures of 75-80°.
Most likely, you’ll need a heater to achieve this warmth.
You may be able to get by without one in warmer climates, but it’s better to have one in case of emergencies.
Do Betta Fish Need a Light?
Yes, like many creatures, bettas have a day-night cycle.
Lighting should be provided during the daytime and turned off at night.
Do Betta Fish Need Live Plants?
These fish don’t need live plants if you provide lots of artificial hiding places.
Bettas seek spots to rest out of sight, so they don’t become stressed.
Using natural plants to create this environment is a great choice that requires just a little extra upkeep.
Betta Fish Water Basics
Water is one of the most important factors to consider when keeping fish.
Let’s look at what you need to help your betta thrive.
Can Betta Fish Live in Tap Water?
Betta fish can live in correctly treated tap water.
Use a water conditioner to remove harmful chemicals or start with bottled water.
However, distilled water isn’t viable since it lacks the minerals necessary for healthy fish.
How Long Should Water Sit Before Adding Betta Fish?
Letting your water sit for up to 48 hours before adding your betta is a good idea.
During this time, monitor the temperature and other parameters to ensure everything is functioning as it should.
What Temperature Should a Betta Fish Tank Be?
The temperature of your tank should sit somewhere between 75° and 80°.
Bettas can survive in cooler conditions, but that can eventually damage their health.
Heat your tank with a heater and use a thermometer to monitor the parameters.
How Often Do You Change Betta Fish Water?
How often you change a tank’s water depends on many variables, like how many fish you have and how strong your filter is.
An adequately equipped tank should be cleaned once every two weeks, but those with less ideal setups should have water changes weekly.
Betta Fish Diet and Feeding
As carnivores, betta fish need protein in their diet.
Here are the best methods for feeding your betta.
What Do Betta Fish Eat?
In the wild, bettas eat insects and larvae.
You can recreate this diet with pellet or flaked food.
They also appreciate treats like bloodworms or brine shrimp.
How Much Do You Feed a Betta Fish?
Since overfeeding can cause health issues in your betta, you will need to monitor their food intake.
Provide as much food as your pet can eat in under five minutes.
How Often Do You Feed a Betta Fish?
You will need to feed your betta fish daily.
Betta Fish Tank Mates
Though bettas are solitary fish, in some cases, they don’t mind company.
Nevertheless, the addition of any tankmates should be closely observed.
Can a Betta Fish Live Alone?
Yes, these fish don’t need companionship to be happy.
However, adding the correct neighbors for your betta can help keep them stimulated and stop them from being bored.
Can a Betta Fish Live With Other Betta Fish?
You can keep female bettas together, but male bettas cannot.
This species is most aggressive towards its own kind, especially males.
How Many Betta Fish Can You Keep Together
Three to four female bettas can be housed together as long as their tank has five gallons of water per fish.
Make sure there are many hiding spots for fish to hang out when they’re not feeling social.
Can a Betta Fish Live With Other Types of Fish?
Yes, betta fish are not usually disturbed by other fish.
Look for ones with neutral colors and small fins.
Brightly colored or long-finned fish might be mistaken for another betta and become the target of aggression.
Recommended Tank Mates for Betta Fish
Betta cohabitate with peaceful species but remember to monitor the tank after adding any new additions.
- Snails: Snails (such as the Mystery) are an excellent option since they’ll keep to themselves.
- Tetras: Despite their bright colors, tetras are a great choice as they’re speedy enough to stay out of harm’s way.
- Guppies: These basic-looking fish won’t attract your betta’s attention. Plus, they’re non-aggressive and keep to themselves.
How to Care for a Betta Fish
Now that you’ve mastered curating the perfect home for your betta, let’s look at the day-to-day care these beautiful fish need.
How To Feed a Betta Fish
Feed your betta pellets or flakes daily.
Only give the betta as much as it can finish in five minutes.
Treats like bloodworms should only be given a couple of times per week.
How To Clean a Betta Fish Tank
Remove the betta fish from the tank, keeping it in a separate bowl using water from the tank.
Scrape excess algae with specialized tools or designate an old toothbrush for the job.
In addition, focus on the sides of the tank and any decorations.
You will need to remove the water, substrate, and decor.
Wash these with warm water.
Refill the tank and check the parameters carefully.
Remember to dechlorinate the water with a special conditioner.
Let the tank sit for a day or two before reintroducing the betta.
How Can I Play With My Betta Fish?
Betta fish are interactive creatures that will explore their environment.
While you should never touch your betta, there are ways to engage it in play.
Add floating toys to the top of the tank and see how your betta reacts.
Can a Betta Fish See Me?
Yes, betta fish can see people.
They will also interact with them.
Try moving your fingertip along the tank’s side to engage your betta.
Does a Betta Fish Recognize Me?
Scientific research hasn’t been done on the subject, but betta keepers claim they can.
If anything, your betta will associate humans with food and at least be happy to see you at feeding time.
Betta Fish Behavior Basics
There’s more to betta behavior than the aggression they’re known for.
These are some common questions about betta behavior.
How Do You Know if a Betta Fish Is Happy?
A happy fish will swim unencumbered around the tank and eat food as soon as you provide it.
A hiding fish isn’t a sign that it’s unhappy.
Bettas like to rest in secluded spots.
What Does a Stressed Betta Look Like?
Stressed bettas may puff out their cheeks or flair their fins as a form of aggression.
Betta exhibit this behavior towards tankmates that makes it uncomfortable.
Other signs include frantic movements or crashing into objects.
How Do I Know if My Betta Fish Is Healthy?
A healthy betta swims normally and responds to stimuli like being fed or attempting to interact with it.
In contrast, an unhealthy fish may appear to struggle just to swim and react slowly or not at all.
Moreover, a fish refusing to eat is a warning sign its health might be deteriorating.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have more questions about betta fish, keep reading for the answers to them!
Are betta fish okay in the dark?
Betta fish shouldn’t be left in the dark full-time. They have a normal day-night cycle, so darkness won’t hurt them, as long as they are given light as well.
What color gravel is best for betta fish?
While your bettas won’t be particular about the color of the substrate, you might be! Choose any color you prefer, but white and black will make other colors in the tank pop, including your betta.
While these creatures are an attractive choice for a tank, prospective owners need to know about betta fish care before purchasing their pet.
After this article, you should be prepared with everything you need to care for your new betta.
Click here to check out more about this fascinating fish.