Care Guide for Betta Fish – The Best Beginner Pet Fish
Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish or Betta splendens, are a favorite pet of both veteran and beginner fish keepers due to their vibrant finnage and lively personalities. If you’re brand new to the aquarium hobby, this care guide is for you! Find out the key essentials you need to know to successfully keep your first betta fish.
Is it okay to keep Betta fish in a bowl?
If you haven’t bought a small bowl yet, we highly recommend that you get a larger aquarium that holds at least 5 to 10 gallons of water. A larger tank gives your betta fish more room to swim and allows for you to keep the water clean longer. Also, it doesn’t cost a lot more to buy a bigger tank, especially if you take advantage of Petco’s “Dollar Per Gallon” aquarium sale (where a 10-gallon tank only costs $10). Read this blog post to get our complete betta fish checklist and tank setup instructions.
How long does water need to sit before adding fish?
The chlorine in tap water can kill harmful pathogens. It is also fatal to betta fish. You might have heard that chlorine can evaporate by letting it sit for a few hours. But, many cities now use chlormine to treat their water. This does not evaporate. Therefore, always add some water conditioner or dechlorinator to make your tap water safe before pouring it into your betta fish’s tank.
We love Fritz Complete Water Conditioner because it comes with an easy-to-use pump head for quickly removing chlorine and detoxifying ammonia compounds.
Are Bettas in Need of a Heater?
Yes. Betta fish like temperatures around 80 degrees Fahrenheit and are more active when they are kept in warmer water. In the United States, where room temperatures are commonly between 67degF to 69degF, a betta fish without a heater is quite lethargic and may even become sick from the constant stress of being too cold. For recommendations on heaters, read our article How to Choose the Right Aquarium Heater.
Why Does My Betta Tank Get a Film on Top?
A good filtration system is necessary to ensure that an oily layer of proteins does not form. It should provide adequate surface agitation and clean water. However, since betta fish usually have long, beautiful fins, they cannot swim in strong currents that will whip them around the aquarium. Your betta will appreciate a gentle sponge filter, or a smaller filter with an adjustable flow speed. This tutorial will show you how to make your first sponge filter.
Sponge filter are a popular choice for betta fish filtration because they’re gentle, reliable and simple to use.
How often should I feed my fish?
Your betta fish should be fed once per day. They should eat as much as possible in a single minute. Overfeeding betta fish can be dangerous. Make sure that his stomach is not full. Start by feeding two staple foods: a dedicated betta fish pellet and freeze-dried bloodworms. When you’re ready to add more variety to his diet, get some ideas from our list of 5 betta fish foods you should try.
These small floating pellets are specially formulated to provide the nutrition that betta fish need.
How Often Should I Clean my Betta Tank
If you followed our previous advice and got a 10-gallon tank for your betta fish, you may only need to clean the aquarium once or twice a month by changing out 30% of the water. You will have to clean your 1-gallon aquarium every two to three days, with 100% water changes. This type of frequent maintenance schedule creates a volatile environment that is very stressful on your betta fish (similar to you having to move to a new home every week). Eventually, you will get busy with the holidays or project deadlines and forget to clean the bowl. You will have to spend money and time to get your fish well.
Do Betta Fish Get Lonely?
No, betta fish are actually territorial creatures (hence the nickname “Siamese fighting fish”) and should not be housed with other bettas. However, depending on their temperament, many betta fish can live with other peaceful nano fish, provided that you give them a larger aquarium (at least 10 to 20 gallons in size) with lots of cover and live aquarium plants. Corydoras, smaller tetras and rasboras are some of the recommended roommates. You can see our complete list here of ideal betta tank friends.
Our biggest piece of advice is to not skimp on your betta fish’s care. Get a bigger tank and buy good quality equipment and foods for him. You can also continue your education by joining a betta group on Facebook and reading online articles. Armed with more knowledge and experience, you can help your betta can live a long and healthy life!