Hey there. The answer is: with a lot of difficulty. Under no circumstances does this blog advocate the buying or selling or baby bettas as it is both inhumane and unethical (buying supports and enables this practice to continue).
We also do not support the breeding of pet store bettas (genetic issues). This article will concern the care of a singular betta fry.
Why We Don’t Support Buying/Selling of Baby Bettas
First, to clarify: Baby bettas are actually betta fry. Understand that the reason this blog considers the selling and buying of betta fry to be unethical is that they are, well, babies. The cup system used for most bettas is fine for the large part. It breaks down when you consider betta fry. The cup system is already difficult for adults. Adding tiny little creatures with a poor immune system, usually require live foods, and need a system almost completely free of ammonia (a fully cycled tank) in order to mature in a healthy way is utterly disgusting (on the part of pet stores and breeders).
So, what you have potentially acquired is a little being who is already going to have trouble living and may not be able to mature to a healthy size or have other issues due to its first few weeks or months of life in poor conditions. Keep that in mind as we move on. Many fry do not reach maturity due to these issues and will die. There is very little you can do to prevent this, the damage was done before you even got your new friend.
Baby bettas actually need smaller environments. Larger ones can cause stress for various reasons. 2-3 gallons is usually the recommended size. The temperature also needs to be higher than that of an adult betta, 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius).
You will also need a fully cycled tank. As mentioned previously, betta fry have weak immune systems. You MUST be on top of your water parameters and maintaining them at pristine.
Depending on the size/age of your betta you may need to get a sponge filter. If it is small enough to be sucked into the filter, then you have an issue. Usually they are sold old enough that this is not a huge problem. You may simply need to wrap your filter intake with a microfilter sponge for a few weeks.
You should focus on feeding fry live foods. Daphnia is the best, but brine shrimp is also great. If you can’t do live food in a pinch, frozen will work, but you should try to get your hands on live (Brine Shrimp Direct is a great resource for this, as is this article on daphnia).
The live food has a lot of fat and other things that will help betta fry thrive to maturity.
Betta fry can become stressed very easily. Doing water changes is extremely difficult under these circumstances. Thus, if you need to do many water changes in order to maintain the cycle: you may kill the betta through stress.
Try your best to avoid stressing the betta as much as possible. Be careful when handling it or removing it from the tank for maintenance. No loud noises around the tank, etc, etc.
Like every other animal, babies are more high maintenance to take care of and require extra attention. Lack of proper care can lead to stunted growth, swim bladder problems, or other developmental issues. It is important that if we decide to care for these cute little baby bettas, we understand how to properly care for them in their “chidhood” so they can live a healthy “adulthood."
Usually when you buy baby bettas from petco (or anywhere else) you can’t tell their gender yet. So, If you plan on buying multiple babies keep them in separate tanks.
Even though they are little, I still recommend 2.5+ gallons because
Easier water maintenance
It works great as a grow out tank
Easier to clean
Easier to heat and keep a steady temperature
A heater is an absolute MUST. If you can’t afford an adjustable heater don’t buy a baby betta. Baby bettas need to be in at least 80F (26.7C) temperatures, most pre-set heaters don’t go up that high. Along with a heater you are going to need a thermometer so that you can monitor the temperature and make sure the heater is doing it’s job.
Yup they still need conditioned water. Make sure you grab a good quality conditioner. Water changes need to be done every 2-3 days, 75-100% change. Baby bettas release a growth stunting hormone that you do not want in the water which is why water changes are REALLY important. Always remove uneaten food and wastes.
Sponge filter or no filter. Sponge filters are a lot more gentle then normal filters even after they’ve been baffled. Just make sure your air pump is to it’s lowest setting but still doing it’s job. Make sure and keep sponge filters clean.
Live foods are best but if you can’t get a hold of live foods, feed frozen foods such as:
Blood Worms (not freeze-dried)
Feed 2-3 times a day and always clean out uneaten foods. Remember their eye is a good reference to how much their stomach can handle.
As they get older you can slowly transition them to high protein micro pellets and later to normal sized pellets. When transitioning to pellets try and feed the pellets every 3 days as one of their meals (breakfast, or dinner). As they become more accepting of the pellets, decrease the amount of days in between pellet feedings. Transition them slowly, they might not be accepting of the new pellet food.
In my opinion, now that they are eating pellet food I would still alternate between pellet and frozen foods.Just because it’s good for them.
Like adult betta fish, babies like a lot of hiding places. Provide them with a home that has a lot of places to hide, explore, and rest. Make sure everything passes the panty hose test and that it is all aquarium safe decorations. Depending on how small they are, Substrate might not be necessary. Foods usually sink to the bottom unless they are pellets. Sometimes babies are still getting out of that "if it doesn’t wiggle it’s not food” phase and so it’s important that you make it easy for them to see where their food is landing. Or you could hand feed them, just make sure your hands are clean.
Always remember your tank needs a lid. Even some babies like to jump!
My newest baby betta. I did really want to wait a bit before getting another after having to say goodbye to Crime Scene, but things clearly weren’t going to work out that way. It was just too lonely without him. (I did have a rescue betta from Petsmart for a short time after. I saw that he had dropsy, so they let me take him for free. I tried treating him but unfortunately he didn’t make it..)
And then all the while I had this guy giving me the tiniest little grump face every time I saw him at Petco, I couldn’t say no to him anymore! Especially worrying what might happen to him if I left him there.. him being so young and all. (The employee working there gave me the standard lecture on how bettas LOVE stagnant water, and then my cashier literally dropped his cup handing him back to me QAQ Good god!!)
I’ve only had him for a few days but I feel he’s already grown a lot! And he always gets so excited when I come over to his tank. >w< He’s a good eater, right now he just takes omega one pellets, but I hope to get him interested in frozen food soon. For now I have him in a one gallon tank so I can keep an eye on him, but when he gets a bit bigger I’m gonna move him into Crime Scene’s old 5.5 gallon. Which’ll give me some time to clean/spruce it up a bit. Also as you can see he’s such a good photo taker too! He was labeled as a baby boy but we’ll see how things turn out. He’s about an inch long so I think that makes him about 7 weeks old?
Still waiting to decide on a name. One to find one that fits just right. c:
Little Miss I-Don’t-Know-What-Color-I-Want-To-Be over here has decided to start jumping out of the water when she knows I’m about to feed her. She gets a good 2 to 3 inch clearance off the top of the water. It’s adorable.
So I’ve never had a dog, but I’ve always had fish. Started with goldfish, then bettas. I have had so many bettas. Like more than 10, and not all at once. I’ve also had an aquarium, I have one now too but it’s smaller than the one I used to have (I couldn’t keep that one clean…).
This little guy, he’s the best. He’s my baby betta, but he never grew. Yeah… don’t know what’s up with that. I’ve had him for 3 years now. Longest I’ve ever had a betta. I totally pamper him though. Clean water all the time etc. His name is Alejandro and he is hilarious. He likes to burrow himself in the jewels at the bottom of his bowl. So I can always hear him flipping them around and he wiggles himself in. Idk why he does that… He also boops your finger if you hold it above the water, I think he might be trying to eat you. Oh well.
I have to say, when I first got my betta Rin we fed him wingless fruit flies. He loved them, his colors stayed light (he originally had koi coloring) but unfortunately after a few weeks he stopped eating them. He would play with them until they died and would just leave them laying around the tank.
A friend of mine who’s also into fish keeping suggested we tried flakes instead of pellets because her betta loved them and they made his colors pop! Rin loves these too and I still to this day feed him the flakes.
However, I recently bought frozen brine shrimp, originally for my new baby betta, but thought hell let’s let Rin try too
and I have never, ever seen him so happy and excited for food
both of my bettas go absolutely NUTS for shrimp and I definitely recommend them to other betta owners. His colors had changed a lot on the flakes (body became more red and shiny blue) and now that he has had shrimp for a couple of days his bright light blue is becoming a lot more apparent. My baby female is also becoming super bright and she’s only eating shrimp still since she’s so teeny
ps they aren’t very expensive (I got 30 blocks for $3) and last quite a while, I’ve been chopping mine a bit since neither of my bettas could (or, should) eat a whole cube in one sitting
If you are a first time Betta owner I HIGHLY recommend that you DO NOT get baby bettas. Petco advertises them as an easy first time pet but they are not. In fact here is my opinion on selling baby bettas:
They shouldn’t be doing it. On many occasions I have gone to Petco and seen numerous baby bettas dead in their cups. They are too young to be housed in cold conditions. Baby bettas actually require slightly higher temperatures to grow and develop well. They need to be fed often as well. In addition to that, when they are smaller its better to feed them live foods and occasionally conditioning them to small pellets. Sometimes living in tiny cups can stunt their growth at that young of an age and they require a lot more attention. It’s like a human baby, they require more than fully developed adults. Water changes have to be done more frequently when they’re that little too.
They may be really cute and adorable but I suggest you purchase them if you are more experienced. However, if you feel confident that you can do it and you’ve researched maybe you’ll be successful. You never know until you try right? But RESEARCH! Research, research, research like crazy if it’s your first time being a betta owner and you are thinking about buying a baby. It’s important so that they grow nice and healthy into a beautiful adult.