Proper Betta Fish Care
I’ve had several different Species of Betta fish in the past. Right now I currently have a lovely blue and white half moon named Splat. Now, Bettas are tropical, carnivorous, freshwater fish from the murky rivers of Asia. If you do not know, these popular fish are called “Chinese Fighting Fish” because they will literally fight each other, and other fish in their way, to the death. Under no circumstances, unless you are a professional or breeder, can you house two male Bettas together. Not even of you think it’s ‘fun’ to watch them fight. Sometimes even a male and female can become deadly towards each other if the living arrangements are poor. These fish are to be housed alone or with snails and tetras.
One thing I see happening is people buying them from the pet stores in those small shelf cups and putting them in small classy bowls or vases to sit on their desk as “decorations”. This is entirely wrong, and cruel, as Bettas are roaming fish and need at the bare minimum a 7 Gallon aquarium in order to live without the complications due to stress of confinement. The large the tank, the better and healthier your fish will be. This goes for any pet fish, but Bettas have significantly more needs than a regular goldfish. You’ll know your Betta is stressed in his tank when he sits at the bottom all day or his fins start to look torn and jagged. Bettas can live as long as 5 years, probably even more if you really take care of them.
Bettas are extremely sensitive to chlorine and the minerals in tap water, so make sure their water is properly treated with conditioner before you put them in. They are also tropical, and need a constant temperature of around 70 degrees F. Do not use heaters in small tanks. Bettas need places to hide and thoroughly enjoy dense plant matter. They love swimming through the plants. So fill up their tanks with lots of caves, soft plants and ornaments. Stay away from hard plastic plants that can cut them. Bettas are fish that need mind stimulation as they are one of the smartest captive pet fish in existence. They love bright colors and objects to study in their tank.
They need amusement. My Betta loves these glow in the dark stones I bought for his tank that only light up at night, and he swims in fast circles around them. Maybe he’s chanting to the fish gods, who knows? Did you know you can actually play with Bettas? Heres a gif of one chasing a laser! They can also learn to recognize faces and routines! Mine actually follows my finger along the glass and has learned to come to the surface when I open the lid. He even swims willingly into a cup when I need to take him out of the tank, I don’t even have to scoop him. Bettas are awesome, and can come in 65 different variations. The smaller, duller, stubby finned ones are the females, the males are the brightly colored ones.
Bubbles in an aquarium are fine, but chose a quiet air pump with a gentle bubble flow that wont disturb the water very much. They do not like noise. Betta aquariums also get dirty really fast. Algae grows quickly, and changing the water every week will more than likely stress them out. Water filters are great, but make sure the water flow is not strong, as Bettas do not do well in water with a current. Water current stresses them out and they die. To combat algae growth, I suggest adding a snail to your tank. Apple Snails are the best, the hard shells protect them from the nippy fish. It’s also cute to watch your Betta floof his fins in curiosity over a ‘moving ornament’. Its a friend he’ll never get tired of who also keeps the tank clean.
Please never buy Bettas as pets for children. Pet stores display them on racks in small cups usually for really cheap. They target young kids because of the pretty colors and cute little box tanks you can sit on your shelf. My 4 year old nephew got a Betta and he ended up killing it by dumping an entire container of food into its tank. Its cruel and selfish to buy them as pets for kids. Who will forget about it a month later once the novelty is gone. Unless the child has shown they are capable of understanding how to care for a Betta and the fish will be provided with sufficient housing, only then do I agree.
Bettas only need a few small pellets of food a day, their stomachs are about the size of their eye. Pellet food is best, preferably certified Betta food and not a multi fish diet as Bettas are carnivorous, unlike most pet fish. They also really love blood worms. You can buy them freeze dried and they will go nuts over it.
Bettas and other fish are just as much of a pet as a dog or cat and should be given the same amount of attention and love as them. Pet stores usually tell you that they only live for 2-3 years and only need a small bowl. They do this for sales. Bettas in small bowls under 5 gallons are going to live a stressed, bored life and will be lucky to live to 2 years. They aren’t decorations, they are pets with needs.