Recently adopted a Betta fish? Congrats! You’re in for a colourful treat and a pretty easy pet to take care of!
Some Information Before You Start
Betta fish live from 1-5 years (the better you care for them, the longer they live!)
Betta fish are territorial and do not like living with other betta fish!
- If you want multiple some stores sell sororities and some tanks come with betta fish dividers
Betta fish can live with other breeds of fish, but I would definitely recommend doing your research or asking a professional before putting two fish together!
Betta fish are surface breathers, so they do not need an aerated fish tank
Buying the Perfect Tank
|Small Betta Cubes are the most popular tanks for Bettas, but they are not the greatest for your pet fish.
Although they are convenient and small, this also means that there’s not a lot of space for your little one to swim.
Remember: the smaller the tank, the faster it gets dirty. You will have to change the water in this tank at least once a week at a full 100% change.
This is not ideal, especially for a fish that is sensitive to temperature as well as chlorination.
|Larger Betta Cubes are your best bet. They aren’t that much more expensive and they will definitely give your fish more space to swim and hide.
The one I’ve linked to is 3-Gallons, which is a very good amount for your betta fish. (You’re looking for something over 1 Gallon, but preferably in the 2-5+ Gallon Range)
|We actually have a Minibow 2.5 for our fish Blub. We actually love this tank. It’s very easy to clean. It features a waterfall to help regulate and filter the water and it’s almost fully squared off.
Plastic tanks are usually easier to damage, but the Minibow 2.5 is actually very thick and is built to last!
|I’m including the Half Moon Bubbler for a few reasons. Half Moon tanks have a bad rep as studies have proven that they cause a lot of stress to fish as they skew their vision.
I’ll admit, we bought one for Flub right after we decided to get rid of the Aqua Farm. When we bought the tank we didn’t know about the stress it could cause, but Flub hasn’t seemed to have any stress issues so far.
(Our tank is in a very low-traffic room and there isn’t much for Flub to look out at.)
*Note: If you’re interested in our top and bottom fish tanks check out this article!
How to Get Your Tank Prepped
1. Clean Decorations & Gravel
Start by rinsing off your gravel in a colander of sifter that is going to be designated specifically for your betta fish.
Betta fish are pretty sensitive, so you’re going to want to make sure that you never use soap or harsh cleaning products on their tanks or associated equipment.
This is why you want to make sure you have sponges and other cleaning equipment that is specific to your betta fish so you do not cross-contaminate or spread bacteria.
Similarly, if your gravel is dirty or you are using gravel from someone else’s tank, I recommend first washing the gravel in very hot water and vinegar.
This will help clean the gravel safely and will ensure that your fish doesn’t get sick. Many illnesses can spread between fish, so it is extremely important that you disinfect shared resources or you may continuously end up with fish with the same sickness.
It is important that you wash all of your betta fish’s toys as well.
You never know how long toys have been sitting out on the sales floor or how many children have touched them with their sticky lollipop licking fingers!
Most importantly, make sure that you are always washing all of your betta fish’s things with hot water and white vinegar.
2. Choose the Home for your Tank & Decorate!
You’d be surprised how heavy your tank can get when you put in gravel, water and other little knick-knacks.
I advise you to place your tank where it’s going to stay before filling in the gravel, water and decorations.
Honestly, even a 2.5-gallon tank is heavy for me!
Always make sure that you place your tank out of direct sunlight and windows.
Windows are known to cause drafts, which will quickly cool off your tank. Similarly so, direct sunlight will heat up your tank.
In both cases, it is going to be difficult to properly regulate your betta fish’s water, so it’s best to avoid the problem altogether.
When you’ve found a place for your tank you can start pouring your gravel.
Make sure that your gravel is about 1 to 2 inches high, depending on how big your tank is.
At the end of the day, gravel is the only thing that is going to keep the dirt, debris and feces down, so don’t be stingy with the gravel!
Other natural decorations include smoothed out pebbles that provide lower hiding spots for your betta fish. They also look really cool with gravel in my opinion.
When selecting toys make sure that there are no jagged edges on them as betta fish’s fins are very fragile and may tear upon contact.
Once a betta fish’s fins have been torn it may take some time before they properly grow back. It is for this reason you are going to want to be careful.
The best decoration for betta fish are decorations that provide lots of hiding spots!
Betta fish really love to hide, especially while they sleep. That’s why our betta fish really loves the floating log.
If you live in a multi-pet household, as we do, having many hiding spots is going to be especially necessary as your betta fish will want his own privacy from time to time.
Here’s a great time to say… remember to clean your decorations every so often!
3. Add Water, Filtration System & Heater
So here’s where things need to get pretty specific.
Betta fish can’t live in regular tap water and you are going to need to add a water conditioner or buy preconditioned water. The one I just linked to removes chlorine, chloramine, ammonia and heavy metals and adds electrolytes.
This makes sure that the betta fish doesn’t get shocked and allows the betta fish to live a long and healthy life.
I would also strongly recommend adding some bacteria and aquarium salt to the tank as they will both help the tank cycle before you put your betta fish in.
Betta fish are also sensitive to water temperature.
Their preferred temperature lies between 76-82°F (24-28°C).
If you have a tank about 2-Gallons or more I would recommend investing in a heater. Heaters make sure the water is always around the same temperature as when you have tanks with more water it becomes harder to moderately heat up or cool down the water.
I honestly don’t recommend heaters in the smaller tanks as they can accidentally overheat the water, causing the fish to fry! (Trust me, a betta fish isn’t the right fish to fry!)
Though, that being said, I cannot stress how important it is to get a tank that is the right size instead of getting one that is too small.
Heaters should be placed near the filter, especially if it is a waterfall. This will ensure that the heated water gets a chance to travel.
Heaters should be about 5 watts per gallon and should be turned on about 10-15 minutes after the water has been added to the tank. (That way the water has a chance to go through the filter at least one time.)
4. (Optional) Add Plants to your Tank
Plants are a great way to keep the water clean in your tank.
My recommendation is to get a Marimo Moss Ball. They are easy to take care of and help regulate the oxygen, remove excess ammonia, prevent algae, and are great for multi-fish households.
We currently have one in Blub’s tank and are looking into getting one for Flub’s (now that he no longer has oats and cat grass to filter his water!)
Other plants that are great for betta fish are (but are not limited to) Java Fern and Hornwort.
5. Add Your Betta & Plants to the Tank
This is the part of the operation that most people don’t stick to.
It’s recommended that you place your betta fish (in a plastic bag) into the tank for at least 15 minutes so the temperature can moderate and the fish can get used to the new temperature.
The reason this is so important is that a change in temperature can easily shock your betta fish or cause them to become lethargic.
Some stores do not sell betta fish in plastic bags and instead will give you the betta fish in the cup. In times like this, it is recommended that you remove the betta fish from the cup and place it into a bag.
Another option is to leave both the tank and the cup in the same room and wait for both temperatures to normalize, though this may take a longer amount of time dependant on drafts that hit the smaller container.
It is also advised that if you do this you have a thermometer to confirm that the temperatures are the same.
When the bag or container has become the proper temperature, dump the container or bag into the tank of water.
Betta fish will become stressed if all of the nitrogen is taken out of their water, so having some old water mixed in with the new can actually help the betta fish from getting stressed.
Please note: If the water in the container is dirty, that’s a whole different story.
Instead, use a soft net to remove your betta fish and place it in your tank.
6. Feed your betta fish
Betta fish actually have very little stomachs and are prone to bloat if overfed.
If you are going to feed your betta fish pellets, I honestly recommend 3 standard-sized pellets, twice a day, and to “starve” your betta fish one day a week to ensure bladder health.
Betta fish can actually survive on 3 pellets a week, so there’s no need to be worried about a “once-a-week cleanse.”
Also note: each betta fish is going to be different, so start with the 3 pellets and increase if you need to!
Other supplements include, but are not limited to: bloodworms, brine shrimp or tubifex worms, but pellets and flakes will have enough nutrients in them so you won’t have to supplement!
If you are interested in learning more about the different types of betta fish feed check out this post.
Did you find this article helpful? Have other questions or suggestions? Let me know below!