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Betta Fish Care & Facts (Betta splendens – Gourami family)

Betta Fish (Betta splendens - Gourami family)

The betta fish is an amazingly colourful and vibrant looking pet, making it one of the most popular freshwater aquarium choices for people around the world. They are known as the Siamese fighting fish and are members of the gourami family.

As with other freshwater aquarium fish, the betta requires specialist care and attention. They do get on with a variety of other colourful and exotic fish while sharing the same tank but it’s important to look carefully at their temperament and which fish they are likely to ‘buddy up’ to the most.

File:Yellow betta splendens.jpg
Yellow Betta

In this guide we’re going to take a look at everything you need to know about taking care of betta splendens. Whether you are setting up your first freshwater tank or considering introducing new fish into an existing aquarium, there are plenty of reasons why betta fish could be the right pick for you. Don’t go anywhere until you’ve read through our complete guide.

How to take care of betta fish

Betta fish need a lot of specialist care, particularly when it comes to the food they eat and the temperature of their.

Believe it or not, the temperature of your tank could make all the difference to the betta’s health. This is because they can quickly deteriorate if the water is too warm or too cold. Ideally, you should be making sure the water for your betta fish is around 75.2 F at coldest, and 80.5 F at hottest.

You should also consider setting your tank up somewhere that is unlikely to face lots of noise. Betta fish, too, particularly enjoy strong sunlight meaning it is well worth placing your betta tank close to a window. This can stimulate algae growth, however, so you may wish to use fish-friendly LEDs instead. Artificial lighting is not a dirty word!

You’re also going to need to be pretty careful with any odd bits and pieces you put in the tank, such as ornaments or decorations. The same goes for substrate, as betta will not get on well with that which is particularly sharp and pointy, as you might imagine!

What food do they eat?

Betta fish have varied diets, meaning that you can feed them a variety of premade as well as live food.

Bettas hail from waters where they are likely to come across a lot of insect life and shrimp, meaning that if you feel like to give them a bloodworm or two, they will love tucking in. It’s healthy to give your fish a good balance when it comes to food and nutrition, too, so make a point of looking for food mix that offers plenty of nutrition. Don’t just go for the cheapest foods available.

As with many other sensitive freshwater tank fish, you should make sure that your fish are able to eat up their food in around five minutes. Leftover food can spoil the balance of the tank water, meaning it’s best to try and clean this up.

Bettas, when adults, can be fed twice a day. In fact, it’s recommended. However, betta can exhaust themselves and may even eat more than they can physically contain, so never overdo it.

It’s a good idea to keep a close eye on your betta in terms of food and nutrition. If they are showing signs of illness or low energy, be sure to dial it back in terms of what you give them, and make sure to consult your local vet.

What size the tank should be?

At absolute minimum, you should make sure that you house your betta fish in a tank that is at least five gallons.

However, as with many fish, the more space, the better. The bigger the tank, the less stressful things are likely to be for your betta.

File:Betta splendens male doubletail.jpg
Doubletail Betta

Betta fish can get stressed out and will likely need plenty of space and places to hide if they feel the need. This is a good idea to introduce in any case, but when it comes to bringing different fish into your tank with the betta, you should always upgrade your tank size and give your fish plenty of fin room.

Therefore, if you’re unsure whether or not your tank is going to be big enough for your betta, make sure to take a look at what other owners have to say online. Online guides and product reviews are fantastic for giving you the complete lowdown!

What does a betta fish need?

A betta fish needs plenty of space, plenty of light, the right water conditions, and a specific water temperature.

Compared to your average goldfish, taking care of a betta can seem fairly confusing at first. They are very complex creatures, as you can tell just by looking at them! However, if you are serious about giving your betta a lovely life, you must make sure to keep their environment as comfortable as possible. An aquarium specialist will be able to help you make the right choices.

However, once you get into the swing of things, you will likely find that the betta is a fish that’s extremely rewarding. These are truly stunning beasts of the water and they can make a fantastic addition to any freshwater tank.

However, they will need your vigilance and care. If you don’t take care with their diets, their tank sizes, positions, and water quality, you may be at risk of causing them untold stress, as well as causing them illness or worse in the long run.

Therefore, before you go ahead and buy just any tank and fill it with water, be sure to do plenty of reading to understand what’s required of you as a responsible and caring betta owner!

Do Bettas need a heater?

Yes, it’s normally a good idea to include a heater in your betta tank. This is so you can safely ensure that the water remains at the right temperature for their health and individual needs.

As mentioned, it’s extremely important for you to keep your betta at the temperature they might otherwise be used to in the wild. All fish are likely to be sensitive to hot and cold in one way or another, meaning if you are not sure your water is hot enough, always make sure to check, and to invest in a tank heater which can keep things at a temperature that is likely to be comfortable for them.

Betta Fish Orange, Water, Aquarium, Nature, Animal
Orange Betta Fish

As mentioned earlier, too, the range for betta in the wild and in your home tank is likely to be somewhere between 70 and 80 degrees F. This means that they won’t overheat or won’t freeze while swimming around. Tropical fish need a lot of heat to their water for obvious reasons – they are tropical! Therefore, while it might seem simple enough to just place betta in a normal fish tank with other species, getting that Fahrenheit perfect is key.

If this means getting a heater to help keep things on-temp, then you should absolutely make this a priority.

Do bettas need a filter?

It’s a very good idea to invest in a filter for your betta, so that you can make sure you keep the water balance perfect.

If water is left to persist, it will grow bacteria and the nitrate levels will increase, too. Therefore, the right filter for your tank will make sure that all the hidden nastiness is taken care of, so that your fish can continue to bob around peacefully.

What’s more, a betta tank with a great filter installed is less likely to need maintenance and any kind of tweaking at a later date. Filtration means you won’t have to worry too much about swapping out all of your water. Don’t get us wrong – water changes are crucial for your bettas.

However, a reliable filter system will make sure that anything potentially harmful such as algae or unseen nasties are safely removed. You could cycle 30% of your water off per week with a good filter, and by making sure you clean any gravel remaining, and your water should still be healthy for bettas.

However, if in doubt, make sure to check with your vet or local aquarium expert.

Do bettas need a bubbler?

No, there’s no real need for a bubbler or an air pump for your bettas.

However, there may be occasions when setting up a pump or a bubbler of some form may help your fish to recover from illness, and if they are low on oxygen from specific medication. Therefore, don’t discount installing bubblers altogether, as they can be amazing supports if you are finding your fish are struggling to breathe.

File:Betta Half Moon.jpg
Half Moon Betta

It’s also a good idea for you to get an air pump if you are worried that your tank is going to fail due to a power cut or shortage. Tank aerators dependent on your power supply are going to need some form of backup. This could well be a bubbler.

Therefore, make a point of investing in a bubbler just in case. What’s interesting is that your betta will probably enjoy seeing the bubbles come out and may even play with them – but otherwise, it’s not an essential.

How can I play with my betta fish?

Betta fish can be really playful, and they are really easy to keep entertained. Therefore, if you want to play with them, why not add a couple of toys?

Safe toys and decorations will help to keep things fun and exciting for bettas. For example, you could invest in a floating log or two, which a betta is likely to find a fantastic distraction. Adding plants can also add a whole new dimension for your fish to explore and investigate!

Did you know that you can also add fish friendly ping pong balls for your fish to play around with? Clean off a standard ping pong ball and plop it in the tank – but just make sure you are supervising it! Be sure to remove the ball after some time, as it may become hazardous.

Otherwise, a mirror is a fantastic addition. Your betta will love flaring and preening, and it can really help with their self-esteem. However, be sure to remove your mirror after a while as they may poop more often than usual while flaring!

Do betta fish get lonely?

The betta fish is never likely to be lonely, in fact, it’s a good idea to avoid housing any of them together, especially males.

This is because, as their name ‘Siamese Fighting Fish’ suggests, they can get very aggressive and will happily fight one another for supremacy. Rather than risk aggravating this, you are doing no harm by leaving a betta to its own devices.

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Siamese Fighting Fish

Bettas rarely get lonely, meaning that providing they have plenty of stimulation, there’s little to worry about. A big tank and a few toys and distractions are likely to be all you’ll need to keep them from getting bored. This might vary from fish to fish, though!

How big does a betta fish get?

Betta fish are fairly small on the whole as they only grow to be about three inches but can look bigger thanks to their fins and plumage.

Even though the betta is a small fish it still makes sense to invest in a larger tank. These fish are wonderful to watch, but it’s going to be all the better for their mental health if you keep them in an aquatic space they can explore and enjoy at their leisure!

Bettas are really rewarding fish but do remember they, much like all of us, can be prone to stress. Look after their dietary and water quality needs carefully, and make sure to check temperature, too. Adding in some decorations can also help to create a beautiful habitat.

Bettas are not big fish but that doesn’t stop them from being colourful and eye-catching. In fact, they remain some of the most popular aquatic critters, even if they can be a handful at times!

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Erik Miller

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Hello, there. Welcome to my blog. I am Erik and I’m the main editor of Sealife Planet website.

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