Having and keeping fish as a pet is a lot of fun and comes with some responsibility. There are different species to choose from and if you decide on the betta fish then you’re in for a great deal of pleasure. But first you need to know how to take care of these fish so you aren’t disappointed with your new fish adventure.
It helps to know a little about the betta so you can provide everything it needs.
- The average adult betta is about 2 ½ inches long excluding the tail.
- They’ll quite often live up to about 3 years but they need the proper care in order to be healthy and survive.
- Their main food staple is insects.
5 steps for keeping the betta environment healthy
- Getting off to a good start with a healthy tank now means you have to keep it that way. Each day you should check the filter of the tank and change it if necessary.
- Monitor the temperature on a daily basis.
- If you’re housing your betta in a water container that holds less than 2 gallons of water, then the water should be changed every week.
- Larger sized aquariums will need anywhere from 10-25% of the water changed every 2 weeks on average. If the water quality is becoming poor then it will need to be more often than this.
- You need to make sure the water is safe for your fish when adding or doing water change. It’s important to neutralize chlorine, chloramine and heavy metals and also reduce nitrate toxicity by adding the correct water conditioner to suit your betta. This will also protect scales and fins.
Where to keep your betta
The smallest size aquarium you should use for your betta is a ¼+ gallon tank. You’ll want to keep the water temperature between 72-82 degrees. This species of fish doesn’t like a lot of water current, so you want to make sure very little, if any, exists.
You should have a slightly different environment for male betta fish compared to the female. It’s a must that your keep your males separated in individual tanks that contain no less than 1 litre of water. You can put your male bettas in with other fish species that are not known to be aggressive.
You need to use caution when mixing them in with fish that the betta could become aggressive with, like guppies for example.
The female bettas will live quite nicely together in one tank or along with other species.
The stability of the water is really important. For around $20 you can purchase water testing kits to ensure the proper PH of the water is maintained.
Feeding, how often and how much?
Knowing how to take care of betta fish includes the proper diet for them.
- By watching him, find out how much your betta can consume in a 3 to 5 minute period of time.
- Then feed this amount 3 times a week.
- If you’re buying frozen betta food then make sure you thaw it first before feeding it to your fish.
Know the characteristics of your betta fish
Knowing how your fish normally acts when happy and healthy will allow you to quickly recognize if the fish is getting sick.
- A healthy betta usually breathes from the surface of the water.
- If they are upset or feel threatened they’ll flare their fins.
- Male bettas are notorious for attacking other male bettas and they’ll even go after other fish species that have flowing fins.
The sick betta
Your male betta should have vibrant colors. Either gender should appear to be active and alert and take their food readily. You can prevent health problems for your betta by not overcrowding the tank which contains the females.
The sick betta may show some physical signs that something is wrong.
- Their color may fade.
- You might see a fungus developing on the mouth or body.
- Overall the fish may appear listless or is showing signs of labored breathing.
- Some common ailments that can affect your betta is fin rot or ich.
The procedures for how to take care of betta fish are really quite simple, but they do demand some commitment. Setting up a routine for the care of your fish will help to prevent a lot of potential problems, cut down on the maintenance requirements and bring you a lot of enjoyment.
Keeping your fish healthy
- Don’t be tempted to buy more male bettas than what you can provide individual living environments for.
- Don’t get into the habit of aggravating your male betta just so you can see him flare his fins. This is only going to create stress for the fish and could threaten his health.