How to Take Care of Betta Fish and Avoid Problems

signs your better is sick

Betta purple cyan blue siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens)

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

  1. Getting off to a good start with a healthy tank now means you have to keep it that way. Every day you should check the filter of the tank and change it if necessary.
  2. Monitor the temperature on a daily basis.
  3. If you’re housing your betta in a water container that holds less than 2 gallons of water, change the water every week.
  4. 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 changed more frequently.
  5. You need to make sure the water is safe for your fish when adding water 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 should I keep my Betta?

  • The smallest size aquarium you should use for your betta is a ¼+ gallon tank.
  • You’ll need to keep the water temperature between 72-82 degrees.
  • This type of fish doesn’t like a lot of water current, so make sure very little, if any, exists.

You should have a slightly different environment for male betta fish compared with 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 types fish that are not known to be aggressive.

Use caution when mixing your betta in with other fish. They can become aggressive with other fish like guppies for instance.


The female bettas will live quite nicely together in 1 tank or along with other types of aquarium fish.

Note: The stability of the water is really important. 

How often and how much should I feed my fish?

Taking care of betta includes the proper diet for them.

  1. By watching him, find out how much your betta can consume in a 3 to 5 minute period of time.
  2. Feed this amount 3 times a week.
  3. If you’re buying frozen betta food make sure you thaw it first before feeding it to your fish.

The characteristics of your betta

Knowing how your fish normally acts when happy and healthy helps you 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 aquarium fish that have flowing fins.

Signs your betta is sick

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 will show some physical signs that something is wrong.

The procedure for taking care of betta fish is really quite simple, but they do demand some commitment. Setting up a routine for the care of your fish will help prevent a lot of potential problems, cut down on the maintenance requirements and bring you a lot of enjoyment.

Keeping your fish healthy

  1. Don’t be tempted to buy more male bettas than you can provide individual living environments for.
  2. 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.

Having and keeping fish as a pet is a lot of fun but it comes with responsibility.


You’re in for a great deal of pleasure with a betta fish. You do need to know how to take care of these fish however so you aren’t disappointed with your new fish adventure.

last updated November 2018