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This is mainly for you new or soon-to-be betta owners. If you have just brought your betta home, or a planning on getting one and want to research in advance (bless you!), here is the info you will need.
  1. Preparing their new home - Getting their home ready in advance really helps. Most people will buy their betta on impulse and come home with the betta and the stuff for their home all in the same day. That can work also, but I prefer to have their homes ready at least a day before I get the betta.
    1. Bowl or tank size - Choosing the right size varies on the betta owner. The average size for a betta tank is a 1 gallon. Here is a list of sizes with regard to water changes and tank mates:
      1. Betta Hex Tank - These seem to be popular with new betta owners, but be aware that for a healthy betta these tanks will need to be cleaned at LEAST every two days. You can have no tank mates in this size. No room for live plant.
      2. Gallon bowl - Change every 3-4 days. No tank mates are advised. Can have a live plant such as a Betta Bulb or Java Moss.
      3. 1 gallon bowl - Change weekly, no tank mates advised.  Can have a live plant such as a Betta Bulb or Java Moss.
      4. 2 gallon Hex with no filter - partial water changes weekly with full water changes every 2 weeks. No tank mates are advised with no aeration except possibly an African Dwarf Frog (my personal favorites). Can have a live plant such as a Betta Bulb or Java Moss.
      5. 2, 5, 10 gallon tanks with filters - partial water changes weekly. You may have tank mates within reason to the size of the tank. Choose gentle filters such as corner filters or very mild power filters. Can have a wide variety of live plants.
    2. Preparing their water - Keeping a gallon jug around to store water for your next water change is really handy. You should prepare their water about a day in advance of their water change, this is where that jug comes in handy. If you decide to use bottled water you need to choose bottled SPRING water and not DISTILLED water. Distilled water lacks the nutrients, minerals and electrolytes that are necessary for a healthy betta. 
      1. Tap Water Treatment -
      2. pH - Should be about neutral, 7.0. Keep in mind, however, that a betta can tolerate a wide range of pH and it is better to have a stable pH. I have heard from many people who try everything to make their pH stay at 7 but it bounces back up or down, that is stressful on your betta. Just keep your betta in a pH that is stable and he will thank you for it. If you use bottled water, you will need to check the pH if you change brands to see if it varies. You should stick with the same brand if possible.
      3. Temperature - Bettas are a tropical fish so they prefer warmer water. I suggest a constant temperature of 76F, they can handle temperatures from 70F to 82F, but I have found mine most happy at 76F. It is very difficult to heat small betta bowls, so I suggest keeping them in a warm place in your home. Tanks from 5 gallon and up can contain a small heater successfully.
      4. Salt - I do add salt to my tanks and jars. I add teaspoon per 1 gallon of water, or 1 tablespoon per 5 gallons. You can use Aquarium salt that you can find in the pet section at any Wal-Mart or at any pet/fish store. This is not marine salt for Salt Water Aquariums, but it does help to inhibit fungal and parasitic diseases.
      5. Aquarisol - This is the most common preventive medication for ich and velvet, these are the two fastest killer of small fry. They are also a large problem for pet store bettas as well as fungus.
  2. Temperature - To make sure that the temperature in your betta's bag and their new home are the same, you should first float his unopened bag in their tank. If you have purchased your betta from a breeder through the mail or even brought him home from a pet store, the temperature in their bag can be very cold or warm compared to room temperature water.
  3. Acclimating your betta...
      This is the process of getting your new betta used to his new home and water. In most cases, the water that your pet store uses or the breeder you bought your betta from is completely different than yours. Being dumped from one kind of water into water with completely different parameters is very stressful and can be dangerous on your betta. So you want to do this right.
    1. When you bring your new betta home, float his unopened bag in his new home (that you prepared from the directions above!). Let him float for about 10 minutes, by this time the temperature of the water in the bag will be the same as the temperature of the water outside the bag.
    2. Cut open the top of his bag and gently add some water from his new home to his bag. I would say about cup of tank water or so. I try very hard not to get the bag water in his new home ESPECIALLY if he came from a per store. Most pet stores do not take care of their bettas.
    3. After about another 10 minutes, I add a bit more of his tank water to the bag and let him sit for about 5 minutes. 
    4. He is then ready to go into his new home. I try to pour him into a net and then place him in his new home so that the water from the pet store is not mixed with his new, fresh clean water. Also, make sure that you wet the net before using it on him, a dry hard net has to be painful!
  4. Feeding your betta . . .
    1. Regardless of what those pet store people or betta vase people say, your bettas DO need to be fed daily. 
    2. The amount you feed them is sometimes hard to describe without showing someone. If you are feeding small pellets such as Aquaculture Bettas then I would suggest about 7 pellets or so.
    3. You can feed your bettas twice per day if you wish, but I wouldn't feed them two large amounts, rather I feed them two average amounts.
    4. Types of foods...
      1. Aquaculture Bettas - A small pellet that is made for bettas. This is a great food for the average betta owner.
      2. Tetra Betta-Min - A flake food that is not eagerly accepted by most bettas but some bettas do enjoy it.
      3. Hikari Betta Bio-Gold - a small pellet for bettas. Can be substituted with Hikari Cichlid Gold - Baby pellets. Please be careful, young bettas can choke on these. Adults like them fine.
      4. Freeze Dried Foods- These are eagerly accepted by most bettas. Blood worms and Brine Shrimp are the most common.
      5. Frozen Foods - These are excellent foods for your bettas and for conditioning breeders. Blood worms and brine shrimp are also the most common. These can be thawed out and I rinse mine before feeding. Keep in mind this may spoil your betta into not wanting to eat his regular food!
      6. Live Black Worms - These are excellent for conditioning breeders or feeding as treats to your pet betta. They need to be rinsed thoroughly one per day and I always rinse them before feeding. The downside to these is that they can harbor parasites or other diseases that can cause your bettas to become ill. This is why it is important to rinse thoroughly and if you can find a place you trust to buy them from. Keep in mind this may spoil your betta into not wanting to eat his regular food!
      7. Mosquito Larvae - Hands down the betta's favorite food. Not to mention they are free! Place a bucket with water outside your house during mosquito season. Add a few leaves and in a week you can start harvesting live mosquito larvae for your bettas. They will go NUTS over them. Make sure you keep that bucket of water clean, you don't want to harvest bacteria and parasites along with the larvae! Keep in mind this may spoil your betta into not wanting to eat his regular food! Rinse them before feeding. Note- Check your local city ordinance to make sure it isn't illegal to have standing water for mosquitoes!
    5. If you are worried that you are over feeding your betta, it is ok to not feed him for a day. This comes into play if you feel your betta may be having swim bladder problems. If they are stuck floating at the top of their bowl and can't seem to swim down easily, then cut back on their feeding.
    6. Vacation Feeding - If you are planning on taking a trip and are worried about your betta buddy, don't be. He will be fine for a weekend trip and even up to a week trip. This is, of course, if you have taken care of him regularly and he is healthy.

     

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Last update:
  March 23, 2009 10:27 PM CST

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