|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.
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- ½ 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.
- 1 gallon bowl - Change
weekly, no tank mates advised. Can have a live plant
such as a Betta Bulb or Java Moss.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Tap Water Treatment -
- 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.
- Temperature - Bettas are a
tropical fish so they prefer warmer water. I suggest a
constant temperature of 76°F, they can handle temperatures
from 70°F to 82°F, but I have found mine most happy at
76°F. 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.
- Salt - I do add salt to my
tanks and jars. I add ½ 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Cut open the top of his bag and gently add some
water from his new home to his bag. I would say about ¼ 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.
- After about another 10 minutes, I add a bit more
of his tank water to the bag and let him sit for about 5
- 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!
- Feeding your betta . . .
- Regardless of what those pet store
people or betta vase people say, your bettas DO need to be fed
- 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
- 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.
- Types of foods...
- Aquaculture Bettas - A small
pellet that is made for bettas. This is a great food for the
average betta owner.
- Tetra Betta-Min - A flake
food that is not eagerly accepted by most bettas but some
bettas do enjoy it.
- 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.
- Freeze Dried Foods- These are
eagerly accepted by most bettas. Blood worms and Brine Shrimp
are the most common.
- 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
- 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!
- 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
- 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.
- 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