A beautiful bright red and light pink Halfmoon Betta Fish.

Betta Fish or Siamese Fighting Fish

Betta Fish, aka Siamese Fighting Fish, are a popular starter fish for many people. They are colorful and easy to care for, that is if you know how. The proper care of Betta Fish is essential to it’s health and livelihood. Most people see them in stores in small bowls and think that is how they can be kept, but that is not true. While that is a great way for the stores to display and sell them, since males must be kept by themselves and tend to be the more popular betta fish gender due to their colorful finange, it is not a long term solution for living conditions of the Betta Fish.

Tank Requirements

Betta Fish should be kept in a tank that is a minimum of 2.5 gallons, but if you really want to see it thrive, it should be kept in a 5 gallon tank or larger with a heater and filter. If you will be adding other tankmates, you will want a larger tank. Betta Fish like warm water so ideally the temperature should be between 76-82 degrees. It is best to keep betta tanks simple in design and use live plants since plastic plants and decorations can have rough edges and easily ruin the fins of the beta fish.

Before you buy your betta fish, it is best to set up your tank and have the water conditions ready to go. Even though betta fish are hardy, they will live longer if you properly care for the tank and make sure the water conditions are ideal. Tap water is best since distilled water removes important minerals from the water that are essential to fish survival. It is important to use a water conditioner though to remove the harmful chlorine and other chemicals that are dangerous to the fish.
A picture of the very popular Crowntail Betta Fish.

Dealing with Aggression

Because the male betta fish is aggressive, it should be kept separate from other betta fish in most situations, and is usually best to be kept separate from other fish in general, especially smaller fish. Female betta fish are usually smaller in size and less aggressive, but not always. If they are docile, you can have three or more females in a tank together.

Doing a water change is simple, but can require the most manual labor of all the maintenance processes. you will use a gravel vacuum to syphon the waste from within the gravel, and suck the waste and the aquarium water into buckets. These buckets of old water can be dumped down the drain or the toilet. Then you will want to fill the buckets up with tap water as close to the aquarium temperature as possible, add the dechlorinator and aquarium salt you used when first setting up the aquarium, mix the buckets and pour them into the aquarium.

Keeping a Happy and Healthy Betta Fish

To keep your Betta fish happy and healthy it is important to do a weekly water exchange. Ideally, you only need to remove 10% of the water and replace with clean water of the same temperature, but a few times a year you will want to throughly clean the tank and do a 50% water exchange. Never use soups to clean your tank and be sure to rinse your rocks well. When cleaning the tank, be sure to keep your betta in a separate container with some of the old tank water in it. Always use a water declorinator to remove harmful chemicals from the fresh water.

You must also learn to feed your fish properly if you want it to be happy and healthy. Betta fish love frozen brine shrimp and bloodworms, but some people prefer to feed them betta pellets. Ideally it is best to feed them a few times throughout the day, but if schedules do not allow, at least morning and evening. Only feed them enough food that they can consume in ten minutes. If any food remains in the tank, be sure to remove it to prevent disease. Also note, because betta fish are top feeders, be sure they know the food is coming so it doesn’t all sink to the bottom.

Following these simple guidelines will usually help your Betta Fish live long and prosper:) Thus ensuring not only the happiness of the fish, but the owners as well, who will then hopefully become life long aquarium finatics!