So you want a pet Betta fish (also known as Siamese Fighting Fish). These fishes are lots of fun and make wonderful pets. But they do need some specific care.
Let’s explore what it takes to have a pet Betta..
Even though Betta are small, they need lots of room to swim around. Bowls do not make good homes for Betta fish- imagine living in your closet – this is what a bowl is like for your new finned friend.
The best home for your Betta is an aquarium that is at least 5 gallons in size. You will also need some other items to make your Betta home great. These include;
- A low-flow filter – this helps take out all the harmful chemicals in our tap water and keeps the tank clean. It also adds oxygen to the water, which is vital to the fish.
- Small submersible heater – Betta need a warm tank, so a heater helps keep the water cozy and warm
- A lid with light – this gives your fish “daytime and nighttime.”
- Decorative gravel – this makes the tank look pretty and also helps keep the water clean.
- Decorations like a castle, or a small statue – not too many as these take up the room and make the tank too crowded.
- Live plants – Bettas love to hide among live plants. These also help oxygenate the water and keep it clean.
- Fish food
- Water condition – this is added to remove the chemicals found in tap water.
- Aquarium stand or a sturdy table to place the tank on
- Aquarium vacuum cleaner – this sucks the debris out of the gravel
- Brand new bucket (used only for fish tank maintenance)
How to Set Up a Betta Aquarium
Before you bring home your Betta, you have to get his tank ready. Here’s how to set up an aquarium.
Step #1 – Rinse the aquarium to rid it of any dust or residue.
Step #2 – Pour the gravel into a clean bowl and rinse it thoroughly. Pour it into the bottom of the aquarium.
Step #3 – Rinse your decorations and add them to the aquarium.
Step #4 – Place the aquarium on the stand or table – be sure it is where you want it as it is very heavy and will be difficult to move after it is full of water.
Step #5 – Fill the aquarium with water. The ideal temperature for Betta fish is 75 to 80 degrees. Place your heater in the tank and set it to 75 degrees. Use an aquarium thermometer to get the temperature right.
Step #6 – Add the water condition.
Step #7 – Set up the filter (according to directions).
Step #8 – Place the cover on the aquarium and turn the light on.
You will notice lots of debris floating around but this will clear up as the filter does its job.
After your aquarium has cycled for a couple of days, you are now ready ro add your Betta.
Adding a Betta to the Aquarium
After you have chosen your Betta, the person at the store will put him in a bag for you to bring him home in.
When you get home, remove the lid of the tank and let the bag float around on top of the water. This allows your Betta to get used to the water temperature of his new home. Do this for about 10 minutes.
Now, open the bag and allow some of your tank’s water to trickle into the bag. Do this every 5 minutes for about 20 minutes.
Note: You don’t want to just open the bag and pour your Betta into their new home – this is shocking his body and can do him harm.
After 20 minutes you can allow your Betta to swim out of the bag into their new home.
Place the lid back on the tank.
Feeding Your Betta
Betta are small pets, so they just need a small amount of food. A good rule to follow is only give your fish how much food he can eat in two minutes. Too much food can actually kill your fish, so just give them a pinch.
Feed your Betta fish a small pinch of food twice a day (once in the morning and once in the evening.
Cleaning Your Fish Tank
You will need to clean your fish tank once a week. However, cleaning the aquarium doesn’t mean taking out all the water. You only have to do a partial water change (this is about 10%).
Using a new bucket and the aquarium vacuum cleaner, suction through the gravel – this pulls out all the fish waste and debris. Throw the dirty water away (or use it for the houseplants – they love it), then replace with clean water.
Be sure the tap water is the same temperature as the water in the aquarium and use your water conditioner to remove the chemicals.
Slowly pour the new water into the tank. Careful, not too fast or your fish might get scared.
Once a month you will have to change the carbon filter in the fish filter – rinse these well before you add them to the unit.
Fun Betta Facts
Did you know?
- Two male Bettas cannot live in the same tank. They will fight to the death
- The average lifespan of a well-cared for Betta is up to 5 years.
- Betta fish originated in Thailand
- Some Betta can recognize their owners. You may notice that your new buddy gets very excited when he sees you.
- Betta fish have a special organ called the labyrinth organ. This allows them to breathe oxygen from the air as well as from the water.
- Bettas come in a wide range of colors and fin lengths
- Only male Betta are colorful. Females are brown or grey with short fins.
- Male Bettas blow bubbles at the top of their habitat. This is where they place the eggs the female lays.
Do you think a Betta might be a good pet for you? Leave us a comment with your thoughts on these “fishy friends.”
Want to learn more about Bettas? Click here to visit Better Betta Care.
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