Betta Fish Care Tips for Beginners


If you are planning on keeping Betta fish or you are already a Betta keeper, but struggling to give your fish the proper care. This article is intended to offer some guidelines and advice on how to care them the best way.

Basic information about the Bettas

  • They are also known as Siamese fighting fish.
  • They are meat eaters and have a life span of 3 years, although they can live longer than that if they get proper care.
  • Females are more social than the males, while the male is generally aggressive towards anothermale.
  • They prefer to swim alone and prefer water that is slightly acidic.

Signs of a healthy betta

  • Clear eyes
  • Bright coloration
  • Good appetite
  • Flaring
  • Great body shape

Signs of an unhealthy fish

  • Dull coloration
  • Swollen or red gills
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sunken eyes

Taking Better Care of Betta

Photo credit: StockSnap / Pixabay

A few things you should know when it comes to taking care of betta fish.

You need at least 3 to 5-gallon tank

Avoid putting Betta in a small bowl for a lengthy period of time because the fish will not thrive. They are prone to diseases and may even die if they are kept in poor quality water.

Avoid putting your fish in a small tank, because the size of the tank will determine just how much maintenance will be required. Small tanks require constant maintenance and it can be quite a taxing having to test the water every day and cleaning the tanks several times a week. Get a 3 or 5-gallon tank with a heater and a filter (for example Marineland ML90609 Portrait 5 Gallon Aquarium Kit ) to reduce maintenance costs as well as effort.

You need to accustom Bettas to the new tank

When you go to a new place you have never been before, you slowly adapt to the environment first. You just don’t hit the ground running. Well, it is the same thing with Betta. When you get your first Betta fish for the first time, do not just throw it in the water tank. Show your fish some love and consideration.

Betta get stressed out especially when they are in a new environment where the water temperature and pH are different from what they were used to.  So what you can do is let the fish float in its cup inside the new aquarium. Then add a few tablespoons of water into the cup every few minutes. This should not be tap water, it should be the tank water. Then see how the fish reacts and behaves. If they continues to behave normally, after 40 or so minutes, then you can go ahead and put him in his new tank.

Test the water quality before putting Bettas in the new aquarium

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Before you put your new fish in a tank, always test the water. Bettas are sensitive to changes in water temperature and pH. If the water quality is all wrong, do not expect your beautiful fish to live for long, let alone thrive.

If you are a new betta keeper, you can get a test kit at your local aquarium store. If you have no idea exactly what it is you are testing for, you can ask a expert or ask someone at the store who knows. But, basically, you should test for nitrite, ammonia, and nitrate. You should also test the pH regularly.

Toxins like nitrate, ammonia, and nitrite are odorless and colorless and can cause extensive damage before you even notice any signs of the water is off-color. Therefore, when your fish shows signs of ill-health, test the water first.

Change the water and clean the tank weekly

Change the water and clean the tank at least once a week. Normally, small tanks need frequent cleaning and water changes should be done regularly as well. This is why it is advisable not to get a tank that is under 2 gallons. Small tanks get polluted more quickly than larger ones, which means you would need to spend more time and energy cleaning them.

A large water tank, on the other hand, does not require too much maintenance especially if you are using a cycled tank.

Heater is essential for tank

Photo credit: chelsc2210 / Pixabay

Bettas are tropical fish and generally, they thrive in temperatures above 800 F. Not many new hobbyist know this and many aquarium store clerks never inform new owners of this important fact, it might be that they don’t even know it!

Betta do not thrive in cold water, therefore, ensure that the tank has a heater. Keeping the water at the appropriate temperatures can help you avoid many of the issues that new owners commonly face.

It is always advisable to learn more about the species before you decide to get one. Get the facts and information about their diet, the kind of environment they thrive in to ensure that you give your new Betta the proper care.

Betta care tips:

  1. Do not put your them in a tank that holds less than 3 gallons of water. Betta fish do not do well in bowls or very small tanks.
  2. Do not put two males together; otherwise, the fights between them will never end as males are aggressive towards other males. However, female can be put together since they are more tolerant. You can also put a male and female together; however, keep in mind if you want them to mate and the female rejects the male, the male may get aggressive and may even bully the female to death.
  3. If you want to house the Betta with a different species of fish, make sure they are about the same size. Otherwise, larger fish may eat smaller.
  4. Purchase a aquarium kit that has a heater and a filter.
  5. Avoid putting plastic plants in the tank, especially if they have rough edges as they could hurt or damage the  fins. Use live plants instead. They are better and prettier, plus fish love to lounge and hide in the leaves.

Watch video about how to care for Betta Fish

Read more about fish care and find out other articles about aquarium hobby. If you have any questions about Bettas, please post them below.

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