Picture of How to Properly Care for a Betta
How to Properly Care for a Betta Fish

This instructable will teach you how to properly care for a betta, a beautiful and hardy fish ideal for the beginner. And unlike other ornamental fish-related instructables, this one will actually give you legitimate facts about bettas that will allow your betta to thrive.

Betta Breeding Setup:
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Step 1: The Betta Background

Picture of The Betta Background
Bettas, aka Siamese Fighting Fish or Betta Splendens, originally came from the muddy ponds, streams and rice paddies of Thailand. The original betta splendens had dull coloring and short fins.

The bettas we know today have long flowing fins and come in all sorts of striking colors, due to genetic mutations while breeding. Their long flowing fins is a distinguishing characteristic that is only acquired by the male, female bettas are generally smaller and have short fins. Male betta's aggressiveness is another trait that sets them apart from female bettas. Male bettas are much more aggressive than female bettas, that is why male bettas cannot be kept together where they are in contact with each other. Once in contact, they will instinctively fight to the death, hence the name siamese fighting fish. It is very important that the owner understands to respect this animal's trait, rather than to use it as a form of entertainment.
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betta_tag3 days ago

I wrote up a long post to describe my dire situation with my new betta and I have NO idea why it didn't show up below when I hit "comment"... So now the long and short of it is my betta is dying and I don't know how to fix it. I've only had him 3 days... I think its that he isn't eating, day 1 he seemed happy, day 2 he rested lots on/in the branches of his new plant and day three hes lying on the rocks or wherever he falls. Hes only moveing when startled and then crashes back on to the rocks sometimes on his side not up right! If anyone can help me PLEASE let me know soon!

You should definitely take him out of the tank in a container of fresh water. Do you use live plants? fresh water aquarium salts?
Sorry to hear about your beta! that behavior sounds like a reaction to some sort of toxin...or could've been ill when u purchased. ..but if was well...and then after a day in his new home...not so well, than perhaps the new environment. ..betas can go quite a long time without food (when needed). not sure the tank chemicals or environmental factors affecting your I would get a gallon of distilled water (i personally have had betas for 7 years) and never use chemicals in my fish's water...only distilled water
.so separate him from the tank in one gallon of distilled water. ...wait a day...then try and feed tiny amount of beta flakes food....see if he improves. when betas are really sick or about to die...they start to loose their color...become pale and almost whitish. ..more noticeable w/ males vs. females tho. good luck!
betta_tag3 days ago
ToriVIIA10 days ago
I got a new beta! :)
So I've been into fish care for years. I had one beta for 10 years and one for 7. I bought them from petsmart all that time ago. I decided to replace 10 year beta when he died. I decided I wanted to try plants. I also decided a Java plant was a good idea. By following the incorrect directions on the plant package, the stem of the plant rotted in the tank and killed my beautiful 7year fish :(
The fish that replaced my 10 year fish survived, but I think there was permanent damage to his eyes. I have kept him alive for 2 years by feeding him twice a week in a small cup with lots of food so he can find it and researched about the plant that is now healthy and happy.

Now to the point:
My fish was never the same color and never looked as healthy. The other day I realized my heater was broken and over heating the tank. The beta became completely swollen. I was afraid it was bacterial so I put him in his separate cup for a day and added a little extra fresh water salt. The swelling went down by the next day and I put him back in his tank. His color has been improving very slowly and I would love any and all advice! He went from dark blue to a white. After improving some he turned all red. Right now he's got purple and blue in his fins and face. Any ideas to speed up the process?

Sorry for such a long post

you can feed your betta some boiled cucumbe.

brenda_200316 days ago

My beta fish is acting rely weird. He is freaking out and he had theses little time when he swims around fast and does flips it this normal???

when i first go my betta it was acting the same way and after that its fins started to rot so i changed the water right away and added two pinches of salt and she has been better ever since

Ummm probably not unless he is a really happy betta!

He is really happy. I found out what the problem was... is water was not warm enough. Thanks for your help. -Brenda

GuyG410 days ago

I have an old friend and coworker who had a fish at her desk. She named it Patrick Swazi (however it's spelled). She was super attached to that fish. I wonder what happened to it.

ToriVIIA10 days ago
By the way the pic below is of my new fish. This is my sick one. I usually have two betas at one time.
brenda_200316 days ago

Here is a better photo and here is a better decryption. He keep bumping his nose against the tank.

Photo on 3-12-15 at 5.07 PM.jpg
brenda_200316 days ago

This is what he looks like. Is the tank too small

Photo on 3-12-15 at 4.59 PM.jpg
bridgee.man2 months ago

This is my betta he is in a bigger fish tank now but why is his fins like this is this normal?


Your betta is fine. It takes energy to flare out their fins, and they only do when they feel threatened or are trying to show off.

HELP! Don't know if filteration system is killing my beta. When I turn it on Fred goes and the Finns are almost sucked in is it to powerful for him?

Bettas don't like current; they come from still water, and their fins have been cultivated since to be so full that strong current can very well just carry them away. If your betta is being so affected by your filter, I don't think it is even a question that it is too strong. Downsize or change it to a kind that can't suck in his fins.

Aquist19792 months ago
My 5 yo son got a Betta fish as a Christmas gift. It came with the fish, a tank with water pump, plastic plants, gravel and betta food. He named it Fire because of it's red fins. Fire likes to hide under the water pump. Doing this has caused him to lose quite a bit of fin. Fire doesn't seem quite active and only really comes out for food. I believe his whole tank setup is wrong and needs a complete do-over. In doing some research on Bettas, I think I'm going to clean out his tank, add some water conditioner, buy some silk plants and some medicine for his fins. I would hate for Fire to die as he was a gift for my son. I would appreciate any positive advice. Thanks!

Plastic plants are never a good idea lol. May want to ditch the filter as well. How big is his tank? Filter less is cheaper and usually easier on these fish. My wife does a 2/3 water change once a week and on alternating weeks does a full water change and cleans his accessories. His water stays crystal clear and he seems to be a very healthy fish!

I'm going to get you some more feedback, but some from myself would be to check the levels in the water; ph, ammonia, nitrate
You can get a masters test kit and it will have the appropriate tests!
What is the temperature of the water? And remove the plastic plants and buy silk plants (can be bought at a local petstore) to avoid the fish from getting harmed from the plants! Is there a bright object in the tank, opposite side from where he hides, that may be scaring him? And what size is your tank?
(If you need to, feel free to message me on Facebook) hope all goes well with the little baby <3
corrin.hovey7 months ago

Funny this says they need a heater but my fish store says they do not hmm

Most people at pet stores have no clue what they are talking about! Better to do your own research before hand.

They are tropical fish, so they are happier when they're warmer, but I've found it depends a lot on how they're raised. A lot of them are raised at room temperature and are therefore used to it, but I've had a few (from a breeder I don't normally deal with) that were raised in a heated tank, and they really needed heaters. One was a beautiful peacock blue crown tail, and if the tank dropped two degrees he'd turn bleach white!

Actually my friend is sorta an expert at betas haha, and she said that you don't need a heater if your room is at 75 degrees

pfaulkner15 months ago

I'm interested in getting one or more Betta fish. Now is it true that you can have multiple females in one tank without them killing each other? Also, I've seen bettas being kept in flower vases - is that even good for them? I'm also having the problem that I can't fit a two gallon tank anywhere at my place (too small and crowded), but a gallon or better half gallon would fit. Now I know that ideally, the tank should be 2gal, but do you think that a single Betta would do fine in a half gallon tank with say a small plant in it?

I apparently didn't read your full post before responding :P Do not keep more than one betta in less than a 5 gallon tank. You're just asking for trouble if you do.

A single betta might do ok in a half gallon if absolutely necessary, but I'd never house them long term in less than a gallon. A half gallon is barely big enough for a full grown male to stretch his fins!

I never had luck with less than 5 females in a tank. I found it worked better if they were all added at once, so they all had an equal chance at claiming hidey holes and sorting out the pecking order. If I wanted to add new fish, I had to take them all out, rearrange the tank, and put them all in at once again. If I tried just adding a fish to the existing tank, she'd get picked on and sometimes killed. I only ever had one fish that was so agressive I had to put her in her own tank, though. I had a 10 gallon tank with 5-12 females in it at any given time for about 3 years.

If you do start a sorority tank, try to find a local-ish breeder (most will ship overnight if you're close enough), don't go to the pet store. Usually breeders are trying to breed show fish and will gladly give you a good price for the fish that aren't show-worthy, and you know those fish have been well taken care of, there's no telling what you're getting from a pet store.

CandyP pfaulkner13 months ago

If you decide to have 2 females together when you are putting the other female in have an extra tank/cup beside you in case they start fighting. If they do start fighting take out one and put it in the tank/cup. If they don't then they will be fine.

JayF2 pfaulkner14 months ago

Yes, females usually can be kept together however it isn't rare for one female to be aggressive and unable to be housed with another female. I find that vases are very cruel and they do not have enough space to thrive, as well as not having a heater which is essential for a healthy betta. They can survive but they will be very lethargic and in bad shape over time. They can be housed temporarily in vases but they can not live permanently in one especially not when the whether gets colder. I would say anything less than 2.5 gallons for a single betta is cruel and a half gallon tank is even more so. It'd most likely become incredibly bored and depressed. It's like you living in a closet for your entire life. If you don't have space for a big enough tank then I wouldn't buy a betta because it's unfair to them.

kandis.muth2 months ago
This says to use melafix but I've read in more the a couple places that melafix can harm your fishes organs and even kill them, I suggest beta fix, its less likely to harm your betta

Bettafix is melafix, just more diluted. It's cheaper to buy melafix and just use less. If you follow the instructions on the melafix bottle, though, it will kill the fish. I think I used about a quarter of the recommended dose, maybe a bit more if that wasn't working after a few days. I'd research it, though, it's been years since I've had to use it. I found the instructions on a betta blog.

SamsulP1 month ago

NICE INSTRUCTABLE!.............................

Betta Fish Famale Crowntail Yellow.png
Who ever said that Bettas need to be kept in smaller tanks. This is so not true! I had bought a blue half moon betta in a 1.5 gallon tank he looked miserable! He wouldn't come to eat he would always hide and he loved the flirter as well. My partner wanted to et a bigger tank and some fish. We decided to et a 30 gallon with a red tail shark 5 tetras, 5 zebra danios, and 2 femal Bettas. They all love each other and the betta loves the new tank. I had them all over a year now. People mistaken these fish and day they need a small tank and no water filtration. That's all bull! They need room to swim just like all the other fish do!
MeadeS22 months ago

Bettas do not do well in large tanks.Ideally 1.5 gallon- 5 gallon is all you need. They actually prefer smaller spaces. Their origin is tiny rice patties and most people don't understand their need for smaller spaces. In some cases, putting in large than 5 gallon tank could cause it much distress. You can easily do well with live plants as filters. If you only have 1 small fish. Bettas put out much less waste than most fits. Large filters are unnecessary and even harmful in some cases.

Very nicely organized points! And few things though just to make sure every Betta is a happy one :)
A Betta needs a minimum of a 5 gallon tank!
Make sure the temp is set at 75-80 degrees (have a thermometer!)
Do not feed freeze dried as it is bad for your Betta :(
Do water tests to check the nitrate, ammonia, ph, etc levels
And just highlighting a fact on this page, make sure plants and materials are silk and will not have a chance to scratch your fish.
And jointing a Betta fish group on a social media sight like Facebook is a good idea, because any questions you have can be answered immediately and if you know how to help someone else, there is a good place as well!
Enjoy your little babies <3
I was never really sure of the proper burial type for a fish, I always wondered what the fish would want. I feel like burying them in the ground isn't what they woild want. Lol. I always flushed them. Lol
annie.fee.912 months ago

Does the Seachem Prime Water Conditioner also cycle the water? Should I use both the Seachem Prime and the Cycle Biological Supplement? Or just the Prime by itself?

Ghost Wolf3 years ago
I got my betta fish recently and it spits the food out then takes it again is that normal?
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