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

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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Help! My betta keeps hanging at the bottom & then going to the top to get air. I have cleaned his tank properly & until today he was fine. He has gotten almost gray from being a deep red. How can I help him?

I used to have veiltail betta, murphy, but he died and I buried him in a popsicle stick coffin.

wow.... A Popsicle stick coffin. I'd expect someone to bury a dog, cat, guinea pig, rabbit, rat, hamester, any type of lizard/ gecko maybe. But a fish... WOW

if I get attach to a pet I will do this to.

Dont say that comment because my aunt's fish Queen Indie died like September 18 2014 i buried it bit not in a coffin. so that is just mean to say you can burry time caples and nothing is wrong about that. so dont be mean i will flag your comment!

pfaulkner11 month 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?

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.

bree014818 days ago
I was given a male half moon betta and his poor tail is all ripped is there anything i can do to make his tail pretty again or will he look feisty for the rest of his life?
JayF2 bree014811 days ago

If you just got him then that's usually normal for bettas to come in poor condition. The best thing to do is to keep his water really clean with all levels of ammonia and nitrite down. If it doesn't improve over a week or so then I'd go to the petstore and buy medicine for fin rot (I heard melafix might help, but personally I avoid melafix because it's been known to suffocate fish)

Adam Prime24 days ago
Well I just bought 3 bettas...and uhmmm...should I get a separated tank or just put a divider?

My Bettas finns are damaged

I have the most beautiful beta, his name is George and he acts like a dog. He is very social, gets his feeling hurt when i am gone for the weekend and has several "aunties" that spoil him rotten when im gone. He is quite adorable and i never thought betas would be this way. This site helped me discypher several myths on beta care.
monica62able made it!1 month ago

very informative...i have tropical fish but i felt like my Alphie needed to be rescued from WalMart...Ive only had him about 4 weeks and Im learning all I can...I also got a female, Missy, about a week ago..i love these fish and they see to love me too

srees52 months ago

i have one betta but his fins accideantally cutted by another betta. what can i do for to grow his fins

NICE INSTRUCTABLE! I had a betta that got some sort of fungus, and by the time I baught the meds, he was dead.

it's not instructables fault, it's yours. You shoulda bought the meds faster.


Not instructables fault your fish had fungus

iGabe (author)  PINKmonster3253 years ago
Very good guide. One extra point is that if they get swim bladder and float to the top or are swimming wonky then boil a single frozen pea, peal and deposit it in the water for it to eat. Remove the remainder.

Basically when they have swim bladder they get constipated and this can help them become regular within there bowel movements. I wish I could still have a beta in my new place but I'm in a rented place with no pets allowed.

If you are going to keep him in a bigger tank you can give him a few females, they recommend a small shoal of three as he is picky and they socialise with other females. You should give him a place to hide as he is aggressive and sometimes they gang up on him and nip his fins. I made a coconut house that had been properly boiled to remove the tannins with some live soft plants growing from the top through the three holes.

I hope this also helps. (It is my first reply.)

I'm sorry, but you are wrong about keeping females with a male betta. Male and female bettas will fight each other and can kill each other. Even when they are ready to breed and put together briefly for mating one or both can end up dead.

You can, with caution, keep a sorority tank of female bettas so long as they have plenty of room, plenty of places to get away from each other (plants, caves, etc), plenty of surface space so that they can get to the surface to breathe and to eat without crowding each other.

I agree

beeur1 year ago
Hi, I've had my betta for several months now. He has huge beautiful fins, always spread out except this morning... his fins are closed up and Ive never seen this. I just added a heater to his tank. It was cold in my house the other day. This is the only thing that is different. I changed 1/3 of his water this AM but Im worried. Please advise!

Bettas always need heaters, they are tropical fish from Thailand. Make sure you monitor the temperature tho so they do not over heat! How big is the tank? The ammonia could be building up quickly and causing stress. Make sure to always use a dechlorinater when doing water changes too, like Stress Coat +. Most likely his fins are clamped from cold. Make sure the heater is working correctly and at a good temperature.

betta fish do not require heaters its better for the water to be too cold then too hot so no need for the heater :)

corrin.hovey3 months ago

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

I have a little tank that isn't even a gallon, is this bad for Mr. Barb? I also want to add a plant to it because I feel like it will make him more comfortable, and I change the water once a week at lesat because I don't want him to get sick or whatever so... yes. Which plant should I use though?

you want to make sure that your fish has enough room to move around if he barely has enough room to turn then you need to upgrade to a bigger tank before you add any plants :)

TinaO11 months ago
Ok. . . think I screwed up. . . I changed the bowl water for both my bettas yesterday and I used some Dawn dish detg on the gravel to try to clean it out. I did rinse it very thoroughly but above it says that it can still seep into the water and kill the fish. Is there a way to remedy that? Should I just throw away the gravel and buy new? What about the bowl itself. . . should I just rinse it each time rather than using any soap on it? Please help, I've only had the bettas for a short time and am still learning about proper care, but I love the fish. They are so colorful, and I love watching them. May even graduate to a full fish tank that I have always wanted if I can figure out how to keep the cats from getting to it!!!!

reclean with vinegar and water you should be fine

corrin.hovey3 months ago

Never ever use soap when cleaning your fish tank if there is grime in the tank use vinegar and water. but never soap not any brand of soap!

michellequehl3 months ago

I had a buddy when i was growing up have 2 mails in the same tank that was WAY too small for just one they had them separated by a peace of plexy glass for a long time and one day they forgot to put it in when they cleaned the tank and because they're so used to seeing each other they just swam together not knowing the difference... there were no plants decorations or anything (do not do this unless your brave or are a cruel person who is looking to watch them kill each other) it was totally fluke but i wonder if its something that can happen again. if you want to try it keep a sharp eye on them for a long time and "ease" them into each others company with short monitored interactions. again unless your a very diligent person (or a jerk) DONT DO IT

Lily pea7 months ago

My Betta, Bryan(Brain), keeps going around the filter

is there something wrong with him?


Joshua A8 months ago

Thank you my betta fish died so now I know how to take care of one

Great guide :)
Was glad to see that I was, if fact, doing things completely right!
I have a betta, Armando, housed in a ten gallon aquarium and get bubble nests frequently. He had a weak dinosaur air pump which he rather enjoys, as well as live plants and ornaments to play around in/with :)
Lei_Kei1 year ago
Now I find this, after killing two of them in one week :/

poor little guys...
leok01 year ago
Betta fighter fish is one of the most fun fish to have. I have always loved this fish since my childhood. They come in almost all colors and varieties and it depends upon your choice, what kind you want to rear.
Here is the site where you can get some more better tips and personal expirience on how you can take good care of betta and increase its life span.

Ghost Wolf3 years ago
I got my betta fish recently and it spits the food out then takes it again is that normal?
iGabe (author)  Ghost Wolf3 years ago
Yes, it just means the food you are feeding him is too large for him to chew properply, so that is why he just spits it out.
it's probably to big for it
neetz3 years ago
i just have a question, i was going to buy a male Betta but i wanted to train it to eat from my finger, will they bite?also, do they jump?

iGabe (author)  neetz3 years ago
Just simply put a pellet or a freeze-dried bloodworm on a moistened fingertip, and place your finger about 1-3 inches from the surface so he can reach it.
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