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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.

Check out my betta and general aquarium-related videos on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/blueaquatics

My Simple Betta Breeding Aquarium Setup:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5FQXXV6xMvU

SUPER DELTA BETTA | Quick Aquarium Vlog:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LHLR2l_gdQ

PLANTED DISCUS AQUARIUM | Quick Aquarium Vlog:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q10cV5TkT48

Upgrading my 3 Gallon Nano Reef Aquarium:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfFE_pPSXb8

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.

<p>I just bought my beta from Pet Smart about an hour ago, I have put him in a 2 gal tank with a plastic plant and cave. My last beta was very active after I bought him, but this one seems to be just hovering near the top, he is also much smaller than my other one. I used Aquarium salt, water conditioner and Nutrafin biological aquarium supplement 3 days before I got him. I turned off my filter because he seemed to be struggling a little bit, but I will probably turn it back on later once he's adjusted. I also hope he's not sick but he seems to be doing fine. Thanks!!</p><p>(I'm also looking for name suggestions!!)</p>
<p>Alexis hunter--Are you serious about training your Betta to do tricks? I enjoyed your post but am still laughing over it. I bought a Betta today and am beginning to think that I am in over my head as to their care. </p>
<p>my fish won't eat its flaky food. I didn't have food a first so I fed him mosquitoes. His name is Freddy. </p>
<p>Good for you, mosquitoes are ideal! :) </p>
Hello. I am from the Philippines. I fell inlove with the fish because of the simple reason that it is beautiful and it is less stressful to maintain it, plus the fact it wont need air pumps as it will use electricity (an issue in our office). I just want to ask if my bettas are all male? For now, I am using mineral water. Will it harm them? How about the tank? It is the only thing I can afford for now.<br><br>Thanks for the comments and help.
<p>These fish are all male. Do you know the temperature of their water? Bettas are tropical fish and need a steady temp between 75-81 to thrive. Keeping fish long term in containers that size is the equivalent of spending your whole life in a closet. Since these &quot;tanks&quot; have no filtration, you should be doing DAILY 90-100% water changes to remove the toxic ammonia the fish are constantly producing. Hope this is helpful. </p>
The all blue one is a female
I usually buy spring water for my betta and treat it still and he loves it
Flexo is sick and I don't know what to do! I have changed his filter as I do every month! I added salt to the tank, even though I have live plants and after a change in the tank I never added it. I have been doing water changes and with no luck! I think he has Popeye;as he has white rings around both of his eyes. And even though he is eating he has become very lethargic and is not his usual playful self ?! any advice on how to treat this disease? Or tips?
<p>Hi bluecaban13,</p><p>Hope your fish is doing okay!!</p><p>Your filter media (sponge, pad etc) is where your beneficial bacterial live. These bacteria convert the harmful waste chemicals your fish constantly produces (ammonia) into a harmless substance (nitrate) that you remove when you do water changes. For this reason, you don't want to change out the filter media on a monthly basis - you only need to shake it gently in a little tank water to clear out some of the muck. Every time you toss your &quot;old&quot; filter media, your aquarium has to start from scratch building up a new colony of bacteria, and this process is toxic to your fish! </p><p>To see if this is what's affecting your buddy, you can buy an API master test kit or take a sample to a local aquarium store and ask them to test it for you (free). If the test shows ANY amount of Ammonia or Nitrite, buy a water conditioner called Prime and add four drops per gallon every other day until the Ammonia and Nitrite readings are zero. The Prime will detoxify these substances while still allowing the bacteria to consume them so your tank will &quot;cycle&quot;. </p><p>Best of luck, and I hope your little guy recovers!</p>
<p>Check this girls Betta experience! </p><p><a href="http://www.theglaurydays.com/2016/04/01/a-fish-named-feesh/" rel="nofollow">http://www.theglaurydays.com/2016/04/01/a-fish-nam...</a> </p>
I have had blueberry *my betta fish* for about three years now!! He's an adorable little guy but he recently developed pop eye.. He has a heater and also a filter that I just bought today he is in a 10 gallon tank and I'm using distilled water always have and he's been alive for three years which a bettas life span is to about four years hes still very active but his eye is bulged out and its making him hurt and just lay around he does swim around still and eats.. I purchased some fish mox and do daily 50% water changes.. This is the first day of treatment.. But I had to take him out to do the water change and the filter I bought today requires you to run it for 24 hrs before inserting fish.. So I filled the container with the water in his tank and put him in.. Will he be OK overnight?? Also I wasn't able to run his previous filter due to it being too big and powerful it was for 15-20 tank!! But anyways will he be OK overnight?? Should I run the filter while doing treatments?? And if so what can I do to make sure he doesn't struggle when he goes back into the tank after the filter runs for 24hrs.. The previous filter I left off most of the time until I cleaned his tank which I do every week and water changes.. But still distilled water and he seems to love it he's even still the colors he was when I got him he's a happy lil guy but I'm worried I'm not treating him right. Please let me know and thank you
<p>DO NOT use Melafix on a Betta, the tea tree oil in it is toxic to them and damages their labyrinth organ (which allows them to breathe the air above the water). If you use it for long enough, they won't be able to breathe and drown. </p>
thanks for sharing bought one the other day and double tail male back and blue very nice color scheme but I want to enhance the blue any suggestions?
<p>well first off if you go to store there are foods that are color enhancing thats the best and healthiest option in my opinion</p>
<p>thanks for information . verry good http://www.betta-fish.com/</p>
Hmmm, my two betta fish have been living in a 1 gallon tank for four years now and they are doing just fine. Dont waste your money on a large and elaborate tank. Just saying.
Betta's thrive in larger tanks. They swim around back and forth, up and down. If you can afford to and have the space a 2.5 or 5 gallon is really great for one betta.
where can i get hoods for my 2.5gl tanks ?,
Oh a list of what I use is just stress coat &amp; water conditioner <br>And I have a real plant in the 2L tank as well and I use pellets give him 5 pellets once a day except for Sunday and Wednesday for fasting
<p>I only use stress coat the day before I change the water to stop him stressing over a maybe tiny change in water chemistry.</p><p>2L is not so great. 1gallon of water = 2.5litres, so these guys NEED a tank.</p>
<p>that is so funny, and kool!!!!!</p>
So I just bought my beta yesterday. He's living in a 2.5 gallon tank. I didn't know it was necessary to have a heater or a filter. I'm definitely going to get the heater this weekend but not the filter. I don't really see why I need one when I can just clean the tank. Anyway earlier I took a cup of the tank water out and put in a warm cup of new water, the fish was not in the tank, because when I put my fingers in the tank it seemed really cold.Again anyway should I not have done this? My fish is like really scared now. He was swimming around the whole tank and his head seemed to be twitching and he was at the bottom of the tank in the corner. Right now he's at the very top of the tank just hovering. Is he going to die? I'm really concerned.
<p>I hope your betta is ok!!! You need to have a heater, thermometer, and water conditioner for your betta. The ideal water temperature for your betta is 75F - 82F. Please do Not put your fish in a warm cup of tap water to warm it up. Warm tap water can be over 90F which can harm or kill your fish. Remove your fish along with some of his tank water in a large cup at least the size of the container you bought him in. Clean the tank, put the heater in the clean water and put the conditioner drops in which help remove the chlorine from tap water which can harm your fish. Follow the instructions on the betta water conditioner so you know how many drops to put in for your size tank, Make sure the thermometer says between 75F - 82F before you put your fish back in his tank. You can just add the water from his cup to the tank as well. Keeping the same water temperature after cleaning is very important. The heater will keep it consistent, and the thermometer will let you know for sure. Good luck!!! </p>
<p>You should Not put your betta in a cup of warm tap water because it can kill your fish. They do like warm water but the water temperature needs to be specific. Between 75F - 82F is ideal. You need a water heater and a thermometer. Both are inexpensive. Putting your betta in what feels like warm water out of the tap can kill it because it could easily be over 90F which is way too hot! Also, you need to get a water conditioner for bettas which takes the chlorine out of the tap water among other things that are harmful for your betta. This is easy to use. Just follow the directions at it will tell you how many drops to use for your size tank. Get your tank ready for your fish before you but him in. Just make sure that when cleaning the tank the new water is the same temperature as the old water. This will prevent him from getting hurt. The water heater stays in the tank all the time and keeps the water a steady temperature at about 80F which your better will love. </p>
<p>You should Not put your betta in a cup of warm tap water because it can kill your fish. They do like warm water but the water temperature needs to be specific. Between 75F - 82F is ideal. You need a water heater and a thermometer. Both are inexpensive. Putting your betta in what feels like warm water out of the tap can kill it because it could easily be over 90F which is way too hot! Also, you need to get a water conditioner for bettas which takes the chlorine out of the tap water among other things that are harmful for your betta. This is easy to use. Just follow the directions at it will tell you how many drops to use for your size tank. Get your tank ready for your fish before you but him in. Just make sure that when cleaning the tank the new water is the same temperature as the old water. This will prevent him from getting hurt. The water heater stays in the tank all the time and keeps the water a steady temperature at about 80F which your better will love. </p>
<p>Oscar, my two year old betta was treated for tail rot about three months ago and again about a month later. Since being treated I started to notice that he didn't look right. He developed a lump on one side, his top fin lies to the side and his body is now curved. According to the pet store I bought him from he has scoliosis. I've talked to so many different employees and given so much different advice, I don't know what to do. One employee told me he could live happily another year or two with this condition, another told me he'll only last a month or two. His home is a 3 gallon bowl with a heater he likes to lie against and plant leaves he rests on. I've been told to keep his temperature around 74 degrees and by a different employee to keep it around 80 degrees. I do a complete water change once a week and add about a tsp of aquarium salt and tap water conditioner. His condition seems to change day by day. Today he seems worse. He hasn't eaten, if he moves off a resting leaf he sinks to the bottom and lies there on his side until he seems to get the strength to swim to the top of the bowl. I've removed water and lowered his heater so he's closer to the top when he need air. At times he seems to be struggling to breath or panting through his mouth. It's heartbreaking to watch him go through this, I'm doing what I can to make him comfortable. The pet store has a &quot;matter of fact, he's going to die&quot; attitude. Can you please give me any advice or is there anything more I can do for him? I would appreciate anything you can tell me.</p>
Well what I want to know is when you are cleaning the tank or moving decorations,what is the best way of making it as lease stressful for your fish as possible
<p>I use tongs designed for feeding reptiles. They are usually made of wood, have good tactile strength, and my betta doesn't seem to mind it much. They come in different sizes too so you can use them in any size tank.</p>
<p>Good article! You seem to pretty much have it covered, but if you want any more info then this article is worth checking out too: <a href="http://bettafishcare.com/betta-fish-care/betta-fish-care-guide/" rel="nofollow">http://bettafishcare.com/betta-fish-care/betta-fish-care-guide/</a></p>
<p>I own a very vicious betta named buddy. He's bit me twice, he has kills a whole tank full of fish, he flares at me, ect. To sum it all up he's a jerk and now lives in a 5 gal tank with no other fish except an algae eater. I did manage to train him a few tricks. He also knows his name. He also knows when I yell at him for flaring at me. He is a Wal-Mart rescue. I was buying supplies and saw him and fell in love. I don't support walmart in how they care for fish but it was love at first sight. I believe he thinks he is a dog.</p>
<p>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? </p>
<p>you CAN NOT keep to males together!! and female </p><p>sororities need lots of experience, and you need waaayy more room. </p>
I wouldn't put more than one fish in that small of space. That's not very peaceful for them
<p>no no no sorties need expirience so stick to one betta or none. YOU CAN FIND SPACE FOR A TWO GALLON. NO MORE VASES! Please do your fish a favor and upgrade!</p>
<p>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.<br><br>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!</p>
<p>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.<br><br>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.</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>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.</p>
Man my fish has been swimming around normal tap water and it's still going companies just want us to spend money on supplies and yes it's a better fish in regular warm tap water I don't even let it sit and I've done three water changes in three weeks
<p>Hello Raymond!</p><p>The tap water is toxic to the fish - I am telling you this for your own sake and for your fish's sake. If you are going to use tap water you need to apply tap water conditioner! Such as this:</p><p><a href="http://www.apifishcare.com/product.php?id=655#.Vk8_a3arSUk" rel="nofollow">http://www.apifishcare.com/product.php?id=655#.Vk8...</a></p><p> Please don't accidentally kill your fish :( Thank you and best wishes!</p>
<p>hi i have been doing research on bettas and i want to know what kind of betta i should get. And would a 1 gallon tank be good enough </p>
Can you please help me to see my bettas is it going to lay eggs. As I read some articles the signs look alike.
<p>Please remember that plecos can grow up to two feet long and need enormous aquariums. Though it may be funny to see a betta zipping around in a 100 gallon tank, I would stick to snails and shrimp as their tankmates. </p>
<p>You can check out more betta fish tail types here: </p><p><a href="http://www.bettafishclub.com/2015/08/25/betta-fish-types-and-tails/" rel="nofollow">http://www.bettafishclub.com/2015/08/25/betta-fish...</a></p>
<p>is a one gallon tank okay? i also have a 20 gallon in my basement but is that too big?</p>
<p>Thanks! I'll start cycling the 20 gallon</p>
UPDATE: If you are planning on adding other fish to accompany your betta, clown plecos are perfect for 20 gallon tanks! For more information click on this link: http://homeaquaria.com/5-best-betta-tank-mates/
What I read was the minimum required number of gallons is 5(you probably can do smaller but maybe that depends). I have a ten gallon tank for Marco, my betta, and he is doing perfectly fine. Marco seemed even happier in a more big and open space with lots more decorations than living in his 1 gallon bowl with only 1 decoration and a plant.<br><br>So basically, my answer is the bigger, the better. As long as you have a proper filter, a heater, and a moderate amount of decorations and he will be very happy! I was lucky he survived his first year and a half in that cramped thing!<br><br>Side note: I highly recommend buying one of those hollow log decorations you can get at PetZoo. The stay afloat beneath the surface and the betta can swim in and out of it. My betta was even happier than he already was when I put it in!<br><br>This was a long answer, and hopefully you read it all. If you did, thanks so much! This was my very first answer, and I hope I was of assistance :)
Some of your info is wrong....if anyone truly cares for their the fish and want the best for their fish, join fishlore! Real plants are the best for them, and their are a few nice ones that are great for beginners and don't require high light, co2 etc. Also minimum should be 5 gallons, they need a heater and filter (low current of course). Fishless cycling is the best as it is more humane. To help cycled your tank without waiting to long THE BEST PRODUCT IS SEACHEM STABILITY! This product is great and been prefer my people with multiple tanks and years behind them. It also allows you to do water changes in the case where you already have fish and your ammonia or nitrites get high. Also if your really wanting to be a good pet parent invest in API master testing kit, NEVER RELY ON STRIPS! They are inadequate and most pet store use them. Also never rely on the pet store employee to give you the correct info...they are there to sell to you...could be a cashier just filling in. Do research or join legit forums (like fishlore, planted tank etc.). That is just quick basics, there are a lots more info fish parents should know. If you can't afford to care for them appropriately, then you shouldn't own them...simple. Fish keeping isn't just throwing them in a bowl and your done...lot of patience, work and money to provide them what they deserve. .a owner willing to take the responsibility to care for them. Btw, where they originally came from really don't have any valid point the majority of what you buy (speaking an bout betta's ). They are raised and breed in captivity...js. Happy fish keeping! =]

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