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

This reply is probally wayyyy to late but the same thing happens with my fish. Try changing the food. Females aren't big fans of pellets.

Yeah she past last year

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
Freddy1023417 days ago

I just got my betta fish and it isnt really eating i put food i got from the store designed for him and he eats it and spits it out then somtimes eats it again im really worried because he is my first fish and hes really pretty and can somone please tell me what to do so he will eat

Adam Prime1 month ago
Well I just bought 3 bettas...and uhmmm...should I get a separated tank or just put a divider?

Well It doesn't really matter The divider can NOT be clear so that the fish can see through. That will stress out the fish and it could kill the fish.

pfaulkner12 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?

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.

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.

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?

poppy8 neetz20 days ago

Yes, you can train it to jump by holding a piece of food above the water everyday, so it jumps.

They sometimes bite your finger, but it does not hurt, it tickles

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.

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?

First, consider checking the aquariums temperature as well as PH as these can be affecting him. Mine died to day, exhibiting the same symptoms as you described. Be very watchful of him, look at his face and see if there are white holes on it, swollen eyes, torn fins and swollen bladder too, if so, it will be extremely difficult to save him. Chances are, he has a type of Velvet decease or a bacteria. Go to a pet store and ask for extra information, and if it turns out it is a bacteria, don't get your hopes up, these are very difficult to treat in fishes.

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!

bree01481 month 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 bree01481 month 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)

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!2 months 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

srees53 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.hovey4 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 :)

TinaO1 year 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

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