Picture of How to properly house betta fish @ home
Betta fish are some of the most mistreated fish in the world. In this instructable i will show you how to properly care for them.
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Step 1: Housing your betta

Picture of Housing your betta
To give your betta a good life don't use any tank smaller than 10 litres (2.5 gallons). Bettas come from large rice paddy fields and dont like small spaces. The tank also needs to have a lid because bettas jump.

Step 2: Heating

Picture of Heating
Bettas are tropical fish and heaters are a must if you want your betta to thrive.

Many people keep bettas without heaters. These fish are prone to stress and even death because the temperature is not kept stable.

The temperature should be about 26c (78.8 f).

Step 3: Filteration

Picture of filteration
Like all fish bettas produce waste products that are harmful to them. A filter should be added to the tank to help remove these toxins. make sure the filter is very low current as a fast current makes them stressed.

Step 4: Cycling

Picture of cycling
Before adding your fish you need to do a fishless nitrogen cycle.

Read my instructable on cycling (coming soon).

for now this page will give you all the cycle info.

Step 5: Adding the fish

Picture of Adding the fish
1. Float the bag/container the betta is in for 15 minutes.

2. Add 1 cup of your cycled aquarium water to the bag/container.

3. Wait 10 minutes.

4. Gently net the fish into the aquarium and discard the bag/container water.

Step 6: Maintanace and tips

# Change 25% of the water weekly with declorinated water.

# Feed a good quality betta food with over 40% protein.

# Wash the filter cartridge in old tank water monthly

# Never replace the filter cartridge even if it tells you to. The cartridge contains good bacteria.

Step 7: The end

Please comment and add suggestions. Feel free to ask a question.
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Do you have any tips for fin rot or tail biting? I bought a beautiful twin tail halfmoon betta at pet smart a few wks ago and about 10 days ago his tail fin started to disappear! I dont know if hes biting or if its fin rot, but now less than half is tail fin is there! He seems active and happy, but this is my first time keeping bettas :( I dont want him to die!!! the pic on the left was the day I bought him, the pic on the right is from this morning :( I am using stress coat and melafix right now and a couple grains of aquarium salt, but hes just getting worse after 4 days of this. I use betta ultimate water conditioner, he has an air hose but not a filter, he has a heater that keeps the water at about 78 degrees, His tank right now is only 1.7 gallons but I am working on cleaning out and then cycling a 40 gallon hex tank for him. I do need a new filter for the big tank as the one Ihave might be too strong for Houjin. Please help me!


The poor baby :( Glad he's feeling better! My baby recently had an outbreak of Fin Rot AND Ick. He was hiding behind the filter or heater and not really eating, not even when I gave him blood worms. After researching, I Placed my beta in a small .5 gallon tank to make medication and cleaning easier. Because there is no heater in it, I placed it a bit away's from a space heater to warm the water. All I did was clean his tank everyday, used Aquarium Salt ( 1/2 a teaspoon) for his medication, replaced him in after 24 hours and he's looking tons better since Wednesday! He's just a normal male betta that is purple and red. He looks like this you'll have to scroll down just a tad. He looks tons better than he did in that photo! His regular tank it a 5 gallon with a healter and Filter.

Bettas need at least 5 gallons! What are you doing putting him in a .5 gallon? Bettas come from rice patties and their territory is about 10,000 gallons. Im not surprised he has fin rot and ick because they are very prone to deceases in very small tanks.

Pet store bettas are, unfortunately, usually sick when you get them. The best thing to do is read up on them before buying and see if you can find one that's relatively healthy. You can also ask someone at the pet store when they normally get more bettas and try to get one from a new shipment.

If you're using melafix, use half or less of the recommended dose. There is another product by the same company called "bettafix", which is essentially the same but diluted. Melafix is actually pretty toxic, and bettas are affected by it more than most fish.

I always treated fin rot with just clean water and aquarium salt - about 1 teaspoon per 2.5 gallons of water. I'd put them in a smaller tank (my 2.5 gallon one instead of my 10 gallon one, usually) and change the water every day.

Here you can see his tail fin has started to grow back, we still have black but it is improving. He seemed to get worse before he started to get new growth.
IMG_20141014_093118_174.jpgIMG_20141014_091016_206 (1).jpg
I have been treating him for several weeks now, his fins are starting to regrow. I currently have him in a 1.8 gallon hex tank. He gets a daily dose of the melafix at .165 ml and the same dose of stress zyme, He developed a secondary infection which I am treating with API fungus cure. I change his water every 48 hrs and I am seeing a lot of improvement rapidly since I began adding in the fungus cure. He has remained active and friendly, always coming to show off for me no matter how many times a day I stick my face in front of his tank. When I see that the black yuck is gone from his fins i will be moving him to a 10 gallon. My husband thinks Im crazy since I have spent 10x the money treating Houjin than what I paid for him. But I love the little guy and I am determined to see him better. I am pretty sure he was past fin rot and onto fin melt, but he does appear to be improving. I see less blackened melty fins, a good amount of new growth and the weird off color patches that started showing up have disappeared since I started the Fungus Cure. Speaking of Houjin, it's time for his water change. thanks for the tips!
Ruby Diamonds8 months ago

I have 10 litre tank and I only have one betta fish a little hammock and a honeycomb house inside. But now my honey comb house is really bubbly because I always left the light on and I'm only 9 years old so how am I supposed to know.

I have a 45 gallon tank and have both my male and female betta in there all the time! They seem to get along just fine! They enjoy the space and deeper cleaner filtered water. They both have places to hide and ample access to the top of the tank for air and food!! They are happy and healthy fish! Even the people that we got them from are impressed with the fact that we can keep them in there without damage! It can be done but again bettas are like people and depends on the fish I guess we just got lucky!!
komecake3 years ago
I actually walked in a Petland a couple of months ago and found Betta's in old ALCOHOL BOTTLES. There was an advertisement that said, "Buy one drunk betta, get one drunk betta free!". HORRIBLE! Not just because of that, but mostly because the air hole at the top of those bottles is TINY. How would you like to be stuck in a closet with only that air to breathe for the rest of your life?! Ugh!
agdollison6 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
Aqua-Man (author)  agdollison6 years ago
i have heard tons of storys about them jumping out of the tank most survived because bettas can actually breath air with an organ called a labyrinth
tukmol Aqua-Man6 years ago
not for long. they eventually die in a couple of minutes, then dry up.
Aqua-Man (author)  tukmol6 years ago
i have heard story's of them surviving the whole night
Unless the humidity's hovering around 100% I wouldn't believe that at all. They can breate atmospheric air but their bodies will dry up anyway, and so will their gills and labyrinth organ.
pyro13 Aqua-Man6 years ago
Woah really?! where did you here that?
Aqua-Man (author)  pyro136 years ago
what about bettas breathing air
I've been breeding bettas for 11 years. They can jump out and survive on the floor for quite some time. Any betta of mine who managed to dry up overnight has only lasted a few days after being 'brought back'. But I do have a female currently who was knocked off a table by my cats and survived in a crack in the flooring for 4 hours. (I know it was this long because I heard a loud bang downstairs and assumed the cats were fighting, never thought they'd knock one of the fish down. First time in 11 years!) She was totally dry and her eyes were cloudy, but I put her back in the remains of her tank water and she started to move after about 10 min. She has some scale damage on her side and lower fins, but she's fine. This is an adaptation for when their natural habitats dry up. There are stories of bettas living in the puddles made by ox hooves in the mud. They can apparently dry up for days n mud and 'come back to life' when the rains come. As for breathing, bettas have what is called a 'labyrinth organ'. This allows them to breathe through their mouths. The gills are functional, but only minimally so. If a betta cannot reach air it will die.
is the fish still alive? the one that dried up?
they do. when i was a beginner, i housed two males in a small tank divided with a clear glass to keep them flaring. i've noticed that everytime i come back to see them, two are together and one's always badly injured. until i caught it in the act.

here are some youtube samples:
I've had them do that, too, although not very often. Generally speaking the jumpers will eventually take themselves out of the gene pool, so to speak.
Aqua-Man (author)  tukmol6 years ago
yup cool vids
I agree 100% that betas are the worst treated fish on the planet and if you go to petco and see the betas in those itsy bitsy containers of like 2 cups of dirty de oxygenated water and I kinda of feel sorry for them eventhough they forgot they were in a tiny cage every 2 seconds :) this Instructable I great for anyone who is uncertain or just doesn't know how to care for fish. -Thanks
Betta's are what are called "Labyrinth fishes".  They do not breath the same way as other fish you may be familiar with, those rice paddies they originally came from (where they evolved) are stagnant, low-oxygen environments, so Betta splendens is right at home in low oxygen environments.  When you see them "gasping for air" at the surface, it's normal and nothing to worry about.  That is how they breath.

Don't worry about those little cups either.  As long as it's a reputable pet store (one that specializes in fish, unlike Petco and Petsmart, which I tend to avoid) the water should be clean (it literally takes a couple of seconds to change the water in those cups.)  But even the best of the aquarium stores keep their Betta's in those cups.  Betta's do not do well in large spaces.  I don't recommend keeping them in those cups when you get them home (because you need to change the water every day or two), but they are perfectly happy and healthy in a 1 gallon bowl, even a half gallon is sufficient for them as long as you make sure to keep on top of the water quality.  I do not recommend using a filter on a Betta bowl however!  They do not like any water circulation at all.  Just do your water changes and they will thrive.

And this is how I've been raising and breeding Bettas for a good 30+ years now.
  I have to disagree. I got my Betta a 5 gallon tank with a very low water cycle and he loves it. He purposefully swims into the current and then back around. The current is also low enough that he can "sit" still in other places in the tank.

 He seemed happy in his half gallon that he was given to me with, however, it became dirty VERY quickly. I also feel that people spend more time and take better care of their pets if they give them the best that they can.
A slow current is fine for bettas, especailly if there are areas where they can get away from the moving water if they want to. Occasionally you'll find one that likes to ride faster currents, but that's not common.
Were did you buy that tank =)
Petsmart. It's a Hexagon tank. Should be $40 or so wherever you find it. :)
You're welcome to disagree if you want to, but bear in mind I've over 30 years of professional experience dealing with this species of fish before you call me wrong. 

It is good however that you've got places for him to get out of the current, they just are not physically capable of dealing with it 24/7.  Good luck with your fish keeping! :)
  I am simply disagreeing because I see how my Betta likes it. You stated that they didn't like any current at all and this obviously isn't true. However, I also think it depends on the fish/animal. Each one is different and as they get older they may change what they like.

 And thanks! It was an unexpected gift, but I like him!
They are a fascinating little fish, I've always enjoyed them myself :)
I wanna rescue them all now =( ....If my house was cleaner i could do that.
thank you for the excellent synopsis. I've been raising them for 25 or so years (haven't bred any in a long time, though) and it's just unbelievable how ignorant people are about bettas.
Oh I agree! There is too much mis-information out there about them being passed around, generally being spread by people who try to place human emotions on them . . . a human would not be happy or healthy in a small space, so they think a Betta would not be either.
how come you posted this in the future? i mean, seriously! time travel?
It must be because of Chuck Norris. And the fact it says March, not may. :P
............................. got me... ...dang it!..........
Because i magical!! Oh...and i have a DeLorean!!!!!!
I'm sorry to say you are a little bit uninformed you do want to change the filter cartridges but make sure you don't change the water at the same time but it is kind of important to at least replace every once in a while and its like dusting your house with a dirty cloth just not going to work
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