Introduction: How to Properly House Betta Fish @ Home

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.

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.


BritneyK1 (author)2016-04-25

I also have another problem, my Betta's gills are black and I'm not sure if they are suppose to be black, and I see a bit of white on his face. Any suggestions? Is this normal? I got him a few days ago from Petco (I could not find a better place, I don't like how they keep them in small bowls)

Dianne Bettas (author)BritneyK12016-09-12


Dianne Bettas (author)BritneyK12016-09-12

Most betta gills are black or a light black, and the white stuff is just his face. All of this is just your fish! P.s he's very beautiful! :)

CelineO1 (author)2016-07-27

What type of bottled water can I use for my Betta and do I have to treat it and if so with what product? Thank you, Celine

LizN10 (author)2016-05-30

I have the round tank with the filter tube in the middle of tank, is the water surposed to go above the tube or just below,I have it just be low and it blows the bubbles out of the top of tube

BritneyK1 (author)2016-04-25

I have a problem, my mom only allowed for a tank that was made for a Betta, I could not find the lamp for it. I am worried as I want to get a heater for it but how am I going to put it on the tank in the image. I can't get a bigger one, my mom won't allow it.

JesseK22 (author)2016-04-21

New tank. They dont like hot sauce or busch lite ive found

Neobetta (author)2016-04-04

I'm so confused .. Just got a 2.5 gallon for my year old Betta who seems depressed about the change from a one gallon fish bowl .. Also , if I opted for using no filter and I'm hearing so many opinions that are all so different .. What you think ? Thanks

KnightWitch (author)2015-11-24

My betta fish is a year old. I just today upgraded his 1 gallon tank to a 2.5 gallon and got him better quality food. He's doing well. I'm worried about the water strength of the filter. I propped his floating log against it to disperse the water more. Any tips? Also I got a heater for the new tank (old one did not support one). I'm thinking I'll turn the heater on after a few days to let the betta get used to the new environment. He's exploring quite excitedly and blowing bubbles like he used to when he was younger :). Let me know if I should be doing anything! Thanks Ryan :)

BriannaZ (author)2015-11-08

Is my betta fish suppose to change color daily?

Ahmad ShahrilS (author)BriannaZ2015-11-20

what do you mean by change color daily?

star prime (author)BriannaZ2015-11-19

It depends on what "kind" and it's age if it is a young/younger marble betta I wouldn't be to worried. But others can to if it is very dramatic and he is not a marble depending on the color change it could be mood or stress.

Ruby Diamonds (author)2014-07-28

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.

If you are only 9 years old yet smart enough to write this post then it shows you are smart enough to ask your mom or dad to get you a good betta book so that you can take the very best of care for your fish by reading it well. Then if you have any questions you can always ask someone. But if you do that make sure they know what they are talking about. Stay away from Petco and Walmart and stores like that because even though they sell fish they really don't know much about them and only care about the money each fish can bring them. In fact, I would not buy ANY fish from them. Here is a picture of one of my fish from Ebay-{here you will also need to know who you are dealing with}. As he got older the blue spread out into his fins. This fish is known as a Over Half Moon or OHM Rosetail. These types of fish need extra care. They definitely need a beta hammock, nothing sharp in the tank, and space to move around in. All betta with similar fins need this. I do water changes like this: every 2 to 3 days I do partial changes up to 50% of the water. When I do this I siphon all the poopy off the bottom. I then fill the tank back up WITH SAME TEMPERATURE water using Betta Ultimate water conditioner. Now, you may only be 9 but I believe you can take of your little friend the right way. But it is up to you to learn how. Okay?

bonnie.perry.165 (author)2014-09-18

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.

Please read all comments carefully. She placed him in a .5 gallon for medicinal and cleaning reasons. Not for him to live but to heal. I have a 1 gallon hospital just for any of my fish in case they take ill. After usage it gets sterilized and is ready if needed with a quick rinse of hot water, filled up, dosed with betta Ultimate and whatever med is needed.

Not reading this correctly induced you to point a finger of shame.

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.

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!

harrycarry250 (author)2009-03-17

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

AmyLuthien (author)harrycarry2502009-12-04

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.

nanja (author)AmyLuthien2015-07-24

sorry I don't agree, my betta is in a 100 gallon tank now, coming out of a 15 gallon tank, and it was funny to see, how he reacted at the space he got, and how happy he was. I think, a betta deserves a lot better as living in such a small half a gallon tank. And I really don't say everyone has to get a 100 gallon tank for his fish, but a little space to swim en spread its finns and tail it really shoud have, its a fish, and fish do like to swim, and for that, they just need some space.

komecake (author)AmyLuthien2009-12-28

  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.

Euromongrel (author)komecake2011-07-14

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.

WhyHello (author)komecake2011-06-13

Were did you buy that tank =)

komecake (author)WhyHello2011-06-24

Petsmart. It's a Hexagon tank. Should be $40 or so wherever you find it. :)

AmyLuthien (author)komecake2009-12-28

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! :)

komecake (author)AmyLuthien2009-12-28

  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!

AmyLuthien (author)komecake2009-12-28

They are a fascinating little fish, I've always enjoyed them myself :)

WhyHello (author)AmyLuthien2011-06-13

I wanna rescue them all now =( ....If my house was cleaner i could do that.

Euromongrel (author)AmyLuthien2011-06-03

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.

AmyLuthien (author)Euromongrel2011-06-03

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.

timjelly (author)harrycarry2502009-05-13

how come you posted this in the future? i mean, seriously! time travel?

Dameventh (author)timjelly2009-08-16

It must be because of Chuck Norris. And the fact it says March, not may. :P

timjelly (author)Dameventh2009-08-16

............................. got me... ...dang it!..........

Dameventh (author)timjelly2009-08-17


harrycarry250 (author)timjelly2009-05-13

Because i magical!! Oh...and i have a DeLorean!!!!!!

timjelly (author)harrycarry2502009-05-14


Rafinn (author)2015-07-06

Hi, so I bought my fish from petco about a month ago while he was still a baby. Not sure exactly how old but very small. I have him in a half gallon tank and I use Kent marine betta water conditioner and I feed him three tetrabetta plus pellets a day. I've been waiting and waiting for his fins to grow but they have not much. I noticed recently his top fin is drooping to the side slightly. He is bright orange in color and has a bit of black shaded scaling all over his main body and find, so it is hard for me to tell if this is rot or just his color. He just began to flare occasionally and made his first bubble nest which I was told are signs of good health. Is there any way to tell if he actually does have fin rot, if his fins will grow more, and why his top fin is drooping? Please respond asap I'm very worried about the little guy.

nanja (author)Rafinn2015-07-24

Hallo Rafinn,

I think you really love your beta, and want to do the best for it. Your beta tank is way to small, a beta is a big fish, and can.t be happy in such a little space to live. Think, you have to live your life in a space, as litte as a airplane toillet. I'm sad to say it, but in this little tank, it will not live a long time. Just search at google about taking good care of a beta, and you'll find lots of instructions about the size a tank should have. It also needs a filter, to get all its waste out of the water, and keep the water fresh and clean, places to hide, can be rockholes, or high plants, so it feels save. I'm absolutely not judging you, some petstores don't care of they sell proper envirements for the pets, and don't give always the right information, they only think about selling. Others really take care, and give you a really good advise, as they all should do I think. I think your little fellow needs more space, some gravel on the bottom, a few plants, en places to hide. It is a tropical fish, so a heater would be nice, and a filter is really needed. If he gets this, I'm sure, you'll have a happy beta, wich has enough space to show all his beauty, and even is gonna come to you wenn you're near his tank. (sorry for my bad english :-)). Wishing you all the luck and lots of joy with you're betta.

scubasooo (author)2015-04-06

Hi there! My understanding is that bettas do not like a lot of current. I had him in a small bowl (due to bad information) but have since moved him into a 5.5 gal. tank and he's much happier. The filter that came with the tank does not have a flow adjustment option. Should I go ahead and keep the filter on at all times or should I turn it for to give him a break from the current? He has five live plants, a leaf hammock, and a floating log for him to hid in which brings me to my next question. Am I overcrowding him? I'd love to give him the best life possible. The picture is his current set up. Any help is appreciated.


scubasooo (author)scubasooo2015-04-06

*turn it off to give him a break

momma_bear_R (author)2012-02-18

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!!

komecake (author)2011-09-12

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!

Aqua-Man (author)2008-10-05

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 (author)Aqua-Man2008-10-06

not for long. they eventually die in a couple of minutes, then dry up.

Aqua-Man (author)tukmol2008-10-06

i have heard story's of them surviving the whole night

Euromongrel (author)Aqua-Man2011-07-14

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.

About This Instructable



Bio: i like animals and saying weird things like are you speeling feshal today and i think you have drain bramage
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