Keeping and caring for a betta is not difficult. It just takes a little time on your part to research them before you buy them to make sure that you can meet their needs. The betta is a hardy little freshwater fish species that gets to around 2.5 inches in size when fully grown and sports some of the most remarkable colors. Many people keep them in small unfiltered bowls with no heater and no filtration. Seeing how they are kept in stores awaiting sale in those tiny little cups doesn't help matters either. This conveys the message to the new hobbyist that they can keep them in similar conditions which is quite wrong. Keeping the betta in a small bowl with no filter and no heater will shorten their lifespan and make them lethargic and less interesting to keep.
So, what all is needed to keep a betta correctly? There are all sorts of setups you could have but one that would provide basic living conditions would be something like the following: A 10 gallon or larger aquarium with a hang on power filter, a heater and a simple hood plugged into a light timer to give them a light cycle. A power head really isn't needed since they don't really need all the much current. The power filter in a 10 gallon tank should be sufficient. A heater will help keep the temperature stable. Fluctuating temperatures can be very stressful for your fish and inverts. The betta is a tropical fish so a temperature in the 70's F should be sufficient. I like to keep my betta tanks around 78F. The power filter will be the place where the beneficial bacteria accumulates and will help cycle the tank. Check FishLore for information on the aquarium nitrogen cycle which is an important cycle that convert ammonia (fish poo, decomposing waste, etc) into nitrite then nitrates. This is a very important cycle and needs to be understood by anyone keeping fish.
The next thing you'll want to do is provide your betta a high quality diet. There are now foods on the market made especially for bettas. Pick some up and feed your fish several small feedings throughout the day. Don't overfeed. Supplement their diet with live or thawed brine shrimp from time to time.
Regular partial water changes are another important aspect when keeping the betta. Aim for smaller more frequent partial water changes over less frequent large water changes. Water changes will do wonders for your fish and help make your tank look much cleaner and nicer overall. The partial water change should be one of the first things you turn to when your fish are acting "off".
Also remember that you can't keep more than one betta to a tank. They will fight, sometimes to the death with each other.
If you're having a problem with your betta, FishLore has a very active forum with helpful members than can help sort out any issues you have with your fish or aquarium.
Mike is an editor at FishLore. Designed for beginners, FishLore provides tropical fish information, how-to guides, articles, fish profiles, FAQs, forums and more!
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