By Robin Bhattacharyya
Betta fish are beautiful freshwater fish that come in a variety of spectacular colors. They make great aquarium fish for numerous reasons such as being inexpensive to keep and straightforward to care for. Like any pet however, a proper system of care is essential for good health and well-being.
Also known as Siamese Fighting fish, Bettas are one of the best-known types of aquarium fish. They originate in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and certain areas of China and are usually found in shallow waters such as rice paddies and shallow ponds.
Betta fish generally live for two or three years. Unlike most fish they breathe by going up to the surface of the water for air. This makes them quite easy to care for because their tank doesn’t need an air pump, filtration or aeration.
Tank and Water
Bettas do well in bowls – a large aquarium isn’t necessary. However, do make sure the jar or bowl that you keep your Betta in is large enough for him to swim around in easily without bumping his fins or scales. Also be sure there is plenty of surface area so that he can get enough air, and make sure to keep the water clean.
Keep the tank or bowl in a warm spot – Bettas are tropical fish. The temperature should be around 75 to 80 degrees. Make sure not to put the bowl in either direct sunlight or a drafty spot.
Change out one third of your Betta’s water every three days. Use “aged” tap water, which is water that has been set out for twenty four hours. Make sure it’s the same temperature as the water in the tank and use a product that removes chlorine as well.
*Important: Never use a fish net to catch your Betta when doing water changes. Their fins are very delicate and can easily get caught and ripped in the fiber of the net.
It’s also a good idea to keep a lid on your Betta’s bowl because they can actually jump out. Just make sure the lid has holes so fresh air can get in. Depending on space, keep one or more live plants in the fish bowl as well: Bettas like to rest on leaves. There is a special aquarium plant called “Betta Bulbs” available. Set the plant(s) in gravel, and be sure to keep the gravel clean to avoid unsanitary tank conditions.
Tank Mates and Other Species
Make sure not to keep two male Bettas in a tank together because they will fight to the death. They don’t call them Siamese Fighting fish for nothing! Females, however, can be kept together. You can also keep both male and female Bettas with other non-aggressive fish species, but don’t combine them with any aggressive species or you might have a fight on your hands! Bettas can be safely coupled with species such as guppies, algae eaters or corydorus catfish.
Bettas must be fed once a day. Make sure you don’t overfeed them, and don’t leave any uneaten food in the bowl. They can be fed freeze dried brine shrimp or freeze dried blood worms. They don’t usually like worm cubes or flake food though. Check your pet store for Betta food; there are many kinds available, and Bettas will happily eat most of them. However, they like live foods such as live brine shrimp the best. For this reason, a recommended part of Betta fish care is to treat your fish to some live food every now and then. It’s fun watching them catch and eat it!
Don’t leave any uneaten food in the water. After feeding, use a turkey baster to clean small particles of uneaten food or debris from the bottom of your Betta’s bowl. If you don’t, the water will become cloudy and unsanitary – it will smell bad and be very unhealthy for the fish too!
With Betta fish care, always remember that fish are living, breathing creatures just like any other pet. It’s your responsibility to feed and care for your Betta and make sure he has a good environment to live in, just as you would a dog or cat. If you follow a good system of care requirements, starting with the tips in this article, your fish will be healthy and happy and will add movement and color wherever you keep them!
Need more resources? Go to my website at www.robjam.com and click on “Betta Fish Care” to learn about a great system for caring for your Betta fish!
Robin Bhattacharyya is a writer, entrepreneur, webmaster and “student of life” based in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. He writes on a wide variety of subjects.
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