Betta fish are also known as Siamese fighting fish and are quite common pets around the world. Although they are beautiful fish that are pretty hardy, there are reasons for concern as the conditions they are bred and kept in can be seen as cruel. Read this article before getting a betta to make sure that a betta is the right choice and also to keep the betta happy if you do get one.
To understand betta fish, you need to understand their natural habitat. They are originally from Southeast Asia, Betta fish live in flood plains, shallow ponds, slow-moving rivers, rice paddies, ditches, or marshes. They are territorial and don’t like other bettas encroaching on their territory. For this reason, they are not schooling fish like some other fish kept in aquariums.
Bettas are mostly carnivorous in the wild and eat mostly insects and larvae. They mostly feed at the surface of the water. They are pretty clever fish, and they like exploring their environments. In their natural habitat, they also have space to swim around and hunt.
Betta fish are labyrinth fish. Labyrinth fish can absorb oxygen through their gills as well as breathe oxygen from the atmosphere. This makes them hardy in times of drought, and they are also able to tolerate water conditions that are not ideal or tolerable for most other fish.
The size of the aquarium for your betta is very important. Even though bettas can tolerate bad water quality and survive in a small bowl please don’t keep them in these conditions. The aquarium size for a betta should be at least five gallons, but double that is even better. More water is easier to balance as the larger volume gives you a larger buffer.
It is easier to maintain good water quality in a larger tank. You can also include plants and decorations for your betta to explore in a larger tank. Decorations with caves and hiding places are ideal. Also, make sure there is enough open water surface area as this is where your betta will breathe and feed. Make sure to keep the tank in an area where it is dark at night.
Make sure to install a filtration system suitable for the tank size. Water should be conditioned and cycled before any fish are introduced. Remember that bettas are territorial and should not be kept with other bettas or fish of a similar shape and size to bettas. Some fish species can live with bettas like tetras, bottom feeders, and small catfish, guppies, or even snails.
Make sure to regularly clean the tank and do partial water changes as well. You can also use a gravel siphon to clean the bottom of the tank. Never use any chemicals or soap to clean inside or around the tank.
Install an aquarium heater with a thermostat in your tank. Bettas are from warm areas in Southeast Asia and need water temperatures between 76 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Remember that some fish like colder water so don’t keep any of these species with your betta.
Feeding Your Betta
Because bettas are carnivorous, normal fish flakes aren’t great for bettas. Normal fish flakes are for vegetarian fish and not for your betta. The best option that is easily obtainable is special betta food. This contains brine shrimp and other sources of protein that are better for these fish. Special betta food will also contain minerals and vitamins they need.
Don’t overfeed your fish. The water quality will be adversely affected if you overfeed your fish. Any uneaten food will overload your filtration system, especially the bacteria that break down waste, in your tank. The water will quickly become toxic to the fish when nitrite and ammonia levels spike. Make sure to only feed your fish the amount of food they can eat in a few minutes. If you did add more food than this, make sure to quickly remove any leftover food. The best is not to overfeed at all.
Betta fish are amazing and specially adapted fish that are colorful, beautiful, and intelligent. If you have a betta fish, please care for it by keeping it in a large enough tank with lots of places to explore and swim around. Remember to never keep bettas together in a tank. Keep the tank clean and make sure to feed your betta special betta food and not plant-based fish flakes.
Bettas are very special fish and should not be kept in small and toxic environments just because they are able to tolerate these environments for short periods of time. Keep your betta happy and well cared for.