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How To Take Care Of A Betta Fish (Guide)

It is simple to see why Betta fish are one of the most popular fish species. They are lovely fish with a vast array of distinct colors and patterns.

However, many individuals acquire betta fish for their aesthetic appeal without understanding their care requirements. If you've contemplated bringing home one of those sad betta fish in a cup from the pet store, consider the following information regarding betta fish care in "How to Take Care of a Betta Fish" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org).

Betta Fish Facts

People in Siam, modern-day Thailand, began keeping betta fish as pets in the 1800s. Their hostility against other fish has given them the alternative moniker of Siamese Fighting Fish. Intriguingly, the word “betta” refers to over 70 species of fish, although the betta splendens is the most well-known.

These fish are native to Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, and Vietnam. They tend to have more natural hues in the wild, such as browns, tans, and blacks. Today’s betta fish were developed through selective breeding. The first betta fish were introduced to the United States in 1910. There are already dozens of betta fish variations, each with unique colors, patterns, and fin kinds.

Bettas are little fish, reaching just around 3 inches in length when completely mature. With adequate care, bettas may survive for at least five years, despite the common belief that they only have a lifespan of a few years.

Even though bettas are often lonely, they have social impulses and can distinguish certain individuals by sight and sound. Some bettas may recognize you as their food source and get connected to you; they may even observe you or follow your finger if you place it in the tank.

Are Betta Fish Good Pets?

Betta fish are excellent pets if properly cared after. They are diurnal, or awake during the day, therefore it is very probable that you may observe your betta fish going about its regular routines.

This also affords you the chance to develop a connection based on mutual trust. Your betta will identify you and other individuals with whom it interacts often by sight and even speech.

If it sees or hears someone it has come to trust, your betta may begin to observe your actions with curiosity. It may also move about the tank to gain a better perspective of your actions.

Bettas require minimum daily care, making them ideal pets for busy families and youngsters who, under the supervision of an adult, are learning to care for an animal.

Depending on the size and configuration of your betta’s tank, you may need to undertake water changes and tank maintenance anywhere from several times per week to once every two weeks.

What level of interaction do they provide? Do they have several everyday demands or are they largely independent?

Where Can I Get a Betta Fish?

Betta fish are one of the most accessible fish, as they are offered in virtually all large pet stores and many small, local pet shops. Bettas are frequently displayed in small, individual containers at pet stores. This is done to prevent them from fighting with other bettas, however some people interpret this to suggest that bettas may be maintained in tiny tanks without filtration, which is not an optimum condition for them. In certain retailers, you may discover bettas with unique characteristics, although internet dealers and breeders are more likely to have them.

How Much Does It Cost To Own a Betta Fish?

Betta fish ownership is quite inexpensive compared to other varieties of fish. Since bettas remain tiny, they only need a 5-gallon tank, although they are happier in a larger tank. If you begin your betta fish’s life in a 5-gallon aquarium, you will never have to replace the tank since your betta will never outgrow it.

Your betta’s tank should have appropriate filtration and a gentle water flow, which may be accomplished with a low-powered filter or a sponge filter. A filtration-equipped tank for a betta can be purchased for as low as $20. To keep your betta happy, you will also need to purchase plants, which may cost anything from a few dollars to $20 or more.

You should not need to purchase food for your betta very often, so this should cost you less than $20 per six months. This contains pellets made specifically for bettas as well as freeze-dried, frozen, and live meals.

Pellets and freeze-dried foods have a six-month shelf life after opening, whereas frozen goods have a minimum shelf life of several months. If you decide to provide your betta live meals, you may need to check around for the best pricing.

What Kind of Home Does My Betta Fish Need?


Bettas require a tank of at least 5 gallons. This provides them with ample area for swimming and exploring. If you plan to maintain your betta in a communal tank, the tank should be larger than 5 gallons to lessen the likelihood of violence. This tank needs filtration with a modest flow rate. Depending on the size of your aquarium, filters designed for shrimp or fry should work well for your betta. Additionally, sponge filters are an excellent alternative.


Your betta will simply require a day/night light cycle and will not require any special lighting. This will alleviate stress and promote the health of your betta. Low to moderate illumination will suffice for your betta fish.


Bettas are tropical fish that must be kept in warm water. There are several types of aquarium heaters, and the most of them are suitable for bettas. The recommended temperature range for your betta’s tank is 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Although they can handle water as chilly as 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, this is not the best option for your betta.

Equipment for Tanks

Any tank decoration should be smooth so that your betta does not shred or otherwise injure its fins on the decoration. Floating logs and floating leaves are excellent additions to a betta tank because they provide a place for your betta to float and relax, as bettas do naturally.


Plants are an essential component of your betta’s tank. They enjoy having an abundance of vegetation to feel comfortable and secure, as well as to rest on or between. The majority of plants that can thrive in a tropical setting will be effective. Your betta will enjoy floating plants with trailing roots or tall plants in particular.

What Should I Feed My Betta Fish?

Betta fish are obligate carnivores, meaning that the majority of their diet must consist of animal protein. This implies that items such as goldfish food and tropical fish food are likely not a healthy choice for your betta. Betta-specific meals are the most nutritious option for your betta’s diet. You can feed pellets or flakes, although pellets are typically more nutritious.

The majority of your betta’s diet should consist of pellets or flakes, but there should also be diversity.

As a treat, you may offer your betta bloodworms, daphnia, or brine shrimp that have been thawed from the freezer. In addition to freeze-dried items like as bloodworms and brine shrimp, you can occasionally offer your betta live food. This may include black worms, bloodworms, tiny earthworms or red worms, mosquito larvae, and other small invertebrates that may be obtained safely for your betta.

Because you do not know what chemicals the insects may have been exposed to, you should avoid bringing them outdoors.

How Do I Take Care of My Betta Fish?

Tank Maintenance

The frequency of water changes for your betta will depend on the size of the tank and the number of inhabitants. Obviously, if the water in your betta’s tank appears dirty, it’s time for a water change. You should own a water test kit to check the characteristics of your water.

This will provide the greatest indication of when you should do a water change, as it will indicate whether ammonia or nitrites are beginning to build up in the aquarium. You shouldn’t need to replace your filter media very often, and it’s best to replace a little amount at a time to avoid removing all beneficial bacteria from the tank.

Water Safety

When performing routine water changes in the betta’s tank, just 10-20% of the water should be removed and replaced. In excess of this, abrupt variations in water parameters might occur, which can be harmful to your betta. Ensure that when you replace your betta’s water, you treat it to eliminate chlorine and other chemical additions.

Multiple items available on the market may do this. If you are using RO or distilled water, this step is likely unnecessary; nonetheless, you should compare the characteristics of the new water to those of the water in the tank to see if the new water should be treated before being added.

Community Agencies

Betta fish and community aquariums are not for everyone! Bettas, especially males, can be aggressive and harm or kill other species of fish. Shrimp and snails are excellent tankmates for bettas, however bettas may consume shrimplets and extremely small snails.

Long-finned fish, such as guppies, should not be kept alongside bettas because they frequently mistake them for other bettas. Male bettas are best kept alone. Female bettas are less aggressive than males and can be wonderful additions to community aquariums, but they must be closely monitored for aggressiveness toward tankmates.

Female bettas are occasionally housed in female-only groups termed “sororities,” but they must still be closely monitored. When maintaining bettas in community tanks, a well-kept, well-planted, and stress-free aquarium is required.

How Do I Know If My Betta Fish Is Sick?

Fin/Tail Fungus

This illness is nearly solely caused by poor water quality. If the fins of your betta begin to seem shredded, crimson, or “chewed,” it is likely due to fin rot. This illness can be treated with improved water quality and antibacterial water treatments.


This parasitic ailment, also known as White Spot Disease, is caused by the parasite ichthyophthirius multifiliis, which enters the aquarium by fresh plants, fish, or infected water, such as when adding water from a local fish store. These external parasites travel through the water until they cling to your fish, giving them the appearance that they have been dusted with salt. These parasites will consume your fish until they are mature enough to breed. They will then release and breed in the water, initiating a new cycle. Ich may cause itchiness or discomfort in your betta, resulting in flashing, hiding, or lethargy. To cure ich, antiparasitic water treatments can be employed.

Swim Bladder Disease/Disorder

Swim bladder illness may be present if you observe your betta floating or sinking uncontrolled or having difficulties swimming. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as undetected diseases, malformation or deformity, environmental issues, or it might be idiopathic, which means the reason is unknown. This disease must be treated at its source, however it may be alleviated by aquarium salt or Epsom salt baths, water temperature adjustments, and hand feeding.


Velvet is a parasitic illness caused by parasites called oodinium. It resembles ich in certain aspects. Velvet is also known as gold-dust illness or rust sickness, which all refer to the gold or rust-colored film it leaves on fish. These parasites will eat on the skin of the fish, causing open wounds.

Additionally, velvet might cause trouble breathing and subsequent infections. It is very infectious and fatal. In combination with antiparasitic drugs, water modifications and quality improvements can be used to treat Velvet.


This fatal condition is incredibly challenging to cure. Dropsy is distinguished by the “pine cone” impression it causes in fish, in which the scales flare outward. It will also cause the fish’s abdomen to enlarge significantly. In addition, they may have protruding eyes, pale gills, and an unusually curved spine.

Multiple internal disorders and infections cause water and other fluids to collect in the belly of the fish, resulting in dropsy. In a hospital aquarium, aquarium salt and antibiotics can be used to treat dropsy, along with a high-quality feed and great water quality. It is typically lethal, even prompt treatment.


Having a betta fish may be entertaining and gratifying, and with appropriate care, your betta fish can live for many years. Bettas are low-maintenance, easy-to-care-for fish, making them ideal for novices. Before bringing a betta into your house, it is crucial to conduct study and have a thorough understanding of its needs, as bettas are living creatures that demand adequate care.

As we has clarified in “How to Take Care of a Betta Fish” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org), You and your betta will likely bond and enjoy each other’s company if you provide proper care.

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Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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