Authored by Geoff Vaughan in Pets
Published on 02-11-2009
Betta fish are known to be relatively low maintenance, and so they are popular among people who like to keep fish in their homes as pets. Some also know these colorful fish as Siamese Fighting Fish, and while they are easy to care for, there are some considerations that betta fish owners must think about.
To get started in betta fish ownership, you should have a nice home waiting for him when you bring him home from the pet store. The larger the tank, the better, as the fish will be happier with more room to swim around in. You’ll need a tank of at least ½ gallon, but preferably much larger, aquarium gravel, betta fish food, a net, a pH test kit, a thermometer, a siphon or gravel vacuum, and betta conditioners for the water.
To fill the tank, you can usually use tap water as long as you let it sit for at least 24 hours to bring it up to temperature. Depending on your water type, which can be soft or hard, you might want to check out adding some treatment chemicals to it, which you can buy at any pet supply store that carries fish supplies.
Some people also use bottled water (not distilled). It is recommended to stay with one brand only, and changing brands should be done slowly over the course of a few days, adding just a little bit at a time. You don’t want to shock your fish with Dannon if he’s used to Aquafina! This can be an expensive way to go though, so for most people, tap water is the best option.
Check the pH level with your test kit, and adjust with betta conditioners as needed to reach a neutral level of between 6.5 and 7.5. 7.0 is preferred. Also, make sure the water is between 72 and 82 degrees Fehrenheit, as these fish are tropical and are used to this temperature. You may have to purchase a water heater if your tank is over 5 gallons and you can’t consistently bring the water up to this temperature. For smaller tanks, heaters are not recommended.
Add the gravel to the aquarium, first rinsing it in another container. You can also add plants, which are very good for betta fish as they help with their stress level.
To maintain the tank, make sure to change the water as often as you can, and remove any excess droppings and food with your net whenever you notice them. Larger tanks, such as those larger than a gallon, should have the water changed out a quarter at a time, once a week. Smaller tanks such as goldfish bowls require all of the water to be changed at least three times per week, and preferably once a day.
You should feed your betta fish once per day for adults, and twice a day for babies. Do not overfeed them, no matter how cool you think it looks when they eat! As stated before, when they are done eating, make sure to remove any excess food to avoid contaminating the tank. These fish prefer live food such as mosquito larva or live worms that have been washed. These worms should be bought at a pet store though, as ones from the garden may contain pesticides and could harm your fish.
With the proper care, betta fish can be a great addition to one’s home. They are interesting, easy to care for, and extremely hardy fish, and are sure to be a great conversation piece for any visitors one may have.