How To Care For a Betta Fish For Beginners: Betta Fish Care 101 [Guide & Care Sheet]
How To Care For a Betta Fish For Beginners: Betta Fish Care 101 [Guide & Care Sheet]Jack Dempsey2020-07-21T20:29:06-06:00
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Getting a Betta fish is super exciting. But! If you aren’t totally sure of what you’re doing, it can seem complicated.
There are so many things to consider when you’re about to get a new Betta!
What size tank is right for your Betta?
Do you need a filter? (And which one is best?!)
How much should you feed your betta? And when?!
How can you tell a healthy Betta from a sick Betta
This is just the beginning–you’ll have even more questions once you get started. The good news is, this page will answer all of your most pressing Betta Fish questions.
Maintaining a Betta fish tank is a fun long-term project you can do with your family (or on your own to add that last bit of flair to your apartment). This guide will take you through all the Betta fish basics in a simple, easy-to-digest way.
If you have any questions or problems with your betta fish–you’ll find answers here!
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How to Use This “How To” Page
This page is the hub. From here, you can access all the most helpful Betta articles available on TFCG. It’s the best place to get started with your betta fish overview, and the linked articles will plug any knowledge leaks.
This is your crash course in Betta fish care. Fish school is in session, and this is Betta Fish Care 101. It is the alpha and the omega of all Betta fish guides—Ok, we’re getting carried away.
The smart one. Lean but powerful. APT Zero contains the full potency of APT Complete, but without nitrates and phosphates. It is specially designed for tanks with significant fish load and for hobbyists looking to replicate the renowned ADA dosing system. Its leaner dosing approach provides maximum algae control.
The point is, by the end, you won’t feel like a Betta fish beginner anymore–Oh no. You’ll be well on your way to becoming a Betta fish expert!
The 8 Main Things: How To Care For a Betta Fish For Beginners
Betta fish–they’re awesome. You really want one. You just…don’t really know what’s involved. You might’ve heard they can survive in mud puddles or something? (it’s true, they can! During the dry season in their natural habitat…but don’t do that to your Betta fish!)
Betta Fish 101 is a guide created to give beginner Betta fish owners the tools and knowledge needed to set up and maintain a happy, healthy Betta fish environment. This guide has everything–whether you’re looking for help with tank setup, or Betta food, or getting your Betta breeding…it’s all here!
The guide is split into eight areas of Betta fish care. Here’s the breakdown:
Betta Fish Tank Setup
Betta Fish Water–Heaters and Filters
Betta Fish Tank Cleaning
Betta Fish Plants, Aquaponics, and Toys
Breeding/Tank Mates/ Life expectancy
Betta Care 101 Sheet
You’ll find links to suggested articles that take you deeper into a topic (and you’ll find a few relevant videos, too). If you want to get the most out of your Betta experience, you need to check these out!
Let’s dive in!
(Sorry, I had to…)
1) Betta Fish Tank Setup
When it comes to Betta Fish tank shopping, bigger is better. Betta fish will do best in a tank that is at least 2.5 gallons.
There’s this notion out there that a Betta are one of those fish that don’t need a filter and can live happily in a cup or a small fish bowl (or a muddy puddle)…And that just isn’t true. You want your fish to thrive. To do that, Betta fish need some space.
These fish are glorious–they need room to flex those fins.
Plus, toxins and ammonia can build up way too fast in small bowls, making it very challenging to keep your Betta’s environment clean and healthy! A bigger tank will be easier on both of you.
You might be thinking “there’s gotta be more to Betta fish tanks than size”…and you’re right!
If you’re looking for some help getting started on your ideal Betta tank search, check out 12 of the Best Betta Fish Tanks you can buy this year. There’s enough variety on this list to accommodate your specific needs.
The AquaClear HOB filter has been around FOREVER and is typically the first filter recommended for most beginners. That said, it's a great reliable filter for experienced fish keepers and Aquascapers. It comes with prepackaged filter media but also has the ability to customize to your needs. Don't worry about water flow as the gentle waterfall design creates oxygenation without a strong current perfect for small tanks and Bettas.
You’ll learn which Betta fish accessories are worth your time (and which ones you should avoid) below!
*Some people don’t use a filter in their Betta tank. The filter keeps the water clear, clean, and free of toxins. Clean water will keep your fish healthier and happier. I always recommend the use of a filter*
2) Betta Fish Water, Heaters and Filters
The betta is a native freshwater fish from Thailand and Cambodia. The ideal temperature for your Betta tank is 78-80 degrees F. Nice and tropical.
And since you likely don’t keep your house at an average rainforest temperature of 80 degrees…you’re going to want a heater for your tank.
You’ll want to be careful when you choose a heater. Cheap heaters can fluctuate temperatures too much, and sometimes they’re just downright inaccurate.
It’s possible to find heaters that don’t break the bank but heat your tank reliably and consistently.
We put together a guide to our favorite Betta fish tank heaters–it’s a quick read, and it’s an easy way to prevent your Betta tank from becoming an arctic ice pond or bubbling oceanic steam vent exhibit.
Which Betta fish shouldn’t be put in a tank with excess water movement
How a spot to hide can help your fish adapt to a new filter
Exactly what filters do and how to use them (in a quick four-minute video!)
I never recommend keeping your Betta in anything smaller than 2.5 gallons.
I know it can be challenging to find filters for smaller tanks, so I decided to make it easier for you–If you’re trying to select a Great Mini Filter for your small aquarium, look no further. This article compares five great filter options to suit the unique needs of your smaller tank.
In some cases, your best bet for a filter might actually be a sponge filter.
Sponge filters get a bad rap–but if you ask me, they’re just misunderstood. There’s definitely a time and place to use these suckers! If you’re hoping to breed your Betta fish (more on that in a bit!), or need to quarantine a weak or sick fish, a sponge filter could be the perfect solution.
Bettas are often advertised as low-maintenance. But they’re fish.
And all fish produce waste–your precious Betta is no exception.
We know that not everyone enjoys cleaning… There’s enough tidying to go around without adding a ten more gallons into the mix.
But a clean tank is vital for the health and happiness of your Betta fish.
If you’re daunted by the task of cleaning your Betta’s aquarium, you’re in the right spot. Our easy 11-step simplified Betta tank cleaning guide will make your tank look brand new and your Betta fish as happy as a….clam?
Ah, one of the most fun parts of the whole endeavor–aquaponics kits, plants, and fish toys.
Aquaponics kits are a beautiful way to take advantage of your Betta’s wastewater and do some urban growing!
You’ll want to consider more than the ratings when you’re choosing an aquaponics kit for your Betta fish (unfortunately, not every aquaponics kit manufacturer has the best interest of your Betta in mind).
So we put together a list of 7 awesome Aquaponics Kits, and the best ones to use for your Betta fish. (Oh yeah, and we tell you which kits you should avoid if you want your Betta to live happily for the next 3-7 years).
If you’re not interested in a full-on aquaponics kit, you can use living plants to liven up your Betta’s home. Certain plants will work better than others in your specific tank setup, so make sure you do your research!
Why plants might not be the right choice for your tank
Why certain plants could be dangerous to your Betta fish
How plants can keep your tank cleaner, longer
As for toys and accessories, the options can be overwhelming (there are a lot of good ones out there).
You know the drill by now, though–we’ve got you covered!
Our list of 11 of the best Betta fish tank accessories will get your accessorizing off to a great start (and it’s a must-read for any Spongebob fans out there…Quick trip to Bikini Bottom, anyone?). Plus, we show you a really neat product that can light up your tank.
This is where you can really let your creativity run wild and have a lot of fun putting your tank together. So have fun with it!
5) Betta Diet: What Do Betta Fish Eat?
Everyone’s looking for a better diet but that’s not what we’re talking about here! We’re talking fish food (not to be confused with Phish Food ice cream…).
In the wild, Betta fish will eat whatever they can get their mouths on. This includes worms, insect larvae (like mosquitoes!). Even smaller fish are fair game.
Their natural environment is often resource-limited, so the Betta fish have adapted to be the opposite of picky eaters–Still, your Betta is a carnivore. Like the gym bros of today, Bettas do best on a high protein diet.
Since Bettas are the “I’ll eat anything” type, you might be tempted to feed them tropical fish food.
They are tropical fish, after all!
But most tropical fish flakes are plant-based–and your Betta isn’t a practicing vegan. Your Betta is happiest on a diet high in meat proteins. A diet of exclusively tropical fish food can actually cause health problems like bloating or swim bladder disease.
The amount your Betta eats, when your Betta eats, and what your Betta eats are all vitally important to the health of your Betta (go figure!).
By the way–when it comes to breeding, you’re going to need to divide your tank at certain points in the process. There are super cheap ways to make DIY dividers, and you can read about the best Betta tank divider ideas here.
Bettas Butting Heads–The “One Male” Rule
Betta fish are called Siamese Fighting Fish for a reason–they can be very aggressive toward each other.
When it comes to tankmates, you’ll want to be careful about putting your male Betta in a community aquarium or adding other fish to your male Betta’s tank. They can be very territorial creatures.
And you definitely want to avoid putting two male Betta fish in the same tank. However, if you like you can start with a large aquarium and split it up for a great show tank check out 7 useful ways to use a Betta tank divider to see some slick ways you can keep Betta in the same tank without–well, you know.
When it comes to putting a male Betta fish in a community tank–well, the bigger the tank, the better (something of a mantra for us).
Which fish you should absolutely avoid putting in a tank with your male Betta
The optimal tank size for different companion fish species
All the proper steps to creating a thriving underwater fish community
The Betta Circle of Life–How to Maximize Life Expectancy
Breeding your Betta fish is a great way to keep your aquarium active for years to come. Putting a fish community together is another way to keep your tank full and satisfying.
But neither of those are substitutes for maintaining the health of your Betta fish. If you’re diligent (and a little lucky), your Betta fish can live up to seven years.
There are steps you can take to increase the chances of your fish living a long, healthy life.
And we detail all those steps in our article on increasing the lifespan of a Betta fish (there are several actions you can take before you even get your fish to ensure your Betta will live longer–this article is worth reading before you decide on a tank).
It turns out positive reinforcement is a great motivator for more than humans (and dogs).
That’s right–your Betta can learn tricks. If you want to learn some of the best tricks to teach your Betta (and how to do it!) grab our article on how to train Betta fish to do tricks.
Here is an AMAZING infographic from Christopher Adams over at Modestfish.com that highlights a lot of the information we cover in the post and a few extra tips so you can ensure your Betta buddy lives a long healthy life!