What Do You Need For A Betta Fish?
Betta fish are very popular pets. They belong to the group of so-called “small pets” and are often considered easy to care for because of their size and confined to an aquarium.
In addition, healthy Betta fish look like a delicate and miniature decoration thanks to their beautiful fins and vivid colors. Many owners without research and awareness of responsibility towards the pets buy Betta fish and keep them in inhumane conditions and feed them with inappropriate food.
Due to such treatment, they die quickly and the owners ask themselves what they did wrong. Even though it is a popular division into light and heavy pets to take care of – it is true, however, that every pet, each type of fish is different and requires a different approach.
It is a dangerous prejudice to think that a bowl of water and just food is enough for Betta or any other fish to be happy and healthy. No, it’s not. And Betta fish are additionally specific because they require precisely defined parameters in the aquarium.
Think of this article as a mini-guide to what your Betta fish needs to be healthy and happy.
Here is the basic information about Betta fish:
- They are native to the tropics, where they often live in muddy and dirty freshwater;
- They are known as Betta splendors or Siamese fighters, due to their incredible aggression and fight inclination;
- They can grow up to a maximum of 3 inches / 7cm;
- Their lifespan is 3-5 years;
- Although the same species, they are all quite different;
- They are much more sensitive in the aquarium than in wild; especially to stress and water quality;
The Aquarium Must Be Large Enough
Thanks to the fact that they are very popular as pets, Betta fish are bred en masse on the so-called Betta fish farm. To reduce the cost of maintenance and food for such a mass population of Betta fish, breeders often keep them in plastic cups and feed them with synthetic food. That way only removes their hunger but doesn’t strengthen their immunity. This is probably one of the reasons why owners think they can keep Betta in smaller bowl aquariums. However, for Betta fish to show its entire splendor and, most importantly, be healthy – it needs a minimum aquarium of 3 gallons.
Some even recommend 5 gallons for one Betta fish.
For each new fish, Betta, or other species – count another 1 gallon of water per inch of fish.
This is important, because if you look at the aquarium as a mini territory of their natural environment – you will realize that they don’t have enough space in the bowls. Fish have to swim. That is their basic nature.
Betta fish are prone to stress and aggressive behavior; cups, bowls, and mini aquariums do not leave them enough space to swim, explore and play – that is, to neutralize stress. Also, we usually put shell ornaments, pebbles, and a filter in the aquariums, and when all that is placed in a smaller aquarium – it is clear to you that it is very crowded and that the water will get dirty and pollute in one day.
In addition to harming the Betta fish, smaller aquariums are difficult to maintain, you have to change 50-70% of the water every day, and that is a big stress for the Betta fish. Under such conditions, Betta could very quickly weaken its immunity and get sick.
So, a large enough aquarium is very important and the basis of a healthy Betta fish life.
Water Maintenance Equipment
Every aquarium of any size must have a heater, thermostat, and filter. The market is flooded with all types and shapes of these devices, but the most important thing is that they work properly.
It is necessary to show the correct water temperature and that the heater is able to warm all the water in the aquarium equally.
It is also important all equipment is made of materials that do no harm, i.e. doesn’t release any harmful substances into the water, and to have some kind of alarm when the water temperature exceeds the reference values (75-81 degrees Fahrenheit).
The heater should have 5 watts of power per gallon of water. If the aquarium is extremely large, it would be best to have a heater at each end. To make sure the condition in the aquarium is ideal, do not skimp on the Heater and filter. Buy equipment from a trusted manufacturer and always inquire and read user reviews. If the temperature or water quality deteriorates, you will notice this by the behavior of Betta fish. Betta will become too passive or lethargic. A sure sign that something is wrong is also the faded color of Betta’s skin.
The thermostat is important to always know what the temperature is.
The filter is very, very important. It purifies the water and thus removes dirt, bad bacteria and parasites that could kill the Betta fish. Of course, it will not create a sterile environment and it should not be like that. It is important that the filter is able to process about three times the amount of water that is in the aquarium.
So, if you have a 10-gallon aquarium, the filter should be able to purify 30 gallons of water within an hour. In addition to maintaining water, the filter is also in charge of the process of oxygenation of the water, i.e. enrichment of water with oxygen.
Betta fish, like most aquarium fish, need oxygen, and although Bette can take it from the surface, thanks to an organ called a “labyrinth”, it is important that the water has enough oxygen because the deficiency could cause an increase in nitrates and ammonia, and cause health problems for Betta fish.
Pebbles And Decoration For The Aquarium
People of style and various interior designers like to add various decorations and specialized, expensive accessories to the aquarium. Some people buy glass marbles and put them on the bottom, and although it looks fascinating, it can cause several problems. Owners, also, use large stones, to create fairy-tale, sea scenes.
Betta fish can even get hurt or dirt and food debris could remain trapped underneath and contaminate the water over time. You can do this if you change the water every week; otherwise, softly processed gravel is the best choice for aquariums. There are many colors and large pebbles, but they are not so big that you can’t vacuum excess food.
Betta fish love plants and decorations because they stimulate their curiosity and activity. They also like to hide in caves, behind plants, and even to sleep and rest inside.
When buying these accessories, it is important that they are intended for aquarium and for the fish species you keep. This means that they must not be made of coarse and paint-emitting materials or any other substances that could contaminate the water.
Don’t overdo it, don’t make a big crowd, but if you have a big enough aquarium – why not?!
Give yourself artistic and creative freedom to create a cool and modern place to live for your fish pets. It is only important that it does not harm them in any way.
Betta Fish Food
Betta fish diet should be primarily based on proteins and vitamins. Betta fish are carnivores and for their tiny organism to function well, first proteins, vitamins and minerals, and then everything else. However, whatever you give Betta fish you should not overdo it as their digestion is very sensitive. Most experts recommend a variety of foods, i.e. well-balanced meals, the amount of which should not exceed 1.8 grams per day. So, you can give your Betta fish:
- Live food (daphnia, mosquito, etc.)
- Frozen food
- Frozen-dried food.
Each of these foods has its advantages and disadvantages, so consult a veterinarian and, if possible, buy more expensive and higher quality food. Keep in mind that live food can transmit bacteria of very dangerous diseases such as tuberculosis, so be especially careful here. To make sure you don’t feed too many Betta fish, don’t feed them one day a week. Thus, the digestive system will rest and get rid of any excess undigested food.
Although it is not part of the obligatory equipment for the Betta fish aquarium and care – it’s not bad to have a quarantine/hospital tank. You never know when you might need it, especially if you have more fish in the aquarium.
It is basically an additional aquarium with an average size of 5 gallons, with a heater and a filter. It is used in case your fish gets sick or notices unusual symptoms and behavior – to move it and monitor the possible development of the disease.
Also, while the fish is in the process of treatment, it is good to stay in the hospital tank because otherwise, it could infect other fish. In the hospital tank, it is easier to monitor all the water parameters, but also the treatment process. Depending on the vet’s recommendations, you can also put decorations and plants here, but don’t overdo it.
… And A Few Other “Little Things”
This may seem too complicated, but there are many aquarium gadgets that really make it easier for you to take care of Betta fish.
Water analysis kit: easy to use; shows all the necessary water analyzes such as the percentage of ammonia, nitrate, and the pH value of the water.
Vacuum cleaner: a simple cordless vacuum cleaner designed for aquariums that will quickly pick up every grain of food that your fish doesn’t eat. You don’t even have to wet your hands, and the water will be clean very quickly.
Water conditioner: It may be better to use them in a hospital tank, but it may be good to add some of the specialized chemicals sometimes when you are doing a large aquarium cleaning. Generally, you shouldn’t overdo it, but it won’t hurt to have them.
If you are a beginner or you have a Betta fish for the first time, this may seem too complicated, but trust us – it is not. You will very quickly acquire a routine and enjoy with your Betta fish.
So, this is what you need for your Betta fish. The most important thing is to provide it with the right aquarium conditions and varied, protein-based food. You should not overdo anything, especially not in food. With a quality filter and a large aquarium – it is enough to change the 20% of the water every week. Any other rigorous measures – can endanger the health and life of your Betta pet.