What Kind of Water Do Betta Fish Need?
If you are on this page, you are probably a Betta Fish enthusiast or considering getting a new fish pet soon. Either way, you have to stay informed about everything that your pet might need, so you can provide the best possible living conditions.
When it comes to fish, there is one thing that is crucial for their survival, and that is water. When they live in the wild, they are born in the waters that suit their species best, but when we want to keep them in our houses, we become fully responsible for another living creature and are obliged to provide them everything that nature usually gives them by default. Subsequently, we must pay a lot of attention to the tank and its contents so that our pets can live long and be healthy.
Let’s see how we can do it.
Betta Fish Natural Habitat
Betta Fish come from a very warm part of the Earth – Indonesia, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Cambodia, etc. They live in different types of water, which mainly depends on the Betta Fish type. For example, Betta Mahachaiensis will live only in brackish alkaline waters and they can be found only in Thailand. Betta Splendens, on the other hand, are rarely found in these types of water.
Betta Fish’s natural habitat varies, but it is usually shallow and sluggish, which means these fish can be found in shallow still water such as small pools, ditches, rice paddies, etc. Sometimes, they can be found in small streams. What all these types of water have in common is that they are all quite warm and do not contain a lot of dissolved oxygen. Plus, their homes are usually found at some nicely shaded locations with a lot of trees and other vegetation.
How to Determine What Kind of Water Do Betta Fish Need?
As it can be concluded from the previous section, Bettas do not require a large amount of water to live a happy life. Nature has given them a special labyrinth organ, which enables them to breathe air from the water surface, so you don’t have to worry about the concentration of oxygen in the water either.
The important thing is to be informed about the temperature of the water. Having in mind that the majority of Betta pets are actually Betta Splendens, they prefer freshwater the temperature of which spans between 76 and 81℉ (24-27℃). These fish also prefer water with a neutral PH. The perfect option would be if the water PH value is 7, but the fish will do just fine in any water with PH within a range of 6.5 to 7.5.
These would be the most important conditions for keeping your pet safe and healthy. So, let’s see now how to provide them with those conditions.
How to Maintain Containers and the Water Inside Them?
The fact that Bettas do not require much water to survive does not mean they have to live in a bowl. In fact, vets recommend the usage of at least 5-gallon tanks (approx. 18 liters), although your Betta will not object to living in a 10-gallon aquarium.
The truth is – Bettas are not very active, but that should not stop you from getting them a bigger tank. Just have in mind that that tank is their whole world and that they spend all their lives in it. It is out of doubt that they will be a lot happier if they have enough space for swimming.
Larger tanks allow you to fill them with different plants and decorations that will definitely make your fish happier because it will give it enough places to hide and sleep. The proper amount of water also prevents excessive toxin buildup.
Type of water
It may come as a surprise but the best water to put in an aquarium is tap water. Of course, it shall be properly treated, but it is always better than distilled.
Why? Well, tap water contains certain minerals and nutrients that distilled water lacks, and living creatures need those minerals. However, it also contains substances that are not good for your fish health (chlorine, chloramine, even heavy metals), so it should be treated with special conditioners that you can find in any well-equipped pet shop. They will remove these bad substances from the water and prevent your fish from getting sick.
If you are getting a Betta for the first time, you should know that some pet shops sell special water that can be directly poured into the tank, or you can buy bottled mineral water but this can be expensive and annoying to do every time you need to change the water. And you have to change it at least once a week. If your tank is small and unfiltered, you will have to change approximately 1/3 of the entire water amount. If the tank contains filters, 10-20% will be enough.
The reason why all the water should not be replaced at once is that the old water contains some good bacteria that are beneficial for your fish. Plus, keeping most of the water in the tank means that your fish will not experience any significant environmental change that might cause unwanted stress because the water temperature will remain basically the same.
Tap water in most houses usually has its PH value around 7. It can go slightly down or up, but nothing that could be stressful and unhealthy for your pet.
If you are still insecure about the PH value and want to check it, you should know that most pet stores will test it. If you don’t want to bring water samples to pet stores, but still want to be able to constantly monitor the PH value of the water in the tank, you can always buy your own PH test kit.
Now that you know that tap water needs to be treated and cleaned, you should learn that it also has to be heated.
Most homes are kept at a lower temperature (usually below 76℉) compared to what your fish needs (between 76℉ and 81℉). The temperature of the tank water changes along with the room temperature, which means that it has to be constantly monitored.
The best way to do this is to install thermometers and heaters in your tank and make sure that the water temperature is kept at the same level regardless of the room temperature changes.
The thing that is key to your fish health is the water quality.
No matter how well you treat and condition your water, toxins will build up over time due to food leftovers and feces.
The solution – a good low-flow filtration system that will clean the water well while keeping the fish safe from different types of injuries.