Are Betta Fish Easy To Take Care Of? (What’s Required From You)

Some aspects of betta fish care, such as feeding them a complex diet and changing their tank water once a week, are hard and require a lot of work. Other things are easy and only have to be done once, like cycling the water and decorating the tank.

Do you want a betta fish? It is a myth that they only need a fishbowl and the roots of plants to survive. Some aspects of keeping betta fish are very labor-intensive. But once you know how to do them, they aren’t too difficult. Read on to learn about the easy and hard parts of taking care of betta fish.

Are Betta Fish Easy to Take Care Of? 

Some aspects of betta fish care are easy, while others are hard. The hardest parts are things that have to be done frequently, like changing the water and feeding them. Other things only happen once, like decorating the tank, buying a tank, and cycling the water. 

Things that are easy for some people may be hard for others, and vice versa. This section will briefly cover many aspects of betta fish care so you know what you’re getting yourself into when you buy a betta fish.

Changing the Water

One frequent task is changing the water. You need to do this about once a week. You will change about ¼ of the tank’s water each week. You need to prepare the new water with a water conditioner and bring it to room temperature before replacing the old water with it.

Food

Food is also a bit tricky for betta fish. They are carnivores so you can’t just feed them any fish food. You need to get food that is specifically for bettas. Even tropical fish food isn’t good enough.

To be healthiest, they need to eat live food too. To truly avoid pathogens entering your tank you have to hatch your own live food.

You should only feed a betta as much as it can eat in 2 minutes. Take out any remaining food. Since betta fish are hunters, they will just keep eating and won’t know that they’re full.

Filtration

Betta fish need filtration systems, although that is easy once it’s properly set up. You will want sponges in your tank because they help encourage the growth of good bacteria. Your filter needs to be changed about once a month.

Decor

Decors are vital for bettas or else they will get bored and feel unsafe. You also need plants. Live plants are best for the tank. If you don’t want to handle maintaining live plants, you should get silk plants because plastic ones will tear the betta’s fins.

You also need driftwood, which will have to be replaced every now and again.

Cycling the Water

Before you get your betta you need to cycle the water. This is when your tank develops healthy bacteria. There are things you can add to the water to create this biosphere. Healthy bacteria will keep your tank clean and get rid of ammonia.

Tank 

Your tank needs to be at least 5 gallons. 10 gallons is even better. You want your tank to be long, not deep. Bettas live in mud ponds in the wild so they aren’t used to deep water.

There is a myth that bettas can survive happily in fishbowls, but it’s not true.

You must have a heater if you have a betta fish because they are from tropical climates. 

Tank Mates

Betta fish should never be in a tank together. They will fight each other, especially males.

Bettas don’t get lonely and don’t need tank mates. In fact, their fins will be nibbled on if they’re put with the wrong fish. But they get along with peaceful bottom-dwellers, as long as you have a tank that accommodates the extra fish.

Are Bettas High Maintenance?

There are some ways in which betta fish take a lot of maintenance. Changing the water of the tank is a weekly chore. Feeding a betta fish is a daily chore and a lot goes into it, potentially even hatching eggs.

Water Changes

Water changes are essential for betta fish but aren’t too complicated.

You should change the water in your tank once every week or so. You should change 25% of the water each time.

First, prepare the new water. Use a water conditioner according to its label. This will remove harmful substances like chlorine from the new water.

Next, let the water warm up. It is harmful to put your betta directly into water that is a new temperature. Let the treated water warm up to room temperature.

You can also use an aquarium thermometer and mix the hot and cold water in your sink, but this is much harder.

Next, take out 25% of the water from the betta’s tank. You should measure as you go. A siphon hose simplifies the process.

Now, slowly pour the treated water into the tank to replace the water you took out.

Food

Bettas are carnivores that need a lot of protein. In the wild, they eat insects that fall into the water or float on the surface. 

Bettas don’t eat plant roots and can’t survive on vegetarian diets.

A betta fish diet should include fish flakes or pellets, live food like bloodworms, brine shrimp, and mosquito larvae, and freeze-dried foods. 

Bettas are messy eaters so it is important to remove any food that they haven’t eaten so that it doesn’t fester bacteria in the tank.

Feeding a betta fish can be easy because there is food that is designed for betta fish and marketed as such. This is a double-edged sword though because you might have trouble finding betta-specific food. Simply buying tropical fish flakes won’t be enough for betta fish.

You can buy live food at fish stores. Betta fish are healthiest when they are fed live food. Eating live food will also give a betta fish exercise as it hunts its prey. But whenever you feed your betta live food, you risk introducing parasites to the tank. Only buy live food from a store that you trust.

If you’re really committed to live food, you can even hatch wingless fruit fries or brine shrimp eggs yourself.

Some betta fish refuse to eat flakes, so frozen food is their best option. You just have to thaw it.

Are Betta Fish Good For Beginners?

There are many ways in which betta fish are good for beginners. Setting up a filtration system, decorating the tank, and cycling the water are all very easy with betta fish. 

Even things that are difficult at first will become easier with time, like learning how to feed a betta fish.

Filtration

Contrary to popular belief, betta fish need a filtration system.

Mechanical filtration is how debris, such as uneaten food or feces, gets removed from the tank. You need to change the filter cartridge about once a month, depending on the filter and how large the tank is.

Each week when you change the water, wash the cartridge to get rid of debris that might clog the filter and affect the water flow.

Chemical filtration takes bad chemicals out of the water. One example of chemical filtration is using activated charcoal.

Biological filtration is very important for bettas. Sponges expedite the growth of good bacteria in the tank. Good bacteria are important in the nitrogen cycle. The nitrogen cycle breaks down matter that is decaying so it doesn’t injure your plants or betta fish.

Decor

Decor is very important for betta fish. Decorations make betta fish feel safe, entertain them, and give them a place to relax.

Live plants increase the oxygen in the tank’s water. They also won’t damage a betta fish’s gentle fins. They require maintenance like trimming.

Fake plants don’t require any maintenance but they can harm a betta fish if they have any sharp parts. Silk plants are better than plastic plants because they are less likely to damage the fins.

Driftwood is vital for a betta fish tank because bettas like to hide. But it also requires maintenance because it can make the pH of your tank lower over time and will eventually rot and need to be replaced. You also have to clean it before you put it in.

Cycling the Water

Cycling the water is easy and will only have to be done once.

The best way to cycle the water is before you get fish. This lets good bacteria build up before there is any extra food or fish waste in the water. 

To start a fishless cycle, you need to add good bacteria to the tank with a biological enhancer.

You can also do an in-fish cycle.

Whichever method you choose, it will take over a week for there to be enough good bacteria to control ammonia.

You will have to check the ammonia, nitrate, and nitrite levels every few days until the levels are correct.

How to Take Care of Betta Fish 

This article has gone over a lot of different aspects of betta fish care. This section will cover some new topics and also simplify things that were already discussed.

Get to Know Your Fish

First, learn about betta fish. 

They are naturally from tropical Southeast Asia, most specifically Thailand. They live in stagnant, warm, small bodies of water. 

In Thailand roughly 150 years ago, bettas began to be pets because kids would take them from rice paddies and put them together to watch them fight. 

The contests became more and more popular and the King of Siam started to tax and regulate betta fish.

They became known in Europe in 1840 when the King gave some of them to a Danish physician to study. 

The first betta to come to the United States came in 1910.

Bettas Don’t Prefer Small Bowls

There is a myth that betta fish prefer fish bowls with no oxygen source. However, they don’t actually like smaller habitats better. 

In fact, bettas are prone to fin rot because their fins are so long. Fish tanks that are too small or maintained poorly can cause fin rot and other issues. 

Bettas deserve a proper setup just like any other fish.

Tank Size

The minimum tank size for a betta fish is 5 gallons. But you can go as high as 10 gallons, as long as the tank is not too deep.

Bettas are designed to swim in shallow waters from left to right, so a deep tank would confuse them.

Get a rectangular tank instead of a bowl. The round sides of bowls limit your filtration options.

Because bettas are so sensitive to bacteria, it is important that they have proper filtration.

Tank Temperature

Bettas are very sensitive to temperature. You have to have an aquarium heater if you have a betta fish.

Betta fish like temperatures between 78 and 82 degrees F. 

Food

Bettas are carnivores. They eat larvae and insects in the wild, so they need an abundance of protein to survive.

You can feed bettas frozen food, pellets, or flakes that are specifically for bettas. These will have enough protein. Standard fish food won’t work.

Betta fish are healthiest when they eat live food.

How Much Food to Feed a Betta

Bettas can’t sense when they’re full. They are always looking for their next meal in the wild, so they will just keep eating if you don’t monitor how much food you’re giving them.

Don’t feed your betta more than two times a day.

Only feed as much as your betta will eat in 2 minutes. If your fish eats slowly, you can increase this to 5 minutes.

The meal should be roughly 5% of the size of your fish’s body.

Temperament of Betta Fish

Betta fish are known as Siamese Fighting Fish, but they aren’t as mean as the title suggests.

This nickname is because male bettas fight with each other, and will even fight their own image if you put up a mirror.

They should not be in a tank with other betta fish, including female bettas.

Bettas are at peace with other species but don’t get lonely and don’t need tank mates to be happy.

Betta Fish Tank Mates

You can keep your betta fish with other fish, but you don’t have to.

The long, beautiful fins of betta fish aggravate fish that are aggressive and give nippers something to chew on. So it is best to keep bettas alone.

If you really want your betta to have a tank mate, they do well with gentle, small bottom-dwellers like kuhli loaches or Corydoras.

If you want your betta to have tank mates, you need a larger tank. 

FAQ

How Big Can Bettas Grow?

Males can be 2-3 inches long. Females are smaller and have shorter fins.

How Long Do Betta Fish Live?

Betta fish who are well-treated typically live between 2 and 3 years, but they can live up to five years on rare occasions.

How Can You Tell if a Betta Fish Is Sick?

The typical signs that a betta fish is sick are fin damage, lethargy, loss of appetite, and white fungus.

Recap

Betta fish are good fish for beginners, but that doesn’t mean you can just throw them in a bowl and forget about them. 

Betta fish need their water changed weekly. The new water has to be treated with a water conditioner. You need to change about 25% of the water each time. The new water has to be brought up to room temperature so it doesn’t shock the fish.

They have complex food needs because they are carnivores. You can’t just feed them any fish food because it won’t have enough protein. You should also feed your betta fish live food.

However, live food can introduce harmful germs to your tank. It is best to get live food from a trusted source. Even better, you can hatch your own eggs. As you can see, feeding a betta fish is much harder than feeding your average fish.

It is good to have live plants in the tank. They regulate oxygen levels. If you can’t have live plants, get silk ones instead of plastic ones. Plastic plants can damage a betta’s fins.

It is also important to have driftwood in the tank so that the betta fish has a place to hide and feel safe.

Betta fish don’t get lonely and don’t need tank mates. They can’t be in a tank with other bettas or with fish who will nip at their fins. They do well with peaceful bottom-dwellers. 

On their own, bettas need a tank that is 5 to 10 gallons big. It should be wider than its depth. More gallons should be added on for each tank mate.

Final Thoughts

Some parts of betta fish care can be difficult, like feeding them or changing the water. But once you get the hang of it, even the hard things will become easy. With proper dedication, betta fish can be great fish for beginners and can become very easy to care for.

If you liked this article, make sure you check out the rest of the website! And if you have any more questions you can ask them in the Q&A Section!

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