Are you thinking of getting a betta for the first time? You may be wondering how hardy are bettas, how best to care for them, and what conditions they should be kept in.
The following will explore where to purchase a hardy betta, what illnesses bettas are susceptible to, and how to care for your betta to keep it healthy.
Are Bettas Hard To Keep Alive?
Bettas have a reputation of being hardy fish that live on average for around 7 years and up to 10 years if cared for well. Warning signs that your betta is feeling ill include twitching, rubbing against items in the tank, white spots, or rust. Look out for discoloration such as brown spots if the fish seems lethargic or has no appetite, or is swimming in strange motions.
There are a few common reasons that bettas can become ill:
- Poor water conditions – bettas need clean, filtered water.
- Cold water temperature – bettas are tropical fish and therefore need warm water of a temperature of around 80°F.
- Stress – bettas can become stressed if the tank conditions are not right or if they have inappropriate tank mates which harass or cause aggression in the betta.
- Illnesses – fish can become sick due to hereditary illnesses or due to poor tank conditions.
Bettas are susceptible to a variety of illnesses, such as:
- Fin rot – a bacterial infection that lowers the immune system, eats the fins, works its way into the body, and kills the fish.
- Ich – a parasitic infection that causes cysts, which look like white spots, on the fish’s body, gills, and fins.
- Velvet – a parasitic disease that causes the fish to look like it is covered in rust.
- Bloat – a swelled abdomen causes decreased appetite, lethargy, and breathing difficulties.
How Hardy Are Bettas?
Bettas have a reputation for being hardy as they are easy to take care of, have a long lifespan, can survive in temperatures cooler than their ideal temperature range, and can breathe above the surface of the water.
Easy to Care For
Bettas are easy to care for and are low-maintenance fish compared to other species. Yet they still need a proper tank set up with warm, clean water to thrive.
Bettas can live up to 10 years, which naturally gives them a reputation as being hardy, as they can live for a lot longer than the average fish.
Can Survive in Cooler Water
Bettas are tropical fish and so need a warm environment to thrive, but they can tolerate lower temperatures. The ideal temperature for betta fish is between 78 and 80°F, but they can survive in temperatures as low as 76 to 72°F.
Can Breathe Above the Surface of the Water
Bettas can breathe both in water and the air above the surface of the water. This means that they can survive in smaller tanks with water with lower oxygen levels. However, this does not mean that they do not need water that is clean, filtered, and contains oxygen.
Can Be Aggressive
Betta can be aggressive and territorial in the tank, which is why they are also known as Siamese fighting fish. Bettas can be seen as hardy because they may attack or bully other fish in the tank rather than being intimidated.
How Cold Can Bettas Tolerate?
Bettas are tropical fish originating in Asia, where they live in warm shallow waters around rice paddies and streams. As they come from such a warm natural environment, betta in captivity will also need warm water temperatures in order to thrive. The ideal temperature for bettas is around 78 to 80°F. One of the reasons bettas are so hardy is that they can survive in temperatures that are lower.
Betta can survive in temperatures up to 85°F and lower than this range, as cold as 76°F. If temperatures in the tank reach around 72°F or lower, bettas will begin to become sick and lethargic, and their immune system will drop. If they are in cold water for a long time, they will fall into a coma and lay at the bottom of the tank.
To keep the water at an ideal temperature for healthy bettas, you will need an aquarium heater. If the aquarium is large, it may need two heaters, one at each end of the tank, to ensure it is warm all over.
Care Tips For Keeping Your Betta Hardy
Bettas are naturally hardy, but there are tank conditions that can help keep them healthy:
Large Tank Size
Bettas may not need as much space as other fish because they can breathe in lower oxygen areas, yet bettas thrive when they have more room as they enjoy swimming and exploring. Betta should be kept in at least a 5-gallon tank, but a 10 or 15 gallon would be even better, especially if you are keeping a number of bettas or a community tank with other fish.
Bettas love plants and caves. Although bettas are aggressive, they enjoy having places to hide and where they feel safe. Live plants would be the most suitable, but if these are not available, then silk or fabric plants can also work.
Ideal Water Conditions
Bettas need warm, clean water. Water should be kept at a temperature of 78 to 80°F with a heater and should be filtered.
A Carnivorous Diet
Bettas are carnivores and therefore need food such as insects, larvae, and grub mixed in with their betta food pellets.
Appropriate Tank Mates
Bettas can coexist peacefully in a community tank with appropriate tank mates, who are also peaceful and are smaller than the betta, such as mystery snails, ghost shrimp, guppies, rasboras, cory catfish, tetras, plecos, and loaches.
Where to Get a Hardy Betta Fish
Where you purchase your betta can determine its health, hardiness, and how long it lives. If possible, it is best to purchase a betta from a reputable breeder rather than a pet store. This may cost more, but your betta is more likely to live a longer and healthier life if they have been kept in good conditions.
A breeder will also be able to offer advice on how to care for the betta properly, such as keeping the tank clean and what type of specialist food it needs. If the betta is kept in a small container, or if the water is dirty, it is likely that the fish will become sick.
If there is food in the water, this could mean that the fish is being overfed or is already ill and therefore has a decreased appetite. Check the fish and the other fish that it is kept with for signs of illness. Look for discoloration, white or brown spots, fins being eaten away, and fish that are swimming oddly or twitching.
Bettas are naturally hardy fish that can live for up to 10 years if kept in appropriate conditions. But their hardiness still requires water to be at a warm temperature, clean and filtered, the tank to be large, and contain lots of plants and caves in order for them to