Last time, we talked about Goldfish Care Sheet and today, we’d be looking at Betta fish care sheet. So, grab a seat, be comfy while I walk you through.
Betta Fish Care Guide
Want to learn how to care for a betta fish? This post covers it all!
Betta Fish Tanks
A decent habitat is not a favor to your pet, it is its right. When you bring the pet home, it is your duty to set up conditions that help it best to thrive. Take care of the following criteria to build a comfy home in your
Betta fish bowl:
Size: For all fishes, the general rule of thumb is, bigger the better. Betta is not a fussy fish but small bowls undergo too much temperature shifts. Betta can cope with a shift of 3 degrees F in a day but more than that can be very stressful for them.
A small tank without filter should be placed away from doors and windows to provide a more consistent temperature. A bigger bowl/tank also dilutes the pollution in the tank with larger quantity of water causing less stress in the fish.
Temperature: Bettas are tropical fish that thrive between 70-80 degrees F temperature. Below 70 degree F, your fish will feel chilly and will loose appetite and vigor. Lowered temperatures may even cause death.
Water quality: Bettas are fairly tolerant fish and can survive in pH of 6 to 8. Most water sources, including tap water are fine. You just need to let the water set out for a week before introducing it in a Betta tank/bowl.
Don’t ‘over clean’ the tank or else you will wash away the natural nitrifiers needed to get rid of the ammonia in the tank.
Weekly cleaning and partial water change with water of about same temperature ensures that the beneficial microbes are sustained in the tank.
Filtration: Although a small system for Betta fish can survive without a filter, it is best to have one to ensure good health of your fish. Filtration helps maintain low nitrate levels in the tank.
Live Plants: Living aquatic plants bring immense benefits to your Betta system. They maintain oxygen level and are conducive for growth of beneficial micro life.
Living grass is a good option and will make the system better.
Faux Plants, Decor: Artificial plants are better than no plants because they encourage microbial growth. Avoid all decorations not made specifically for the aquarium.
Tank mates: Betta can be kept with any tropical livestock. Two male betas will, however, not stay together.
For small systems you can choose from Platies, guppies, small barbs, small danios, rasboras, Whiteclouds, Corydoras catfishes, large snails like Ramshorns and Mysteries, and shrimp like Glass, Ghost, Grass.
Light: Though Betta doesn’t need light; you can keep the light on in a regular cycle for your own viewing.
Covers: You will have to either leave the water level a few inches below the top of the tank or cover the tank to avoid your fishes jumping out. It’s best to cover the tank to avoid dust settling on the top.
A cover also saves the fish from cold air draughts that they gulp when they come up for breath.
Maintenance: Regular maintenance is mandatory for a healthy tank. Weekly water change and gravel vacuuming helps.
Bettas can live in small-polluted bowls but they will neither be happy nor healthy. For a healthy Betta batch you need to set up an attractive tropical tank that you will also enjoy watching.
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Betta Care Sheet
Betta is a popular tank fish and its maintenance is least painful. However, it does need care and you must be observant about its heath. A sick Betta is easy to spot since naturally the fish is very active and vibrant. If you have had the fish for a while you will be able to spot immediately when they are unwell.
Following tips can help you keep the Betta ecosystem healthy and vibrant:
- A bowl large enough to allow ample swimming space is a prerequisite. The fish shouldn’t bump and tear its fins or scales. A large enough tank also ensures that the water has adequate oxygen level.
- These fish do not require filtration but need the cleanest water you can provide them. Change the water every three days to keep it clean and avoid infection in your fish.
The water you add to the tank should have set out for 24 hours (aged water).
- Bettas are also called Siamese fighting fish because the male of the specie will fight each other to death! Never put two males in the same tank. Females can stay together and so can one male with many females.
You can also keep your Betta with algae eaters, guppies and corydorus catfish.
- Ensure that the bottom of the bowl or tank is debris free. You can use something as simple as a turkey baster to do this cleaning. Debris sitting at the bottom will make the water cloudy and unhygienic for the fish.
They will also cause the water to smell.
- Maintain the tank pH at 7.
- When cleaning the tank accessories, avoid using soap because traces of soap will change the water pH.
- Betta can jump out of tanks and bowls, so keep them covered.
- Betta is not a fussy fish and will happily eat the Betta pellets and frozen bloodworms. However, Bettas are fond of live food such as brine shrimp, and you must serve it as a treat now and then.
- When decorating a Betta bowl with rocks and marbles, ensure that the gaps do not create spaces where the fish might get stuck. Decoration should not pose a health risk to your fish.
- When buying partners for Betta make sure that they are not fin nippers and your tank should be all right.
Bettas are not fussy creatures and their disposition is vibrant and lively. They will give you immense pleasure but it is your responsibility to feed them and take care of their living conditions.
When the fish are sick, medicate them if you are sure about the disease and the treatment or take them to the vet.
Take good care of your Betta and the fish will be your great companions.
Betta Fish Breeding
One of the easiest fish to maintain, Betta is also easy to breed in captivity. In fact the process is quite interesting. The male Betta builds a bubble nest at the water surface and indicates its readiness to mate.
The female then lays the eggs and the male scoops them in his mouth. He spits them into the bubble nest where they remain till they hatch. Once the fry hatch, they have to be separated from the male who may eat them.
You must know the following things about Betta breeding before you start:
- Sex of the fish: It is important to know the male from the female. Whereas two males will fight to death, females can stay together. Also, male has much longer fins than the female.
- It’s best to keep male and female Betta in separate tanks except for a few hours when they spawn.
- During courtship the color of the finnage in both sexes will be brilliant.
- Keep one male in each bowl.
- Feed floating pellet food or frozen bloodworms to your fish. During spawning, you should change the diet and include BettaMin, Freeze Dried Blood Worms, some live or frozen brine shrimp and a few live Black Worms.
Good food helps the female to produce eggs and males encouraged to build big bubble nest.
- Change 20% water from the fish bowl daily to stimulate the male to build the nest near the edge of the bowl.
- A good breed can be devised by putting the plumpest female with the male that builds the biggest nest. After nipping and quarreling for a while, the pair will get along and spawn. Observe carefully that the male doesn’t hurt the female too badly. If they don’t spawn separate them and try making another pair. After spawning separate them.
- Sometimes, the male will not build the nest during courtship. You can provide an artificial nest by placing a cut Styrofoam cup in the water. The edges of the cup draw the eggs towards itself.
- The Male cares for the eggs and the special chemicals in his mouth dissolve the outer layer of the eggs and help hatching of the fry.
- Raising the fry is a tough job. It is difficult in captivity and better results have been obtained in ponds where temperature is between 68 to 70 degrees F. The pond should not contain any fish that would eat the fry.
The fry grows quickly and within days they will start eating powdered food. Soon the fry will be ready to be rehabilitated as adult Betta in other tanks.
Betta is delightful specie of fish to have in your aquarium and breeding them can be a very fulfilling experience, so long as you are able to separate the two sexes and the fry in time.
Losing fry to hungry parents, especially males can be avoided by feeding the male just as soon as the fry hatch. In any case, you will learn as you go along and breed a few generations!
Betta Fish Lifespan
The minimum lifespan of a betta is about three years. While you might think that bettas in the wild do betterand live longer than those in captivity, the opposite is actually true.
Bettas in captivity tend to live a year or two longer than wild bettas.
Can You keep Female Bettas in the Tank Together with Male Bettas?
Most enthusiasts are aware that you can’t keep two male Bettas in a tank. They will fight to death, but most also seem to think that female Bettas will stay together amicably.
This is not always true. Female Bettas have more personality and spunk and can be really aggressive.
It is, however, possible to keep female Bettas in the same tank and even though their plumage is not as beautiful as the male, they look amazing swimming together in one tank.
Female Bettas can learn to live peacefully with each other.
Setting up the tank
Most important success factor is the size of the tank— the bigger the better. A large tank will provide ample swimming space and the females will feel less competitive.
The other thing is number of fishes in the tank. Female Bettas form a hierarchy when placed together.
Always keep more than two fishes to facilitate the process and to avoid one fish behaving like alpha and picking on the other!
If all these plans fail you will have to separate out the alpha female and you must also have a hospital tank to treat the causalities of this experiment.
You need to understand individual behavior of your fish before you bring them together. Quarantine them for a few weeks separately and observe their natural behavior. If they are healthy then allow them to come together.
Put all the fish in the tank together so that no one fish has an advantage nor does anyone get a chance to form territory. Be careful and observant. Watch out for aggressive behavior and see that no one is getting hurt.
Signs of success
In a day or two your fish will start settling down. They may look aggressive chasing each other around but this is the natural process of formation of pecking order. Observe carefully and then judge the personalities of your fish.
Only if you see them biting each other and nipping fins should you separate them. Take the aggressive fish out, quarantine it and then you may try reintroducing it after a few days.
If the behavior repeats you might have to take this one back to the pet shop, she is simply too aggressive to mix!
A trick you can use, is introduce lots of hiding places for your fishes. This will give them a sense of security around the aggressive female and once the pecking order is established the aggressive female will leave the other fish alone.
Community Betta tanks are a rarity and lot of fun but they require a lot of patience from you. Take all precautions stated above you might succeed.
Do not forget to share this betta fish care guide/sheet if you like it!