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Betta Fish Keeping Beginners Guide

Betta fishes are beautiful to look at and make great pets. There is a hugely supportive community who breed and raise betta fish. You can join in on Betta fish talk in our forum or in your local communities to get tips and tricks.



Betta Splendens are also known as Siamese fighting fish. They are native to Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. If they are well cared for they can live up to an average of two to four years. They are hardy fish and relatively low maintenance.

Low maintenance does not, however, mean you don't care for them at all. This is a common misconception about betta fish. They can survive in muddy and shallow creeks, but this does not, however, equate to raising the fish in the cup you buy the fish in nor in a vase with plants.

In order to raise a healthy betta fish and to provide it with a good quality of life, you must create healthy living conditions for it.

Here is a list of things you will need:

Fish tank

You will first require a fish tank. The tank has to be a 2.5-gallon tank (10 liters approx) at least. If you can get a bigger tank, well more power to you. It would help keep the fish healthy in the long run. In the wild, betta fish live in running water that stretches for miles, and they explore these waters. They don't just live in a puddle! The fish will require space to exercise and swim about. So keep that in mind before you put a betta fish in a cup or planter vase!

Filter

A good filter with a slow flow is a must. The slow flow is to emulate its native ecosystem. Betta fish are not strong swimmers so it is best if you can find a filter that has a slow flow or creates slow currents. The filter itself will help greatly in keeping the fish healthy from diseases like fin and mouth rot. It will help keep your water clean and establish a colony of healthy bacteria that will breakdown harmful toxins like ammonia generated by fish waste.

Heater and Thermometer

If you live in a cold place, a heater is a must have. Betta fish are tropical fish and need warm waters to live long and happy lives. The temperature has to be controlled and has to remain between 75–82 °Farenheit (24–28 °Celsius). The thermometer is pretty self-explanatory. You need it to monitor and regulate the temperatures. Most heaters now come with external or mounted thermostats that automatically regulate water temperature.

Maintaining the water

You need to maintain a ph level of 7 for a healthy environment and a healthy fish. You can use ph strips or liquids to test the water and adjust the ph levels by cleaning the tank and changing the water. Use already tested water and also adjust the temperature before adding it to the tank, while changing the water. A reverse osmosis filter is also great for maintaining the tank long term. Also, maintain the ammonia and nitrite readings at zero. Always have clean water and also add helpful bacteria.

Food and Nutrition

Betta fish are mainly insectivores, so their diet needs to be protein intensive. You can get live or frozen mosquito larvae, brine shrimp, bloodworms, wingless fruit flies, live black worms etc. Flakes are great, but they are primarily plant-based. The betta fish might eat the flakes, but if you want it to be healthy go for live food, it naturally eats. Variety is great. A little twice a day is pretty good. Do not overfeed the fish.

Plants and Decor

Plants and little decorations will add to the aesthetic value of your tank. First, you will need fine substrate or gravel. This will help anchor the plans and help create illusions or depth. Do not use terracotta plants. Fake plants have high chances of harming your fish because they have pointy bits. Get real live plants like Java ferns. Stones with light moss to create a natural filter although this may take time to cultivate. Driftwood and dried almond leaves can add to the natural looking aesthetic. They also provide spaces for the fish to hide which the fish loves. They can double as anchors for plants as well as add to the natural ecosystem filter.

Lights

Do not put glaring lights for your fish tank. Lights can come preinstalled with the tank, or you can buy them separately. The ideal lighting for betta fish is a low level LED lighting that will keep the fish comfortable and help the plants grow as well.

Communal Tanks

Although communal tanks might be a little too daring for beginners and even some seasoned veterans due to betta fish being territorial and aggressive by nature. A communal tank can be achieved. A little more in-depth research and a few trials will be required.

Warning never put two betta fishes in the same tank especially if the tank is small and small includes the 2.5-gallon tank. They are very territorial, and it will lead to fighting and maybe even the death of one or both the bettas. This rule is especially so for small tanks.

This applies to both males and females. The female betta is just as territorial. Another tip is to never put two betta fish tanks next to each other without an opaque divider. This will stress the fish out, and that's not healthy for the fish.

Snails are pretty good companions although they are not fishes. Beta variations that are not line bred for aggression are good for a community tank. Betta fishes also get along with most bottom feeders. It depends on the fish you have. While adding a betta to a community tank or adding another fish to a betta's tank, you have first to isolate then observe and see if they are active and seem healthy.

Final Thoughts

Some final instructions for setting up your new tank. Set up the tank, put in water, the decor, plants and let the water filter and let it run for about a day to see if there is an anomaly with any of your products or the water condition that includes temperature and ph levels, etc. This is called cycling your water, do this before introducing any betta fish into your tank. You can start with small tetras to help kick off the bacterial cycle. Test the water regularly to check if the cycle is complete and ammonia levels are zero. Then put your betta fish in, if all the conditions for the beta are met.

If you have any questions, post them in the comment box below or in our Tropical Fish Forum

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