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Betta Fish Tank Beginners Guide

Betta fish are great pets and awesome tropical fish. They are often said to be low maintenance, but this is not a hundred percent true. They are only low maintenance when provided with the right equipment.



Betta fish cannot live long happy lives in small bowls or vases with plants in them. A lot of novelty aquariums and tanks do not provide the right conditions for a Betta Fish. Betta fish have an average lifespan of two to four years, and some can even live up to seven years. If your betta dies within a couple of months after purchase, it probably did not have the right living conditions.

Here are a few dos and don’ts for Betta fish tanks:

Proper Betta Fish Tank Size

A betta fish tank is recommended to be at least 2.5 gallons (10 liters) in capacity per betta fish. The betta fish originally come from creaks or shallow waters that run for miles. The Bettas explore these waters, they don’t live in mud puddles or small plastic containers.

Sure, they could survive, but that doesn’t make them happy. Emulating mud puddles or small pockets of water by putting a betta fish in a bowl or a cup is unhealthy. The fish produce ammonia as they urinate, if ammonia level builds up to an unhealthy level, it can cause fin rot and other diseases. Imagine swimming in your own PEE!

Eventually, this leads to the death of your betta. So, to keep a betta fish healthy and happy, get at least a 2.5-gallon tank. If you can get a bigger sized tank, it should improve the fish’s life and environment. Buy a tank that is longer horizontally rather than vertical. This will give the betta fish more space to swim.

Betta Fish Tank Filters

Filters are an essential part in the low maintenance bit of raising betta fish. A simple hang on filter with bio-filters and or sponge filter can work. Fluval tanks are one of the best tanks in the market and are highly recommended because they come with a separate space for filters, heaters, and a beautiful premium design that hides them so you can enjoy looking at your fish without an ugly filter disturbing your sight.

Using a double filter system is a great way for making the process low maintenance. Use a bio-filter and a sponge filter. This way you only need to clean it once a month.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that betta fish are mouth breathers. Betta fish have a special organ called the labyrinth organ which allows them to breathe air from the surface. This bit of information is important because the filter in the tank needs to have a slow current. The sponge or bio-wheel on the filter will help control the flow. Betta fish are not strong swimmers so it helps the fish stay comfortable, and on occasion, that it wants to breathe air it can go to the surface without the current disturbing the water surface.

Betta Fish Plants and Décor

Betta fish like low lighting and hiding, as they would in nature from predators. So, you will need decoration that provides it spaces to hide near the surface to mid-way down the tank.

Although Fake terracotta plants are popular, they are not recommended. The sharp bits on fake plants can harm your betta fish. Get real plants like Java Fern and moss. These types of plants thrive in low lighting setting.

Make sure your aquarium lights are not too bright. Betta fish prefer dimmer lighting, and it also helps you view your betta more easily, and it increases visibility.

You will require substrate or sand for your aquarium. Make sure you use a substrate that does not have sharp bits and edges. The substrate you buy shouldn’t be too big, or food will get stuck in between the bits. This will lead to a build-up of food that will break down and foul up your water. Pick a substrate that is easy to clean out or stir up so that the filters can clean up the water.

Water condition

Betta fish, as with all fish, need clean water with oxygen. The nitrite and ammonia reading should be zero. Test and maintain the water’s ph value is at or near 7. Regular testing with pH strips can help monitor water chemistry and pH swings.

Another critical factor for a betta fish tank is water temperature. A betta fish tank requires a heater to maintain a tropical temperature. This is because betta fishes are originally from tropical places like Thailand and Cambodia. The water temperature should be maintained between 75–82 Fahrenheit ( 24–28 Celsius ). A thermometer will help monitor the water temperature so get one just for the tank and attach it. Most heaters now come with built-in thermostats to allow you to set a temperature and forget it. Every once in a while, check your thermometer to make sure your heater is working reliably.

Final Thoughts

There is a misconception that because betta fish in the wild can survive in muddy puddles its okay to let them live in dirty water. Although wild betta fish can survive in those conditions does not mean they thrive in it. Muddy water also does not equate to dirty water because, in the wild, the water is well oxygenated by the many plants and cleaned by the natural ecosystem. While setting up a tank. It is also recommended to let the water in the tank to cycle a few times to check if conditions for the fish are right, before putting your fish in.

Betta fishes are territorial fishes and turn aggressive when put in the same tank as another betta fish. Put only one betta per tank, especially if the tank is small. Female bettas are just as aggressive. Making a communal tank for the betta or even a sorority tank of female bettas takes a lot of effort that involves a lot of monitoring and trial and error.

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