BETTA BASICS - Introduction to Bettafish Care
INTRODUCTION TO BETTA CARE
Betta fish (Betta Splendens) are one of the hardiest fish in the aquarium hobby. Unfortunately, this is taken advantage of by the pet fish industry. Bettas are often marketed as low/no maintenance fish that can be kept in small glass bowls. This however, is very misleading and untrue.
Comparatively, bettas are indeed one of the easiest fish to keep in the aquarium hobby. But, no matter how "easy" they are to care for, Bettas still need the basic, basic equipments for keeping tropical fish: heater, water, water conditioner, food and care. In this introduction to Betta care, we will walk you through these basic fish keeping necessities.
Never keep a male betta fish with any other betta fish, be it female or male. Bettas of either gender are aggressive to their own kind, and will readily fight to death in the limited confines of the home aquarium. Females can be kept together in a sorority if specific measures are taken.
Read more on keeping a sorority here:
Important tips to a successful sorority
Bettas can also be housed in a divided tank or a community tank (usually 10 gallons or larger). As bettas are aggressive fish, care must be taken when introducing a betta fish in to a community tank.
Read about other ways to house bettas here:
Betta Compatibility With Each Other
Generally it is recommended to keep a betta in no less than 1 gallon of water. Larger and/or more active bettas will need bigger tanks. This is to ensure a stable environment for the fish as well as an ethically acceptable space for swimming and exercise. The bigger the tank, the less tank maintenance is needed.
It is recommended for tanks 5 gallons and over to be cycled. It is possible to cycle smaller tanks as well, but such cycles are know to be less stable than that in a larger volume of water.
More on cycling:
A Beginner's Guide to the Freshwater Aquarium Cycle
Nitrogen cycle-Betta specific
To prevent temperature fluctuation, tanks should be placed on a sturdy surface of contant temperature. Room heaters, windows, areas of direct sunlight or cold drafts should be avoided
Bettas are tropical fish, this means that they should be kept in tropical temperatures. A good temperature for bettas is from around 76F to 82F. Many do just fine when summer temperature hits the 90s. A good betta environment should have as little temperature fluctuations are possible. With large fluctuations (especially on the cooler side) bettas may go into temperature shock. (think of it like a really sudden painful brain freeze o_O)
In cold water (room temperature water is usually considered too cold for bettas) bettas will become lethargic and sickly.
In the majority of cases, heaters are an integral part of fish keeping. They help maintain a stable water temperature and prevent fluctuations.