Caring for a betta fish

Many of the other topics here at FishBetta will focus on very specific details about caring for a betta fish properly, but we thought it would be a good idea to have a bit of a summary list of the key things you need to remember to keep your Siamese fighting fish in tip top health and shape!

Caring For A Betta Fish – Feeding Routines

Your betta fish needs high quality foods.  Many people don’t realize that bettas are carnivorous fish that need an animal source of protein in their diet.  Fortunately, the fish food companies make this pretty easy for us.  There are a variety of great quality betta pellets, flake foods, and even frozen or freeze dried foods to choose from.  Most of these are well-balanced and full of the proteins and carbohydrate and fat sources your betta fish needs.  I personally use and recommend Atison’s Betta food!

It is easy, when just starting to learn about betta fish care, to over feed or under feed your fish!  Both can be just as disastrous overall.  Underfeeding leads to poor health since your betta can’t keep its muscle mass up and he will start to become malnourished and weak.  Overfeeding your betta fish leaves uneaten food on the bottom of the tank.  Bacteria love this scenario and can quickly spoil the water, especially in smaller betta jars!  Toxins such as ammonia and nitrite can spike in the tank when you overfeed a Siamese fighting fish (or any species of fish for that matter).

You need to start slow with feeds and increase as you see how much your betta fish actually eats.  Start with a few flakes or pellets twice a day.  If he eats them all within a couple of minutes, then the next time you feed your betta fish you can add a few more flakes or pellets and see how he reacts.  If there is ever any uneaten food after 5 minutes, remove it from the aquarium.

Plants In A Betta Fish Tank

Plants are a great addition to most betta fish tanks as long as you are willing to do a little extra to care for them properly.  Plants are beneficial because they make your Siamese fighter feel more secure, and help keep the water quality high by using up nitrates and excess nutrients/minerals in the water column.  Some great plant species for a betta fish include anubias, amazon swords, and java ferns.  These are all pretty easy to care for.  Just make sure you provide a quality light source for your fish.  For more details about keeping aquarium plants healthy, a good book on the topic is where I would start (though we hope to feature a page here sometime soon).

If you would rather have some fake plants for your aquarium – then try to get silk aquarium plants if you can.  Amazon has a bunch of good silk plants that are better for your fish since they are much less likely to rip a betta’s sensitive fins!  Zoo Med Betta Bed Leaf Hammock is a fun addition to your fish’s home!

Betta Fish Care – Water Changes

Though your plants will help keep the water clean, every aquarium needs to have a percentage of the water changed from time to time.  For bettas this is important since your fish likely doesn’t have a filter in his tank.  If your fish tank is only a gallon or less, it is likely best to do a big water change once every few weeks.  Gently pour out about 50% of the water and slowly pour aged aquarium water back in.  Be sure the water is the same temperature as the bettas old water was.  Temperature shocks can be bad for a Siamese fighting fish’s health!  If you have your betta in a luxury betta tank that is, for example, 5 gallons or even more, and has a filter in it, then you can do weekly water changes.  A bigger Siamese fighting fish aquarium can likely do well with only 10 or 20% of the water changed every week.

If you care for your betta fish properly, you can expect him to live for 3 to 5 years overall.  Quite a lot of time to have such a fun fish with a unique personality!


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