Betta Fish Complete Care Guide 2021

Due to its appearance, the Betta Fish is probably not without reason one of the most popular fish for an aquarium. Especially for the beginning, it is a good option because it also creates a great look alone.

The care and keeping of the Betta requires a few but still important knowledge. Especially when it comes to socialization, there are a few things to keep in mind to keep the fish healthy.

In this guide, you will learn everything important about the Betta Fish. Whether keeping, feeding, socialization or diseases. And finally, an answer to the question of whether the Betta is the right fish for you.

Parameter

Characteristics

Scientific name

Betta

Care Level

Easy

Temperament

Slightly aggressive

Color

Multicolor

Lifespan

4 Years

Size

1.5 - 6 inches

Diet

Carnivore

Family

Osphronemidae

Minimum Tank Size

10 Gallons

Water Type

Freshwater

Water Temperature

75 °F - 86 °F

pH Level

5 – 8

Possible Tank Mates

Solitary confinement recommended

Betta Fish Overview

The Betta Fish originally comes from the Asian region and can be found in almost all waters there. It is originally a very aggressive fighting fish, which has lost some aggressivity through special breeding. In Thailand, it is even used for fish fights.

Dazzlingly colorful and somewhat aggressive towards other fish and conspecifics. The fighting fish (Betta) is a special specimen that adds a splash of color to any aquarium. Its body with long, fluttering fins can be bred in different shades. Thus they form a beautiful contrast.

The many subspecies are categorized according to shape circles and patterns. While the males are very colorful, the females look a little less colorful. With low requirements, the animal is straightforward to care for and therefore popular with newcomers to aquaristic.

Appearance of Betta Fish

The appearance of the Betta Fish is very striking. The male breeding form has very long fins, which can be found in almost all colors. On the other hand, the females are more similar to the wild form and less conspicuous in color. Also, the fins of the females are much smaller. Overall, males grow up to 3.5 inches and females up to 2.5 inches. In the wild, the fish grow up to 6 inches.

Betta Fish Lifespan

A Betta Fish will live about four years. However, socialization or stress can significantly shorten the lifespan. With as little stress as possible, good planting, and adherence to the ideal temperature and water values, you can significantly extend this lifespan.

In the wild, fighting fish do not live as long as they do in the aquarium, as they are exposed to much more stress from territorial fights and predators, are frequently attacked by parasites, and die from diseases.

Typical Behavior

The breeding fish’s behavior is still quite aggressive compared to the wild fish and other species. The Betta Fish does not accept other competitors, so keeping them together is also difficult. The fish has a certain territory where it does not accept competition, not even from another Betta Fish. It constantly patrols its territory, which on the one hand, is exhausting but also stressful for the animal.

The females are slightly calmer but still show the same behavior. The relationship between males and females is also difficult because the male Bettas are very dominant.

Here you get the answer to a very improtant question reladet to the behavior of betta fish: Do betta fish sleep?

How many Betta Fish should you get?

There are a few things to keep in mind when keeping Betta Fish. It is important to note that aggressive fish can also be very aggressive among themselves, which significantly increases the animals’ stress. Basically, several males should never be kept together. Several females are usually no problem but should still be closely monitored.

A good combination consists of either female-only or one male together with three to four female Bettas. A single male and female is also not a good combination as the female will be under a lot of stress. The male is so dominant that it needs to have at least 3 females opposite him.

Aquarium Conditions

Depending on how many Betta Fishs you want to keep, you will also need a different sized aquarium. If you only keep two or three of the fish alone, a 10-gallon tank is sufficient. When choosing an aquarium, it must have a lid. A Betta Fish can jump very high, which could cause it to jump out of the tank.

Due to the nature of the Betta Fish, which always wants to defend its territory, you should make sure to buy a rather small tank. This will significantly reduce the fish’s stress level, as they will be less afraid and will have to swim less. The swimming is especially for the male fish with large tail fin a high effort. This is another reason for a small tank.

Also, strong filter systems with too high a current should be avoided, as they cause more effort and stress. In nature, the fish are also more likely to be found in still waters. When planting, care should be taken to ensure dense vegetation. This offers the fish a retreat where they can hide and rest. Likewise, the basin should be illuminated rather dark.

Tip: A Betta hammock is also a very good place for Bettas to rest.

Water Parameters for Betta Fish

Originally, the Betta Fish comes from very warm, tropical waters. Accordingly, the temperature in an aquarium should also be between 75 and 86 °F. If the temperature drops below 74 °F, the fish begins to save energy and hardly move. An increased temperature, in turn, ensures faster aging. The water hardness should be between 10 and 25 ° dGH and the pH between 5 and 8. A detailed overview of the other parameters you get in the following table.

Parameter

Characteristics

Temperature

75 °F - 86 °F 

Ammonia

0 ppm

Nitrite

0 ppm

Nitrate

10 - 20 ppm

pH

5.0 - 8.0

GH

< 25 dGH (<445 ppm)

KH

1 - 2 dKH (17.8 - 35.8 ppm)

Varieties of Betta Fish

In the Betta Fish, there are not different species, which differ from each other. Depending on the breeding, the fish have different colors, which you can choose according to your personal preferences.

However, there is a difference between males and females. The male Bettas are the larger and more colorful fish. They have a thicker body and longer fins all over the body compared to the females. Especially the caudal fin is much larger. In terms of colors, the males also have much brighter and more vibrant colors than the female bettas.

These have a rather slender body with muted and dull colors. Also, the beard is hardly recognizable. But instead, a white spot on the ventral fin. Thus, the female Bettas are more like wild fish. The wild form of bettas is also less exciting in shape and color. These are somewhat smaller, usually only 2.5 inches, while male breedings can grow up to 3.5 inches.

Betta Fish Diet and Feeding

The feeding of fish is an important aspect to be considered. Incorrect feeding can lead to a lot of stress, diseases, but also fights among themselves. Accordingly, feeding should be done regularly and according to a plan. In the following section, we explain how you can do this.

Natural Diet

In nature, Betta fish feed small insects or other small animals. They are carnivores and eat almost everything they can find. The fish are also able to endure a few days without eating.

What should I feed Betta Fish?

The Betta fish is a carnivore and can be fed with live food, frozen food, special flake food, and granules. Live food is not absolutely necessary but is gladly accepted. If you do not buy special flake food, then you should make sure that the fish need a lot of protein in their diet. Suitable live foods are, for example, mosquito larvae, water fleas, or brine shrimps.

How often should I feed Betta Fish?

Carnivores such as the Betta Fish should be fed regularly. Once a day is a good guideline. One day a week, you can also do without feeding so that the fish does not get used to it. Too much food can harm the fish and lead to death, disease, and digestive problems.

Here you can see an example for a Betta Fish feeding schedule:

Day of the Week

Food

Monday

2 – 4 betta fish pellets 1 to 2 times

Tuesday

2 – 3 pieces of live, frozen, or freeze-dried food 1 to 2 times

Wednesday

2 – 4 betta fish pellets 1 to 2 times

Thursday

2 – 4 betta fish pellets 1 to 2 times

Friday

2 – 3 pieces of live, frozen, or freeze-dried food 1 to 2 times

Saturday

2 – 4 betta fish pellets 1 to 2 times

Sunday

fasting day

Read more about it here: How often do you feed a Betta Fish?

How long can Betta Fish go without food?

Now and then, it can happen that you just don’t have time or you forget to feed the fish. This should not happen because you have an obligation to the animals. Nevertheless, it is not so bad if the animals have to go a day or two without food. The Betta Fish is even able to endure up to 14 days without food. Nevertheless, it should be fed regularly to keep its stress level low and prolong its life.

If you cannot feed the fish for a longer period of time, you can use a special automatic fish feeder. This can be used to supply the animals regularly with the right amount of food.

Read more about it here: How long can Fish go without Food?

Betta Fish Tank Mates

The Betta Fish is a very aggressive fish, which should not be kept in a tank combined with other fish. Some breeders say that it is possible to combine a Betta Fish with others, but we would not recommend it. Especially males are so dominant towards others that they should only be kept individually. Not even a second male should be kept in the same tank because they would attack each other.

On the other hand, females are not quite as aggressive and can be combined with other fish species with great caution. Important is a sufficient size of the tank so that the fish have enough space to retreat. Likewise, a large shoal should be selected with the other fish species, which can assert itself against the Bettas.

Also, the fish should be about the same size as the Betta but less flashy in color. So the male sees less competition and is more peaceful. If you really want to try, suitable for example:

Fish that should not be together with Betta Fish in the same tank are:

  • More than one male,
  • Other aggressive fish species.

Breeding Betta Fish

If you want to breed Betta Fishs, you should do without a substrate in the tank. This makes it easier to find the eggs in the tank and keep the tank clean. Otherwise, the eggs could get caught and rot. The fighting fish is engaged in brood care. Before starting the breeding process, keep males and females separated for 2-3 weeks. You should use especially high-fat and high-protein food so that the fish have enough reserves during reproduction. Floating plants in the breeding tank are mandatory, especially for the species that build foam nests and so that the female can retreat. The water temperature is set at 82 – 86 °F. This gets the fish ready to spawn.

Common Betta Fish Diseases

Diseases are as normal in fish as they are in humans. However, fish are dependent on how well the tank is kept. Regular cleaning is essential for healthy fish. Likewise, a sick fish should be immediately separated from the rest to prevent the spread of disease. A low appetite can often recognize a sick fish. Furthermore, the fish often swim very slowly and retreat. Often you can hardly see sick fish because they retreat into the furthest corners. Also typical is a curvature of the body of the fish. With such signs, the fish should immediately in an extra tank. Betta Fish do not have any special diseases. They can only suffer from the typical fish diseases. In the following table, you will find an overview of common diseases.

Disease

Symptoms

Causes

Suggested Action

Fin Rot

Injuries to the fins of the Fish.

Transmitted by parasites, which can enter the aquarium through new fish.

A diseased fish should be separated immediately and the tank cleaned so that the disease does not spread further.

Ich

White spots on the body and the fish rubs against hard objects.

Is transmitted by bacteria, which often come into the tank through new fish.

A fish should therefore be immediately separated and the tank cleaned. Also an Ich drug should be applied.

Bacterial Infections

Symptoms include a white irritation of the skin and cloudy eyes.

The bacteria are in almost every tank, but only attack weak and stressed fish.

When the disease breaks out, the water should be changed frequently and the stress of the fish should be reduced. Also an bacterial drug should be applied.

Conclusion – Is the Betta Fish the right fish for your tank?

The Betta Fish is a truly magnificent fish, which is especially eye-catching because of its shape and color. The attitude of the fish is very easy and needs little knowledge. The problem with this species, however, lies in socialization. It gets along very poorly with other species and should be kept alone at best. Special breedings are supposed to be less aggressive but are no guarantee for peaceful coexistence of the animals. For beginners, who only want to have a small tank, it is a good fish because it brings a lot of presence into the tank and is easy to maintain.

 

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