All About Betta Fish Care Guide and Tips in 2020

In the pursuit to make our tanks colorful, many pet parents have resolved to keep betta fish, mostly for aesthetic reasons.

However, betta fish aren’t like many other fish we commonly breed and memorize basic requirements for their survival.

Since betta fish aren’t native of Europe and the US, new parents are advised to arm themselves with betta fish care manual to allow the adorable pets to live their full lifespans.

A Brief History of Betta Fish

Betta fish are natives of South East Asia, where they used to live in shallow stagnant water.

They are known as the original inhabitants of the tropical regions of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and even Vietnam.

Researchers estimate that betta fish became pets when children began to gather them from rice paddy so that they could watch their sparring behaviors.

It’s estimated that the activity took place nearly 150 years ago.

The children’s hobby would later become famous to the extent that it received the king’s recognition in Thailand.

With the rise of popularity of the betta fish contests, the king of Siam began to impose a tax and regulate the activity.

Around 1840, the same king handed some betta fish as a gift to a Danish scientist. Dr Theodore Cantor was on a mission to study the fish and establish possible ways to breed them.

Almost 50 years later, the business of these attractive fish gained international recognition, with Germany and France making their initial importation.

The United States had to be a little patient to see these colorful creatures as the first betta fish made their trip in 1910.

Surprisingly, the US is currently breeding these fish more than even their native home.

It’s estimated that there are more than 70 different breeds of betta fish, and the number could even rise because the hybrid activity going on.

If you’re enthusiastic about betta fish, you should be aware of how fortunate you’re because you can make your selection from more than 100 colors that exist.

Betta fish are currently considered as endangered species, so pet parents should know the basic betta fish care to ensure that the pets survive for many generations to come.

If you go to the Gulf of Thailand, which is situated near Bangkok, you’ll be lucky to find a few species that live in brackish water.

The Lifespan of Betta Fish

Betta Fish Care

One of the main reasons why we need all pet owners to have betta fish care skills is because we care about pets and need them to achieve their lifespans.

The lifespans of betta fish range from 2-4 years, which means that the average lifespan is about 3 years.

However, some betta fish can live up to 10 years if you optimize your betta fish care knowledge.

How to select a healthy betta fish from a pet store?

The challenge that new pet parents experience is making the right selection of betta fish.

Some of the fish that they bring home have health issues that cannot let them celebrate even a single birthday.

Here’s how you can identify a healthy betta fish;

  • A healthy betta fish would swim up when you get close to its tank as a sign of vigilance to potential danger
  • The fins are intact
  • They tend to be aggressive to the extent that they can flare at any stimuli
  • They tend to be hungry and have the appetite to eat now and then
  • They are bright in colors and the males can be super-bright

How to detect a sick betta fish?

sick betta fish

Seasoned betta fish keepers are advised to buy pets with poor health conditions so that they may have a chance to live longer.

Here are some features of sick betta fish;

  • They often struggle to breath
  • The way they swim is somehow abnormal
  • A whitish growth may be visible both at the body and mouth
  • The fins are in tatters and their edges may turn black
  • Their colors appear dull, especially the male ones
  • They spend most of their time hiding
  • Poor appetite
  • They may appear bloated

Betta Fish Tank Size

Betta fish are unique from most other fish you know, given that they use their “labyrinth organ” to obtain oxygen from the surface of the water.

Since betta fish are natives of shallow waters, you shouldn’t expect them to be massive swimmers.

However, they’ll still need adequate space for their movement.

The smallest tank that you should avail to betta fish should be 5 gallons, and you’re free to provide even bigger tanks.

We have seen people use bowls as sole habitat for betta fish, but don’t recommend it because it denies our pets from expressing their natural instincts.

When it comes to betta fish tanks, you should know that maintenance is convenient if you have larger tanks.

We emphasize that betta bowls shouldn’t be used as our pet homes; they should just remain accessories for consuming cereals.

The aquarium that you select should have a lid that can prevent betta fish from jumping out of the habitat.

Remember not to fill the tank to the brim because such actions may prevent your pet from grasping more oxygen from the surface.

It’s advisable that you set the tank at least two days before bringing the pet to its new home.

The setting may require the inclusion of betta fish plants and essential toys that can mimic the natural habitat.

Here are some tanks that you should consider as your pet’s new home:

Betta Fish Tanks

Aquen LED MiniBow Aquarium

One of the perfect homes that your pet would love a lot.

The elevated base design is what’s making it unique and easy to place at various locations.

It’s one of the tanks we highly recommend because the maintenance is easy.

Another thing we love about is the fact that it comes with LED energy light.

How would you like an aquarium that has a feeding hole? Well, this is one of them.

Besides, it features a quiet but elaborate filtration process.

Marineland 5 Gallon Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit

It features a sleek design that ensures the corners of the aquarium are rounded for the safety of your pet.

It’s one of the few water tanks that makes it easy to watch your pet from various positions.

Besides, the access is easy as you just need to slide the glass canopy.

The tank has three stages of filtrations, which are concealed from your sight.

What’s more, is that the tank also features Daylight/Moonlight LED lightings for easy visibility and to keep the pet warm.

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Hagen Fluval Chi Aquarium Kit

With 17 powerful light and another permanent one on its top, you can just expect the aquarium to be glowing.

The 5-gallon glass aquarium comes with a filter media to enhance the filtration process hence ensuring that your pet can access healthy water.

Being a glass aquarium, the visibility of your pet is much easier because you can do it in any direction.

The size is just what you need for your pet and the sturdy glass material will ensure that the aquarium lasts longer.

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Water requirement

Betta fish love to live in calm water with PH value ranging between 6.8 and 7.5.

These pets might deceive you that they’re tolerant of cooler water, but their inactivity will expose them.

Cool water isn’t ideal for them since bettas become more prone to diseases.

The best temperature that allows betta fish to thrive usually ranges between 76◦F and 85◦F.

If for any reason you cannot maintain the temperature beyond 76◦F, you should buy an appropriate heater.

Here are a few heaters that are great for betta fish:

Aqueon Fish Tank Mini Heater

This is an ideal heater for small tanks reaching up to 5 gallons.

It’s great for pet parents who are using desks to place betta fish tanks.

Besides, this heater is safe to use since it’s shatterproof.

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Aqueon Preset Heaters

If you chose to give your pet betta a tank whose capacity is beyond 10 gallons, then this one of the heaters that you should consider.

It may appear like a microphone but its ability to be submerged in water puts it a few steps ahead of others. Also, it has proven that it can resist shatters.

With this heater, your tropical fish is covered since you can pre-set it to the required temperature.

The heater will automatically go off when the temperature within the habitat is high.

The blinking indicator will notify you whether it’s in use or on an idle mode.

It’s ideal for tanks ranging between 10 gallons and 30 gallons.

One more thing; you can enjoy a 1-year warranty from the manufacturer.


Tetra HT Submersible Aquarium Heater

Like all other Tetra heaters, there’s an indicator to show you whether the heater if on or off.

Since it has an electronic thermostat, you can preset it to 78◦F, which is an excellent temperature for tropical fish.

Remember, the heater doesn’t require any adjustment.

Unlike many other heaters, this one is small hence easy to hide behind décor.

It remains one of the perfect heaters for tanks with capacities ranging between 2 and 10.

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Setting UP a Betta Fish Tank

Setting Up a Betta Fish Tank

Now that you have your 5-gallon betta fish tank, it’s prudent to set everything for the comfort of your pet.

Remember, you shouldn’t place the aquarium facing the source of direct sunlight.

It means that betta fish habitat shouldn’t even be close to the window.

Identify a quiet location within your home to place the betta fish aquarium.

The ideal place should be somehow dim to allow your pet to thrive well.

Remember, betta fish like silent places as noise make them feel stressed.

With the question of ideal location sorted, now you need to move with speed to light the habitat.

It’s prudent to use electronic light because natural sources tend to vary with seasons hence cannot be reliable.

It’s worth noting that too much light promotes the growth of unwanted algae.

Luminescence and LED lamps are the real deal when it comes to combating algae.

From there, we move to other essential equipment that you should equally provide in the tank.

Filters and heaters ensure that the quality and the temperature of water remain optimum for your pet’s comfort and survival.

It’s great if you avail an internal adjustable power filter but its action should be quiet.

Since betta fish are tropical animals from South East Asia, you’ll need to grant them the same temperature if you’re rearing them away from their native habitat.

Submersible heaters are ideal and you need to set them at temperatures ranging between 78◦F and 85F◦ depending on the season.

Given the delicate nature of betta fish, you need to be careful when selecting a substrate.

After finding an excellent substrate, you need to wash it and eliminate sharp granules for it to have a comfortable texture.

When it comes to gravels, we recommend that you use the ones with a fine texture.

If you decide to use coarse or rough gravel, then your pet will be living at the mercy of painful injuries.

The next phase is about the decoration of the tank to make it attractive.

Always remember that type of décor you put in place determines the extent of the lifespan of the pet.

As a rule, we recommend that all decorations should have labels indicating that they’re meant for aquarium use.

We’re almost there, what you need to do is to test if every component works according to the expectation.

From here, you’re free to introduce your pet betta but you must ensure that the temperature and PH are kept as required.

Feeding a Betta Fish

It’s their bright and glittering colors that continue to make them famous globally.

However, they can only maintain such looks when you provide them with the right food.

For us to establish their right food, we need to take a journey to their native land in the tropical parts of Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

Betta fish are carnivores that enjoy eating insects and other invertebrates.

They equally enjoy eating the larvae of the said invertebrates.

It’s clear that betta fish are mainly consumers of proteins.

The global popularity of these pets makes their meals to be readily available.

We must acknowledge that we may fail to give them the actual food they eat in their native homes, but we can provide them with an alternative, which nearly mimics their backgrounds.

Away from South East Asia, betta fish mainly eat premade food that will save you from the hassle of preparing live meals as other pets may want.

Brine shrimps and bloodworms are the favorite meals that betta fish consume.

Pet parents should be attentive while feeding betta fish to ensure that they consume the right amount of food.

The pets may appear small but their active nature may compel them to eat food that their digestive system cannot support.

Always be on the watch to monitor the pattern of their swimming; if you notice that they swim unusually, know that it’s a sign of overfeeding.

The solution is to starve them for 24 hours to allow digestive mechanisms to return to normalcy.

Experts recommend that betta fish should eat an amount of food which is equivalent to the size of one of their eyes.

However, the pets are always preoccupied to establish the amount enough for them.

As a rule, adult betta fish should be fed twice a day.

Each feeding session shouldn’t take more than five minutes. Another sign of overeating in betta fish is exhaustion.

Here are some foods that your pet will enjoy eating:

Betta fish foods

Betta Floating Pellets

Zoo Med is intervening here to ensure that betta fish eat their meals on the surface of the water.

The pellet is a product from the US and it’s formulated to stimulate betta fish show their bright colors.


Omega One Betta Food

Omega one is also making its contribution to ensure that your pet’s bright colors remain conspicuous.

The insoluble meal is what you need to prevent water pollution and at the same time maintain the cleanliness of the water tank.

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Tetra Blood Worms Freeze Dried Treat

The intelligent pets are always ready to learn new things and you need to acknowledge their effort by handing them some rewards.

This is a treat made of blood worms and rich in proteins that your betta will like a lot.

This isn’t a staple diet of betta fish, so it should only be used to supplement the original meal.

The recommended frequency should be 2-3 times a week and the pet shout devour it within five minutes.


Aqueon 3 Pack Color Enhancing Betta Food Pellet

This is one of the staple meals that your pet needs to consume each day.

It contains shrimp and delicious for bettas.

Because of its delicious nature, you need to give just the right amount to the pet to overcome incidences of overfeeding.


Compatibility of Betta Fish

It’s important to acknowledge the antisocial attitude of pet betta and you also need to understand that they don’t get lonely. It, therefore, means that betta fish is best left alone to thrive on its own.

The reputation of betta fish is that they’re highly territorial and ready to flare at anything around their habitat.

That reputation is strictly for male betta fish which go to the extent of attacking even their images on mirrors.

While you can keep up to 6 females betta fish in a single tank, their male compatriots are okay if they remain isolated.

However, you should upgrade the size of the tank if you’re interested in keeping numerous female bettas.

Interestingly, betta fish are ready to accommodate other breeds of fish in the same tanks.

Since the colorful fins are always the center of attraction, you should be wary about fin-nippers like tiger barbs.

Other relatively active breeds like giant danios should equally not find a space near betta fish.

While gouramis are regarded as close relatives of betta fish, their behaviors remain identical making them incompatible.

Experts of betta fish care warn against introducing male gouramis in betta habitats.

If you have the intention of keeping other breeds with your betta fish, the ideal species for consideration include Corydoras catfish, tetras, rasboras, and calm barbs.

Betta Fish Breeding

Betta Fish Breeding

While it’s advisable not to keep male bettas with female ones, the two will supplement each other for the sake of breeding.

Breeding of betta fish is possible in captivity but careful measures should be put in place if you want to watch a fry grows until it becomes an adult.

Due to their solitary nature, betta fish don’t prefer communal breeding.

The pets need a few inches of water to create the space for the introduction of their offspring.

The process kick starts with the male constructing bubble nests at the water surface of the tank.

It’s believed that the behavior of building bubble nests is a seductive approach that male bettas employ to entice their female counterparts.

After a successful luring, spawning happens, where a male betta wraps itself around the female until it releases eggs.

After the release of the eggs, the two lovers retrieve the eggs and secure them in the bubble nests.

The male bettas have a responsibility to care for the eggs until they hatch.

Taking Care of Bay Betta Fish

Firstly, we want to reiterate that this site does not support the buying and selling betta fries because we find it unethical and unrealistic.

The cup system that pet stores employ when it comes to breeding is only a problem in the making.

Without masking words, the truth is that the fry produced through such mechanisms have a low lifespan.

It’s because their breeding involved betta fish with compromised immune systems, given that they don’t consume live diets.

Another factor is that the tanks aren’t fully cycled, so the content of ammonia is high.

The truth is: most betta fries never attain their intended lifespan because of breeding conditions.

Chances are high that the fry would die within months of acquiring your new friends.

The fault isn’t yours, the damage was done earlier before you even contemplated keeping betta fish.


Unlike adult bettas, fries don’t need big tanks, which keep them stressed.

The ideal tank size should be between 2 and 3 gallons.

The temperature requirement is higher than that of adult pets. Young betta fish will need 80◦F to thrive better.

We had earlier mentioned the delicate nature of these young ones and their parents’ low immunity during the breeding period.

It, therefore, means that you’ll require a fully cycled tank to eliminate excess ammonia as you try to elongate the life of a fry.


The age and size of fry will dictate the right time that you should introduce sponge filters.

If you bring a very young fry to the tank, you should know that your problem is real because they can never be sucked into a filter.

With the right size of fry, you may only need to cover the filter intake with a micro-filter sponge for some time.


When it comes to baby betta fish, we highly advocate that you should provide them with live meals.

Daphnia is topping the list of our recommendation but brine shrimp are also great for these young pets.

Due to the high-fat content of live food, you can always trust them to nourish your fry beyond the maturity age.

Here are other food that your young betta may require;


While I haven’t established if stress in baby betta fish can escalate into depression, I’m pretty aware that stress is the main factor that prevents them from reaching their maturity.

We advise that you try by all means to eliminate situations that may cause stress.

One of the most complicated areas in baby betta fish care is changing the water in a fully cycled tanks.

If you don’t do it gradually, you can be certain that your pet will soon be a victim of stress.

Another factor that can cause stress is frequent maintenances that cause your pet to be withdrawn from the habitat.

The last cause of stress is noise in the neighborhood that the young fish cannot tolerate.

Sick Betta Fish Care

Keeping betta fish needs dedicated pet parents who are ready to stand with the pet even during bad times.

Basic betta fish care is important for every pet owner because it helps to lower incidences that lead to infection and diseases.

From what you’re going to see under this section, it will be vivid that poor hygiene in the habitat is the biggest cause of betta fish diseases.

The way we treat water before directing it to pet tanks also matters a lot.

Another serious issue that culminates in diseases is stress in betta fish.

The best remedy for this condition is to provide the most appropriate toys to the pet to overcome boredom.

As the famous quote goes: “Prevention is better than cure,” so does it applies perfectly in betta fish situation.

The truth is that the cost of treating betta fish diseases is as expensive as some diseases that affect us.

We’re also sure that you aren’t willing to abandon your pet because of the pestilence that you contributed to its cause.

We urge you to maintain the general hygiene in the aquarium for you to continue watching the attractive colors of betta fish without diseases causing interruptions.

It’s important to de-chlorinate tap water before using it in an aquarium to save your pet from harmful chemicals.

After that, you should use perfect filters to ensure that the water in the tank is free from impurities.

The process of emptying the water in pet tanks should be gradual, whereby only 25% is released and substituted.

This is an effort aimed at lowering stress that the pet can develop as a result of wholesome water exchange.

Diseases of betta fish and their treatments

Diseases of betta fish

  1. Columnaris

This is a disease with visible signs, which is characterized by the growth of white cotton-like materials on the body and fins.

The cause of this disease is attributed to stress and poor water hygiene in the aquarium.

Of course, you can see that the disease can be prevented.

However, at this stage, it requires treatment using Anti-fungal medication and stress remedy.

  1. Dropsy

This is a disease caused by various agents, including bacteria, viruses, and parasites.

Visible signs include severe swelling and a condition where scales come off.

It can be prevented by ensuring that you clean all live plants before introducing them to the tank.

The ideal treatment involves the use of Maracyn Two or MELAFIX.

  1. A hole in the head

This is an unfortunate disease that shows a lack of betta fish care in many aspects.

The hole is usually above the eyes and the disease occurs due to the low quality of water and poor diet.

It doesn’t require any cure; all you need to do is to invest in quality food and improve on water sanitation.

  1. Popeye

It’s one of the commonest betta fish diseases where the eyes begin to bulge out.

The cause is attributed to an extended period of poor quality water exposure.

Another cause is Tuberculosis whose treatment requires an Anti-biotic.

  1. Ich/Ick

If you’ve ever seen your betta fish rubs its body against the décor frequently, know that it could be this disease.

It’s characterized by the appearance of tiny white dots on the fins and the entire body.

The cause ranges from contagious companions to poor water quality and stress.

In case it becomes severe, you can use Maracyn II but its development can be prevented if you start to use cleaner water.

FAQs on Betta Fish Care

My betta fish float on the sides; what could be the problem?

It could be a swim bladder disorder, which can emanate due to multiple factors, including overfeeding, genetic issues, and infection from bacteria.

The disorder makes it difficult for your pet to swim and to establish the depth of the water.

The first treatment of this condition, especially if you’re suspecting that your pet ate more than enough is to starve it for at least two days.

If it’s beyond overfeeding, then Maracyn could be the real deal.

How can I help my betta that has tattered fins?

If you’ve noticed the tattered fins also turning blackish or reddish, then it could be a disease known as Fin & Tail Rot.

The disease is also characterized by receding of fins, especially around the edges.


It’s pointless bringing a betta fish home if you aren’t ready to invest in betta fish care.

Remember, all the bright bettas you admire at other people’s homes are colorful because of the diligent care their owners accord them.

The topic of betta fish care is broader than we’ve summarized it, but it’s worth reading considering that the life of a colorful creature is at stake.

The ultimate goal of every pet owner should be aimed at ensuring that their pets attain their lifespans while still healthy.

Last update on 2021-11-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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