Along with dogs, cats, and hamsters, the betta fish is one popular pet fish in the world.
Since bettas are highly intelligent, they make great pets for both experienced and amateur aquarists.
They are also interactive and likely to form a bond with you soon after the adoption.
In addition, a betta fish offers a great way to educate your children about the responsible Simple Steps to Take Care of a Betta Fish (R & D Guide) of adopting a pet.
However, it does matter whether you treat your little fish well enough.
Taking care of a betta fish is not so difficult as many people think.
Follow these simple steps to take care of a betta fish and you can freely enjoy its company.
Quick facts about betta fish
Before learning to look after your newly adopted pet, it is important to acquire some quick facts about your little friend.
Bettas are widely known for their amazing fins, jewel-bright colors, and diverse morphs.
Since male fish are extremely aggressive toward others, they are also referred to as Siamese fighting fish.
Such fish tend to attack those with the same look or flowing fins.
In terms of nutrition, flakes, freeze-dried bloodworms, pellets, and frozen food are proved to supply fish with enough nutrients.
The labyrinth organ and gills help them to breathe from the water’s surface.
Once being disturbed or threatened, betta fish will flare their fins to show aggression.
How to Tell If Your Betta Fish Is Happy and Healthy?
When adopting a betta fish for the first time, you’d better always get the hang of its health condition.
Being alert and quick in realizing any abnormal behavioral and physical changes will help you take prompt actions.
Therefore, your little friend’s health is well protected all the time.
If these following signs are detected in your fish, you can rest assured that it is in good shape.
- Strong and vibrant colors
- Regular eating
- Aggressive reaction to outside stimulus
- Wide open fins but not taut
- Smooth swimming movements
Signs of an unhealthy fish
Overpopulation is believed to be a major cause of diseases and stress among fish in general. Betta fish are no exception.
Pay attention to one of the signs as follows so that you can take immediate solutions.
- Loss of appetite
- Cloudy eyes
- Elevated scales
- Erratic swimming
- Heavy respirations
- Spots on mouth or body
- Unnaturally frayed fins
To minimize these signs, you should maintain good water quality, sufficient filtration, and regular water changes.
Simple steps to take care of a betta fish
How to Feed Your Betta Fish?
Like other species of fish, bettas are more likely to die from overfeeding rather than starvation. Therefore, the amount of food plays an important role.
There are some things that you need to bear in mind before feeding the fish:
Choose a proper diet
Don’t forget to check the food’s ingredients. Go for the one with the first three listed ingredients being protein-based. According to experts’ recommendation, the minimum protein content in the pellets must be 40%.
Due to differences in eating habits, you’d better do some experiments to see how much food your little friend takes in.
It is important to work out a routine feeding schedule, for example, once in the morning, noon, and evening. This will create a healthy regular diet for the fish. In some cases, it may find it waiting for you to feed.
Remember to thaw frozen foods before giving it to your fish.
If you own baby betta, feed it on smaller pellets or finely crushed flake food.
Regular feeding doesn’t mean continuous one.
A betta’s stomach is just as big as its eyes. However, some fish may eat until you stop feeding.
Keep feeding sparing so that the fish can comfortably digest the food. Don’t overfeed for fear of fouling the water, particularly in small aquariums.
A good schedule is 3 pellets in the morning and the same at night.
To relieve signs of digestive blockage or unhealthy bloating, you should soak pellets in water. Otherwise, they will expand in the fish’s stomach.
Clean up extra food
After pouring the food into the tank, hang on to see whether it spits up any food. This may be indicative of a picky eater or oversized pellets for its mouth.
In this case, cut pellets in half so that they will fit the fish’s mouth. If it doesn’t eat, try dried food or another brand of pellets.
Change the feeding time to enrichment exercise
Let’s place a straw in the tank and see if it affects your little friend.
If it causes no problem to the fish, continue to place leftover pellets which it refuses to eat in the tank.
Place the straw so that the food is kept inside it and wait for the fish to find the food.
The fish will follow it once finding out.
Afterward, slowly bring the straw up neared the top of the tank until the food pops out and the fish can eat it.
Do this again and again so you can somehow train your lovely companion.
How to Prepare a Right Tank for Your New Pet?
AKA Siamese fighting fish, betta fish are extremely aggressive.
The very first advice when preparing a tank is never to put two male bettas in the same one. Otherwise, one may soon kill the other.
You can leave more than one female betta to live in one tank. However, be careful because in some cases, fish are mutually killed.
Some pet owners are misleading in the sense that goldfish can live together with betta fish. Nevertheless, these two species are extremely different, even opposing.
While bettas are native to tropical water with the least temperature of 76 degrees Fahrenheit, goldfish can live well and healthier in cool or icy water.
Betta fish tend to bite back at a nippy fish although goldfish seem to be bad fin-nippers.
Goldfish are omnivores while bettas are insectivores.
Therefore, their living together is impossible.
Other than goldfish, you can try several aquatic creatures that go on with betta fish as listed below:
- Neon and ember tetras: little schools of tetras can handle the aggressiveness of bettas. However, they may be fin-nippers so take care.
- Blue gouramis: They share the same care requirements and tank conditions with bettas. Thus, they can live together in harmony. However, you should notice that blue gouramis ask for at least 20-gallon sized tanks.
- Guppies: They rank among the best tank mates for bettas. By nature, several territorial fights may occur to establish dominance. Try to avoid colorful ones, but choose common guppies.
- African dwarf frogs: They usually make good mates with bettas. Just watch out or else bettas may eat all the food of the frogs.
- Ghost shrimp: To make your tank livelier and more vivid, you can take a look at ghost shrimp. They are known to get on well with most fish. However, don’t pick those too small; otherwise, they may risk being eaten by bettas.
After betta mates are chosen, it’s time to set up the tank.
Firstly, rinse the decorations carefully to remove any impurities. Afterward, put them into the tank and install filter equipment if necessary.
Remember that bettas can live well in water temperature that ranges from 77 to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. So always keep the temperature inside the tank in that range.
Don’t place the tank in the vicinity of air conditioners or vents.
Choose a location that stays away from direct sunlight or anything else that may adversely affect the water temperature.
Then, fill the tank with filtered or bottled water. It may be even better to use water specifically made for bettas.
Tap water is unacceptable in the sense that it contains harmful substances including chlorine and chloramine. Such elements are known for their deadly effect on bettas.
Thus, refrain from using tap water to set up the tank or change the tank water.
In case tap water is your only choice, pretreat it before using with aquarium salt and Novaqua plus Amquel.
If possible, go to a local pet store and consult an expert there for suitable products to treat water at home yourself.
Due to fish’s sensitivity to fluctuating water conditions, it is necessary to acclimate your little friend to its new home by putting it into a separate container with half the water from the pet store.
Let it and water there for half an hour or until the store water and water in the bowl are equal in temperature. Then the fish will learn to adjust to the new living environment.
How to Clean Your Fish’s Aquarium?
You should never change the water in the tank all of a sudden since sudden water fluctuations could be fatal to betta fish.
Instead, take turns to replace water by 20 – 25 percent portions.
For tanks that don’t have infiltration units, you should change water on a weekly basis. Whereas, water in those with such units can be changed every two weeks.
When it’s time for cleaning the tank, you should first take your little friend out. Let’s pour about 50 percent of the water from the tank into a clean bucket.
Remember not to stir up the waste that is accumulated at the bottom of the tank. Otherwise, the water will be soiled, then suffocating species in the tank.
Use a net to pick the fish up and place it in a bucket along with tank decorations. This is how to safely move your betta fish.
Use a paper towel to clean the tank inside out. Don’t forget to clean decorations, remove rotting or dead plant leaves, and rinse all the construction with tap water.
Once you finish cleaning the bowl, pour the bucket with the fish into the tank before topping it off with bottled drinking water to moderate the right temperature.
There is an in-tank thermometer available to check the water temperatures.
If possible, you should add a dechlorinator when changing the water so that your little friend can enjoy a totally safe living environment.
Even after you’ve cleaned the tank, it is still necessary to test water parameters weekly.
That’s when a master freshwater test kit comes in handy.
It helps you monitor your betta fish aquarium in a proper way. There are instructions enclosed in each package that is simple to follow.
Note down readings in your diary or calendar to remind yourself about the time to test and change the water.
How to play with your betta fish?
Watching betta fish is highly enjoyable, especially when you are stuck in difficult situations.
You can play with your new pet by moving your finger to and fro along the edge of the tank.
Remember not to poke the water or bang the tank. This will frighten your little friend.
Tapping the glass of the tank is unacceptable. This action easily agitates and shocks the fish. To interact with it, simply and gently rest your finger on the glass. Slowly move your finger along to see whether it follows your movement.
In case it backs away, this can be a sign of fright. At that time, stop immediately.
Wait for the fish to settle down and try again. Gradually, it will get used to your presence and be less afraid of you.
You shouldn’t place a mirror in the tank as a permanent fixture. The belief that there is another betta in the tank will make the fish feel distressed.
To put your friend at great ease, you can use underwater wallpaper to cover the tank walls up.
Have you prepared a roof for your new betta fish?
Above are some simple steps to take care of a betta fish.
This fish is fairly simple to look after and can live well for a long time.
As long as you pay attention to its behavior, you can make it enjoy a healthy living environment.
Hopefully, my sharing is helpful to all of you.