Betta fish originate from stagnant and shallow waters does not mean they can live in poor quality water. Kept in small bowls with nothing to do they often become sick and die very quickly. The reason for this is that in your tank exists ammonia and other dangerous toxins which should be cleared by the water changes. The truth is that Bettas are one of the easiest fish to care for. They don’t need much care and attention, just follow some simple works of looking after them and you will have healthy fish.

About Betta Splendens (Siamese Fighting Fish)

A native of Thailand (once known as Siam) and neighbouring Southeast Asian countries, the name Betta comes from the Siamese word Ikan Bettah, which is what the Siamese Fighting Fish used to be called. Currently, in Thailand, the fighting fish is known as pla-kad, which means “tearing or biting fish”, referring to the male Betta’s tactic of biting and tearing its opponent’s fins and tail.


Although there are over 60 species belonging to the betta genus – which in turn belongs to the Osphronemidae family – the betta splendens (Siamese Fighting Fish) is the most popular. They are usually about 2.5 inches long and originate from Thailand, Malaysia some parts of China, Vietnam and Indonesia. They are found in shallow waters, such as ponds, rice paddies and slow moving streams.

From its humble beginnings as a drab, brownish-green little fish floating around In the rice paddies and canals, lakes and rivers of what was once Siam, the betta splendens has become guest in royal palaces and in far flung lands at the same time that it has metamorphosed into one of the most spectacular and visually engaging fish ever collected. Its fierce aggressiveness is what first brought this minuscule fish to the attention of humans.

Today, since Bettas are mainly kept as pets in aquariums, they are prized mainly for the dazzling array of color combinations and fin shapes they possess, and breeders continue to come up with even more spectacular colors and shapes. They come in many colors such as red, orange, blue, green, purple and white. The males are of much brighter and are more colorful than the females and have larger fins. Their life span is about 2 years and is an ideal fish pet for beginners to look after.

How to care for Betta fish?

Fish tank: One male Betta can do well in small bowls without aeration but I advise you to use an aquarium that holds at least 2.5 gallons of water that will give some space for decorations such as rocks, live plants, plastic items, etc.

2.5 gallon Betta fish tank

Even though Bettas look like normal fish, they are unlike most because they can breathe air the same as humans. It does this by coming to the surface of the water. This is why they are easy to keep, it is not necessary to have much aeration.

Never keep two males in the same tank as they will fight to the death (as the common name suggests, Siamese fighting fish). You can keep more than one female in the same tank. Bettas can be kept with other fish. They only fight with their own species, but you must make sure that you don’t put other aggressive fish in that may nip the betta’s fins.

Plants: Because Bettas enjoy resting on the leaves of aquarium plants, large leaf plants like Amazon Sword are a perfect choice for Betta aquariums. To put plants in the tank you should put in some gravel, but don’t forget that gravel gets dirty very quickly and needs to be cleaned regularly.

plants and decorations for a Betta fish tank

Decorations: The best decorations for Betta fish are floating Betta logs and bed leaf hammocks, these things will provide the fish comfortable beds near the water surface to rest and gulp air.

Floating Betta LogFloating Betta Log Betta Bed Leaf HammockBetta Bed Leaf Hammock

Hood: Since Bettas are great jumpers, you should have a canopy or a top to prevent the fish from jumping out of the water and die. Make sure that you have holes in the lid for the the good ventilation because Betta needs fresh air to thrive.

Heater: Keep the tank in a warm spot, the temperature needs to be between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. A small 25 watt aquarium heater can do well for a small Betta tank. Keep the tank away from sources that produce extremes of hot and cold, such as near windows, heaters, air conditioners, and vents. Also, be aware that any light fixture can easily overheat a small container.

Filtration: Betta don’t like to live in turbulent water environment, so it will take you many time to research which is the best filter for Betta fish tank. The filter you choose for your Betta should be rated for your tank volume and features an adjustable flow rate. If your filter is too strong, you should do something to reduce the current output to make it perfect for your Betta.

Lighting: Bettas are accustomed to experiencing sunlight in their natural environment. If the room in which the tank sits does not receive natural light, a cheap clip-on LED aquarium light is the best option to provide artificial lighting for a small tank under 10 gallons. The light will not only benefit the Bettas, but will also help the nitrification bacteria and plants located inside of the tank.

Maintaining: Change 15-20% of the water once a week is a great way to keep your fish thrive. The water used for changing should be dechlorinated. Continue to read the later guide in this article for changing water for a Betta tank.

How to feed your Betta fish?

Betta fish are carnivores, a vegetarian diet will not work since it will not give him the protein that he needs and will make him sick. Remember that they have small appetites, so they can be overfed easily. Take care not to feed them more than the amount they can consume in 2-3 minutes.


The best fish foods for Bettas are freeze dried blood worms and dried brine shrimps with their high levels of protein and fat content. Bettas don’t like flake food much, but will eat it sometimes. Another food they don’t like is freeze dried worm cubes. These Betta fish foods can be got from most pet stores, ask the owner which ones they recommend as they sell many foods that are ideal for Bettas.

Tetra Blood Worms Freeze Dried TreatTetra Blood Worms Freeze Dried Treat Hikari Bio-Pure FD Brine ShrimpHikari Bio-Pure FD Brine Shrimp Aqueon Betta Pellets Betta FoodAqueon Betta Pellets Betta Food

You might find that he will occasionally eat mosquitoes or flies that falls into his tank. You may find that your fish grabs his food and swims off to a safe cover to enjoy his find. When eating, fish can feel threatened even if there are no other fish in the tank.

Some Bettas can be finicky eaters. It is ok if your fish does not eat the food you give him that day. This commonly occurs when you first get your fish. It can sometimes take up to a week before they begin to eat. If he still has food left uneaten after 3 minutes, you should remove the leftovers and try again the next day. He won’t starve and will eventually start to eat.

Never over-feed your Bettas, once a day is quite enough, but if you do want to feed it more, make sure you don’t put in more than it takes a couple of minutes to eat. If you do put too much in, make sure you don’t leave the uneaten food in the water.

You may like: How to grow live fish food for your fish?

Betta fish tank maintenance

How much water should be changed?

Just like it is for any aquarium, regular changing water for your Betta tank are the easiest way to keep the water quality high and your Betta healthy. The amount of water that has to be changed depends on many factor: tank size, amount of fish, live plants, filter or no filter, etc.

At least a 2.5 to 5 gallon fish tank with a filter is required for the less maintenance. As a rule of thumb, weekly 15-20% water change should be performed. If there are live aquatic plants, it will need even less maintenance. Buying Nitrate test kit and testing the water once a week will tell you lot about how often the water needs to be change. The higher nitrate reading after a fixed time means your tank water needs to be changed more frequently.

If there is no filter in your tank, it is better to change the water a little more often, 10% water change twice a week should be performed. For a tank smaller than 1 gallon, partial water changes should be done regularly to keep your Betta fish healthy.

How to change water for a small Betta fish tank?

1. Cleaning the algae.

You should leave your Betta in his house and use some specific tools for water changes to clean the tank. Firstly, use an algae magnet cleaner to clean the algae on the aquarium walls.

2. Cleaning the gravel and remove 15-20% water.


Using an aquarium gravel vacuum cleaner to remove all leftover food particles and solid fish waste from the gravel. Remove decorations, and vacuum underneath them as well. If there is live plants in the tank, leave them there and vacuum around. NEVER use soap or other cleansers to clean anything that comes in contact with your Betta!

3. Maintaining the filter.

Simply rinse your filter media (foams, ceramide rings…) in the old aquarium water from the previous step. Sometimes, change the foam pads if they are too old; the ceramide rings can be reused for many years. If you use carbon media in your filter, it should be changed once a month to ensure the efficient of the chemical filtration.

3. Supplement new water to the tank.

Always adding water conditioner to the tap water prior to use it for your fish or shrimps so that harmful chlorine is completely dissipated. Because temperature fluctuations are very stressful for Bettas, you should raise the temperature of the water to match the temperature in the Betta tank before using it. You can use an aquarium heater to do this work.

Betta fish care FAQ

Examine the Betta Fish Care FAQ to help you learn what food betta fish eat and ensure the magnificent betta fish colors.

1. What do betta fish eat?

Answer: Bettas eat meat since they are carnivores. If you give yours a vegetarian diet, it will make him sick and he needs protein. Your pet supply store is the best place to find the right food.

2. I got my first betta and put him in my new tank at home and he won’t eat. What is wrong?

Answer: Probably nothing. If your fish does not eat when you first put him in his new tank, that is not unusual. They can be finicky eaters. Be sure to remove the left over food from his tank after about 3 minutes and try feeding him the next day. If may take a few tries, but he will soon start eating.

3. What about blood worms, can I feed this to him?

Answer: Yes, however, blood worms contain more protein and fat content that other food for bettas. So consider blood worms as a treat for him occasionally. Bettas can very easily eat too much and get swim-bladder condition. But do treat him every now and then.

4. Can I use my hands to transfer my betta from one tank to another?

Answer: It is best to use a net rather than your hands. However, you can if absolutely necessary. Be sure to wash your hands first (with organic and non-toxic hand soap) and rinse them well. Lift him with the palm of your hand. Be sure not to squeeze him between your fingers.

5. What causes a loss of color or development of horizontal stripes?

Answer: Your betta is feeling stress. This could be from changing the water, where the temperature was different from the old. It is possible that the pH level, or chemicals or minerals in the watt is different.

6. What can I do for first aid?

Answer: If you fish is in a tank with other fish, it is best to isolate him in a separate tank. Check your tank’s water for the levels of ammonia, pH, nitrites, and oxygen. Ammonia should be zero, pH should be between 6.8 and 7.0, while dissolved oxygen levels should be greater than 60%. To help reduce ammonia and nitrites, put in some Java Moss in your tank.

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