Betta fish swimming in fish tank.

It happens to many animal lovers at one time or another. You enter the pet store to get something else entirely and you walk out with a small cup or baggie of water containing a beautiful, colorful fish. 

Without a doubt, pet stores don’t make it easy to walk by the displays of Betta fish flashing their fins. They’re attractive and interesting, why wouldn’t you want to bring one home? Despite their easy-looking appearance, betta fish care involves much more than a small talk and some fish flakes. However, when approached the right way caring for one of these fish is very rewarding.

Beyond Their Beauty

Betta fish add a lot of color and visual interest to any home. Plus, you can get some really cool aquariums and water features that enhance their environment. 

Even though they are sold in small plastic cups or bags, betta fish care requires specific supplies. Without addressing their basic needs, Betta fish may struggle to live as long as the average lifespan (3-5 years, but some can live up to 10)

Betta Fish Characteristics

Betta fish (Betta splendens), or the Siamese fighting fish, are native to Thailand, but they are bred, raised and sold throughout southeast Asia. Because of their vibrant scales and flowing fins, Betta fish are among the most popular aquarium fish in the world. 

In their natural tropical habitat, Betta fish can be found in warm, shallow bodies of fresh water with lush vegetation. As a result, Betta fish developed the ability to take in air at or above the water’s surface. 

Meeting Their Needs

While they are extremely tolerant of challenging conditions, successful Betta fish care must include the following:

  • A 5 gallon aquarium is adequate for a single fish, but because Betta fish thrive in larger environments you may opt for a 10 gallon tank. Because they are labyrinth fish (they can also breathe from the air) they should always have a little space at the top of their tank. However, be sure to lid your tank; Bettas are infamous jumpers!
  • A water thermometer to be sure that their water stays between 75-80 degrees.
  • A pH kit to ensure water pH is neutral (about 7), with low-level ammonia and nitrites.
  • A 100-watt water heater and filter system will keep their tank in optimal conditions.
  • A protein-rich diet to feed their carnivorous appetites. Brine shrimp, krill, small insects, and blood worms come close to their natural diet. Betta pellets successfully mimic wild prey. Fed once a day, 2-3 pellets do the trick. Remember, uneaten food pollutes the water. 
  • Water conditioner solution will help remove chlorine from tap water. Only about a quarter of the tank’s water should be changed out at a time. 
  • Remember to keep betta fish, particularly males, housed alone as they are territorial & aggressive. Some females may be housed together, on occasion. Research potential tank-mates (like certain snails) who can be amiable in the tank.
  • Check all tank decor, thermometers, and plastic plants for sharp edges that can rip betta fins. Be sure there are no secret, hollow areas in tank decor (like plastic tree trunks & bridges) where a fish can become fatally trapped. 

Betta Fish Care for the Long Haul

A healthy Betta fish will have vibrant colorful, flowing fins, a large appetite, and energy. They may engage with you, but will react aggressively to unknown stimuli. A lethargic, dull-looking fish may also show a loss of appetite, a curved tail, and damage on the body.If you have additional questions about the importance of Betta fish care, please let the Pet Experts know.