So – you’re thinking about raising a betta fish! This is a great choice. Betta fish are some of the most gorgeous fish around, and they’re also easy to raise if you’re relatively new to the fishkeeping hobby.
However, there are some things you will need to keep in mind. For example, your fish tank needs to be set up appropriately, and it will also need to be cleaned. Even more importantly, it needs to be a certain size to keep your Betta fish happy and healthy.
While many people keep Betta fish in vases, bowls, or other extremely small housing, this is not ideal. To help create the best conditions that will allow your Betta fish to thrive, you should consider these tank size recommendations.
Some people mistakenly believe that Betta fish can live in aquariums that are as small as a cup. Sure, you may see them temporarily housed like this at the pet store, but you should avoid keeping your Betta in confined spaces like that for long periods of time.
Yes, they may be able to survive for short periods of time – but will they thrive?
The best minimum tank size for a Betta fish is two and a half gallons. To be on the safe size, five gallons will be even better.
The smaller the tank, the harder time you will have to keep it clean. A small tank will fill up with damaging toxins, like ammonia, more quickly. The larger tank gives you more room for error as toxins will build up more slowly. You won’t have to conduct water changes as frequently, nor will you have to cycle and clean the tank as often.
To further help keep your five-gallon tank clean, you should add tropical plants and use an aquarium filter to keep it tidy. Remember, larger tanks are always better! This is true especially if you have lots of clutter in your tank or you are thinking about keeping other fish with your betta.
This five-gallon recommendation is only for a single male or a single female betta. If you add more fish, you need a much larger tank – more than double that size. Why? Not only will more fish sully the quality of the water more quickly, but more fish will be more prone to fighting – they will need additional areas to hide and get away from each other!
What Factors Will Affect The Size Of My Tank?
Keep in mind that not all tanks are built equally. One five-gallon tank will not equate to another five gallon tank. They come in all shapes and sizes.
Therefore, you should look for a tank that is wider than it is deep. This is because, in the wild, bettas prefer to swim in shallow waters, swimming right to left through the water column. A deep tank may look like it has just enough room, but it will actually be more restrictive.
In addition to limiting the amount of “stuff” you put in your tank, like plants and decorations, you will also want to select a tank with a lid. Bettas can jump. You don’t want to give them the opportunity to get out of the tank! Buy an aquarium with a tank lid to be safe.
There are some bettas that require more space than others. For example, giant bettas are twice the size of regular bettas and need at least ten gallons. Female groups of bettas, also known as betta sororities, need long, 20-gallon tanks as a bare minimum. These can hold up to five female bettas, but remember – keeping more than one Betta, even females, is not recommended unless you have a lot of experience in raising fish.
What Kind Of Equipment Will I Need In My Betta Fish Tank?
Betta fish are tropical species, so they will need water that is slightly warmer than room temperature. If your room does not stay consistently between 75- and 80-degrees Fahrenheit, you might need to add a heater.
You will also need to add a light. These fish have day and night cycles, so unless your tank is exposed to natural light, you will need to add an aquarium light. Remember, putting your fish tank near a window in direct sunlight isn’t a great idea, either, as it will expose it to temperature fluctuations and drafts. It can also increase the development of algae growth in the tank, meaning you will need to clean it more often.
You can add some decorations and plants, and you don’t have to worry about betta fish eating live plants. Similarly, bettas can be housed with other fish species. There aren’t many fish that will tolerate life with a Betta, as they are prone to fighting for seemingly no reason. However, if you really want to keep other species with your fish, consider non-aggressive fish or snails.
These factors are all important in setting up your tank, but remember – the more companions, plants, decorations, filtration units, and lighting systems you add to the aquarium, the less space you will have for your actual fish. You need to make sure you provide him with plenty of room to swim around, so take these factors into consideration when you purchase your tank.
How To Set Up A Betta Fish Tank
Once you have purchased your new betta fish tank, you will probably be chomping at the bit to get your gorgeous new fish in his home! However, you should take some extra time to set up your Betta fish tank, because you need to make sure your fish has the perfect environment in which to thrive.
Clean Your Tank
Start by cleaning your tank. You should clean it with warm water to make sure it is not filled with contaminants.
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You will also need to clean your gravel. Gravel is an important part of any fish tank, but often, when it is packaged at aquarium stores, dust can settle into the gravel. You might find other contaminants there, too. Therefore, you should wash it thoroughly before putting it in the aquarium. To do this, simply place the gravel in a small colander and let the waterflow through.
While you are letting water pass through the gravel, gently use your hand to swish the gravel around. This will help make sure the gravel at the bottom of the pile or basket get clean, too. Once you have cleaned every last piece of gravel, you can reintroduce it to the bottom of the fish tank.
Add Decorations And Plants
Next, you should add any decorations and plants you think you might need to make your fish feel at home. Betta fish loving having caves and other structures to swim through. They will play in these and also use them as hiding spots.
Some of the best options include tall grass plants. You can use live or artificial plants, but it’s important that you thoroughly clean any items you add to the tank.
Do not overcrowd your betta fish tank. Even in the largest of tanks, too much “stuff” can suffocate a betta fish and not allow him to have enough room to swim. Remember, betta fish breathe air through the water as well as from the surface of the water if your fish tank is too crowded with plants or decorations, your fish will have a hard time getting to the surface of the water to breathe.
In addition, a Betta tank that is too crowded presents some other hazards to your Betta fish’s health. It will be more difficult to get rid of algae buildup and you may even find that your Betta fish hurts or tears his fins on the decorations and other debris in the tank. This can lead to secondary infections – something you definitely don’t want to have to worry about.
Fill Up Your Tank With Water
The next step in preparing your tank for your Betta fish is to fill it with water. You should put some tap water into a container and allow it to sit out for 24 hours. This will destroy any chlorine you might have in your tap water and it will also allow it to reach room temperature. You may have to use a water conditioner or another treatment if you are on city water. This will help remove harmful elements that could make your Betta fish sick.
Before putting your Betta in the tank, make sure the pH meets the requirements of your betta. Betta fish like water that is between 6.5 and 7.5. You can purchase a pH testing kit at your local pet store to make sure your aquarium water is in the optimal range.
Add A Filter And A Heater
A healthy fish tank will require a filter to keep up with the demands of the bioload your fish will reproduce. The exact type of filter LINK will vary depending on the size, type, and quantity of betta fish that you have. You don’t need to get an expensive filter, but what is important is that you allow the water in the tank to filter for at least two days to help make sure your fish won’t be stressed by pollutants when it is introduced to the tank.
You may also need to heat your Betta fish tank. Not all people heat their tanks; this depends mostly on where you have your fish tank housed and how sensitive your specific betta is to fluctuations in temperature. Remember, however, to check your tank thermometer frequently to make sure it is operating effectively. A thermometer that runs too hot can cause you to accidentally kill your Betta fish!
Add Your Betta Fish
The last step in the process, of course, is to add your Betta fish. However, adding your fish to the tank is not as simple as picking up your fish and dumping them into the aquarium. You need to make sure you acclimate them first.
When you purchase your Betta fish, it will likely come with its own water. This will probably be different in terms of chemicals, pH, and temperature than the tank water you have in your existing aquarium.
Therefore, when you first bring your Betta fish home, you should let it stay in its original water and simply float them in the bag in the aquarium. This will acclimate your fish to the temperature of the tank. Your fish will change temperature over time instead of all at once.
After you’ve allowed your fish to remain in the bag for some time, you can begin adding a little bit of the tank water, small amounts at a time, to the water bag. Once the majority of the water is tank water, you can release the betta fish into its new home.
How you choose to set up your fish tank can really impact the health and liveliness of your fish – and this is regardless of the fish tank size. Here are some general recommendations to keep in mind.
Avoid Keeping Your Betta In A Vase
While some people argue that Betta fish can easily be kept in vases, this is not a great environment for a fish. These fish are some of the best at living in stagnant water, but that does not mean that is the preferred environment. A fish kept in a vase will not be nearly as healthy as one kept in a larger tank. The water will become stagnant more quickly and there won’t be a lot of room for your fish to swim about.
You may be able to keep your Betta fish in a large bowl, however, provided that you supply additional filtration and other equipment to help keep your fish healthy and thriving.
Do Not Aerate
Many fish tanks need to be aerated, but not Betta tanks. DO not use air stones to decorate your tank or to produce additional turbulence in the water. This can stress your fish as it will need additional strength to swim against the current – betta fish are used to slow-moving, almost stagnant waters, and therefore don’t need a lot of flow.
Do Not Use Distilled Water
Distilled water should not be used in a fish tank because it lacks the minerals and vitamins found in typical tap water. Fish need these elements, so you should avoid using distilled water to fill your tank.
Add Stress Coat
You might want to add Stress Coat, a helpful supplement, when you are setting up your new aquarium. This supplement helps to remove chloramines, heavy metals, and chlorine form the tank, making tap water safe for fish. It also contains aloe vera, which is believed to help damaged fish tissue heal and regenerate. It can even prevent electrolyte loss.
It can be very stressful for a Betta to be introduced to a new tank environment> Stress coat can reduce this fish stress when you are putting a fish in a tank, handling a fish, conducting a water change, or suffering from poor water quality.
If your fish is stressed, it will be more likely to have a poor immune system. It may get sick or even behave lethargically.
Provide Room To Breathe
Make sure you leave your Betta fish some room at the top of the tank to breathe. Betta will occasionally go up to the surface of the water and take a few gulps. Don’t worry if you only see this behavior occasionally – it is totally normal. If, however, you see your betta doing this often, you may have an oxygen issue in your tank and you might need to agitate the water a bit.
Pick Out Your Betta Fish And Introduce Him To His New, Spacious Home
There’s a lot that goes into setting up a fish tank, but if you can get through the tips above, the rest will be smooth sailing. Once you’ve established the perfect-sized aquarium for your new pet, it’s time to select your fish and bring him home.
Remember, if your tank is too small, your fish is going to have a hard time. He will get sick as chemicals will build up quickly – more quickly than they will in small tanks.