So you’ve just purchased a Betta fish – congratulations! These colorful fish aren’t only fun to watch, they’re also fun to raise.
Unfortunately, many people purchase Betta fish thinking that they will be incredibly easy to raise. While they are comparatively low-maintenance fish, requiring very little in the way of fuss or extra work, there are some things you need to keep in mind when you are raising one of these dazzling swimmers.
Also known as Siamese Fighting Fish, Betta fish are popular freshwater aquarium species. These individuals are often kept by themselves in tanks because of the predisposition to want to fight with other fish. If you have a Betta fish, you might be tempted to keep it in a small tank, thinking that it doesn’t need much space if it’s by itself.
To some extent, this is true. In the wild, Betta fish live in the tropical rice paddies and other shallow waters of countries such as Thailand and Cambodia. However, they can’t survive if the water temperatures are outside of the appropriate range, or if other conditions aren’t being met – such as the appropriate pH and current level.
Although the waters of the Betta fish’s natural habitat are shallow, these tend to be deeper still than what you would find in a fish tank. In addition, these offer Betta fish a much more varied environment than you would find in a household aquarium.
What Is The Ideal Water Temperature For A Betta Fish?
The ideal water temperature for a Betta will be around 26 degrees Celsius or 79 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, Betta fish can certainly survive outside of these specific temperatures In fact, Bettas can tolerate a range between 72 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit – however, if you are too far away from the Betta fish’s preferred range, this can cause a whole host of health problems.
For example, if your Betta fish is too cold, he may have a slower metabolism. This can make him lethargic and also more prone to certain diseases. He may act extremely tired or exhibit change sin the way he eats, behaves, and swims.
On the flip side, if your Betta tank is too hot, this can cause your fish to have an increased metabolism. He may eat more or have digestive problems. He can also age too quickly.
How Can I Ensure The Proper Temperature In My Betta Fish Tank?
Luckily, there are many steps you can take to make sure your Betta fish is not just comfortable in his tank – but that he also feels right at home.
1 Select the Proper Tank Size
For starters, make sure the tank you choose for your Betta is at least 2.5 gallons in volume. Ideally, the tank should be even larger than five gallons. Less is not more when it comes to the Betta – in fact, more is more. You really can’t have a tank that is too large.
A tank that is on the larger side of things will be better at maintaining a specific temperature. You will also be able to regulate water quality more easily. You can also use a heater without harming your fish. A small tank, on the other hand, will experience rapid fluctuations in temperature. It will be very difficult to monitor the water quality and temperature in your tank.
2 Invest in High-Quality Equipment
Now, you don’t need to break the bank in order to do this! However, you should consider investing in good equipment for your Betta fish tank. For starters you need a good water heater that is reliable. This will remove any concerns about it failing on you, and you will be able to adjust the temperature of your tank easily. You can easily save a few dollars by getting a cheap heater, but it’s worth it to invest a little bit extra in a more reliable tank.
Similarly, you will also need a high-quality thermometer. A thermometer that is not reliable will make it difficult for you to gauge where your temperature is at. Don’t rely on the thermostat in your tank – a good thermometer will help give you a more reliable read on the temperature of the tank.
Remember, your Betta can quickly die or become very ill if it is subjected to rapid fluctuations in temperature. Invest in a good thermometer to mitigate these concerns.
3 Any Changes to Temperature Should Be Done Gradually
If you notice that the temperature in your tank has dipped down or spiked abnormally high, don’t adjust it immediately. Do so in gradual increments so that you don’t have to worry about stressing or killing your fish. If the tank temperature is a little bit high or a little bit low, change things gradually. Your fish can survive outside the ideal temperature range for a short time, but it might not survive a drastic change all at once.
Make slow adjustments over a period of a few days. If you are conducting a water change, make sure any new water that you add to the tank is the exact same temperature as the water that is already in the bank. When you put your Betta in the tank, float the bag that he came in for a few hours. This will allow the temperature to equalize before you Betta is exposed to the water. Avoid just dumping your fish into the tank, as this can cause some serious shock.
4 Watch the pH, Too
Temperature is an important factor in keeping your Betta happy and healthy in his new tank, but pH matters, too. You need to make sure the pH of your tank is stable, as Bettas prefer pH values that are either neutral or slightly acidic. Therefore, it should be well-balanced with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. As with temperature adjustments, any changes to the pH of your Betta’s water must be done very gradually.
5 Make Sure You Use the Proper Water
Water that is too high in either chlorine or heavy metals can be extremely dangerous to your fish. Whenever you add new water to your Betta tank, make sure you use the right type of water. You want to avoid distilled water, as this won’t have the minerals and nutrients your Betta fish needs to be healthy.
You can use bottled water, but tap water is even better. However, keep in mind that you may need to use a water conditioner to eliminate added chemicals like chlorine. The nice part about using tap water is that hot and cold water can be combined to bring the water to the perfect exact temperature. This way, you can add water that already matches the temperature of your tank – and you won’t shock your Betta.
6 Put in Aquarium Salt
Bettas are freshwater fish, so they don’t have to have salt in the water in order to survive.
However, many people do this. Why? Aquarium salt, when added in small amounts, can help to keep your fish healthy and prevent the appearance of common fungi and parasites in the water. You need to be careful about adding too much salt, and make sure you dilute it in water before you add it to the tank. If you contact your Betta directly with too much salt, it can cause serious burns and other health problems.
7 Avoid Overfeeding Your Fish
Overfeeding can have a serious impact on not only the health of your Betta, but also the water quality in the tank. If you overfeed your Betta, there is a good chance that extra food and other waste products will settle at the bottom of the tank. These will decompose and release toxic chemicals back into the water. These chemicals and compounds can cause disease and other health issues in your fish.
To avoid these sorts of problems, you should feed your Betta fish no more often than once or twice a day. You might also want to incorporate a ”fasting” day into the weekly schedule for feeding your Betta. A Betta’s stomach is only about the size of its eye, so if you feed them more than that you risk overfeeding your fish.
At each feeding, only feed your Betta about the amount of its eye – generally, this means you can feed two or three bloodworms, a couple of soaked pellets, or a couple of brine shrimp.
8 Conduct Regular Water Changes
Even if you are doing your very best to keep your tank filtered, cycled, and planned well, you may find that you need to clean it more often. Conducting regular water changes can help eliminate this need.
This is because, over time, harmful compounds and waste products build up in the water. These include nitrites and ammonia. If you perform partial water changes, this can help bring the water back down to where it needs to be.
You want to avoid removing all of the water from your tank at one time, though. This can cause severe shock to your Betta fish’s system – this is something you definitely don’t want to do! Instead, the amount of water you will remove will depend on the size of your tank, whether you have a filter system, and how many fish you have.
You will also need to have a proper nitrogen cycle. A small tank that does not have a filter may require as much as a fifty percent water change every other day. A larger tank with a filter, on the other hand, will probably only require a change of twenty-five percent every week. Again, larger tanks will always be easier to keep clean, for this reason as well as the others we have already mentioned.
9 Remember to Cycle Your Tank
Cycling your tank properly is important, because this will help ensure that you have appropriate colonies of helpful bacteria int he’s substrate of your tank. You will also need these in your filter media. These bacteria feed on harmful compounds in the water like nitrites and ammonia.
Once you have a good nitrogen cycle established, your ammonia levels will remain more or less under control. You won’t need to conduct water changes and your tank will be much healthier.
Why Is It Important To Maintain Proper Temperatures In My Betta Tank?
Betta fish aren’t necessarily difficult to care for, but you do need to take certain steps to make sure your fish feel safe and welcomed in the tank. Maintaining the proper temperature can prevent diseases and also increase the longevity and lifespan of your Betta fish.
In fact, by avoiding overfeeding and cleaning and cycling your tank on a regular basis, you can raise Betta fish that live for several years – or more. You don’t have to be an expert to do this. You just need to have a little bit of knowledge about the exact conditions that Betta fish need in their tanks.
With a little bit of extra care, you can keep these tropical fish healthy and happy.