Betta Fish Care

Keeping Bettas: tank, care, and compatible tankmates

Betta Care, a Fishy Thing

Betta Fish Care Infographic! A handy cheat sheet to benefit any keepers of the fabulous Siamese Fighting Fish!

Are You Taking Proper Care of Your Betta? The Betta Splendens – Sometimes known as the 'Siamese Fighting Fish' - is a beautiful, brightly colored species that's captured the nation's hearts and can be seen in living rooms and offices throughout the land.

However, its popularity is also due, in part, to the often touted reason that they are extremely hardy fish, very easy to care for, and require little to no consideration.

We've all seen the 'Betta-in-a-bowl,' or a specimen seemingly swimming happily in little more than a large wine glass. We're told they can live in extremely small spaces and can breathe air like we do, so there's no need to filter or aerate their water.

But is this the truth? Do betta fish require little more than a cup full of water and the occasional food pellet to survive? This infographic, courtesy of Brian from ItsAFishThing.com, details the correct way to care for betta fish, giving them exactly what they need to thrive.

For first time owners, this betta care infographic is an excellent all in one cheat sheet that will arm you with the knowledge to make the right decisions when setting up and maintaining your first betta tank. For everyone else, it's a good reminder of what you should be doing, while hopefully dispelling any popular and common myths and misconceptions that may have crept into your mind over time.

For a more detailed look at the Betta fish, please see the Animal-World guide: Siamese Fighting Fish, Betta

What are Betta Fish

Betta fish are one of the first known fish to have been kept in an aquarium and are just as popular - maybe even more so - in many parts of the world than are goldfish. Their scientific name is 'Betta Splendens' though they're sometimes called the 'Siamese fighting fish' due to the aggressive nature of the solitary males that are often fought for sport.

They are brightly colored, often with large spectacular looking fins that truly do befit their moniker as the 'Jewel of the Orient.' They grow to an average size of 2.5 inches and when properly looked after can live to be four years old.

What are Betta Fish

Betta Fish Tank

The Biggest Crime Against Betta Care? - The betta in a bowl!

There is a very commonly held misconception that a betta can be kept in a tiny, unfiltered bowl, sometimes with a lily plant, and the fish can live in harmony with the plant, providing nutrients for the lily while the fish lives off the roots.
This is absolutely wrong!

And why do we believe they can live in such tiny containers?

It is because in a time of drought, they have been found surviving in little more than a water filled hoof print. And because they are a labyrinth fish, they have the ability to breathe oxygen from the air much like us. However, they are a fish with gills. It's true that they should have access to the air and like to breathe regularly from it even when they have no need, but they do prefer to breathe water naturally.

Saying they can live in a tiny bowl where the water becomes very quickly polluted by their own excretions, just because they can breathe the air – it's like saying we can survive in a smoke-filled room with an open window at one end because we can stick our neck out and breathe.

Betta fish need a large enough filtered aquarium to guarantee good water quality and to provide them ample room to live a natural life of exploration and play.

Betta Fish Tank

Caring for Your Betta Fish

Bettas are carnivores and simply should not be forced to eat vegetation only. Of course, they will if it's all there is available, but it isn't natural.

To maintain a happy, healthy Betta Fish, it's important to provide a proper diet. Then make sure you regularly check on the tanks equipment and water parameters, and keep a watchful eye for any signs of distress or illness in you Betta.

Betta Fish Care

Best Betta Fish Tankmates

To maintain a happy, healthy Betta tank, it's important to ensure compatibility between the inhabitants. The tankmate compatibility chart below will give a good overview of the common types of fish that can usually be kept harmoniously with a Betta.

Best Betta Fish Tankmates

Maintaining the Betta Tank

Proper Betta Fish Care Is Within Everyone's Capability There have been entire libraries of books written on even the smallest aspects of fish care.

If you want a self-contained ecosystem where plants and fish thrive by balancing one another's needs, you can try using the Walstad method where all you ever need to add or take away from the tank is fish food. However, you're in for a tough ride and a very steep learning curve. However, if all you want is to care perfectly for your fish so they're happy and thrive, all you need is to easily achieve this is to follow the advice in this care sheet, which will take all of 20 minutes of your time each week.

Maintaining Your Betta Tank

As long as these few basic rules are followed, this is all you need to have a happy, healthy well looked after betta. Though if you'd like to learn from a deeper discussion of each point raised in the graphic above, check out the betta care section at ItsAFishThing.com, where an article is dedicated to each point raised and will hold your hand through every aspect of betta care.

Contributing author Brian Hamilton has been a fish enthusiast since a child and although only a 'hobby fish keeper,' over the years he has had more tanks and breeds of fish than he could care to mention. There's not a lot he hasn't studied, tried, tested and learnt from over the decades and now he likes to share his knowledge by posting on pet related sites around the web.

Author: Brian Hamilton