Prepare your Betta’s home
After proper research, now you need to prepare your betta’s home. Have a proper set up ready before bringing home your new pet home. This prevents possible mishaps.
Don’t place a male Betta fish with another male, but females do fine together only if they have a docile personality and if you have five or more female bettas in an optimum tank size of 15-20 gallons, though 10 gallons will suffice (as long as an efficient amount of hiding spaces have been provided). This is called a betta sorority and is very hard to set up sometimes. If you only want two bettas, don’t put them together just to be safe. If you want another fish with your Betta, choose a fish that doesn’t have long fins (do not get a guppy) and is roughly about the same size as the betta. Bigger fish will eat the betta, and the betta might eat any fish smaller than its mouth. A few good suggestions for tank mates are Red Cherry Shrimp and White Cloud Mountain Minnows.
Choose a suitable home
In the wild, bettas inhabit Thai rice paddies. Hence, they are suited to living in relatively shallow, but spacious environments. To meet the spacious need, consider giving your betta a decently sized tank to help prolong its life. Pick a tank of 5 gallons (19 liters) or more for your betta to thrive. It may seem like a lot, but it’s what your fish
Add the necessary equipment
Various equipment is required for the successful keeping of Betta fish:
- Purchase a heater with a thermostat––Betta fish like water temperatures between 78-82ºF/24-27ºC. Bettas need a heater in all cases (they are tropical fish)––for example, if you live in a cold country or if you have an aquarium below room temperature, then a heater is required. Mini-heaters are available for betta tanks between 1-3 gallons (4-11 liters). During the winter, you may want to add a mini heater or place your aquarium close to a radiator (1 meter/3.2 feet away), to prevent your Betta from becoming too cold.
- Filters are always necessary but make sure the current is not too strong for your betta. Bear in mind that the long-finned varieties do best with as little current as possible. Some experts recommend the use of sponge filters, to protect the fins.
- Avoid jagged rocks or decorations. Such decorations can easily tear betta fins. It’s recommended that you check once a day that there are no tears in the betta’s fins. If there are tears, first check the water quality, as tears are typically caused by poor water maintenance.
- Avoid adding any hard plastic plants. Again, these can be rough on the fins. Use the ‘pantyhose test’: If a plastic plant will snag a pair of pantyhose when rubbed against it, then it will damage your betta’s fins. Be safe and buy silk plants instead.
- Live plants are a great idea. They’re prettier than fake ones, and betta fish love lounging on the leaves and hiding in them to sleep. Live plants also help to oxygenate the water and keep the water cleaner for longer periods of time by absorbing ammonia which can be fatal to your fish.
If you’re considering adding tank-mates, do your research
Betta fish tend to prefer being alone and may kill other fish and even snails if added to the tank. Some betta fish are fine with tank-mates such as snails, ghost or cherry shrimp and catfish, and consider that as long as the fish sharing the tank is not bigger, more colorful or fin nipping, it should be okay. Before adding any sort of tank-mate, do thorough research by asking questions of the retailer, reading in books about betta fish or checking online sites dedicated to betta fish. The article Betta Social Behavior can assist with choosing a tank-mate for your betta. If in doubt, leave the tank-mate out.
- Male betta fish cannot live with other male betta fish. They are named Siamese fighting fish for a reason! In an aquarium setting, they will fight to the death in order to protect their living space, regardless of the size of the tank. If your tank does not have a partition, do not risk losing one or both of your betta fish by allowing them to live together.
- Keep female betta fish either singly or in groups of at least five, to lessen any aggression. The tank must be at least 10 gallons (38 liters) and have several hiding spots if keeping multiple females. All females must be added at the same time. Don’t place only two female betta fish in your tank. They establish a “pecking order” and having only two female fish means that the less dominant one gets picked on exclusively.
- Female betta fish will fight males and vice versa. Don’t put them in together. Remember that breeding bettas is a huge commitment, and not something to be taken lightly.
- Putting a mirror up to the side of the tank can cause a betta to flare because he/she thinks that there is a rival in his/her territory. This can stress out the fish, so avoid mirrors.