Fishkeeping For Kids

Basics of caring for betta

So, you just got a new betta, or perhaps you want to get your first fish and are considering getting a betta. But there are some things you need to know first. To start- make sure the betta that you get is reasonably healthy. Sometimes, pet stores will leave bettas on the shelf that are dead, dying, or very sick. If you already have a betta, and you think it looks sick, you can try to find out what disease it has and treat it.

Betta requirements

One of the most common myths about bettas is that they can live in almost any container. They cannot. Bettas need a 5-gallon minimum tank size, as well as a heater and filter. A heater is a must- the tank has to stay around 78°. A filter is pretty much required- sometimes, people can set up a tank full of live plants that filter waste from the water, however this is not something you should start out with doing, as it can be difficult to get a proper balance, and the same price (if not more) as just getting a filter. The best kind of filter to get is a sponge filter- they create very little water movement, which is something that bettas don’t like, they work well, and they are cheap.

Betta maintenance

Although bettas are a low maintenance fish, they are not a zero-maintenance fish. You will need to change a small amount of the water- roughly 30% of the total volume is good. You will also need to feed your betta a small amount of food every day, remembering that their stomach is roughly the size of their eyes. 

Betta tank preparation

When it comes to decorating your tank, I only have a few suggestions. Although any decorations are fine, make sure that you don’t get sharp things that can cut a betta’s long fins. Too many decorations give a betta too little room to swim- try to stick to less than half the volume being decorations. Bettas love plants, although some cheap plastic plants can cut their fins too. It’s best to get either silk or live plants- a few java ferns require no extra maintenance, and they actually help you keep your tank clean. The more live plants, the better.

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