How do you care for a betta fish? Like all fish – and indeed all pets – bettas have particular needs in order to stay healthy and live a long life. Their needs include enough space, the right water conditions, a certain temperature range and a nutritious diet. In this betta fish care guide, we’ll cover all of this and more – telling you everything you need to know about caring for bettas.
We’ll start with tank setup and the equipment you’ll need, then move on to water conditions and feeding your betta fish, before finally talking about how to keep your betta fish from getting sick.
If you’re completely new to keeping betta fish, we recommend reading this guide in full from start to finish. It should give you a really solid introduction to the fundamentals of betta fish care. However, if you’re a bit more experienced or just looking to learn about one area of betta fish care, you may prefer to jump straight to a particular topic using the links below.
Betta Tank Setup
The first step to caring for betta fish properly is to give them a suitable home to live in. That means buying a tank that is the right size for bettas, along with all the equipment you need.
Do betta fish need a big tank?
The good news is that betta fish do not need a big tank. As bettas are small fish and usually kept in low numbers, or even individually, you don’t need a very big tank.
Of course, your betta will always benefit from having more room to explore, so it’s still a good idea to buy the biggest tank you can afford and that you have room for.
What is the best size tank for betta fish?
Some people say that you can keep bettas in a 3 gallon tank or bowl. However, the minimum tank size we recommend for a single betta fish is 5 gallons. At this size, your betta will have plenty of room to grow, interesting areas of the tank to explore, and you’ll have a good chance of maintaining relatively stable water parameters.
Of course, the more space you are able to give your betta the better, so if you have enough space for a larger tank, we’d recommend giving your fish a bit more room to explore.
What do bettas need in their tank?
As well as the tank and hood (lid), your betta will need a filter, lighting and a heater. Optional items include plants and decorations and substrate, such as gravel.
Keeping your water conditions balanced at the right level is one of the most important aspects of betta fish care.
What is the best temperature for betta fish?
Betta fish like warm water with a temperature in the high seventies or low eighties degrees Fahrenheit. Water in the range of 76° and 82° F would be ideal for a betta. That said, they can tolerate temperatures slightly outside this range if necessary.
Are bettas sensitive to pH?
A neutral pH of around 7 would be perfect for your betta fish. But, as with temperature, bettas can tolerate a relatively wide pH range. If your water is somewhere between 6.5 and 7.5 pH then your betta should be fine and you shouldn’t need to make any adjustments to the pH level.
Do betta fish need a cycled tank?
Like all aquarium fish, bettas should be kept in a properly cycled tank. This means that you have built up a colony of bacteria to remove ammonia and nitrite from the water. Ideally ammonia and nitrite levels should be zero, and nitrates as low as possible (under 20ppm).
This means that proper betta fish care actually begins before you get your fish! Ideally, you would get your tank set up and properly cycled before you even bring your betta home from the pet store.
Betta Fish Food
Betta fish are carnivores, which means they eat meat. In the wild, this often includes creatures such as mosquito larvae and smaller fish. You should aim to replicate this protein-rich diet in your home aquarium by feeding your better live and freeze-dried foods, such as bloodworms, daphnia and brine shrimp.
Betta Fish Diseases
Being prepared for your betta to get sick – and knowing how to treat them if they do – is an often overlooked part of betta fish care. All pets get sick at some point in their lives, so it’s important to know about common diseases, what symptoms to look out for, and what actions you might need to take.
More Betta Fish Care Advice
If you found this guide to betta fish care useful, we recommend reading the articles below to learn even more about your betta and how to care for them properly.