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How to Prepare a Tank for a Betta Fish

Updated on December 22, 2013
Male Betta fish
Male Betta fish

Basic info about Betta fish

So, I guess you are interested in getting a Betta fish. That's a great idea because Betta fish are some really beautiful tropical fish. Male Betta fish are the most beautiful ones by nature, whereas the female Betta fish are less ornamented.

Alright, you want a Betta fish and of course the first thing you need to know about them, is how to get a proper "home" for them (aka Betta fish tank). Below I will share with you how to keep a Betta fish happy and have it not only live, but also prosper through its full life expectancy, which is 5 years!

Size and basic setup of a tank for Betta fish

Don't get fooled by Bettas' size. They might be small but they need a pretty adequate tank, in order to prosper. That's because their natural habitat is much larger than a bowl for a goldfish or something. So, you have to invest in getting at least a decent aquarium, as well as nutritious food for your lovely Betta fish!

Although they might seem expensive at first (some with 10 gallons capacity might range even around 400 $), over time you will see that it is money well spent, since both your little friend will love it and you will have a beautiful decoration for your house. Also, you might mix up your fish tank and have other companions too, apart from Bettas. More on this on a detailed Hub at the end of this article.

The general formula for calculating how much water a Betta fish needs, is 5 gallons of water per Betta fish. This means, that if you have for example 4 Bettas, you will need an aquarium of (4 Betta fish x 5 gallons) = 20 gallons of water capacity!

If you choose a small tank for your Betta, make sure that its tail and fins do not touch the sides!

Small tip: Especially the aquariums which have an octagonal shape are wonderful, because you can have a clear view from each of its angles.

Betta fish water

Your Betta fish and pretty much every fish, consumes water's oxygen and produces carbon dioxide (CO2), pretty much like humans do. This means a lot of things:

First of all, a filter is essential. Every fish produces chemical byproducts and waste, which need to be cleaned from the water. So, the water needs to be filtered and changed regularly. How often is regularly? Well, changing 1/3 of the tank's water once a week is the rule of thumb. However, I go into more detail in one of my linking hubs at the bottom of this one. Apart from this, remember that you need to have a filter applied, as we already mentioned. This item will take the water in, clean it and then return it to the tank.

It would be wonderful to have the tank's roof open so the water could get its essential oxygen. Unfortunately, this is not possible, since Betta fish are known to jump out of the water! This essentially means that if you have an open Betta tank, you might find your lovely Betta jumping out of its tank. Apart from this, if you have a cat in your home, it might find your aquarium an excellent place for fishing....

So by all means, you need to have a sealed aquarium for your Betta fish. That's one more reason why you will need a filter, a heater and real plants. Real plants will help provide the water with the essential oxygen!

Another way of cleaning you Betta fish tank, is by using chemical cleaning agents. It is said that they are not dangerous for the fish and they can't pose any hazard. In my personal opinion, I prefer to use other means than chemical material, but this is just me! Just conduct your own research before using any of these.

One more thing to look after is water. Yes, you heard that right, water! I go into detail in another hub of mine, but for now keep in mind that you have to put tap water and neither bottled nor distilled. Actually bottled is fine, but more expensive. Distilled is the one you have to avoid by all means!

Also, it is being said that adding (aquarium) Salt into the water, can help the fish be more energetic and show its colors more vividly. However, you can't just go and put random quantity of salt in it, or the Betta fish will be in shock, or even die. You have to get specific equipment and very specific instructions on how to add salt in your aquarium. You must be aware though, that this will cost more money and energy....

Betta fish tank's decoration and details

Betta fish tanks need to have pretty transparent glass. Your fish loves to see you and interact with you. It is a living creature. You will see that it is pretty relaxing to watch your beautiful Betta, while you enjoy yourself.

Apart from this, plants (preferably real ones) and decoration have vast importance! By saying decoration, we mean things like rocks (preferably of a big variety of colours), maybe random structures or widgets and generally things in which a Betta can go to hide! This is vital if you keep a male and a female Betta fish together. The Betta might go hostile against the female anytime! So the female needs to have a territory to hide. You will also notice that when the Betta has places to hide, it moves much more relaxed, thus increasing its lifetime and wellbeing!

Plants are good to be real ones, since they are much more beautiful to look at them as they wave and also provide the water with additional oxygen. Also, they won't harm your Betta's fins and tail, like the plastic ones. You might want to have a look at which plants to get for your Betta fish in my other hub. I link to it at the bottom of the one you are reading now...

Water's Temperature

I will not go into many details here, since I have already mentioned a lot in my previous hub. Don't worry, there are only 2 links at the bottom, one for male Betta fish aggression and one considering the tank optimization.

As long as the heater is concerned, just keep in mind the basics:

Betta fish are tropical fish. Tropical means high temperatures, so they need warm water in order to thrive. The ideal temperature is 80-82 Fahrenheit degrees. The only way to secure that is with a heater who has a thermostat equipped.

So if you are considering getting a Betta fish without a heater for its aquarium, don't even bother. It will be tortured and probably die if the temperature gets below a certain limit.

When you buy a Betta fish tank, you should also buy immediately a heater.

Last words

I hope you found this hub useful. Betta fish are really beautiful and I hope you can afford (by space, money and time) to get a beautiful Betta fish tank, with few Bettas and maybe some other fish too! You will have a great time watching them.

As I mentioned earlier I have also 2 more hubs on Betta fish:

1) Male and Female Betta fish aggression (doesn't have much to do with Betta fish bowls)

2) Betta fish tanks (more details on some of the topics above)

Below are the links.

I sure hoped you enjoyed reading it, as much as I enjoyed writing it and you should have a lovely relationship with your Betta! Please leave a comment if you have questions or anything else! :)


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      18 months ago

      What is an ideal heater (watts/size) for a 2 1/2 to 3 gallon aquarium that will house 1 (one) Betta. And whats the best food for Betta's??

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      3 years ago

      Hi Serena -Very Nice Choices, Betta's!Since you have had many in the past I won't have to address basic care. Whew. So my awnesr to your Q will be all fun stuff. Maybe some will be new, maybe some will inspire some ideas of your own.My betta's both male and female like to chase and bite at the laser light I shine in the tank.The males love to spread out over a leaf. Females barely know there's plants in there at all.One male in a currentless tank like to tuck in under the bottom leaf at night. Like a blanket!So low lying or high these guys do love plants.I like to keep Ghost Shrimp, excellent scavengers and a blast to watch too. Some males like to eat them. Females don't. They keep the tank free of the tiniest bits of food, don't take up any room, don't multiply very easily, skim the surface upside down when feeding flake, so transparent I can see the wall thru their body and I can watch the development of the larvae thru the pregnant ones body.Some males like to swim thru tubes I put in there.One female likes to gaze at herself for the longest time in the thermometer reflection.( you didn't say what you have male or female so I'm just throwing out general ideas )That same female likes to shimmy up to the intake on the filter, let it suck up her fins flat, she just hangs there for awhile until something else catches her eye, then she swims off.Some males love to do same thing sort of w/ air stones.I can share anything w/ them. They always listen.I like to mix up the furniture from time to time, their like a cat in how they have to reinspect everything all over again.Sometimes I hover over them with pellet. Some of them jump. They gave me that idea. One female esp. will jump after watching me feed everyone else first.For food and a long life – idk – I feed mine Hikari Gold pellets and they always get some flake when I'm trying to feed everyone else. Supp. with Hikari Ocean Plankton – they all go nuts over that, and freeze dried bloodworms – the usual.I know many people swear by live mosquito larvae (which comes from a stagnant bucket in the backyard) or freeze-dried bloodworms. All I know is I fed ONE bloodworm, cut up, ONE time to both a male and female and they both soon died of dropsy. Now there are meds out for dropsy but, why go there?I culture my own live food. I have complete control over quality. Again, the usual – microworms (many say the adult Betta's won't eat them, they do, just takes them awhile to realize it's live food. That's where Tetras help. Betta's watch and realize something interesting going on over in the Tetra section And live brine shrimp, once the baby brines have eaten thru their yolk sac (about 12 hrs after hatch) their value goes down in fat and rises in protein. I'm looking into Daphnia. Supposedly brine shrimp and daphnia are laxatives, who knows. I used the pea trick but haven't had to in a long time.Tubifex and copepods are just nasty. If I can't stand the smell or look of them I'm not growing them. Personal preference – other people love them.The local Petco takes such good care of the Betta's and told me they add salt to the water when they change out the tubs so now I do too. I'd read so many pro's and cons it just left me confused so I left it alone until now. bc teaspoon to a gallon of water at water change time.Hope this gave you a few new things – ideas and such,Angie


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