How to take care of Betta fish?

We will talk about betta fish care in this blog post.We will also discuss important factors such as their habitat, types,lifespan,tank set-up, water parameters and healthcare,etc.Everything you need to know about betta fish care will be briefly discussed.

How to take care of Betta fish?

You can take care of betta fish by doing the following:

  • Don’t keep them in bowls.
  • They are jumpers so cover the tanks.
  • Bettas take oxygen from the surface for breathing, so it’s very important to maintain oxygen levels in the tank.
  • Aquarium heaters are extremely important.
  • Don’t change water frequently because they are sensitive to water changes and this can affect their health.
  • Remove uneaten food from the tank to avoid ammonia and nitrite accumulation in the tank.
  • Feed 3-4 floating pellets once or twice a day.
  • Their metabolism is very fast so feed them floating micropellets.
  • Never overfeed them, their stomach is very small, keep that in mind.
  • Get a good quality filter just to keep the nitrification going on. 
  • Make sure all the equipments are in working conditions.Replace if not working properly

Bi-weekly care tips  for bettas

  • Change 20-25 % water weekly once.
  • Dechlorinate the tank with a good quality water conditioner.
  • Clean filters properly once in 15 days.This will keep the water conditions stable.
  • Always quarantine live food for at least 2 weeks before feeding your pets.
  • Clean tank plants and decorative plants once a week.Make sure you are not disturbing the beneficial bacterias.

Key specifications of betta fish

GenusScientific name BettaBetta splendens

Conservation status
FreshwaterSoutheast Asia,ThailandNational aquatic animal of thailandVulnerable 
Lifespan3-4 years
Body sizeBody shapeColorSpecial trait/organSexual dimorphism2-3 inches in lengthStreamlined bodyVivid colorsLabyrinth bladder Yes, males are more colorful, larger,and aggressive than females.
Another namesSiamese fighting fishFighter fishRumble fish (Popular culture)
Optimum temperatureOptimum pHWater hardness75F-80F6.8-7.0Prefers soft water
TemperamentBeginner /experienced Slightly AggressiveGood beginner fish
Care levelEasy to moderate
Tank size and set-upTank type (Prefered)3 gallons (10 liters)Planted tanks
Preferred plants/decorationsLive overhanging plants
CompatibilityOther non aggressive tank mates
Number of betta fish species found 73 plus
BreedingMale bettas show parental care

Why is betta fish care important?

Bettas are the most popular fish kept in the hobby because of their vibrant appearance .They are very stylish and are even called the fashionistas of the aquarium because of their long flowing fins.

To maintain their beautiful long flowing fins and longevity it’s very important to take care of these species properly by providing them the exact environment like their wild habitat.

How many betta fish should you start with as a newcomer?

As a newcomer,I would suggest you get one male bettas fish in a large and spacious tank, because you can easily maintain water parameters in bigger tanks and also include some less aggressive tank mates with bettas.

Male bettas are a bit aggressive and can kill each other, but they are extremely beautiful and colorful than female betta fish.Multiple female bettas can be kept together, because they are not that aggressive like male bettas.Also get them from right breeders who are aware of their genetics and breeding.

Habitat of betta fish

Bettas come from tropical climates of Southeast Asia where the waterflow is fairly slow.Mainly found in Thailand and is also considered as the national aquatic animal of thailand.

Types of betta fish

List of bettas on the basis of their tails:

  • Veil tail
  • Plakat
  • Crown tail
  • Delta
  • Spade tail
  • Round tail
  • Double tail
  • Super delta
  • Rose tail
  • Halfmoon
  • Comb tail
  • Halfmoon plakat

Elephant betta or dumbo betta – Pectoral fins

List of bettas on the basis of captive breeding:

  • Dragon scale betta
  • Butterfly betta
  • Marble betta
  • Koi betta

Different strains or colors of betta fish

Bettas have a natural colouration of green,gray and brown,whereas captive specimens are known for their vivid colours.Males bettas are more colorful than females.

  • Black orchid betta
  • Pastel
  • Albino
  • Red
  • Yellow
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Pink
  • Mustard gas betta
  • Chocolate
  • Cellophane betta

General and physical attributes of betta fish

  • Bettas are not super big in size and are around 2-3 inches in length.
  • Bettas have a streamlined body with scales on it.
  • Bettas can resist  low oxygen levels due to their special organ Labyrinth bladder,which is distinctive to anabantoidei  suborder and is mainly for breathing oxygen on the surface.
  • Bettas have short fins naturally whereas captive specimens are known for large and flowing fins.
  • Male bettas have bigger fins than females.

Betta fish lifespan

  • They can live upto 3-4 years in well maintained tanks.
  • Bettas don’t live very long due to poor genetics.
  • A protein rich diet,suitable water conditions and oxygen levels should be maintained in the tank.
  • Make sure you are getting your bettas from right breeders who are aware of their genetics (healthy lines) and breeding.

Betta fish tank set-up

Tank sizeLight intensitySubstrateWater parametersTemperatureTank plants/decorationTank mates

Tank size for betta fish

  • It is advisable to keep your bettas in 3 gallons (minimum) water tank.
  • Additional tank size for each fully grown bettas is 1 gallons.
  • They like spacious tanks.
  • Tank set-up should be done at least one day before they come.
  • Bettas are great jumpers so it is advisable to put the lid on the tank properly.

Light intensity for betta fish

  • Natural and artificial light goes well with the bettas tank.
  • They need enough light during day time and dimness during night time.
  • Don’t expose them to direct sunlight, as it could increase algal growth in the tank. 

Substrate and decoration for betta fish

  • Substrate doesn’t really matter in bettas tanks.
  • Bettas don’t interact with the bottom that much.
  • Some sand or gravel substrate would be fine.
  • Smooth Rocks, driftwood or malaysian wood and caves can be added in their tank.
  • Avoid sharp and edgy decors in the tank, this can hurt their beautiful flowing tails.
  • Clean all decors before adding them to the aquarium.

Water parameters for betta fish

  • Bettas prefer calm water in their tanks.
  • Keep them in very cold water and maintain the optimum temperature otherwise they will become inactive and can become sick.
  • pH- 6.8-7 (almost neutral)
  • Get a good quality filter just to keep the nitrification going on.
  • Ammonia and nitrite-very very low (toxic for bettas) 
  • Bettas thrive well in stable water movement so install a low flow rate filter in their tank.Sponge filters or low-flow hang-on-the back filters can be installed.
  • Proper filtration is crucial for your bettas health.So,the filter which you’re using should process all the water 4-5 times in an hour.
  • Don’t change the aquarium water very frequently as it can disturb the environment and can make your bettas anxious.
  • 20-25 % water changes can be done weekly once. 
  • Dechlorinate the tanks with some good water conditioners. 

Temperature for betta fish

Temperature plays an important role in the aquarium, as it is responsible for the fish metabolism.

Maintaining the right temperature in the aquarium environment will keep your bettas active and healthy.A sudden drop in the temperature could make them inactive and weak.

  • Temp-75F-80F (moderate temperature)
  • A good quality heater attached with a thermometer will help to maintain the internal environment exactly like their natural habitat.

Tank plants for betta fish

  • Live and overhanging plants are best for your bettas as they act as a natural oxygen purifier and can help them to conceal themselves to avoid aggressive tank mates or predators.
  • Live plants can provide good hiding space for your bettas when they feel threatened or stressed.
  • Hydrilla aka waterthymes can be used in bettas aquariums because it gives bush like views in the tanks. 
  • Indian almond leaves are recommended as they can keep their immune system strong.
  • Artificial plants can also be used.

Tank mates for betta fish

Avoid keeping male bettas in tanks together as they are not so friendly and have the tendency to fight with each other to death.Female bettas are opposite and they can be kept in a group of 2 or 3 together.

Bettas don’t like to share their space with others, so get spacious tanks to house other tank mates in the same aquarium to avoid conflicts due to overcrowding.

Female bettas are much better when it comes to adjusting with the other tankmates.Overall bettas get threatened by more brightly coloured tank mates.So avoid such brightly coloured fish in their tank.

List of some suitable tank mates for your bettas:

  • Neon tetras
  • Blue gouramis
  • African dwarf frog
  • Pictus catfish
  • Danios

Avoid these tank mates

  • Goldfish
  • Male guppies
  • Finnippers and aggressive ones

Betta fish diet and feeding requirements

Bettas are not picky eaters and happily accept whatever you give them but don’t start eating immediately after putting them in the aquariums, they take their own sweet time to adjust in the tank and start picking up food accordingly.

A Protein rich diet is very important for your bettas.They would happily accept live food but in my opinion avoid giving them live food because it might be risky as they come with varieties of disease.

Kindly do not overfeed your bettas,because their stomachs are very small. So feed them 3-4 protein floating pellets once or twice a day. They don’t like to eat flakes so don’t include flakes in their diet.

  • Protein enriched floating pellets 
  • Frozen or dried brine shrimp
  • Frozen Bloodworms (small pieces)
  • Small insects
  • Larvae

Betta fish healthcare and health conditions

Water conditions are mainly responsible for health concerns in bettas.If it’s not clean and without ammonia and nitrites then definitely your bettas will easily catch a range of diseases like other aquarium fish.So Its very important to maintain stable water parameters and yes it’s purifications is extremely important equally.

List of some disease in bettas:

  • Exophthalmia or Popeye disease (very common)
  • Cotton fin fungus
  • Bacterial infection
  • Ich- parasitic infection
  • Fin rot (very common)


To sum it up

  • Bettas are extremely beautiful aquarium fish.
  • Bettas are famous for their long attractive finnage, colors and patterns.
  • Bettas don’t belong to the bowls.
  • Bettas are very sensitive to water parameters.
  • Provide them with a spacious tank,great diet,maintain water conditions well & add non-aggressive tank mates with them for their better survival.
  • Overall a good beginner fish for new betta enthusiasts.

Frequently asked questions on betta fish care

Can we keep male and female bettas together?

It is recommended not to keep them together, they should be kept together only for breeding purposes.