BASIC BETTA FISH KEEPING LIST:
- 1 GALLON/3.8 LITERS or MORE
- WATER CONDITIONER
This is the shortest list of supplies needed to take care of ONE betta fish since bettas cannot live together unless in a female sorority. Of course you can add gravel, decor, lights, and fake plants, and sadly many people spend their money on these unnecessary items than what is actually needed for your fish to be happy. If you want to care for a pet then you'll need buy things that benefit the fish and not just yourself. Betta fish are not decorations, and if you think that than the least you could do is be responsible enough to give the live fish proper care. Yes, a betta may live for a year or more in small tanks sold only for you to waste your money on, or a small vase for a plant or a wine bottle, but the idea is just like keeping a dog in a cage its whole life. Your fish will live, but it will not thrive. By giving proper care with spacious, heated and clean water, your betta will flourish and you will truly see the difference in color, activeness and personality in your betta.
HOUSING: 1 GALLON/3.8 LITERS OR MORE per fish
When you enter the pet store, head straight to the fish tanks, but don't even glance at the "tanks" that are barely half a gallon in volume, that are supposedly meant for betta fish to live in. I recommend the 2.5 gallon glass tanks for beginners, which sell for around the same price as the small and easily scratched acrylic tanks for bettas. Make sure you have or make some type of lid for the tank, as betta fish are known for jumping. The 2.5 gallons are nice for one betta, you can fit a mini heater and sponge filter in the tank with leftover space for some decor and room for the fish to swim. But the more space the better, you can use any size container GREATER than one gallon. If you are on a budget you can most likely find some type of container in your house over one gallon that holds water, such as a plastic storage bin. You can fit more than one betta into one tank if they each have at least one gallon each, but you NEED to divide the tank so they will never make contact with each other. Otherwise they will eventually fight to death. However you can start a female sorority or community tank under certain circumstances and with the right tank mates.
WATER: CHANGE AND CONDITION
Fill your 1 gallon or greater tank with regular tap water, then dose the water according to the conditioners directions. Without conditioner, your fish will die from harsh chemicals found in tap water. Aging tap water for 24 hours or over may leave you with chlorine free water, however chloramines do not evaporate this quickly, making conditioned water necessary. Buying "betta water" from your pet store is a waste of money, just purchase a water conditioner for a couple bucks and it will last you much much longer than using "betta water" from the store. Prime water conditioner is a well loved product by fish keepers. It is a concentrated conditioner that conditioners one gallon with only two drops, making it last ages and have no need for much repurchasing. If you are just beginning however, any water conditioner at the store will work.
FEEDINg: ONLY A FEW PELLETS A DAY
Once you picked a healthy, active betta fish and an appropriately sized fish tank, you can start looking at the food section. Bettas will usually be picky with their food for the first few days and won't eat, but eventually they will and you will find out that they will most likely accept all betta pellet and flakes. I prefer pellets, and rarely feed flakes as it is much simpler and cleaner to drop 3-5 pellets in a day, rather than flakes that cloud the water and don't get the bettas attention. Since bettas easily get bloated, swim bladder disorder, and other diseases due to overfeeding, set one day per week where you do not feed the betta all day. The pellets I feed are New Life Spectrum Betta Formula and New Life Spectrum Grow Formula since I am a breeder. You can find the New Life Spectrum brand at PetCo, and possibly your local family owned fish store. Some more easily found pellets are Aqueon Betta Pellets and Omega One Betta Buffet. You can also feed frozen bloodworms as a treat, which can be found in the fridge at most fish stores. Other foods include freeze dried tubifex worms, freeze dried bloodworms, gel foods, live blackworms, white worms, grindal worms, mosquito larvae, and more.
Betta fish come from tropical Asian waters, meaning they need a warm environment. Unless your betta lives outside in an area that keeps the water at 76-82F/24-28C all night and all year round, a heater is necessary to keep your fish active and free from disease. You can buy mini heaters for 5 gallon tanks and smaller, and larger heaters such as a 50 watt heater for 10 gallon tanks. Heaters are usually much cheaper online than in pet stores. A thermometer is usually not necessary since mini heaters are usually made for bettas, and most larger heaters allow you to specifically set the temperature to a certain degree. However, be sure to monitor the temperature regularly as heaters can malfunction (I learned the hard way).
CLEANING: WEEKLY WATER CHANGES
If you have a smaller tank around 3 gallons or less, a filter is not completely necessary IF you are doing complete water changes at least once a week. However any tank larger than 3 gallons would be too difficult to do 100% water changes every week, making a filter needed in this situation. Even with a filter, small water changes are still needed every week to keep your water clean. Though filters are not necessary for smaller tanks, they are much recommended as they circulate and filtrate the tank. Bettas do not like strong current, which is hard to find in power filters, so I recommend buying a cheap sponge filter you can find online in all different sizes. The major downside to sponge filters is that they will also need an air pump in order for it to work, but you can connect many sponge filters to one air pump. If you are not able to buy a sponge filter, you can make a DIY current reducer for your power filter with a cut up plastic water bottle.