Gallon Hex Betta Tank

The Essentials of Proper Betta Fish Care

Betta Fish, also known as Betta Splendens, Beta Fish and Siamese Fighting Fish, are inexpensive pets and can be quite lovely. Technically, the Betta name refers to about fifty species, but is commonly used as if only Betta splendens is meant. The biggest are normally only around three inches long. Even though there are many stories of the fish surviving in very small containers, experts do recommend a three-gallon tank for best results and there is some controversy about how small a tank is really still acceptable. Betta Fish are native to low oxygen waters, and don't normally need any aeration. They are tropical fish, and are best kept warm, however. Some owners do claim that their Bettas act happier with an air filtration system even if the fish don't need it to survive. Bettas normally live two to three years, but in well cared for conditions, some have lived as long as ten.

Betta Fish are native to Thailand and Cambodia. The common name comes from the name of Siam, which is now Thailand, and the territorial battles the males conduct. Like many members of the animal kingdom, the males are the gaudier looking, to better attract females. The females tend to appear rather dull, and almost all Betta Fish sold are males for that reason. In the wild, they are dull greens and browns, but breeders have produced far more stunning color schemes.

Some believe that Bettas cannot be kept with other fish. This is not true. Multiple male Bettas is a precondition for battle. Bettas with other fish around will still display and flare their fins, but won't see this as a mortal insult. They should not be kept in a tank with fish that are aggressive or that nip fins, and only one male should be present. Female Bettas can usually play well with others, and there are cages to be used to separate male Bettas if they are kept in the same tank. These should prevent the fish from seeing each other.

Betta Fish can handle a surprising range of water conditions, but the water should be changed once a week or so, more often if the fish is kept in a small container. They can be fed once a day, or twice if you desire, and aren't especially fussy about their food. There is specially formulated Betta food on the market. In the wild, Bettas eat live food, insects and their larvae, and like it in fish tanks, but they will eat flakes and frozen food as well. Do not overfeed as this will require cleaning the tank more often. When changing the water, remember to let the water sit for a day before using it in the tank with the fish to allow the chlorine to evaporate. Good choices for Betta food are brine shrimp, Daphnia, plankton, tubifex, glassworms, and beef heart, and may be used frozen or freeze dried. Flakes should be supplemented with other foods from the list.

Many note the odd bubble structures that male Betta Fish build in the water tank. This is perfectly normal. The male is building a nest in which to place eggs, once he successfully impresses a female.

Bettas prefer a pH between 6.8 and 7.4 and a hardness less than 20 dGH. The temperature should be between 75 and 86 degrees, or twenty-four to thirty for those who prefer Celsius. In the wild, they live in rice paddies, ponds and slow moving streams, and are most comfortable near the surface. One of the main arguments about the minimum size for the fish's tank is heat. Below 75 degrees, the fish are increasingly listless and it is much easier to keep a larger tank at a stable temperature. Bettas also require access to the surface, and will drown without it. There is a special organ, the labyrinth organ, allowing and requiring them to take oxygen from the air. Because they live in still waters, power filters and power heads are not suitable.

Betta Fish are known for their lovely colors and fins, with a wide range of colors available. Blue to red with white are normal, and more spectacular colors like yellow and orange exist.

Metal poisoning easily kills betta fish, and exposed metal should not be used in decorations within the tank. Decorations are important as they allow the fish places to hide, and a layer of gravel helps to provide surface area to grow nitrifying bacteria. Decorations must be smooth and lack sharp points that can tear fins. Silk is preferred to plastic for artificial plants for this reason.

About the author: Sarah Munn is an animal lover, and currently own 7 pets (including her Betta fish, Margo). Sarah is a freelance author and editor, most recently editing the popular e-Book. "Betta Care Made Easy." Sarah would like to recommend the Betta Fish Care Newsletter as the best place to learn more about betta fish care.


Frequently Asked Questions

    Do betta fish need their tanks cycled?
    hi, i have a male halfmoon betta fish who lives in a 1.5 gallon aquarium. I use jungle start right water conditioner withh allantoin. I also use big als multi purpose bio support to eliminate ammonia and nitrites. Its bacteria though. but should i kepp using it? i am using it since i havent cycled the tank :( do betta fish need their tanks cycled and should i keep using the bio support? Thanks!
    The conditioner doesnt have bacteria in it. Big als multi purpose bio support has the bacteria in it. they are two different bottles.

    • ANSWER:
      1. 1.5gallons it about 1gallon too small. bettas are tropical fish, they need at least 2.5gallons of gently filtered and heated water to be healthy.
      2. the bacteria in these water conditioners is usually long dead by the time you get it, so it's not really going to help, besides this, 1.5gallon is too small for any fish and won't cycle properly.
      3. a tank with a fish present will cycle (as long as you're not doing full water changes and it's not too small) whether you want it to or not. so if your tank were properly sized, it would cycled with or without the water conditioner you have.

      I highly suggest you get a bigger tank. then do 25% weekly water changes using a gravel siphon... the tank will cycle on it's own without much stress on the betta since they're such low waste producing fish.

    will clear glass divides in a betta tank stress the betta too much?
    i really want a multi betta tank so i am looking to divide a tank into a few sections! im pretty sure that clear glass will stress the fish out too much over a period of time, although the LFSs have all there fsh divided with clear glass. will they get used to it? what do you guys think?

    • ANSWER:
      yes............have you ever tried holding a mirror up to a small betta bowl, and watched his reaction..........that's basically what it's doing......but now it's 24/7

      I never understood why pet stores will sell you a "betta tank" with a clear divider, but they wont sell you a goldfish if you have a goldfish bowl in your hand......

      the result in both cases is slow and painful death.....but why is one okay, and the other isn't...............

      my guess is that its because betta's cost a lot more then those little [FAQ-ANSWER].12 goldfish

      and they know that every time you kill your betta, you will come back and buy they have a steady supply of customers buying fish.......hmm.......

      lol...just my conspiracy theory.

    Poll: What is your favorite kind of Betta and why? Mine is crowntail and halfmoon, I like crowntail cause it's spiky and exotic and halfmoon because it's so elegant.

    Do you use the correct pronunciation of Betta? It took me awhile to find out what the real way to pronounce it, bet-UH not bay-tuh, but i still think baytuh is better lol

    Are you an experienced fish keeper? Sorta kinda. This is my third Betta fish. When I was younger i was ignorant and didnt know how to take care of my Betta fish, got lazy, and purposefully killed it :( I'm really sorry please don't kill me lol

    If you've had a/many Betta's who was your favorite and why? So far Fuego is my favorite. He's a veil tail and has a big personality :) He loves to swim up to me and say hi lol. He follows my finger and looks at me and shows off his swimming skills when i'm in the room :D Haha.

    Do you like the males or the females better? Honestly i've never had a female i would like to try but I think the males are prettier. Ironic huh? :D

    What does your aquarium look like? (size, decor, filter, etc.) Mine is a 10 gallon filtered (soon to be heated) tank with multi colered gravel and an old tree thing he loves to swim through. An oriental hidey house he swims through, and another swim through thing that used to be a bottle cap (it's big and fish friendly) There is one big plastic plant that he loves hiding on also. My favorite is my 'No fishing' sign :)

    What kind of fish have you housed with them? I am not sure yet i'm thinking of getting a sucker fish put i'm not sure what they eat (i have no algae growing) and i dunno how big they get. I sure do want more fish though!

    What is your favorite thing about Betta's? They're big personalities and how i've gotten attached to a fish :D I've never thought it was possible. They're very graceful and fun to watch and very vibrant and colerful. I love when they make bubble nests too :)

    Please fill this out, if you want to :) For Betta lovers only! :D

    P.S. Can anyone give me info on sucker fish? How big do they get and what do they eat cause i have no algae in the tank, and will my betta attack it? <-- and vice versa?

    Thanks and i hope you enjoyed this!

    • ANSWER:
      Fav Betta: Crown tail or Half moon

      I say: BAY-TUH

      Am I an experienced fish keeper: I could say so, considering I have kept everything from Goldfish to Oscars as well as Angelfish and Plecos and tons of others, i have never purposely killed a fish

      I have had 2 Bettas: 1 Red or blue ( don't remember ) and 1 purple-bluish one, the Second one was my favorite, he came greeted me all the time and jumped for food.

      Females or males: only had males, they are easier to care for

      It was a 3g vase with bbeigegravel, a sunken ship and a live plant, I had to give him to my friend when i moved.

      No other fish with my Bettas, they are very aggressive also the tank was too small for any ttank mates

      Fav thing about bettas: Their personality, their beauty, their ease of care and their size!

      Sucker fish can range from 4" to 24" none being suitable for a 10g, they eat algae, left over food and need an Additional algae wafer every other day. The betta would probably not attack it, probably because it looks like a rock!

      Good luck

    Multi(2)- Question for Male Betta.?
    Ok, I have a male betta. Hes blue, i got him yesterday (3-20), he lives in a tank with a filter (2 gallon) and a light.

    Question 1: I'm going on vacation this summer, and Ive never had a fish in my house while gone for that amount of time. What should i do to keep him alive while im gone? Someone will be over to care for my dog, b.c she dont do well in kennels. so what should i tell them to do to care for my fish while im gone? changing water? feeding? ect.

    Question 2: It just dawned on me that in the spring time we get rain storms and tonadoes. THe power goes out. My betta has a electrical tank with filter. What should i do with him if the power does go out this spring/summer time? I dont want him to die.

    Can you help me with these two questions thanks. i rele want his betta to live long. i love him, and i want the best for him.
    what do u think i should do in both of these cases?

    • ANSWER:
      Bettas are the easiest fish to care for. They don't need the nice tank with the light and filter, but it won't harm them. The can also use water straight from the tap, but I never do that, nor do I recommend that.

      Make sure the betta's set up is in a safe place that the dog can't knock it down, or get it in to drink the water from it.

      You want some water at room temperature on hand for filling up the tank since water evaporates. It should ideally be left out for 24 hours for the chlorine to dissipate. The water can also be treated with a "Decholor" type product to remove the chlorine. Even that water would be fine if it's left to come to room temperature so as not to shock the betta with the sudden change in water temperature.

      The betta does not need to eat on a daily basis. Every few days to once a week is more than enough. You don't want to overfeed or you will end up with a dirty tank, requiring more frequent water changes. Just a tiny pinch of food will do it.

      If the water gets terribly funky while you're gone (you don't say how long), the betta should survive til you get back to do a water change and clean the tank.

      The betta doesn't need light or the filter to survive. If the power goes out, the betta will be perfectly fine.

    cycled tank now what fish to add?
    i have completley finished sotcking my tank ( took 2 freakin months). i got a betta for it 2 days ago. its a multi colored crowntail in a 10g tank. it also has 3 black neon tetras that i added from my 14 gallon tank so the 14 wouldnt be overstocked. now it has 1 betta and 3 black neon tetras. i know black neons are schooling fish but 2 have died in the 14 a long time ago becuse i didnt know about cycling a tank. i want to know if this is a good stocking plan. 1 betta, 5 black neon tetras and 5 cherry shrimp.

    • ANSWER:
      That sounds fine to me, although there are a few things you might want to look out for:

      Tetra's are known fin nippers, they might tend to attack the betta's fins, and that can lead to infection/fin rot.
      The betta might decide to make the cherry shrimp a snack :/

      All of that really depends on the individual fish, you probably won't have a problem, but make sure you monitor for aggression the first few days.

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