Caring properly for Bettas involves a fairly large learning curve. There’s a lot of things to learn and watch out for, but that’s also the same for any other pet. When first caring for a new pet, most owners will make mistakes, but the point is to learn from them. Are you making any of the following errors with your Betta? If so, continue reading to find out what you can do to fix the mistake.
1. The Betta’s tank is too small
Many new Betta owners keep their Betta in a small goldfish bowl or something similar. This is mostly because pet stores perpetuate this kind of thing by selling these right around the places they sell Bettas. Small bowls that hold only 2 or 3 cups of water aren’t enough for Bettas. These fish prefer large, open spaces and warm water. Consider, instead, a tank size of 2.5 gallons or even 5 gallons. These sizes will give your fish more room to swim and space to add a heater, decorations, or even a filter.
2. Not changing the tank water often enough
This is a common mistake that many Betta owners make. Without frequent water changes, waste and ammonia build up in the water and can cause diseases such as fin rot in your fish. A good guideline to go by is if the aquarium isn’t cycled and is under 2 gallons, plan on two full water changes a week. The smaller the size, the more often a water change is necessary. Larger than 2 gallons, and a complete change once a week is sufficient. If the tank is cycled, then 25% water changes are usually enough.
3. Feeding too much and too often
Although Bettas are well-known for constantly begging for food, it doesn’t mean you have to feed them every time you see them beg. Overfeeding your fish can lead to health problems such as bloat or swim bladder disease. When figuring out how much to feed, try imagining that your Betta’s stomach is as big as one of its eyes, and base how much you feed around that. For instance, if you feed pellets, put in three or four (depending on the size). As far as how often, most adult tropical fish do best when fed once daily, or even every second day. Feeding twice or even three times a day is too much.
4. Keeping a Betta in water that’s too cold
Bettas are tropical fish and need warm water to be at their peak. Bettas are more active in warmer temperatures, as opposed to hovering in one place if the water’s too cool. A good temperature range to keep Bettas at is between 78 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Usually, this means that a heater will be necessary, and you can buy a good quality heater fairly easily which should last for years.
5. Not having a cover on the tank
Despite their flowing fins, Bettas are extremely good jumpers. So make sure that their tank has a snug fitting cover. They can easily take advantage of any gap or hole present and jump their way to ‘freedom’. Finding a dried-up Betta on the floor is no fun at all, so make sure its home has a lid.
Making mistakes when caring for pets is common, but finding out and correcting those mistakes is what makes for a great pet owner. Bettas are fantastic fish and deserve to be cared for properly.
For the past several years, Angela Marie has had multiple aquariums which have housed several types of tropical fish, including catfish, cichlids, and Bettas. She loves to educate other fish owners on the proper care of tropical fish.