Betta Splendens Health and Care Guide

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Bettas are known for their bright and beautiful colors that are also known as the “Siamese Fighting Fish”. When well cared for, they have an average life span of 2-4 years. Misinformation and wrong applications obtained from pet stores, the internet, or from other sources such as hobbyists cause bettas` life to be shorter. For this reason, this article has been prepared to guide hobbyists by explaining the basics of care and maintenance of Betta splendens. Hopefully, this will also help to eliminate the misinformation that is widely in use.

Tank Conditions

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First of all, a minimum 19-liter tank is recommended for the healthy growth of bettas. It is not appropriate to use small bowls, which are particularly popular recently. Bettas live in environments with significant water capacity in their natural life. When they are moved to the aquarium environment, they look for areas where they can swim and hide comfortably and widely. Therefore, they should not be kept in small jars, bowls, or vases. Secondly, it must be noted that betta fish are good jumpers and simple precautions such as covering the tank well are necessary since they can jump from the aquarium. Another significant issue is to never top-off the tank. Since the bettas are not taking oxygen by their gills, they need some air gap over the tank to breathe. They reach the water surface and gulp some air to use in their respective labyrinth organs. Knowing that is the first vital point for keeping betta.

Bettas need to live in environments such as their natural habitats. Environments that are not in this way can stress them and threaten their health. It is necessary to provide hiding areas in the aquarium where they will feel safe, especially during sleeping times. Rocks, plants, bog woods, or decorations are suitable for this. Plants such as Anubias, Cryptocoryne, Aponogeton, and other large-leafed plants are proper for decoration.

Water Parameters

For bettas, such as other fish and aquatic creatures, the water quality is substantial. To maintain the water quality and mimic the natural habitat use of a low-flow water filter or sponge filter is necessary for the betta tanks.

Bettas are tropical fish, so the water temperature needs to be adjusted accordingly. Water temperatures between 24-27°C are ideal for bettas to live comfortably. The use of a heater to maintain the water temperature and a thermometer to track it will help to adjust the proper parameters where the room temperatures are generally lower than this range. If tap water is used for the aquarium, it should not contain harmful chemicals such as chlorine and chloramine. In the case of using tap water, using a tap water conditioner will be beneficial. It will eliminate the possibly harmful chemicals and will prevent damage to the fish.

In large aquariums, it is important to change the aquarium water in the range of 10-25% every week. In small aquariums, changing 50% of the water amount once a week is sufficient. The frequency of water changes may differ according to the feeding. If the tank is heavily fed and the filter capacity is low, the water change frequency must be higher.

Lighting

Bettas are fish that want to get regular light during the daytime when they are awake and do not require light at night when they sleep. This light adjustment is substantial as it will also affect the biological clock of the fishNatural sunlight for illumination is usable. But, exposure to direct sunlight is risky as it can increase the water temperature and grow the algae population uncontrolled. With artificial lighting, it is ideal turning the light on during the day and turning it off at night. Also, creating shaded hiding areas with decoration or plants in the aquarium means creating places that bettas can use when they want to escape the light.

Feeding

The belief that bettas are herbivorous and their feeding with vegetables is wrong because bettas are carnivorous fish. This fish species eats insects, insect larvae, and small crustaceans in its natural habitat. For this reason, it is vital to use foods such as dried bloodworms, brine shrimp, or pelleted and flaked protein-rich food in their diet. Live foods are more beneficial for their diet, and live bloodworms, grindal worms, white worms, microworms, brine shrimp, and such foods are suitable for their feeding.

Overfeeding may cause lipoidosis in betta fish. And this causes problems for breeding by reducing egg production. For this reason, the food must be at the amount that fish can finish within 1-3 minutes. For juvenile fish, most commercial dry foods can be large to eat. So, it will be more suitable to shred or crush the dried foods before feeding. Also, small-sized live foods such as baby brine shrimp, microworms and grindal worms are preferable.

Tank Mates

Bettas can be very aggressive in some situations, but they can also live in harmony with suitable tank mates. Male betta fish are more aggressive than females. For this reason, there should not be two male betta fish, especially in small tanks. Two males can fight until they kill each other or seriously harm the other party. On the other hand, females can live in groups of 5 or more, depending on the tank size. As the tank size increases, the level of aggressiveness will decrease due to regional dominance competitions. Also, Betta splendens get along well with snails, ghost shrimps, guppies, platies, swordtails, tetras, and some types of other community fish. Angelfish or other tail biting fish are not suitable to keep together with Betta splendens. They can seriously harm bettas that may also lead to death due to major injuries and infections.

Illnesses and Treatment

There are visual and behavioral differences between healthy and sick betta fish, and these should be considered while buying a fish. Healthy betta fish come to research when anything approaching their tanks and especially the males are occasionally aggressive towards females.

The healthy fish eats regularly, has bright and eye-catching colors, and has healthy-looking, wide-open fins. Anorexia is the most common evidence of sick betta fish. Especially males lose their bright color, white color spreads appear from the mouth to the body, and abnormal swimming disorders may emerge.

Fin rot disease is one of the common diseases in bettas. Fins with torn or worn and redness on the base of the fins are symptoms of this disease. In this case, the water quality should be suspected and improved. Apart from this, other bacterial or fungal infections may also threaten the fish’s health. In fungal diseases, white cottony formations and blurry eyes are apparent. In bacterial diseases, open wounds and redness of the skin are the most prominent symptoms. In both cases, it is imperative to apply quarantine to the fish. Depending on the type of disease, the fungal or bacterial commercial treatment with an immediate action is necessary in all cases. On the other hand, white spots may also appear on the body. In that case, quarantine the fish and immediately start the white spot (ich disease) treatment.

In summary, it is necessary to control the fish daily. In observation of any signs of diseases, apply quarantine. The quick quarantine prevents the disease spread to other fish. Rapid treatment also increases the chances of getting rid-off the disease and saving the fish. It is substantial to seek treatment from a veterinarian or a specialist in any disease scenario.

Conclusion

In conclusion, betta fish are indispensable for aquarists with their bright and vivid colors. The fact that it is a popular type of fish causes some misinformation. Unfortunately, this misinformation causes the life of betta to be shorter than average. The information we provide in this article is the fundamentals for betta fish to survive and live healthily.

Image Source:
https://www.seriouslyfish.com/

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