Every betta owner has their own ideas about how to care for their fish, including bowl set-up, water care, and feeding. These are my suggestions for the new betta owner on how to get started in a simple, basic way:
Betta should be kept in a 1 or 2 gallon bowl. It is ok to keep a very young, small betta in a 1/2 gallon container, but eventually it will need something larger. Bettas can live happy, healthy lives in larger tanks, provided their tankmates are compatible with them and that the filter current is gentle.
A new bowl should be thoroughly rinsed out with hot water, but never use soap!
A layer of fine to medium gravel, thoroughly rinsed, should be placed in the bottom of the bowl.
A soft, broad-leafed silk plant should be rinsed thoroughly and placed in the bowl. The betta will use the plant leaves to rest on. A live plant can also be used but I suggest silk due to the water being stagnant and a live plant causing decomposing wastes in the water.
Water should be at a temperature between 76-84
ALWAYS use a de-chlorinator in tap water before adding fish. There are many brands such as StressCoat, NovAqua, and Aqua Safe.
Water should be filled in the bowl leaving a space at the top for air breathing. Do not completely fill bowl up with water.
Aquarium salt should be added to the water at a rate of one teaspoon per gallon. Salt is very important to the health of the fish. Salt can be dissolved in a cup of de-chlor’d water and added into the bowl or just added into the bowl before adding the fish.
Bowl should have some type of cover. Bettas are excellent jumpers and will “leap” at the tiniest opportunity. I personally use saran wrap to cover the entire top of the bowl and secure it with colorful yarn. I cut a small window in the saran wrap, just large enough to drop food pellets through. Some poeple use doilies instead of saran, but the saran allows important humidity to remain inside with the fish.
Bowl should be thoroghly cleaned 1-2 times a week. Some people dump the entire contents of the bowl, rinse everything well, and replace with fresh, de-chlor’d water and salt. Some people make small syphons to vacuum out the gravel and remove most of the old water, then replace with fresh water.
Bettas can be picky eaters, especially when new. Don’t be surprised if your new fish ignores the pellets, or puts them in his mouth only to spit them back out. Just keep trying and eventually he will eat. Remove any uneaten food immediately. Younger bettas will seem hungry all the time and this is normal. Do not overfeed! Everyone has their own way of feeding their fish, so I try not to make recommendations in this area too often. I personally feed my bettas a few pellets in the morning and a few at night.
Stay away from worm foods such as bloodworms and tubifex worms. These may be given as a special treat on occasion, but only in small amounts. They are of no nutritional value and can cause severe constipation, which many times leads to death. It’s best to stick with pellet foods and frozen brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, or daphnia (water fleas) for occasional treats. These are very helpful in preventing constipation.
*For any other questions or concerns, just ask us on the Betta Splendens Forum.