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Old 03-15-2008, 09:26 PM   #1 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Colorado
General Betta Care and FAQ (Comments and Suggestions)

General Betta Care and FAQ

-Background Information
-Classification and General Care
-Needed Tank Equipment


Bettas are one of the most popular fish kept. Most people think they need zero to little care, but that is not the case. Here is an important topic for everyone wanting to see the best conditions for their betta.

Background Info:

Bettas come from tropical areas in Thailand. Here is a sticky for that needed information: . Males have longer fins than females, and are generally more colorful. Two male bettas should never be placed in the same tank unless it is over 100 gallons, or has a divider. In the wild, bettas do not fight to the death. They fight until there is a clear winner for territory, then the lesser male will go off and hide. In small tanks, there is no where to hide, thus leading to deaths. Bettas are also known as Siamese Fighting Fish for that reason.

Male Betta (with labeled features):

Female Betta:

Classification and General Care:

-Scientific Name: Betta splendens
-Common Names: Betta, Siamese Fighting Fish
-Care Level: Easy when under proper conditions (see needed tank supplies)
-Max Size: 3 inches
-pH level: 6-7.5
-Temperature: Should not fall below 78 degrees. Bettas are tropical fish that need high temperatures. A heater is needed.
-Life Span: 2-6 years.
-Behavior to others: Peaceful when given the proper tankmates. Some people beleive bettas should only be alone as males, or in a specie-only tank. They should not be housed with fish with long, flashy tails (EX, Angelfish and Guppies) or fast moving, nippy fish (Tiger Barbs). Good tankmates are some tetras, cories, and plecos.
-Diet: In the wild, they feed off of mosquito larvae. In the home aquaria, they will take pellets or flake (pellets are generally better) as a staple diet, but they should be fed meaty foods at least twice a week. Good foods are freeze-dried or frozen bloodworms, brie shrimp, or blackworms.
-Tank Region: All over, but mainly the Top.

Here is a list of betta species. All have their own special needs, and are very exotic (Scientific name, then Common Name)

Betta akarensis (Akar Betta)
Betta albimarginata (Betta Albimarginata)
Betta anabatoides (Giant Betta)
Betta balunga (Betta Balunga)
Betta bellica (Slender Betta)
Betta breviobesus (Betta Breviobesus)
Betta brownorum (Brown's Betta)
Betta burdigala (?)
Betta channoides (?)
Betta chini (?)
Betta chloropharynx (Greenthroat Mouthbrooder)
Betta coccina (Wine Red Betta)
Betta dimidiata (Dwarf Mouthbrooder)
Betta edithae (New Ediths Mouthbrooder)
Betta enisae (Blue Band Mouthbrooder)
Betta falx (?)
Betta foerschi (Betta foerschi)
Betta fusca (Brown Betta)
Betta hipposideros (?)
Betta imbellis (Peaceful Betta)
Betta krataios (?)
Betta livida (?)
Betta macrophthalma (Big Eye Mouthbrooder)
Betta macrostoma (Peacock Mouthbrooder)
Betta miniopinna (Small Fin Fighter)
Betta ocellata (Eyespot Mouthbrooder)
Betta patoti (?)
Betta persephone (Black Small Fighter)
Betta pi (?)
Betta picta (Javan Mouth-Brooding Fighting Fish
Betta pinguis (?)
Betta prima (Threelined Mouthbrooder)
Betta pugnax (Forest Betta, Malayan Betta, Penang betta)
Betta pulchra (Beauty Mouthbrooder)
Betta renata (Betta Renata)
Betta rubra (Red Sumatran Fighter)
Betta rutilans (Redish Dwarf Fighter)
Betta schalleri (Schallers Mouthbrooder)
Betta simorum (Simor Fighter)
Betta simplex (Simple Mouthbrooder)
Betta smaragdina (Smaragd Fighting Fish)
Betta spilotogena (Double Lipspot Mouthbrooder)
Betta splendens (Siamese Fighting Fish)
Betta strohi (Father Strohs Mouthbrooder)
Betta taeniata (Betta Taeniata)
Betta tomi (Tomi Mouthbrooder)
Betta trifasciata (Betta Trifasciata)
Betta tussyae (Tussys Small Red Fighter)
Betta unimaculata (One Spot Mouthbrooder)
Betta waseri (Wasers Mouthbrooder)
Needed Tank Equipment:

-Tank of AT LEAST 2.5 Gallons. Some people believe in 5 gallons as minimum. Yes, a fish can live in small tanks, but they thrive in proper conditions in roomy areas.
-heater. heater, heater, heater. This is absolutely needed. The temperature in the tank needs to stay at least at 78 degrees. These are tropical fish, and become very lethargic if kept in cold water. A light will not be sufficient enough for heat. In the night, temperature can easily drop 8+ degrees, which can kill as fish. Room temperature is not enough either.
-Hiding Spots: Hiding spots, such as caves, make bettas fell secure. This way, they can escape from light and rest. Make sure the hiding spots are not sharp, as bettas have very delicate fins.
-Filter: This is actually not needed, but it helps. Bettas need a light filter with low flow. They should have very little water movement in a tank. The filter will also keep water clean.
-Light: This helps when it gets dark. Most tanks come with some sort of light, but if not, that should be fine. Simple desk lamps or reading lamps can help give yoru betta the right amount of light.
-Thermometer: This will help keep the temperature under control.
-Liquid Test Kit: A liquid Test Kit will help keep you know your Ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and pH levels. Ammonia and nitrite should always be 0, nitrates under 20ppm, and pH at a level of 6-7.5.
-Access to Air. This may sound odd, but bettas can breathe air, and breathe underwater. In the high temperatures in which bettas live at, the water is often depleted of oxygen. Bettas have a labyrinth organ which takes in oxygen for the fish.

Here is a good Betta Tank:

It includes a heater, hood, live plants, and hiding spots. Perfect!


A betta needs some sort of maintenance, as would any other fish. They are not "magic fish" and can take care of themselves. Here is a list to insure the best care of your betta in which you, the owner, must provide.

1) Weekly Water changes. A filter cannot take out everything in the water. Would you like to live in your own poop? This is why bettas need regular water changes. A 100% change should never be done, unless your betta is in a tiny 1 gallon tank. In a 2.5 gallon, 25-50% twice a week will work, and in a 5+ gallon, 10-50% each week should be the best.
2) Testing Water. You need to keep an eye out for your bettas water paramaters. Water params are nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, pH, and water hardness. A good liquid test kit will help determine what is in the water. Ammonia and nitrite should be at 0, and nitrates under 20. The pH level should be between 6-7.5. If any levels seem wrong, do a water change to get clean water in the tank.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

-My Betta is lying down and not moving! What should I do?
Bettas act very lethargic when given cold water, and will often just sit at the bottom of a tank. A heater will fix this up.
-My betta wont eat! Help!
Bettas are often very picky when it comes to food. Try varying his or her diet with other foods. Bettas can live 2-4 days without food as well.
-My betta always attacks his reflection! What do I do?
Try placing a dark background around the tank. Dark colors relax fish, and the betta shouldn't be able to see his reflection.
-My Betta seems bloated, wont eat, and doesn't look he is pooping. Help!
Your betta is probably constipated. Feed him/her a pea. This is just a regular pea we would eat. Take off the outer shell first, and place it on the end of a fork. The betta should nip at it.

I hope this information will help everyone keep their betta for as long as they can in thriving conditions.
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Old 03-17-2008, 02:22 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Feb 2008
Well can you explain the 'cycle' to me please? I have heard loads about it but still I cannot seem to figure it out. Almost like, Do you keep the filter on for a matter of weeks,then test the water for the right parameters? Or is that is not right what do I do? Also how big is the tank that is in the picture? How much water would change with a 10 gallon tank? Also why is there dirt under the rocks in the tank?
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Old 03-17-2008, 03:38 PM   #3 
Join Date: Dec 2006
The term "cycle" can be misleading. It is the process of establishing a biological filter in your aquarium. There are "good bugs" and "bad bugs". In order to establish this "bio-bed" the bacteria must become established and balanced. This procedure can take anywhere from a week to twelve weeks, depending on tank size and water conditions.

There are basically two methods of cycling, live(with fish) and fishless. There are also additives one may add to accelerate the process. Beware, though, some work and some don't. I prefer the "live" cycle method. It can be a little stressful on the fish, but, I like using danios as they are a tough little breed.

The fishless cycle can be done by adding a small pinch of food daily to feed the bacteria and/or adding a small dash of ammonia to also feed them. I feel the ammonia method is a little complicated for the novice.

The biggest element in the cycle process is patience. One must have the patience of Job sometimes. We must fight our urge to buy more fish. The number of fish is dictated by the size of the tank.

A good quality liquid test kit is a must. API has a good, inexpensive kit. It usually runs less than $20. It contains tests for pH, ammonia, nitrates and nitrites. Refills for the reactive agents are also available. Daily testing is a prerequisite in the cycling ofthe tank. Tests must be done religiously. The numbers will tell you when it is finished.

As your tank "cycles", you will have questions, I'm sure. That is why we are here, to answer these questions. Feel free to post any questions you may have during the process. Just post in the Starting and Maintaining a Freshwater Aquarium forum. All of the help and support you will need is right here.
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Old 03-18-2008, 02:33 PM   #4 
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OK now I am seeming to get it. When you get the tank set up for the fishless cycle you add a bit of food ever day for the bacteria. Then you test the water. Right? Also after you have the right levels of bacteria do you change the water or do you just keep it the way it is and then buy a fish and put it in? Also do i just pour the fish in, or do I have to change the water before my little fish comes to his new world?
You have been a great help!
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Old 03-19-2008, 08:15 AM   #5 
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congrats and thanks cody and others who helped its nice to see a betta faq and care post
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Old 03-19-2008, 01:03 PM   #6 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Colorado

This also goes out to SST, Lupin, Herefishy, Kate, and everyone else who helped teh cause of this. There is no way I could have done everything by myself!
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Old 03-19-2008, 02:39 PM   #7 
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Say you have had a tank and fish used to live in it but i have not used for 7 years. do i have to cycle it again?
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Old 03-19-2008, 03:02 PM   #8 
Join Date: Dec 2007
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Originally Posted by paws
Say you have had a tank and fish used to live in it but i have not used for 7 years. do i have to cycle it again?
If any tank has been drained, then it needs to go through a cycle.
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Old 03-19-2008, 06:13 PM   #9 
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ok thank you cody
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Old 03-25-2008, 06:53 AM   #10 
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is the tetra small heater ok for a 10 gallon tank? Also is the tetra medium filter ok for a 10 gallon tank? Because that is what i am using for my new fish i got yesterday, Casper.
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