Here's what I can contribute. =]
At least a 1 gallon enclosure. Bettas are 2.5 inch fish and should really be kept in at least 2.5 gallons according to the 1 gallon per inch rule. But if a 1 gallon is all you have access to then it's all you have access to. Just make sure you follow all the other rules, most importantly the water changing and cleaning rules. The reason I say at least 1 gallon is because if it was less it would be almost impossible to heat consistently unless you live in a warm area, and if you did the betta still wouldn't have much room at all to swim. An inactive betta can become a sick betta really easily.
Use Water Conditioner: At every water change. Water Conditioner removes Chlorine, Chloramines, and heavy metals; all of which are extremely poisonous to all fish.
Unless you're on well water and you really know your well water (like you've had it tested or you've been using it to keep fish for years) and know it's safe, you need to use it to remove heavy metals, chlorine, and chlorimines. It also helps fish to develop a stress coat. It does nothing but good and there are cheap and long lasting dechlorinators out there.
Appropriate Water Changes: Water changes are necessary because toxic ammonia and nitrates build up in your tank and they can poison and kill your fish (no matter what kind you own). Specifically to bettas, they're fins melt away (fin rot) if the water is not changed often enough.
100% daily for 1 gallons and 100% multiple times a week for uncycled tanks of greater size.
Also whatever the appropriate number is for a cycled tank depending on the size.
Thermometer and monitoring of temperature: Bettas are Tropical fish originating in Thailand. They require warm water to live a healthy life and to live their entire (or most of it anyway) lifespans. The water should be at the very least 76*F (I have no idea what that'd be in Celsius. =/) as if it falls below that their immune systems can be compromised.
Heater if necessary. If you need it to keep the water temp above 76 then you need it. These are tropical fish, they require warm water.
Do NOT keep male betta(splendens) together in an undivided tank. Do NOT keep male and female betta(splendens) together in an undivided tank (for longer than the amount of time it takes for the pair to spawn) and REMEMBER that betta(splendens) are AGRESSIVE territorial fish when choosing tank mates if any. Bettas, particularly betta splendens which are the typical pet betta sold in stores, are aggressive territorial fish by nature. Captive breeding has increased their aggression. Males should NEVER be kept together and males and females should NOT be kept together for long periods of time!
Feeding: A betta's stomach is about the size of their eye. It doesn't take much to feed them. About 2 pellets twice daily is enough. Or 2 Blood worms twice a day. When feeding unless you're using live or frozen food, let the food soak in some tank water for a few minutes (2-4) so that it becomes completely water logged. Betta pellets and frezze dried foods expand when wet like rice does. If you eat a bunch of uncooked rice, it'll expand in your stomach and intestines causing major bloat issues and pain. The same thing happens to bettas when you let them eat pellets that haven't been soaked.
You should have one day a week where you "fast" or do not feed your bettas.
They can go for up to two weeks without food. DO NOT GO LONGER just because they can doesn't mean they should it can cause healt problems. So if you need to go on a week long trip and don't have anyone to feed them or change their water, feed them a pellet more at each feeding the day before, do a water change right before you leave, and leave them unfed for the week.
Appropriate water changing technique, Aka proper acclimatization:
You need to add small amounts of new tank water to an almost empty container of old tank water that the fish has just enough room to be covered in.
Once the container is nearly full, float it in the new, heated tank water for the temperatures to stabilize. Then once the temperatures of the enclosure's water and the tank water are the same, release the fish slowly.
NEVER clean your tank or anything related to your fish keeping habits with soap: When you need to clean something fish keeping related use only hot water or boiling water to do so.
If you NEED to use anything other than hot water, use vinegar, and if that doesn't work then use a SMALL amount of bleach. Once you've use bleach rinse several times with really hot water, and if you cleaned your tank with bleach or your substrate then let the item sun bathe for a few days to a week to be safe.
Test your non-living (and sometimes living) decor with panty hose. If it snags, catches, or runs your panty hose then it's unsuitable for your bettas fins and can rip them. Even if it only catches or snags and doesn't run it wouldn't be good for your betta. I know from experience. I was one of the new kids that didn't test her plastic plants. I know better now. =[
READ THE FAQ THAT IS BOLDED AT THE TOP OF THIS SECTION OF THE FORUM ALONG WITH ANYTHING ELSE THAT HAS THE WORD STICKY IN THE TITLE. Unless it's a crises and you need the information right that second from another person, chances are that you'll get all the info you need in the FAQ and other stickies. They have the best information you can get. Most likely if you ask a question on here we will respond with something we learned from the sticky. All the basics and requirements are covered there.
If your betta gets sick: Start a thread in the Diseases and Emergencies section of the forum immediately. In your thread include all the information you can about how you take care of your fish and what symptoms they are showing. Pictures help but it's understandable if you can't get any. Someone will most likely be able to help you or will refer you to someone who can.
Cycling: Is not necessary but is highly recommended if you have anything 2 gallons and up. It makes it so that you never have to do 100% changes because bacteria that turn toxic ammonia and nitrites into relatively harmless (in small quantities) nitrates. There are two main methods of cycling: Fish-in and Fish-less. Fish-less is preferred on this forum as it is the most humane way to cycle a tank.
Filter: Also not necessary but very much recommended for tanks of 2 gallons and up. They keep your water cleaner for you so that you don't have to do water changes as often.
It is reccomended to have a filter that has biological filteration at the least. Mechanical filtration is viewed as necessary by many (such as myself) and Chemical filteration is an added bonus.
Adjustable ones are best but many of us don't have adjustable filters and simply make do with different methods of baffling.
That's all I can think of off the top of my head. I'm pretty sure I missed something big and important but I just can't think of what right now! XD
Last edited by wallywestisthebest333; 08-07-2010 at 05:47 PM.