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Many people on this forum consider 1 gallon to be the absolute minimum for a betta. Nobody I know of around here will keep their fish in anything less.

If you have the cash and space to do it, the ideal size for a betta is three to five gallons, with a decent heater in it.

Assuming you don't have cash/space, here's how you can make him nice and healthy on a budget.

1. A trip to your pet store, so you can get him some proper equipment.

There are cheap (~$20) betta sets with AT LEAST a 1.5 gal tank (sometimes they go up to 3 gallons, get one of those if you can) and a filter. Get one of those.

Also get a small heater--this part will vary a little depending on the size of the tank, but you can expect to pay $15-$25 for one. Next, find a thermometer. They're like three bucks.

After that, find a small bottle of water conditioner. Should be about four dollars... if you can find something a little more concentrated, go for it. Make sure it neutralizes chloramine and gets rid of heavy metals. Also grab a small container of aquarium salt. Those aren't expensive either.

Finally, spend a few bucks on some decent BETTA FOOD. Not goldfish food or Aqueon betta pellets. Those things are trash. Get Omega One or NLS Betta Pellets. They aren't actually any more expensive than the other stuff, but you need to know what you're looking for.

I'm assuming you have sand or rocks or something, and you've got your little plant already, so you're good to go.

Oh, and you can also get a snail if you want. Lots of people on here like snails, they can help keep the tank clean. Your betta might eat it, though. Or it might not. Every fish is different.

2. Prepping his new tank

This part depends a little on if your tap water is filtered or not. Some filters remove a lot of chlorine and stuff that can help you out a bit. (You still need water conditioner though.)

Put your little guy in a clean cup while you fix his new tank up for him. Drain out his old water and stick his rocks and his plant in his new tank. If you have filtered water, fill up the tank and dose it with water conditioner according to what it says on the bottle. Too much is always better than not enough when it comes to this part.

If you don't have filtered water, at least put some extra water conditioner in. This isn't ideal, but you can't keep him in the ammonia water that his old tank had. He'll get sick.

Next, rinse out an old soda bottle like fifty times, and fill it with water. Keep it by your tank and let it stand there. Later, when you do water changes on your tank, use this water. Letting it stand helps it purify. When you're finished with your water changes, fill it up again.

Stick in your thermometer and your heater. Read the instructions that came with the heater and get it working. Start up the filter. If the current's really strong, you're going to need to learn to baffle it so it doesn't push your fish around; there are threads on here for how to do that. With the smaller-tank filters, it might not be an issue. My fish likes the filter current and enjoys chasing his food around and so on because he's kind of weird. I don't know what your fish is like.

Dissolve a couple pinches of aquarium salt in some water and dump that in. It'll help your fish not to get sick, especially since he's new and has been swimming in ammonia water for a while now.

3. Maintenance on your tank

Every three days, cup out half of the water and put it in a bucket. Dump that down the drain. Replace it with the water you've left to sit, and add a proportional amount of water conditioner to the tank. You can add a little more aquarium salt in too if you like; it helps keep the fish from getting sick. Don't ever use normal salt (i.e., the kind that has iodine in it). Epsom salt is fine. Some people use 100% sea salt and say it works.

A couple of times a month, you're going to want to rinse out the filter cartridge in old tank water... or replace it with a new one from the pet store, depending on how old it is.

Keep an eye on his water temperature. Consistent water temperature in the range of maybe 77-82 degrees is generally accepted. Watch out for flakey heaters that can break or suddenly decide to cook your fish. Some small-tank heaters will unexpectedly shoot the tank temp up to 90*F. That's, um, bad.

If he starts blowing bubbles, that's normal. It doesn't mean your water quality is bad or anything.

NEVER use soap on anything that's going to go in your tank. If you use bleach to disinfect something, rinse it like fifty million times.

4. Food for your betta

Your betta's stomach is as big as one of his eyeballs. Don't feed him according to the instructions on the betta food, which say to feed him what he can eat in a minute--healthy bettas will happily eat themselves sick that way. Just feed him 3-4 maybe twice a day, depending on how big he is. Mine can eat like six pellets total a day.

If you want him to grow a little faster, there's a theory floating around that if you spread out the feedings over three periods a day rather than just one or two (i.e., two pellets 3x a day or something like that), they'll grow faster. Don't know if that's true, but it couldn't hurt to try.

That's pretty much it, I think. Did I miss anything, folks? I think I covered the basics.

· Registered
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Everyone is telling me they do not need a big tank to live, ( A 2.5 gallon) I want to get one, as he's currently in a 0.5 gallon and he's stressed, and keeps his fins tucked in. I did a 100% water change yesterday, and I will do a 50% or 100% tonight. I want to keep him healthy until I can ask my parents very nicely that I can get a 5.5 gallon tank. (Top Fin 5.5 Gal Aquarium Starter KIt? Reviews? Concerns?) Thnaks everyone and anymore tips on how to keep the beta healthy, and happy until then? It doesn't look like I will get a tank this weekend :/

I place him in the sunlight when I see the sun. (lol)
And I place a bedside table lamp over him sometimes, and wrap a towel around the tank. Anymore ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.


Yeah, a smaller tank is all right. Just nothing under a gallon. Even then, we kind of recommend the gallon size only for more experienced keepers because it requires more maintenance, and has bigger repercussions if you miss water changes and so on.

The bigger tanks are better, because it's easier to find good, consistent heaters for them, and because most bettas prefer more space over less. In fact, if you get a 5.5 gal tank, there are a few fish that you can actually house with bettas peacefully. But they're specific kinds, and you don't want to put too many in at once. The 1gal per inch of fish applies. Bettas reach maybe 2-2.5 inches long (sometimes bigger).

5.5 is great if you can get it. If you can't get that, a 3gal is perfectly fine. There are threads about water change recommendations for different tank sizes; oldfishlady's thread is the one most people consider to be a respectable source. It's easy to find in the Betta Fish Care section.

Just get what you can. My instructions above are for the minimum of what you might need; I was assuming from your writing style that you were probably a college student in a dorm room (that's when a lot of people get fish), or maybe a high/middle schooler, and neither of those groups has a lot of money on hand.
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