Bettas are a staple in many aquariums, mainly because of their brilliant coloring. It is called the Siamese fighting fish and has its natural habitats in the rice paddies of Asia.
Bettas are categorized as a labyrinth fish since they have a lung-like organ that absorbs oxygen from the air.
They can, therefore, survive for a short time outside water, and in fishbowls without water flow for oxygen.
Bettas are also known to be aggressive. Males will conflict over territories, while even males and females cannot be kept together.
Betta Fish Aquarium Requirements
Your bettas will need the most conducive environment to be healthy. Their requirements include:
Tank Size for Betta Fish
Most beginner aquarists will contain bettas in small spaces like bowls and vases. Bettas, however, need swimming spaces as much as other fish species, and anything under five gallons will be constrictive.
Wild bettas are used to swimming around the extensive rice paddies of their natural habitats. Do not keep them in tiny tanks, especially because waste will quickly pile up.
Bigger tanks have a lot of benefits than small setups. Bettas are sensitive to ammonia levels, which can easily spike in a small tank. Smaller tanks also require frequent changes, which means setting aside more time for maintenance.
Large tanks will also tame your betta’s aggression. Bettas will rarely get aggressive if they have a lot of territory to themselves, and you can even couple them up with a semi-aggressive species in a community tank.
Bettas typically reach 2.5 inches in length, and a small tank will prevent them from growing into their full length.
If you have a large tank, provide densely planted regions to mimic the betta’s natural habitat. Your betta can get stressed in a large tank without any decorations or plants.
Bettas will thus be happy in tanks from five gallons and above.
Best Plants and Decorations for Bettas
Bettas love live plants since they provide hiding spots. There are a lot of plant species you can include in your betta tank, including Amazon Sword and Anubias Nana.
The java fern thrives in similar water parameters as bettas, and it will be a great addition to your tank. The plant will prosper in low light, although you should avoid burying the rhizome under the substrate. The java fern will easily float around, but you can tie it to a rock to keep it in place.
Another suitable plant for a betta tank is the java moss, which is quite hardy and will grow in any water parameters. You only have to maintain temperatures between 78 to 80 °F. The java moss grows incredibly fast, and you will need to trim it constantly.
The Amazon frogbit’s leaves will provide a floating lily pad for your pets. Ensure that the leaves do not overrun the water’s surface because your betta also needs to go to the surface. Bettas like equal amounts of light and shade and the Amazon frogbit can provide adequate cover.
Hornwort is popularly used in betta tanks because it is hardy and versatile. You can either leave it to float in the aquarium or anchor it in the substrate. The plant also removes nitrates and other toxins. Its bristles can, however, scatter across the water, which means you will have to spend time cleaning.
Other plants to include in a betta setup include Wisteria, Anacharis, Hygrophila, and Water Sprite.
You can also source for fake plants with the benefit of not having to maintain them. Opt for the silk types to reduce the chances of your bettas hurting themselves from the sharp parts in plastic plants.
Most betta tanks also have driftwood. In addition to having a place to anchor other plants, the driftwood can also become a focal point in your aquarium. It also provides hiding spots for the fish.
Driftwood should be used with care as it lowers the PH of water. Source it from a seller instead of collecting it, and ensure you wash it carefully.
You can also add rocks to your tank, provided they are rated as suitable for aquariums. When using decorations with betta fish, avoid anything with sharp edges and metal or glass items.
Substrate for Betta Aquarium
The natural habitats of bettas include rice paddies, marshes, and slow-moving drainages. These areas are characterized by silt, mud, dense vegetation, and soil. These substrates cannot be replicated in an aquarium, especially because the soil and silt will leave the tank murky.
The substrate choice will depend on whether you are going to use live or fake plants in your setup. Live plants will need nutrients from the substrate, which is why those with a sand or gravel top are popular. Substrates also provide anchorage for live plants.
If you are using fake plants, you will have more variety when it comes to substrates. These include rock and marble.
Gravel is quite popular with betta tanks. It comes in varied colors and is easily available in pet stores. It is also easy to clean gravel since waste does not accumulate as deeply as in other substrates. Plants will grow easily in gravel since it is not very compact. Gravel can, however, be sharp and harm your betta.
Sand is less harmful to your bettas as it has no sharp edges. It is always easy to clean since waste sits on its surface.
Filtration System for Betta Fish
A filter will maintain the quality of your betta tank and promote the health of the pets. Bettas are used to still waters, and the filter you select should not produce strong currents.
Sponge filters typically have low currents, although they are not very powerful filter. A hang on the back filter will be more effective, provided you get a model with adjustable flow rates. While canister filters are known to be very powerful, they can provide stressful currents for your bettas.
Whatever filtration system you use, ensure it has a low output rate, and it is easy to use.
Bettas can be easy to rear if the appropriate water parameters are met, including:
Best Temperature for Betta Fish
The most suitable temperature range for bettas is 78 to 80 °F. The temperature should not drop below 74 °F, and you will need a thermometer and heater to control the range.
Although your bettas will survive in the range 72 to 82 °F, they will be prone to many diseases like the Fur Coat Syndrome bacteria.
Cold temperatures will make bettas lethargic due to slow metabolism, while hot temperatures will boost their metabolism and make the pet age quickly.
Best Water pH Level for Betta
Bettas thrive in a neutral environment. The appropriate PH range for the fish is 6.8 to 7.4. Use test kits to test the PH once or twice every week.
Betta Fish Water Hardness
Bettas favor soft water, and you should ensure the DH is less than 25. Add distilled water if the value is higher, which can be sourced from any grocery store.