a happy betta fish

Nurturing, Loving, and Caring for Your Betta

We all want to provide the very best care for our Bettas. The key to having healthy Bettas is a good diet and maintaining a tank that is free from poor water quality.

The Diet of the Betta

Bettas are carnivores and require a diet high in protein. There are four main requirements in a Bettas diet:

  • Vitamins: Maintains health, fights disease. Found in live and frozen food.
  • Carbohydrates: Provides energy, fights disease.
  • Minerals: Regulates health. Found in pellet food.
  • Protein: Provides energy, maintains tissue / bone health. Found in live food.

Live Food

Live food is a favorite of the Betta, and when the food is dropped into the tank, the Betta enjoys the “hunt” for the food.

This not only satisfies the diet of the fish but provides them with a means of entertainment! Hunting for their food is challenging and keeps them engaged and avoids the boredom of pellet food.

  • Bloodworms
  • Daphnia (fruit flies)
  • Mosquito larvae
  • Vinegar eels (type of roundworm)

Frozen Food

Frozen food is quite convenient and easy to keep until you are ready to feed it to your Betta. Live food can easily be frozen to feed to your fish at a later date.

  • Bloodworms
  • Brine Shrimp
  • Mysis Shrimp
  • Beef Heart
  • Mosquito larvae

Dry Food

When feeding your Betta pellet food, the daily intake of pellet food should not exceed 40% of the overall daily food.

Pellets are not only dry but can cause constipation and bloating.

When fish consume dry pellet food, the food absorbs water and expands in the fish.

Prior to giving your Betta pellet food, soak the pellets in water for 10 minutes.

Flake food is another form of fish food. As with pellet food, giving your Betta dry food causes expansion in the fish’s stomach when absorbing water. 

Regardless of whether you feed flake or pellet food, do not overfeed because of the bloating it will cause.

Food Portion

The stomach of a Betta fish is roughly the size of one of its eyes. It is quite tiny. When feeding your Betta, portion the size according to the size of its eyeball. 

Bettas should be fed twice a day. 

An example of daily food total for a Betta: 

  • (Morning): 3 bloodworms, 3 pellets
  • (Evening): 3 bloodworms, 3 pellets

If you notice your Betta is not eating all of its food, and the food is basically decaying at the bottom of the tank, cutting back a little on the amount you feed is advisable.

On the other hand, if your Betta seems to gobble up its food and appears to still be hungry, you can try adding 1 bloodworm or 1 pellet at a time watching to see if they eat it right away.

Only feed your fish what it can eat in a two-minute period. This prevents overfeeding.

Maintaining a Healthy Tank For The Betta

Your Betta depends on you to maintain a clean and healthy tank for it to thrive. This includes doing regular tank maintenance.

Most Betta tanks are under 3 gallons. Small tanks such as these require more frequent water changes than a traditional 5+ gallon tank. Frequent water changes prevent levels of ammonia from reaching dangerous levels that will kill a Betta.

a happy betta fish

Understanding Water Chemistry and Fish

By having a basic understanding of how fish change the chemistry of the water they are in, helps you to realize the importance of good water quality.

Poor water quality is the #1 killer of fish in captivation. This can easily be prevented through regular tank maintenance.

  • AMMONIA  is produced by fish waste, plant decay, fish food, algae, bacteria).

(Ammonia is toxic to fish, must be broken down)

  • AMMONIA is converted into NITRITES by nitrifying bacteria in the fish tank.

(Nitrites are toxic to fish, it must be broken down further)

  • NITRITES are converted into NITRATES by beneficial bacteria in the fish tank.

(Nitrates are not as toxic to fish, but must be removed; plants and algae consume nitrates to grow. This is why a planted aquarium is beneficial.)

  • Remaining ammonia, nitrites and nitrates are removed with water changes.

Filtered Tank Maintenance

Non-Filtered Tank Maintenance

DAILY

  • Check water temperature (76-81 degrees)
  • Check filter to ensure it’s running properly
  • Remove decaying food from substrate

DAILY

  • Check water temperature (76-81 degrees)
  • Remove decaying food from substrate

WEEKLY

75% water change

  • Fish can remain in the 25% water that is still in tank during a water change.
  • Using a magnetic algae wand, scrape inside walls. 
  • Add water conditioner to fresh water.
  • Rinse filter and media in the existing tank water.
  • Rinse tank decorations and substrate with hot water or distilled vinegar.
  • Test water levels to ensure ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, pH are in the correct range

WEEKLY

100% water change

  • Fish need to be removed during a water change.
    • Use a cup and scoop out water from tank and place in a bowl. Place your Betta in this bowl during water change.
    • Do not pour this water back into fresh water in tank.
  • Using a magnetic algae wand, scrape inside walls.
  • Rinse tank decorations and substrate with hot water or distilled vinegar.
  • Add water conditioner to fresh water.
  • Test water levels to ensure ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, pH are in the correct range

Tips on Caring for Bettas

DO​​

Feed your Betta live food purchased from a reputable retailer.

Feed your Betta twice a day.

Feed your Betta an amount of food that is equivalent to the size of the Bettas eye.

Keep your Bettas tank clean by doing daily and weekly maintenance.

DON’T

Feed your Betta a dry-pellet-only diet.

Feed your Betta dry pellets that have not been soaked in water first.

Feed your Betta worms or insects that you dig up from dirt or catch.

Use soap when cleaning tank, decorations or substrate.

Add straight tap water to tank without conditioning it first.

Add Betta back into fresh tank water unless water conditioner has been added.

“Swimming On”…to our next article

Join us now as we continue on in our Betta series where we will dig deeper into the fascinating world of the Betta fish.

Next: “Your Bettas Tank.”

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