Among the top breeds of fish to own, Bettas are the most often maltreated and neglected. Sold in containers merely double there size, buyers often believe the fish are able to thrive in tight conditions. Like any other fish type, tight surroundings leads to increased stress levels, and as a result, the fish become more susceptible to illness.
The best way to avoid bringing stress to your aquatic companion is to provide adequate swimming room with plenty of hides for stimulation. As a common rule, at MINIMUM, for every inch of fish, you should have a gallon of tank-space for the environment.
Other important factors to remember are that Bettas are tropical animals and flourish in water temperatures ranging from 78-80 degrees F. When water temperatures drop and remain below 74 degrees F, the fish can grow lethargic and again take on added stress levels.
There are pros and cons to both fake-planted aquariums and aquascapes. Perks of having a non-planted aquarium include a low level of algae, however, the plants chosen need to be of a silk variety, as the harsh plastic of most aquarium decorations can shred the delicate fins of a Betta fish.
While providing a more natural living space, planted aquariums can lead to fungal infections if the tank does not have a decent filtration system and excess food/dead plant material is left to rot.
The tank style truly depends on the amount of time and money the owner is willing to put in to ensure a clean and sustainable environment.
Due to their carnivorous nature, Bettas require a wide-range of protein in their diet. Most pellet mixes will be sufficient, though it is more than acceptable to supplement bloodworms and freeze-dried krill into their diet from time to time.
A common misconception is that Betta fish have to live in isolation. While males need to be isolated from other males of the breed, sorority tanks often function quite successfully after an initial hierarchy is sorted out.
Bottom feeders such as snails, loaches, plecos, and African dwarf frogs, all make good companions as well due to their docile nature and tendency to stay out of the Betta’s way.
As always, it is important to make sure you have the money and time to dedicate to these beautiful creatures before you bring one home. Though they may be small, these fish do require time and attention to ensure they are living a healthy and proper lifestyle.
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