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Betta: Care Guide for a Starter Fish

Why Bettas Make Amazing Starter Fish

So you wanna keep fish, but you have never had a fish before. Now you could Google for hours looking up information on fish and how to care for them. But I would recommend one fish in particular, a Betta fish. These are hardly fish, that do need care, but are far simpler than many other fish available out there. For a couple reasons, they are a great fish for beginners. So if you re looking for an easy setup, clean up, and maintenance for a pretty coloured fish, this is the fish for you.

Roommates?

So Bettas are also known as Siamese Fighting Fish, for a reason. If two get too close together then they will fight each other and one of them will die. So it's best to keep these fish alone.

An Easy Setup

A Simple Setup

Starting with just one fish and the smallest amount of equipment possible is the easiest. Also, if you don't like the fish, then it's not a high investment. And Bettas are perfect for that. They don't need a big setup, although I would recommend getting a little bit more then the plastic, less than one gallon aquariums. They do need some space to swim around, so be nice and get something a little bigger. I would say two gallons should be pretty cheap, but enough space for your little fishy friend.

Now is the really nice part: They don't need a filter. Bettas have what is known as a labyrinth organ; this allows them to get oxygen from the air as well as water. So this means that they don't need a filter to be constantly oxygenating the water. Weekly water changes also help to give the water oxygen, so these can't be skipped—if moved by a day, that will be just fine.

Photo by Huy Phan on Unsplash

Low Maintenance

As much as we would like these fish to be no maintenance fish, they do need some things. They need to be fed, preferably a few pellets of Betta food daily. But they can go a day or two without food here or there if you are worried. They should be a little bit round in size so that they aren't being under fed.

Water changes are the dreaded word that comes with all fish, and unfortunately, Bettas aren't completely different. There are a couple ways of doing water changes for Bettas. The one I would recommend, for a gallon or two of water, goes like this:

  1. Take the fish out of the tank in a cup with his own tank water.
  2. Dump the tank water.
  3. Give the inside of the tank a little scrub, even with just your hands, just to get any algae off.
  4. Put the dechlorinator in the tank and then fill it up with water.
  5. Let the tank sit for a few minutes and give the dechlorinator some time to work.
  6. Put your fish back with all his water.

Doing this once a week should be pretty quick, and should help keep your little fish happy. This should be an easy method for cleaning your tank on a weekly basis.

Also, never use soap to clean the tank or anything in it. This can harm or even kill your fish.

Photo by Kyaw Tun on Unsplash

Heaters

So, a tank this size doesn't necessarily need a heater if it is in the right place. The water temperature should remain between 25.5 to 26.5 degrees Celsius (78 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit). If you can keep the tank in an environment that matches those temperatures, it should be fine, but if you are going to keep him somewhere that stays consistently colder, you might want to get a small Betta tank heater. If you aren't that sure, but think it's fine, just keep an eye on the fish, see if he is active and eating—if he's not, it may be the cold. Always give him a day or even three days to adjust to the new environment after you buy him to make sure that they're okay.

Photo by Pietro Jeng on Unsplash

Taking It Home

Wherever you chose to buy your fish from, remember that they have to travel a long way to get there and they don't always feel good. So if they don't eat for the first day, and aren't very active, don't worry about it, because they should perk up.

One thing to watch out for is to not shock the fish's system too much by changing the water that he is in too quickly. So always let water sit for a bit before you add the fish to it, so that they can be similar a temperature. A better way of doing this is to let the fish float in its container in the new water and let them adjust that way.

Doing both would be my recommendation, especially after a water change. Letting the water temperature adjust to the environment is always a good thing. Just think of being kind to your fish, as to not give him too much of a shock when you add him to water.

Photo by Kyaw Tun on Unsplash

Fish aren't necessarily for everyone, but if you want to try having fish, Bettas are the way to go. If you love them, you can upgrade to other bigger fish, or more of them. Remember though, that these are a living animals, and so they should be treated with respect. That being said, kids love them and they come in great colours. So be mindful of what you are getting into, don't go short on the research, but have fun. Get a fish you connect with and love the little guy, these are amazing little fish.

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