If you want to make sure that your betta survives the trip home from the store, and also the first week or two in his/her new tank, then there are certain things that you need to be aware of. I often hear of people bringing their betta home in a bag, filling up the tank with tap water and plunking the betta in and that’s it. Can bettas survive that? Well sure, some often do, but I wouldn’t recommend it at all. If you do it that way, you are increasing the stress levels of your new little buddy and increasing its chances of getting a disease. So, to avoid causing excess stress for your new betta fish and to provide the best betta care possible, I recommend that you follow the steps below when bringing your betta fish home.
Bringing Your Betta Fish Home
- Before the trip, make sure your betta’s new home (the tank) is up and running and properly cycled before you visit the pet store to purchase your new betta fish. Also make sure you’ve applied the proper betta conditioner to the water.
- Also make sure you prepare a travel bag/cooler for the trip, with towels (or newspaper) inside that will keep the plastic bag you get from the pet store, from moving around too much. This will also keep your betta warm during the trip. (Note: Whatever you use for the trip, I highly recommend that it is protected from light. Your betta will appreciate the darkness during the trip.)
- The pet store will most likely give you your new fish in a plastic bag or cup. Place it in the travel bag/cooler and surround it with towels/newspaper to secure it in place. While you are at the store, make sure you stock up on everything you need that you might not already have (heater, fish net, water testing kit, betta conditioner, betta food, etc.) or just buy them from our online store. Once done, you can bring your new baby home! Try to avoid jostling the bag around and try to go straight home from the store.
- WHen you get your betta fish home, dim the light in the room where the tank is located before taking your betta out of the travel bag/cooler and also shut off aquarium light.
- Assuming you already have a properly cycled tank (if you don’t, read the special note below), make a small opening in the bag to allow some air to get in, place the bag in the water and let it float around for approx. half an hour. (This will make sure your new betta gets used to the temperature of the tank, gradually). You may have to secure the bag to the top of the aquarium somehow to avoid it sinking completely inside.
- After a half hour or so, you will need to start acclimating the tank water to the betta in the bag, since the chemistry of the water from the store is different from your tank. Using a Dixie cup (or something similar that hasn’t been used before), remove about one cup worth of water from the bag and then pour it down the drain, then take one cup of water from the tank and pour it in the bag. Do this every 10-15 minutes for an hour or so. This will slowly acclimate your new betta to the tank’s water chemistry and will hopefully make the transition to the tank a lot less stressful.
- Use a fish net to take the betta out of the pet store bag and place it in your tank. I would avoid dumping any of the water from the bag into your existing tank (even though it is a mix) because you cannot guarantee that the water in the bag is 100% disease-free.
If you don’t have a tank that is already cycled (e.g.: you are buying a new tank with your betta and bringing both home at the same time), then make sure you condition the water prior to placing your betta in it.
I hope these steps help you when it’s time to bring your new betta fish home. Is there anything special that you do when bringing a betta home for the first time? Do you have any advice that you would like to share? Please post your experiences and comments below!