Bettas, more commonly known as “Siamese fighting fish”, are a popular household pet because they are inexpensive (at least most of them are) and require little maintenance. If you take good care of them, they can be your friend for years. The problem is that a lot of people new to the world of betta fish are intimidated and aren’t sure what’s involved with owning one. That’s why I came up with this betta fish care sheet. It should give newbies a high-level overview on what’s involved and help them figure out the daily/weekly things they need to do in order to keep their bettas health in check.
Betta Fish Care Sheet – Daily Tasks
- Check the water temperature – Make sure that it’s between 75-82°F. Your betta will thank you. Also, try to keep it consistent at all times. If one day it’s at 75 and the next 82, this can cause undue stress on your betta. Your best bet is to get a reliable heater that maintain a consistent temperature.
- Feed your fish – Betta fish will eat a variety of frozen food, freeze-dried blood-worms, flakes, and pellets. Avoid overfeeding. They can eat in just one minute and if you overfeed your betta, it will foul up the water and cause unwanted illnesses. Thaw any frozen food before you feed it to your betta fish. Remember, too, that baby bettas need smaller pellets or finely crushed flakes when you feed them.
- Cycle the lights – Turn the lights on and off throughout the day if possible. Bettas like having light when it is day time and dimmer light at night. They like having a schedule, much like people, with regular light and dark periods. This cultivates a regular sleeping pattern. When the lights are turned on at the same time, they know when to wake. When they are turned off, they know when to sleep. So it is best to have an aquarium light that you turn off before you go to bed and turn on when you wake up. If not, you can always use a timer, such as:
- Monitor the health of your fish – A healthy betta is active, alert, eats regularly, and reacts aggressively to outside stimulus. If the water quality is bad or the filtration system is not working properly, it can cause stress and disease. Red flags that you should look out for:
- Loss of color or appetite
- Spots or fungus on their body or mouth
- Cloudy eyes
- Elevated scales
- Unnaturally frayed fins
- Difficulty breathing
- Erratic swimming
- Weight loss or bloating
Refer to our Diagnosing Sick Betta Fish section for detailed articles on how to identify and treat some of the betta fish diseases that you may come across as some point.
Betta Fish Care Sheet – Weekly Tasks
- Test the water – You want to test the water quality each week and make sure that all levels are within the desired ranges and that they are not going up or down too much. I generally test the water on a weekly basis and keep the details in an Excel spreadsheet on my computer. (I know, it may be overkill, but I like to keep a diary on how my aquariums are doing at all times.)
- Remove Algae – Using an algae scraper, wipe away as much of the algae as you can from the aquarium walls.
- Perform a water change – You should change 50% of the water if your betta is in a fish tank with less than 2 gallons. If you have a larger aquarium, change 10-25% of the water.
- Top off water – From time to time you’ll notice that some of the water has evaporated and you will need to top it off.
Betta Fish Care Sheet – Monthly Tasks
- Thorough cleaning – Each month you should vacuum the gravel, maintain the filter, clean the cover, etc. For more details, refer to our post How To Clean a Betta Fish Tank.
- Replenish aquarium supplies – Go through all your supplies and make note of everything that you are getting low on and replenish them. These could be filter components, food, water conditioner , etc.
As I mentioned above, this is meant as a checklist for newbies to give them an idea on what to expect. If you have any comments (i.e.: maybe I missed a step?) then please use the comment box below. I would love to get your feedback!
Until next time.
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