If you are interested in keeping Betta fish in your home aquarium or fish tank, you need to consider factors to keep them alive and healthy. From the foods they eat to the optimum temperature of the water, Betta fish have many unique requirements and are not as easy as goldfish to maintain. Let’s discover more about the wondrous Betta fish and discuss the best live food for bettas.
The Betta Fish: A Marvel of Nature
The Betta fish is known for its colorful body and beautiful, fan-like fins in various shapes and sizes. Often called Siamese Fighting fish, the Betta fish spar with other fish as they are territorial.
What Do I Need In My Tank?
Betta fish have different “living” requirements than a regular goldfish or other pet-shop-bought fish. Here are a few specific requirements that need to be met to keep and maintain Betta Fish:
- A minimum of a 2-gallon sized tank. While Betta fish only grow to around 3 inches, they need adequate room to swim around. A larger tank is also better if you will introduce other fish to the tank.
- Water temperatures between 75 and 80 degrees are advised. This is the optimum temperature for Betta fish to survive and thrive in. Any hotter or colder could cause problems and even be fatal.
- A water PH level of between 6.5 and 8. Water that might be too acidic is not advised for Betta fish. As they are used to the climates of South-East Asia, maintaining those water PH levels is essential.
- Clean water at least once a week. Change the water in your tank once a week. Ensure to properly clean the gravel and remove bits of leftover foods that can lead to bacterial growth and infections.
- A heater to keep water at the optimum temperature. Purchase a unit with a temperature control mechanism to keep the water at the optimum temperature for the Betta fish.
- Water filter to regulate the air in the tank. Betta fish can and do breathe above the surface of the water, but using a water filter further oxidates the water, ensuring proper oxygen levels.
- Plants and foliage for the Betta fish to swim between and sleep in, but these are also used for hiding in.
Feeding Tips and Best Live Foods for Betta Fish
As with any pet, Betta fish require a special diet. They are carnivorous, meaning they eat meat and other small fish. An adequate diet for a Betta fish would be smaller portions of meat twice a day. Any more than that can lead to overfeeding and often obesity. Here are a few more tips on how to feed your Betta fish, and what to feed them:
- Thaw all frozen foods before feeding your fish. Thawed food is easier for the Betta fish to detect as it has a more pungent odor.
- Feed either once or more a day, but decrease portion sizes if feeding more than once a day.
- Feed only what your Betta fish can eat in 3 minutes. Any leftover food waste can cause bacteria to build up in the tank and can lead to fin-rot and a wide range of other illnesses and ailments that could potentially be fatal to Betta fish.
- One can feed baby Betta fish small pellets or flakes of food
Betta fish are carnivorous and therefore prefer a meat-based diet. These are the meaty foods they prefer best:
- Meat flakes and pellets explicitly designed for Betta fish consumption.
- Freeze-dried bloodworms. Remember to thaw these before feeding them to your Betta fish.
- Brine shrimp is a favorite for Betta fish but should be fed in moderation as too much shrimp can lead to obesity.
A healthy diet leads to a healthy Betta fish. Healthy Betta fish are active and alert, eat regularly, and have a vibrant color. Their fins are unfrayed, and they react appropriately to stimuli or activity outside their tanks.
But, there are health-related red flags that you need to be aware of when caring for a Betta fish. Call your veterinarian immediately if your Betta fish has any of the following symptoms:
- Labored breathing
- Elevated scales
- Spots on the body or mouth
- Loss of color
- Not eating properly
- Frayed fins
- Erratic swimming
- Weight loss
- Cloudy eyes
These are all symptoms of potentially serious health issues that could be fatal if left untreated.
Should Betta Fish Be Kept In Tanks?
As mentioned before, Betta fish originate in South-East Asia and can be found in the many rice paddies, floodplains, and canals of Asian countries like Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia. Removing them from their natural habitat is common as people want exotic-looking pets. Betta fish are known for their beautiful brightly colored scales and long, wavy fins.
It is not illegal to keep Betta fish, and as long as you can provide a safe, well-maintained environment for your fish, there is no reason why you cannot have one. While animal activists scream cruelty about keeping Betta fish in tanks, some argue against this and say that Betta fish live longer in captivity than they would in the wild.
With proper care and maintenance of the tank and equipment, your Betta fish will not only survive, but thrive.
Betta fish are exotic, predatory fish that have become popular as pets. While they are pretty, they do require an extra amount of care. From proper diet and tank sizes to optimum water temperatures and PH levels that need to be maintained, Betta fish can be a handful if you do not have the time and equipment needed.
For the best foods, contact your local veterinarian for advice on the best meat-based foods you can feed your Betta fish while remembering to thaw out the frozen meats before you serve them. Do not overfeed your Betta fish, as they too can become obese. Follow our great tips on how to care for your Betta fish.
Aquarist & Writer 22+ Years