How to take care of a betta fish ?

 How to care for betta fish| Why is betta fish called Siamese fighting fish? 

Betta fish or the “Siamese fighting fish” originates from south-east Asia and is one of the most popular breeds of fish in the aquarium hobby. The reason behind the popularity is because bettas are easy to keep fishes that are not very demanding unless given proper care and come in a variety of vibrant and pleasing colours that just adds to the appearance of the fish tank to the next level. 


Male betta fish
    Image Source-  Google | Image by - Flickr

However, this fact may also lead to an impulsive buy of the fish for your tank which could turn out catastrophic. Betta is although easy to keep fish as compared to other breeds but these are very sensitive to any sort of the change in their environment and are prone to a host of bacterial infections, so it's important to have a proper understanding of the breed’s requirement before getting one.

Appearance and behaviour 

When it comes to appearance betta fish can win your heart just at one glance because of the most unique patterns and long fins with vibrant colours which are very appealing to the eyes. These may look like calm fish but do not be mistaken as male betta which has the most colourful pattern and fins are the more aggressive ones as compared to the females. 

Male bettas cannot be kept with other males as they would continuously fight and kill each other until one last male is left. On the other hand, females can be kept together which is known as “betta sorority tank” but it needs a lot of hiding places for the weak or smaller ones to hide in case of a fight. This fighting tendency has given the name “Siamese fighting fish”.


Betta fish is generally 6.5 to 8.5 cm long including the vibrant coloured fins. The average life span is between 2 to 5 years depending on the care of the fish. Betta fish generally eat all kinds of fresh and frozen foods and would thrive if given small crustaceans, worms, and small insects occasionally. 

One needs to ensure while feeding if a particular food is leading to constipation or inactivity and therefore discontinue it. The most preferred food is the commercially available betta fish food that contains nutrients and minerals required specifically for betta fish. 

The myth regarding Betta fish 

One of the most common myths regarding betta fish is that these can be kept in small tanks and even in some of the pet shops these are found to be kept in small polybags which are not even half a gallon in size. This unethical practice and cruelty towards such a beautiful fish should be stopped. 


Betta should not be kept in small tank

 Image Source-  Google | Image by - Piqsels

The reason for the myth is because of the organ known as the “labyrinth” which helps betta to survive even in environments with the least supply of oxygen and hence these can survive in small tanks but cannot thrive. 

Tank requirements 

Betta fish thrive in tanks that are atleast 5 gallons in size with plenty of hiding places without sharp edges and slow-moving water or filtration system which does not involve fast circulation. Generally, small hang-on back filters are optimum for the purpose. 

Temperatures should be maintained between 72- 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Water should be maintained very clean with controlled amounts of ammonia and nitrates which would otherwise affect the health of the fish. These are prone to diseases such as fin/tail rot, bacterial infections, ich, dropsy, pop-eye, and swim bladder disease. 

Tankmates for betta fish should not be aggressive ones such as barbs and tetras. Furthermore tank mates should not have long fins as male betta tend to bite. So keeping bettas with fancy guppies would not be a good option.