Betta fish seem to be a common pet to have in your dorm considering in most schools fish are the only pet people are allowed to have. Though they make gorgeous looking pets for your dorm, they require a lot of care. Many people have the misconception that betta fish only require a small bowl and any kind of fish food you can find but that is far from the truth. In all honesty, they require so much more attention and deserve as much. I am a current betta fish mom to my copper tail son, Theo. Before I bought him, I did extensive research on betta care to make sure he would live a long healthy life of 3-5 years. Here I have compiled some tips on being betta parent.
1. Betta fish need decent tank space!
Betta fish require a minimum of 2.5-gallons of tank space. I personally have a 2.5-gallon tank and my fish is a healthy little boy. I would highly suggest going against a bowl. They do not have enough room for your betta to swim and do not have a lid to prevent your fish from jumping out.
2. A heater is a must!
Bettas originate from warm waters and tend to thrive in water that is at least 78 degrees but the range that you want to hit is between 78-82 degrees. A heater helps keep the temperature of the water consistently warm. My betta loves his heater so much and tends to even sleep on it (yes they sleep).
3. Filters help!
Filters really do help with the tank cleaning process. Without one, you would have to clean the whole tank out once a week. But with a filter, you only have to clean 10% of the water a week. I would advise you to be careful about the current your filter creates. Betta fish tend to live in steady waters and some filters can create a strong current that will cause your betta to stress. My filter was originally too strong but I was able to fix by making a baffler out of a water bottle.
4. Decor can make your tank come to life!
Another thing that helps with having a clean tank is live plants. They make beautiful decorations but be aware that you may need fertilizer to help with their growth. They help keep the water clean and do not damage your fish’s fins. If live plants are too much, you can also have fake plants. I would recommend silk fake plants so they won’t damage your betta. Cute suggestion: Leaf Hammock. My betta loves his hammock and tends to sleep on it. I trained him to eat on it and honestly it is the cutest thing ever. An important part of the tank is a hiding place for your betta. Without a place to hide they will get stressed.
5. Get the right food!
Most people think that you only need to feed bettas once a week or once a month but that is not true. Bettas need to be fed twice a day for as much as they want to eat in a two-minute span. Be careful to not overfeed. You will know if you do if their stomach begins to swell. Regular betta food is fine but every now and then don’t be afraid to switch it up with a different kind. One food bettas love to eat are blood worms. Don’t worry they come to freeze-dry!
6. Some fun tank add-ons.
Like I said before, my favorite item in my tank is my bettas leaf hammock. He really does love it and I would recommend it. A cute plant to add is a moss ball. Not only does it keep your water clean but it is also a cute decoration. Most people also like to get tank mates that are compatible with bettas. Please do not get another betta for your tank, they are highly territorial and will fight to the death. When looking for a tank-mate make sure to do a lot of research. You can get a ping pong ball to place on the surface of your tank. You will often find your betta playing with it. If you like to see betta flare out its gills, I would get a mirror. They display their fins but make sure to have it in the tank for no longer than 5 minutes or they will stress.
I hope you become the best betta parent you can be. Remember before getting any type of pet to make sure you do your research. They deserve a happy life as much as anyone else.