These days, it is popular for college students to get a Betta fish to keep in their dorm. As cute and beautiful as they are, the care instructions provided by pet shop employees for these sentient creatures are disturbingly cruel.
Many Betta fish are kept in small bowls, with a plastic plant, and fed fish flakes. It is often argued that keeping Bettas in a small container is good because they are native to rice paddies in Thailand.
While this is true, the water in these rice paddies goes on for miles and Bettas in the wild swim long distances on a daily basis. Furthermore, they are tropical fish who are used to water temperatures between 70-80 degrees. Keeping Betta fish in small bowls of water that are freezing, as far as they are concerned, is inexcusable.
Bettas should be kept in tanks at a minimum of 2.5 gallons in size. Providing your Betta with a reasonably sized tank will significantly improve their quality of life. Additionally, filters should be used to keep water clean and keep water moving.
However, be sure to use a slow/quiet filter because Bettas are weak swimmers and can get blown around by intense filtration. Additionally, heaters should be used in your Betta tank to keep them warm and promote overall health.
A lot of the appeal of Betta fish is in their gorgeous and intricate fins. These fins however, are extremely delicate. Putting plastic plants in their tank is hazardous because Bettas can snag their fins on the rough plastic.
While plants are definitely a good idea since Bettas like having the option to hide, silk plants are a far better choice. Silk plants are soft and allow your Betta to comfortably brush up against them to hide.
Finally, it is important to realize that Bettas are insectivores. Many fish flakes are filled with fish and plant byproducts. These flakes lack proper nutrients your Betta needs to be healthy.
When purchasing food, check the ingredients and look for pellet food using mostly whole fish (rather than by-products), or insects. I strongly recommend “Omega One Betta Buffet” pellets and bloodworms.
The information provided in this article is a compilation of what I have learned from extensive research regarding Betta fish care. Please do not let pet store employees fool you into believing and perpetuating the myths about Betta fish.
Unfortunately, their resilience has made them susceptible to such cruel treatment in the interest of selling them, and their supplies at a low cost.
My Betta lives in a 10 gallon tank with a heater, filter, silk plants, Betta hammock, and hiding rock. He eats a combination of the “Omega One Betta Buffet” pellets, dried blood worms, and the occasional fruit fly from my kitchen. He appears extremely happy and recognizes me as his friend.
Often times, he begins dancing around the front of the tank in excitement when I walk up to the tank and will follow my finger as I slide it around the glass. He also jumps out of the water to take food right off the tip of my finger. Providing your Betta with a quality life makes such a difference.
If you want to buy a pet in college, the least you can do is invest some money upfront to make sure they have a happy life. Your Betta will thank you by making you smile!