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15 FAQs about the Betta Fish with Added Advice From Vets and Fish Experts

With so many beautiful types of Betta fish to choose from, it’s no surprise that they’re a popular pet choice among fish lovers.

But how much do we actually know about these magnificent creatures?

In this article, we’ll be answering 15 FAQs about the Betta fish with help from experts!


Betta fish facts

How long do they live?

A domesticated Betta can survive between 18-30 months.

What size can they grow up to?

The average size of a Betta fish is about 5.7cm long. Occasionally (and given the right conditions), they may grow up to 7.6cm in length.

Can they live with other fish?

Betta fish are known for being extremely territorial and aggressive. As such, you have to be extra careful when selecting tank mates for them.

Suitable tank mates
  • Guppy
  • Ghost shrimp
  • Cory catfish
  • Glass catfish
Unsuitable tank mates
  • Fish that are bigger in size
  • Fish that are brightly coloured
  • Fish that nibble
  • Fish with fins similar to a Betta

Feeding a Betta fish

What should I feed my Betta?

They can eat human food such as boiled peas (with no shell), cucumber, lettuce and boiled or cooked spinach. Boiled corn seeds are also a rich source of energy for them.
Alternatively, your Betta can also eat commercial fish food such as brine shrimp and betta pellets.

Recommended Products

Betta PelletsAzoo's Betta Pellets

Brine ShrimpDajana's Brine Shrimp 10g (100ml)


How much and how often should I feed it?

Bettas should be fed 1.8g of food twice a day: once during the day, and once at night. 

It can also be beneficial to incorporate a fasting day once a week for your fish, as this helps to prevent gastrointestinal issues like bloating.


Ideal living environment for a Betta fish

What is the best sized fish tank for a Betta?

The minimum size of your tank should be 2.5 gallons, with the recommended size being 5 gallons large. 

A 10 gallon tank will be ideal if you intend to keep other fishes together with your Betta.

What kind of water do Betta fish need?

Bettas tend to thrive in waters that are slow and have a consistent temperature.

Temperature: 25 – 26.5°C.
Water hardness: 5 – 20° dH
pH level: 6 – 7.5

Betta fish concerns (+ expert advice)

How do I know if my Betta fish is stressed?

Sam Williamson, the co-owner of FishTankBank, shares that one of the easiest ways to tell if your Betta fish is distressed is to look out for strange behaviour rather than any physical changes. 

It may be difficult to spot colour changes as Bettas are typically coloruful. Instead, keep an eye out for strange behaviour such as hiding for long periods of time and loss of appetite.

There are many reasons why a Betta may become stressed. Some of the reasons include:

  • High levels of nitrate and ammonia in the water

Solution: Keep the levels of ammonia and nitrate low by changing water in the tank regularly.

  • Fluctuations in water temperature

Solution: Check the temperature of the water at least every 2 days and maintain its consistency. 

  • Sharing a tank with an aggressive fish

Solution: Remove the aggressive fish and place it in a separate tank.

Why is my Betta turning white?

Image credit: Betta Fish

According to Charlie Ingham, director of Complete Koi & Aquatics, the small white specks that appear on the fish’s body and fins are due to a condition known as Ichthyophthirius multifiliis or more commonly referred to as ich. 

It is a fungal infection that spreads quickly throughout an aquarium and without effective treatment, it is likely for the fish to die.

Solution:

  • Fish with ich should be treated with specially formulated medicine (can be bought at pet stores) to kill the virus.
  • Follow the directions of the medication carefully.

For example, 10ml of Azoo’s Anti-White Spot should be added per 100ml of water every 24 hours. This should be done until all white spots disappear.

Why is my Betta fish not moving?

Apart from being asleep, there are several more serious reasons why your Betta isn’t moving such as:

  • Poor quality of water

Solution: Ensure the temperature, pH levels and hardness of the water are at optimal levels.

  • Improper feeding

Solution: Feed your Betta high-quality food that is rich in proteins.

  • It has swim bladder disease or constipation

Solution: Fast your Betta for 3 days before feeding it a boiled (and shelled) pea or two.

Image Credit: Pinterest

Betta fish are prone to developing swim bladder disease. You can tell when your fish has swim bladder issues if it does not move and swims tilted to one side or upside down.

Why does it stay at the bottom of the tank?

If you find your Betta breathing heavily at the bottom of the tank, it is most likely suffering from ammonia poisoning.

Solution: Check the water parameters of your tank, and change the water accordingly.

Why does it stay at the top of the tank?

If your Betta is constantly lingering at the top of the tank, it might mean that the water in the tank lacks oxygen and has high levels of nitrate. 

Solution: Replace up to one-third of the water and check if your filter media is working properly. Also check if the water parameters are in acceptable ranges.

What to do for a dying betta fish?

Your Betta may be in critical condition if you find it gasping for air at the bottom or surface of the fish tank, is pale in colour, has unresponsive eyes and a limp tail fin.

In such scenarios, it’s best to take your fish to a certified vet for medical treatment.


Other frequently asked questions

How can I tell if my Betta fish is happy?

You can tell your Betta is happy from its strong vibrant colours. It will be active and swim with smooth movements. It will also have a good appetite.

How can I play with it?

Betta fish are inquisitive creatures that are easily entertained.

As shown in the video, here are several ways you can play with your Betta:

  • Place a floating ball in the aquarium

As they tend to be inquisitive, Bettas will be entertained by a ball floating at the surface of its tank. Reward it with food each time it nudges the ball.

Remember to clean the ball before placing in the tank, and to remove it after the fish is done playing with it.

  • Encouraging your fish to jump

Attach a piece of food to a target stick and hold it just above the surface of the water. Be patient and wait for your Betta to jump for the food.


Ensuring the best for your Betta

Just like any other pet, the Betta fish needs to be given adequate care and attention to ensure it leads a healthy and happy life. 

If you are interested in rearing one, check out our basic guide to buying and taking care of a Betta fish in Singapore!

Article by:
Kuan
Contributors:
Playing video games and taking naps are two of Kuanyung's favourite activities. He is also passionate about space exploration and philosophy. When he was a kid, he had dreams of becoming an astronaut.

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