Betta Fish Care Guide and FAQ

Updated on February 16, 2018
EricDockett profile image

Eric is an aquarium enthusiast with over two decades of experience caring for a wide array of tropical fish.

Successful Betta fish care requires knowing the facts about their behaviors and tank setup.
Successful Betta fish care requires knowing the facts about their behaviors and tank setup. | Source

About Betta Care

Betta fish are easy to care for, but they have some special requirements due to their behaviors. They are colorful fish, both fierce and fragile. While they are among the most popular aquarium fish the the world, they are also one of the most misunderstood.

If you've just brought your new betta home, or if you are thinking of getting one, you probably have a lot of questions. This betta fish care guide can help you figure it all out, and give you the information you need to provide your new pet with a healthy environment where he will thrive for many years.

Or, perhaps you're having trouble with a betta you've had in the family for a while. It is tremendously disheartening when a pet gets sick or starts acting strangely, but you're not alone. Here you can find the answers to many frequently asked questions about betta fish and the things they do.

Maybe you'll discover your betta's actions aren't so weird after all!

Even though the tiny cups they come in at the pet store might suggest otherwise, bettas are not disposable pets. They require the same care and respect as any animal. Are you up to the task?

Of course! If you didn't care about your betta fish you wouldn't be here! So let's get down to business.

Betta Tank Selection

You want to choose a quality aquarium and have it set up before you bring your betta fish home. You may have heard that bettas do best in small bowls or even plant vases, but that’s simply not true. Just like any other tropical fish, they need space to thrive.

Small volumes of water pollute quickly, creating a bad environment for your fish. You’ll want to choose a tank that’s at least 5-gallons, but many people have great success keeping betta in beautifully planted 10-gallon tanks. Avoid small bowls and very small tanks.

So, why do some people think it is okay to keep these fish in tiny little containers? Betta fish are Anabantids, which means they can breathe air above the water through their mouths as well as obtain oxygen from the water through their gills.

They can exist in low-oxygen water environments where other fish would perish. In the wild, this means rice paddies or even muddy puddles. However, this is not an excuse for keeping betta fish in poor conditions.

Heat and Filtration for Your Betta Tank

As tropical fish, betta may require a heater and filter in their tank. You can find nano heaters for 5-gallon tanks, and if you choose a 10-gallon tank you’ll have many more options. Bettas need a temperature between 75 and 80 degrees.

You’ll want a heater capable of maintaining that temperature, as well as a thermometer that will accurately measure the temp of the tank water. (I prefer to use this digital thermometer with a probe. It is inexpensive, and super easy to read.)

As with heaters, you can find nano filters for 5-gallons tanks, and a wider variety of options for 10-gallon tanks and up. Look for something with an adjustable flow. Bettas don’t like a lot of current. In worse-case scenarios strong currents can even be bad for their fins, so try to find a filter with low-flow capabilities.

Choosing the right aquarium is the first step in proper betta fish care.
Choosing the right aquarium is the first step in proper betta fish care. | Source

Ideal Water Parameters

  • Temperature: 78 degrees
  • Nitrates: < 20
  • Nitrites: 0
  • Ammonia: 0
  • pH: 7.0

Additional Accessories for Your New Tank

You’ll need a few more supplies for your tank. Some things to think about:

  • Gravel and Substrate: In my opinion, regular aquarium gravel is best. Some people like to use large pebbles and marbles, and that’s fine if you are willing to go the extra mile every time you clean the tank. However, waste and uneaten food can easily slip between pebbles and become trapped, where they decay and foul the water. If you use regular gravel the tank is much easier to clean.
  • Plants: Bettas love plants, and they’ll sometimes even rest on the leaves. There are pros and cons to choosing live plants for your aquarium. But, if live plants seem too daunting, there is nothing wrong with artificial plants.
  • Hiding Spots: I always like to have a hiding spot, such as a cave or decoration the fish can swim into. It gives them a little haven where they can get away from light or current, or whatever else might be bothering them. Some fish use hiding spots a lot, where others rarely go into them.

How to Clean Your Betta Tank

If you set up your tank wisely you only need to spend a couple of minutes per week on maintenance. The most important thing is to perform a water change, while simultaneously cleaning the gravel. This is easily accomplished with an inexpensive siphon.

Choose a siphon based on the size of your tank. Obviously, very small tanks only require very small siphons. (I prefer the Aqueon Mini Siphon. There are more elaborate versions out there, but this one is inexpensive and does the job.)

You’ll want to vacuum the gravel until you remove about a third of the water, and then replace it will clean, fresh water. For small tanks, make sure you allow the new water to come up to room temperature before adding.

It’s important to know whether or not your water source includes chemicals such as chlorine. Many municipal water sources do. I use well water now, so I don’t have to worry about this, but when I lived in the city I always treated my tanks with water conditioner after each water change.

Dealing with algae is something you’ll have to do with good ol’ elbow grease. Algae scrubbers are inexpensive and are made to scrape the side of the tank clean. You may need to remove the decorations and clean them by hand

Betta needs certain considerations when it comes to tank setup.
Betta needs certain considerations when it comes to tank setup. | Source

Betta Fish Care and Behavior FAQ

Have some questions about your betta fish? Is he doing something strange? Are you worried about his health? Odds are you're not the first betta owner to witness this behavior.

If you are new to betta keeping, or if you just want to learn more about this wonderful tropical fish, you can find in-depth answers to many of your questions below. If you don’t see your question addressed here, you can also look to see if your question has been asked before in the comments section.

After all of that, if you still can’t find the answers to your betta questions feel free to ask in the comments section below! I do respond ASAP to all legitimate questions, but be patient and give it a day or two, and please be sure to check that your question isn't already asked before posting.

What Do Betta Fish Eat?

Choose a simple flake or pellet and only feed as much as he will eat in a few minutes. Most food containers advise feeding several times per day, but in my experience once a day is fine.

In addition to flake food or betta pellets, your betta can eat freeze-dried foods and (thawed) frozen foods. Experiment and see when he likes. It’s best to find a good flake or pellet food for his regular feedings and provide the more exotic foods as treats.

Don’t go crazy. Overfeeding is one of the top reasons betta fish die before their time. Your betta won’t eat a lot, so pay attention to what he’s letting float to the bottom of the tank and learn to gauge the appropriate amount of food to feed. Remember, he is one small fish and doesn't need a lot of food. Uneaten food can spoil the water.

Choose a quality flake or pellet as the basis of your betta's diet.
Choose a quality flake or pellet as the basis of your betta's diet. | Source

Why Is My Betta Fish Laying on the Bottom?

This is sometimes interpreted as a sign that a fish is about to die, but fear not. When a betta fish sits on the bottom it, in itself, does not mean that there is anything wrong. This is normal betta behavior, and as long as he appears otherwise healthy it is no concern. He’s just lazing around.

Bettas often sit on the bottom or of the leaves of real or artificial plants. However, if he appears to be tucking himself in a corner or in some other unnatural position it could be a sign that you need to include a hiding spot in his tank.

Also be on the lookout for any other signs of disease or injury. While healthy betta fish will often lay on the bottom, ill or injured fish may as well.

Is My Betta Fish Happy?

This seems like an odd question, but it is one I get several times per week in various forms on one or more of my betta articles. Usually, someone is concerned because their betta is no longer exhibiting a certain behavior, such as coming to the glass when a person enters the room.

Truthfully, I have no idea if a fish is capable of being “happy” or not, though I am as guilty as anyone for using the term. I think it is more likely that they feel content when their needs are met, such as when they are free from danger and disease, well-fed and unstressed.

Sadness isn't something you can prevent in your betta, but you can prevent those other issues. You keep your betta stress-free by setting up his tank correctly. You know he is well fed because you practice smart feeding practices. You watch for signs of disease and treat if necessary, and you keep his tank clean through proper maintenance procedures.

These are things to strive for when keeping a betta fish. If you do this he will be content, and maybe even happy!

Why Do Betta Fish Make Bubble Nests?

It’s a mating thing. Male bettas build bubble nests, especially when they are content in their environment. In the wild this is where the male betta stashes the eggs after they are released by the female.

However, this is also the subject of a little confusion at times. The absence of a bubble nest doesn’t mean your fish isn’t content. Sometimes people change tanks or make some other alteration to the betta’s environment and then become concerned when there is no bubble nest the next day. Let your fish become accustomed to his new environment, and even then don’t worry if he isn’t making nests.

Likewise, the presence of a bubble nest doesn’t always mean everything is fine. Remember, this is an instinctual behavior, and bettas live is some pretty rough environments in the wild. They makes nests even when times are hard.

Also, bettas sometimes leave bubbles on the surface of the water when they come up to breathe, and these can be misinterpreted as attempts to build bubble nests.

If your betta is making bubble nests it means you're doing a good job!
If your betta is making bubble nests it means you're doing a good job! | Source

Is My Betta Fish Bored or Lonely?

Worrying about a betta being bored and lonely is often used an excuse to add more fish to the tank. Usually, I think it is the fishkeeper who has become bored with the betta.

There are situations where betta fish can have tankmates, which I will address below. However, concern over his social status is not a good reason to put him in a community setting.

Some fish do experience what we might call primitive loneliness. They are schooling fish, and when they are not with others of their kind they experience elevated stress. They don't like to be alone.

But bettas are not this kind of fish. They are fine all on their own, and in many cases they are better off. As long as you follow smart betta care practices you don’t need to worry about the mental state of your fish.

Why Is My Betta Hiding in the Corner of the Tank?

Bettas need some kind of decoration or structure they can swim into when they need to feel safe. If that isn’t provided, and he feels he needs it, you may find him tucked into a corner instead. Always provide a place for him to escape to.

This is especially true if the current in the tank is somewhat strong, or if there are other things in the tank that are causing him to feel threatened. Even the outside room can be threatening, if people are always tapping on the glass or making a great deal of noise around the tank.

The solution is to have a hiding spot, so betta can retreat when he needs to.

Why Is My Betta Flaring His Gills?

A betta flares his gills as a sign of aggression. He is saying: Look how big and bad I am! Back off, buddy!

If there is no other fish in the tank it may be because he sees his reflection and thinks it is another betta fish. Bettas are territorial, and the perceived presence of another male will send him into fight mode. He doesn’t know it is his own reflection he sees.

This may be comical, and to some extent good for the fish, but don’t let it go on for hours on end. Adjust the light near his tank so he doesn’t see himself. If he is always flaring up because he perceives another fish in the tank he will be under constant stress and prone to illness.

Why Is My Betta Fish Swimming Up and Down the Sides of the Tank?

This is called glass surfing and it’s usually a sign that a fish in unhappy in its environment. That means he is experiencing stress of some kind. It could be because of poor water conditions, or it could be because the tank is too small.

This is one of the reasons recommend tanks at least five gallons for a single betta fish. Some people put their fish in tanks as small as one gallon and then wonder why the fish spends all day glass surfing. In my opinion one gallon – or two gallons or three gallons - is far too little space. Bigger is better.

Like any tropical fish, bettas need to swim around and have a little room. And remember: bettas do not like fast currents, so if the filtration in the tank is pushing him around it could be causing him stress.

Betta fish may glass surf when they are stressed.
Betta fish may glass surf when they are stressed. | Source

Why Is My Betta Fish Turning White?

This is due to stress. If he just went through a water change or some other event where his environment was disturbed he should relax in a few minutes. Likewise, if he just went through an episode of flaring it may be followed by his face turning white.

If it seems like he’s always stressed it could mean there is something wrong in the tank. Some possible reasons include poor water conditions, no hiding spots in the tank, or a tank that is too small or overcrowded.

If he is living in a community tank setting, and his face is white all the time, it is a sure sign that it is time to get him out of there. Something, or some fish, is causing him stress, and it isn’t the right environment for him.

Can I Have Two Male Betta Fish in the Same Tank?

In most circumstances two males bettas in the same tank will severely injure or even kill each other. The only possible way to have two in one tank is to use a divider system to partition the tank. If you try this don’t use a clear partition, as both fish may stress themselves to death trying to get at the other.

Male Bettas are aggressive fish, and will attack each other and fish similar to them. It’s important to realize this when planning the environment where your Betta will live. Novice fish keepers are wise to keep their betta alone in a single-specimen tank.

Can Bettas Live With Other Fish?

Maybe. It depends on the temperament of the other fish, and your betta. You may be surprised to read this, given the reputation bettas have for fighting. Because they are so aggressive, many people keep them in tanks separate from their other fish, which is smart for beginners.

However, they can be fine community fish as well, under the right circumstances. When kept with tankmates, the danger is often to the betta as much as to the other fish.

There are a few keys to keeping a betta fish in a community tank. In a nutshell:

  • Try to add your betta to a tank that’s already established.
  • Don’t put your betta in a tank with species who are known fin nippers.
  • No other semi-aggressive fish in the tank, especially other anabantids.
  • No other fish with flowing fins, as he may mistake them for another betta.
  • Have a peaceful tank with lots of hiding spots.
  • Above all else, always have a backup plan (small tank or bowl) ready in case betta doesn’t get along.

Keeping betta in a community tank takes some planning and patience. If you are considering it, this article can help.

Can Betta Fish Have Tankmates That Aren’t Fish?

In many cases, yes, they can live with critters. In fact, in smaller tanks it is preferable to housing them other fish. You want to take some of the same precautions as you could keeping him with tankmates in a community setting, such as keeping a peaceful tank and, most importantly, having a backup plan in case things go wrong.

Some tankmates to consider are:

  • Apple/Mystery Snails
  • African Dwarf Frogs
  • Ghost Shrimp

Apples snails may make good tankmates for betta fish in certain situations.
Apples snails may make good tankmates for betta fish in certain situations. | Source

Is My Betta Fish Sick?

People often think their fish is sick when really it is just a betta being a betta. However, there are some signs to watch out for that will clue you in to illness. Look for the following symptoms of common betta fish diseases:

  • Swimming Sideways: If you notice buoyancy issues with your fish, it could be because of swim bladder issues. Overfeeding and poor water conditions are the cause of many betta maladies. Do a water change, and switch to an alternate day feed/fast schedule for a week and see if he improves.
  • Fins deteriorating: This is often due to poor water conditions. Keep up with water changes, don’t overfeed, keep his water super-clean and he ought to recover.
  • Scales look like they are ready to pop off: If your betta seems to be blowing up like a balloon to the point where his scales seem to be ready to burst, this is condition called dropsy. Unfortunately it is usually fatal, but can be prevented if you avoid overfeeding, especially live or very rich foods like bloodworms.
  • Little white dots on scales: This is a parasitic infection called Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, or more commonly referred to as simply ich. It can be treated with over-the-counter meds, thought some fish keepers prefer to treat by raising the water temp and dosing the tank with aquarium salt.

Is Tap Water Safe for Fish?

If you are lucky enough to live where you have fresh, clean water without additives floating around in it, this will be fine for your betta.

If your water is drinkable, but you know it contains additives such as chlorine, there are dissolving tablets you can purchase that will condition the water and make it safe for your betta.

If you are unsure about the safety of your water you can purchase quality bottled spring water.

It’s a good idea to have the pH of your tap water tested. You can bring a sample and ask the staff at the pet store to do this for you, or you can purchase a kit and do it yourself. I prefer the API Freshwater Master Test Kit, and I've used it for years. Follow the directions that come with the kit and its super easy.

When Should I Change the Water in My Tank?

Some people wait until the water is visibly murky before performing maintenance on the tank. By then it’s too late.

If your Betta lives in an unfiltered setup you’ll need to completely change his water and clean his tank weekly. If he is in a tank with filtration, you need to change about 20-30% of his water weekly.

It’s best not to net him if you need to remove him from his home. His fins are fragile and it can greatly stress him. A better idea is to scoop him out into a small cup or bowl while you perform the weekly maintenance.

Be aware that Bettas can jump, so make sure he’s in a safe place.

Can Betta Fish Live With Goldfish?

The short answer is no. Goldfish and betta fish have very different care requirements. Goldfish are cold water fish, and betta are tropical fish, meaning the appropriate water temperature for each would stress the other.

Goldfish pollute water quickly, which would be deadly for a betta. They also have long, flowing fins, which could provoke aggression.

Finally, goldfish grow much too large for most home aquariums. They are appropriate only for very huge tanks and outdoor ponds.

Goldfish are not good tankmates for betta fish.
Goldfish are not good tankmates for betta fish. | Source

Where Do Betta Fish Come From?

In the wild, betta can be found in ponds, slow-moving creeks and rivers in Southeast Asia. The fish you purchase in the pet stores are all male, and bred to bring out their amazing colors and flowing fins. Wild bettas are far more dull. Some pet stores sell female bettas, but they are not nearly as common.

Take Good Care of Your Betta!

Betta are so popular not just because they are beautiful, but also because they are so easy to take care of. But don’t make the mistake of thinking they are disposable pets. It's easy to keep your fish healthy if you know the ropes.

Finally, please don’t keep your betta in a tiny cube, and if you’re given one in a plant vase please liberate him as soon as possible. If nothing else, I try to be an advocate for responsible fish keeping.

Good luck with your betta!

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Questions & Answers

  • Why is my betta fish swimming at the top of the tank?

    It is possible there is no reason your betta is swimming at the water's surface, other than that's where he likes to be. In the wild bettas often live in shallow water, so this just may be where he feels most comfortable.

    Bettas are anabantids, which means they can take gulps of air at the water's surface in addition to taking oxygen from the water through their gills. They have evolved this ability to survive poor water conditions in the wild.

    Doing this occasionally is no big deal, but if you see your betta constantly going to the surface for air, your first concern should be poor water conditions in the tank. Test your water and see where your parameters stand. Even though bettas can survive in polluted, low-oxygen conditions in the short-term, in the long-term it leads to illness and death.

    The solution is to keep your betta in a tank that is five gallons or larger, avoid overfeeding, and keep up with water changes and tank cleanings.

    If your tank water is in good shape, watch for your betta blowing bubbles at the surface. Male bettas build "bubble nests" when conditions are right, and sometimes just blow random bubbles. It's normal behavior and nothing to worry about.

  • All my betta fish does is rest on the ground. How can I make him more comfortable?

    Resting is a common behavior for betta fish, and unless you see signs of illness or distress, there is no reason to worry about his comfort. Bettas like to rest on gravel, or even on plant leaves. Some do this more than others, and some may not do it at all. Just like people, every betta is different.

    This is one great reason to have a hiding spot for him somewhere in the tank, such as a small cave-like decoration he can easily swim into. He can escape from the world and have a calm, dark place when he needs it. There are also products made especially for bettas to rest on which you may want to introduce into your tank, such as betta hammocks.

    While a lazy betta isn’t necessarily a concern, you do want to make sure he isn’t staying in one spot for the wrong reasons. A strong current from the filter may push him around the tank, and if he is sitting on the bottom to escape it, you may want to consider finding a way to reduce the filter flow.

    Of course, you also want to check your water parameters regularly to make sure there is nothing wrong with the tank water, and he isn’t getting ill.

    Otherwise, if he appears healthy and happy, try not to worry if he likes to rest.

  • Why is my male betta only eating one pellet at a time?

    He must have a small appetite! Many bettas will gobble up as many pellets as you will give them. If yours only wants to eat one pellet at a time, it is best to only feed one pellet at a time.

    The uneaten pellets will decay in the tank and contribute to poor water conditions. That's not good for your betta's long-term health.

    I usually like to feed bettas 2-3 pellets once per day, but it is important to only feed as much as he will eat at one time. So, in this case, I think it would be smart to feed multiple times per day, just to make sure he is getting enough to eat.

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    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      7 days ago from USA

      @Glynis - It seems like you've already arrived at the conclusions and treatments I would have. If he is still coming up for air and wanting food those are good signs. It would be great if he would eat the pea pieces, so maybe work on creative ways to make that happen.

      Hopefully he will pull through soon. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Glynis 

      7 days ago

      My male betta has a red colour lump under his belly between his fins. He has trouble swimming up to surface...like he is too heavy. Lies around at the bottom or on plants a lot more than usual. I am treating him for swim bladder issues...using swim bladder treatment solution...completed 2 treatments so far. Cleaned tank. Water tests all normal. Tried feeding him cooked pea pieces for constipation but he doesn't see peas..they float to the bottom of the tank. He swims a little but seems off balance. He is alert. Comes up for air a lot. Looks for food. Trying to fast him though. Colour and fins sll look normal. He has heater and sponge filter. Temperature turned up to 25 degrees celcius.

      What else could be wrong?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      11 days ago from USA

      @Annasul - If you are worried about overfeeding it is perfectly okay to skip a day once a week. Overfeeding and the poor tank conditions that result can lead to disease in betta fish. The bend you are describing sounds more like an injury though.

      @Emmakate - Bettas sometime hide -- its normal. If he is doing it constantly there is a chance he doesn't like something about the tank, such as current, a bubbler, or even too much sunlight. It's hard to guess what a betta is thinking, but you can try changing some things about his tank to see if he come out more.

    • profile image

      Emmakate 

      12 days ago

      My teal and black butterfly betta is going under rocks and not moing for hoirs the sometimes he goes to the yop of the tank and not move his fins at all sometimes i move a rock with a straw because o think hes traped and then he will go to another area of the tanks and do it all over again i just dont wants him to die i would be hart broken.

    • profile image

      Annasul 

      13 days ago

      Hi, thanks for all the great info. My daughter’s female betta fish has started to swim with almost a bend in her abdomen. Like there is a kink in her middle. She spent the last 48 hours almost immobile at the bottom of the tank and we thought she was about to die but is now swimming again, still with the bent shape. Is she sick? I worry that we are maybe over feeding her. Any advice welcomed!

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      2 weeks ago from USA

      @alyssa - He is theoretically ready when he builds the bubble nest but that doesn't necessarily mean all is going to go well. I've never bred bettas so I can't comment on interactions while mating. This is where research is helpful.

    • profile image

      alyssa voelkert 

      2 weeks ago

      yes i have,but how will i know if my males ready to mate again is it when he builds his bubble nest and how will i know the difference between him flareing his gills in warning the female to stay away or if he trying to impress her?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      2 weeks ago from USA

      @Alyssa - I suggest separating the bettas and doing extensive research on mating betta fish before trying again. It doesn't sounds like things went well here.

      Also, have you considered what you will do with the fry when they are born? There are already millions of betta fish in the world.

    • profile image

      alyssa voelkert 

      2 weeks ago

      ok, so i bought a male betta fish and a female wanting them to mate i put them into the same tank, but a separater in place of them both.My male started to flare his gills but looking it up on how he reacts or impresses the female he supposed to flair his gills i looked at the female and she has stripes on her body.so i took the separater out she went towards the nest but did not destory it they both chased each other but his nest got destoryed and kept getting smaller and smaller they were still dancing with each other but stop and went there own separate ways later on checking them the male approaches her gently but his gills still flareing at her she back away and swims away but they were chasing each other earlier though but separarted and would do it again is this normal?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      3 weeks ago from USA

      @MIndy - It is always very hard for me to guess about such things, and I would be only guessing. As long as he doesn't show signs of illness it is possible nothing is wrong. He may have just found a place he likes to rest. Is it possible the current in the tank is too strong?

    • profile image

      Mindy Humphries 

      3 weeks ago

      This article was very helpful. My beta was very active for several months then all of the sudden he only lays on the bottom of his tank and his beautiful tail is flat against his body almost like it's stick and he rarely moves anymore. I have added a live moss ball and live plant and had the water tested, which came back fine. Any suggestions? He seems sick but he's been this way for 2 weeks now. He rarely comes up for food.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      4 weeks ago from USA

      @ASD - Interesting question. I can only speculate, but I think it is unlikely that aquarium fish feel much of an attachment to their fry. Especially since many livebearers will eat their own fry if they can.

      However, some fish (notably anabantids such as male bettas and gouramis) will fiercely guard the eggs until they hatch and the fry while they are still in the bubble nest.

      There are also some African cichlids known as "mouth brooders" that will protect their young in their mouths.

      So, while it is unlikely fish will "feel bad" if their young are taken away, some do have a parental instinct to protect their fry.

    • profile image

      ASD 

      4 weeks ago

      Do fish feel bad when they are separated from their babies?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      4 weeks ago from USA

      @Kelly - When bettas are building bubble nests is usually means they are healthy and content. You can see if you can alter the current if you think it could be pushing him into one spot, but he may have just found a spot he likes.

      @Wasmine - I'm not sure what the oily film could be so it's tough to suggest anything to get rid of it. Maybe it's related to the plants? If the water parameters are good and the betta is healthy I wouldn't take any drastic action.

    • profile image

      Wasmine 

      4 weeks ago

      I have a small beta tank (3.45 Gallon after substrate and decoration addition), with small underwater filter, heater, 3x2.5 inches marimo moss balls, 5 x1 inches marimo moss balls, 2 bamboo plants, and 4 Java ferns. The tank is cycled and just added in a betta fish. However after having the fish for a while, I noticed oil film keep forming on top of the water. Is there a way to get rid of it without increase current for my filter to disturb my betta? I have been very good and only fed him once a day and did weekly water change of 20%, and I also tested my aquarium water using ammonia test strip and the 5 in 1 test strips every two week. Everything seems to be betta friendly, so I don't know why the oil film keeps coming back. Please help

    • profile image

      Kelly 

      5 weeks ago

      I bought my betta about two or three months ago and ever since I got him he has been lying near the surface of the water where there are plants, building nest bubbles. The tank is set at the right temperature, is treated and has good oxygenation. When I put food in the tank he moves quickly to eat it and then returns to being perfectly still on the surface. I have never seen him swim around the tank. Is there something wrong? What can I do to help him? Could it be the current? The filter is strong but its a big tank, the current hardly moves the plants on his end. The plants are natural, and there are no other fish in the tank - the idea was for him to enjoy the space! But he hasn't moved from his upper left corner since I took him out of that horrible cup. Any ideas?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      5 weeks ago from USA

      @Bonnie - It does sound like something could be off with him. Is he getting along with tankmates? Is there a chance they could be picking on him?

      @Audrey - If your betta fish bit you it is because he mistook your finger for food or a threat. I don't think it is cause for concern if he is now more eager to accept food. The two may not even be related. It is hard to guess why bettas do what they do.

      @Madison - 66 degrees is very cold for a betta fish and could certainly account for stressed behavior. Bettas are tropical fish that require temps between 75 and 80 degrees.

    • profile image

      bonnie 

      5 weeks ago

      my betta is nose first at the bottom of the tank and has been for 3 days. we just bought him from his owner and his tank a week ago, and was fine the first 4 days. i did a change of water (about 3/4) of the water, and used conditioner and have a filter etc. the other fish in the tank are thriving but i am concerned about this guy. are you able to help?

    • profile image

      Audrey Kato 

      5 weeks ago

      Hello Eric, it has been raining a lot lately where I live and my fish has been just laying in the little hole of his castle. He sits there more often than usual, and I'm really concerned. Do you think it is because the temperature has been so cold lately? Also, about a month prior to this, I stuck my finger in the water to test the temperature, and my fish bit me. Now, when I feed him everyday, he is very aggressive when it comes to eating food. He constantly comes to the surface really fast and eats the food fast as well. He has not been acting the same since. I am concerned. Please let me know what you think about my betta fish's behavior. I am very concerned.

    • profile image

      Madison 

      5 weeks ago

      I have had my better for about a month now. Over the past week, I've noticed him hanging out by and behind the filter. He also seems like he can't stay at the bottom of the tank. It seems like he swims down and floats right back up. I've noticed him also swimming sideways a few times. I was nervous he was sick and the water was why. I went and bought a thermometer and a heater. The temp was around 66, which I know is way too cold for a Betta. I am hoping this thermometer will help him. Could staying by the filter be because the water was too cold?

    • profile image

      dayshop26 

      5 weeks ago from Florida

      Thank you Eric. I'll do as you advised!

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      6 weeks ago from USA

      @dayshop26 - In my opinion injuries are best treated with clean water and low stress. If he appears to be developing an infection you may wish to dose the tank with aquarium salt or consider using an over-the-counter medication.

    • profile image

      dayshop26 

      6 weeks ago from Florida

      I've had my dark blue betta for about a year now with no problems. His lower flowing fin has a brown spot that's been there for several weeks. It's not getting any bigger. He may have been injured when I scooped him up to clean his tank. Could it be some kind of bruise? Is there something I can do to help it heal, or is it permanent?

    • profile image

      Jack 

      7 weeks ago

      Thank you for all of your help. I appriciate it.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      7 weeks ago from USA

      @Jack - Bubblers are generally left on 24/7.

    • profile image

      Jack 

      8 weeks ago

      So I just got a new 10 gallon tank for my betta. I have a bubbler in it but I want to know how long to keep it on for?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      8 weeks ago from USA

      @Kayleigh - Please check my profile page. I have many articles on all aspects of betta and tropical fish care. If you can't find the answer to your questions in one of those posts feel free to ask in the comment section of this article or any others. Good luck with your new betta!

    • profile image

      Kayleigh 

      8 weeks ago

      Hello!

      I got a male red Betta fish for Christmas. His tank is a little over a gallon I think. There is just rocks in it for now and the filter is in the middle. He keeps hanging to the filter and I’m not sure if he eating. I want to be a good pet owner. I have many more question so is there a email I could get to contact you?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      8 weeks ago from USA

      @Camryn - I wouldn't worry unless you see signs of illness or other odd behavior. Blowing bubbles is typical betta behavior. However, if he is constantly gulping air at the water surface it could mean your water conditions are poor. Just keep his water clean and he should be fine. Good luck!

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      Camryn 

      8 weeks ago

      I got my beta fish about 2-3 days ago and everything about him seems normal, but occasionally, like right now, he will swim to the top (either to get air or make a bubble I’m unsure) and then go back down to the floor and repeat it. Is he ok?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      8 weeks ago from USA

      @Jack - I would not advise putting his tank in the sun as you would not be able to control the rate of heating. It could also lead to excess algae growth.

      It is hard to guess why a fish is glass surfing. Here is a post with some possible explanations:

      https://pethelpful.com/fish-aquariums/Glass-Surfin...

    • profile image

      Jack 

      2 months ago

      My current tank is a 2 gallon tank. I just got my betta this week but I'm not in a position to get him a bigger tank right now (Christmas is killing me). I have also considered that his water is too cold. I know it's under 75 and I'm working on getting it a water heater, but could that be why he is glass surfing? And do you think putting his tank in the sun would work until I can get the heater?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      2 months ago from USA

      @Erin: Here is a simple answer - a 5-gallon tank is too small for betta and any other fish. A betta is best kept alone in a 5-gallon tank.

      @Jack: Distilled water is not ideal because it lacks minerals. You can use spring water or tap water that has been treated. I can't comment on getting a bigger tank because you didn't say how large the current tank is.

    • profile image

      Jack 

      2 months ago

      Is distilled or reverse osmosis water ok to put my betta in or should I use conditioned tap water? I've read that the tap water is better because of the minerals, but I'm not sure. I had him in tap water and he seemed to like it, but when I switched to distilled, he started glass surfing. Besides getting a bigger tank, what can I do and should I go back to tap water?

    • profile image

      Erin Sullivan 

      2 months ago

      I have been looking around for an answer to these questions for a while now but havne't gotten a good one so far. I have recently bought a Betta fish, not my first, and is currently staying in a half gallon tank with some live plants. I also have a large five gallon tank that houses my robe fish. I was considering putting him in with the rope fish and I'm not worried one might attack the other, my robe fish have lived with goldfish before and are too large to fear the Betta. My worry is if the filter pump with trap the Betta. Most tanks I've seen for Bettas have a bubbling filter but the one I use is large and waterfalls, will this be a problem for him swimming? Also how reliably will he be able to find the tiny food pellets I feed him in the current?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      2 months ago from USA

      @Taylor - If you know your tap water is safe to drink but may contain additives or chemicals it is smart to use a water conditioner. It is necessary and healthier for your fish when your tap water is not from a pure source. If you aren't sure what is in your tap water you can always have it tested.

    • profile image

      Taylor shay 

      2 months ago

      When cleaning the fishes tank and you use tap water I k is it’s not safe for them so I use a tap water purifier does that harm the fish in anyway and if it does do you have any suggestions on what I could use as an alternative to make the water pure and safe

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      3 months ago from USA

      @Bettabnewby - He may just be adjusting to his new situation. Make sure his water is clean and healthy and give him some time to adjust. See if you think there is anything different about the new tank that may be stressing him out, such as a bubbler or strong filter.

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      Bettabnewby 

      3 months ago

      The guy in the store sold me a 1.5 gallon tank and the fish was doing well. Relaxing and making Buble nests. But I felt bad after reading other blogs so got him a 3.5 at their recommendation. Now he is glass surfing for the past 3 days. Water temp is 78 and he has plants and other places to nap like he used to. What should I do.

    • profile image

      Jodi Freeman 

      4 months ago

      It seems like my male betta is only flarring one side of his face...?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      4 months ago from USA

      @Kathy - Anything I say would only be a guess. Does he have a cave or something to hide in? Are there decorations like real or fake plants in the tank he can swim around and rest on? Bettas do weird things sometimes. If your overall tank setup is okay and he is exhibiting no other signs of distress I wouldn't worry about it.

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      Kathy 

      4 months ago

      Our beta likes to hug the filter pump where the motor is, does he like the vibration of the motor? I thought maybe he was cold so went and bought a heater. But he’s still hugging the filter motor.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      4 months ago from USA

      @JadenMickster - The best thing you can do is keep his water clean and try not to overfeed him. He made it this far in a small bowl. He can hopefully hang in a little longer. I'm glad to see you are upgrading his tank and taking care to cycle it properly. Mickster the betta will be better off for it. Good luck!

    • profile image

      JadenMickster 

      4 months ago

      I work in an apartment complex and someone left a betta behind when they were evicted. We couldn't find anyone to take him so I brought him home. His previous owner kept him in a 1 gallon glass bowl and he was so lethargic when we got home that I wasn't sure if he'd make it. Since cleaning the bowl, Mickster (so named after the maintenance guy who rescued him) seems to be doing better and I'm picking up a 5 gal tank w/ a filter and heater for him today, but I've read that I need to cycle the tank before I move him in and it could take up to a month! I'm very concerned that he might not last the month before I get him into a new tank, do you have any recommendations for how to make his bowl habitable over the next few weeks?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      4 months ago from USA

      @Kkandmyfish - See if you can reposition the heater so he can't get stuck. Fresh, clean water is often all that is required to recover from injury.

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      Kkandmyfish 

      4 months ago

      My Betta fish wedged itself between the heater and the bottom of the tank and ended up, what I think, burning the top of his head. How do I prevent him from doing that again and how do I help him and his burn now???

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      4 months ago from USA

      @Melody - Is he flaring when he does this? It may mean he sees his reflection in the tank glass and thinks its another fish.

    • profile image

      Melody 

      4 months ago

      At night I hear my male Betta fish sometimes ram his head into the front of the tank. What does this mean?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      4 months ago from USA

      @Ludvig - I would let the betta eat the regular fish food. I would not worry about betta pellets in a community tank. There is no reason you can't offer them, but the other fish will try to eat them so you may as well feed everyone at once.

      @Victoria - I would stop feeding the blood worms and start feeding a regular flake or pellet. Blood worms are a very meaty food and you may be overfeeding without realizing it. Pellets and flakes are easier to control.

      Bettas can get sick from too much food. I would give him a day to fast, do a water change and get him on a different food.

      In the meantime, keep an eye on his condition and do some reading on different betta diseases. Hopefully he is just bloated, but if he exhibits signs of a specific disease treat accordingly. Good luck!

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      Ludvig 

      4 months ago

      I keep my betta in a 30 gallon tank togheter with 11 cardinal tetras and some other fish. When i feed my tetras the betta is soon there and eats too much food so his stomach gets swollen. And the tetras also likes to eat his betta pellets. How should i feed him his betta pellets?

    • profile image

      Victoria petersen 

      5 months ago

      Hello I’m new at being a Betta owner I’ve had him for six and half months now. I’ve done some research but I am still learning. He has had a filter and it broke when I noticed that he was laying at the bottom I got scared so we change his water the right way but he is still doing this what’s bothering me is that when he swims he swims tightly around in a circle like he is chasing his tail like a dog also it looks like he is swimming crookedly like that as well he has swam at the top after we cleaned the tank but he still at the bottom so please tell me what to do to save him. And also I try hard not to feed him to much and he eats grinded bloodworms

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      5 months ago from USA

      @Alexa - I'm so sorry to hear that.

      @Hemant - I'm not sure what you're asking. Can you explain his behavior in more detail?

    • profile image

      Alexa 

      5 months ago

      My fish died Today September 13 2018

      I’m sad but I’m okay

    • profile image

      Hemant pal 

      5 months ago

      Why my betta is constantly breathing and bottom of tank??

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      5 months ago from USA

      @Duck - I don't think it means anything. It's likely he is seeing himself in the reflection of the glass. Has anything changed with the light level in the room or the time of day you are visiting him?

    • profile image

      Duck 

      5 months ago

      My Betta fish would never flare up at me and just recently started flaring up at the sight of me what does this mean?????

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      5 months ago from USA

      @Jen - It certainly sounds like a swim bladder issue. Is it possible you are over-feeding the little guy? You may want to give him a day or two to fast, and then allow one day of fasting each week. You can also try feeding him a peeled, defrosted frozen pea. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Jenn 

      5 months ago

      My betta has been swimming and floating to top on side for over a month. its still eats, swims from time to time. i added a heater thinking it needed it, gave it epsom salt thinking it had swimbladder (it pooped) and is still on side. what do i do?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      5 months ago from USA

      @Nusj - Betta fish might occasionally change color, but whenever I hear about this I always wonder about stress and illness. Especially since you said his fins don't look right. Have you tested his water to make sure it is within healthy parameters?

    • profile image

      Nusij 

      5 months ago

      My exotic betta fish was white with a bit of red and blue spots after 3 months it became totally blue with red spots on the fins. Why is that?

      And also, although I read that betta normally got this lazy times like staying at the bottom of the tank, i get worried coz it seems doesn't eat the feeds i give, i bought small pellets and give him about 3 pellets the food just drops down the bottom and being eaten. His fins looks unhealthy compared before coz, he doesnt't expand it anymore unlike 3 months ago when I bought him.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      5 months ago from USA

      @Hannah - Something about Gary the Snail has your betta ready to rumble. Maybe give him a day or two to get used to it but otherwise you might want to consider removing the decoration. You don't want your betta stressed all the time. If possible, maybe you could move the decoration somewhere you can see it but it is more blocked from betta's view.

      @Jay - It's always hard to guess why a betta behaves strangely. If you are sure your tank water is in good condition and there seems to be no other health issues it is probably nothing to worry about. You didn't say how close he is to you on the desk, but I'm wondering if your movements might be startling him. Maybe there are reflections or shadows you aren't noticing. Just a thought.

    • profile image

      Jay 

      5 months ago

      Hi Eric,

      I bought a delta tail male about 3 weeks ago and have it in a 2.5 gallon with filter. I read your section on glass surfing but not quite sure if that’s what my betta is doing. Recently, a couple of days ago I noticed when he’s swimming around sometimes he’ll swim to the bottom really fast, lay on the gravel, make his way up slowly, and then swim to the bottom really fast again, sometimes I think he hits the gravel on purpose. He’ll do this about a few before just lounging around. His color is normal doing this. The filter doesn’t push him around. He eats well. Also, apart from him swimming like that, I noticed he swims erratically towards the front of the tank (facing the glass head on) in one place. I’ve noticed him do this twice. Not sure what it means. He seems healthy, has a hiding spot. I work from home so he’s on my desk and I’m able to observe him all day long lol. Thanks!!

    • profile image

      Hannah 

      5 months ago

      Hey, today I got my betta a new and slightly bigger tank. I added a plant and a Gary the snail (from sponge Bob) statue. He keeps trying to fight the statue it seems, he's puffing his hills at it and turning to his side and spreading his find out in front of it.... Should I take it out or is it just because he isn't use to it? Please help!!!

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      6 months ago from USA

      @Terryann - Sorry to hear that! If the water tested okay it may not have been overfeeding but it's hard to say. Perhaps it was just his time.

    • profile image

      Terryann 

      6 months ago

      Hi there I’ve just returned from a 7 day trip away & my beta was very lethargic & sadly he has since passed away (today) , I’ve had my water tested it was perfect, could it be a case of killed by kindness as my neighbour was feeding him

    • profile image

      Banks 

      6 months ago

      My Betta, when all is well, or so I think, suspends and swims easily in the middle of his tank. Sometimes, he sinks and sometimes he can't swim downwards without going back to the top. I imagine it's buoyancy issues and he swims sideways. I've tried the peas but they sink. He is normally on Kyorin pellets. I alternate 3 one morning and two another. I've tried adding flakes in the afternoon....need a consistent pattern. When he's in this condition I move him to a smaller bowl so he doesn't have to struggle so hard to get to the top to eat. He has seashells on the bottom. I've alternated between live plant and artificial. Your information was very useful.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      6 months ago from USA

      @Aneila - There really is no way to know unless you catch them in the act. If you suspect your betta is stressed or getting into altercations it might be time to get him out of there.

    • profile image

      Aniela 

      6 months ago

      My betta has tank mates and often flares at them. One of my fish have a nipped fin and it in a terrible condition. How do i know who is doing it or why? And also my betta is going to the filter and stays there for a long time

    • profile image

      Leslie Michel 

      7 months ago

      Keeping fish has been an important thing to me for ages. It’s been years since I had a Betta. I’m in love with the handsome double tail I have now

    • Deborah Minter profile image

      Deborah Minter 

      8 months ago from U.S, California

      Good article! Betta fish are such neat pets. I saw a Betta fish in a cup in the pet store, the water was evaporating and the cup was only half way full. I usually am a goldfish hobbiest, but I saw the Betta and bought him, my first fish rescue. Now he is as happy as can be in a ten gallon tank.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      8 months ago from USA

      @Kelly - Please see my answer to Jade below re: water changes. As for the plant, I'd keep an eye on him and see if it affects him. He may be fine with it.

    • profile image

      Kelly McCauley 

      8 months ago

      Hello, how many times a month should i change my 10 gallon tanks, water, i just bought a beautiful elephant ear betta and on one side i have silk flowers and the other is plastic, he prefers sleeping in the plastic one but I'm concerned the plastic leaves could hurt his fins, should i replace with silk ?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      8 months ago from USA

      @Jade - Sorry to hear about Ziggy. I know it can be tough. :-(

      With a filter running in the new tank I'd start by changing the water ~20% weekly, and vacuuming the gravel once per month. Watch your water parameters and see if you need to increase or decrease the frequency.

      Some fish keepers like to dose their tanks with aquarium salt at all times as a precautionary measure, but I prefer to save it for when I really need it. It's up to you which strategy you want to use.

      You have to test the water to know when the cycle is complete and the tank is ready for fish. When it comes around to ammonia 0, nitrite 0 and nitrate ~30 ppm you're good to go.

      Good luck!

    • Jadelcsr profile image

      Jade L Fitzgerald 

      8 months ago from Georgia

      Little Ziggy passed yesterday and we were sad. I was also relieved as I hated seeing him like that. Never been so attached to a fish before. He was so interactive. To be honest I never have been into fish before this one. Anyway, plan on getting a new one in a week or two and want to do it right from the start. I looked through your information and read up on everything but want to be sure on a couple of things.

      Have 5 gallon tank with carbon filter system and light. Have a mini heater which is great for the winter but during summer our home is around 76 to 78 degrees because of A/C so I turned off the mini heater when it started getting warmer in the house. I have a non-digital thermometer to keep eye on temp and it’s around 78 to 80 degrees in the water normally. I know to cycle the tank for a few days and check the water parameters before I get another Betta. The biggest issue is cleaning and water changes for the 5 gallon tank. How often do I do water changes and how much of a percentage per water change? I have a gravel cleaner/siphon apparatus to clean gravel. How often do I do that? Should I add aquarium salt at the initial setup? Anything else I should do before adding the Betta? How long should I cycle before I add him? Thanks so much all for your help.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      9 months ago from USA

      You're welcome, Jade. I hope he comes around.

    • Jadelcsr profile image

      Jade L Fitzgerald 

      9 months ago from Georgia

      I just did a 25% water change and added aquarium salt. We thought he was dead for a minute and then he popped back up. Made me and my son jump. Lol. We will see how it goes. I think I’ve been too much of a perfectionist and done too much for him and at this point I have to just keep doing partial water changes and just stop stressing. I honestly don’t think much else will do. He hasn’t come up to eat for a couple days but let’s see how the aquarium salt does. Hopefully that will help. Thanks for all your excellent advice. I’m extremely appreciative.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      9 months ago from USA

      @Jade - The testing kit just tells you your water parameters. You have to take it from there.

      If you haven't tested the water you have no way of knowing if you need pH regulator or not. Even if you do, there are natural ways of doing it, and most fish can adjust to different pH levels, as long as they are constant.

      It's a common mistake to try to make water perfect by adding a bunch of chemicals to it. You only really need those chemicals in certain situations and sometimes not at all.

      If you use a municipal water source you will need a water conditioner. If you have good country well water you might not need anything.

    • Jadelcsr profile image

      Jade L Fitzgerald 

      9 months ago from Georgia

      @Eric Dockett

      I will get a water treatment test. If it’s off I presume the kit will have instructions on what I should use to adjust the water. I’ve been using PH 7.0 regulator and the water purifier since I got him.

      I was over feeding hence the SBD. I have fixed that.

      I vacuum the gravel every week when I change out the 1/4 to 1/3 of water but not sure how great it’s getting the debris out.

      I was cleaning the filter apparatus every month and change the filter every 4 to 5 weeks. I stopped cleaning the whole thing as read that i could be messing up the biofilter cycle. I have changed the carbon filter though every 4 to 5 weeks.

      I only think the white thing isn’t fungus because I’ve been using Kanaplex. However it could be fungus. I read I was supposed to take fish out, do a complete scrub of everything including gravel, start over with clean water, then add medicine and then after letting everything cycle put the fish back in there. Then do partial water changes every couple of days until after week of treatment then take fish out again, do a complete clean, filter change, etc. again before putting fish back in. Then another site said not to do that. It had no white things until this last treatment when one appeared. I wondered if it still had fungus because the fungus is in the water and gravel still.

      So you think I should just do weekly partial water changes and maybe add aquarium salt. Should I stop using Control? PH Regulator? Sorry for so many questions!

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      9 months ago from USA

      @Arna - If you think the foliage (fake plants?) in the tank are harming the fish you should get them (the plants) out of there. I'm also wondering if your white female is getting picked on by the others. It's important to realize that even female bettas are aggressive toward each other.

      Some people keep females in "sorority tanks" to avoid this aggression. To do this correctly you'll need more female bettas, and probably a bigger tank. I suggest doing some research.

      Good luck!

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      9 months ago from USA

      @Jade - It sounds like you have some water quality issues with the illnesses and behaviors you mentioned. I know you said you do water changes, but have you tested your water parameters?

      Is it possible you are overfeeding? This alone can have a huge negative impact on water quality.

      Are you vacuuming the gravel? Cleaning the filter? Small tanks pollute quickly, so these things can have an impact.

      If there is something up with the water, and he is already stressed because of it, making a bunch of changes could make things worse. Taking him out of the tank would certainly make him more stressed.

      If you have a filter he is getting enough oxygen. Even if not, bettas can breathe air above the water, so this shouldn't be a concern.

      That white thing sounds like fungus, but if you're convinced it isn't is it possible he could he be injuring himself on decorations in the tank?

      I would concentrate on clean water and I'd add as little to the tank as possible. Get a water test kit if you can, or take it to a fish store and see if they can test it. If the white thing turns out to be fungus treat for it, but otherwise I don't think I'd add anything other than a little aquarium salt while he heals up.

      Good luck!

    • Jadelcsr profile image

      Jade L Fitzgerald 

      9 months ago from Georgia

      I am at a loss with my Betta. Had him about 9 months. In 5 gal tank with filtration system and heater. Was doing complete water changes and cleaning every month and now know that’s wrong. Although he seemed to do better with that system. He got SBD a few weeks ago and managed to bring him back from that and started doing weekly water changes of 1/4 to 1/3 of water. His fins looked really scraggly and clumped so bought silk plants and Kanaplex to treat him as thought he either had bacterial or fungal infection due to research. Followed treatment plan to the letter and actually did it twice with week of rest between. However I did not do a complete water change before or after treatments and have since read that I should have. No other signs of actual infection but now he has 1 White small ball on his face. Doesn’t look like Ick and I’ve already treated him for fungus but wondering if his water still is infected. He sits at bottom of his tank and hides kind of curved into himself. He’s eating and comes to top of tank when I feed him. But he’s not his normal self. He glass surfs now and again. Thought he wasn’t getting enough oxygen so added small aerator but don’t keep it on all the time. Can’t tell if he likes it or not. The temperature is within ranges. Started using Seachem Control as thought it could be that the biofilter cycle wasn’t correct. I only change out carbon filter every 5 weeks as suggested. I don’t know what else to do. His Fins are still clumped and he has one white spot. He doesn’t swim around like he used to. I’ve spent the last couple of months being stressed over keeping this fish alive. Should i take him out and do complete clean out and start medication again from scratch. If so then do i do a complete clean again after treatment. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. There seems to be so many conflicting instructions out there. Wish I’d found you sooner. Thanks.

    • profile image

      Arna Merrell 

      9 months ago

      if my baby female Betta touches the silk foliage in her 'house' she jumps and swims away. The foliage was put in 3-4 days ago. She is white with huge black eyes, for her size. My two other females are doing well and growing. My white isn't growing. What do I do?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      9 months ago from USA

      @Gabi - If you have a proper filter running there is no need for an air stone. The filter will aerate the water sufficiently. Only use it if you (and your betta) like it.

      I do not think different color lights will bother the fish, but if he acts oddly you'll know I'm wrong. As with any change, monitor his behavior and make a change if needed. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Gabi 

      9 months ago

      Are the changing color LED lights good for a betta? Also what about an Air stone? Do they need it?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      9 months ago from USA

      @S Norment - I wouldn't worry. He may be acclimating to his new home, but bettas can also be a little lazy, and he may have found a spot he likes. Just be sure any current in the tank isn't pushing him into that one area. That could be stressful for him. Good luck!

    • profile image

      S Norment 

      9 months ago

      Just became a betta owner. Set up tank with plants and betta cave, conditioned the water with bettasafe conditioner, placed the heater and water temp is steady at about 78°. We introduced our new betta to the tank last night and he swam around and investigated everything. However, today he's not moved much from from the tall plants around the heater. Is it normal for new betta to be less active when first placed in a tank? Other than not being active, he looks healthy.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      10 months ago from USA

      @Vanessa: Not a good idea to put a female and male betta in the same tank unless you are breeding them and know what you're doing. Betta are aggressive fish, and the male will not likely tolerate the female.

      @Anonymous - Same care guidelines for female bettas as male.

    • profile image

      Vanessa 

      10 months ago

      Is it ok to put a male betta fish and a female betta fish in the same tank? My fish, Galaxy fell out while I was as changing his tank water, so I immediately freaked out and poured water on him, picked him up gently but quickly and put him in a cup and poured spring water on him (which I have always used) and in the rush forgot about his old water and dumped that out and prepared his tank as quickly as possible (which still looks the same as usual) and put him in. Fortunately, he survived all of this but now he is swimming with one fin really close to his body. As I reaserched this, he started getting better and now he’s using both, however I’m noticing the fin he kept close to his body is white/transparentish with purple stripes while his other fin is all purple (like it’s supposed to be). I know this must have really stressed him, however I don’t think that’s the only reason he’s stressed. My other two fish are doing fine I have two males and a female betta. Do you think putting t h female betta with him would help or just stress both of them even more (although the female doesn’t seem stressed). I also thought you should know I keep them all in 1 gallon tanks, which now I know is bad. They all seem fine with this and their set-up, but do you think that could also be part of the reason Galaxy is stressed?

    • profile image

      Anonymous 

      10 months ago

      I read that each male betta fish needs at least five gallons of space, which is very helpful for 2/3 of my fish, but what’s tank size would you recommend for a female betta fish?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      10 months ago from USA

      @Omaha Debbie - I know it is natural to feel bad, but sometimes there is nothing you can do when fish get sick. Just keep trying. It is starting to sound like dropsy, and you are doing all you can do right now by using antibiotics. Keep his water clean and consider dosing his tank with aquarium salt. Avoid overfeeding and feed staple foods like flakes and pellets (avoid bloodworms or anything like that.)

      Hopefully he pulls through, but recovering from dropsy is tough. When we care for these little fish we do the best we can. Sometimes things go wrong anyway, and remember it may not have even been your fault, so don't beat yourself up. Good luck and I hope he recovers.

    • profile image

      Omaha Debbie 

      10 months ago

      And sorry, Eric, one more question. Is my fish suffering? I was honestly looking up some humane euthanasia methods. How will I know if it gets that bad? I really feel bad I put Reggie in this condition.

    • profile image

      Omaha Debbie 

      10 months ago

      So Eric, 2 weeks later and my poor Reggie is still not doing well. His stomach looks ready to explode. I stopped at a local fish store rather than Petsmart - they recommended METROPLEX (treats protozoan parasites and anoerobic bacterial diseases) and FOCUS (antibacterial polymer for internal infections). I’ve mixed these with frozen brine shrimp for the last week. He’s still very interested in eating but just today I noticed his swimming is getting difficult. Is there anything I can do for him? Thank you in advance.

    • profile image

      Omaha Debbie 

      11 months ago

      Thank you, Eric. It means a lot to get some answers. I appreciate you!

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      11 months ago from USA

      @ Melissa - I'm sorry to hear about Willow.

      @ Estban - Don't try to push your betta out of the corner. There is a reason he wants to be there. Current? Tank too small? Lack of hiding spots? Poor water conditions? You have to figure out what that reason is and address it. Good luck!

      @ Omaha Debbie - It could just be constipation and will clear up in time. The pea should help, and you may try giving it to him after his fasting day so he is more likely to eat it. If this persists, I'd be concerned it could be dropsy, especially if his scales start to look strange. In that case I would try dosing his tank with an antibiotic. I think you are doing the right thing by fasting him a day and reducing food intake. Otherwise, just try to keep his was clean and healthy. I hope he pulls out of it. Good luck.

    • profile image

      Melissa 

      11 months ago

      Update,

      Willow died last night.

      His condition deteriorated yesterday and he refused to eat.

      Think perhaps it was too stressful for him

    • profile image

      Esteban 

      11 months ago

      Hello. I have been having problems with my new Betta Fish for the last few hours. It seems like he doesn’t want to get out of one of the corners in my fish tank! I tried making him move but it didn’t work. He looks alive and healthy but it just doesn’t want to get out of the corner. I have 3 decorations in my tank. I have 2 big silk plants and a little dome to hide at. But for some reason it doesn’t want to get out of the corner. Is there another possible solution to solve this problem?

    • profile image

      Omaha Debbie 

      11 months ago

      Bought my 1st Betta at Petsmart almost exactly 1 year ago. He has been living in a National Geographic 2.5 gallon aquarium. He has become very puffy on one side. Scales seem normal. I have tried peas and cutting back his food. Seems he gets better for a day or so then it’s back. I have soaked his pellets for the past few weeks. Also fast him 1 day a week. When I called Petsmart they basically told me to Google it. Beyond disappointing and will never shop there again. Can you help us, please? He’s still very active and still very eager for feeding. Thank you!

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      11 months ago from USA

      @Melissa - In a small tank like that it is possible the filter is too much for him. You have to experiment and see what works. If you choose to go without the filter just make sure you clean the tank weekly. I wouldn't worry too much about oxygen - the important thing is to make sure his water is clean and he is as stress-free as possible. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Melissa 

      11 months ago

      When I got Willow he only came in a normal jar, so I thought it well to put him in a large jar (about 10 liters) and do a complete water change and rinse out the pebbles each Sunday to first get him accustomed slowly to his new environment. This worked great, Willow was very active and checked all the normal betta behavior (curious, eats well, swims about etc). Yesterday I bought a small filter which also blows bubbles and installed it in the tank (thus he went from having no filter and just having regular water changes to having a filter which obviously filters and blows small bubbles for extra oxygen), after that he seemed fine but this morning he was very lethargic and also did not want to eat.

      After my earlier post, I changed his water again (I feared maybe it had accidentally become contaminated with something), cleaned all his ornaments and removed the new filter.

      Now he is back to normal again and eating.

      What is more probable, the water (which is from the same source and has been working fine for the past month) or the bubble blowing filter?

      It is important to note that the filter was on its lowest setting and is the smallest one you can find in my region.

      (DoPhin internal filter KF-350 ,230V ~ 50Hz 4.5 W IPX8)

      (Also, the temperature stayed constant during this whole situation.)

      If it is the filter, how can I introduce it to his tank without stressing him out?

      I'd like him to have a filter so that he has more oxygen in the water but not if it upsets him.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      11 months ago from USA

      @Melissa - Can you explain what you mean by "introduce a new filter system"? Do you mean you replace the filter cartridge every week? If so, this is not necessary, and can even be harmful. Good bacteria live on the filter cartridge and help process waste. However, you should be doing a partial water change every week.

      If he is struggling with the current it could certainly stress him out as well.

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