Betta Fish Care Guide, Facts, and Behaviors

Updated on October 19, 2019
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

All 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 in 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 learn facts about betta fish and find the answers to many frequently asked questions about 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.

Choosing a Betta Tank

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 a 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 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

Betta Fish Tank Accessories

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 old’ 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 Facts 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?

Betta fish eat pellets or flake food, plus foods like blood worms and brine shrimp. 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 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, or your betta could be sleeping.

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 make 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 as 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 in to 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 Do Betta Fish Fight?

Male betta fish are extremely territorial and will viciously fight upon sight of each other, sometimes to the death. You should never house two bettas in the same tank, with the exception of the proper use of a partition. Bettas are ornery critters. This may seem strange, but it is not uncommon in the world of tropical fish.

In the wild, bettas fight for territory, food and to protect their eggs, But, remember, in the wild, each betta fish has much more territory to roam. Male bettas do their best to intimidate others out of their area by flaring and making themselves look bigger, and a scrap may occur if the intruder doesn't back down. However, it isn't likely they will fight to the death.

In aquariums, there is no way for bettas to escape from each other. With the added stress of a confined environment, tankmates and possibly sub-par tank conditions betta aggression can be peaked.

Some bettas are even bred for fighting. This is unfortunate and sad. Betta fighting is a behavior that should not ever be encouraged. Please keep them separated and safe, and enjoy these beautiful fish as the peaceful creatures they are.

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 is 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?

You should never put 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

How Do I Know If My Betta Fish Is Sick?

People often think their fish is sick when really it is just betta being betta. However, there are some signs to watch out for that will clue you into 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 a 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?

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.

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

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 duller. Some pet stores sell female bettas, but they are not nearly as common.

Take Good Care of Your Betta!

Betta fish 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!

How is your Betta Care knowledge?

Do you feel confident that you know all the facts to properly care for your Betta fish?

See results

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Questions & Answers

  • How many pellets would you recommend to feed a male betta?

    Only feed him two or three pellets at a time, and no more than what he will consume in about two minutes. This might not seem like enough, but realize his stomach is only about the size of his eye.

    Over-feeding betta fish is one of the biggest causes of illness and premature death. Some fish will over-eat available food to the point of making themselves sick. Chronic over-feeding will pollute the water with uneaten food and excess waste, thus allowing more algae to grow.

    So take care to feed the appropriate amount of food whether you choose pellets or flakes. Feeding too much food could mean an early demise for your beloved betta.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • What does it mean if my betta fish is not eating?

    It could be a sign of illness, and if your fish is not eating you’ll want to look for other indications such as a bloated belly, ragged scales or deteriorating fins to diagnose the issue.

    However, before jumping to conclusions, there are a few more things to consider. If you are accidentally overfeeding your betta, there is a chance he simply isn’t in the mood for food when you present it. He may pick at old food in the gravel when he gets hungry, which you may not notice. He may be eating plenty, but there is simply way too much food.

    Overfeeding is a major cause of illness for bettas, and if you are giving him too much food, there is a good chance he will become sick if he isn’t already. Only feed once per day and only as much as he’ll eat in a couple of minutes.

    If you’ve gotten off-track with his feeding schedule, you can try vacuuming the debris and old food from the gravel and then give him a day or two of fasting. He may then be more interested in the food you present, and more likely to eat it when it is fresh.

    There is also the chance your betta could be stressed. If there is something lacking in his environment, or the tank is too small, or the water is polluted, or any number of other issues, he could be stressed to the point where he is not eating. Look at his overall situation and check his water parameters. If something seems off, fix it.

    Finally, realize that bettas are not necessarily big eaters. A few pellets or a small pinch of flakes once per day is all he needs. Don’t expect him to eat more than that, and if he doesn’t eat for a couple of days, it doesn’t always mean something is wrong.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image

      Abbey 

      13 days ago

      Thanks for getting back to me so quickly, I really appreciate it. I will definitely try switching up the tank decorations and see if that helps. I have not yet tried flakes, so I’ll get some and see if I can get him to eat anything other than bloodworms.

      Thanks so much!

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      13 days ago from USA

      @Abbey - I'm trying to get into the mind of a betta fish and imagine why in the world he would eat bubbles. The only thing I can come up with is lack of stimulation or stress. I might try changing the decorations around in the tank, or adding something new so he feels like he's in a different environment. I have no idea if it will help, but it seems like an easy experiment to see if it makes a difference. Have you tried feeding flake food? Six bloodworms per day seems a lot for one betta. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Abbey 

      13 days ago

      Hi! I have a half-moon Betta that I have had for 4 months. I have him in a 3 gallon, low flow tank that is specially designed for Bettas. However recently, he has been gulping the bubbles he produces when he breathes like they are food. He waits till the bubble hit the filter flow and then gulps them down like food. Because of this, he seems to have a swollen abdominal and is unable to swim down. I am very careful to make sure he is not over feed (I feed him 2-3 bloodworms twice as day as he refuses to eat any type of pellet) so I don’t think over feeding is the issue. I think his bubble gulping is causing a swim bladder issue... but I can’t figure out how to make him stop eating bubbles. Any ideas?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      3 weeks ago from USA

      @snwdrp: I could only guess about whether your betta is stressed or not. Knowing water parameters would help. Bettas are tropical fish and best kept at tropical temperatures. If it is too cold in his tank it could stress him out. If the water quality is poor it could stress him out. It's just impossible for me to guess without knowing readings for things like temperature, ammonia, nitrate, nitrite and whether your water has any additives like chlorine.

      If you think he is okay on all of that, he may just be excited for some reason. Watch for signs of illness and stress, and consider a heater.

    • profile image

      snwdrp 

      3 weeks ago

      Hello! My friend gave me this tiny little koi betta few days ago in a tiny cup. I went to the shop today and bought a 2.5 gallon tank together with some decor and a filter for him. I've washed and setup everything and transferred my betta into the new tank.I did ask the shopkeepers whether or not if i need a heater, they say i dont need one.

      Anyways, after that, he keeps swimming around non-stop. I cant tell whether if he's happy or stressed at this point.

      He keeps going onto the surface. im not sure if he's breathing or just trying to make "bubble nests" cause the bubble pops every time he goes up and blow a bubble/breathe.

      I feed him as usual and he eats them. No white spots no nothing, his color is still the same, vibrant.

      Is he just happy/the tank's got problem/i really need a heater?

      Looking forward to your reply!

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      4 weeks ago from USA

      @Chanelle - Unless he seems sick or injured I wouldn't assume you are doing anything wrong. Sometimes bettas are just lazy. I suggest you read up on betta care (this article is a good start) and make sure you are changing his water and maintaining his tank correctly. Learn about diseases so you can watch for signs that he is ill. Just learn as much as you can and do your best. That's all any of us can do.

    • profile image

      Chanelle 

      4 weeks ago

      Thanks Eric, I tried feeding him today and he did not come again. He doesn’t belong to me, I take care of him at my work and I’m not sure when the last owners cleaned the tank, it’s the type that looks like a wall hanging. Since the place was newly bought over we have no idea where to begin with cleaning the tank and we have no idea how old the Betta is..he’s very quite and sits at the bottom a lot and hardly moves at times and it worries me. I keep his aquarium at 25 degrees C but it fluctuates at times. I’m not sure if he’s ill or if it’s just his character. He used to swim around but now I notice he’s hardly doing that. He doesn’t look sick, I mean his fins look fine, I bought I plant cuz I read they like to hide, but when I put it in the tank he showed no interest and still sat there at the bottom. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, I’ve never taken care of a fish before and have no idea about their behavioural traits. I would really love to hear what u think. Thankyou.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      4 weeks ago from USA

      @Chanelle - Unless you see other signs of disease or injury I would not worry.

    • profile image

      Chanelle 

      4 weeks ago

      My Betta, used to come up for food but he hasn’t been doing that lately.. he just sits at the bottom and waits till the food comes to the bottom, he seems to look ok, but I’m a little concerned by his behaviour. Pls help!

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      7 weeks ago from USA

      @Sarah - I'm glad your betta is eating now! You can turn his light off at night when you go to bed. Bettas need day/night cycle just like we humans

    • profile image

      sarah 

      7 weeks ago

      should i keep the light on my betta tank turned on at all times? or should i keep it off sometimes?

      p.s. u were right he eats the pellets perfectly now!

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      8 weeks ago from USA

      @Emma - Cycling a tank for a betta is just as important as for any other fish. You need to test the water with a freshwater testing kit to know when it is cycled. It's not hard, and there is no reason to worry. I intend to write an article about it at some point, but until there there are a lot of great resources already on the web to tell you how to cycle an aquarium.

      The tank may cycle in a week, or it may take a little longer. There really is no way to say. That's why you have to test the water.

      Good luck!

    • profile image

      Emma 

      8 weeks ago

      How important is nitrogen cycling and establishing a tank environment for a betta? My lil guy was a gift and came in a bowl. As of now doing once in 2 day water changes. I am eager to move him into a 7 gallon tank that I just bought. But the nitrogen cycling seems so daunting that I am afraid of putting him in stress. Can I introduce him there after I set it up with a few plants in a week?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      8 weeks ago from USA

      @sarah - This is common betta behavior. My guess is that he will eat the pellets eventually, but you can try feeding flake food to see if he likes it better.

    • profile image

      sarah 

      8 weeks ago

      i just got my male betta a couple days ago and noticed when i feed him he'll take the pellet into his mouth, chew on it a little bit, and then spit it out. every single time, does this mean he isnt hungry or that he doesnt like the food? should i get a different brand? right bow im giving him the API betta pellets

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      2 months ago from USA

      @Maddie - A one-gallon tank is way too small for two female bettas. If you intend to keep more than one female it is best to have four or five in order to cut down on aggression and bullying. For that you would need a minimum ten-gallon tank. These are often referred to as "sorority tanks"

    • profile image

      maddie 

      2 months ago

      I have two female bettas in a 1 gallon tank. I want to get a third seeing as one of them is getting “bullied”. should I go up a tank size if I am getting a new fish?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      3 months ago from USA

      @Velma - How is he getting into the bubbler tube? The bottom should be in the gravel and the force of the bubbles from the air stone should prevent him from getting in the top. I'm having trouble picturing what is happening here.

      I can't even guess why he'd do this. As for it hurting him, if he can get in and out on his own and his fins aren't getting damaged he'll probably be fine. If he is getting stuck it is a problem.

      Are you turning the bubbler off and he is swimming in? If you aren't using the bubbler you can simply remove the tube. It is not necessary if you aren't using the filter.

      Again, I am having trouble picturing the situation, so it is hard to say.

    • profile image

      velma 

      3 months ago

      i am a new betta owner and mine keeps going into the bubbler tube in a 2.5 gallon tank he has his castle to hide in and plants.why is he doing this for and will it harm him?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      4 months ago from USA

      @Angela - If your water parameters are okay and you see no signs of illness or injury I wouldn't worry. It's tough to guess why bettas do what they do sometimes. I would keep an eye out for signs of trouble if he is acting strangely, but otherwise there isn't much you can do. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Angela 

      4 months ago

      Hi, your article was very informational.

      I have had a betta for over a year now. He is in a 5 gallon tank with a heater. He was perfectly fine before - healthy appetite, weekly water changes, swimming around happily. Recently I noticed he was spending a lot of time closely behind his piece of driftwood, just sitting there. Occasionally he would come up and swim up and down the corner of the tank and go back to his spot. The only other time he would come up is when he sees me. He still has a huge appetite and all the water parameters are fine, but it has been worrying me because this was just recent behavior and he wasn't like this before. It might just be because he doesn't have a little cave to hide in, but I am still worried. I only see him during the evening, so maybe he might be a bit tired, and might not be like that during the day. I will be getting a hiding place for him and see if he stops. I am just wondering if there is anything wrong with him or what I am doing. Thanks.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      4 months ago from USA

      @Elena - It's hard to guess. He may be searching for food. I wouldn't let it worry you.

    • profile image

      Elena 

      4 months ago

      My Betta fish keeps moving his pebbles around in the corner of his tank, what does it mean?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      4 months ago from USA

      @Sammy- Without knowing more about the tank I can only guess why your betta might be glass surfing. I'd say maybe the guppies are stressing him out. They are fast-moving, colorful fish. Was he in with them before?

      @Bree - Distilled water is not the best choice for bettas as it has all of the minerals removed. I don't think this would have caused what you described though. What was the water temp?

      @Tatiana - A filter is a good idea. As for the decorations, I would see how the betta reacts and if he is always bumping into things perhaps remove a few items. Bettas can tear their fins on plastic plants and other decorations, so you don't want him overcrowded.

    • profile image

      Tatiana 

      4 months ago

      Hi! I have a betta fish and a 5 gallon tank. Do i need a filter?

      Regarding the decorations, my 5 gallon tank has 3 tress (artificial), a bridge, a cave and a little fake turtle. Do you think it might be too much? Thanks!

    • profile image

      BreeS 

      4 months ago

      I changed the water in my bettas bowl and i used regular distilled water. When i put him back in the water he basically went straight to sleep is that normal?

    • profile image

      Sammy 

      4 months ago

      I just moved my betta in a new lager tank, glass swimming. But my other guppies are acting normal. Does he miss his old home?

    • profile image

      Fin rot 

      5 months ago

      Thank you. For your reply.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      5 months ago from USA

      @Manchas - If you feed once a day you only need to feed one type of food. If you feed more than that you can vary it, but it is very important not to overfeed your betta.

      @fin rot - You will notice his fins deteriorating and there is often a dark discoloration around the edges.

    • profile image

      Manchas 

      5 months ago

      Do ypu just feed one food a day to a betta or is it more like for ex:say you fed him bloodworms do you have to feed him palettes to or no

    • profile image

      Fin rot question 

      5 months ago

      How do I know my Beta has fin rot? He was very active and ive noticed his bottom fins are stragly with manu short. The front ones have turned white at the bottom and not he has a lighter color patch on his head. He is snuggling into his plant at the bottom of the tank.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      5 months ago from USA

      @Oya - Unless you see other signs of disease or distress I would not worry. Some bettas swim a lot, while others are more lazy.

    • profile image

      Oya 

      5 months ago

      Hi!

      I am new to my betta fish. He seems stationary, like stays in one location, upper half of the water, close to the glass, and does not move at all. Is this normal?? Fins are open but no move at all.

      And recently saw him almost be on the side from time to time, lays flat for few seconds, then takes his stationary position, which scares me.

      Are they supposed to move/swim a lot or no?

      Can you please advice??

      Thank you!

    • profile image

      HopiCat 

      5 months ago

      Thanks Eric~

      I'm now doing daily water changes in hopes that does something positive but the water always tests out pristine anyway so not holding out much hope!

      The tank treatments were last resort measures. If you had seen what was happening to Raggedy Man I believe even you may have tried them!

      The plastic plants have all been "panty- hose" tested and I spent three hours filing making sure the Tardis hideout had absolutely no rough edges inside or out. I rotate the plants out monthly to help prevent boredom (if they actually DO get bored! ).

      He has SO much personality it makes me sick to think he may be suffering.

      Funny, my other betta is LAZY, even a slow eater and I'm not nearly as attached!

      Oh well, thanks again! I'll just keep trudging along.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      5 months ago from USA

      @HopiCat - I would stick with what you are doing, with a preference for clean water over the use of meds. Fin re-growth takes time, and things like too much current or rough plastic plants can inhibit it. Sounds like you have the current issue under control, but I'm wondering if he is bumping the plastic plants. Have you tried removing them for a while to see if it makes a difference?

    • profile image

      HopiCat 

      5 months ago

      I am at a complete loss over my once beautiful white betta, Raggedy Man.

      I thought I would rescue him from a tropical fish store back in September of 2018 but it has turned into a full on battle! I was pretty sure he was developing fin rot from the beginning. He's in a 5 gallon Marineland Portrait filtered aquarium with a 25w Cobalt heater (80° regularly monitored). 25% water change weekly at minimum using Seachem Prime and Stability. I use the API Master Test Kit - PH 7.6 (a bit high but still acceptable! ) Ammonia 0; Nitrites 0; Nitrates 0-10. Plastic plants, Marimo moss ball, Tardis to hide in (which he rarely does!). The filter is adjustable but even so, he doesn't love the flow so I have a bit of filter floss slowing it down. Hikari Bio-Gold pellets and rare treat of a frozen blood worm or two. He has a ravenous appetite but I don't ever cave in to it!

      RM's fins are horrendous! Ruffled, thin, top fin clump, and occasional bloody looking spots and streaks!! I can rid the bloody spots fairly easily with water changes and a bit of salt but they are constantly recurring! I have tried Jungle, Mardel Bactersheild, API Melafix and Pimafix! I follow the directions to the Nth degree! No matter, the only improvement is in the reduction and temporary elimination of the bloody spots! His only tank mate is a Zebra nerite snail.

      I have another male beta in a separate Marineland tank about 8" away but they don't even seem to notice each other. Neither exhibit any stressed behaviors. And my other betta is perfectly healthy.

      Any ideas of how I can promote healthy fin regrowth on my poor guy??

      I absolutely cannot figure this out!

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      5 months ago from USA

      @Lyss - If you think your betta has been overfed you can try fasting him for a couple of days, then get back to a regular feeding schedule.

      @Cline - I would not use tea tree oil in a betta tank, and I would only use aquarium salt if he is recovering from an injury or illness. There are medications that incorporate tea tree oil which are a little safer than using the pure product. In my opinion, it is far better to maintain good tank conditions than rely on preventative additives. Nothing beats clean, healthy water at the right temperature.

    • profile image

      Cline 

      5 months ago

      Is it safe to add aquarium salt and tea tree oil to a tank together? I like to use tea tree oil for my betta tanks as it has helped with my fish June when his fins where torn from being eaten from his tank filter and then three months later he got fin rot due to very cold temperatures and stress (I’m assuming) and after giving him tea tree oil each time he did a lot better and was more active but I’m afraid to mix aquarium salt into my new betta I just got that has very short fins that doesn’t look like any betta I ever had (crown tail but the spikes are weirdly short). The fear of mixing the two has made me be wary of giving my betta fish the oil or the salt unless I do a 50-100% water change. Am I overreacting to this in the sense that it is safe to use both?

    • profile image

      Lyss 

      5 months ago

      About 5 days ago my beta looked like a ballon ( my roommate watch him while I was out of town) I have him bites of peas for 2 days and then didn’t feed for two days. He came back to normal size. Yesterday he was floating at the top of the tank, the filter current was just pushing him around. He seemed so weak. I was able to get him to eat 4 pelts of food. Today my betta is just sitting at the bottom of the tank. He doesn't come up for food or the way he used to. His gills are barely moving and he is only opening his mouth a little bit.

      I actually thought he was dead at first, but now I think he really is almost dead. Yesterday I could touch him and he wouldn’t even react. Today he’s staying at the bottom.

      I have a 3 gallon filtered and heated tank. I’ve had him for going on 3 years. I did a water change today to see if that would help. But he hasn’t moved much, randomly goes to the surface but is very uninterested in good with is not like him. HELP! I think my roommate over fed and i don’t know if he’ll recover.

    • profile image

      Unknown 

      6 months ago

      This thing about glass surfing is true.My betta fish once had this and I was scared.He kept hiding away from me because the water was too hot.After we fixed the tempature , he was happy again.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      6 months ago from USA

      @Emma - 1. If you think your filter is causing problems you should consider getting a different filter. You haven't given me any other info so I can't suggest why the problem might exist.

      2. Both fish should have a hiding spot.

      3. In my opinion that tank is too small for 2 betta fish.

      Good luck!

    • profile image

      Emma 

      6 months ago

      1. I just got a new tank where there is a divider in the middle so I can have two bettas. I think the filter in the tank was messing up one of my fishes fins and like tearing it. So I decided to switch the sides the bettas were on and now it is happening to my other fish. What should I do??

      2. I have a ship that has a hole in it so my betta can hide I there for one of my fish and he really likes it. Should I get another place for my other fish to hide?

      3. My tank is only 2.5 gallons plus it has a divider In the middle so that makes it even smaller. Is it bad that it is this small?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      6 months ago from USA

      @Amber - If your betta is having issues swimming straight he may be having swim bladder issues. This is commonly caused by overfeeding and constipation. You can try skipping a day or two of feeding. Some fish keepers like to feed their bettas pieces of blanched frozen peas to help clear things up.

      A filter shouldn't make your water cold. To make the water warmer you'd use the appropriate heater. Betta fish need tropical temperatures between 75 and 80 degrees.

    • profile image

      Amber 

      6 months ago

      I have a couple questions. 1 can filters in a 5 gallon aqquarium make the water cold even though there is a heater in the aquarium and 2 how do I make the water warmer

    • profile image

      Amber Calhoun 

      6 months ago

      I need help with my betta. She is not swimming. She is at the top of the tank not sideways but straight up and down. She will not eat. She is in a bigger tank. Im concernee the water is to cold as well. She does have decorations but they are at the bottom and she hasnt tried swimming down to get in the house or to lay on the leaves. What should i do?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      6 months ago from USA

      @Oakgirl - Can you describe the "cloudy stuff"? Could it be bubbles?

    • profile image

      Oakgirl 

      6 months ago

      my betta fish's water has cloudy stuff at the top that keeps returning. i have done research but i need help.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      7 months ago from USA

      @Emmakate - Betta fish require tropical temperatures. If the water is too cold it could make him stressed. It's also possible he just found a spot in the tank he really likes.

    • profile image

      Emmakate 

      7 months ago

      i got my 2nd Betta fish like 3 days ago, and first 2 days he would swim around and explore all the time, but now all he does is like go into his plant and stay there ALL day. He won't eat his food until about 1 hour after i give it to him. He gets fead 1 time a day at 3 pellets. I prob should not be freaking out but i am. I did order a heater because on the thermometer its a little cold but its been like that all week. Could it be because of cold water? is it good to use a heater?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      7 months ago from USA

      @Aiden - I would guess she is stressed for some reason. The male betta could be one reason, but there could be others. I wouldn't not try to keep a male and female in the same tank.

      @cassius - Testing you water would give you a good idea of what is happening. A water change may help if the tank water has become polluted while you were on your trip.

    • profile image

      cassius13 

      7 months ago

      so i just got back from a trip and he was fine when we left when we got back he was at the bottom i tapped on the top of my 3.5 gallon tank. (i trained him to come when i tap the top) he move around a bit so i thought he was okay. i came back to check up on him again to feed him and he didn't respond and was hiding behind one of my fake plants i have in the tank he was breathing very heavily and i have never see him do this. should i do a water change or would that stress him out

    • profile image

      Aiden Dizon 

      7 months ago

      I have 1 male Betta, and 1 female Betta in the same tank. The male Betta is building his bubble nest, but the female is just laying in one of the corners. I have one plant inside so it can hide and camouflage since it’s the same color. But why is my female Betta still staying in that one corner?

    • profile image

      muscleguy32 

      7 months ago

      I have successfully kept a male betta in a community tank (gouramis, not large, small school fish) and around 3 females.

      When the male made a bubble nest in the tank or one of the females was obviously gravid I would move the male to a small breeding tank and feed him up on live/frozen food until he made a nest then add the gravid female.

      You need then to add something like an upturned plant pot propped on something for the female to hide in after mating or be around and get her out when mating has finished. Females are egg eaters and the male will drive her away to protect 'his' eggs.

      I have bred bettas and other anabantids successfully multiple times. Been through multiple jars floating in the tank each with a small male in them (water changed very regularly) when they start to display at each other. I used to get good prices from the local shop for my home bred fish.

      But female bettas are fine in groups, even with a male around if given enough room (15g tank, very well planted)

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      7 months ago from USA

      Hi Jichu1337! I covered such issues in the Q and A section above. Please check it out for an in-depth explanation of what could possibly be going on.

      Good luck with your betta!

    • profile image

      Jichu1337 

      7 months ago

      Well my betta seemed to be doing good but ive notices some strange behavior(atvleastvto me anyway) hes in his own 10gal tank and its got a above water filterations system its not very harsh and latly hes taken to swining up to it and letting his tail fin get suck to the filter housing at first i thought he was stuck but when i went to free him he swam away and up towards me and the net after about three time i am unsure whether he just likes it if so is it dangerous for him and if so how do instop it?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      8 months 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 

      9 months 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 

      9 months ago

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

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      9 months 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 

      9 months 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 

      9 months 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 

      9 months 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 

      9 months 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 

      9 months 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 

      9 months 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 

      9 months ago from Florida

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

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      9 months 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 

      9 months 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 

      9 months ago

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

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      9 months ago from USA

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

    • profile image

      Jack 

      9 months 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 

      9 months 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 

      9 months 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 

      9 months 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!

    • profile image

      Camryn 

      10 months 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 

      10 months 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 

      10 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 

      10 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 

      10 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 

      10 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 

      10 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 

      10 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 

      11 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.

    • profile image

      Bettabnewby 

      11 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 

      12 months ago

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

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      12 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.

    • profile image

      Kathy 

      12 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 

      12 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 

      12 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 

      12 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.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pethelpful.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)