Halfmoon Betta Fish Care and Tips

Updated on November 5, 2015
A crowntail betta, in the same family as halfmoon betta fish.
A crowntail betta, in the same family as halfmoon betta fish.

Betta fish are beautiful and elegant pets. Often called Siamese fighting fish, Bettas are vibrant and can live from two to four years with the proper care.

As small as they are, bettas need specific care. They are tropical fish with space and temperature requirements to stay healthy. If you are thinking about getting a betta, please do your research first. If you buy one from a general pet store, chances are you won't get the right advice about how to care for your fish. Read on to learn the following:

  • About betta fish
  • Aquarium sizes and necessary inclusions
  • Water temperature
  • Bringing a betta home safely
  • Food
  • Cleaning the tank
  • Signs of good health

About Betta Fish

Betta fish like rocks with hiding places.
Betta fish like rocks with hiding places.

Halfmoon betta fish are among the prettiest tropical fish species, due to their 180-degree, fan-like tails. They are known for their brilliant colors—red, blue, green, purple, and orange—and large, flowing fins.

Betta fish have been kept as pets in Thailand and Malaysia since before the 19th century. The males were bred to fight each other. Naturally aggressive, pet betta fish fight longer and more ferociously than they would in the wild.

Betta fish fights became popular in Thailand in the mid-1800s. By the 1890s it became common for Europeans to keep bettas as pets too and the species was imported to France, Germany, and then Moscow.

It is incorrectly thought that bettas are low-maintenance pets. One reason is that they have what is called a labyrinth organ, that allows them to breathe air at the water's surface. It used to be thought that this trait meant the fish could live happily in an unmaintained aquaria. In fact, poor water quality will make any tropical fish, including betta, more susceptible to disease, including fin rot.

Best Tanks for Betta Fish

A  tank of at least five gallons is best for a pet betta fish.
A tank of at least five gallons is best for a pet betta fish.

Bettas are quite sensitive to habitat changes. You may be told that your betta will live happily in a small fishbowl. This is not true.

  • Betta fish live longer, happier lives when they have ample space. Five gallon aquariums are best.
  • Bettas can live with other fish, but a male should never live with another male, as they will fight one another.

Ideal Aquarium Conditions

Tank Size
Temperature
Filter
Heater
At least five gallons (19 liters).
73-81 °F (23-27 °C).
Under-gravel type with adjustable control.
To keep the water at approximately 76 °F.

Inside the Tank

Plants
Rocks
Decor
Real or silk plants are best, to avoid cutting the betta's fins.
Lava rocks work well, as long as they are not sharp. Good bacteria will grow in the rock's porous surfaces.
Find something big enough to give your betta a place to hide when they want to.

Buying a Betta and Bringing it Home

The best places to find a healthy betta is an aquarium store or breeder.
The best places to find a healthy betta is an aquarium store or breeder.

The best place to be sure that you are getting a healthy betta fish is to buy one from a store that cares for their fish under excellent conditions.

  • Are the bettas living in little cups or bowls? If so, this is not a good place to buy your fish.
  • Are the fish active, colorful, and living well with other fish in an aquarium? If so, then this is a store that knows what it is selling.
  • If you choose to buy a fish online, look for an experienced dealer or breeder. Ask them about the conditions in which they keep the fish and how they will ship the live fish to you. Also, ask to see pictures of the fish before making a purchase.

Have the tank ready, with water, live plants, and rocks when you bring your betta home.
Have the tank ready, with water, live plants, and rocks when you bring your betta home.

Acclimating to a New Tank

When you bring your betta home from the store (or receive it in the mail), have their tank ready.

  • Fill the tank about 24 hours before introducing your new fish. Add a basic water conditioner (follow the directions on the bottle). The water should be de-chlorinated and the right temperature by the time you introduce your fish.
  • Place your betta in a container, or keep it in its original container. Slowly pour out about 1/4 of the water in the container and replace it with tank water.
  • After about 5-10 minutes, do this again, but take out a little bit more water this time.
  • Repeat this three times, every 5-10 minutes.
  • Finally, use a net to release your betta into its new tank.

What to Feed Your Betta

Look for fish food that is made of meat.
Look for fish food that is made of meat.

Betta fish are actually carnivores. They do best when they eat meat, including:

  • bloodworms
  • dried shrimp
  • mosquito larvae
  • live brine shrimp

They also enjoy a peeled, cooked pea once a week (yes, an ordinary green pea!).

Do not over-feed your betta! Once a day, at the same time, is fine. Observe how much they eat and stick to that amount. These small fish need less food than you think!

Keeping the Tank Clean

If you have a filter in place, cleaning the tank once a week is enough.
If you have a filter in place, cleaning the tank once a week is enough.

A lot of the "dirt" that develops in a fish tank cannot be seen. This includes chemicals like ammonia, which builds up very quickly. It is important to use a good water conditioner that removes heavy metals, chorine, and chloramines.

  • With that in mind, if you have a filter then cleaning the tank every week is sufficient. This does not mean replacing all the water in your tank. Do a 50% water change only, to reduce the chance of shock to your fish.
  • Get a test kit. If the test shows high ammonia, nitrite, or nitrate, then do a larger water change to get levels back to 0.
  • Make sure to vacuum the gravel once a week (with a special aquarium vacuum).
  • If you have no filter in place, you should get one. In the meantime, change 25% of the water every other day.
  • Some bettas like to jump and can easily jump out of their tanks. If this is your fish, keep a lid on their tank!

Watch Your Fish: Signs of Good Health

• Bright, vibrant color.

• Smooth, gliding movements.

• Healthy appetite.

• Smooth, clean, and unblemished.

• Tails and fins are not drooping.

A healthy betta is a happy betta!
A healthy betta is a happy betta!

A Fish Owner's Poll

What do you like best about having a betta fish?

See results

Questions & Answers

  • Can I introduce other fish to my betta?

    Yes, provided they aren’t equally aggressive fish. Females get along with other aquarium fish better than males, which will be more territorial.

  • If I put a male betta with a female, will the male attack the female?

    Often, yes. In a large enough tank, maybe not. Keep in mind that they might also breed repeatedly and leave you with a lot of babies.

  • Will a female betta attack another female?

    There’s potential, but I’ve housed two females in a ten-gallon tank without issues. It depends on the size and temperament of the fish. But females are generally less aggressive than males.

  • My beta fish hides vertically on the back wall of his bowl most of the time. He does come out to eat. Otherwise, I don't get to see him, what is wrong?

    Nothing sounds overly wrong- some betta fish are shyer than others and prefer hiding spots. Make sure your fish has one or two covered areas to retreat to, but otherwise this can be considered normal fish behavior.

Comments

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    • profile image

      Hussam 

      3 weeks ago

      Where can I find free Betta Fishes ?

    • profile image

      Morgan 

      7 weeks ago

      I just got my bettas two dyas ago and they are both in .5 gallon tanks right next to each other (dont worry, theres a blinder so they cant see each other) my white one pearl, is constanly stiking to th surface of the water and doesnt really eat. my blue one, king, ill put thefoos in his mouth them spit it back out. he also hides a lot but when he does, he goes on his side under the plant. I was wondering if any of this is abnormal and also if they will be ok without a bigger tank, heater, and filter because i cant afford them right now. My email is mot042305@gmail.comm. Thanks!

    • profile image

      Anshi 

      2 months ago

      Got one today and name her luna

    • profile image

      Jeron Stone 

      4 months ago

      I got a halfmoon betta fish and we got him a half gallon aquarium. Should we get a bigger aquarium? He seems to do fine in a half gallon aquarium.

    • profile image

      Katrina,Janis 

      6 months ago

      My Betta is always Asleep and he only moves for food,is this a problem if so or not,What Should i do?

    • profile image

      Selina 

      10 months ago

      My betta is not eating the food and looks dull..and likes to stay at one place only most of the time..what shall I do..?

    • profile image

      Chrishelle sands 

      10 months ago

      I've had my Betta for about a year now and he doesn't swim around. He lays at the top of his tank all day. I feed him at most 1 day and sometimes he doesn't eat what do I do? How can I help him? My email is: Chrishelle2004@gmail.com

    • profile image

      Maria 

      11 months ago

      I got one today and I named it Rainbow(Rain, Raina)

    • profile image

      EZ-E_14 

      13 months ago

      How big do halfmoon betta get

    • profile image

      Isabella 

      15 months ago

      I just got one and named it Eclipse

    • profile image

      lol 

      15 months ago

      hi I got a new halfmoon betta and its royal blue, I'm kinda paranoid about their fins tearing because its perfect, but their anal fins starting like cutted edges?

    • profile image

      Funnyman 

      16 months ago

      I got a new beta fish..... Named Wanda. Lol get it? A fish called Wanda?

    • profile image

      Jonas A. 

      16 months ago

      Do they really need a 5 gallon tank? My betts lives happily in a 2 gallon tank.

    • profile image

      K. 

      17 months ago

      How oftentimes should the water be changed?

    • profile image

      sameer 

      18 months ago

      Your correct but my half moon is in brown copper with red colour but its fin rots what can i do but it is rotting only in the edges give any helpful video for this question and and i have it in 8 gallon tank with real plants ,a bowl inside the tank with 6 kg stone

    • profile image

      J.nwarner 

      2 years ago

      Pets Supplies Plus in Marlton. Healthy Bettas. Great store. Very clean. Love shopping there.

    • profile image

      Randy N 

      2 years ago

      What kind of aquarium is that in your photos? Brand name? Looks like a greta setup! I want one! :) Thnaks for the article - lots of good info!!

    • profile image

      Gracey K. 

      2 years ago

      My Halfmoon was a very active little fish and swam around joyfully in his 16 gal tank. Recently he came down with fin rot, ich and dropsy, which is a shock since I always keep a clean tank and a good temp, I also feed him proper nutrition. I decided it must be either that other fish I brought in had this with them or he has suffered from these diseases before. A couple days later, I put him in a quarantine tank and started treating him. I give him Epsom salt baths, I put in tetracycline and put in a pinch of ginger for the first few days to help his liver. I'm hoping for the best, however many fish do not survive dropsy and he is already very weak as it is. He eats but getting him to come to the surface is the problem since he always lays at the bottom and won't really move.

      My point is, before anyone gets a Betta, do your research about diseases and such so you can catch them and treat them before they get to serious that you can't save your fish! I waited a little to long before I started treating my fish and that was a mistake, because now I don't know if he'll make it. The only thing I can do is hope and pray he will be okay. So take this a warning and maybe go pick up a few REALLY GOOD medications such as Maracyn 2 or API's T.C. Tetracycline, aquarium salt or Epsom salts so you can be prepared if your little fishy gets ill. I wasn't prepared at all for any of these sicknesses to happen. Do yourself and you Betta a favour!

      :)

    • profile image

      Ky 

      2 years ago

      My betta is very inactive. I am not sure if he is sick or tired. Anyone know what to do?

    • profile image

      BK 

      2 years ago

      My half moon was fine yesterday, very active and personality plus. Today it died. Water tests were great. What happened?

    • profile image

      five nights at Freddy's 

      2 years ago

      My betta fish is happy!.

    • profile image

      Ranen Dey 

      2 years ago

      This sight will be helpful to everybody who will follow it continuously and apply the instructions correctly. Thanks!

      Ranen Dey

    • profile image

      alastair 

      2 years ago

      i just got a new half moon betta from pets smart its name is vv i feed it 2 times a day 3 blood worms i havent tried the peas but i think i will thanks for the info :-)

    • profile image

      Thatoneguy 

      3 years ago

      My favourite local pet store gets new shipments of bettas every Friday and they have a pretty decent variety of half moons, and to make it better it's hard to come across a half moon there that is sick cause most of their bettas are in great condition

    • profile image

      Madison 

      3 years ago

      I just got 2 halfmoons yesterday. One is a red betta named Bob and the other is a white betta named King Triton. Thank you so much this helped and they are very happy so far!

    • profile image

      Mark 

      3 years ago

      I bought my cat for his birthday a male half moon betta today at pet smart. I have him in a 10 gallon tank filtered and heated. I do suggest a small filter system though. It seems like the current from the filter I have is a little much for him. My cat love watching him though.

    • profile image

      sunny 

      3 years ago

      I liked my beta with garlic and just a little tomato sauce...

    • profile image

      Crystal 

      3 years ago

      AWESOME THANKS! I got a salamander halfmoon betta with dumbo fins and he loved the place! (He loves me and his name is Dreamboy) I even taught him some tricks like eating a worm out of my hand! :-) ;-)

    • profile image

      samoel 

      3 years ago

      Betta fish Halfmoon

    • profile image

      Kayla 

      3 years ago

      Why is my Beta fish sitting at the top of the water and not swimming around? Only once in a while do I see him move, but not far.

    • profile image

      Kaylatdt2011 

      4 years ago

      My daughters beta died just this past week and I went and got a bigger tank with a filter and this one is a half moon. He is BEAUTIFUL! She named him Mike Wazowski because he is green with a hint of red. The last one died from ick and fin rot. :( so I looked this up. I can't wait to put him in the tank. He will be so happy!

    • profile image

      coolgirl 

      4 years ago

      My mom got me one for a surprise and i found this website thanks

    • profile image

      victoria 

      4 years ago

      I had a beautiful halfmoon male. His name was ferntail.I see halfmoons at petco all the time.when we got him, he wasn't in that great of health. However, I very easily got his health up, and he was a very strong Betta. He wouldn't eat the food that fell on the bottom, so we decided to get two ghost shrimps to clean it up, unfortunately, one of them died and the other one got eaten!! We aren't sure if he got sick from eating the shrimp, or got sick from bacteria from the dead one, I miss him terribly:'(

    • profile image

      danielle 

      4 years ago

      Gave Emma ( my half moon) a pea, with the shell off, she loved it! But in small pieces maybe she ate 1/3 and was done!

    • profile image

      bettaexpertperson 

      4 years ago

      be carful of what treatment you give to the beta because it might not be a sickness might just be a genetic disorder that the beta was born with. if it is a genetic disorder the beta might just die because there is no medicine for disorders in fish. also it could be a disease of the skin but you should treat it because if untreated it might lead to death

    • Shanna11 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shanna 

      5 years ago from Utah

      I'm not sure what you mean Bob. If the fins or scales are turning black and falling off, it's obviously a bad sign. Go to your pet store and describe the problem. Show them pictures if you can. They'll tell you if they can treat it or not. Usually they'll point you to some drops you can add to the water and your fish will recover within a week or two. It's not always the case though. Your betta could have something more expensive to treat, or something that may eventually kill it.

    • profile image

      bob 

      5 years ago

      why is my half moon Betta tearing black

    • profile image

      name 

      5 years ago

      Getting 4 in rep Days, so happy.

    • profile image

      Dolphin girl 

      5 years ago

      My beta fish is awesome, thanks ;)

    • profile image

      sam 

      5 years ago

      good

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image

      FullOfLoveSites 

      6 years ago from United States

      Both interesting (it's the first time I've seen such kind of fish) and useful. Thanks for putting up such great hub. :)

    • profile image

      Person 

      6 years ago

      My betta fish died. I am heart broken. Next time I am goin to fallow this. :(

    • butterflystar profile image

      butterflystar 

      6 years ago from A Place of Success :)

      Awesome :)

    • Shanna11 profile imageAUTHOR

      Shanna 

      6 years ago from Utah

      Depending on where you live they can be hard to find-- but you're right, in recent years local pet stores are getting them more and more. Female halfmoon bettas are very rarely stocked though, at least at Petco.

    • profile image

      JERPYjerp 

      6 years ago

      HArd to find halfmoons? There are like 8 at my local petsmart for only 7.99. I think you are just having trouble :P

    • profile image

      DigbyAdams 

      6 years ago

      I've never thought about buying a fish on ebay! This was very interesting and I enjoyed reading and learning about Betta Fish. I also had never given much thought to the fact that goldfish need filters. Now I know why I never had much success. Thanks for an informative and interesting hub!

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