Halfmoon Betta Fish Care and Tips

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
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

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?

  • It makes my house feel more like a home to have a pet.
  • I love fish and how they move.
  • I love watching them swim around their tank.
  • It's relaxing to see them moving around a tank with live plants.
See results without voting

Comments 31 comments

J.nwarner 4 weeks ago

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

Randy N 3 months 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!!

Gracey K. 3 months 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!


Ky 4 months ago

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

BK 4 months ago

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

five nights at Freddy's 4 months ago

My betta fish is happy!.

Ranen Dey 6 months ago

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

Ranen Dey

alastair 6 months 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 :-)

Thatoneguy 12 months 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

Madison 15 months 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!

Mark 15 months 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.

sunny 18 months ago

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

Crystal 19 months 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! :-) ;-)

samoel 20 months ago

Betta fish Halfmoon

Kayla 21 months 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.

Kaylatdt2011 2 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!

coolgirl 2 years ago

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

victoria 2 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:'(

danielle 2 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!

bettaexpertperson 2 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 image

Shanna11 3 years ago from Utah Author

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.

bob 3 years ago

why is my half moon Betta tearing black

name 3 years ago

Getting 4 in rep Days, so happy.

Dolphin girl 3 years ago

My beta fish is awesome, thanks ;)

sam 3 years ago


FullOfLoveSites profile image

FullOfLoveSites 4 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. :)

Person 4 years ago

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

butterflystar profile image

butterflystar 4 years ago from A Place of Success :)

Awesome :)

Shanna11 profile image

Shanna11 4 years ago from Utah Author

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.

JERPYjerp 4 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

DigbyAdams 4 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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