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Ten Mistakes in Betta Fish Care
Almost everyone knows what Betta fish, also known as Siamese fighting fish, looks like. They are very distinctive thanks to their bright coloring and long, flowing fins. You will find them in all the colors of the rainbow. Their beauty made them one of the most attractive types of fish held by aquarium hobbyists. They are not only wonderful to look at, however. They also make very interesting pets with their sometimes incredible behavior and unique personalities.
Caring for a Betta fish is not difficult once you learn to avoid certain things that could adversely affect the health and well-being of your little finned friend. Let me give you ten examples below:
1. It all starts with the journey home. If you purchased your Betta at a pet store, do not drive it home alone. It is better to have someone in the car with you who can hold the Betta and prevent it from suffering bumps, sharp turns or sudden stops. Also, never leave your Betta in the car for any length of time, especially if the outside temperatures are very hot or very cold.
2. Some pet stores advise you not to use gravel in an aquarium. That is a mistake for Betta fish tank. Substrate is where the beneficial bacteria grow and help break down the waste in the tank. It also adds beauty to your tank and allows you to secure rocks and plants to the bottom of your Betta’s home.
3. Do not overfeed your Betta. This is especially important at the beginning – before your tank has produced enough beneficial bacteria. Remember – less food means less waste produced by the Betta. You might be surprised to learn that bettas can live up to ten days without food.
4. Never use soap or chemicals to clean the tank or the aquarium or any of the decorations. If there is any algae buildup, you may need to do a little more than a simple wipe down. A 15 minute bath in a 10% bleach solution will do the trick. But don’t soak them longer than 15 minutes.
5. Avoid plastic plants (unless they are brand new and very soft to the touch) in your aquarium or anything that contains metal that will eventually get into the water and poison your Betta.
6. Do not leave the Betta tank uncovered. Bettas love to jump. You have to prevent them from jumping out of the tank. When you cover the tank with a lid, make sure it has holes for ventilation. Another option is a mesh screen. This will protect the Betta not only from itself, but also from predators, such as your pet cat.
7.Tap water would kill your fish due to chlorine, chloramine and other chemicals. Use a dechlorinator (like Stress Coat) and AmQuel. Also, never use distilled water, as it does not have sufficient mineral content.
8. Do not clean the tank too thoroughly! It needs the build up of good bacteria for your Betta to stay healthy.
9. Be very careful with electric filters. Contrary to the opinion of some pet store staff, Bettas like their waters very still. Too much movement will stress your Betta. A sponge filter would be your best choice. They are the quietest and also the least expensive.
10. Find out if your Betta will be happy alone. There are different theories on the subject of Betta social needs. Many believe that Bettas are perfectly happy on their own, that they should be kept alone. Others swear that Bettas need stimulation and the presence of other Betta or Betta-friendly fish.
These contradictory beliefs seem to suggest that we don’t really know what is best for our Betta fish, but that we may be projecting our own preferences onto them. Know your Betta, observe it, try different things and keep an open mind. They do have different personalities and it could be that while one Betta is perfectly happy alone, another would thrive in some good company.
If you want to create a community tank, learn about good tank mates for Betta fish. See also conflicting advice on that topic. Some simple guidelines that most seem to agree on are:
- Do not put two Betta males together unless you know their personalities well and it is a large tank.
- Male and female do not belong in the same tank either, unless you breed them.
- Avoid putting Gouramis, the Platy and Variatus with the Betta. They can become too aggressive.
- Also avoid any fish that are long-finned and could be mistaken by your Betta for another Betta.
These are the most common mistakes you could make with your Bettas. Avoiding them and learning the simple principles of proper Betta fish care will help you keep your fish as long as they were truly meant to live.
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