Does your betta look sad? Is he more often at the bottom of the aquarium? Your pet fish may be bored or even sick. It's common knowledge that betta fish need a little bit of care, but that's not really true. Here are some ways to help you keep your betta fish happy and healthy.
Part 1 of 4: Watch for Signs of Disease
Step 1. Identify what a healthy betta looks like and behaves like
Healthy betta fish eat voraciously, swim to and fro and are very active, colorful and bright, have fan-like fins and tail, and have scales and a body that looks smooth and clean.
Step 2. Identify what a sick betta looks and behaves like
Sometimes, betta fish behave sadly because he is sick. If the fish looks lethargic, check the temperature of the tank and do a water check. You may have to change the water or raise the temperature. The signs of a sick betta fish are as follows:
- Don't want to eat or eat lazily
- Not active; stay in the corner of the aquarium, lie on the bottom, or always on the surface
- Deliberately bumping into things, as if trying to scratch himself
- Looks pale, gray, or looks dull overall
- Tail and/or fins stuck together, covered, stiff, or crushed
- There are open sores on his body, white cottony patches, red or white dots, or bumps
- Eyes bulge or look swollen
- The gills are not tightly closed or half open, and look swollen or red
- Scales bloom like pinecones
- The abdomen looks sunken or elongated and swollen
Step 3. Perform a diagnosis to find out fish diseases
There are some common diseases that often affect betta fish and can be cured if diagnosed correctly, but you must be sure of what disease he has before starting treatment. Several medications can be used for certain types of fish diseases, but you have to be sure to buy the right medication. Some types of diseases that commonly attack fish include:
- Fungal infection: looks like white cottony patches on body and head, fins closed, pale, less active
- Tail and/or fin rot: watch for fins and tail getting shorter, crumbling, dark in color, less active and eating lazily
- Ick: watch for small white spots (as if his body has been sprinkled with salt), is less active and eats little, and tries to scratch himself on rocks or plants
- Velvet: pay attention to whether the fish are less active, have no appetite and the color is faded. Velvet (a kind of parasite) can be difficult to detect, so use a flashlight and look for a light gold mist or rust on the fish's body
- Basalt: notice if the belly is enlarged, elongated and the scales bloom and look like pinecones. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for this disease. The disease is thought to be caused by bacteria that cause kidney failure, and may be related to the feeding of live worms as fish food.
Step 4. Separate sick betta fish for treatment
If you include fish or other aquatic animals (snails or frogs) as friends with your betta, you will need to get your betta out for treatment. You don't need to treat fish or aquatic animals that aren't sick, although changing the entire tank's water can't hurt if one of your fish is sick. Sick betta fish should be separated for up to 3-4 weeks during the healing process. Go to the nearest pet store and look for medicines to treat the various ailments mentioned above. All of these medicines are likely to contain an antibiotic (tetracycline, ampicillin) or antifungal (maracyn).
Step 5. Consult a fish specialist at a pet store or veterinarian
Do this if your fish looks sick and you can't decide what disease it is, especially BEFORE starting treatment. It is not a wise move to treat betta fish with the wrong medicine because it can make the fish's condition worse.
Part 2 of 4: Making a Fun Home for Betta Fish
Step 1. Choose a comfortable home for your betta fish
Betta fish need an aquarium that can hold 20 liters of drinking water. Betta fish also need heating (if you live in a cold area) because they are tropical fish that like temperatures ranging from 24-29 °C, and filters. Also make sure you change the filter regularly.
- Make sure you always check the heater and make sure it is working properly as heaters that make the water too hot for fish (above 27.5 °C) are not good for fish and can harm them.
- You need filters. For smaller aquariums, purchase a special weak current filter. Regular filters used for small aquariums can cause too much current for the fish. Don't blow air into the tank as this can create too much movement in the water, which betta fish don't like. Betta fish like water that is barely moving or has very little current.
Step 2. Keep the aquarium water clean
Betta fish are happiest in clean water. Therefore, make sure you change 10% of the water for every 20-38 liters, twice a week for an aquarium with a 9.5 liter capacity.
- A 10% water replacement means that you remove 10% of the water and replace it with clean water. Many people use distilled or well water, but tap water that is not purified with chlorine is preferable because drinking water does not contain some minerals so it is good for fish.
- Contrary to popular opinion, betta fish can NOT survive in small puddles or dirty water. Betta fish's natural environment is vast rice fields and rivers with slow currents. In general, the bigger the aquarium, the better.
Step 3. Place the aquarium in a place that is not exposed to direct sunlight and away from air conditioning vents
Direct sunlight and air conditioning will cause extreme temperature fluctuations that can harm fish. Betta fish are very fond of water that has a constant temperature between 25.5-27.5 °C.
Step 4. Purchase decorations and plants for the aquarium
Bettas like places to hide. Tunnels, caves, and plants (live or artificial) can all make great decorations for your betta's aquarium. If you choose artificial plants, fabric plants are a good choice as they are less likely to damage the betta's fins. Live plants (called “betta bulbs” in pet stores) are very popular and betta fish love them, just make sure they don't grow too big for the aquarium. You can prune it if that happens. Bettas need a lot of space to swim around, so make sure you don't over-decorate your tank. It's a good idea to leave a large space so that the fish can swim freely, and some as a place when the fish want to hide.
Part 3 of 4: Feeding Betta Fish
Step 1. Buy the right food for your betta
Betta fish that are fed well will be happy fish. There are many brands of fish feed specifically manufactured for betta fish on the market, and you should never feed your betta a feed made for other types of fish, even if the feed is for fellow tropical fish.
The type of feed produced for betta fish is usually pellets or flakes consisting of whole fish feed, shrimp feed, whole dried krill, and some other vitamins and soy and/or wheat flour. Betta fish including carnivores, therefore require a high-protein diet that is varied. If you're willing to spend the extra money, you can feed your betta with mosquito larvae, live brine shrimp, live worms, or live frozen and/or freeze-dried feed. However, you must be very careful when feeding live feed to betta fish for the reasons explained in step 3. Also, make sure that the live feed is fresh (not rotten) and clean (wash it with clean water first) or You run the risk of giving your betta a Basal-like disease
Step 2. Feed your betta only once or twice a day
Limit the amount of feed to only as much as he can eat in two minutes. This is very important. If you feed twice a day, the amount given should be less (only 2-3 pellets) with each meal. Betta fish have a small appetite, so be careful not to overfeed. Food that is left in the tank will also worsen water quality and can cause disease in fish.
Step 3. Watch for signs that your betta is overeating
If the fish's belly is puffy (the belly is very prominent near the lower fin), you may have overfed it. This can cause swim bladder problems in some types of betta fish. You have to be extra careful not to overfeed it especially if it feeds live food (mosquito larvae, brine shrimp or live worms). Fish tend to overeat when fed live food. You can even skip feeding him one day a week, to let his digestive system rest.
Part 4 of 4: Interacting with Betta Fish
Step 1. Talk to your betta fish
Many betta fish like to hear the voice of the person who keeps them. You may notice that the fish swim more actively when you speak in front of the aquarium. You can also move your finger around the glass of the aquarium, or wiggle it over the surface of the water. The fish will try to jump towards the finger. Be careful not to let the fish jump out of the tank. Betta fish are curious, and they love to play! Your betta may be watching your movements as you walk around the room.
Step 2. Change the location of the decorations or buy new decorations
Changing the appearance of the decorations at certain times will give the betta a different look, and will enrich the quality of its life.
Step 3. Decide if you should introduce another betta fish to your betta
If the betta is female, it MAYBE she likes the addition of two or three other female betta fish. It is recommended to add more than two so that the fish will not continue to fight if each fish is aggressive towards the other. This is called a “female betta boarding aquarium”. However, be prepared to separate the fish into separate aquariums if they don't get along.
Male betta fish certainly CANNOT live with other male betta fish. The two will attack each other. That's why the betta fish got the nickname "Siamese fighting fish". Male betta fish can be placed in the same aquarium as female betta fish for breeding purposes, but it is best to leave this task to a professional fish breeder, or you can do it yourself once you have more experience with fish keeping
Step 4. Be careful when introducing new “friends” to your betta
Again, some betta fish, whether male or female, never get along well in the same tank. Types that are possible and recommended to be friends with betta fish are apple snail, ghost shrimp, red cherry shrimp, African dwarf frog, cory catfish, and neon tertra.
Step 5. Watch for signs of inconsistency
If you add fish or other animals to the tank, watch them closely. The signs to watch out for are damage to the fins and bodies of fish or other aquatic animals. You may not always be able to see when your betta fish attack, but it's important to pay close attention to the health of the fish or other animals in the tank. Were the animals injured? Do you find an animal that is always hiding? This could be a sign that your betta is aggressive towards other animals, and you should keep your betta fish apart for the welfare of the fish and other aquatic animals in the tank. If you don't have a separate tank or tank, try adding more decorations to provide a hiding place for the victim and calm the attacker. Don't forget to treat the injured fish first.