The first pet fish can be an amazing experience that can light the spark in a young childs mind. This spark can guide him in directions we can only imagine. I know what you are thinking, “Jen, this is a 4 year olds first fish how can it possibly be that important”? I am sure that I can find you countless stories of people who are now saving our oceans because a first fish lit the spark!
Bettas are as easy as they come if given the proper care and consideration. Lets take a look at how to take care of these amazing and beautiful fish. First off, lets talk about a few myths that revolve around them.
Myth 1- They cannot be with other fish right? Wrong! I know that logic would suggest that a “Siamese Fighting Fish” which is another name for a betta should not play well with others but its simply not true. A Betta fish can go with certain other fish if the tank is generally larger then 10 gallons. That being said there are always exceptions to the rule. Every fish is an individual and can be the exception. There are also people who have 2 gallon tanks and have Bettas with other fish doing great!
Myth 2- They do best in just a bowl without a filter or heater.
This one is tricky because there are many many Bettas out there living it up in bowls without filters or heaters living to the ripe old ages of 6-8 years old. I would say that the ideal setup is a 1 gallon or bigger with a filter and a heater with monthly 25-50% water changes. I can tell you without a doubt that the Bettas in our 10 gallon community tanks are more active then our bettas in display bowls. Sometimes there isn’t an option to put a betta in a tank with a heater and filter. In that case a 50% water change should be done weekly and the clean water set out the night before to come to room temperature so you don’t stress out your fish.
I could go on and on about the misconceptions people have about betta fish but the point of this story is to educate you about this awesome little fish while helping Brody and his family with their first Betta.
One big thing that goes wrong is over feeding. I have heard that a fish has a stomach the size of his eyeball. Just let that sink in, go look at his eyeball right now and see how small it is. If you are feeding more then 2-3 pellets twice a day, all that extra uneaten food is going to pollute the water and make your fish sick.
I am not going to go into water chemistry except that your betta likes a PH of around 7.0 (neutral). You can go to your local fish store and buy a test kit or bring your water sample in and they will test it for you and then get you what you need. One of the coolest products that I have seen for a betta is a hammock. Its in the shape of a green leaf and it suction cups to the side of your bettas home about ¾” from the water’s surface. When we first saw this product we laughed and thought it was funny that a betta could have a hammock. I decided to put it into a betta’s tank just to prove that it was silly, then the betta came up, looked at me, and sat right on the hammock. I have loved them ever since.
I left this one till the end because it is absolutely the biggest misconception and it is nothing detrimental to the fish itself. Here it goes, are you ready? This fish wins the prize for the most commonly mispronounced name that I can think of. He has two Ts in his name so it is actually pronounced and spelled “BETTA” not “BETA” like most people say. If you need clarification and want to hear the correct way to say it, then listen to my podcast or the you tube video at the bottom of this page.
I hope this will help Brody and his family enjoy their new pet for a very long time. Congratulations on your new pet my friends!