Betta Fish Care Guide: Types, Food, Tanks, Tank Mates, Breeding

Are you thinking of getting a betta fish for your home aquarium? Well, if you are, you’ve made a great choice because these intelligent fish species are a treat to have as companions.

Betta fish are relatively easy to take care of, so they are an excellent choice for beginners and experienced aquarists. One thing you should not do, as a beginner, is put them in a fishbowl. You might see them in one at the pet store, but they’re not happy. 

If you’re going through this guide before buying a betta fish, you’re on the right track. I read a TON of guides, and it saved me a lot of time and money when choosing the right tank size, filter equipment, and decorations for the betta fish’s tank. And it can save you too. 

Knowing what causes your betta fish stress and how to avoid common diseases will be crucial in your fishkeeping journey to raise a healthy and happy betta. 

In this detailed betta fish care guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know to keep your betta fish happy and healthy. 

Species Summary 

Betta fish have an average lifespan of three to five years. Despite such a short lifespan, you can help add more more years by providing proper water conditions and food.

betta fish tank

These brightly colored fish originate from the shallows waters and rice paddies of Thailand. Bettas are tropical fish who require tropical-like water temperatures in their fish tank to thrive. This means the water has to be warm.

So you will need to replicate these and other natural conditions from their habitat in their new tank environment.

Interested in knowing more about proper betta fish care? Here are some quick facts about the betta fish: 

Common name: Siamese fighting fish 

Diet: Carnivore 

Water type: Freshwater 

Lifespan: 3 to 5 years

Length: 2-4 inches 

Appearance and size

Bettas are popular freshwater fish because of their small size and large personalities. They might only grow to 2 to 4 inches, but they come in beautiful colors with various tail shapes. A healthy male betta will have bright colors that light up any tank. 

When choosing which type of betta fish to take home, you should understand the species. The tail size is more significant for healthier bettas. Some bettas have feather-like tails, while others have long and spectacular fins. 

Types of Betta Fish

types of betta fish

Over 70 betta fish species come in various colors and patterns, so it can be challenging to differentiate them at first. So how can you tell them apart? By other physical characteristics like their tails. 

Below are some of the most common Betta fish you’ll find in pet stores.

Crowntail Beta Fish

The Crowntail beta fish has a royal-like appearance with spiky tails and fins on its body. It will be hard to confuse these species because of the teardrop shape of its tail. 

Delta Betta Fish

Also known as the Super delta, this betta fish has tails with straight caudal edges. The tail starts narrow towards the body and spreads out towards the tip. The tail forms a triangular shape. 

Doubletail Betta Fish

The double-tail Betta fish has two distinctive tails shaped like a half moon. The tail is separated at the base, possessing a large dorsal fin. It’s very different because most bettas have single or split tails. 

Halfmoon Betta Fish

The half moon betta fish is one of the most beautiful fish. They have a 180-degree fan-like tail when flaring, which is fascinating to watch. They also come in beautiful colors that can brighten up any tank. 

Rosetail Betta Fish

The Rosetail betta fish is very similar to the Half moon betta fish. They also have a fan-like tail, but the excessive branching of their fins causes overlapping makes it look like a rose, hence their name. 

Other common betta fish include the spadetail betta, the Veiltail betta and the feathertail betta fish. Identifying these betta fish species can be easier when you find them at pet stores. 

What To Look For When Buying Betta Fish

When buying a betta fish, you must be careful not to buy a sick fish. One of the only ways you can tell if your betta fish is sick is by observing and looking at their body. Some fishkeepers buy sick bettas that only last a couple years and wonder if they did anything to shorten their lifespan. 

What To Look For When Buying Betta Fish

Do they have any visible signs of illness? Some of the symptoms you should look for in a sick betta fish include: 

  • Swollen belly and erratic swimming patterns indicating swim bladder disease 
  • The betta fish is lying at the bottom of the tank
  • White spots on their body could indicate ich disease 
  • If their fins or tail appear shredded, the betta fish could have fin rot

A healthy betta fish will be brightly colored with undamaged fins. They’ll be actively swimming to investigate their new tank habitat, so you should carefully monitor them before taking them home.

Your chances of getting a sick betta fish depend on where you buy your pet fish. Does it have positive reviews? Do they offer any additional fish care services that will ensure their fish remain healthy while in the store’s care?

Below are reliable places to purchase healthy betta fish for your home aquarium.

Where To Buy Betta Fish

Choosing a reputable pet store is important to get a healthy betta fish. Not only because you want to buy a healthy freshwater fish, but if you need any additional assistance, you have somewhere to go for help.

If there is no reputable pet store that sells betta fish near you, you can opt to buy one from an online breeder. Online breeders have become increasingly popular because they have a wider variety of species and sometimes even higher quality bettas than most pet stores.

Here are some of the most popular online stores where you can buy betta fish: 

  • The consolidated fish farms Inc 
  • Franks Bettas
  • Betta Squad USA
  • Blackwater Aquatics

While this is only a short list of online stores to buy betta fish, you should make sure that you conduct extensive research on the variety of bettas these stores have, their prices, and shipping before making a purchase.

Betta Fish Care

Even though bettas are some of the easiest fish to take care of, it doesn’t mean they don’t require much care and attention to survive. 

Any good fish keeper knows that you need to take proper care of your betta fish for them to thrive in any environment. This includes providing them with a spacious tank, attractive tank decorations, a proper diet, and the correct water parameters. 

So below are a few tips you should consider for proper betta fish care:

Setting up a Betta Fish Tank 

Setting up a good quality tank is the most crucial step when caring for a Betta fish. They’ll spend all their lives in this environment, so the least you can do is make it comfortable.

To keep your betta fish at ease in this tank, you must make the surroundings as similar to their natural habitat as possible. This means that factors like the temperature, water parameters, and lighting must be consistent with what they get in the wild.

Tank Size 

While betta fish only grow to about 3 inches by the time they are adults, they still require a large and spacious tank because these hardy creatures love to swim. A larger tank also gives you plenty of space to add tank equipment and decorations to keep your betta happy. 

The best tank size for betta fish starts at 10 gallons. While one betta can survive in a 5 gallon tank, they will soon outgrow it and need more space.

Number of Betta FishMinimum Tank Size 
15 gallons
210-15 gallons
3-520+ gallons

Fish keeping is not a cheap hobby, so as expensive as buying a 10 gallon tank might seem, it’s a worthy investment. Smaller tanks also require more maintenance and work than larger tanks (because they’ll need more frequent water changes to keep the water healthy). These beautiful fish are jumpers, so ensure your chosen tank has a lid. 

Tank Decorations Betta Fish Tank

Betta fish tanks should have plenty of decorations from corols to plants and rocks, so they don’t get bored. 

Bettas love to hide, and caves and rocks provide the perfect hiding spots when they want to entertain themselves.  You might be tempted to stock their tank with tons of decorations, but you shouldn’t forget to leave space for tank equipment.

Adding plants to a fish tank is always recommended because bettas love them. You can put aquarium plants or plastic plants in the betta fish tank because they act as hiding places to make them feel safe. 

Here are some favorite Betta plants choices: 

  • Amazon sword
  • Anacharis 
  • Marimo Moss ball
  • Java Fern
  • Java Moss

Live plants are ideal for this fish species because of their cleaning benefits to the tank and adding oxygen to the water. Life plants require different levels of care, so be careful which plants you choose for their tank.

If you’re buying any plants, inspect them for discolorations or rotting before putting them in your fish tank.

Water Parameters

Because betta fish originate from tropical waters, the water must be warm for them to survive. If the water temperatures drop too low, they can get temperature shock, which is sometimes fatal.

These fish are susceptible to the water parameters, so you should ensure that there are no drastic changes while they’re in the tank.

Below are the ideal water parameters for a betta fish tank:

PH level: 6.8 – 7.5

Water temperature: 76 -85°F

Water type: Soft, acidic water

Unless you can manually maintain the water temperature around 76°F, you’ll need a water heater in your betta’s tank. You can use an aquarium thermometer to monitor the tank’s temperature to avoid your betta going into temperature shock. 

The best water for betta fish is betta specific water because it’s free of harmful chemicals and meets the right water parameters for their tank. The next best alternative would be conditioned tap water. 

A consistent cleaning schedule will help keep the water healthy for your betta fish. 15 to 40% weekly water changes are adequate for a betta’s fish tank larger than 10 gallons. Smaller tanks will require more frequent water changes. You should be careful because changing all the tank’s water at once can adversely damage your fish’s health or even kill them.

What is the best filter for betta fish tank? 

Filters are a necessity in a large betta’s fish tank. A good betta fish filter will help care for your betta fish because they reduce harmful bacteria in the tank and help keep the water healthy for these fish.

A good quality filter shouldn’t stress your betta, either. Yes, bettas are great swimmers, but strong currents wear them out. If they get too tired from the strong currents, this could be one of the reasons your betta is laying at the bottom of the tank

Powerful currents can stress your betta fish and sometimes lead to death.  Sponge filters are generally the best choice for these fish.  They are affordable, and the filter is easy to change when cleaning.

What do Betta Fish Eat? 

Betta fish like to eat, so unless you regulate the amount of food you give them, it’s easy to overfeed these fish. Betta fish are carnivores, so they feed on small insects and larva in their natural habitat, but getting those could be expensive.

what do betta fish eat

Feed your betta healthy food once a day to keep them healthy. A good combination of high protein pellets, flakes, and some live foods will make a perfect diet. 

So that you don’t break your bank, here are a few protein-rich foods you can consider feeding your betta fish: 

  • Shrimp
  • Bloodworms
  • Krill
  • Frozen or dried brine shrimp

Overfeeding is dangerous for fish as small as bettas. Their tiny bodies have smaller stomachs which will swell when you give them too much to eat. Overfeeding can also lead to constipation, which causes other severe health issues.

Uneaten food can pollute the tank, so make sure you scoop up any food your betta fish doesn’t eat. If you’re constantly scooping uneaten food, you might have to reduce the portions you’re giving your betta. 

But there could also be many other reasons your betta fish isn’t eating. Monitoring their behavior and checking for other symptoms can help you pinpoint the problem. 

Common Diseases in Betta Fish

Bettas are more likely than other fish to catch fish diseases because of their increased sensitivity to their environment. While a water change can deal with some conditions, others are more severe and need medical attention.

 Here are a few diseases to watch out for if you are caring for a betta fish: 

  • Fin rot: The easiest way to identify this disease in betta fish is if their fins look damaged. Fin rot can also be caused by injury if you’re keeping your betta with fish that tend to bite. While bettas are nicknamed the siamese fighting fish, any damage they sustain can affect their health.
  • Ich: Ich is a highly contagious parasitic disease that plagues betta fish. Some symptoms of this disease include white spots on the fins and body and the betta fish rubbing themselves against hard surfaces in the tank. Luckily this disease has a cure, but you may have to invest in a quarantine tank and antifungal medication for your betta. 
  • Ammonia poisoning: Ammonia poisoning is common in bettas because it is easy for ammonia to build up in the tank. If you don’t regularly test the water pH levels, your fish will get sick. Signs of ammonia poisoning include lethargy and burnt-looking gills. 
  • Swimbladder disease: This disease can either be caused by overeating bacterial infection, parasitic infection, or physical trauma.  You should look for symptoms like lack of appetite, clamped fins, and trouble swimming. You can learn more about Swim bladder disease in betta fish here.

 Here are  other signs  of sickness that you should look out for in your Betta fish : 

  • Loss of appetite
  • Bloating
  • Erratic swimming
  • Labored breathing
  • Clamped fins

If you think your betta fish is sick, monitor and note their change in behavior and symptoms. You should visit a pet store or veterinarian for more help if it worsens and you don’t notice a difference after a few days.


With a nickname like this siamese fighting fish, it’s no surprise that bettas are known to be aggressive to other fish. Especially male bettas, who have a reputation for being aggressive to fish with brighter patterns. 

This doesn’t mean they can’t tolerate other fish species because, as you’ll see below, they can live comfortably with peaceful tank mates.

Male bettas are very territorial and should instead be kept alone.  More room in their tank will decrease their territorial instincts and aggression toward other fish. If you chose any of the tank mates below, ensure you’re putting them in a larger tank. 

Suitable Tank Mates For Betta Fish

Bettas don’t get as lonely as other fish because they’re territorial. They can sometimes get aggressive with other tank inhabitants. However, they don’t mind having peaceful fish in their tank. 

Here are some friendly tank mates you can keep in one tank with a betta fish: 

  • Cory catfish
  • Ember tetras
  • Harlequin rasboras
  • Kuhli Loaches
  • Ghost shrimp
  • Clown Plecos

While female bettas are less aggressive than male betta fish, they’re still territorial. If you have the space, you can keep three to five female betta fish in one tank. Fish with bright colors can intimidate male bettas because they don’t like the competition.   

Here are some fish you should avoid keeping with bettas:

  • Tiger Barbs
  • Angelfish
  • Cichlids
  • Goldfish
  • Nippy Tetras

Ensure your tank is big enough to hold other fish without making your betta uncomfortable. If you add community fish, you will need a tank larger than 10 gallons to move your betta fish into. 


You should never place a male and female Betta fish in one tank unless you’re planning to breed. Most breeders will give their betta fish bloodworms and brine shrimp in preparation for breeding. 

Female bettas breed quickly. When a female betta is laying eggs, you’ll find them laying on their side and looking lifeless, so don’t panic! Most bettas lay around 30-40 eggs, but it can be more. 

Male betta fish are good at taking care of their eggs. Keeping the tank warm and humid is essential to encourage their hatching. Don’t be surprised if your betta eats a couple of eggs; some might not have been fertilized, especially if they are hundreds of eggs. 

That’s why some breeders would instead separate the adult bettas from their eggs in the breeding tank. Betta fry will hatch after around four days. 

Betta fries require special care and diet to survive to adulthood. Their upbringing is mainly reserved for experienced fish keepers and breeders. You can either use breeding tanks. 


Is it okay to keep your betta fish in a bowl?

No. You shouldnt keep your betta fish in a bowl because there’s no swimming space or room to add essential equipment like heaters and a filtration system. More space also gives you more time to clean the tank and keep the water healthy for your pet fish. 

Are betta fish easy to take care of? 

While taking care of fish isn’t the easiest hobby, bettas are generally easier to care for than other fish species. They require feeding at least once daily and will be happy with the proper water parameters and ample swimming space. 

What do betta fish need to be happy?

Bettas are fascinating fish who don’t like being idle for too long in their tank. They need hiding places like plants and rocks with a heater to maintain warm water temperature. They spend a lot of time swimming, so you must give them ample swimming space. Plants in their tank and a healthy diet will keep them happy and healthy. 

Do betta fish need lighting in their tank?

Yes. Bettas benefit from natural and artificial light because they like to sleep at night and be active during the day. Avoid direct sunlight in their tank because it can raise the water’s temperature to dangerous highs. It’s best to get artificial light for your betta’s fish tank. 

Giving Your Betta Fish The Best Care

The information in this betta guide will help you take good care of your pet and give them a long healthy life. They can even live longer than the average five years if they have a proper diet, suitable tank mates and good water quality in their tank. 

These beautiful fish are easy to take care of, and you can get years of companionship from them, so make the most of it!

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