This is information on the care for Betta Splendens only, not to be confused with any other variation of betta.
Betta Splendens are the most common type of betta in the world, this is the type of betta you will find in the pet store. They have been bred throughout many years in order to get the many colours and tail type variations we now have today. However, there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to these beautiful fish.
Originally, these fish are found in mud patties in the wild. This has started the rumour that Bettas like small spaces with little water. However, these are still fish, and fish like to swim. A betta is going to want some room to move around.
They enjoy water full of tannins, so almond leaves are commonly used to accommodate this due to the large about of tannins the leaves can release.
How to set up for a Betta:
As said above, a betta cannot live in a small aquarium. Anything less than 3 gallons (11 Litres) will be too small for a male betta. The females are more active than males and require more space, they should be kept in 5 gallon aquariums (20 Litres).
Once you have a tank big enough, you need to decide whether or not you are going to plant the tank, fake and live plants both have their benefits.
Pros: Low maintenance
Cons: Can be rough material and might rip fins
Pros: Soft plants make good resting places
Cons: More maintenance
You will need a heater for your tank to be kept at 26 to 29 degrees Celsius, as bettas are tropical fish.
There also needs to be a filter, ideally one with minimum flow so your betta can swim around. And also one with either a sponge over it or inside it to stop their fins being caught.
Soft lighting will help bring out a bettas colours, harsh lighting makes the colours seems dull and annoys the fish.
Once you have all your equipment, you can begin cycling your tank. This is called the Nitrogen Cycle, which I will go through in another article. But for now you can look here: Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle
In order to maintain your tank and keep your betta healthy, you will need to do 25-30% water changes weekly at least depending on your tank. This also requires you to clean the gravel with a siphon along with changing the water.
It’s probably best to invest in a test kit in order to monitor the pH, Ammonia, Nitrite and Nitrate levels in the water. The water from your tap should also be tested before adding to the aquarium.
It’s good to have variation in a fish’s diet, the bare minimum you should be feeding are either pellets or flakes, and blood worms every now and then either frozen or live. It’s best to have different kinds of pellets and flakes to feed your fish so they have a lot of variation.
There are many tail and fin types a betta can have. The most common are:
· Delta tail
· Double Tail
· Dumbo ear
· It is my opinion that you should not be attempting to breed bettas until you know how to care for them. Do not expect to get a male and female right off the bat and be able to get them to spawn.
· Just because your male is blowing a bubble nest does not mean you should get a female for him to breed. Also, bubble nests are not an indicator of a betta’s health or happiness. It is in their nature to make them.
In order to setup a breeding tank you will need a small aquarium, 3 gallons (12 litres) is ideal. Place a heater in the tank with an almond leaf and leave to sit for 12-24 hours. Once the water is full of tannins you should replace the leaf with a new one and add the male to the tank. Some people recommend adding plants and tunnels for the female to hide, but it is not essential if your male is not too aggressive. Get a tall jar or bottle to be able to keep the female inside and place her into the tank. Ideally your bettas should be at least 7 months old before attempting breeding. Leave the tank for 2 days to 2 weeks, once the female has vertical lines across her body (blushing) she is ready to be released into the tank, by this time the male should have made a bubble nest under the almond leaf. Do not add the female if she has horizontal lines, this indicates fear.
Leave the male and female in the aquarium for 2 days, however monitor how much the female is being attacked, you may need to pull her out if the male is too aggressive. However there should always still be some aggression so only take her out if it’s turning deadly. Over the course of 2 days the bettas should spawn by embracing, where the male will repeatedly wrap himself around the female and fertilise her eggs. The male will collect the eggs and place them in the bubble nest. Once the female has lost size in her belly it is safe to take her out of the aquarium and place her in a separate tank to recover.
The male will now tend to the eggs for the first week, once all the fry are free swimming the male must be removed. The fry can now receive their first meal, brine shrimp live or frozen is the best food for growing fry. At this stage it is safe to attempt small, monitored water changes, be extremely careful not to suck up any fry. 2 weeks after the fry become free swimming, they can be removed from the container and added into an aquarium where they will now grow out.
You can buy a common veiltail, possibly a crowntail or halfmoon from any local fish store in Australia. But if you really want quality Bettas, live in Australia then I recommend Becky Fraser's bettas.