Standard Care of Betta Fish


At Aquatic Veterinary Services, we know that a lot of bettas are the first pet fish for many fish owners. We see a lot of betta cases and try to accommodate as many as possible. In order to best serve our betta clients, please read through the following checklist prior to calling our office.

Does your betta live in a bowl with no filtration?

Filtration should either come from an internal bubble filter or hang on filter that is cleaned at least once every two weeks. If your betta is in a bowl, please get them into a standard aquarium tank with filter. No fish should live in a bowl. Yes, they may survive, but so would you in a sealed box that was only vented every so often. Bettas have significantly better health in a 2-5 gallon aquarium with filtration. We are happy to advise on betta-friendly aquarium setups.

Does your betta tank have a heater?

Bettas are tropical fish and require heated water between 78-82F (25-28C). Most pre-set aquarium heaters fall right in this range. However, it is best to make sure your tank has a good thermometer in order to make sure your heater is working properly. At lower temperatures, a betta’s immune function does not respond well and their metabolism slows down. Unlike people and fuzzy pets, fish cannot regulate their internal body temperature and rely on their surrounding water temperature to dictate their metabolism. If your betta does not have a heater, a small one should be added for minimal cost.

Are you feeding your betta appropriately?

Even if your tank has a proper filter and heater, bettas are still at risk for overfeeding. Provided that you have an appropriate betta diet that is less than 6 months old, it is very easy to overfeed your betta. They will look at you with those big, sad fishy eyes at the 3-4 measly pellets you put in and you will fall for it, doubling their food. A lot of food in a tiny stomach can easily lead to an impaction that may be a death sentence for your fish. Once your fish is blocked, it is very hard to fix the issue. We are happy to make feeding recommendations for bettas depending on your fishes’ size and pellet brand.

Many of the betta issues we see are easily fixed by correcting the above issues. However, even with a proper home and care, bettas can still get sick. Our ambulatory service is happy to come to you and see your fish, but keep in mind we are a traveling specialty veterinary practice and are priced accordingly.

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