Respect Your Betta

There is no fish that lacks respect in the fish kingdom than the amazing betta. Goldfish are a close second, but most people see betta fish as the easiest pet to care for. Just drop it in a vase and poof! Instant fish tank.

Our office gets a lot of calls about betta fish. I do a fair amount of work treating them for various illnesses, most often the misdiagnosed “fin rot.” “Fin rot” is nothing more than your betta is stressed out from dozens of potential causes. Guess what is #1? If you didn’t say “water quality,” read this and get back to me.

A happy betta in his tank

Let me tell you a secret. 95% of my betta calls can save their money by implementing the following changes:

  1. Add a heater.
  2. Add a filter.

Tah dah!

That is seriously how we fix 95% of our betta calls. We can tell you this on the phone for FREE. Well, actually we’ll tell you to visit this page on our website that outlines the exact same plan. If you don’t believe me, I can come to your house and tell you, but I’ll have to charge you.

Here’s how this magic fix works…

Most bettas are NOT kept in standard fish tanks. Everyone believes that what they see on Pinterest and Instagram with bettas in anything that can hold water is gospel. Yes, bettas have that specialized labyrinth organ that essentially acts as a primitive lung, allowing them to breathe air. HOWEVER, this is a short-term survival mechanism! It is not intended to be a way of life. It is the human equivalent of living in a spacious one-bedroom apartment with central air, heat and garbage disposal compared with living in a sealed elevator shaft. Sure, you’ll survive, but you won’t thrive.

And bettas are tropical fish, and therefore, need a heater. That’s about as simple as it is. 80-82F (26-28C) if you please!

Fish bowls are horrible homes for any fish. Get your pet a nice, filtered tank and use your bowl for something else. I recommend tropical beverages.

Proper use of fish bowl to hold fruity cocktail

Regarding betta fish as disposable pets starts now. If you are taking in a living, breathing (WATER) pet, you are responsible for giving it the best life possible. If you can’t get your betta a tank with a heater, feed it properly or take care of it, get a pet rock instead. You can paint it like a betta if you like.

Side note: bettas will eat enough pellets to stuff them end to end in one sitting. Keep in mind that their “stomach” is only as big as their eyeball. Only a few pellets per feeding. And no amount of green peas will save you once the big poo ball forms.

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Top 10 Mistakes New Fish Owners Make – #6

The #6 Mistake – Not Storing Fish Food Properly

What is the best way to store any pet food? Rather than roll up the bag and toss it in the corner, all pet food should be kept in an airtight, opaque storage container in cooler temperatures of a pantry or closet. And fish food is no exception.

Also keep in mind that fish food starts to lose water-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin C, as soon as you open it. Within a few months, there is barely any available vitamin C left. (Sources here, here and here.) Vitamin loss can be prevented by properly storing your fish food. All fish food should be kept in an airtight container, in a cool place out of the sun.

Fish Flakes

Due to their high surface to mass ratio, fish flakes lose vitamin C faster than any other fish food. If your fish can handle a pellet, switch them over. These days they come in very tiny sizes!

Fish Pellets

Most of these products now come in light-proof, re-sealing pouches, which is great! Keep them in a cool place out of direct sunlight to keep them in good condition.

Koi Food

Even though your koi live outside, your food should not! If it is not in a re-sealing bag, keep all food in an airtight container in a cool place, out of the sun.

Since the temperature of a koi pond can vary widely, make sure you are feeding a temperature-appropriate diet. Higher protein foods are fed with warmer water.

For more on fish nutrition, check out our Fish Food Nutrition webinar: