Choosing to keep a Betta fish is a responsibility you ought to take seriously. Having a list of supplies in mind before you even get started is a smart way to ensure you are making the right decisions from the beginning of your Betta's life.
Bringing an animal into your home means you are responsible for its health and wellbeing, and many beginning Betta keepers don't take the time to properly learn about their new pet. Unfortunately, you know what that ultimately means for Betta.
The silly thing is that simply by putting in an hour or so of reading many newbie Betta owners could have prevented their new pet from going belly-up. So, since you are here reading this it means you are already moving in the right direction when it comes to caring for your Betta correctly. Good for you!
In this article you'll learn about the supplies you need to maintain your Betta fish. Hopefully you are reading this before you even purchase your Betta, so you can keep him in an appropriate home from the beginning. If not, hopefully you can correct some of the bad choices you made.
Hey, this is supposed to be fun, and I guarantee you'll have a lot more fun with your Betta fish if you take the time to learn what he needs to be happy and healthy.
If you are new to Betta keeping you may want to read this first:
Choosing the Right Betta Tank
The first thing you need to consider is the type of tank for your Betta. You might be thinking of a bowl, but I hope you reconsider. Keeping your Betta in a bowl is a bad idea. For one thing, bowls are generally too small for Betta fish.
If you've heard that Betta prefer small containers you need to understand that this is a marketing idea, not anything with the best interests of the fish in mind. Bettas need room to swim around, just any other kind of fish.
The other problem is that bowls are very hard to regulate as far as water conditions and temperature. Waste builds up quickly, and even though Betta can survive in poor water conditions that doesn't mean it is healthy for them. Bad water means potential disease, and a Betta who croaks before his time. A tank with a filter greatly improves this issue, and will be easier to take care of.
Betta are tropical fish, so keeping them in an unheated bowl means they are subject to low temperatures which can cause stress and ultimately illness and death.
I recommend a minimum of a 5-gallon tank for your Betta fish. This will allow you to employ a filter and heater, and will give your Betta fish plenty of room to swim around. In fact, there are fish tank kits that have everything you need in one package, so you don't have to hunt around for individual items.
Better still, think about a 10-gallon tank if you have the space. It may seem counter-intuitive, but a larger tank is actually easier to take care of, and you can spend less time on maintenance every week.
You're also going to want to make sure your tank has a secure hood, as Betta fish can jump.
- A glass or acrylic fish tank with hood, at least 5 gallons or larger.
Gravel and Substrate Options
What kind of substrate should you consider for your Betta's tank? Some people like to use glass marbles or large pebbles because they look pretty, but be aware that there can be issues with larger pieces.
Food and waste can fall between marbles and pebbles where you won't be able to reach it. If you are doing full water changes weekly that may be okay, but otherwise this will be bad for water conditions.
Instead, if you are using a tank 5-gallons or bigger, I'd suggest standard-sized aquarium gravel. You can still choose from a vast array of pretty colors and textures, but it will be too small for food to get through, and you can vacuum up anything that falls to the tank floor.
Speaking of vacuuming, it's a good idea to purchase a small gravel vacuum for cleaning your Betta's tank. This is one of those things that will make your life so much easier, and greatly improve tank health. You have to do water changes anyway, and these gravel vacs work so that you're cleaning the gravel while you are removing the water.
The rule of thumb is a pound of gravel per gallon, which makes sense for large tanks. In a tank as small as 5-gallons I'd suggest letting your eye be the judge. Add gravel until it looks good, as long as it is adequately covering the tank floor to a depth of at least an inch or so.