Betta fish are one of the most popularly kept, easily recognizable home aquarium fish in the world today.
They have astonishingly beautiful looks and fin structure, come in many vibrant colors and have lovable personalities – It’s little wonder they’re so popular!
But many people know so little about them.
How long do betta live? What do they eat? How many varieties of betta are there? What size tank do they need? All important questions to ask when caring for betta fish. Well, all this and more will be answered in this betta fish FAQ.
This article is a collection of frequently asked questions, and very quick, punchy answers.
We give you the straight facts, with little waffle and indeed little supporting information.However, for each question answered, we link to a detailed article if you’d like to delve a little deeper.
Please click a question from the table below to be taken to the answer:
- How Long do Betta Fish Live? What is the Average Lifespan?
- How Big do Betta Fish Grow?
- Are Betta Fish Good for Beginner Fish Keepers?
- How Much Does a Betta Fish Cost to Buy? (American Dollars)
- Is it True Two Males in a Tank Will Fight to Death?
- Can You Keep Female Betta Together?
- Can You Keep Male and Female Bettas Together?
- Is it True You Should Only Have One Betta Per Tank?
- Not All Betta Look the Same – How Many Different Types are There?
- What are the Most Common Betta Types?
- Can You Keep a Betta in a Tiny Jar? Should you?
- What Size Tank Would You Recommend For a Betta?
- Do Betta Need a Heater?
- What is the Ideal Water Temperature for Bettas?
- Do betta Need a Filter?
- Is a Filter Noisy? Can I Turn it Off at Night?
- Do Betta Fish Need an Air Pump / Air Stone?
- Do Betta Need Light? How About Dark?
- What are the Best Plants to Put in a Betta Tank?
- What are the Best Tank Decorations to Put With Betta Fish?
- What Should I Feed a Betta?
- How Often Should I Feed a Betta Fish?
- How Can I Tell if My Betta is Sick?
- How Can I Tell a Male Betta Fish From a Female One?
- What Does ‘Cycling a Fish Tank’ Mean?
- How Often Should a Betta’s Water Be Changed?
- What Other Fish Can I Keep in a Tank With Betta Fish?
- Could We Improve This Betta Fish FAQ?
How Long do Betta Fish Live? What is the Average Lifespan?
On average, betta fish live for 2 to 3 years in captivity, less if not well looked after, 5 or 6 years if kept in perfect conditions. And although VERY rare, they can reach up to 10 years of age.
Their lifespan depends on many factors such as strain, water quality, diet, and environment. You can read more at: http://www.bettatalk.com/answer71.htm and http://japanesefightingfish.org/how-long-do-betta-fish-live/
How Big do Betta Fish Grow?
The average Betta Splenden (the most commonly seen variety) is 2 to 3 inches in length, however some breeds (such as Bellica and many Mouthbrooders) can grow to 5 inches long.
You can read more at: http://www.bettafishcenter.com/Types-of-Bettas.shtml
Are Betta Fish Good for Beginner Fish Keepers?
Yes! Based on several factors such as hardiness, feeding requirements, size, price and breeding ability – bettas make great pets for beginners.
Just make sure you follow our advice to keep your betta happy and healthy.
How Much Does a Betta Fish Cost to Buy? (American Dollars)
The cost of a betta depends on what type you buy and from where.
Common types such as Veil Tales may cost between $2.49 to $6.49 USD. Rarer types, such as Elephant Ears, can cost up to $30 USD per fish or more.
Is it True Two Males in a Tank Will Fight to Death?
Yes, bettas – especially males – are extremely territorial and aggressive when placed with another male.
Either keep them in separate tanks or turn a larger tank into two smaller tanks using a tank divider available from aquariums or pet stores.
Learn more in our detailed article on the topic.
Can You Keep Female Betta Together?
Unlike a male/male or male/female combination, female bettas can be kept with other females in a single tank.
Many fish keepers have noticed an all-female community can be scuffle-free. Just be sure to provide plenty of space and some hiding places as they may be needed.
Can You Keep Male and Female Bettas Together?
No – unfortunately male bettas are very aggressive with their own species, regardless of gender, and a male should only be kept with a female for mating purposes.
Is it True You Should Only Have One Betta Per Tank?
A female sorority is possible, where females can share a large community tank. However, male bettas are highly territorial and born fighters. Under no circumstances should you put two (or more) males in the same tank.
A combination of male and female is also not recommended, as they’re known to become aggressive with one another.
Not All Betta Look the Same – How Many Different Types are There?
There are at least 38 various types, all differing in tail type, pattern and color. There are also some types of betta who don’t fit into specific categories (i.e Wasanbetta’s Fancy Crowntail).
You can read more in our detailed article on betta fish types here.
What are the Most Common Betta Types?
Betta splendens – also known as Siamese Fighting Fish – are the most popular type of betta most commonly seen in pet shops.
Within this type, veil tails are the most popular and commonly seen, followed by crown tails, The most commonly seen (or desired) colors seem to be blue and red.
Can You Keep a Betta in a Tiny Jar? Should you?
You can keep a betta in a jar, but that’s not to say you should. In short, the ‘Betta-In-A-Jar’ kits are inhumane and complete rubbish.
This small environment leads to poor health and an early death due to an insufficiently sized or healthy environment to support a proper life.
You can read more in our detailed article on preferred tank sizes here.
What Size Tank Would You Recommend For a Betta?
A tank containing at least 2.5 gal (9.5 liters) of water or larger is the smallest you aim for to home your betta.
However, we always recommend aiming for at least 5 gallons on this site, the smallest agreed size where you can establish a natural nitrogen cycle to keep the water parameters in the safe zone, held stable by friendly bacteria.
Do Betta Need a Heater?
Yes. Bettas thrive in a water temperature between 74 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit. You should also try to avoid temperature fluctuations which cause stress and poor health for your fish.
To achieve this, their tank will need a heater.
You can read more in our detailed guide on heating your betta tank.
What is the Ideal Water Temperature for Bettas?
A temperature between 74 and 78 degrees Fahrenheit is ideal for bettas.
You can read more by clicking this link to our article covering heaters and water temperatures.
Do betta Need a Filter?
Yes. Filtration in your betta’s tank will help it to maintain good health by keeping ammonia and nitrite levels down.
Filters also help to stir the water’s surface, adding oxygen into the water for your fish to breathe.
You can read more by following this link to our article covering filtration needs.
Is a Filter Noisy? Can I Turn it Off at Night?
If your filter is too noisy, there is most likely an issue with it that can easily be fixed.
A worn impellor in the filter can make it sound noisier than usual, but you can buy a new impellor from your local fish store.
If air is trapped in the intake tube, this will also make your filter very noisy. Check your intake tube for anything stuck in it which might be stopping the water from circulating, causing the air to get trapped inside.
You can also try adding more water to your tank. This allows the water from the filter to not splash in from a greater height.
You shouldn’t turn your filter off at night because the beneficial bacteria housed there will likely die and a resulting drop in oxygenation and water quality can stress-out your fish.
You can read more at: http://animals.mom.me/eliminate-aquarium-filter-noises-9169.html
Do Betta Fish Need an Air Pump / Air Stone?
The answer to this question will differ according to each individual aquarium set-up.
If you have a larger tank (around 10 gallons and upwards) with a filter causing lots of surface agitation, then an air pump or stone might not be necessary.
This also applies if you have lots of live plants in your aquarium and perform regular water changes.
However, if your betta becomes lethargic and is often seen gulping air at the surface, then you may need an air pump for the extra oxygenation it provides.
You can read more by following this link to our post on filters, air stones, bubbles and water oxygen content.
Do Betta Need Light? How About Dark?
Bettas definitely require light! A regular, daily period of darkness is also vital for your fish because they are diurnal (just like us), meaning they need a daytime and night-time schedule to know when it’s time to be active, to eat and also when to catch some Zzz’s.
You can take a detailed dive into the topic in our article on light and darkness cycles here.
What are the Best Plants to Put in a Betta Tank?
Chinese evergreen, philodendrons, peace water lilies, photos plant, water sprites, java fern plants, vallisneria, amazon sword, corkscrew tiger val, elodea, foxtail, java fern, hornwart, hairgrass, hygro, water lettuce and willow moss.
You can also choose synthetic silk plants, but they don’t produce oxygen for your tank’s water.
Try to stay away from solid, sharp or spiny plastic plants as they can damage a bettas delicate fins
You can read more at: 9 best plants for betta fish tanks and aquariums
What are the Best Tank Decorations to Put With Betta Fish?
Bettas love a range of tank decorations, including statues, driftwood, ceramic décor, stones and rocks. But more than anything they really love quite dense plants and leaves, for places to hide but also as pads for resting on and sleeping.
It’s important to only buy tank decorations from your local fish shop. This ensures they are free from harmful chemicals or contamination.
It’s also vital the decorations don’t have any rough or sharp edges and they are placed securely in your tank. You don’t want them to harm your betta!
You can read more at: http://www.bettafishcenter.com/betta-tank-setup-2.shtml
What Should I Feed a Betta?
Our advice is to feed your betta frozen live food and / or freeze-dried food. These are cleaner than and not as messy as unfrozen live food. Plus, your fish will love them!
However, precautions must be taken when feeding frozen live worms as they can contain harmful bacteria.
If frozen or dried live food is unavailable, then specialist betta pellets are the next best option.
You can read more here in our guide to feeding your betta.
How Often Should I Feed a Betta Fish?
Adult betta fish need to be fed once per day, while younger fish require feeding twice a day.
Remember, you should only feed your betta as much as they can eat in 2 – 3 minutes each sitting, then remove uneaten food.
You can read more about feeding your betta in our detailed feeding guide here.
How Can I Tell if My Betta is Sick?
A healthy betta will be both active and upright when it isn’t sleeping, but if sick they may appear lethargic, float upside-down or list to one side.
Lumps, missing or loose scales, discoloration patches, a swollen stomach and being completely off their food are all warning signs that point to a sick betta.
You can find out more at: http://www.bettafishcenter.com/Choosing-a-Healthy-Betta.shtml
How Can I Tell a Male Betta Fish From a Female One?
Male bettas have brighter coloring and longer fins than females. They also have a membrane under their gill plate cover which you can see when they flare their gills, but females don’t have this feature.
Females also have a tiny tube visible under their bellies that’s absent in males.
What Does ‘Cycling a Fish Tank’ Mean?
‘Cycling a tank’ describes the process where you allow good bacteria to grow in your tank so it can safely handle waste produced by your fish.
This good bacteria helps to break down the toxic chemicals of ammonia and nitrites into the less harmful chemical – nitrate. It is also known as ‘breaking in’, the biological cycle, or nitrification.
You can read more at: https://www.itsafishthing.com/general/how-to-cycle-a-fish-tank/
How Often Should a Betta’s Water Be Changed?
We advise a 40% water change once per week for almost any freshwater aquarium, however this may vary depending on two factors: the size of your tank and how many fish you have housed in that tank.
A 40% water change is large enough to make a meaningful impact to your tank, without causing stress to your betta.
You can learn more here: https://www.itsafishthing.com/maintenance/how-to-do-a-freshwater-aquarium-water-change/
What Other Fish Can I Keep in a Tank With Betta Fish?
Fish who belong to peaceful species and those who can adapt to the same water temperature of bettas are best.
These include: Glass Catfish, Coolie Loach, Rasboras and various types of Gouramis. You should take care with Gouramis, however, as they closely resemble bettas and this may cause aggression.
Many people also keep African Dwarf Frogs as betta tank mates.
You can read more at: http://www.bettafishcenter.com/species-best-tankmates.shtml
Could We Improve This Betta Fish FAQ?
If you have any questions you’d like to be answered, please add them to the comment section below and we promise to answer every one.
Or if you have a question you feel should be added to the betta fish FAQ, a question for which the answer would help a large number of other keepers, please let us know and we’ll happily add it to the article.
Happy fish keeping!