Betta fish are generally known for being tough and hardy, but they do require some regular cleaning and maintenance, just like any other fish or pet. Today we are here to talk about how often you should change your betta fish water and how to keep your tank water clean.
They are pretty hardy, so they don’t require as much cleaning as some other fish, but to keep them alive and healthy, there are some things you need to do and water changes is an important one.
Table of contents
- How Often To Change Betta Water? Short Answer
- Items Needed For Changing Betta Fish Tank Water
- How Often Should I Change My Betta Fish Water? Detailed Answer
- How To Keep Betta Fish Water Clean
- Commonly Asked Questions
How Often To Change Betta Water? Short Answer
Realistically, you should be changing the water in your betta fish tank by between 15% and 30% per week (15% per week is what we recommend).
Sure, some people go for weeks or even months without any water changes, but this is not recommended at all.
Have you seen our Betta Fish E-Book? We have put together what we consider to be the Ultimate Betta Care Guide that covers all the essentials and more! You can check what it covers and get a sneak peek here.
Items Needed For Changing Betta Fish Tank Water
Before we look at how to change betta water, let’s first look at the essential items you will need to change the water effectively and easily.
1. An Aquarium Siphon
One of the most important things that you need to change the water in your Betta tank is a siphon. You need to get a special aquarium siphon that will automatically let the water out of the tank. These siphons also help to suck waste from the bottom of the tank.
You are going to need 2 buckets, one for the clean water and one for the dirty water. Make sure that the bucket with the clean water has never had any chemicals in it. The bucket for the dirty water can be any bucket as you will be throwing that water out anyway.
3. Thermometer & pH Kit
Before you put the water in the tank, you need to make sure that it is at the right temperature and has the right pH level. This is important because you do not want to add new water into a tank that does not have the right pH level of temperature.
We have reviewed our top 10 thermometers over in this article.
4. Water Conditioner
The water that comes out of your sink has fluoride, chlorine, and other chemicals in it which are not good for any aquarium. A water conditioner will help remove and neutralize these substances found in tap water, making it useable for aquariums.
How Often Should I Change My Betta Fish Water? Detailed Answer
When it comes to water changes, this is something that needs to be done on a regular basis. Now, this is not a dead set and written-in-stone procedure. Different people recommend different water change schedules to maintain clean water. Generally speaking, most would recommend changing around 1/3 of the water on a weekly basis, but no more.
You don’t want to change too much of the water because it does have certain parameters, such as the pH level, hardness, temperature, biological agents, and bacteria.
You do not want to alter too much at once due to the risk of stressing your fish out or creating water conditions that are less than ideal for survival and healthy development.
Changing the water is not all that hard. It is something that can be done in a few minutes if you have the right tools. You can follow the below steps for an easy partial water change.
Guide On How To Change Betta Fish Water
- Fill a clean bucket with clean and fresh water. Do this before you even look at the betta fish tank.
- You need to use water conditioner in order to condition the water and remove chlorine and other harmful substances from the fresh water. Putting your betta fish in water with chlorine in it is toxic and can lead to death rather quickly. Always follow the exact instructions provided with the specific water conditioner you buy.
- You need to let the water warm up a bit, to at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Ideally, you need to allow the water to warm up to the same temperature as the current water inside of the aquarium. You can do this by simply letting it sit or by using a water heater (we have reviewed our top 5 here) if you need things to go a little faster. An easy way is to mix hot and cold water from the tap until you hit the right temperature.
- Now, remove 30% of the water from the tank. You can do this by hand with a bucket, or you can use a special water removal siphon to make things a little easier.
- If you can, clean the gravel at the bottom of the tank before adding new water into the tank. A gravel siphon is ideal for this.
- Add in as much water as is needed to get the tank back to the original water level.
How To Keep Betta Fish Water Clean
Betta fish do eat a fair amount and they can definitely create a decent amount of waste as well. This creates ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and pollutes the water.
There are several things that can pollute the water, but with the right tools and the right steps, you can easily keep betta fish water clean.
Let’s go over the most important tips you can follow in order to keep betta fish water as clean as can be.
- Don’t overfeed your betta fish. Uneaten food will end up at the bottom of the tank and start to rot, degrade, grow bacteria, and pollute the water. Only feed your betta 2 or 3 times per day and do not give them more than they can finish in around 3 minutes.
- Perform regular aquarium cleaning. This is beside the water changing we talked about before. Use a gravel siphon to clean the gravel and use warm water to clean decorations, driftwood, and other such things.
- Make sure that the plants in the betta fish tank are healthy. If there are rotting leaves or stems, either remove them or remove the whole plant. Rotting plants release chemicals into the water that should not be there.
- You need to have a great 3 stage filtration unit. Now, betta fish are known for being able to survive in water that is not exactly pristinely clean. However, that being said, they do better in clean water. A good filter that engages in mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration is key. Mechanical filtration removes fish waste and debris, biological filtration gets rid of ammonia, nitrites, and nitrates, and chemical filtration gets rid of other toxins, odors, and discoloration too.
- You can always try adding in some snails which will eat algae growing in the tank.
- Adding the right plants can also help reduce nitrates, more on that and suggestions here.
Commonly Asked Questions
Why did my betta die after a water change?
If you did a betta fish water change, and it ended up dying, it could be due to a number of reasons.
First off, if you did not balance the pH properly, to make the pH level ideal for your betta fish, this could be a cause of death.
Second, if you did a water change, and the water was way too cold or hot, that can definitely affect the health of a betta fish as well.
Next, if you changed too much water all at once, this could also have caused your betta fish to die.
Finally, if you changed the water, and you used plain tap water without letting it sit or treating it, then the chlorine in the tap water may have killed your betta fish.
Is it OK to use tap water for betta fish?
When you are changing betta fish water, yes, it is OK to use tap water, if you treat it properly.
No, you cannot use tap water straight out of the tap. Tap water contains things like chlorine and fluoride, which are extremely harmful to all fish and can kill them very fast.
If using tap water, you need to let it sit for at least a day, in order to allow the chlorine to dissipate into the air.
The other option here is to use a dechlorinating treatment to quickly get rid of chlorine in the tap water.
Can betta fish die from dirty water?
Some people will tell you that betta fish do not require a filter in their water, but this is not true. If too much ammonia and nitrates build up in the water, it can definitely kill your fish.
Too much fish waste, decomposing food and plant matter, and other contaminants can all cause betta fish to die, at least from extreme levels.
So yes, you need to maintain a regular betta water change schedule, you need a good filtration unit, and you need to clean the aquarium regularly.
Can I do a full water change for my betta?
Absolutely not. If you change all of the water in your betta fish’s tank all at once, chances are almost 100% that your fish will die.
The level of beneficial bacteria in the water will go back down to nearly zero, or zero if you change all the water at once.
These bacteria are required to neutralize and eliminate ammonia and nitrates.
These build up in the water over time, especially with the use of a good biological filter, but freshwater won’t have any of these bacteria in it.
How long can a betta fish go without water change?
Yes, your betta fish can probably go for a few months without a water change, especially if you have an awesome filtration unit, but it definitely is not recommended in the least.
Changing aquarium water by about 15% per week is recommended.
As long as you follow the steps outlined above, in terms of water changing and keeping the tank clean, keeping your betta fish in prime health should be no problem at all.
Featured Image Credit: Buddy BIGPhotographer, Shutterstock