Monday, May 18, 2009

Tips Care Betta Fish #1

  1. Prepare home. Here are some points to consider:
    1. Choosing. In the wild, bettas inhabit Thai rice paddies. Hence, they are fitted to living in relatively shallow but spacious environments. However, you should still consider giving your betta a decent sized tank to help prolong its life, since waste can build up very quickly. Naturally, more water is better, but a 5 gallon tank is an acceptable size for your betta fish. If you wish to keep your betta with other fish or aquatic animals, then you will need a tank of at least ten gallons.
      • If you choose a larger tank you will enhance its quality of life.
    2. Decorate. One of the betta's distinct features is its ability to breathe oxygen in both the air and the water, so you will not need to supply aeration. You might decorate your betta's home with gravel/colored stones, silk plants, and a small cave-like structure to hide in. A creative home is a happy home! Remember to add a gentle filter and small heater.
      • Do not use jagged rocks or decorations for your tank, as they tear your betta's fins.
      • Be wary when buying hard plastic plants, as they can be rough on your betta's fins. A good trick is to use the 'pantyhose test': If a plastic plant will snag a pair of pantyhose when rubbed against it, then it will damage your betta's fins. Be safe and buy silk plants instead.
  2. Prepare the water. If you use water fresh from the tap, use a water conditioner before you put it in the tank, as the chlorine and chloramines can harm your betta. Older sources may suggest aging the water, letting it stand for a period of time. It is best to use a water conditioner, since aging water will remove chlorine but not chloramine and heavy metals.
  3. Fillto top cover. If your tank does not have a top cover, then fill it about 80% high. Bettas are very active fish and can jump over three inches when motivated, so this will ensure that it does not jump out of the tank.
    • If your tank does not have a top cover, you can a mesh cloth over the top to ensure that it does not jump out. It will be much happier if it has access to lots of air as it does breathe at the surface along with in the water.
  4. Temperature. Be sure that your tank is maintained at a constant temperature of 78-82 degrees. Purchasing a small heater is a good idea, since the temperature of the water is likely to be much cooler than room temperature and can fluctuate easily.
  5. Cycle your tank. This step is important to the health of your fish.
  6. Purchase your betta. There are some considerations for choosing your betta.
    1. Visit your local pet store or the vet. You should have a general understanding of what to look for before purchasing your betta.
    2. Observe the available bettas. There are a few qualities that you should look for when choosing a betta fish:
      • Color. Is the betta bright and vivid in color, or does it appear very dull and pale? Bettas come in a variety of colors, so don't be surprised by the choices available. Blues and reds (dark colors in general) are the most common.
      • Receptiveness. Does the betta respond to your movement at all? Does it appear to swim around rapidly at the sight of you, or does it merely sit at the bottom and sulk? You shouldn't repeatedly tap on the container, as you will only agitate the fish, but you should find a way to see if it pays attention to you. On the other hand, don't be afraid to buy a somewhat docile betta. Bettas will generally have many encounters with other people during the day, and may simply be taking a brief rest.
      • Overall health. Are its fins in good condition, or are they torn or otherwise damaged? Are the betta's eyes in good shape? Do you see any odd lumps (parasites) on its body? If you see anything highly out of the ordinary, you may want to consider another betta.
      • The right one. Sometimes, the fish will choose you, not the other way around. If there is one betta that you look at, set down, move on from, but are drawn back to repeatedly, it is probably the right fish for you. Even if it is not completely healthy, you should buy the fish you feel a connection to, rather than the healthiest one there. The betta will likely heal up once he is out of the tiny cup and in warm, clean water.
  7. Feeding. Your betta's diet should consist primarily of pellets. For special occasions feed frozen.
    • Be sure to clean up any extra food that your betta does not eat. Similarly, be sure to watch your betta fish to see if he spits up any food.
    • A diet high in protein yet varied is important. Flakes, live food, freeze dried, pellets, whatever works best for you, but keep it varied. If you don't keep your fish's diet varied, it may become constipated. Constipation in a betta resembles swim bladder disease in which they are unable to maintain their balance. All is not lost. Feed him a bit of a cooked, peeled pea, then no food for a day or two he will be fine.
    • Though live food may be more exciting to watch, freeze dried products still work great. They are also safer and free from potential parasites.
    • Don't overfeed your betta, no matter how hungry or cute he or she seems! Your betta's stomach is about the size of its eyeball, so keep that in mind.
  8. Clean your betta's tank.
    1. Do not remove your betta from the tank.
    2. Clean the tank. Clear up any buildups on the side(s).
    3. Replace some of the water. Don't change all of the water at once, as the abrupt shift in the environment can harm your betta. You should only change about 25%-50% of the water in the tank at a time. For the other portion, use clean water of about 78ºF. Be wary of shifting the water temperature too drastically when you reintroduce your betta to the tank, as it may affect your betta. Don't forget to add your water conditioner. You should do at least 20-30% water change once a week .