how I make sure my betta fish is healthy & happy

Disclaimer: I am not purporting to be an expert or an ichthyologist! I’m simply a girl who developed a borderline unhealthy manic obsession with betta fish in recent weeks, and I’ve learned how commonly mistreated they are. When I say I’ve done a lot of research, I mean I haven’t done much else for like…days. I’m pathetic, k??

Also…I worked really hard on this, but the links might not work for some reason. If you have any specific questions, feel free to reach out! I’ll send you my recommendations.

The vast majority of easy-to-grab products marketed for betta fish are, in fact, cruel instruments of fish horror, and it’s not your fault for not knowing that! I mean it says on the label that it’s made for bettas, why not trust it? That’s why I’ve decided to list the products and practices I personally use for my male betta fish in order to ensure his maximal health. If you’re thinking of getting a new pet for your little one or wanting to upgrade your current betta’s life, hang on and read!

  1. Tank
    • I know it’s pretty obvious that if you want your aquatic pet to live you need an aquarium. The trouble is that the proper aquariums (aquariae?) are harder to come by than one might thing. For a betta fish to thrive, it requires at LEAST a 2.5 gallon tank — even though most experts argue that a 5 gallon does much better. I have mine in a 5 gallon currently, and he flourished in a matter of days once I put him in there.
    • We are so used to seeing gallon and even half gallon little bowls marketed for bettas (I mean it’s an upgrade from the CUPS THEY SELL THEM IN), but that is just like moving you from a box to a slightly larger box. Get your betta something he can get groovy in.
  2. Food
    • So I did quite a bit of research on what constitutes the BEST betta food, and I consistently found this option at the top of the list for pellets: Fluval Bug Bites. My little guy loves these, and they’re high in protein-rich ingredients without a lot of BS fillers.
    • Here’s another somewhat lesser known fact about betta fish: they thrive on a varied diet. Imagine living off of hamburgers for your whole life. I mean, you could do it, but depression would set in by like day 5 probably. I supplement my betta’s diet with frozen brine shrimp and freeze dried bloodworms. I’m not sure why, but the frozen stuff is particularly fun to feed him.
  3. Water Conditioner
    • Putting your betta in straight tap water without even acclimating him to it would be like throwing us in a vat of toxic waste. Get a good water conditioner like this one to get your tank ready to be lived in!
  4. Heater (& thermometer)
    • Some people who are reading this might be laughing right now, but setting your betta up in the correct temperature is essential to its longterm happiness and survival. They like their tanks to be around 75-82 degrees, with 78-80 being the sweet spot. I use a 50 watt heater for my tank, and it barely uses any energy while making the whole tank the perfect temperature. You can find an aquarium thermometer to monitor the situation at your local pet store (in fact, you can probably find all of this there).
  5. Filter
    • Contrary to popular belief, bettas do need a filter in their tank. It can’t be anything with too high of a flow because the betta will get caught up in it, but a sponge filter works great. Here’s the one I use. Look at how inexpensive — I mean come on! To make your little fishy happy?? A bargain and a half I say. Here are the other components you need to set up your filter: some tubing and a pump.
  6. Places to hangalang
    • Lastly, you’ve got to give your betta some scenery! I love my live plants because they help clean the tank and provide a resting spot for your betta, but I also have a rocky (but not dangerously sharp) hide thing from 2006 when I had salamanders that I also put in my tank. Get a little house for your betta! It’ll thank you in its…mysterious fishy ways.

Again, I am no expert, and I used a lot of what I already had (well…kinda). I’ve just been shocked by how much joy this little vertebrate has brought me. I love planting bulbs in his tank and watching them grow, experiencing his bonding with me (which really does happen), and spectating as he flourishes and grows into a beautiful version of that dingy little guy I bought from a local pet store in a cup.

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