Learn How To Care For a Betta Fish For Beginners: [Guide & Care Sheet]

Estimated read time 20 min read
Basic Betta Fish Care 101- What You Really Need To Know

Getting your first Betta fish (betta splendens) is super exciting. But! If you aren’t totally sure of what you’re doing, it can seem complicated.

There are so many things to consider when you’re about to get a new Betta!

This is just the beginning–you’ll have even more questions once you get started. The good news is, this page will answer all of your most pressing Betta Fish questions.

Maintaining a Betta fish tank is a fun long-term project you can do with your family (or on your own to add that last bit of flair to your apartment). This guide will take you through all the Betta fish care basics in a simple, easy-to-digest way.

If you have any questions or problems with your betta fish–you’ll find answers here!

New To Aquariums? If you’re sick of reading the old complicated beginner guides then make sure to check out our guide: Best Freshwater Aquarium Setup. to learn how to set up your new aquarium the right way.


Learn How To Care For A Betta Fish With These Great Books

How to Use This “How To” Page

This page is the hub. From here, you can access all the most helpful Betta articles available on TFCG. It’s the best place to get started with your betta fish overview, and the linked articles will plug any knowledge leaks.

This is your crash course in Betta fish care. Fish school is in session, and this is Betta Fish Care 101. It is the alpha and the omega of all Betta fish guides—Ok, we’re getting carried away.

The point is, by the end, you won’t feel like a Betta fish beginner anymore–Oh no. You’ll be well on your way to becoming a Betta fish expert!

The 8 Main Things: How To Care For a Betta Fish For Beginners

Okay, so…

Betta fish–they’re awesome. You really want one. You just…don’t really know what’s involved. You might’ve heard they can survive in mud puddles or something? (it’s true, they can! During the dry season in their natural habitat…but don’t do that to your Betta fish!)

Betta Fish 101 is a guide created to give beginner Betta fish owners the tools and knowledge needed to set up and maintain a happy, healthy Betta fish environment. This guide has everything–whether you’re looking for help with tank setup, or Betta food, or getting your Betta breeding…it’s all here!

The guide is split into eight areas of Betta fish care. Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Betta Fish Tank Setup
  2. Betta Fish Water–Heaters and Filters
  3. Betta Fish Tank Cleaning
  4. Betta Fish Plants, Aquaponics, and Toys
  5. Betta Diet!
  6. Breeding/Tank Mates/ Life expectancy
  7. Betta Tricks
  8. Betta Care 101 Sheet

You’ll find links to suggested articles that take you deeper into a topic (and you’ll find a few relevant videos, too). If you want to get the most out of your Betta experience, you need to check these out!

Let’s dive in!

(Sorry, I had to…)

1) Betta Fish Tank Setup

Best Betta Fish Tank Size For A Happy Betta Fish

When it comes to Betta Fish tank shopping, bigger is better. Betta fish will do best in a tank that is at least 2.5 gallons.

There’s this notion out there that a Betta is one of those fish that don’t need a filter and can live happily in a cup or a small fish bowl, you’ve seen this in a pet store for sure (or a muddy puddle)…And that just isn’t true. You want your fish to thrive. To do that, betta fish’s need some space.

These fish are glorious–they need room to flex those fins.

Plus, toxins and ammonia can build up way too fast in small bowls, making it very challenging to keep your Betta’s environment clean and healthy! A bigger tank will be easier on both of you.

You might be thinking “there’s gotta be more to Betta fish tanks than size”…and you’re right!

If you want your Betta fish to be happy, you’ll want to make sure to read our article on the best Betta fish tank set up for a happy, healthy Betta fish. By the end of the article, you’ll know:

  • The worst container for your Betta fish home
  • Which “popular Betta facts” are actually myths

And there’s a handy infographic that breaks it all down for you.

As you look more into tanks, you’ll realize that tank temperature, water conditions, and other tank fundamentals play a big role in the health of your Betta fish.

There’s no better place to learn it than this article on the seven fundamentals of the ideal Betta tank–this is an easy-to-reference resource to keep in mind (especially when you’re planning your tank).

12 Of The Best Betta Fish Tanks You Can Buy For Your Betta

If you’re looking for some help getting started on your ideal Betta tank search, check out 12 of the Best Betta Fish Tanks you can buy this year. There’s enough variety on this list to accommodate your specific needs.

If you’re looking to “go big” on tank size (for less than $100), then you’ll want to peep at our list of 6 of the best 5 gallon Betta fish tanks.

If you’re looking for a small tank, then give our list of 7 terrific small Betta fish tanks a look.

It might seem like a lot to process–but this is a fun part! It requires a little research upfront, but that pays off in the end.

And if you need a little creative inspiration, check out our list of 19 amazing Betta fish tank ideas

Once you’ve picked out a Betta fish tank, there are a few accessories you’ll need.

Betta Fish Tank Accessories

Here’s a quick list of essential Betta fish accessories:

You’ll learn which Betta fish accessories are worth your time (and which ones you should avoid) below!

*Some people don’t use a filter in their Betta tank. The filter keeps the water clear, clean, and free of toxins. Clean water will keep your fish healthier and happier. I always recommend the use of a filter*

2) Betta Fish Water, Heaters and Filters

The betta is a native freshwater fish from Thailand and Cambodia. The ideal temperature for your Betta tank is 78-80 degrees F. Nice and tropical.

And since you likely don’t keep your house at an average rainforest temperature of 80 degrees…you’re going to want a heater for your tank.

9 Expert Tips_ The Ideal Betta Fish Tank Temperature

Have you ever wondered, “Is 82 too hot for betta fish?” If so, you’re not alone. It’s essential to keep your betta fish in an environment with the right temperature. Discover the ideal betta fish tank temperature to ensure your fish stays healthy and stress-free. Click here to learn more!

You’ll want to be careful when you choose a heater. Cheap heaters can fluctuate temperatures too much, and sometimes they’re just downright inaccurate.

It’s possible to find heaters that don’t break the bank but heat your tank reliably and consistently.

We put together a guide to our favorite Betta fish tank heaters–it’s a quick read, and it’s an easy way to prevent your Betta tank from becoming an arctic ice pond or bubbling oceanic steam vent exhibit.

5 Affordable Betta Fish Heaters You Should Know About

Picking the right heater is just a part of the whole water temperature equation. 

The article shows you how to maintain an ideal tank temp, and it also shows you:

  • The best way to introduce your Betta into its new home
  • The big no-no’s of changing tank temperature (read before you adjust your tank temp!)
  • And more

The article actually talks about the correct PH balance for your tap water (hint: it’s between 6.8 and 7.4).

And while we’re talking about water quality, it’s a good time to discuss filters. You know that some people don’t use them. But you also know that I typically recommend them!

Every fish and every tank are different. There are situations where you and your Betta will be better off without a filter.

Read our article on the best filters for your Betta tank. Not only will it help you make an educated decision, but you’ll also learn:

  • Which Betta fish shouldn’t be put in a tank with excess water movement
  • How a spot to hide can help your fish adapt to a new filter
  • Exactly what filters do and how to use them (in a quick four-minute video!)
Selection Guide- Best Filter For Betta Fish (Review)

I never recommend keeping your Betta in anything smaller than 2.5 gallons.

I know it can be challenging to find filters for smaller tanks, so I decided to make it easier for you–If you’re trying to select a Great Mini Filter for your small aquarium, look no further. This article compares five great filter options to suit the unique needs of your smaller tank.

In some cases, your best bet for a filter might actually be a sponge filter.

Sponge filters get a bad rap–but if you ask me, they’re just misunderstood. There’s definitely a time and place to use these suckers! If you’re hoping to breed your Betta fish (more on that in a bit!), or need to quarantine a weak or sick fish, a sponge filter could be the perfect solution.

Quality varies, so read our guide to the Best Sponge Filter for Your Betta Fish to avoid making a bad choice.

Further Reading: Learn more about fish that don’t need a filter

3) Betta Tank Cleaning

Bettas are often advertised as low-maintenance. But they’re fish.

And all fish produce waste–your precious Betta is no exception.

We know that not everyone enjoys cleaning… There’s enough tidying to go around without adding a ten more gallons into the mix.

But a clean tank is vital for the health and happiness of your Betta fish.

If you’re daunted by the task of cleaning your Betta’s aquarium, you’re in the right spot. Our easy 11-step simplified Betta tank cleaning guide will make your tank look brand new and your Betta fish as happy as a….clam?

  • The guide has the easiest, most straight-forward steps for cleaning a fish tank
  • Plus, there’s a tip on water-changing that you don’t want to miss (Betta lives are on the line!)

And, before you’re tempted to go for one of those “no clean” aquariums, you’re going to want to read this. Spoiler alert: “No clean” sounds a lot better on paper (and it’s a misleading description).

NoClean Aquariums Betta Fish Tank & 8 Truths About Gravity Flow Self-Cleaning Tanks

We show you the best way to get rid of dirty tank water (Hint: It’s not dumping it down the sink!).

The important takeaway is there are ways to get more “clean” for your clams than an overpriced, undersized aquarium.

For starters, check out these 7 options that are better than self cleaning tanks.

4) Plants, Aquaponics, and Toys

Ah, one of the most fun parts of the whole endeavor–aquaponics kits, plants, and fish toys.

Aquaponics kits are a beautiful way to take advantage of your Betta’s wastewater and do some urban growing!

You’ll want to consider more than the ratings when you’re choosing an aquaponics kit for your Betta fish (unfortunately, not every aquaponics kit manufacturer has the best interest of your Betta in mind).

So we put together a list of 7 awesome Aquaponics Kits, and the best ones to use for your Betta fish. (Oh yeah, and we tell you which kits you should avoid if you want your Betta to live happily for the next 3-7 years).


If you’re not interested in a full-on aquaponics kit, you can use living plants to liven up your Betta’s home. Certain plants will work better than others in your specific tank setup, so make sure you do your research!

You can read our guide on the best Betta fish plants to learn:

  • Why plants might not be the right choice for your tank
  • Why certain plants could be dangerous to your Betta fish
  • How plants can keep your tank cleaner, longer
  • And more
The 6 BIG Benefits Of Using Live Plants In Your Betta Fish Tank.

As for toys and accessories, the options can be overwhelming (there are a lot of good ones out there).

You know the drill by now, though–we’ve got you covered!

Our list of 11 of the best Betta fish tank accessories will get your accessorizing off to a great start (and it’s a must-read for any Spongebob fans out there…Quick trip to Bikini Bottom, anyone?). Plus, we show you a really neat product that can light up your tank.

Then take a peek at our guide to 10 of the best Betta fish toys.

Show your Betta some love in a healthy way with our recommendations on everything from Betta fish treats to the best toys for a good night’s sleep (for your Betta).  

This is where you can really let your creativity run wild and have a lot of fun putting your tank together. So have fun with it!

Have you ever wondered how your betta fish catches some z’s? You might be surprised to learn that bettas do sleep, but not in the same way we do. Discover the fascinating world of betta fish sleep patterns and how to ensure they get the rest they need by clicking on our comprehensive guide: how do betta fish sleep?

5) Betta Diet: What Do Betta Fish Eat?

Everyone’s looking for a better diet but that’s not what we’re talking about here! We’re talking fish food (not to be confused with Phish Food ice cream…).

In the wild, Betta fish will eat whatever they can get their mouths on. This includes worms, insect larvae (like mosquitoes!). Even smaller fish are fair game.

Their natural environment is often resource-limited, so the Betta fish have adapted to be the opposite of picky eaters–Still, your Betta is a carnivore. Like the gym bros of today, your Betta fish need a protein diet.

Since Bettas are the “I’ll eat anything” type, you might be tempted to feed them tropical fish food.

They are tropical fish, after all!

But most tropical fish flakes are plant-based–and your Betta isn’t a practicing vegan. Your Betta is happiest on a diet high in meat proteins. A diet of exclusively tropical fish food can actually cause health problems like bloating or swim bladder disease.

The amount your Betta eats, when your Betta eats, and what your Betta eats are all vitally important to the health of your Betta (go figure!).

What do Betta Fish Eat- Use These 5 Best Types Of Betta Fish Food

The Betta diet is something you want to get exactly right. That’s why you should read this Betta fish care guide, which focuses on the ins and outs of the Betta diet. In the guide you’ll learn:

  • The surprising reason why your Betta is spitting out its food
  • The best home-remedy for a constipated Betta fish (it happens, but it’s easy to fix!)
  • The reason you should never follow the feeding guidelines on Betta food packaging
  • The 5 best types of Betta fish food and frozen foods for a happy, healthy fish
  • Some other handy Betta diet tricks

Oh, and before you make the mistake of trying to feed your Betta some other type of fish food…you’re going to want to read this quick what not to feed your Betta article, too.

6) Breeding Your Betta Fish (and Other Circle of Life Talk)

9 Proven Steps- How To Breed Betta Fish The Easy Way

Betta fish breeding can be an awesome undertaking!

But success will mean 6-8 months of diligent attention, so you need to be prepared. That time window is just the beginning of what you’ll need.

We break the whole process down for you (including ideal tank setup and best accessories) in our breeding Betta fish guide. Here’s what else you can expect to learn:

  • The one counterintuitive thing you should not put in the breeding tank
  • The secret foods that get your Bettas “in the mood”
  • The perfect time to introduce future lovers to each other
  • And six other easy-to-follow steps to breed the perfect fry (including the best traits to look for)

Watch These White Platinum Halfmoon Betta Pair Spawning

From sK2Tuner

By the way–when it comes to breeding, you’re going to need to divide your tank at certain points in the process. There are super cheap ways to make DIY dividers, and you can read about the best Betta tank divider ideas here.

Bettas Butting Heads–The “One Male” Rule

Betta fish are called siamese fighting fish for a reason–they can be very aggressive toward each other.

When it comes to tankmates, you’ll want to be careful about putting your male bettas in a community aquarium or adding other fish to your male Betta’s tank. They can be very territorial creatures.

And you definitely want to avoid putting two male siamese fighting fish in the same tank. However, if you like you can start with a large aquarium and split it up for a great show tank check out 7 useful ways to use a Betta tank divider to see some slick ways you can keep Betta in the same tank without–well, you know.

When it comes to putting a male Betta fish in a community tank–well, the bigger the tank, the better (something of a mantra for us).

29 Safe & Compatible Betta Tank Mates For Your Betta Tank [Infographic]

Certain fish work really well together, and you can read all about the best combination in our article on 9 excellent male Betta fish tank mates. Plus, you’ll see:

  • Which fish you should absolutely avoid putting in a tank with your male Betta
  • The optimal tank size for different companion fish species
  • Why female Bettas can easily live together.
  • All the proper steps to creating a thriving underwater fish community

Expert Tip: “Did you know that betta fish can get bored and depressed, especially if kept alone? Your betta buddy is an intelligent little guy who needs stimulation and distraction to keep stress at bay.

So, keep your pet happy and healthy by providing him with a few broad-leaved plants to rest on, a couple of Marimo moss balls to push around, caves to explore, and toys to play with.”


The Betta Circle of Life–How to Maximize Life Expectancy

Breeding your Betta fish is a great way to keep your aquarium active for years to come. Putting a fish community together is another way to keep your tank full and satisfying.

But neither of those are substitutes for maintaining the health of your Betta fish. If you’re diligent (and a little lucky), your Betta fish can live up to seven years.

There are steps you can take to increase the chances of your fish living a long, healthy life.

And we detail all those steps in our article on increasing the lifespan of a Betta fish (there are several actions you can take before you even get your fish to ensure your Betta will live longer–this article is worth reading before you decide on a tank).

Keeping your betta fish healthy and happy is important, but sometimes things go wrong. Are you aware of the most common causes of betta fish fatalities? Learn more about the dangers lurking in your aquarium and discover how to prevent them. Don’t miss our comprehensive guide on what kills betta fish and how to keep your aquatic friend safe and sound.

What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Betta Fish & 7 Easy Things You Can Do To Increase The Lifespan of Your Betta Fish.7) Tricks!

How To Train A Betta Fish To Do Tricks

It turns out positive reinforcement is a great motivator for more than humans (and dogs).

That’s right–your Betta can learn tricks. If you want to learn some of the best tricks to teach your Betta (and how to do it!) grab our article on how to train Betta fish to do tricks.

8) Betta Fish Care Guide [Infographic]

Here is an AMAZING infographic from Christopher Adams over at Modestfish.com that highlights a lot of the information we cover in the post and a few extra tips so you can ensure your Betta buddy lives a long healthy life!


What Do Betta Fish Like In Their Tank?

When you’re setting up a Betta tank, we recommend the following equipment:

This list is just a starting point and any large aquarium can be used.

Where Do Bettas Like To Sleep?

All animals sleep including your Betta fish. Where they sleep really depends on their attitude but most Betta fish will float at the top of your aquarium.

Other places you might see them resting is in a corner of the tank on the gravel or in a favourite hiding place like a cave. Sometimes they will also just use a plant leaf as a hammock.

Are Betta Fish Hard To Care For?

Like most fish, your betta will require some attention and work. However, they are no harder to care for than most other fish species.

In fact, Betta fish are great for beginners and actually quite hardy and easy to care for overall.

Should Betta Fish Be Active?

This one really depends on your Betta. Some Betta fish are very active and others are very boring to watch. It really comes down to their own personal traits.

You’ll get to know your Betta over time and learn what’s normal for them and what’s unusual behaviour.

Do Betta Fish Get Lonely

Betta fish are extremely territorial and enjoy living alone.

In fact, your Betta should not be kept with other fish that even has similar characteristics of a Betta fish.

Long fins, bright colours are all things that might set off the temper of your fighting fish and he may pick a fight.

There are a lot of fish (tank mates) that can live peacefully with your Betta as we’ve discussed above. Just make sure you have a big enough tank with lots of swimming room for all.

On another note, if kept in a small tank your Betta will get bored.

Where Is A Betta Fish From?

The Betta in your aquarium is likely from a Betta farm located somewhere in Asia.

However, the species itself is native to the Mekong basin of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.