Fish Formula | Follow these 10 steps to bliss with new betta

It’s no question that the beautiful betta fish is one of the most popular pets to keep. They’re gorgeous, fun to watch and easy to take care of. 

I recently got a betta last weekend. His name is Ambrose, and I love to watch him swim around his tank. I’m no stranger to keeping a fish. I had a 30 gallon tank that housed tropical fish and goldfish. 

I also previously had 4 bettas: Benedict Cumberfish I, Benedict Cumberfish II, Janine Hawkins and Riversong. They all passed away due to reckless fishkeeping that I now regret. I didn’t meet the proper parameters for keeping them, which resulted in their deaths. 

Contrary to popular belief, bettas deserve a larger tank (not a bowl, vase or cup), a filter and heater. I didn’t follow these very well. I stuck my fish in bowls without a filter and heater. I thought they were fine. 

While bettas are very hearty and can withstand some less than ideal conditions, these fish need these things to give them a longer, happier life. 

Taking care of a fish is a responsibility. This is a pet, a life that you’re taking care of. Give these beautiful fish a great life. Bettas can live up to 10 years in stable conditions, though this is rare. Here is a checklist for the things I got.

10 Steps to Betta Bliss

1. Choose a tank. Not a bowl. Not a vase. Not a cup. Make sure it’s at least a gallon in capacity. The more gallons, the better! I got mine from Petsmart. It’s a two gallon with a built-in filter and light that is specifically made for bettas. Getting one with a built-in filter and light means you don’t have to buy the filter and light separately, which is convenient.

2. Get a filter. Many people think that bettas like dirty water. Well, the truth is that no fish likes dirty water. Get a filter that is meant for the size of your tank. If your tank has a filter built in, you’re set.

3. Get a light. Many Betta tanks marketed toward bettas have a light built-in. You can also buy them separately. A light allows you to see the betta’s beautiful colors and allows live plants to grow. 

4. Get a heater. Purchase a heater that is appropriate for the size of your tank. Bettas are tropical fish and prefer warmer temperatures from 78 to 80 degrees. Along with your heater, you should get a thermometer to measure the temp.

5. Choose substrate. This is the stuff on the bottom of the tank, such as sand or gravel. Any gravel or sand will do. Just make sure to rinse it before putting it into the tank. You can even have it bare bottom with no substrate or add those pretty gems. 

6. Get a freshwater test kit. This could be the drops with test tubes or the strips. These will tell you if your  water is at the correct levels of hardness, pH, ammonia, nitrate and nitrite. This is important for the health of your fish. Some pets stores will even test your water for free.

7. Choose plants and decorations. This is the fun part. You can choose fake plants or live plants. WIth fake plants make sure they are silk so they don’t harm your fish’s fins. With live plants, choose a low maintenance plant like moss balls. For decorations, driftwood (boil it first!), rocks and ornaments work great. Make sure to have a hiding place for you fish.

8. Get cleaning supplies.  This includes some 5-gallon buckets, a gravel vacuum, net and a glass scrubber. Keeping your tank clean is important for you betta’s health and happiness.

9. Get water conditioner. This magical potion makes tap water safe for fish. Just make sure to add it when you set up your tank and after every water change. Follow the instructions on the bottle.

 10. Buy food. This is obvious. Bettas love freeze dried bloodworms, pellets and flakes. Feed them a variety so they don’t get bored. 

Phew, that’s a lot, but I can’t stress this step enough. After you have your supplies, you think to yourself, let’s get the fish! 

Stop! You need to cycle! 

Cycling your tank develops the beneficial bacteria in your filter and makes sure your tank is ready for your fish. Keep the filter running with no fish in your tank for a few days to a week, to make sure your water is safe. Then, you can get the fish. 

After purchasing your fish in the cup, float the cup in the tank to have your betta acclimate to the temperature for 10 to 20 minutes. This makes sure you don’t shock your fish. 

Then, you can carefully net the fish into the tank. Don’t put the water from the pet store into your tank as it can have diseases. 

Now you can enjoy your betta swimming around in your proper tank! 

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