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How to Keep Your Betta Fish Healthy and Happy

By Peter Hartono |

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Keeping your Betta fish healthy and happy is quite easy. Every aquarist should realize the importance of a pro-active approach to safeguard their pet’s welfare. Being quick and alert in addressing any physical and behavioral changes will show that your betta’s well-being is a top priority. 

 

The signs of a happy, healthy, and relaxed betta include:

  •  Strong, vibrant colors
  • Fins are held open, but not taut, allowing their fins to billow and fold in the water
  • Feeds readily
  • Active, smooth swimming movements
  • On the other hand, a stressed or sick betta may show the following signs:
  • Faded, muted color
  • Clamped fins – fins are held close to the body
  • Stress stripes – more prominent in female bettas, and to a lesser degree in males
  • Poor appetite or may ignore food that has been newly given
  • Lethargy
  • Hiding
  • Darting

Stress

When your betta is constantly bombarded with stressors, they may lose their vibrant colors, and "stress stripes” may appear on their body. These are horizontal dark- and light-colored stripes. Stressed bettas often have poor appetites and may be seen swimming right past new food. 

 

Betta fish image
Betta fish.
In order to prevent specific problems, you should make sure that your betta is not exposed to potential stressors. Being able to pinpoint the specific stressor will protect your betta from negative effects associated with stress. 

Diseases

Pathogenic microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa thrive well in tanks with poor water quality. Frequent water changes, use of specific medications, and conducting regular tests for water quality, will certainly go a long way in keeping your betta fish happy and healthy. 

Filter

Bettas enjoy swimming in their tank when they are not blown around by strong currents from the filter. Make sure to use an adjustable filter and set it to a low-flow setting. 

Nutrition

A happy betta has a good appetite. Being carnivores, they need a high-protein diet to thrive. A varied diet will also boost your betta’s appetite. Your betta may tend to overeat; they are known to consume everything that is given to them. This is an instinct they have developed while in the wild, where they don’t know when and when their next meal is coming from. You may not know this, but your betta’s stomach is the same size as his eye; overfeeding your fish may result in a host of medical problems.

Physical and Mental Stimulation

Bettas are quite intelligent and they need constant variety and enrichment in their tank, or else they will quickly become bored and unhappy. You can keep your betta happy by putting in aquatic plants and decorations that will give him lots of hiding places, toys including floating mirrors and betta hammocks. Your betta can also be taught some tricks such as jumping out of the water, taking his food from your finger, or flaring when prompted. 
Keeping your tank clean, removing stressors, and giving the right nutrition will help guarantee your betta’s health and happiness. Always remain vigilant in watching any changes in the appearance, behavior, and personality of your betta.
  

Peter Hartono is the founder and CEO of Just Aquatic – a company based in Melbourne, Australia that provides a wide selection of live aquatic plants, aquarium decorations and betta fish tank supplies.
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How to Keep Your Betta Fish Healthy and Happy

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Reader Comments

Carol    Silver Spring, MD

5/17/2014 6:23:03 PM

mental stimulation for a betta is a challenging concept

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