Betta Care: Playing With Your Betta
Whaaaa-a-aaaaat? Playing with your Betta fish? That’s unheard of! Nope. No, it’s not. It’s really simple and fun! Here are a few ways that you can play with your Betta pal:
- Flaring: If you don’t know what flaring is, basically it’s when your Betta fish huffs up and puffs out his gills and beard. This is what they do when they see another Betta fish. Kinda like how a cat will arch it’s back and fluff up their fur to appear bigger when they feel threatened.
How you can turn this into play is by holding a mirror up to your Betta and see him puff up. Though make sure that you don’t keep this up for too long as it will tire out your Betta and can become very stressful for your pet. Doing this for small amounts of time at a daily basis will help build up your Betta’s stamina as well as build up your Betta’s confidence (when you put the mirror away after your Betta has flared at his own reflection, your Betta will see it as if he had successfully chased away any possible threats).
- Jumping: You can actually make your Betta jump by holding a piece of Betta Pellet or another treat about the water surface. What should happen is that your fish friend should jump up and eat right out of your hand! (Make sure you don’t over feed him!)
- Follow the finger: If you hold your finger or an object to the glass, try to make your fish follow it! Sometimes, your fish might even follow you around or come up to you when it’s time to eat. Just make sure not to tap the glass too hard or make any sudden jerky movements as it might startle your fish.
- Feeding your Betta live feed: C’mon, who doesn’t want to see a Betta go all Jaws on a live worm?
- Reacting to items: Place an item near the tank or in the tank if clean enough and watch how your Betta reacts to it. If you put something new in front of the tank, your Betta will notice it as it actually knows that something in the environment is different.
- Place something that floats in the tank: Like a clean pingpong ball and see what happens. If your tank has a current in it, the ball will start to move and your fish may before interested in it. Try different colors as to they will react to different colors differently.
Or you could take a freeze dried blood worm, freeze it in an ice cube and place it into the tank (one at a time so that it wont change the temperature too quickly). Your Betta might nip at it or nudge it with his head, and once it melts, your pet will be in for a tasty treat!
- Drag a string: Hold a piece of string over the water so that the tip touches it and drag the string around the surface. Depending on your Betta’s personality, it may or may not give chase.
These are just a few ways to play and entertain both yourself and your Betta. It’s a great way to bond and it’s really fun! If anything clearly stresses your fish out, stop doing as it can become harmful. Be mindful about what you put into the tank, and avoid anything that can break apart and be consumed by your Betta.
If you decide to include food in your play-time with your fish, you might want to cut down on how much you give him during feeding time in order to prevent over feeding.
Betta Care: More Than One Betta
Alright, so maybe you’ve decided that you want to get more than one Betta, but don’t know what do to or don’t know how to approach the idea. Well, if you’ve done your research prior to purchasing your first Betta, then you should know that they have been dubbed “Siamese Fighting Fish.” True to their names, they will fight each other. Well, the males that is.
If you stick two male Betta fish in the same tank, one of them will become the Alpha fish and harass the other Betta to death (VIA chasing and fin nipping). This is super stressful for both of the males.
As for the females, you can have female Betta fish together, but only in schools of five or more. For the first day or two, there will be fin nipping and chasing around the tank, but this is just the females establishing their pecking order. Once the hierarchy has been established, things will calm down in the tank. Make sure that the tank is plenty big with a lot of hiding places for the females to hide in.
But if you do feel the need to own more than one male, make sure that you keep them in separate containers. If you want to keep them in the same tank and the tank is big enough, then you need to get a divider to keep them separate. I don’t know much about this, since I’ve never had two males in a same tank with a divider. Just make sure that the divided tank has enough space for both males so that they can live comfortably and not feel cramped.
Betta Care: Getting Started
Are you interested in buying a Betta but don’t know where to start? That’s no problem! Here’s a little tutorial for you:
- Do your research. I cannot stress this enough. Do your research on Bettas and Betta care. There are plenty of forums and websites for you to visit. Also, carefully consider if this is what you truly want. Can you afford to care for one? Do you have the time to take care of a Betta? This step is really important, so take your time.
- Buy a tank with a lid (I will slap you if it is anything smaller than a gallon), some gravel (sand and smooth stones work too), plants and a place for your Betta to hide in.
- Buy a filter and a heater (optional). If your house is cold, then it would be best if you bought a heater for your tank. If you have a somewhat large tank, you should buy a filter as it helps clean out the water and you wont have to do water changes as often. If you’re a real enthusiast and wish to buy your Betta a big tank, just get both the filter and heater.
- Rinse the tank, gravel and decor with warm water (do not use soap) and fill up the tank. If your tap water is chlorinated, use a water conditioner to make the water safe for your fish. Use a 5-in-1 test kit and make the necessary adjustments.
- Go and buy your new fish. The best place to go to is a breeder, but if you do not have a breeder near by you and/or do not have the time and/or money to order online, visit your local pet store. Select your fish carefully, take not of its appearance and movement. If the fish appears healthy with vibrant colors and moves about actively, the fish is healthy (as healthy as it can be in a tiny container with dirty water, that is). If the fish has white, flaky spots or appears lethargic, chances are that it is sick.
- Buy food. If you haven’t done so already, buy some fish food while buying your fish. Betta Pellets are your best choice, but there are other food you can get your Betta, such as Freeze Dried Bloodworm. The bigger the variety, the better it is.
- Place your new Betta in the tank. From what I’ve observes with my own Bettas, they tend to hide in one area of the tank for a while with minimal movement as well as lack an appetite. This is fine if it happens. Your fish is a little stressed from it’s trip from the pet store to its new home. Your fish should be swimming around and eating after it has calmed down.
- Monitor your fish carefully (optional). This is optional, but I suggest you do it anyway. Just observed your fish for any changes in color or behavior. If your fish had paled and appears to be lethargic, chances are that it is sick. If your fish has gotten darker or changed color, this is normal. It just means that your fish’ true color area starting to show now that it is happy and doing better than it did in the pet store.
This is pretty much it. You don’t have to take this word for word, as there are other ways to do this, but this is just a compilation of what I’ve read online and done myself (which is pretty much everything on the list). If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!