You definitely need to create the best environment possible for your Betta fish possible. Let’s talk about how you make the right environment. Mainly we want to talk about some good decorations and plants that are fantastic for any Betta fish tank.
Betta’s are used to environments where plants cover much of the water surface, where there are many plants and other things in the water, and where they have some cover from the sunlight. Keeping this in mind, let’s talk about some of the things you need to create the best environment Betta fish.
Creating The Best Environment For Betta Fish: Getting Started
There is a nearly endless choice of plants that can be put in a fish tank, but they are not all ideal for a Betta’s tank. Here are some of the best plant choices for your Betta fish tank. For the most part they need roughly the same conditions as your Betta fish, plus they aren’t too hard to keep alive either. Like we said, Betta fish love plants that they can hide under, swim around, sleep on, and get some cover from the sunlight.
Some great plant choices for your Betta fish tank include:
- Java Moss
- Java Fern
- Amazon Frogbit
- Anubias Nana
- Marimo Moss Balls
Rocks & Decorations
Plants are not the only thing that you want to put in your Betta fish tank. Rocks, pieces of wood, and other decorations are also great. Not only will these things make the aquarium look better, but they will also benefit your Betta fish. Remember to look for natural items that will not leach chemicals into the water, add unwanted compounds, or change the pH level of the water.
Here are a few different things that you can consider adding to your Betta fish tank (keeping in mind that they like privacy, swimming through things, and hiding under things);
- Rock statues
- Floating or sunken driftwood
- Fish castles
- A flat plant or surface for the Betta fish to sleep on.
Something which we have not talked about until now is the lighting in your Betta’s fish tank. Keep in mind that they do come from sunny tropical environments, but they also live in waters with lots of cover from the sunlight. Also, Betta fish like a regular light schedule, with a good amount of light during the day and darkness at night.
This helps them keep a regular sleep schedule, something that is just as important for your Betta fish as it is for me and you. You can get a simple LED lighting system that is not too bright, one that you can turn off during the night. Of course they do need some light, and so do the plants in the aquarium for that matter.
Just keep in mind that direct sunlight is not good because it can cause algae blooms and heat up the water too much as well. A simple and not so powerful lighting system is ideal for your Betta fish. That being said, if you live in a fairly bright place that naturally gets dark at night time, then you may not need to buy a lighting system.
Water Conditions For Betta Fish
Perhaps the most important thing to get right when it comes to a Betta fish tank is the condition of the water. This includes things like the levels of natural compounds, pH levels, temperature, and water hardness.
Temperature is a very important thing to get right when it comes to a Betta fish tank. The wrong temperature can lead to illness, a generally sad and unhealthy fish, and even death. Betta fish come from warm environments, so your tank temperature needs to reflect that. The temperature of your Betta fish ideally needs to be between 78 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, or 25.5 and 26.5 Celsius. A Betta fish can live in water temperatures between 72 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, or 22.2 to 30 degrees Celsius, but that is pushing it.
Having the water in that temperature range will allow your Betta fish to survive, but they won’t be as happy and healthy as when the water is between the ideal 78 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Having your Betta fish in waters that are too hot will cause its metabolism to run in overdrive mode, thus causing them to age much quicker than they should. Also, hot water can cause weird behavior and erratic swimming, plus it is unhealthy for the internal organs. In essence, water that is too hot will more or less end up cooking your Betta Fish. The heat will also compromise their immune system.
Also, keeping your Betta fish in water that is too cold will cause sluggish swimming, it will compromise their immune system, cause them to eat less (and thus not get enough nutrients), and can even cause death. An adequate temperature range is very important.
pH & Water Hardness
Another important feature that needs to be looked after when it comes to the water in your Betta fish tank is the pH level. pH refers to the acidity of the water, which can range from 1 to 14, with 1 being very acidic and 14 being extremely basic. Betta fish like their water to be at an even pH level of 7.0, which is neutral in acidity. A Betta fish can handle water that is slightly acidic or slightly basic, but it is definitely not ideal, especially for long periods of time.
It is highly advised that you get a pH testing kit and regularly test the pH levels of your water. If you need to alter the pH you can always use special fish tank pH altering solutions to get to the right level. That being said, slightly acidic is always better than slightly basic water. Going too far in either direction will more or less result in the death of your Betta fish.
Water hardness is also very important when it comes to your Betta fish. Water hardness refers to how much calcium and magnesium is in the water. Most fish need the water to be very soft, which means that it has extremely low amounts of both calcium and magnesium. To be fair, while Betta’s are soft water fish, they can easily tolerate slightly elevated levels of calcium and magnesium, just not too much.
Naturally Occurring Compounds
There are several naturally occurring compounds which you may find in the water of your Betta fish tank, most of which need to be kept at a minimum in order to keep your fish healthy. First off, ammonia levels need to be kept to a minimum, ideally 0 ppm. (Here is a guide on cleaning your tank).
Ammonia is created by feces, urine, and decomposing food and plants. It can poison the water and kill your Betta fish, and the effects are actually worsened when the water is more basic than acidic. Changing the water and keeping the filter running well will help control ammonia levels.
When ammonia is broken down by autotrophic bacteria, it turns into nitrite. Nitrite is a little less poisonous to your fish than ammonia, but it is still poisonous none the less. This problem can be solved with beneficial bacteria which break down nitrites and turn them into even less harmful nitrates. Both ammonia and nitrite levels should be kept to an absolute minimum.
Finally, nitrites are broken down into nitrates by bacteria, which is even less poisonous. 20 ppm or less is ideal for Betta fish, but no more than that. Doing regular water changes (we have covered a step by step guide here) is often more than enough to keep nitrate levels to a minimum.