Betta fish are stunning, and one fish that almost anyone would recognize.
They are not the easiest fish in the world to own and take care of properly, but they are worth every trouble you might have.
If you have betta fish, or are thinking about getting some, and need to know how to clean their tank, you’ve come to the right place.
Here, we will go through what betta fish are, what they like in their tank and general environment, and how to clean their tank.
What are Betta Fish?
Betta fish, or Siamese Fighting Fish, are from Southeast Asia.
They thrive in tropical climates and would live in locations such as rice paddies in countries like Thailand.
Because of their natural habitat, which recedes during the dry season, these beautiful fish have a labyrinth organ.
This organ allows them to get oxygen not only through the water, but also in the air.
These fish get their name because of their territorial nature, which was actually exploited in fish fights in the 19th century.
In the early 20th century, these fish were introduced to the United States and became immensely popular.
While these fish are usually a brown or green with shorter fins in their natural habitat, the bettas we can buy at the pet store today are very different.
Now, they will be colorful, and have stunning, elaborate fins to catch our attention.
As a general rule, these fish can live for 2-4 years if they are cared for properly.
Environment and Tank Contents
Betta fish are a type of tropical fish, so it goes without saying that they need heaters to maintain their preferred temperature.
While this isn’t something they typically care about, it is something that many people forget about, so it is worth mentioning.
There are some important rules to follow when you have betta fish, and they are as follows:
- Tropical temperatures – since these fish hail from Southeast Asia, they need to constantly be in temperatures between 76-81 °F (24-27 °C). The majority of people do not have homes that range within this temperature, so if you want your fish to be happy and comfortable, a heater is a must.
- Large tanks – a betta fish’s tank should never be any smaller than 5 gallons (19 liters). Although these fish are soften sold in smaller bowls, they require the space to swim around, so they don’t become stressed.
- Tank depth – as a general rule, betta fish should not be in tanks any deeper than 12 inches (30 cm). This is because these fish may struggle to reach the water’s surface if they are put in deeper tanks. Since these fish like to rest on the surface, they need to be able to get there, and their fins are not as powerful as many other fish. To make it easier for them, they should reside in relatively shallow tanks.
- Weak currents – since betta fish have their elaborate fins and aren’t strong swimmers like many other fish, they prefer to live in calm waters. If they are put in rough waters with strong currents, they will struggle to swim and even tear their beautiful fins.
- Carnivorous diet – betta fish are naturally carnivores, and would east larva and insects in their natural habitat. Because of this, you need to feed your bettas the fish food they need, which is usually in the form of flakes or pellets. You can also give them treats that are high in protein like brine shrimp or bloodworms, but these need to be given in moderation, or you will make your bettas fat.
- Females like friends – betta fish can happily live alone, but they can also be with other fish, and female bettas can be with other females. Male bettas are likely to fish one another, or any other fish that resembles them, but the females are typically docile enough to be some a few of their own kind. If you have a male betta, they don’t have to be in a tank alone, either. You can pair them with creatures like snails, ghost shrimp, and African dwarf frogs and bottom-dwelling fish so long as they have small fins.
What Should Go into a Betta Fish Tank?
- Live plants are great – having live plants in the fish tank your bettas are in is great for them and the environment. These fish like to rest on the leaves and made good use of the plants to get away from other living things when they don’t feel like socializing.
- Toys and other stimulating features – bettas do well when they have things to do within their tank. A popular betta entertainment choice are things like logs, small balls (like ping pong balls), caves, and hammocks. These fish like to explore the world around them, so it’s a great idea if you give them something interesting to explore, like caves made out of safe (and smooth) materials.
- Smooth gravel – because of their beautiful but delicate fins, bettas should be in tanks with smooth gravel. This will reduce the risk of them injuring themselves.
How to Clean a Betta Fish Tank?
Cleaning a betta tank is no different to cleaning any other fish tank.
Like any other species of fish, bettas will produce waste, which will need to be cleaned weekly.
There are a few tank hygiene tips that should be followed every week to maintain a healthy environment in your aquarium:
- Weekly water change – you should do a 10-15% water change every week, which will help keep the tank cleaner and looking great.
- Get rid of any organic waste – you should get rid of any dead leaves (or fish) the moment you see it in the water. Any uneaten food and fish waste you see should be removed from the tank.
- Keep the tank out of direct sunlight and limit artificial light – algae will thrive in conditions with strong light. Your tank should never be by a window, and the artificial lights should never be on for more than 10 hours a day.
- Limit the food – you should only feed your fish as much as they can eat in around 5 minutes. Uneaten food will just cause problems for you and the fish down the line. You can skip feeding for a day to ensure that your fish eat the food they have left.
To clean your betta fish tank effectively, follow these steps:
- Prepare the water for the water change ahead of time – get the water you are going to do the water transfer with prepared ahead of time. You should try to get it to the correct temperature for the tank, and if you are using tap water, leave it out for several hours. Leaving the water out for 24-48 hours will give enough time for the chemicals it contains to evaporate. If you don’t have time to wait for the chemicals to evaporate naturally, use a water conditioner so that the chemicals get neutralized.
- Transfer the fish somewhere safe for the cleaning – prepare a bowl for the fish within the tank. The bowl should be filled with tank water, then gently scoop them out. They will stay in the bowl until the cleaning process is done.
- Remove all decorations from the tank – take everything out of the tank and put them in a bowl of water large enough to contain them. They will probably have to be cleaned too.
- Transfer tank water into another container of sorts – you will have to scoop the water you intend to keep for the water exchange into another container. After the tank has been cleaned, this is the water that you will be adding back in.
- Get rid of the water you want to change – the remaining water should be poured out. You won’t be needing this. While doing this, use a sieve or something to that effect to catch all the gravel at the bottom of the tank. Add this gravel to bowl of decorations.
- Clean all decorations and furniture – use warm water and NO SOAP. A soft brush should be enough to get any dirt off the decorations, and even the smallest amount of soap (even if rinsed well) can negatively affect your fish. Set the cleaned decorations aside when you’re done.
- Get the gravel clean – use warm water and your hands to loosen any dirt that has accumulated on the gravel. Keep doing this until the gravel looks clean, and once again DO NOT use soap.
- Clean the tank thoroughly – use warm water to clean the tank. Get out your tank cleaning equipment (clean sponges and brushes) and get all the dirt out. Make sure that you aren’t too rough and get every corner of the tank. When it looks clean, rinse it out with warm water again.
- Put all the gravel, decorations, and furniture back in the tank – pour the gravel back into the tank and spread it out evenly across the bottom. Add the decorations and accessories and make it look cute for your fish. When this is done, remember to reattach the tech or other miscellaneous items used in the tank like heaters, thermometers, and filters.
- Refill the tank and mix the old and new water – get the tank water that you put aside and carefully pour it back in. Make sure that you don’t disturb the decorations or gravel that you just put in. After that, add the fresh water you prepared at the beginning and mix it together. Test the pH levels and temperature to make sure it is perfect for your bettas.
- Add your betta fish – finally – add your bettas! Get the bowl the fish is in and put it in the tank carefully, then tilt the bowl until your fish swims out on their own. Your fish should be happy to see their home ass shiny and new.
NOTE: never complete a full water change when cleaning your tank!
This can be harmful for your fish and the environment that has been built up in the filters and tank water.
Completing a full water change will upset the balance and result in potentially dangerous consequences.
Cleaning your betta fish tank is pretty easy, and should be done every week.
Having a clean tank will mean that your beautiful bettas will be happy and thrive in their home.
Always remember to keep some tank water when doing this, and always put your bettas in a bowl of tank water to be put aside when you’re cleaning the tank.
You don’t need anything special to clean your betta fish tank to a high standard, and as long as you have a sponge, soft brush, warm water and a sink, you should be good to go.
Make sure that you use either a brand-new sponge and brush, or use one that is strictly dedicated to cleaning your tank.
Using items that are used for other purposes (like washing the dishes) can be hazardous to the fish and the environment of the tank.
Some key things to remember:
- Never do a full water change
- Never use chemicals when cleaning your tank or its contents
- Always condition your water or allow the chemicals in it to evaporate naturally (24-48 hours)
- Always wash your hands with warm/hot water before cleaning your tank (no soap)
- Put your fish in a bowl or container of tank water when you clean the tank
- Always remember to reattach the heaters and other important devices in your fish tank
I hope this post helped you in your fish-owning journey!
There is always something new to learn when it comes to fish, but as long as you follow the rules for each species, they are a joy to own.
Before getting any new kind of fish, do your research and find out everything you can about them.
Not all fish will get on, and every fish will like slightly different things.
Now that you know how to clean your betta fish tank, all I can say is good luck cleaning!