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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Betta



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Traits & behavior

This means they eat mostly animal matter, including prepared foods and fresh, freeze dried or frozen foods.

You will see your betta slowly swimming toward the top of your aquarium or bowl. They also tend to rest near the bottom.

Male bettas are aggressive toward each other. Therefore, house only one male with smaller, peaceful fish in a community aquarium, or keep him alone in a one-quart or larger bowl. Females are not aggressive and can live together peacefully.

Air breathers
Bettas gulp air from the water's surface to help them breathe.

Things to remember

Adding fish
Whether you're just starting your aquarium or introducing new fish into your tank, don't forget to add only 1-3 at a time.

Safety & cleanliness
Please remember that all pets may bite or scratch, and may transmit disease to humans. Keep your pet's home clean and wash your hands before and after handling your pet or cleaning his home. Infants, young children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems, and the infirm or elderly are at greater risk of infections and should use caution when in contact with the pet or its habitat. Consult your doctor for more information.


Staple diet
Choose a tropical flake or pellet food. Feed according to the directions on the packaging.

Specialty foods
Vary their diet by including frozen or freeze-dried bloodworms, tubifex worms and other small worms, mosquito larvae and daphnia. Always remember to thaw frozen foods before feeding.

Frequent feedings
For optimum health, feed your betta as much food as it will consume in 1-3 minutes, twice a day. You can alternate between regular staple diet feedings and 2-4 meals per week of a specialty food.


Signs your bettas are healthy:

  • Eating vigorously and actively swimming
  • Clear eyes, smooth, clean skin and fins free from any lesions or inconsistent colorations
  • Calm, steady gill movements

Things to watch for:

  • Lying on bottom of aquarium for extended periods of time
  • Poor growth or weight loss
  • Inflamed gills, skin or fins
  • Fins clamped to sides
  • Scraping body on rocks

If you notice any of the signs described above, check your aquarium water quality and consult a PetSmart Aquatics Specialist.


If keeping one male alone, choose a one-quart or larger, bowl or desktop aquarium. If housing in a community, a good rule of thumb is one gallon of water for every one inch of full-grown fish.

Decorate their bowl or aquarium with rocks, ornaments and plants, but be sure to place them on the sides and back of the aquarium so they'll have enough space to swim in the center. Avoid ornaments with sharp edges.

Fish compatibility
Your male betta will thrive living on his own, or as the only male of the species in a peaceful community aquarium with smaller fish. Females can be kept together.

Water changes
When housing a betta in a bowl, keep the water surface free of dirt and debris and perform weekly water changes. If in a community aquarium, test the water weekly and perform partial water changes twice a month.

Water temperature
Bettas require a tropical aquarium with water temperatures ranging between 75-85° F. Use an aquarium heater to maintain water temperature. If your betta is in an unheated bowl, the room temperature must remain above 75° F.

Aquarium placement
Place your aquarium in a low-traffic area, away from direct sunlight and drafts.

Aquarium stand
An aquarium stand will safely support the weight of your filled aquarium.

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