The Fish Tank - FAQ

What would make good tankmates for my betta? Platies, guppies and other small fish are fine. Avoid small neon tetras, bettas have been known to dine on them. African dwarf frogs are not trustworthy neighbors for bettas.

What should I keep my betta in? Even though you've probably seen bettas kept in small containers of water, please don't do this. Your betta will not thrive. The minimum size should be a standard goldfish bowl. 2 to 5 gallon tanks are even better.

How long do bettas live? About 2 to 3 years.

How much should I feed my betta? About 3 to 4 flakes twice a day. You can even let a couple of days go by without feeding your betta. Try to avoid overfeeding your betta, he will live longer.

How often should I change the water? Use your judgement. If the water appears pretty dirty, it's time to change it. Bettas in small containers, such as cups or goldfish bowls can have their water entirely changed. Put the betta in a cup while you clean out its tank. If in a small fish tank, you don't have to change all the water at one time.

Hi i have 4 betta fish and the two that i have in a tank with a divider and the female is always tring to jump out is that normal? and should i put her in a different tank?
krysta <>
toronto, on canada - Sat, January 19, 2002

YES! <>>><

hi, i have a 2 year old betta named justin and lately his right gill is puffing out. and eventhough i change the water in the 1 gallon tank every few days, there are oily substance floating on top the next day. what do you think is wrong?
philadelphia, pa USA - Fri, January 25, 2002

Your betta is getting near the end of its lifespan and may be weakening. Any slight bacterial condition may be causing this. If you like, try adding a little (non-iodized) salt to the water. About 1 teaspoon to a quart of water. Good luck. <>>><

I have recently got some beta fish and after about a month the females seem to be a bit listless. There also seems to be a thin white film on them, although their tanks are kept clean and conditioned properly. Any Idea what this might be and how do I treat it?
Red <>
Canada - Sat, February 2, 2002

Could be fungus. I'd add a little salt to the water (1 teaspoon per liter). You might want to separate the fish from each other to reduce stress. <>>><

I have two betta fish (male and Female) i need breeding tips. And easy to follow ones thank u!!!
Ali <>
portland, or USA - Tue, February 5, 2002

First, separate the fish and feed the female really well until she is nice and fat.
Then add the male for a couple of days. If all he does is chase her around and harrass her, she isn't ready. Put them apart for another couple fo weeks and try again. Have brine shrimp eggs ready for when the fish lays eggs, as the fry will hatch in about 3 days and need freshly hatched baby brine shrimp to feed on. Good luck. <>>><

I have a male betta and have kept him in a fish bowl for about 1 1/2 months. I was wondering if I could transfer him to my 2 gallon tank. I have a live plant for him and rocks and would keep him alone of course. Would this help him to live longer and get bigger?
Sara <>
elmhurst, IL USA - Fri, March 15, 2002

Absolutely. Bettas thrive in a larger tank. <>>><

Hello, Do you need to care for a beta in a vase with a peace lily any differently than in a regular bowl? Are there any important rules?! :) Is distilled water from one gallon jugs ok as is? Also, the vase is not in a room with a whole lot of sunlight (one small window)-is this ok or harmful for the plant and fish? thanks :)
USA - Mon, March 18, 2002

I'm not familar with mixing a peace lily and a betta. I do not know what to tell you there.
Distilled water is fine and the lighting is not a problem. <>>><

i was recently gave some bamboo and was told i could put it in with my bettas before i do this i need to know if it is safe. thanks
noclue <>
west fargo, nd USA - Thu, March 21, 2002

Sorry, I am not familiar with adding bamboo with bettas. Cannot advise you on this. Perhaps, someone else reading this board will have an idea <>>><

I have a lovely betta in a 1 1/2 gallon tank with filter. We change the water twice a week, yet it remains cloudy. I want to put a bottom feeder in the tank, but have been advised that the tank is too small and not to. I also have a goldfish in a bowl, the water too is cloudy. Can I get one bottom feeder and switch it back and forth to help keep both fish tank & bowl clean. What bottom feeder is compatable with both? Thanks.
Robin <>
San Diego, CA USA - Fri, March 22, 2002

I suspect you are overfeeding your fish. You should only be giving your betta about 3-4 flakes per feeding and the goldfish would be better off with small feedings more often than one large feeding. I do not recommend a bottom feeder for either tank as it will not solve your problem. <>>><

Got a red Betta 4 days ago and it died today. Was in an acrilic 1.5 tank, no filter, tap water with drops added. Fed it tiny brown Betta food. Have no idea what happened. Was beautiful to watch, then started to try to get under the rocks at the bottom, and when I came home today, it was dead. I would love another one but don't want it to end up the same way. Thanks for your help. Kay Please answer direct.
USA - Fri, March 22, 2002

Sounds like you did all the right things. Perhaps your betta purchase was just weak or had hidden problems. I'd try again, but be sure to clean the tank well before putting a new betta in it. Be sure to purchase a betta that is lively and not lying around in its container. <>>><

How long does a female Betta fish live?
nicole <>
Belchertown, ma USA - Sat, March 30, 2002

About two years <>>><

I have had a beta for about 2 months and its tank is kept in good condition, at first it was doing fine but now all of a sudden the fish seems to be sick, it is floating on the top with the tip of its head out or on the bottom, but its not dead. Do you know whats wrong.
Jimmy Bice <NsBigShorty05@AOL.COM>
Houston,, Tx USA - Mon, April 1, 2002

Sounds like your fish is ill, try adding a pinch of noniodized salt and reducing the amount of food you feed it. <>>><

I have a betta fish in a vase with the plant on top at my desk at work... Many people knock on the glass to get the fish moving, I keep a note on it that says "Tap on the glass, Bob (the fish) will tap on your head!" Yet they continue to tap anyway. I have just heard and do not have a strong argument against this, yet that I've heard the sound vibrates the water and damages the fish... Help me respond with facts, please.... R :)
Robin <>
San Bernardino, CA USA - Tue, April 2, 2002

The vibrations won't hurt the fish. The warning against tapping on the glass is because it might "stress" the fish. Some fish are naturally very nervous and constant tapping on the glass causes them to dart around furiously. Most bettas are used to being bothered to some degree, so unless your fish is showing signs of being upset, (i.e. gets pale in color, darts around nervously,etc.) you don't have to worry <>>><

Have just bought a Beta for my daughter to have at school with her. We have purchased an aquariam "set" and have been assured by store clerk that this is an easy first time fish. Is there an optimal water temp for these fish? Anything else that is crucial info? He's an attractive little guy and we would like to take good care of him. Thanks for any help!
NH USA - Wed, April 3, 2002

Just make sure you de-clorinate the water using a product like Kordon AmQuel instant water detoxifier. (or use distilled bottled water) The betta only needs a couple of flakes of food twice a day and the water temp should be in the mid 70's. Enjoy <>>><

How do Beta fish breed when you can only have one in the tank at the same time?
janis posen, mi USA - Wed, April 3, 2002

I think you need two to tango ;)

Will the Betta fish (male or female) eat their baby?
Kayla K <>
Houston, TX USA - Sun, April 14, 2002

After the baby betta fish is born do you put them in a seperate cage?
Kayla K <>
Houston, TX USA - Sun, April 14, 2002

How long do you feed the baby betta fish brine shrimp eggs?
Kayla K <>
Houston, TX USA - Sun, April 14, 2002

I bought a betta fish yesterday and I'm not sure how to tell whether It's a male or a female. I also wanted to know what other kind of fish I could put in the bowl with my betta fish. I know for a fact that bettas are the fighting type so I know I can't just put any type of fish in there with it. I was thinking along the lines of the tiny fish with the neon orange colored tails. Would that be okay or not?
Manhatten, NY USA - Sun, April 14, 2002

Usually bettas sold in fish stores are Male as they are prettier and have longer fins. Neons are not good tank mates for bettas as bettas have been known to "eat" neons. <>>><

Is there a way to keep a male Betta and a female Betta in the same tank, and prevent them from mating? Thanks.
Bob Johnson
Salt Lake City, UT USA - Sun, April 14, 2002

If they mate, you can just ignore the eggs and the fry probably won't survive. Why worry? <>>><

A couple of my co-workers have Beta fish at work.2 of the males are very social meaning they seem to get excited and swim or "dance" when we walk up to or near the tanks or when they are fed. The 3rd Beta "flairs" his gills when anyone come near him also, he is older and the "flairing" was not noticed until the 2 new additions to the office were added. Note- the 3 fish are in different areas of the office. What could be the reason? Also, do the males "cycle" prior to mating and if yes, how long is the "cycle"? Are there any tank mates for Betas?
Kathy <>
Havana, Fl USA - Sat, April 27, 2002
There are natural mating cycles, but usually just keeping the bettas healthy until you add a female works just fine. If they don't mate in a day or two, you just remove the female and try again later <>>><

What kind of fish would be able to go with a male betta? I have a 1 gallon tank should i get a bigger one?
Andrew <>
lithia, fl USA - Mon, May 20, 2002

what fish would go good with a betta in a 5 gallon tank?
me <>
USA - Tue, May 21, 2002 I have mine with a couple of platies and they live very well together <>>><

i am trying to see if i can place my betta and my dwarf african swimming frogs together in one aquarium..any answer to this with quick response will be helpful. thanks.
lucy <>
sharon springs, ks USA - Sun, June 2, 2002

I wouldn't recommend it. I don't trust the frogs. They might nibble on the betta <>>><

How long do beta fish live?
bob <>
Richmond, VA USA - Mon, June 3, 2002 About 2 to 3 years at the most <>>><

I have a fighting fish if it lays on its side on the bottom will it die
adam hurley
blue mts, nsw aus - Tue, June 4, 2002
No, laying on its side doesn't necessarily mean death. I have seen bettas sleep that way. <>>><

hi again my fighting fish is a baby so if it does not eat all its food (blood worms) will it die?
adam hurley
blue mts, new south wales austrailia - Wed, June 5, 2002

No <>>><

I have a betta fish. I am getting green stuff on the sides and the plants (fake). I will clean the tank and 3-4 days later, the green stuff starts showing up. I have bubble scone in the tank and have recently changed it. With this fish being a betta, I cannot put other fish in with him. So getting one that cleans the tank is not an option. Can you give me some tips on how I might get rid of the slime? Thank-you Peggy
Peggy Schroeder <>
Laporte, in USA - Thu, June 6, 2002

Get some plants. Algae grows when there are no plants to compete with it. Also, cut down on the amount of food you're feeding your fish. <>>><

My male Beta seems not to like his food-- first I tried Topfin Beta Bits (little hard pellets)-- he kinda chewed them, but then would spit them back out. So then I got BetaMin flakes-- he sucks them in, chews and spits out particles, or doesn't even notice them. I just got him two days ago, but have had Betas before and didn't notice this kind of behavior in them. I'm considering buying him some blood worms, or brine shrimp to see if he'll eat those. So is my fish nervous-- just settling in, unhappy, a picky eater, or what?
Alpha_flinx <alpha_flinx>
denver, CO USA - Sat, June 8, 2002

Try soaking the Topfin Beta Bits a little to soften them before giving it to your betta. I'm sure your betta would love brine shrimp but that's really a "treat" food. <>>><

Hi there. I have had my betta fish (i believe a blue male) for about 2 years now (just over). I have him in a one gallon tank, with gravel and 1 'fake' plant. I always keep the tank quite clean, but just lately I have been noticing one side of his gill looks kind of worn (is the best way I can put it), and his one eye on that side looks a little 'puffed' and seems to bleed from an opening in the top from time to time. He also unfortunately has, what seems to be, an eye that looks 'glazed over' on his other side. He's never had any fish disease before (besides 'ick' in the very beginning), and was always very active, and now, not so much. Do you know what could be causing his eye to bleed (red)? and his one side near his gill to look almost a dark grey, and worn? He is also breathing very slowly I find. Thx.
Vancouver, BC Canada - Mon, June 10, 2002

Sorry to say, your betta is near the end of his lifespan. He's getting weak and susceptible to all sorts of illnesses.
If you can't stand to have him suffer, you can put him to sleep by placing him in a cup in your refrigerator. <>>><

I have a male beta fish, I will be going out of town for two weeks and don't have anyone to watch him. Will he there anything I can do to make sure he'll be ok?
Elizabeth <>
new orleans, la USA - Fri, June 21, 2002
Gee, two weeks is a little long. I have seen bettas survive for ten days without food...but I wouldn't guarantee 14 days.

You don't have any one at work that could feed him every couple of days at least?

If you can't find anyone, you can take your chances. Feed him heavily on live (brine shrimp, worms) and flake food for a week before you leave. If you can find some recently hatched fish fry that would be perfect. He should store up some fat that way.

I wouldn't bother with the "stones" that supposedly feed your fish while you're away.

Is it ok to keep a betta in an aquarium with other small fish as long as there aren't any other male bettas?
Nicole <>
West Valley , ut USA - Wed, July 10, 2002

Should be okay, just so the fish are not so small that the betta can eat them! <>>><

i just got a female betta, she's kind of blue-purple color (was anyway) and i was watching her one night and on my eyes she faded to gray-brown color. and now she kind of "changes" colors (from blue/purple to gray/brown} few times a day. is she sick?? please help
Sveta <>
USA - Wed, July 10, 2002

Good question. Female bettas will change color depending on their mood -- sleepy, hungry, excited, bored. When they mate their stripes actually turn vertical versus the normal horizontal. <>>><

I have a beta fish and my boyfriend has 2 african dwarf frongs and he is going away for the ARMY and I am going to take care of the frogs so I was going to put the beta with the frogs and I'm not sure if that would be okay or not, please help me!
Michele Browo <>
mesa, az USA - Thu, July 11, 2002

I wouldn't recommend it. I don't trust the frogs. They might nibble on the betta <>>><

i was wondering if a betta fish ate more he would grow bigger? I got my betta fish 11 days ago when i can stick in a female?
michael huya <>
warren, pa USA - Sun, August 18, 2002

Not really, just get fatter. Regarding the female, depends on the size of the tank <>>><

What do I feed my male beta fish?
Ashley <>
Naperville, IL USA - Sun, August 18, 2002

Fish flakes, etc. Anything he'll eat. I knew one betta that ate ants. very strange. <>>><

What happens when you put a Male Betta and a Female Betta together in the same tank?? Would the fight?
Krysten <>
plympton, ma USA - Sun, August 18, 2002

The male might harrass the female, it depends on the size of the tank <>>><

I want to have a male and female betta together in the same tank so they can breed. I heard the tank has to be big so that the male dosen't harrase the betta is this true? and how big should the tank be? thnxs
Vince <>
Barrie, Ont Canada - Sat, August 17, 2002

Hi there, My question is, can I put other fish in with my male Betta?If so, what kind? He is not in a tank but in a very large fish bowl. If so, should I change living arrangments? Thanx!
S. Williams <>
Montreal, Quebec Canada - Sat, August 17, 2002

I have 2 female betta's and 4 male, 4are in betta tanks,the other are in fish tanks,how might I breed them and, take care of the fry? can I put the 2 females in a 2 gallon tank? 1 MALE has tiny bubbles on his tank? When do they make the bubble nest ? are the tunnls ok for the betta fish? How many fry do the useally have?
sadie <>
sadler, Tx USA - Fri, August 16, 2002

I recently purchsed a betta. I have him in a fish bowl and just bought a 5.5 gallon aquarium. Can you please tell me what fish I can put with him and how many. Please send me a reply A.S.A.P. Thank You
John Norman <>
Chocowinity, NC USA - Wed, August 14, 2002

um Hey i have a male Betta fish and i really want sum is not a very big tank but i could get a bigger one if i need to...but ne ways to the point. what kind of fish can go with male bettas..?? HELP PLZ...W/B
Lauren <>
Watertown, Ny USA - Wed, August 14, 2002

Our office betta fish, Al, has black spots. We've tried adding acquarium salt, and cure-ick. He resides with a plant in his vase. The water is changed refrequently, more so since the spots (3-4 days). He's approx. 1-1/2 yrs old. Any idea as to what's happening and can he be cured? Help please!
marydale <>
Norcross, GA USA - Mon, August 12, 2002

Why would a betta fish (male) bite its tail off even after being fed?
tina <>
fremont, ca USA - Mon, August 12, 2002

I just got this beta fish from a friend who couldnt take care of it. She hadnt fed it in a while so can i feed it more than 3 to four flakes? Also i want to clean the tank and i have never had a fish of my own, what temperature does the water need to be at?
Elyse <>
Walton, Ks USA - Thu, August 8, 2002

3-4 flakes of food is fine. The water should be room temperature. <>>><

Do Betta Fish live in salt or fresh water?
Polina <>
South Hadley, MA USA - Thu, August 8, 2002

Freshwater <>>><

I have a male betta and i was wondering if i would be able to keep a famale in with him i also have other fish in the tank? And any advice on breeding betas? thanx Vince :)I need the answer quickly pleze nad thnxs
Vince <>
Barrie, ont canada - Thu, August 15, 2002


I bought a 2.5 gallon divider tank for my children. Each side has a male beta. They seemed fine at first, but latley one is getting very close to the divider bobbing up and down backwards so his feathier fins go to the other side. The other beta bites them off. The one does not look as pretty but looks for this action. Will they grow back? do I need to remove one? Why do they sell these tanks if it's not a good idea to have them near each other?
Lynn <>
Orlando, fl USA - Sat, October 5, 2002

The pet industry doesn't care. You'll need to put the damaged betta in his own decorative gold fish bowl and his fins will eventually grow back -- though they may not be a nice as they were originally. <>>><

Back to Q&A