Betta Water – Proper Betta Tank Setup For Healthy Fish
By Elizabeth Christopher
Getting betta water just right is the single most important step to increasing your betta lifespan from the industry average of six moths to a whopping three to five years. This will insure proper betta temperature and water quality. This generally covers heating, water set-up, filtration and substrate (tank flooring) before introducing your fish. Get a comprehensive Betta Care Guide to cover all the deatils.
Betta water in the wild is generally clear to brackish, with little or no water flow. However, betta water in captivity is a whole different situation. A betta tank must be cycled to lower ammonia levels, kept at a constant temperature range, and have constant water changes to ensure a happy, healthy fish.
An ideal betta tank is a five or ten gallon low, rectangular shape. Bettas do not live in deep waters in the wild, so purchasing a deep betta tank is a waste of resources, and your betta will not fully use or enjoy his surroundings. Get a glass or acrylic betta tank, because these do not scratch or fade like plastic, and provide maximum visual enjoyment.
Purchase a water treatment kit at your pet store, follow the directions and get your betta water ready. It is important to let the water sit for 24 to 48 hours to allow the chemicals to affect the water properly. This will get the nitrates started that are needed in your betta tank to offer the best environment for healthy fish.
Substrate is an important part of betta tank setup, since it plays host to good bacteria that form in the tank floor and eat harmful bacteria and ammonia that comes from the fish’s waste. A medium size gravel is fine. I have found that sand, while beautiful in appearance, is much harder to clean, and can grow algae much more rapidly than gravel will.
Purchase a heater that has 3 – 5 watts per gallon size of betta tank. This will keep the betta water at the proper temperature, 78 to 82 degrees. Also get a temperature gauge to double check the heater’s readout.
When purchasing a filtration system, get one that contains some type of sponge filter. This is a great place for good bacteria to live, and help your fish ward off disease by keeping the betta water at a healthy level. Just as the bacteria in your substrate cleans the water, this bacteria polices the nitrite and nitrate levels in your betta tank, keeping them at an acceptable level.
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