What Makes Betta Fish Special?

Bettas are one of the most popular species of fish sold and if you are interested in keeping one, you should have some Betta fish information. Let’s make clear what size tanks should Betta fish have, whether you can keep Betta fish with other fish, what are the best Betta fish tank mates, and how much do Betta fish cost.

Male Bettas are fish with long vibrant colored fins and tails. What most people are not aware of, however, is that there are different kinds of betas, with a lot of different tail shapes: Veiltail, Crowntail, Combtail, Fantail, Halfsun, Rosetail and more. Both sexes will flare and puff up their gills to look more impressive, but the male normally stands out, since the females are quite drab in comparison.

What size tanks should Betta fish have?

We see Bettas at pet shops, sold in tiny containers all by themselves. Unfortunately, the way they promote them is as fish that can live in just a few ounces of water, which is very, very far from the truth. All those “Betta fishbowls” that are sold in pet shops and online venues are completely inappropriate and cruel to the fish. Some of them even advertise water changes once a month and say Bettas can go without food for days. NOT true.

I would like to say that Bettas are fish too, and they should not be considered decorations. Most of the time, Bettas will be bought for kids to have a pet, but children should also be taught to care for them and to know what their Bettas really need.

The so-called “Japanese Fighting Fish” actually need at least one gallon of water to live, but the best would be a tank of 3 gallons or more to give your Betta a long and healthy life. Although it is said that they live in tiny puddles in the Japanese rice paddies, the truth is that they live in the shallow waters of rice paddies, but they have a lot of space to swim and move around. They can survive in smaller tanks, as long as they have enough space to move, turn around, and the water is changed every few days, but like I said, I consider this a cruel practice. So, bottom line, Bettas need a real aquarium, and not just a bowl. One advantage they have, however, is that they don’t need a complicated filter set up, an air powered sponge filter will do nicely and will decrease the need for more frequent water changes. The temperature of the water should be between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, so you might need a heater to keep the temperature constant.

Keep in mind they need good water surface to get their oxygen. They will come to the surface to breathe, and they need to have good oxygen concentration in their water as well. I would recommend the tanks to be covered because Betta fish tend to jump out, but make sure there is enough space between the lid and the surface of the water, and obviously, that enough air can come in.


They should be fed a varied diet, which can include Betta pellets containing mashed shrimp, wheat flour, fish meal, brine shrimp, bloodworms, and vitamins, but they should also be served live or frozen bloodworms, mosquito larvae, brine shrimp or daphnia. The more varied their diet, the healthier, more colorful and beautiful they will be. Bettas should be fed daily, removing all the uneaten food from the tank once they are done eating.

Betta Fish Tank Mates

One of the most asked questions is what happens if you put Betta fish with other fish. Contrary to popular belief, there are some appropriate Betta fish tank mates.

Normally, they will even have problems with female Betta fish. They can be kept together for a while for breeding, but the female should then be taken out of the tank. Never house two or more male Bettas together. They are called Fighting Fish for a reason.

Female Bettas should be kept in groups of three or more, since females also are territorial and might want to establish dominance over another, so odd numbers are always better.

Male Bettas could be housed with fish that have similar tropical temperature and water quality requirements. Bettas might bother and nip at other fish that are colorful or have long, flowing fins, like Fancy Guppies or Mollies.

Don’t house them with other aggressive fish. Gouramies do not make good tank mates for Bettas either. These are fish that also breathe from the surface of the water and that can make them aggressive towards Bettas and vice versa.

Goldfish, being cold water fish, should never be housed with Bettas, tropical freshwater fish. Bettas will also nip at the Goldfish and this will definitely harm your Goldies.

Some of the fish you might consider as your Betta fish tank mates could be small species of catfish, like Corydoras and other bottom feeders. Bettas have fared well in the company of small Neon Tetras and Platys. Shrimp and snails could also be good company.

The truth is that Bettas will fight with anything you put in their tank, so you can try and see what happens with your particular fish, but keep a close eye on them.

How much do Betta fish cost?

Pet shop Betta fish can cost anything from $1 to $10, but you can find Betta fish that cost hundreds of dollars. You can find beautiful specimens for the lower price, but some serious fish keepers will do anything to find some of the most rare and amazingly beautiful Betta species.