Article Hero Image

FISH / new pets

Betta Fish Care Guide

Tips from home to health to food and fun

Overview

4 things to know about your betta

  • Bettas can live up to 3 years
  • They grow up to 3 inches long
  • Bettas can live with other peaceful community fish. However, you should only have one male or female betta in a tank without dividers.
  • Because bettas gulp air from the surface of their tank, they don’t need to live in aerated aquariums

How do I set up my betta’s tank?

Bettas can live in aquariums or in bowls. Set up their new home at least one day before they arrive.

If your betta will live in a bowl…

  • Make sure the bowl is at least one quart in volume.
  • Put only one betta in a bowl.
  • The temperature of the room where the bowl is placed must stay above 74 degrees Fahrenheit.

If your bettas will live in an aquarium…

Aquarium & stand

  • The minimum size of the aquarium will depend on how many fish you have. For just a betta and a few community fish, the tank should be a minimum of 3-5 gallons
  • If you plan to have lots of community fish, follow this formula to determine whether the tank should be even larger: the aquarium should have 1 gallon of water for every inch of fully-grown fish.
  • The aquarium should be near a power source, in a low-traffic area, away from direct sunlight and drafts.
  • Water weighs about 8 pounds per gallon. Pick a very sturdy, stable base for your aquarium, then fill the tank with water.
Shop aquarium starter kits

What to put in your betta’s tank

  • If you will be using an under-gravel filter, add that first.
  • Layer about 1-2 inches of gravel on the bottom of the tank. (That works out to 1½ pounds of gravel per gallon of water.) Rinse the gravel before putting it in the aquarium.
  • Fill the tank about halfway up with dechlorinated water.
  • Time to decorate! Add fish décor, plants, rocks and other objects. Rinse all décor before adding it to the tank.
  • Finish by filling the tank the rest of the way with dechlorinated water.
Shop aquarium gravel Shop fish furniture, plants & rocks

Filtration

  • An aquarium filter should be able to process all of the water in the tank three to five times an hour. (For example, the filter in a 20-gallon tank would need to push through at least 60 gallons of water each hour.) Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for choosing and setting up the filter.
  • Remember, that PetSmart tests your water for free! Bring in a sample and we can test the quality within a few minutes
Shop aquarium filters

Heat & lights

  • Bettas are tropical fish and need to swim in warm water between 74 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Choose an aquarium heater with 5 watts of power for each gallon of water in the aquarium. A large aquarium may need a heater at either end.
  • Wait 15 minutes after filling the tank before turning on the heater.
  • Place the heater close enough to the filter to distribute the warmed water.
  • Run the tank’s filter and the tank’s hood light for 24 hours, then check the water temperature and adjust the heater if necessary.
Shop aquarium water heaters Shop aquarium thermometers Shop aquarium lighting

How do I add bettas to my aquarium?

  • Bring your betta home right away after you buy it.
  • Place it in your aquarium — inside the bag — for 15 minutes so it can get used to the new water temperature.
  • Next, use a net to transfer the betta into your aquarium. Try not to bring too much of their old water with them.
  • Add only one betta.
  • The chemical balance in your aquarium will change with every new fish you introduce, so check the water's pH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels regularly.
Shop aquarium cycling aids Shop bacteria-fighting aquarium supplements Shop aquarium PH & ammonia test kits

What do bettas eat?

Feed your betta fish flakes or pelleted food twice daily. Bettas are carnivores, so supplement your fish’s diet with frozen or freeze-dried brine shrimp or tubifex worms.

How can I keep my bettas healthy?

If your bettas display any of these symptoms of illness or distress, talk to a PetSmart store associate or a veterinarian familiar with fish health:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Fins clamped to the sides
  • Scraping body on rocks
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Inflamed or discolored skin or fins
Shop fish disease treatments

FREE water quality testing

PetSmart offers free aquarium water testing. Bring in a sample and we can test its quality within minutes.

PET SAFETY TIPS

  • Adults should assist children with hand washing after contact with a pet, its habitat or aquarium water.
  • Fish and aquatic animals can transmit zoonotic disease to humans. Wash your hands with soap and water before and after interacting with your aquarium. Children, pregnant women, elderly people and people with immune-system problems should take extra care.
  • Keep fish away from food and areas where food is prepared.
  • Never release fish into the wild.
  • Always add a dechlorinator or water conditioner to tap water before adding it to the aquarium.
  • Do not use soaps or detergents to clean aquarium or décor, since they are toxis to fish.

VET ASSURED

Pets purchased at PetSmart are part of our exclusive Vet Assured program, designed by PetSmart veterinarians to help improve the health and well being of our pets.

Our vendors meet a high standard in caring for pets and screening them for common illnesses. This program also includes specific standards for in-store pet care.

PETSMART PROMISE

If your pet becomes ill during the initial 14-day period, or if you’re not satisfied for any reason, PetSmart will gladly replace the pet or refund the purchase price.