Something you may have come across while visiting your local pet supply store is a betta fish startup kit. Betta fish, also known as Siamese or Japanese fighting fish, are a hardy and resilient species in which many varieties are excellent for beginning aquariasts. However, before you go out and buy the fish, you must have the right supplies. Here are some of the things you should have and do before stocking your betta fish tank.
Get the Right Tank
Contrary to popular belief, betta fish do not thrive in small, tight tanks. You will need at least a one gallon tank for a single betta, but larger tanks are better. Tanks can be made of glass or plastic, but if it's plastic, make sure it is of aquarium grade and safe for fish.
The Importance of a Filter and Heater
Filters and aerators are important to your betta's health by keeping the tank clean and oxygenated. Even though bettas can partially breathe air, they still benefit from oxygen dissolved in water. If your home is on the cool side, then you may need a heater as well as these are tropical fish. If you have a plastic tank, make sure you use one with low wattage to prevent tank damage.
Live Plants are a Plus
While your betta will do perfectly fine with fake plants, live ones can add a natural appeal and help keep your tank chemically balanced. Many plants take up ammonia and nitrates in the water, chemicals that can severely shorten the life your fish's life. Any plants, live or fake, that are placed in your tank should be soft so as to not damage your betta's fins and tail.
Cycling Your Tank
Finally, once you have your tank set up and running, let it cycle until all the ammonia is eliminated and good bacteria establish themselves. Buy a good test kit and check your water's chemistry regularly. You may need to buy starter enzymes to help kick-start the process. Change a small amount of the water regularly and treat all new water with chemicals that eliminate chlorine and other harmful additives.
When your tank is all set up and properly cycled, you can add your fish. Depending on the size of your tank, you may only be limited to a single betta. This is fine as betta fish generally live alone even in the wild, except for breeding. You don't want to overstock your tank as not only will that require more cleaning and attention, but could affect the health of your fish. Just like with any pet, make sure you have the proper pet supplies before you bring an animal into your home.