You just bought a pretty little betta fish. Congratulations! Here are the easy (but important) steps to know for setting up his new home.

  • If your betta is in a cup or bag, place him on your counter in a safe place while you prepare his new home.
  • A betta is happy in almost anything waterproof. A large bowl or small tank aquarium is most often used. You will want to wash the item in clean, HOT water, without any soap or other cleanser. Remember that soap would be toxic to your fish.
  • Wipe down the tank with a clean cloth or paper towels.
  • Add any gravel, caves, toys or decorations. You will, of course, have already cleaned these items under hot water! On old decorations, algae or “crud” can be cleaned off with a new toothbrush, or by lengthy soaking in hot water.
  • Add your warm or room temperature tap water. Decide what temperature your betta’s water will be and try to get that established before you add your pet. A small aquarium thermometer is invaluable for fixing water the way your betta will like it.
  • Add dechlorinator in the amounts recommended on the bottle. This makes water safe for your betta. If you lack a dechlorinator, let the water sit out overnight to “clear” the chlorine. You will need to get some dechlorinator eventually, however. Fortunately, it is pretty inexpensive and ften adds a bit of beneficial slime coat additive. NovAqua and Stress Coat are good choices. Usually all you need is one drop per gallon of water…and the bottle lasts a long time.
  • Add whatever else you decide you need to the water. Some people like a bit of aquarium salt as a propylactic (disease preventative); and there are all kinds of ways to mess with yor water chemistry, like adding pH remedies. My feeling about these things, in general, are to avoid them. Your betta will adapt to the water pH you already have…and improperly added pH chemicals can burn your betta. Salt is fine, but I dislike adding any extra ions to the water unless I have to.
  • FINALLY, float your new betta, still in his bag or cup, right in the new tank. After 15 minutes the temperature in his traveling bag should equalize with the water in his new home.
  • Gently tip your betta into his new tank or bowl. Discard water from the bag or cup (that water is probably dirty – remember, you cannnot SEE ammonia/urine).
  • Place your betta habitat in its new spot. Keep the tank or bowl out of direct sunlight, away from drafts, and off of electrical appliances.
  • That’s it. You don’t need any filters, bubblers or other appliances. This is one simple fish, as long as you keep his water clean and the temperatures stable.

Now you can name your betta and enjoy your curious, personable new pet.