Bettas are a lot of fun and make great first fish for people new to aquarium keeping. They are super tough, hardy, and easy to get. They have even survived as office pets, classroom science projects, and kids’ room decor! But even though bettas are incredibly forgiving, they still need lots of attention and care to thrive. Toys and decorations in their tank are a great way to keep them entertained.
They also need plenty of room. Bettas are a solitary species that do not like sharing territory or resources with other fish. They will fight and injure each other, often resulting in death, so only house them together if you know that they can get along. They should have at least five gallons of water space per individual and an additional ten for hiding and resting areas.
Betta tanks should be well-lit and have a timer for the LED lights. This allows you to provide your betta with the light cycle they need to sleep and stay active, while also making sure their tank stays bright enough to keep them healthy and happy. If you are unable to put your betta tank in a window, then make sure it is at least close to one so that your pet has natural sunlight and can explore its surroundings.
A betta fish can get bored easily, especially in a small tank. Toys and decor in their tank can stimulate their minds and help them engage in activities that they would otherwise be unable to do in the wild, like swimming through decor or pushing a ball around. They can even flare at a mirror and play with it, although too much flaring could be stressful for them. It is a good idea to rotate their toys and decor out every few weeks or months to keep the fish interested and entertained.
You can make some pretty cool betta tank toys at home, too! A favorite is a aquarium tubing ring gym. This is made by cutting some aquarium tubing into different lengths, and then joining the ends of each piece of tube together to form rings. The larger the rings, the better – bettas can turn and maneuver very quickly, so smaller rings can be challenging to work through.
Another fun DIY betta toy is simply running your finger back and forth across the surface of the tank. Many bettas will follow this motion and swim after it. This is a great way to let your pet know who their caretaker is and can also be a great exercise for their fins.
Remember, never put your hands in your betta tank unless absolutely necessary. They can carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans and other pets, including intestinal worms and parasites. Always sanitize your hands before and after handling any fish or their tanks, and be careful when adding decor to your aquarium to ensure that you do not accidentally touch your betta’s body or fins.