Betta fish are stunning creatures of vivid colors that stand out in any tank.
They are generally easy to care for, save for a few things here and there. There are some care guidelines that you need to keep in mind to keep your pet fish healthy and happy.
Learning when and how often to change the water in a fish tank is an essential aspect of fish care and maintenance.
The exact answer to ‘how often should you change the water in your betta tank‘ depends on who you really ask. Some fish enthusiasts claim you should clean the tank at least once a week. Others will round that number up to 2 times a week.
It helps to think of the water inside the tank as air for humans. Put yourself in your pet’s shoes, or rather fins. Would you like to swim around in water that’s old and teeming with toxic substances?
The truth is, betta fish are highly active creatures. They generate a broad spectrum of ‘biological activities’ – including lots of poop every day.
You wouldn’t have to worry about changing fish water in the wild. This is because the natural reservoir of water periodically refreshes itself. The same can’t be said about an enclosed aquarium. The feces and pollution simply doesn’t have an outlet from which to escape.
Unless you clear it out manually, the pollution will just accumulate. Sounds pretty bad, doesn’t it?
Without adequate cleaning measures, your betta fish is just going to die.
Betta Fish Tank Water Change Schedule Depends on Various Factors
Changing the water in your fish tank is simple, but it must be done regularly. Changing the water regularly will avoid having to do a massive cleanup later on. Your betta fish will appreciate your help in cleaning on a regular basis.
The exact guidelines and cleaning schedule vary.
Some aquarists advise that 20% is the sweet spot, others argue in favor of 30%. The ideal percentage for your tank depends on various factors. This includes the number of fish, filtration options, and tank size.
Have you been overfeeding your betta fish? If so, watch out for uneaten food rotting at the bottom of the aquarium. Uneaten food can create ammonia in your tank and reduce water quality.
Online calculators like this one can help you find an approximate answer to this question.
If you’re not too sure, start out with 10%. Your betta fish are hardy creatures, but they are sensitive to water changes. So you shouldn’t change too much water in one session.
At best, it will stress your fish out. At worst, it will purge the beneficial bacteria from the tank.
General Rules for Changing Water in Betta Fish Tank
Do your betta fish live in unfiltered water? If so, you should change 40% to 50% of the water once a week. As a rule, the smaller the bowl, the more water that needs to be changed.
If your betta fish live in a properly filtered tank, aim for 15-20%% per week.
In most cases, the actual goal is to monitor the ammonia levels. This number indicates the general living conditions of your betta fish aquarium.
I highly recommended to buy test strips to assess your water’s quality levels quickly. Tests let you know if the conditions are safe or need changing. You can easily find water testing kits on Amazon and other online retailers.
Things You Need to Change the Water in Betta Tank
This also depends on your total tank size, but in general, includes the following:
i) Two buckets
Bucket 1 should hold clean water for the betta fish tank. Bucket 2 should be for the dirty water from the tank. It doesn’t have to be clean since it’s getting dumped anyhow.
Pro-tip #1: Dump the dirty water on your plants. They’ll love the nutrients.
Pro-tip #2: The new water and bucket should not have any cleaning chemicals in them.
ii) An aquarium cleaning solution
Buy a siphon to drain water from the betta fish tank. Siphons can clear out the waste from the bottom without stressing out the fish.
iii) Water conditioner
This may be important if the new water has got chlorine in it.
A water conditioner can clear out chemicals from the water and makes it more habitable. You can find these items from any online pet store.
iv) Aquarium Thermometer
You probably already have this, but if you don’t, it’s time you did (like, get one right now).
A thermometer indicates if the water is at the right temperature. Non-ideal temperatures can quickly stress out your betta fish.
The Easy Guide to Changing Betta Fish Water in Your Aquarium
You don’t just take gallons full of water out from the tank and dump it out. No, doing so could disturb your betta fish.
Instead, you should check out the following step by step guide:
Step #1: How to Remove the Old Water Like a Pro
These steps should be done without removing your betta fish from the tank. You should do this gently without being too disruptive to your fish.
The only acceptable time to remove the fish is during a full water change. Here’s what needs to be done:
- Remove the talk lid: as a safety measure, disconnect the filters, lights, and heaters.
- Bring the catch bucket close to the aquarium.
- Gradually remove decorative items like rocks and caves from the bottom of the tank.
- Place a hose or suction tube into the tank. You may have to suck at the other end of the hose. This is important to get the water flowing out. Just make sure to remove your mouth before the water comes near you!
- Drag the suction tube around the gravel of the tank. Do this at a 45-degree angle to purge uneaten food collecting at the bottom. This makes the tank healthier for your fish.
- As mentioned earlier, never remove more than 30% of the tank water. Doing so would cause undue stress to your betta fish. Also, you’ll end up removing the beneficial bacteria needed to create a healthier environment. When you’re done, dump the water down the toilet. Or water your plants with it. Just don’t drink it!
Step #2 – Introducing the New Water to a Clean Bucket
This step can be performed before or during step #1. Here’s what needs to be done:
- Get a clean bucket and fill it with betta fish-compatible water
- Never confuse your clean bucket with other buckets you use for household chores. The toxicity in those buckets could wipe out your fish population, so be careful!
- When you fill the bucket, use the thermometer to gauge the temperature. It is very important to get the temperature to be near 78 degrees. Adjust the temperature by adding or removing cool/warm water.
- Use a water testing kit to check the new water for the presence of chemicals. For tap water, make sure to use a water conditioner to remove fluoride and chlorine. Your water conditioner should take care of these chemicals.
Step #3: How to Add the New Water to the Tank
- If you removed any decorations and rocks from the tank, put them back in.
- You can gently pour the water into the tank. Alternatively, use a siphon to fill the tank. Either way, make sure to fill the tank closer to the top.
- You may want to replace or rinse the filter if needed.
- Put the tank lid back on and start your filter, heater, and lights.
- That’s all there is to it!
How to Keep the Betta Fish Water Clean
To improve the health and wellbeing of your fish, keep the tank clean. Here are a few tips you should follow to keep the water and tank cleaner:
- Feed the betta fish only twice a day. Overfeeding is bad because they won’t be able to finish the food. The uneaten food drifts at the bottom where it begins to rot. The stale food releases ammonia and bacteria that pollute the tank.
- Clean out your tank’s accessories, gravel, and decorations regularly. This will reduce the likelihood of betta diseases.
- If you keep real plants in your tank, you’ll have to look after them. If the plant dies and starts to rot, get rid of it quickly. This will prevent the growth of bacteria in the fish tank.
- It is important to use a water filter to purge toxic substances. The filter automatically keeps the water clean, so you wouldn’t have to bother too much.
Your betta fish will thank you for cleaning up after them. They are fairly hardy creatures and can survive in putrid conditions. But this will affect their health and lifespan in the long run.
So if you’ve just bought some betta fish, the above tips should be of help. Remember, you’ve undertaken a great responsibility and will have to look after your fish.
It’s an ultimately rewarding job because your betta fish will look brighter and livelier. Enjoy taking care of your fish!
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