Resource Center Menu


betta splendens

Bettas are known for their jewel-bright colors and spectacular fins and come in a wide variety of morphs. They have been referred to as Siamese fighting fish due to the male betta's extreme aggressiveness toward other bettas.


Betta Facts

Average Adult Size 2 1/2 inches long, not including tail
Average Life Span up to 3 years with proper care
Diet carnivore
Minimum Aquarium Size 1/4+ gallons
Water Temperature: 72-82°F


A well-balanced Betta diet consists of:

  • A variety of flakes, pellets, freeze-dried bloodworms and frozen food to ensure complete nutrition.


Things to remember when feeding your Betta:

  • Feed sparingly and no more than fish can eat in 1 to 2 minutes; overfeeding can quickly foul the water, especially in smaller, unfiltered aquariums.
  • Thaw frozen foods before feeding.
  • Baby bettas require a smaller pellet or finely crushed flake food when when feeding.


  • Keep in an appropriately sized aquarium. Bettas must be able to breathe from the surface of the water. They prefer water with little or no current.
  • Male bettas are kept individually and do best in habitats of one liter (approximately a quarter of a gallon) or larger. Male bettas can live successfully in a community tank that does not have aggressive fish (such as tiger barbs) or fish that bettas may become aggressive toward (such as fancy guppies). Female bettas may be housed with other community fish or other female bettas.
  • Stable water quality and parameters are critical to the health of aquatic life. If you are unsure of your water quality, Petco provides free water testing.


  • Bettas breathe from the water's surface with their labyrinth organ in addition to their gills.
  • Bettas will "flare" fins when threatened or disturbed and to show aggression.
  • Male bettas will attack other male bettas and males have also been known to attack similar-looking fish and fish with flowing fins.

Habitat Maintenance

  • Daily: check filter, water temperature and other equipment (if used).
  • Weekly: check water quality at least once a week. Do a 50% water change for small habitats (less than 2 gallons) once a week. In larger aquariums, change 10 to 25% of the total volume of water every 2 to 4 weeks, or more often as needed.


  • Male bettas must be kept in individual tanks or be the only betta in a community aquarium. Female bettas can be kept in a community tank. Do not keep male and female bettas together.


Signs of a Healthy Fish

  • Active and alert
  • Eats regularly
  • Vibrant colors (males only)
  • Reacts aggressively to outside stimulus

Avoid overcrowded conditions, which are a major cause of stress and disease. Maintain good water quality with regular water changes and adequate filtration.

Red Flags

  • loss of color or appetite
  • spots or fungus on body or mouth
  • cloudy eyes
  • elevated scales
  • unnaturally frayed fins
  • listlessness
  • labored respirations
  • erratic swimming
  • weight loss
  • bloating

Common Health Issues

Health Issue Symptoms or Causes Suggested Action
Health Issue Fin rot Symptoms or Causes Frayed or disintegrating fins; the base of the fins usually reddens. Suggested Action Improve water quality; consult your veterinarian for treatment.
Health Issue Fungus Symptoms or Causes White cottony growth and/or discoloration of the eyes. Suggested Action Quarantine fish; use a commercial antifungal remedy as directed.
Health Issue Bacterial infections Symptoms or Causes Cloudy eyes, open sores and/or reddening of the skin. Suggested Action Improve water quality; use a commercial antibacterial remedy as directed.
Health Issue Ich Symptoms or Causes White spots appear on fins and body; fish rubs against hard objects or swims awkwardly. Rapid respirations. Suggested Action Quarantine fish immediately; use commercial ich remedy as directed.


Ask a store partner about Petco's selection of books on bettas and the variety of private brand products available for the care and happiness of your new pet. All private brand products carry a 100% money-back guarantee.

Because all aquatic life are potential carriers of infectious diseases, such as Atypical Mycobacterium and Salmonella, always wash your hands before and after handling your aquatic life or habitat contents to help prevent the potential spread of disease.

Pregnant women, children under the age of 5, senior citizens and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physician before purchasing or caring for aquatic life and should consider not having aquatic life as a pet.

Go to for more information about aquatic life and disease.

This care sheet can cover the needs of other species.

Note: The information in this Care Sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please refer to the sources on the following page or contact your veterinarian as appropriate.

Developed with and approved by a qualified veterinarian.

Related Articles