You may be wondering; are Betta fish good pets?
The answer is, yes (no, and maybe).
Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear-cut answer because it depends on you and what you are looking for in an aquatic pal.
Of course, we know that a Betta fish is not going to make a good substitute pet for someone that loves furry kisses or long walks in the park. However, as far as fish go, the Betta can be a great choice!
Let’s explore the pros and cons of ‘are Betta fish good pets’ to find whether this fish is the right choice for you!
Are Betta Fish Good Pets – The Pros
Check out the top pros of owning a Betta fish.
1. Bettas Are Inexpensive (Relatively)
In comparison to pet-parenting a dog, cat, horse, or even a rodent, the Betta fish is relatively inexpensive. You will need an initial investment in housing the Betta, along with food, and water maintenance supplies; however, when comparing the cost of these to vet bills, grooming, and larger qualities of food, the Betta fish comes out on the “cheap side.”
2. Bettas are Beautiful and Interesting
As the Betta fish gains in popularity, so do the colors, patterns, and tail varieties this fish comes in. From bright red hues to iridescent scales, to long flowing or even close-cropped fins, these fish have something for every taste. Plus, who wouldn’t want a fish that loves to interact with their special person or can learn to do some simple tricks? You may even get to watch your busy boy make a bubble nest!
Let’s make no mistake, Bettas are “easy” to care for but that doesn’t mean they should be stuck in a tiny container or bowl for the duration of their life. Bettas will require regular tank maintenance, daily feeding, and interest in their well-being to flourish. However, in comparison to say Goldfish that grow quite large and put out loads of ammonia, the Betta is “easy-peasy.”
4. Bettas Do Not Require a Lot of Space
Yes, Bettas won’t take up a lot of space in your home. However, we do recommend at least a 5-gallon tank (that’s around 16″ x 8″ x 10″). This size of the aquarium can fit in tight areas, as long as there is an electrical outlet to plug in the filter, heater, and light. Many parents choose this type of fish for their child’s bedroom and apartment-dwellers love them because of their ability to live in a smaller tank. Plus, because the betta’s world is self-contained, you don’t have to worry about shedding hair or molting feathers scattered throughout your home.
5. Bettas Can Be “Home Alone”
Do you need to travel for your job or do you work long daily hours? No problem. The Betta fish can be left for a couple of days without food (as long as his water parameters are optimal). He also doesn’t need to be let outdoors to “do his business” or require daily walks around the block. The Betta is the perfect pet for busy people on a tight schedule – just remember to carve out some time at the end of the day to say “hello” (Bettas can hear and will respond to your voice).
6. Bettas Have Their Own Unique Personalities
We may think Bettas “are just a fish” and therefore don’t have a personality. I used to think that until I was enlightened by this unique creature. Bettas definitely each have their own personality – some are charming and outgoing, while others can be shy and grumpy. This is also the reason why some Betta owners can have their Siamese Fighting Fish in a community tank, while others need to be the sole inhabitant of their aquarium.
7. The Betta Tank is a Cool “Decoration”
With so many decorative tanks, substrates, and aquarium ornaments on the market today, you will have plenty to choose from when setting up your underwater world. Just remember that your Betta needs to live and thrive in this environment, so choose decorations that mimic his natural habitat. This includes plenty of live plants and a decoration (or two) depending on the aquarium size. How ever you choose to display your Betta, it is sure to be the focal point of the room.
Are Betta Fish Good Pets – The Cons
Now that we know all the great things about having a Betta fish, let’s explore the cons of this aquatic pet.
1. Initial Investment Costs
Like any pet, there will be an initial investment cost when setting up a Betta tank. However, as we mentioned in the pro section it is considerably less expensive than other types of pets. Here is what you need when starting with a Betta fish;
- Minimum 5-gallon aquarium
- Low-flow sponge filter
- Light (if not included with tank)
- Live plants
- Gravel vacuum
- Betta food
- Water conditioner
Smaller tanks will be cheaper to set up than 10-gallons (or more) and most of these items are a one-time purchase.
2. Betta Fish Tank Maintenance
What most novice fish-keepers don’t realize is that a brand new fish tank will only look pristine for about a month. Then your little water world will begin to develop algae. Of course, the smaller the tank, the faster an algae bloom will spread.
Bettas are susceptible to polluted water. When the pH, nitrates, nitrates, and ammonia levels are off, they can create stress and even death in your Betta fish. For these reasons, you will need to perform weekly maintenance on your Betta tank. This includes removing 20% of the water every 7 to 10 days using an aquarium vacuum and changing the carbon inserts in the filter (about once a month).
3. Betta’s Don’t “Play Well With Others”
Bettas are known for not doing well with most other fish. However, if your tank is large enough (10-gallons and up) and you have plenty of plants and decorations for your Betta to stake a claim to, you may be able to add in a handful of suitable tankmates. But even if you have set up everything properly, some Bettas will not tolerate other fish, so you must be prepared to separate them.
4. Short Lifespan
As with any pet, we have to come to terms that they are not immortal, so we will have to eventually say ‘goodbye.’ The lifespan of a Betta fish is around three years. To increase your Betta’s quality of life and to ensure he gets the full duration, be sure to get his environment in good condition, don’t overfeed him, and watch for early signs of disease or stress, so you can treat them quickly before they become a serious problem.
5. Aquariums Are Not Easy to Move
Even small aquariums are heavy – 1 gallon of water weighs in at 8.3 pounds. Add substrate, decorations, a heater, and filter and you have yourself a weighty object. For this reason, moving an aquarium is not an easy task, so choose your location carefully. I made the mistake of putting my 20-gallon tank on the second floor of my home, so I have been hauling weekly buckets of water up and down the stairs for several years now.
6. You Can’t Hug a Betta Fish
Ask any furry pet-lover and they will tell you one of the most rewarding things about having a four-legged critter is the warm hugs you can steal. Unfortunately, you can’t hug your Betta buddy. But you can show him love by keeping his tank clean, feeding him a well-balanced diet (with live, frozen, and freeze-dried treats), and spending time talking to and playing with him.
Are Betta Fish Good Pets Conclusion
As far as fish go, we agree that the Betta can make a great pet for both the novice and seasoned aquarist. We do recommend that you read up on everything you will need to purchase and do to give your Betta the best life possible. Of course, every pet comes with its pros and cons, but we think overall, the Bettas pros will far outweigh the negatives.
Happy Betta keeping!