How to change water for a small fish tank with Betta fish

Just like it is for any aquarium, regular water changes for your Betta fish tank are the best and easiest way to keep the water quality high and your Betta healthy.

Betta fish originate from stagnant and shallow waters does not mean they can live in poor quality water. Kept in small bowls with nothing to do they often become sick and die very quickly. The reason for this is that in your tank exists ammonia and other dangerous toxins which should be cleared by the water changes. The amount of water that has to be changed depends on many factor: tank size, amount of fish, live plants, filter or no filter, etc.

How much water should be changed?
A 1 to 5 gallon fish tank with a filter for small Betta fish tank is what requires the less maintenance. If there is live aquatic plants, it will need even less maintenance. In some heavy planted tank with a low fish population, I often manage to only change the water once a year. As a rule of thumb, weekly 10% water change should to. Buying an NO3 test kit and testing the water once a week will tell you lot about how often the water needs to be change (you won’t need other test kit).

If no filter on your tank, expect to change the water a little more often. 10% water change twice a week should to.

For a tank smaller than 1 gallon, water changes has to be done regularly to keep your Betta healthy. If no filter on the tank, a complete water change might be needed every 2 days! Keep in mind that complete water changes are a big source of stress are not ideal for any fish. With a filter, bi-weekly 50% water changes should do. Don’t waste your time and money testing the water in such small tanks with no filter. If this sounds like a bit too much work, a larger such as 10 gallon fish tank may be a better option for you.

How you should change the water in your tank:

  1. Always adding water conditioner to the tap water prior to changing the water so that chlorine is dissipated completely.
  2. Raise the temperature of the water to match the temperature in the tank or bowl. Put a heater in the tank if need. Temperature fluctuations are very stressful for Bettas. New water MUST be at the right temperature before to procede to the water change.
  3. If you intend to change all the water, you must first remove the Betta from the tank and place it in a special cleaning cup with cover. If you only change a part of the water, you may leave you Betta in the tank. If you fear that cleaning can be too much stress for your Betta, you can always remove it.
    When removing a Betta from its tank, avoid using fish net (it’s stressful and unnecessary). The best way to do this is to dip a small cup into the water when your Betta is near the surface. This will suck both the Betta and water from the tank into the cup. Don’t forget to put a lid on the cup!
  4. Vacuum the gravel to remove all leftover food particles. Remove all decoration, and vacuum underneath them as well. If there is live plants in the tank, leave them there and vacuum around. NEVER use soap or other cleansers to clean anything that comes in contact with your betta!
    The filter (if any) must be cleaned as well. Simply rinse the sponge. Whatever they told you at the store, you don’t need to replace the sponges. If your filter is large enough to fit more than one sponge of other filtration media, only rinse one per water change.
  5. Once the tank is clean, pour your Betta back into the tank.

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