Episode 1 – Water Changes and Betta Behavior


Hey gang,

Welcome to the first ever Nippyfish: A Betta Blog video blog. Today I tried answering our reader email over video but am also including written info for your reference. Let us know what you think.

Q: PM wrote,

Thank you so much for posting a lot of useful information online. I just got my betta fish a week ago and have been following your advice. He’s doing quite well.

I have questions about my betta and would be very appreciated if you could get back to me.

1. I bought an ECLIPSE SYSTEM 3 (3-gallon tank with filter). I am wondering how often should I change the water and how much water should be taken out? Also, should I take my betta out of the tank before cleaning or just leave him in the tank?

2. I have been feeding my betta with Hikari Bio-Gold pellets. I feed him 1-2 pellets per day. I am not sure if I am feeding him a proper amount or underfeeding him.

3. My betta fish is relatively small — about 1 1/3 inch long without tails. Is he normal?

4. I read your profile and found that you live in San Diego and I think you definitely could answer this question. I live in Santa Barbara and the weather fluctuates between low 50s to low 70s degree F in one day (outside temperature). I called the local pet stores and they said I can just keep him in the room temperature and he will be fine. Well, some online websites say that the best temperature of betta fish is 74-78 F because at this temperature range, a betta can live long. I am wondering whether I need a thermometer for my betta fish

5. After reading online, I found that flaring means he’s angry because his territories has been invaded. But, how about the other kinds of behavior? I had him wag his tails vigorously at times without flaring. Do you know what this sign means? By the way, do you have information about betta fish behavior?

I am so sorry I am asking so many questions! It is because I trust you much more than other folks who set up betta websites just to sell their products. Thank you so much in advance!

A: A three gallon can either be cycled or you can do complete 100% water changes. If yo choose to clean the water completely each time, start by testing your water daily with an ammonia test kit. How often you need to change your water depends on a lot of factors so each tank is different. See how many days it takes for your water to register trace amounts of ammonia. If it takes 9 days, you know to change your water every 8 days before ammonia becomes an issue. Repeat the test periodically. If you do 100% water changes obviously you will need to remove your fish. In a cycled tank you can just change 10% – 20% of the water weekly and can leave your fish in the tank during cleaning.

1-2 pellets is probably not enough to sustain a growing betta over time. I suggest trying 2-3 twice per day and monitoring your betta. If he does well with that amount try adding another two pellets feeding no more than 8 – 10 in a day (split over a couple of feedings). If you betta shows signs of bloating you are feeding too much.

1 1/3″ is a normal size for betta fish purchased at the store. These days it is common to find bettas for sale that aren’t quite full grown. Over the next several months you will likely see you betta grow until he reaches about 2 – 2 1/2 inches.

I do recommend purchasing an inexpensive thermometer for your aquarium. Monitor your water temperature daily and watch for drastic fluctuations. Aim for a stable temperature around 78˚F. If you find your temperature fluctuating too much from day to evening you may need to consider a small aquarium heater.

Tail wiggling isn’t completely understood but appears to be a good thing. Most bettas will wiggle their tails when you approach the glass or go to feed them. It appears they are begging for food. Tail wiggling seems to be most common in strong, healthy bettas with lots of energy and a good appetite so I would consider it a good sign.

Thanks so much for writing in and for being my very first betta fish video blog victim… I mean… participant.

Written by

Christie F is a Betta splendens hobbyist that enjoys spending time caring for her fish and helping new betta keepers learn the ropes. More posts by:

4 Comments for this entry

  1. Anonymous says:

    I like the new video-blog format, and it's great to have a new blog entry! :) Thanks for all the useful info!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Love the new videos. Great site, everything one needs to know about bettas!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hummm….I think you are right about the betta tail wag…It seems to be like a puppy when they greet you, they're happy to see you and they're begging for attention….From what I have seen, betta fish develop these huge personalies if you give them a nice home!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Great Site
    Great Videos
    Please make some more videos
    I have a red veiltail betta in an 15 gallon, im not sure about tank mates yet though:/

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