As humans expand as a species and industry becomes more and more widespread, the water changes – and in essence, we as aquatics people must watch the water we are putting in our aquariums and make sure it is optimal for our fish of choice – the betta.
First, let’s go over what the betta prefers. The Betta splenden prefers warmer waters with a consistent temperature. That temperature can be between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The reason I go higher here is that when breeding, the pair does better in a warmer tank. They prefer a pH level of 6.5 or 7 which is a neutral pH. All fish need low ammonia levels which can be achieved by cleaning the tank regularly. Higher ammonia levels will cause a breakdown in the betta’s stress layer and make him/her more vulnerable to disease.
What is pH? The pH level of the water is the measure of acid vs. base. pH level of 7 is neutral and happens to be what your betta would live best in.
When treated properly, normal tap water will be the best home for your betta. Distilled water has important nutrients filtered out of the water during the distillation process and happens to not be good for the betta no matter what pet store person tells you differently.
If you live in a place with extremely hard tap water or well water or water with a high lime content, you will most likely not want to use tap water. High lime levels or harsh well water will kill a betta. In this case, you will want to use bottled spring water (not distilled) and treat it just as you would tap water. The spring water has not went through a distillation process; therefore, it still has the essential nutrients your betta needs but because it is not “pure,” it needs to be treated chemically.
Other poor water conditions for bettas are those in which toxins have been released into the water. Yes, bettas live in a natural environment where there are underwater plants but this is your pet – keep his/her water clean. If you have a live plant in the water, clean the water – don’t rely on the “natural balance” speech pet store people have been known to give. When a root or leaf on the plant dies, it is decaying into the water placing stress on your betta. If you must have a live plant, keep your tank clean.