Every good pet owner worries about their pet’s quality of life. Think about your closest “dog person” friend. Are they content to let their dog sit around without entertainment? Probably not.
Unlike dogs, fish are often overlooked in terms of entertainment products. You’d be hard-pressed to find a subscription fish treat and toy box, nor are there local events set up for your fish to make friends- for obvious reasons.
That said, it falls on you, your beloved pet’s keeper, to find ways to provide entertainment to your finned friend.
Entertaining Your Betta Fish Through Enrichment
Swimming, hunting, hiding, playing, and resting are the activities that make up a typical betta fish’s day. For a betta to be happy, they need the opportunity to do each of these things in their home.
Setting up an adequate tank with sufficient space for your betta is the number one way to ensure your fish stays happy and entertained.
The small betta tanks often sold in department stores are misleading and simply not large enough for the average betta to live a happy and meaningful life.
Nothing smaller than three gallons should ever be considered as permanent housing for your betta. A tank that is too small will trigger a territorial response in your betta, and they won’t be able to have any tank mates.
Once an appropriately-sized tank is purchased, the next steps involve setting the tank up for maximum entertainment for your pet. Don’t worry- this isn’t as complicated as it may seem!
Provide Water Quality and Temps Fit for Playing
You should always do what you can to keep the water in your fish’s tank clean from food debris and toxins from their urine and feces. A low-flow filtration system will be your best friend in ensuring the water stays clean and livable for your fish.
But, be aware that some systems run very quickly and can move water at a dangerous speed. Placing a clean, non-toxic sponge near the filter outlet should slow this flow dramatically without compromising the pump’s effectiveness.
Keep in mind that, even with filtration, you’ll want to replace at least 25% of your tank’s water at least once a week to keep the toxin levels low.
Also, monitor the tank’s temperature. Ideally, a betta tank’s water temperature should sit between 68 and 71 degrees Fahrenheit.
Decorate to Your Betta’s Tastes
Your fish won’t have a preference for post-modern or farmhouse chic, but that doesn’t mean bettas aren’t picky about their decor.
They don’t typically like other fish that are similar to them. Because of this, most of their entertainment comes from solo activity.
Bettas love hiding behind leaves, exploring logs, and even playing with balls! They also enjoy relaxing in small fish hammocks.
To make all this happen, the bigger the tank, the better. You can design an entire world for your betta full of interesting items to investigate, places to explore, a ping pong ball to roll around, and fun chill-out spots.
Make Meal Time Exciting
Bettas love to hunt for their food, so live feeding is ideal when possible. Remember, though, that they are very tiny fish with tiny stomachs, so feed them in moderation.
Some options for live-feeding your betta include a variety of foods, like brine ship, bloodworms, mosquito larvae, and daphnia. Most of these can be purchased at your local pet store or online retailers.
Provide Suitable Roommates
While betta fish don’t like fish similar to themselves because of territorial instincts, they get a kick out of sharing space with certain other aquatic life.
Dwarf frogs, loaches, shrimp, and snails all make suitable tank mates for betta fish. It’s like getting your pet a pet!
Entertaining Your Betta Fish With Tricks and Training
Did you know betta fish can be trained to do tricks? It is possible, and many fish actually love interacting with their humans this way!
Here are a few of the easiest betta fish tricks for your pet to master.
Taking Food From Hand or Tweezers
Train your betta to follow your finger through the glass by rewarding them with a piece of food once they’ve followed it to the top of the tank. Bloodworm pieces make excellent treats for this kind of training.
Once this part of the trick is mastered, see if they will take the treat directly out of your fingers or tweezers. Trust-building is the key to this trick. Once your fish knows you and trusts you not to hurt them, they’ll be taking food from your hand in no time!
Jumping From Water
Once they know how to take betta food from your hand or tweezers, up the ante by raising the reward above the water, encouraging them to leap.
Start with a short leap and work your way up. Be careful while doing this, though! Make sure you aren’t asking them to do anything that will prove dangerous.
Swimming Through Hoops
Use wire to create a hoop at the end of a stem, big enough for your fish to swim through. Encourage them to swim through the hoop and reward them with a treat each time they do so successfully.
Owning a betta comes with all the same responsibilities as owning any other pet. You must provide them with food, water, suitable housing, love, and entertainment.
Using the ideas and information outlined above, you are guaranteed to entertain your betta fish, opening up a lifetime of happiness for your beautiful, water-dwelling buddy!