Improper Care Can Lead To A Sick Betta Fish
A sick Betta fish can often be the result of improper care. All too often it's easy to get away from the routine procedures that need to be followed in caring for a pet of any kind, and of course a pet fish is no different. Even improperly introducing a Betta into its new home can be a cause of problems not to far down the road. Betta fish can of course contract certain diseases due to various conditions, but sometimes a fish can just get sick or not be in the best of health do to its environment.
Putting two male Betta fish in the same tank will of course lead to you having at least one sick Betta in a short time, and possibly two. In all likelihood, the end result will be one dead Betta, as two males will fight to the death. You can put several females in the same tank and they'll generally get along quite fine. Just avoid putting two many in a tank that may be too small, or one or more of the fish may become stressed and sicken.
The Right Water Is Important - Betta's are not overly fussy about their water supply; however they are sensitive to sudden changes in their water. If a Betta is used to swimming in a shallow muddy pool, it could become stressed and sicken if suddenly placed in clean fresh water. Tap water is fine, but if the water has been treated with chemicals, such as chlorine, it's best to let a bucket of it sit overnight before using it as fresh water for the aquarium. Distilled water should be avoided, as should rapid changes in water temperature. Water which is outside of the pH range the Betta likes can lead to a sick Betta, and testing the pH level periodically is a smart thing to do, especially when changing water. A pH of 7.0 (neutral) is ideal; water with a pH above 7.5 or below 6.5 may create a problem. Also it needs to be remembered that the Betta is a tropical fish, and water temperature should be kept at 72 degrees or even 5 to 10 degrees higher. If the temperature falls into the 60's or below, you may or may not end up with a sick Betta, but certainly will have a sluggish one.
Quiet And Cozy - Live or plastic plants in the aquarium will help keep your fish healthy as it does like to rest upon occasion and leaves are the ideal place to do so. As far as resting is concerned, the Betta much prefers still water. It breathes on the surface, so you don't need to aerate the aquarium. Too much water movement can even be detrimental to the Betta Keep things nice and quiet and relaxing for your pet.
Follow Proper Feeding Guidelines - Nutrition is obviously another area where you want to be doing things right. Probably the most common cause of a sick Betta from a nutritional standpoint is overfeeding. Either the Betta will get fat, easy to do if it is fed live food, or uneaten food will simply accumulate on the bottom of the tank and create an unhealthy environment. A once a day feeding is all the Betta needs, and give it no more than it can eat in about 5 minutes. Young Bettas need to be fed twice as often. The Betta's natural food is mosquito larvae. Live food however can bring with it bacteria and disease, and is probably best avoided. Freeze dried brine shrimp is a good substitute, although it is best when given as a treat and not as an everyday meal.
The message is this, if you follow the generally rules and guidelines for caring for your pet Betta, you should rarely have a problem as far as your pet's health and well being is concerned. If you have several fish and/or you feed the Betta live food, there is a greater risk of disease. On occasion, one can have a sick Betta for no apparent reason, but with proper care, this should be a rare event.