Confused or unsure about how often to change the water in your Betta Fish tank, or how to do it? This article will explain the in very clear steps exactly how to change your water without harming your betta fish.
High ammonia and nitrate levels caused by waste aren’t visible but can seriously stress out your Betta. Keeping healthy water conditions in your Betta’s tank is THE most important thing you can do to provide long-term health and happiness.
How Often To Change your Betta Fish Water
It depends……..yes – not the answer you were looking for. All of the factors below contribute to how frequently your water needs to be changed:
- What is the size of the tank
- Is it a filtered tank
- Is the Betta Fish alone or are there others in the tank
- Did you cycle your tank when you initially set it up? (If you are unsure of what this is then its a no – if interested see Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle)
- Have you been over-feeding your fish
General Rules of thumb for how often to change a fish tank
- If you keep your Betta in an unfiltered bowl then you should change 30-50% of the water every week – the smaller the bowl the more water you should change.
- If your Betta lives in a filtered tank then you only need to change out about 20% of the water each week.
The real goal is to make sure the ammonia levels in the water are still safe for the fish, as rotting and decaying food turn into ammonia which is toxic to fish.
You may want to consider also getting some test strips which quickly evaluate your water quality to let you know if conditions are safe or in need of a change. You can find strips like these at Amazon, Petsmart or any fish store.
So here’s how to change water in your tank in 3 easy steps:
Now, you don’t simply dump out a bunch of water and dump new tap water in, right? Of course not, that would seriously stress out your Betta Fish.
Step #1 – Prepare For the Water Change
These are steps you’ll need to take 1 full day before the water change:
- Fill a very clean bucket or container with water – find one that can hold up to the amount of water you need to replace in the tank. I use the same clean container only for this purpose, so its never confused as a cleaning bucket for household chores that may contain some sort of toxic residue from cleaners
- Treat the water with water conditioner – our tap water is full of things that aren’t good for fish like fluoride and chlorine. Water conditioner will take care that, and it can easily be found at any pet store
- Wait – the water needs to come up to room temperature and hopefully be very close to the same temperature as in the tank. Remember that sudden changes in temperature will stress your Betta Fish. Ideally you want your tank water and replacement water in the 78-82 degree range.
- Additional Supplies – you will need an additional bucket to drain the fish tank water into. This bucket does not have to be sterile/clean as this water is just going to get dumped down the toilet. You will also need some sort of hose to siphon the water out of the tank into the bucket. Pet stores carry specialized suction tubes for this purpose that are wider firm plastic on one end that helps will part of the cleaning process you will do as you change the water, plus a clip for the other end so the hose stays connected to your bucket catching the water and not spraying all over your floor. If your filter is really dirty also make sure you also have a new replacement filter.
Step # 2 – Remove the Old Water
All of these steps are done without removing your Betta Fish. These are gentle steps that aren’t too disruptive to your fish. The only time you should need to remove your fish is for a full water change if something drastic went wrong with the tank water.
- remove the tank cover – make sure any filters, lights or heaters that are plugged in no longer is as a safety measure.
- get the ‘catch’ bucket close to the tank
- remove any decorative items like large rocks, houses, etc from the bottom of the tank
- place the suction tube or hose into the tank – some tubes have a way to get the water flowing in a siphon action simply by letting it fill with water and then shaking it lightly. If you don’t have one of these you’ll have to do it the hard way and give the end of the hose not in the tank enough of a suck to get the water starting to flow up and out. Make sure you pull it away from your mouth and put it in the catch bucket before it hits your lips!
- Drag the suction hose across the tank gravel – what you are doing here is somewhat bobbing the the hose up and down across all of the gravel in your tank at a 45 degree angle. The reason you are doing this is it will suck up and remove rotting uneaten fish food that is collecting in the gravel, which will help make for a healthier tank.
- Make sure you don’t remove too much water – only remove the recommended amount mention above based on your tank setup. The remaining water in the tank has necessary beneficial bacteria in it necessary for a healthy environment. Once you are done removing the tank water you can dump that water down the toilet.
Step #3 – Add the new water
- Add your rocks or decorations back into the tank
- Either gently pour or use the siphon to fill the tank close to the top
- Replace the filter if dirty if necessary
- Put the lid back on the tank, plug back in your filter, heater and lights