Why Is Your Fighting Fish Dying And How To Save It
As far as fish keeping goes, Betta Fish or as known as Fighting Fish or Siamese Fighting Fish is widely consider the most simple and easiest fish to keep. It doesn't require much space or equipment to keep. You might have heard from your elders that they used to keep them in a jar with no filtration or any other equipment. So why are yours's dying?
Debunking common misconceptions
While betta fish can survive in a 500ml plastic bag for a while, it doesn't mean that they can live there indefinitely. It will not die immediately in a small container but it will definitely not live for long nor will it be happy about it. It is also commonly perceived that bettas do not need any filtration in their tanks; while that is true to a certain extent, there are still certain conditions that need to be met for you to have a healthy and happy betta fish.
Fin rot in betta fish
There are two reason to fin rot in your betta fish, pH and water quality. Like all aquatic life, betta fish need the water to be of a certain pH value to survive and betta fish are naturally found in water with a pH of 7.0 or neutral. In Malaysia, our tap water usually has the value of 7.0 but over time in an aquarium with organic decay, that will slowly turn the water acidic. And this causes the fin to rot. In extreme cases, it will also kill the fish.
Speaking of organic decay, they create nasty ammonia as a by-product and ammonia is bad news for all aquarium keepers. Having still water without any good microbes will also allow the bad ones to grow, these bad microbes will infect your betta fish causing fin rot and death.
How to prevent your betta fish from dying
As we understand now, the main cause is organic decay. So what should we do about it? Well the simplest method is of course to get a filter. A small tiny filter will do. This is because betta fish don’t generate much bio waste which makes it possible for one to be in an aquarium without any sort of filtration for weeks. In fact, it is also possible to keep it healthy forever without a filter as well. This brings us to the second method.
Bettas generate so little waste that some algae or plant is enough to keep the water clean, as long as the container is not too small. But the plant or algae needs to be healthy to do its job and that requires lights. This is ultimately the secret to why you hear that people used to keep betta fish alive in a jar without any filtration. We used to keep the fish outdoors in a 2L jar and the jar’s glass wall will turn green due to algae. The sunlight is a good light source for green algae to grow. You can use plants too but it's harder to keep the plants alive than it is to grow algae. You have to do more work in order keep the plants well and healthy.
But if you do not wish to keep your fish outdoors then you'll have no choice but to use a filter.
With or without a filter, you'll still need to do some water changes. 50% change of water once a week should be sufficient. We recommend using Seachem Betta Basics during and after water changes to create an ideal environment for bettas by removing any chlorine, detoxifying ammonia, and maintaining a neutral pH value.