a message from 116daystoabetterme
I think I may make a video tutorial the next time I set one up for somebody.
Steps to make your own bottle beta:
- Pick your bottle. It should be big enough that a fish can fully stretch out and swim around a little, but not too big because betas get stressed in big spaces. A half-gallon bottle is more than enough space. Just make sure that whatever you pick is glass and air-tight (i.e. check for cracks).
- Pick your beta. Remember: beta fish can’t be in together. They are extremely territorial. Even a male and female may kill each other. You’re only getting ONE fish per bottle. And don’t put two bottles side-by-side either; they may charge the glass if they see each other.
- Clean your bottle out thoroughly. Not a trace of soap suds or the previous contents of the bottle should remain. If the bottle still smells like alcohol, it’s NOT ready for your fish.
- Pour aquarium pebbles into your bottle to your desired level. (NOTE: rinse rocks clean first using tap water. If the water is murky in step 5, you need to rinse your rocks more.) If your bottle is frosted with a transparent shape cut out, like on Fish Andersen’s bottle pictured above, you can fill the rocks up to the bottom of that space, making your fish live in the window.
- Add tap water to your bottle up to the highest level you want your beta to be able to swim. Remember to allow as much surface area at the top of the water as possible to help circulate air for your fish to breathe. Try to get your water at the same temperate as that of the water your beta is currently in.
- Add a few drops of dechlorinator to the bottle. You can pick this up at pretty much any local pet store super cheap, and it will last a long time. Follow the instructions on the bottle. Then shake well!
- Settle down your rocks by carefully shaking the bottle until they’re level. Let the bottle sit for a few minutes.
- You’re ready to add your fish! If you’ve never handled fish before, you’re definitely going to want a little fish net. You can get this when you buy the dechlorinator. Also cheap. Pour the store container from your beta slowly into your net over a sink. Be sure to select a sink with a closeable drain, and close it, just in case the fishy jumps. Once your beta is in the net, carefully flip the net into your hand so that you are now holding your beta. This is the toughest part. You want to keep your hand tight enough that he can’t wriggle out, but loose enough that you’re not squeezing him. Practice holding small toys and jewelry in this fashion before you do the real thing. Once he’s in your hand, wrap the bottom of your hand quickly around the mouth of the bottle, loosening your grip to let the fishy wiggle out into the neck of the bottle. You may need to give him a little nudge along the way.
- Ta-da! Fish in new home. :) Feed him a couple tiny fish pellets (the pet store can help you find the appropriate kind) daily, and enjoy your beta.
- WATER CHANGES: The time will come for your fishy to need a water change. When? Eyeballing: When the water starts to look cloudy. For those who need a schedule: Once every week to two weeks depending on the size of your bottle. Hey, how would you like swimming in your own poo for weeks? To change the water, slowly tilt the bottle to pour your beta with some water into a cup. If you pour too fast, you risk him getting hit with rocks. Go slowly. Once your beta is relaxing in the cup, repeatedly rinse out the bottle with tap water. You can make sure the rocks get cleaned by just shaking the bottle up thoroughly with the rocks and water in there. Make sure you don’t lose any rocks by pouring out the rinsing water right into your hand with fingers split just barely enough for water to pass through but not the pebbles. You’ll get the hang of it fast. Once your bottle and rocks are clean, return to step 5.
- Important: NEVER CLOSE YOUR BOTTLE. Fish need air, believe it or not. If you have to drive the bottle somewhere, he’ll be okay with the bottle capped for a short drive of 15-30 minutes. They don’t need a lot of air. But once you arrive, uncap immediately to resume air flow. And uh, if it’s an alcohol bottle, prepare your funny story in case you get pulled over and the cop asks why you have a full bottle of liquor in your cup holder.