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Betta Fish Tank Setup - Water Heating and Lighting
Betta fish originate from the tropical countries of the Far East, where the temperature is warm through out the year. Bettas need a warm environment and enjoy a well heated tank. Bettas are not as sensitive as other types of tropical fish and can usually withstand water as cold as 65 degrees, but if the water is lower than 70 degrees, it is probably too cold for your bettas. They may begin to swim slowly, stop eating and even become lethargic.
The best way to control the water temperature is by installing a properly maintained heating system in your aquarium. You can choose between a "hang-on" style of heater, which is usually cheaper, or a submersible heater which is more efficient and provides a more consistent temperature.
The size and strength of the heater depends on the size and water capacity of your betta fish tank. A larger tank requires a stronger heater. Heaters strength is measured by how many watts they require, where usually every 5 watts mean the heater is capable of heating another gallon of water. So, for example, for a 6 gallon tank you would need a 30 watts heater.
With betta fish often having much smaller tanks, you will probably need only a small heater. If you live in a warm climate and have a very small tank, a bowl of no more than a few gallons of water, you may even be able to raise your fish without a heater. Try changing the location of the bowl to find a warm spot, by a window or near a stove.
Whether you have a heater or not, it's highly recommended that you fit a small aquarium thermometer in your betta fish tank. This will help you keep track of the actual water temperature and make sure that your bettas are warm enough and do not suffer from big fluctuations in temperature.
Lighting Your Betta Fish Aquarium
Betta fish do need light and so do the beneficial bacteria in the betta's aquarium. If your fish do not have enough natural light, there is a great selection of fluorescent light strips available that fits right into the aquarium hood.
Turn the light on for at least 8 hours a day, but make sure that the betta fish tank is darkened during night time. Remember, fish have no eyelids so they need to be in a dark environment to get a good night's sleep (and yes, they do sleep!).
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