Now is the time of year that many teachers think about getting a new pet for the classroom. A betta fish can be a great choice for a classroom pet. There are a few suggestions I would make to help make your new fish happy and healthy throughout the school year.
I know that betta fish are sold in tiny containers and small tanks are so cute, but they are not a healthy choice for your betta fish and can lead to way more work than you have time for and poor health for your fish.
I recommend a five gallon tank (Amazon affiliate link) for your betta fish. This way you can purchase some items for your fish to explore and it makes it more challenging and interesting for your students as well.
You can see the original container I was given for the first fish we had in our classroom. Not a good choice. The water level seemed to need to be added to nearly daily and it had no top. Not safe for the fish since bettas are notorious jumpers and not good for little hands that like to check things out or put things in the tank. I did end up using it to help me make water changes to the tank, though.
You need a good sized container to fill with water and put in your water conditioner to give it a chance to do its work before you dump it in the tank with your fish. I try to keep this filled with treated water for when I need to add a bit of water to the tank.
Water conditioner (aff. link) is all you need to use tap water with your fish. I believe the kind I have calls for a capful to a certain number of gallons, so I just use a tiny amount for my container.
Cleaning the Tank
You should clean out your tank about once a month. When you do this you should remove your plants and rock formations so that you can wipe them down to remove algae build up. I rinse them in regular water and wipe with a paper towel. Do not use any kinds of soaps or detergents.
Check the filter at this time as well. My tank’s filter is a bit too strong for my betta so I found directions to make something to help with that from a part of a water bottle.
Make sure you turn off your filter before removing water.
Now I clean the rocks with this tool. (aff. link) This is where that too small fish tank comes in. I use it to pour the dirty water into as I clean the rocks. Remove about a third (no more than half) the water. If you do not leave at least half the water in the tank you may shock your fish’s system by too big of a change in the quality of the water.
Add water back in with your container you have your conditioned water in. Once the water is back in you can turn on your filter again.
I am researching replacing our fish’s filter with a weaker filter since betta fish do not need a strong flow. So a sponge filter (aff. link) may be our next purchase for him.