Glofish Betta Care Guide | Diet, Habitat, Breeding, Accessories

Jan 16, 2022

Glofish Betta Care Guide

Glofish betta were only introduced in February 2020. And they received a somewhat mixed reception. There was even a petition with thousands of followers to ban their sale. As a result, the International Betta Congress had to come up with an exclusive Glofish Betta Policy. 

Irrespective of one’s stance and ethics, we have to admit that glofish bettas are an exciting addition to the already stunning GloFish family. 

In this care guide, I am going to tell you absolutely all there’s to know about caring for these delightful fish. 

Name Glofish Betta
Scientific Name Betta splendens 
Family Osphronemidae 
Lifespan 3-5 years 
Size 2.5-3 Inches
Care Level Moderate
Breeding Moderate
Temperament Aggressive
Diet Carnivore 
Minimum Tank Size 5 Gallons 
Temperature 72-81 degrees F
pH 6.5-8

Let’s begin. 

Glofish Betta Origin 

Glofish betta were first introduced to the public in February 2020.

Texas-based Yorktown Technologies are their creators. 

Like the rest of the fish from the glofish family, glofish bettas were created by inserting fluorescent genes from jellyfish and different sea anemones into the betta eggs. 

Note that not all glofish bettas available to us today were subjected to genetic modification during the embryonic stage. 

Their unique coloration and luminosity are hereditary traits passed from generation to generation.

The first glofish ever were glofish danios, made by genetically modifying black and white zebra danios. Their original intention was to be able to identify toxins present in the waterways. 

Glofish bettas are certainly the new kids in town. But do you know their forebears were created at least 600 years ago?

Yes, bettas were originally created in Thailand in the 1400s through selective breeding of small fish that lived in rice paddies and small streams. 

The wild bettas look nothing like the beautifully-colored, long-finned beauties of today. They have a rather drab greenish-gray color and short fins. 

Glofish Betta Lifespan 

Glofish bettas are extremely hardy fish. They live for around 3-5 years on average. But with proper care, they are known to live for about 10 years! 

While genetics plays a vital role in determining a glofish betta’s longevity, the environment you keep it in and the food you feed it also matter. 

Bettas reach their peak for breeding between 4 and 12 months. 

Glofish Betta Appearance 

Glofish bettas give off light like a glowstick. They don’t produce the light themselves but absorb and reflect the light. 

And just like their non-modified cousins, glofish bettas have slender bodies and oversized fins that hang like bolts of silk. However, females have shorter fins than males. 

Glofish bettas may develop horizontal bars when they’re stressed and frightened. Females also develop vertical stripes when they are ready to breed. 

Glofish Betta Size 

Glofish bettas get around 2.5-3 inches (6.3-7.6 cm) long. 

Glofish Betta Colors

Glofish bettas are available in two beautiful colors for now – electric green and sunburst orange. 

Sunburst orange bettas have brilliant blue fins, while electric green bettas sport light green fins. 

But in the future, they’ll likely come in other iconic and patented shades like galactic purple, cosmic blue, starfire red, and moonrise pink. 

Why Do Electric Green Glofish Betta Turn Red?

It turns out that some electric green glofish bettas turn red as they mature. That’s due to the presence of red pigmentation in their system at birth. 

However, this change is only seen in 2-4% of the glofish betta population. 

And since this gradual change in shade is due to natural metamorphosis, it doesn’t impact glofish betta’s health in any way. 

In fact, since this trait is so rare, it’s even more appealing to hobbyists. 

Recommended Readings!

How Many Glofish In A 30-Gallon Tank? Answers For All 5 Species!

What Do Baby Glofish Look Like? Photos And Videos!

Do Glofish Eat Each Other? Real Answers!

Glofish Betta Temperament 

At the end of the day, glofish bettas are your regular bettas with the addition of the stunning bright disposition. Besides the fluorescent gene that makes them glow, they have pretty much the same genetic makeup as regular bettas. 

So, yes, glofish bettas can get aggressive. For centuries, they were strategically bred to fight. Therefore, they’re naturally aggressive and violent at times. 

Research has shown that bettas naturally have less serotonin in their system. So, it’s speculated that this is the reason behind their aggressive disposition.

This especially holds true for male bettas, who are incredibly intolerant of other males. If you keep more than one betta in a fish tank, no matter how ample the space is, the two fish will fight and fight some more until there’s only one fish standing tall. 

They are even known to fight their own reflection.

A glofish betta that holds its fins loose and open, allowing them to move freely in the water, is a sign that the fish is happy. On the other hand, if the fins are stiff and held tightly against the body, the fish is stressed and unhappy. 

Gentle and smooth movements suggest that your betta is placid and calm. But if it is moving around frantically in the tank, bumping into other things, or constantly hitting its nose against the tank’s bottom, your fish is stressed. 

Female bettas, too, can get aggressive. But they’re far more mellow and friendly compared to the males. Females can be kept in a group of 5 or more in a big aquarium – preferably 30 gallons or more. 

Lastly, bettas are also shy and nervous fish. They don’t adapt to new environments and situations right off the bat. They will take their sweet time. 

Do Bettas Get Lonely?

Bettas are solitary creatures that love their own company more than anything. Therefore, they don’t really get lonely. In fact, they’d very much appreciate having the entire tank to themselves. 

They don’t look forward to socialization or cohabitation at all.

Besides, the long fins of a male betta makes it an ideal target for other aggressive fish. Even small schooling fish like tetras and danios will gang up against betta and nip its fins. 

Glofish Betta Tank Mates

As I said above, bettas would rather have the whole tank to themselves, but if you insist on adding some diversity, you can add a few peaceful nano fish and bottom dwellers – provided that the tank is big enough for everyone to live comfortably.

Here’s a list of suitable glofish betta tank mates:

  • Kuhli loaches 
  • Ember tetras
  • Harlequin rasboras
  • Malaysian trumpet snails
  • Cory catfish
  • Ghost shrimps
  • African dwarf frogs
  • Clown plecos
  • Amano shrimps 
  • Blue gouramis
  • Pictus catfish

If you are looking to add multiple bettas or other fish in the same tank, a safe bet here would be to get a tank divider. 

Frankly, a tank divider will somewhat compromise your tank’s aesthetics, but it will ensure there will be no martyrs. 

Here’s a link to a clear tank divider by Toyuto that comes in sizes ranging from 5.5 gallons to 120 gallons. 

I have a friend that uses tank dividers to house multiple bettas in the same tank – but note that his tank is quite big, to begin with. 

Glofish Betta Diet 

Bettas are carnivorous fish. In nature, their wild cousins feed on small worms, crustaceans, and larvae. You can give them a wide variety of foods in the tank, ranging from commercial pellets to live fish and crustaceans. 

There are several commercially available foods that are specifically designed with betta’s health needs and coloration in mind. 

They come in different varieties like pellets, flakes, live and freeze-dried options. And the most common ingredients found in these foods are meat, fish, and shrimp. 

Note that you can’t feed bettas just about any food made for tropical fish. That’s because bettas need a particular protein-rich diet. 

Here’s a list of food suitable for your glofish bettas:

  • Pellets 
  • Flake foods 
  • Brine shrimp 
  • Freeze-dried bloodworms 
  • Crustaceans 
  • Small worms 
  • Larvae 
  • Crickets 

Professional breeders usually stay away from feeding commercially prepared foods like pellets and flakes. Instead, they opt for nutrient-dense live foods to prepare the bettas for shows and breeding. 

You don’t necessarily always have to feed live food. The key here is to ensure a rich and well-rounded diet.

Also, keep in mind that glofish bettas can be picky eaters.

If they persistently refuse a certain food you are giving, it’s time to experiment with a different brand or blend until you hit the sweet spot. 

Here’s a link to Glofish Betta Food by the Glofish Store:

How Much To Feed Glofish Bettas?

You can give your glofish bettas 1-2 meals a day. Give them an amount they can eat within a minute or so. 

If you are feeding once a day, you can give your betta 4-5 pellets. And if you’re feeding twice a day, 2-3 pellets would suffice. 

It’s pretty tricky to gauge how much to feed a betta. Food labels often come with inconsistent and unclear instructions. 

Therefore, beginners often make the mistake of overfeeding their glofish bettas. 

Do you know the size of their stomach is the same as the size of their eye? And most pellets often swell up after ingestion. 

Therefore, overfeeding can lead to an array of digestive complications like constipation, bloating, swim bladder disease, and so on. 

How Long Can Glofish Betta Go Without Food? 

Like regular bettas, glofish bettas can go without food for about 14 days. However, their health will increasingly deteriorate over the course. 

If you’re going away for the weekend, there’s no need to add extra food to compensate. Your glofish betta can easily fast for a couple of days. 

Adding extra food while you are gone will only make the tank dirtier and fire back in the worst ways. 

Glofish Betta Water Parameters 

Here’s what ideal water parameters look like for glofish bettas:

  • Temperature: 72-81 degrees F
  • pH: 6.5-8
  • Ammonia: 0 PPM
  • Nitrite: 0 PPM
  • Nitrate: Below 20 PPM
  • General hardness: 3-4 dGH (50-66.7 PPM)
  • Carbonate hardness: 3-5 dKH (53.6-89.4 PPM)

Glofish bettas are originally from the species of bettas native to the marshes and rivers of Southeastern Asia. Therefore, they do not like sudden fluctuations or extreme water temperature. 

You should try to emulate mildly warm water temperatures of their natural habitat. 

Likewise, glofish betta’s wild cousins live in slow-moving waters with very little to no current. So naturally, glofish bettas too prefer very mild current and gentle flow in the aquarium. 

Glofish bettas are one of the hardiest fish species we know. However, that’s no excuse to keep them in subpar tanks with dirty water. 

Proper betta care incorporates a systematic maintenance schedule. The water parameters should be carefully maintained at a safe level at all times. 

For that, I recommend using the API’s Freshwater Master Kit. 

This is what we use too!

It’s crucial to take care of a betta’s habitat is because they’re often kept in a tiny, unfiltered tank. 

Leftover food and poop they produce will pollute a small tank a lot quicker than a big tank. 

Especially, tanks under 3 gallons demand more frequent and complete water changes to prevent the buildup of dangerous ammonia levels. 

Use a magnetic or an algae-cleaning want for regular algae removal while the tank is filled with water. 

As for filter media, rinse it with existing tank water, so you don’t get rid of all the good bacteria. 

And remember not to ever use soap or detergent to clean the tank or decors. It will effectively poison your betta fish. 

To clean the existing and new decorations, wash them thoroughly with hot water. 

Here’s a quick checklist of things that need to be done daily, weekly, and monthly to maintain your glofish betta’s tank:

Daily Checklist 

  • Count the number and observe the fish’s behavior 
  • Manually check the equipment 
  • Check the temperature 
  • Remove uneaten food 
  • Top off the water level 

Weekly Checklist 

  • Wipe down the tank’s outer surface 
  • Shake debris off plants and decors 
  • Scrape the inside glass 
  • Siphon the substrate 
  • Perform a partial water change
  • Test the water parameters 

Monthly Checklist

  • Prune plants as needed 
  • Deep clean decors 
  • Perform all of the weekly tasks 

Glofish Betta Minimum Tank Size 

5 gallons is the minimum recommended tank size for glofish bettas is 5 gallons

Bettas are often kept in tanks as small as 1 gallon. But just because a fish fits inside a tank that small doesn’t mean it should live there. 

Small tanks come with plenty of drawbacks. Lack of enough swimming room, high pollution rate, high risks of diseases, etc. 

If you want to keep more fish than 1 betta, you will need to invest in a bigger tank. 

However, no matter how big your tank is, it’s still not wise to keep more than 1 male bettas in the same tank. 

In tanks sized 20 gallons or above, you can easily keep a sorority of females. 

Glofish Betta Decors And Substrate 

For substrate, you can choose between gravel and sand. 

Gravel is great since it anchors plants easier and encourages the production of beneficial bacteria. 

On the other hand, sand also makes a good choice as it’s easier to clean and is less likely to injure your glofish betta. 

I know a few hobbyists who use marbles for the substrate. It lends a very unique appearance to the tank.

You can also add no substrate at all if you want. However, this means the young fry will have a lower survival rate. 

Bettas are highly intelligent fish. Therefore, they constantly need stimulation in one form or another to keep themselves busy and entertained. 

Thus, you need to strategically add fish-safe decors to keep your glofish betta amused. While choosing any decoration, make sure it doesn’t leach harmful toxins into the water. 

Also, ensure the decor doesn’t have sharp edges that can potentially tear your betta’s fins. 

A few soft plants, rocks and driftwoods, and floating logs can make good additions to your glofish betta’s tank. 

Quickly scan the internet, and you will find dozens of decors and toys specially marketed for betta fish. 

My favorite is this Betta Hammock by Zoo Med. 

Going by thousands of reviews, it looks like this is a must-have for all betta lovers. I’m sure I will get one. 

For lighting, go with a blue LED light that will bring out the magical fluorescence of your glofish betta. 

And since these fish are known to be good jumpers, always secure the tank with a lid. 

Glofish Betta Equipment 

Bettas are often kept in bowls and 1-gallon tanks with no filters or heaters. And this is the number one reason behind their untimely death. 

Although bettas don’t grow too big and can live in small habitats, they still very much need a filter, heater, and air pump (optional). 

Here’s a quick look at our recommended equipment for your glofish betta:

AquaClear 30 Power Fish Tank Filter 

  • Hang-on-back filter
  • Ideal for tanks with 10-30 gallons capacity 
  • 150 gallon per hour flow rate – adjustable 
  • Uses 3 types of media: foam, biomax, and activated carbon

Fluval M50 Submersible Heater 

  • Computer-calibrated thermostat 
  • Easy-to-adjust temperature control dial
  • Shock-resistant glass 
  • Blends into the tank’s environment 

Tetra Whisper Easy-To-Use Air Pump

  • Quiet operation 
  • Available for different tank sizes 
  • Provide water and oxygen movement 

Glofish Betta Breeding 

The official website for glofish states that it’s illegal to intentionally breed these fish. However, if you have a couple of male and female glofish bettas present in the tank, they’re bound to produce offspring at some point.

As long as you don’t sell or barter glofish fry, you should be fine. 

Glofish bettas, like regular bettas, are nervous breeders. So, you may not always experience success raising your fry into adulthood. 

Glofish bettas are usually ready to breed by the time they are 6 months old. But to ensure successful breeding, you first need to tell males apart from females. 

The long, flowy fins are some obvious signs that the fish is a male. 

Likewise, males have golden stripes across their bodies, while females have silver bars. 

Performing a big water change and feeding protein-rich food are two surefire ways of encouraging breeding. 

The substrate should ideally have plenty of crevices, so the eggs and fry have a place to hide from predatory adults. 

Now, let’s have a look at the breeding process in detail. 

The Start Of The Breeding Process

When ready to mate, the male glofish betta will prepare bubble nests on the water’s surface. 

Basically, a bubble nest is a structure of air pockets created by the male betta to incubate the eggs. 

You can quite easily tell if the female is carrying eggs by closely absorbing her abdominal area. If she is gravid, she will have a swollen and distended appearance. 

Introducing Male And Female Bettas 

You should be super careful when introducing male and female bettas to each other for the first time. They will probably be very nervous and consequently aggressive. 

The Mating Ritual 

The male glofish betta will court and coax the female until she gives her consent. 

Once she agrees, the male glofish betta wraps his fins around the female betta in what’s known as a nuptial embrace. He will squeeze the female’s abdomen – inducing her to release the eggs. 

After releasing the eggs, the female will become exhausted and immobile for a while due to the force exerted in the egg-laying process. 

The male will then fertilize the eggs, collect them with his mouth and deposit them into the bubble nests. 

The eggs hatch after around 2-3 days. 

Caring For Glofish Betta Fry 

When the fry hatch first, they are incredibly tiny. The male parent will primarily look after them. Initially, the fry will rely on the yolk sac to receive essential nutrients. 

Once the yolk sac is fully absorbed into their bodies, you need to fortify their diet with baby brine shrimp, microworms, pulverized flake food, and paste of hard-boiled eggs. 

Since the ‘glowing’ trait is passed on from one generation to another, you can expect your fry to glow under blue LED light as well, but it might take a bit longer for the glow to be palpable. 

It’s essential to install a sponge filter in the fry tank, so it doesn’t suck in your tiny glofish betta fry and kill them. 

Common Glofish Betta Health Issues 

Glofish bettas are just as hardy as your regular bettas. But when brought up in wrong conditions, they’re susceptible to an array of diseases just like regular bettas. Some common glofish betta health issues are ich, fin and tail rot, dropsy, popeye, and velvet. 

Let’s have a quick look at some common health issues. 

Ich

Ich, also known as white spot disease, is caused by a protozoan parasite. Your betta will develop white dots on the fins and the body. 

Besides these spots, other signs include rapid respiration, erratic swimming, and rubbing the body against hard objects. 

If you suspect your fish has ich, you need to immediately quarantine the fish. You will also need to use a commercial ich remedy. Here’s one we swear by:

Fin Or Tail Rot 

Fin or tail rot is characterized by frayed and disintegrated fins. In addition, the base of the fin will either redden or darken. 

While improving the water quality and adding aquarium salt can help, you need to consult a local aquatic specialist if the situation doesn’t improve.

Dropsy

Glofish bettas are also prone to dropsy, a condition caused by fluid buildup inside the body cavity or tissues. Some signs of dropsy are swelling, flaring of scales, and infection. 

The first things you should do are quarantine the fish and improve the water quality. Next, you might want to consult your local aquatic specialist. 

Popeye

Popeye disease, also known as exophthalmia, is a grave health condition where the betta’s eyes get swollen and protrude abnormally. It’s usually caused by poor water quality or bacterial infection. 

Once again, the vet will prescribe some antibiotics.

Velvet 

Velvet, also known as coral, rust, and gold dust, is caused by dinoflagellate parasites. Bettas that have contracted velvet develop a dusty, brownish-gold color. 

Stress and poor environment are the main reasons behind velvet. 

The betta will then rub its body on the decor to soothe the itch. 

Copper sulfate is the choice of treatment for velvet. You need to strictly adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions, so there’s no mishap. Usually, the treatment lasts for a full 10 days. 

Swim Bladder Disease 

Bettas are especially prone to swim bladder disease, just like goldfish. It’s characterized by swimming erratically, sinking, or floating to the top. 

The cause behind it can be overfeeding, bacterial infection, or constipation. 

Decreasing overfeeding and using antibiotics are effective treatments for swim bladder disease, depending on the cause. 

Now that we have discussed some probable diseases, let’s look at the signs that set apart a healthy glofish betta from a sick one. 

Signs Of Healthy Glofish Betta 

  • Undamaged fins and tails 
  • Good appetite and eats readily 
  • Has bright and rich colors
  • Are active and aggressive, will flare at stimuli 
  • Swim up to the surface to investigate when you come too close 

Signs Of Sick Glofish Betta

  • Lack of appetite 
  • Sluggish behavior 
  • Hides frequently 
  • Tattered fins and tails with black or red edges 
  • Drab, faded coloring 
  • White spots on the body and gins 
  • Abnormal and erratic swimming 
  • Panting 
  • Clamped fins
  • Bloating 

Final Words: Glofish Betta Care Guide

There are questions of morality and ethics surrounding glofish betta’s existence. 

While some strongly believe genetically modifying perfectly healthy and natural fish as unnecessary and cruel, others have no qualms about it. 

If you have brought home glofish betta, ensure that you provide it with the best environment and diet, so it leads a healthy life. 

You need to allocate at least 5 gallons each for a single glofish betta.

And don’t keep more than 1 male glofish betta in the same tank. This will result in a blood bath. 

And most importantly, don’t keep the lights on 24 hours a day so you can appreciate the fish’s magical appearance. 

Glofish bettas are diurnal creatures that will remain active during the daytime and sleep at night. 

Recommended Readings!

Are Glofish Aggressive? Why Are They Fighting?

Why Is My Glofish Swimming Sideways? 3 Reasons Why!

What Temperature Do Glofish Need? Do They Need A Heater?

rohit gurung author at urbanfishkeeping

About Rohit Gurung

My never-ending love and fascination with Aquascaping started when I received a red-eared turtle for my 10th birthday.

Apart from researching and writing, I spend hours gazing at my 3 turtles. And yeah, I bask alongside them too.