Dragon Betta Fish: 9 Secrets Exposed [Care Guide]

In a world full of colorful bettas, dragon betta fish can readily catch any betta lovers’ attention with their metallic coloration and accentuating scales. The shiny armor-like scales and sulky temperament set a unique combination that makes Dragon betta fish demandable and difficult pets. If you consider the dragon betta care guide similar to other betta fish, you may be wrong.

Since Dragon betta fish are not as friendly as other betta fish, you must know the special care guide to keep these gorgeous bettas in captivity. In this article, I’ve enriched the write-up with an overview of Dragon betta fish, required supplies, requirements in the tank, and other special care.

If you are a newbie, you should take a full glance at this article. Let’s start with the Dragon Betta fish overview to learn more about its nature first.

Key Takeaways

  • Your first responsibility should be providing a comfortable home to your dragon betta fish.
  • Make sure to replicate the temperature and water parameters of the dragon betta tank with the wild habitations of betta fish.
  • Since these dragon betta fish aren’t friendly, you must take special concern about choosing their compatible tank mates.
  • Sometimes, there remains a risk of blindness for true dragon scale bettas. You should give a bit extra care for dragon bettas if these fish face such an unfortunate thing.
4 betta collage
Owner: Ibrahim

Overview Of Dragon Betta Fish

These gorgeous Dragon betta fish are one of the rarest betta fish that are bred through careful selection. Although other female betta species look duller than male bettas, female dragon scale betta fish come up with a splendid appearance.

You might know that owning dragon betta fish comes with the risk of blindness. That’s why you should know about the overview of the dragon betta fish scale before taking the challenge of keeping these bettas. 

Scientific nameBetta splendens
Common namesDragon Betta, Dragon Scale Betta, Samurai Betta, etc.
Adult Size2-3 inches
Minimum Tank Size10 gallon
Water typeFreshwater
Optimal temperature76-81 degrees Fahrenheit
Optimal pH6.5-8
Water Hardness5-20 DH
TemperamentAggressive to own kind
Care levelModerate
Lifespan2-5 years

Basic Supplies: What Do You Need To Keep Dragon Betta Fish As Pets?

Are you going to welcome a dragon betta fish into your home? Then, you need to gather some basic supplies that you need to keep these dragon betta fish as pets. You can check out the following list that’ll help you get all the required stuff for your dragon betta fish care.

  • An aquarium
  • Tank hood
  • Water
  • Heater
  • Substrate
  • Décor
  • Low Current filter
  • Soft plants
  • Special betta food
  • Freshwater Supplements
  • Water test strips
  • Water conditioner
  • Net
  • Mini siphon
  • Digital thermometer
  • Magnetic algae scrubber

Tank Setup: How Do You Setup A Dragon Betta Fish Tank?

Creating a perfect environment is a must-to-do responsibility to ensure a healthy upbringing of your dragon betta fish. Hence, you must know the requirements of a filtration system, tank size, heater, and other décor items for your dragon betta fish. Let’s go through step-by-step guidelines for setting up a dragon betta fish tank.

1. Choosing A 10 Gallon Tank

When it is a matter of keeping dragon betta fish, you must provide a large space for your pet betta. To create a cozy home for your dragon betta fish, you need to add hiding spots, décor items, plants, and other required elements. Another secret to giving a healthy life for your dragon betta fish is to give them a large space to swim around.

The minimum tank size for the survival of a dragon betta is a 5-gallon tank. But, surviving doesn’t mean that your dragon betta can thrive well in that space. To help your dragon betta thrive, you must provide more room to help these bettas explore in the tank.

So, the ideal tank size to keep one male or female dragon betta fish ranges from 5-10 gallons. Larger space increases the lifespan of your pet dragon betta fish. For bare minimum consideration, you can stick to a 5-gallon space. Also, you must consider the number of dragon betta fish and their tank mates before buying a tank.

In addition, you might notice several shapes of the tank that might make you confused to choose a suitable one. For dragon betta fish, you should choose a tank that has more horizontal space than vertical space. A taller tank may not be suitable for dragon betta fish who love to swim left and right.

Although the experts suggest keeping a male dragon betta fish alone, female dragon betta can be kept in a group. To keep a group of 5 female dragon betta, you can choose a 20-gallon tank. In cases of smaller tanks, the water will get polluted faster, which can lead to the death of your dragon betta fish.

2. Adding Suitable Substrate

The first thing that you need to know is that this step is optional. Substrate is not mandatory for the tank of dragon betta fish. However, keeping a bare-bottom tank has some disadvantages.

If there’s no substrate at the bottom of your dragon betta tank, your betta may have anxiety by seeing its reflection. Also, the substrate works as a ground for rooting plants. You must add substrate in the dragon betta tank, in case you plan for a planted tank. In addition, the experts suggest using a darker substrate to pop the coloration of your dragon betta fish.

Another benefit of keeping substrate is to provide a surface for the growth of beneficial bacteria. Also, it’ll increase the aesthetic beauty of the dragon betta fish tank. In a bare-bottom tank, the feces of dragon betta and other wastes will get stored which requires frequent cleaning.

On the other hand, the hassles get minimized when the waste is stored on the substrate. You should choose from aquarium soil, aquarium gravel, or mixed substrate for your dragon betta fish tank. Make sure that the substrate does not change the pH of the tank water.

3. Adding Live Plants

The third secret of dragon betta fish care is to add live plants in the tank. Minimalistic lovers may not prefer to include plants in their betta tank. Since there is a continuous process of adding pollutants to the water, you need a biological filtration system. This magic is done by live plants.

Plants tend to keep good water quality by absorbing harmful components. Also, plants assist in upgrading the water quality by providing oxygen. While choosing live plants, you should choose hardy and easy-maintenance plants. Make sure that the plants aren’t toxic for your dragon betta fish.

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Some options of best plants for your dragon betta fish are –

  • Java fern
  • Java moss
  • Marimo moss balls
  • Anubias
  • Vallisneria
  • Water sprite
  • Cryptocoryne wendtii
  • Amazon sword
  • Banana plants
  • Anacharis
  • Bucephalandra

You can also add some floating plants that increase the beauty of the tank. Since dragon betta fish come up to the surface to breathe oxygen, you must ensure that the plants are not covering the entire surface. Besides, your dragon betta fish will surely love betta hammocks that are safe for them.

Some toxic plants that you should avoid for your dragon betta fish are listed here. If your dragon betta fish consume any part of these plants, it may lead to death.

  • Devil’s ivy
  • English ivy
  • Water lettuce
  • Peace lilies
  • Philodendron
  • Water hemlock
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Money plants
Owner: Minute_Item5727

4. Adding Décor Items

To give the best life to your dragon betta, you need to add some décor items to your betta tank. These décor items will provide some opportunities for your dragon betta to hide and play around. Also, décors create stimulations for your dragon betta fish to build bubble nests.

Although décor items are used for aesthetic purposes, your betta fish will use them for their mental and physical enrichment. These décors will aid your dragon betta fish to remain active and happy. In addition, the décors are good places to have rest for your bettas.

Some décor items for your dragon betta fish tank are driftwood, moss balls, floating toys, hollow logs, different colored rocks, fake plants, etc. Make sure not to overcrowd the tank with excessive décor items.

Otherwise, your dragon betta fish may not roam comfortably or hunt prey. Also, you must avoid décor items with sharp edges that may cut the soft skin of your dragon betta fish.

5. Adding A Heater

In the natural environment of betta fish, the water temperature remains 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas the outside temperature ranges from 86 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. To keep dragon betta fish healthy in captivity, you must keep the water temperature within the range of 75-80 degrees. Now, the question arises whether your dragon betta tank requires a heater.

Before concluding the decision, you must know that dragon betta fish are tropical fish. That’s why these bettas can not thrive in cold temperatures for a long time. Lower temperatures slow the metabolism rate and activity level of betta fish. Although dragon betta fish tolerate temperature fluctuations, colder temperature makes dragon bettas susceptible to diseases.

Because of weakening the immune system, the dragon betta fish may lose its ability to replace old cells. Also, cold temperature makes dragon bettas lose their ability to fight illness. As a result, a prolonged confrontation with cold temperatures leads to the death of your adorable dragon betta fish.

If the outer temperature of your dragon betta fish tank fails to stay above 78 degrees Fahrenheit, you must install a heater to your betta tank. There are lots of popular heater options for aquarists. Such as submersible heaters, immersible heaters, substrate heaters, in-line heaters, etc.

However, you can also warm up the tank water by applying some methods. If you do not want to add a heater, you can increase the room temperature. Otherwise, you can keep the dragon betta fish tank near a window where direct sunlight can add warmth to the water.

Insulating the dragon betta fish tank is one of the smartest methods to warm the tank water without a heater. In addition, you can adjust a strong lighting system. However, you must ensure that the temperature should stay within the ideal range constantly.

chocolate color betta fish

6. Adding A CO2 System

If you create a planted tank for your dragon betta fish, you should add a CO2 system for the plants. In the wild, the decomposing plants, mud, and other resources provide CO2 for the photosynthesis of the plants. However, the plants of an enclosed betta tank do not get sufficient CO2 like the wild. Hence, you must add a CO2 system for the respiration and growth of the plants.

You must keep in mind that the excess level of CO2 can take the lives of your dragon betta fish. For this reason, you should keep the level of CO2 from 15 to 30 parts per million. If you have a problem with algae boom in your betta tank, adding a CO2 system will reduce such algae growth dramatically.

Are you looking for a CO2 system that comes up with everything? Then, I’ll suggest looking for a ZRDR CO2 Generator system.

7. Adding An Aquarium Filter

The biggest secret to prolonging the life of a dragon betta fish is to add an aquarium filter. You might know that decomposing plants, uneaten foods, and other wastes increase the ammonia and nitrite levels of the water. In addition, your dragon betta will also poop in the same tank where they tend to roam around.

Poor water quality causes fin rot, bacterial infection, dropsy, and other diseases. As a result, the lack of the filter can result in poor water quality that leads to premature death of your dragon betta fish. So, it’s your utmost duty to keep the water parameters alright to give your dragon betta fish a healthy life.

A good filtration system can process the wastes by doing biological, chemical, and mechanical filtration. The beneficial bacteria residing in filter media break down the ammonia into nitrate. It also assists in maintaining an adequate oxygen level in the tank water.

Before buying a filter, you must ensure that the current of the filter does not hinder the swimming ability of your dragon betta fish. The high current of the filtration system may harm the flowy fins of these splendid dragon bettas.

There are several types of filter options for your dragon betta tank. Such as sponge filters, canister filters, HOB filters, etc. To get the best feedback, you should perform regular maintenance of your filter. While rinsing filter media, you must not leave all old filter media material. Otherwise, it’ll create an ammonia spike due to new tank syndrome.

cute betta fish close up
Owner: Michelle Smith

8. Lighting Condition For Dragon Betta Fish

You might not hear about many suggestions regarding the necessity of lighting in your dragon betta fish tank. To ensure a healthy life for your dragon betta fish, you must mimic a day and night cycle in captivity. For this, you should add a good light source for your bettas.

Some beginners may think about keeping their dragon betta fish tank in direct sunlight. But, it’ll cause the bloom of algae in your betta tank. Before choosing a perfect lighting source, you should research a bit about the suitable color and intensity of the light.

These tropical betta fish prefer subdued lighting. Although dragon betta fish are specially bred, these bettas prefer gentle lighting. Hence, you need to choose softer-colored lighting with gentle illumination that may not make your dragon bettas stressed.

Generally, the experts recommend choosing LED or white lighting. To mimic the cycle of day and night, you should keep the lighting on for 8-12 hours. Also, you must adjust the lighting at the opposite corner of the hideouts of your dragon betta fish.

See also  Butterfly Betta Fish: 6 Care Secrets From Experts

In the wild, betta fish tend to sleep in the darkness of night. So, there’s no need to add any lighting for the night-time. If you worry about their activity at night, you can install a dim light. By regulating a proper day and night cycle, you can prolong the life of your dragon betta fish with a strong immunity system.

9. Adding A Tank Lid

You might be aware of the aggressive temperament of dragon betta fish that leads to frequent jumping. There are some records that dragon betta fish can jump up to 3 inches in height. In some cases, dragon bettas may jump out of the tank.

If your dragon bettas want to escape from the tank, these bettas may end up dying on the floor. To prevent such unwanted accidents, you must add an aquarium hood or tank lid. 

10. Water Conditioner For Dragon Betta Fish

To detoxify the harmful components, you can apply water conditioner to your dragon betta fish tank. It’ll neutralize chlorine, chloramine, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and heavy metals present in the tank water. You must maintain the direction of using the water conditioner in your betta tank.

According to the experienced betta owners, some suggestions for water conditioners are Tetra BettaSafe, Seachem Prime, and API Betta Water Conditioner.

Water Parameters For Dragon Betta Fish

The most significant part of the dragon betta fish care guide is to keep good water quality. To maintain the water quality, you must know the ideal parameters of water for your dragon betta fish tank. If you fail to keep the ideal water parameters, your dragon betta fish will become stressed.

That’s why I’ve made a small chart mentioning all the parameters required for a healthy environment in your dragon betta fish tank.

Temperature75-86 degrees Fahrenheit
GH3-4 dGH
TDS50-250 ppm
Ammonia0 ppm
NitrateLess than 20 ppm
Nitrite0 ppm

1. pH

Generally, dragon betta fish thrive well in lower pH level which ranges from 6-8. In the wild, betta fish tend to live in slightly acidic to neutral water.

To keep your dragon betta fish happy, you must ensure not to exceed the pH level of 8. If you notice the tank water getting alkaline, you can add driftwood, Indian almond leaves, and peat moss. Make sure to avoid any sharp fluctuations of pH in your dragon betta tank.

2. GH

Like all species of betta, dragon betta fish aren’t very fond of hard water. Higher mineral levels in the water can harm the internal organs of your dragon betta which leads to premature death.

Since betta fish prefer soft and acidic water, you must keep the water hardness within 5-20 DH. If your tank water remains hard, you can use a few items to soften the water.

Such as water-softening pillows, peat moss, driftwood, etc. In addition, you can use rainwater that doesn’t contain any minerals. Reverse osmosis is also a scientific way to soften the tank water without harming your dragon betta fish.

3. TDS

Sometimes, the dragon betta fish owner may not take the range of TDS seriously. But, lower or higher TDS levels can be life-threatening for your dragon betta fish. Also, a higher level of TDS can cause an algae boom in your dragon betta fish tank. Keep the TDS range below 200 ppm for the sound health of your bettas.

How Often Should I Change The Water Of the Dragon Betta Fish Tank?

It’s pretty common for the water to get foul quickly in an enclosed tank. Since you feed your dragon betta fish regularly, there will be storage of leftover food at the bottom. Besides, your dragon betta leaves their feces and urine in the same water.

To keep the water fresh, you should change about 20% of the tank water once a week. Although a filter runs the nitrogen cycle in the tank, you need to change the water in the tank. The beneficial bacteria turns the ammonia produced from wastes into nitrate.

Although nitrate is less toxic than ammonia, the higher level of nitrate can be risky for the health of your dragon betta fish. Instead of making a large water change, you can do frequent and small water changes. For this, you must keep an eye on the water parameters of your dragon betta fish tank.

colorful betta fish in white substrate tank
Owner: Raven Persad

Cycling The Tank Before Adding Dragon Betta Fish

Beginners often overlook the necessity of aquarium cycling. It is a crucial secret to ensure the prolonged life of your dragon betta fish. If you leave your newly bought dragon betta fish in an uncycled tank, there will remain a higher risk of the death of your betta.

That’s why you need to do fish-less cycling in your dragon betta fish tank. For this, you can add liquid ammonia to the fish tank. You’ll notice changes in the tank where beneficial bacteria start eating the ammonia within a few days. In 4-5 days, the nitrite level should be 4-5 ppm. 

Once the nitrite level reaches 4-5 ppm, this dragon betta fish tank will be officially cycled. When the nitrogen cycle begins in the tank, you can add your dragon betta fish and plants. In a cycled tank, the ammonia produced from the wastes can smoothly get broken into less toxic nitrate.  

Acclimating Dragon Betta Fish

No matter whether you’re a beginner or an experienced owner, you must be too excited to introduce your dragon betta fish into its new enclosure. Keep in mind that these betta fish are extremely sensitive to changes in temperature and pH. Generally, the pet shops give your purchased dragon betta fish in a plastic bag or cup.

The temperature of the plastic bag of your dragon betta and the new enclosure will not be similar. If you dump your dragon betta immediately into the new tank, your betta may get shocked. To save your new dragon betta from sudden shock, a secret rule of its care guide is to do proper acclimatization before introducing it to the new tank.

The first thing you need to do for acclimatization is to record the pH and temperature of these two types of water. To make the temperature level equilibrium, you need to keep the plastic bag within dragon betta fish over the water layer of your fully cycled tank. In addition, you should make your dragon betta fish cope with the pH and water hardness of the water in the tank.

For this, you should introduce the new tank water in small quantities into the dragon betta fish bag every 5-10 minutes. This process will amazingly equilibrium the water parameters of two spots. Otherwise, you can choose the drip method for your dragon betta fish acclimatization. After completing the acclimatization process, your dragon betta fish are ready to get introduced to its new tank.

metal body betta fish
Owner: Sean Aurellio

Providing A Nutritious Diet To Your Dragon Betta Fish

Before starting the calculation of the required nutrition, you should understand the natural diet of your dragon betta fish. All species of betta rely on a diet of insects and insect larvae in the wild. Since dragon betta fish are special-bred, you should focus on a high-protein-based diet for your dragon betta.

In the diet of your dragon betta fish, you can include live insects, insect larvae, frozen foods, freeze-dried food sources, etc. Sometimes, the beginners consider feeding other tropical fish food to their dragon betta fish. But, those foods may not fulfill the nutrition demand of your dragon betta fish. If you want a recommendation for a betta staple food, you can check out Fluval Bug Bites.

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Although there may be several types of fish pallets, the best option for your dragon betta fish will be high-protein betta pellets. The betta flakes and pellets are specially designed for betta fish that contain a correct level of nutrition.

Also, you can feed your dragon bettas bloodworms and earthworms occasionally. In the list of monthly treats, you can keep live or frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, wingless fruit flies, mysis shrimp, etc.

Since these worms contain fats, you should not include these treats in your daily diet. In addition, you can harvest mosquito larvae after purchasing a starter culture.

Make sure to provide natural foods to your dragon betta fish. Their carnivorous needs should be fulfilled by nutritious betta food items.

While buying betta pellets, you must avoid those pellets that expand in the exposure to water. I’ll recommend Northfin Betta Bits, Newlife Spectrum Betta formula, and Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets.

How Many Times Should I Feed My Dragon Betta Fish?

Dragon betta fish have a tiny digestive tract that does not allow them to have a large meal. So, you need to feed them in small quantities. The experts suggest feeding dragon betta fish twice a day. In cases of baby dragon betta fish, you can feed these babies three times a day.

Due to their giant appetite, dragon betta fish may continue eating despite being full. Overfeeding may cause bloating and digestive issues. Also, the leftover foods will start degrading in the water.

These rotten foods produce toxins and ammonia that cause poor water quality. So, you should observe the amount of food your dragon betta fish takes at each feeding time.  

Supplementation For Dragon Betta Fish

To ensure proper nutrition, you can provide supplements in the diet of your dragon betta fish. According to experts’ suggestions, you can give your dragon betta multivitamin supplements, calcium supplements, etc. Your dragon betta fish can not produce some essential vitamins on their own. That’s why you are required to provide these vitamins through supplements.

Gut-loading is a popular method for supplementing your dragon betta fish. For this- you need to feed your betta’s food with the supplements. Later, you have to feed that gut-loaded betta food to your betta fish.

This supplementation will help your dragon betta fish fight against their predators. Besides, the supplements will aid in strengthening the shiny armor of your dragon betta fish which enhances the beauty of these betta fish.

Compatible Tank Mates For Dragon Betta Fish

Are you looking for suitable tank mates for your dragon betta fish? Then, you need to consider the two most significant things. These are the gender of your dragon betta fish and its temperament.

If it is a male dragon betta fish, you should not think about bringing any tank mates for the betta. The temperament of a male dragon betta fish is super cranky and territorial. These male dragon bettas can not tolerate another male betta fish.

The highly aggressive temperament of male dragon betta fish makes them intolerable towards any bright-colored betta fish. Also, it’s pretty challenging to keep a dragon male betta fish with any other tropical fish. So, it’ll be better to keep your male dragon betta fish alone.

On the other hand, female dragon betta fish are not as aggressive as male dragon betta fish. While choosing tank mates for your female dragon betta, you should consider the temperament, size, and requirements of the tank mates.

multiple custom betta
Owner: Minute_Item5727

Some recommendations of tank mates for dragon betta fish are:

  • Neon tetra
  • Ember tetra
  • Rummy nose tetra
  • Diamond tetra
  • Silvertip tetra
  • Endlers
  • Female guppy
  • Cory catfish
  • Short-finned platy
  • White cloud mountain minnow

In the list of incompatible tank mates for dragon betta fish, you can enlist highly aggressive fish. Also, you should avoid any surface-dwelling fish that may hinder the comfortable pathways of your dragon betta.

Another significant thing to consider is the size of your chosen tank mates. Make sure that the chosen fish does not fit into the mouth of your dragon betta fish smoothly. 

Breeding Care of Dragon Betta Fish

It’s pretty difficult to breed dragon betta fish. If you’re a beginner, I’ll not suggest taking the risk. The breeding process includes keeping male and female dragon betta fish in the same tank. Since the male dragon betta fish are highly territorial, they may become aggressive towards their female counterparts.

There’s a high risk of fighting among the male and female dragon betta fish. That’s why you should keep an eye on the breeding tank of your dragon betta fish.

To breed dragon betta fish, you should choose two healthy male and female dragon betta with dominant genes. Make sure that these are true dragon bettas. Otherwise, you’ll fail to get more dragon betta fish with dragon-like scales.

In the breeding procedure, the male dragon betta fish creates a bubble nest that attracts the female dragon betta fish. After their mating ritual, the female dragon betta fish will lay eggs. Then, the male dragon betta fish retrieve the laid eggs to deposit into the bubble nest and raise the dragon betta fry. You need to increase the food quantity to stimulate the breeding process of dragon betta fish.

Do Dragon Scale Bettas Go Blind?

Are you enticed by the advertisement of dragon betta sellers through the names of diamond eyes, snake eyes, and dragon eyes? Then, you should know about the possibility of dragon betta fish becoming blind.

Although you are fascinated by the metallic-colored prominent scales of dragon betta fish, these scales can end up covering their eyes. In cases of true dragon scale bettas, their scales grow prominently over their eyes. Due to such covering, your adorable dragon scale betta fish may go blind. But, these blind bettas can reach their highest lifespan given some extra care.

What To Do If My Dragon Betta Fish Goes Blind?

If you decide to take care of your blind dragon betta fish, you should take some different steps. Many records show that dragon betta fish can live for a long time despite getting blind. It depends on the love and care of the dragon betta owner, which can lead to a prolonged lifespan of your betta.

Let’s see what you can do if your dragon betta fish goes blind.

  • After detecting the blindness of your dragon betta, your first responsibility will be removing your blind dragon betta fish from the community tank.
  • Make sure that there are no sharp objects in the tank of your blind dragon betta fish. If needed, you should replace the décor items that may hurt your blind betta fish.
  • For the safety of your blind dragon betta, you should keep sand as substrate instead of sand.
  • It’s not a simple task to feed your blind dragon betta fish. You need to apply some tactics for this purpose. Choose a specific corner of the tank and place the food in the same spot daily.

Before You Go…

After getting a full glimpse of a dragon betta fish care guide, you must be too excited to bring these gorgeous bettas into your home. If you’re passionate about betta fish, you should know a full overview of king betta fish. To know more about this largest freshwater aquarium species, let’s take a quick look at the following article.

King Betta Fish: 19 Secrets Exposed [Care Guide]

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of AcuarioPets.com. I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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