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The Betta is a popular aquarium fish around the globe. From amateurs to professionals, there is something about these brightly colored fish that makes them appealing to everyone.
Before you dive into getting one, there are many things to consider when keeping a healthy Betta fish including what type of tank to keep the fish in. Learn the factors to consider when setting up a tank to house a Betta fish including the size, water conditions and potential tank mates.
- Fish Behavior
- Factors To Consider In A Tank
- Best Betta Fish Tanks
- Setting Up Tank
- Introducing Fish
- Plant Life
Before we get into the specifics of what to look for in a tank, we should give a little more insight into the Betta fish behavior and characteristics.
Betta Fish Aggressive Tendencies
The Betta fish is best housed in a solitary environment when kept in captivity due to its aggressive nature when confronted with other fish. Betta fish will attack and generally kill other male fish that have a more fantastic appearance to them. These attacks are generally preceded with a puffing out of the fins in an attempt to make itself seem bigger and then the fish will attack out of territoriality.
When Betta fish attack it often results in the driving away of one of the other fish. However, in an environment like an aquarium where there is nowhere to run, the fish will often fight to the death.
Should You Keep Female Separate From Male Bettas?
While most commonly these fish are known for the male on male aggression displays, there are also many incidents of male on female aggression, and as a result, it is generally recommended that male and female Betta fish be kept separated except for mating. Unlike the male, the female can thrive in a large tank with a couple of other females if the tank is large enough.
Now that you understand a little more about Betta fish, it’s time to select a tank that is a good fit for you and your lifestyle also taking into consideration your fish’s needs.
There are many things to look for including:
- The tank size
- How much “decoration” to place in the tank
- Water testing, filtration and heating
- Other equipment to include in the tank
Since there are hundreds of different types of fish tanks and bowls on the market, deciding which to buy can be overwhelming. So here are things to keep in mind when it comes to shopping.
Optimal Tank Size
Betta fish are typically sold in cups in pet stores which is fine for a short period. However, they do require adequate space to swim. While they would love a huge aquarium, sometimes space is limited, so a smaller tank is perfectly fine. A general rule of thumb is the bigger, the better (especially if you plan to have multiple fish).
Betta like to exercise, and larger tanks allow them to do so. It’s not only better for their health to get activity, but a larger fish tank means a better quality of water too as smaller fish tanks can quickly become soiled and filled with other contaminants. A betta fish tank should be a minimum of one gallon, but ideally two gallons or more.
Ideal Tank Shape
There are traditional aquariums, round bowls, bow front tanks, tanks with dividers, Zen looking tanks, advanced “bio” tanks…the list goes on and on. The truth of the matter is that the actual size of your fish tank is more of a concern than the type of fish tank that you use. The shape of the tank that you select is more of a vanity factor that concerns you more than it does your fish.
Now that you know a little bit more about what to look for in a tank, here are some of our recommended picks for best Betta Fish tanks. All but one of the tanks below come in a “kit” that includes everything you need to get started. You still need to supply the food and water. We also picked out our favorites for each category to make it easier to decide which is the right fit for you.
Best Modern Design: The Fluval Chi Aquarium – 5 Gallons
The Fluval Chi aquarium is not specifically designed for Betta fish, but it has everything any Betta fish owner could need to raise a healthy fish. This 5-gallon aquarium is large enough to allow any Betta enough room to roam. It has a small grass-like Zen garden in the bottom of the tank as well as a waterfall type filter that stands out of the top of the tank. It also doubles as a great home décor piece.
This contemporary tank kit comes with the aquarium and base, low voltage LED lighting and filtration system, décor tray with a plant box, foam pad, filter pad, low voltage transformer, transparent pebble holder, natural pebbles, water conditioner, biological aquarium supplement and an instruction manual.
Best Luxury Tank: The Fluval Edge Aquarium Kit – 6 Gallons
If you want to spoil your fish with a five-star treatment in a spacious suite, then this is the tank for you. It’s raised above ground giving 6 sides for the fish to see out of. This beautiful tank also features 21 7600K high luminosity LED lights that can be lit for daytime or deep blue for nighttime.
This tank comes with an EDGE filter with cycle guard that ensures clean water through a 3-step filtration process. This set up also comes with a 2-year warranty. It should be noted that this tank does not include a heater which will more than likely be required for any Betta fish.
Best Bowl-Shaped Tank: The biOrb Aquarium Kit – 4 Gallons
The biOrb is a 4-gallon spherical tank that sits on a base and features a matching top giving fish a 360-degree view. Made from acrylic, this tank is stronger than glass aquariums, but it can scratch easily.
This unique round bowl features a 5 step filtration system that is patented by biOrb and guarantees to provide a crystal clear environment for any fish. This biOrb aquarium tank kit comes with the tank, halogen light, gravel, filter, air pump, water chemicals, fish food and an instruction booklet. This tank is available in many different colors.
Best For Small Spaces: Tetra LED Betta Tank – 1.1 Gallons
As mentioned above, the ideal habitat for your betta is 2 gallons or more, but if you are working with a tight space, the Tetra LED 1.1-Gallon Betta is best. Its half-moon shape has a rounded and flat edge to create enough room for your Betta to swim around while also allowing you to put against a wall or window which is great for an office or apartment.
It features a repositionable and removable LED light that fits above or beneath the tank and a lid with a convenient feeding hole. The only downside is it comes without the pebbles and decorative items which are sold separately. However, then you can get creative and select the items you wish.
Once you have purchased your Betta fish tank, you might be anxious to put your new pet into place soon, but it is critical to ensure that the tank is set up correctly to create the ideal environment for your fish to thrive.
Step 1: Clean Your Tank
Before setting up your Betta fish tank it is essential to clean the tank with warm water before use, this ensures that there are fewer contaminants in the tank when you begin to fill it.
Step 2: Clean Your Gravel
Gravel is an integral part of any aquarium but frequently when it is packaged for pet stores dust will settle in the gravel, so it is important to wash it thoroughly before placing it in your aquarium. Gravel can easily be cleaned using a small hole sieve or colander. Place the gravel within it and allow the water to flow through it.
While allowing water to pass through the gravel use your hand to move the gravel around to ensure that the gravel on the bottom also gets cleaned thoroughly. Once it has been cleaned adequately, the gravel can be placed in the bottom of the tank.
Step 3: Add Décor And Plant Life
It is vital to add plants and décor not only for decoration but to provide spaces for your fish to feel like they are in their natural element. Excellent additions to your tank include “caves” that your Betta fish can swim through and use for shelter if they choose to “hide” and tall grass plants that allow your fish to hide within them.
This does not mean filling your tank to the brim with décor and plant life. When placing your décor, remember that your Betta fish MUST have access to the surface of the water so that they can breathe. The fish breathes air not only through the water but also from the surface of the water as well. A Betta fish tank that is too overcrowded with plant life or décor is going to make it difficult for your fish to come to the surface of the water to breathe.
Step 4: Fill Your Betta Tank
The best way to fill your Betta fish tank is to put tap water into a container and allow it to sit out for 24 hours. Allowing the water to sit out will help for a couple of reasons, primarily allowing the water to sit will help destroy any chlorine that is present in the water, secondarily it will allow the water to come to room temperature.
Depending on the quality of your city water supply, it may be a good idea to use a water conditioner or treatment to ensure that your water does not contain any elements that could be harmful to your Betta fish.
Step 5: Check The pH Of Your Tank Water
|API Freshwater PH Test Kit|
Betta fish have specific requirements when it comes to the pH of the tank. To keep a healthy tank try to maintain a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5. Pet stores sell pH testing kits that will allow you to not only test your water pH but also adjust it as needed.
Step 6: Filter Your Betta Tank Water
Every healthy fish aquarium requires a filter designed for the specific size of the aquarium. Before placing your Betta fish in your tank, it is best to allow water to filter for a day or 2 as well as to test the pH levels of the water to ensure that your fish is not going to be stressed out by levels of pollutants in their new environment.
Step 7: Heat Your Tank Water (Optional)
Not everyone chooses to heat their Betta fish tank; however, if you do decide to implement a heater in your aquarium it is important to make sure that you place a thermometer in the tank as well so that you can monitor your tank temperature.
A malfunctioning heater can quickly produce water that is far too hot and can kill your Betta fish. Note: you do not have to heat your Betta fish tank to have a healthy fish.
Step 8: Add Your Betta Fish
Last but not least, it’s time to add your Betta fish to their new home. It is important to remember that merely throwing your new fish into their fish tank will most often result in shock so you should always acclimate your fish to their new environment. When you purchase your Betta fish, they will come with their own water that is likely to be significantly different to the water that you have set up in your fish tank.
When you bring your new Betta fish home allow your fish to remain in their original water and float them in your aquarium, this will allow the temperature of the acclimated water to reach the temperature of the tank so your fish will not be shocked when placed in the new tank.
Once the temperature of the 2 water sources are the same, you should begin to add the new tank water to the original fish container a little at a time to adjust your fish to the new water. Once the majority of your fish’s water is new tank water, you can release your Betta fish into its new home!
In this video by Creative Pet Keeping, you’ll learn how to introduce your Betta fish to a new tank safely.
Here are a few more things to keep in mind so you can make sure your new pet lives a long and healthy life.
Do Not Keep Your Betta Fish In A Vase
While keeping your Betta fish in a vase may look pretty, it is not the preferred environment for this or any fish. While fish can live for a period in stagnant water, the fish does not thrive and will certainly not be as healthy as it would be in a larger pool of water. Keeping a Betta fish in a vase will result in rapid stagnation of water in addition to insufficient room for your fish to exercise which will soon result in an unhealthy fish.
Avoid Cheap, Flimsy Tanks
Many tanks are made with plastic so make sure it’s made from a solid, high-quality material that will withstand wear and use over time. Flimsy tanks do not hold up well to the use of a heater and can be extremely dangerous.
Do Not Aerate Your Tank
Aeration through use of air stones might make a tank look pretty, but these types of features are not recommended for Bettas. Betta fish are used to swimming in still water and aeration can create too much turbulence in the water for your fish resulting in your fish becoming too stressed due to the amount of strength needed to swim against the current.
Do Not Use Distilled Water
Many people believe that using distilled water is the best way to fill a tank because it creates a pure environment for the fish, this is not true. Fish require specific vitamins and minerals that can be found in regular tap water and using distilled water means filtering out these vitamins and minerals and denying your fish these life-sustaining elements.
Plant life is important in setting up a Betta fish tank because a healthy fish is one that lives in a “natural” environment. There are 2 options when it comes to placing plant life in your Betta fish tank: real plants or plastic plants. Real plants are an excellent choice for your Betta fish because they not only create a natural type of environment for your fish, but they also give additional oxygen to the water.
With that said, many people prefer to use plastic plant life for other reasons. Plastic plant life may not bring additional oxygen to the water, but they do help keep a cleaner tank because they do not break down and contribute to dirt in the tank.
Choosing the right plants for your tank is easy, and any pet store that carries a good selection of fish and aquarium supplies will be able to help you in selecting the right plants for your Betta fish tank.
Check out this graphic we made that summarizes tips and how to set up your tank.
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Once you get your Betta acclimated, enjoy watching him or her swim around. However, if they start acting unusual or have signs of illness, you might want to reference our article on how to spot and treat common Betta fish diseases. We also have an article with some Betta fish facts.
NOTE: While we have provided some information about recommended tanks, we are not certified fish experts, so we look to our community (in comments below) to help answer each other’s questions regarding specific fish tank experiences.