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How to Choose the Right Betta Fish Tanks

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Red betta fish in tankThe 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. There are a number of things to consider when keeping a healthy Betta fish including what type of tank in which the fish is kept. Learn the factors to consider when setting up a tank to house a Betta fish including the tank size, water conditions and potential tank mates.

Betta Fish Behavior

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. 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.

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 with the exception of mating. Unlike the male, the female can thrive in a large tank with a couple of other females if the tank is large enough.

Choosing the Right Beta Fish Tank

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 a number of things to look for including the size of the tank, how much “decoration” to place in the tank, water testing, water filtration, heating the water and what other equipment to include in the tank. And 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.

Size

Betta fish are typically sold in cups in pet stores which is fine for a short period of time, 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. But 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 allows 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.

There are varying opinions with some people say that a Betta fish tank should be a minimum of twelve gallons while others claim that a larger tank, such as a 20 gallon tank is ideal.

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 factor that concerns you than it does your fish.

Best Betta Fish Tanks

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. And all but one come in a “kit” that come with everything you need to get started. Just 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 for Small Spaces: Tetra LED 1.1-Gallon Betta Tank

Tetra LED 1.1-Gallon Betta TankView on Amazon

The Tetra LED 1.1-Gallon Betta Tank is our editor’s pick for best tank for small spaces. 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. But then you can get creative and select the items you wish.

Price at time of writing: $16.99

Best Zen Tank: The Hagen Zen Marina Betta Kit

Marina Betta KitView on Amazon

The Hagen Zen Marina Betta Kit has a simplistic design and is a compact tank that can fit on any bookshelf or desk. This tank is small so it is can only hold one fish which is perfect for the solitary living Betta. The Hagen Zen Marina Betta kit has a trendy backdrop theme that comes in a number of different prints and it also has a small shallow Zen garden feature in the bottom of the tank. While this option may be a little too simplistic for some, for those looking to purchase a small desktop aquarium for their fish this is a good option. While this tank kit does come at an affordable price and generally gets good reviews, it does only include gravel, water conditioner and Betta food with the kit – tank décor, lighting and a filtration system must be purchased separately.

Price at time of writing: $37.94

Best Modern Design: The Fluval Chi Aquarium

Fluval Chi II Aquarium SetView on Amazon

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 five gallon aquarium is large enough to allow any Betta enough room to roam and it not only features a small grass-like Zen garden in the bottom of the tank but it also features 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, a low voltage LED lighting and filtration system, a décor tray with a plant box, a foam pad, a filter pad, a low voltage transformer, a transparent pebble holder, natural pebbles, water conditioner, biological aquarium supplement and an instruction manual.

Price at time of writing: $70.62

Best Luxury Tank: The Fluval Edge Aquarium Kit

Fluval Edge AquariumView on Amazon

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 also comes with an EDGE filter with cycle guard that ensures clean water through a three-step filtration process. This set up also comes with a two-year warranty. It should be noted however, that this tank does not include a heater which will more than likely be required for any Betta fish.

Price at time of writing: $143.88

Best Bowl-Shaped Tank: The biOrb Aquarium Kit

The biOrb Aquarium KitView on Amazon

The biOrb is an eight 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. One of the benefits to this type of modern tank is that it offers 360 degree viewing of the Betta fish inside it. This unique round bowl features a five 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, a halogen light, gravel, a filter, an air pump, water chemicals, fish food and an instruction booklet. This tank is available in a number of different colors.

Price at time of writing: $103.99

Setting Up Your Betta Fish Tank

Once you have purchased your Betta fish tank you might be anxious to put your new pet into place soon, but it is important to ensure that the tank is set up properly in order to create the ideal environment for your fish to thrive.

Step 1: Clean Your Tank

Before setting up you Betta fish tank it is important 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 important 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 prior to placing it in your aquarium. Gravel can easily be cleaned using a small hole sieve or colander by placing the gravel within it and simply letting water 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 appropriately the gravel can be set in the bottom of the tank.

Step 3: Add Décor and Plant Life

It is important 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. Good 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 however 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

Editor’s Pick
API Freshwater PH Test KitAPI Freshwater PH Test Kit

Betta fish have specific requirements when it comes to the pH of the tank. In order 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 two 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 choose 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 in order 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 simply 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 that your fish will not be shocked when placed in the new tank. Once the temperature of the two water sources are the same you should begin to add the new tank water to the original fish container a little at a time in order 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!

Video: Introducing Betta Fish to a Tank

In this video by Creative Pet Keeping, you’ll learn how to safely introduce your Betta Fish to a new tank.

Additional Tips for Betta Fish Tanks

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 of time 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 extremely limited room for your fish to exercise which will soon result in an unhealthy fish.

Avoid Cheap, Flimsy Tanks

Many tanks are made with plastic however, make sure its 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, in fact 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 certain 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.

Debate Between Real Versus Plastic Plant Life

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 two options when it comes to placing plant life in your Betta fish tank: real plants or plastic plants. Real plants are a great 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 to 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.

More on Betta Fish

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. Want to learn more about Betta fish? We also have an article with some Betta fish facts. Hope you’re not left floundering around now that you are more educated on the types of tanks and how to set yours up!

Are you looking for a Betta Fish Tank? Had good results with one? Share your thoughts, feedback and advice below.

NOTE: While we have provided some information about recommended tanks, we are not certified fish experts, so we look to our community to help answer each other’s questions regarding specific fish tank experiences.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Amy grew up in England and in the early 1990's moved to North Carolina where she completed a bachelors degree in Psychology in 2001. Amy's personal interest in writing was sparked by her love of reading fiction and her creative writing hobby. Amy is currently self employed as a freelance writer and web designer. When she is not working Amy can be found curled up with a good book and her black Labrador, Jet.
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25 Comments on "How to Choose the Right Betta Fish Tanks"

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Silja
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Silja

This
is disgusting. If you have a budget and all you want is look, get a damn rock. Do not have an animal suffer in a tiny little tank because you think it’s /pretty/.

Song
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Song

That’s what I thought!!! some of the tanks are TOO tiny for the betta. half a gallon??? really? even a gallon is small. absolute minimum size is 2.5 gallon, but 5 gallon is minimum for betta. But chi aquarium is not good even tho it is 5 gallon. tiny surface for betta to get to surface and catch some air. Flow seems strong too. I wish this article goes down. Terrible choice for betta fish.

Guest
Guest
Guest

Crap……… mine is 1/4 of a gallon

Masood Rayan
Guest
Masood Rayan

Contrary to popular opinion, fish bowls and vases are NOT easy to care for. Remember, any container under ten gallons, whether it is sold as a “tank” or as a “bowl,” and whether it is filtered or not, is small enough that it should be treated as a small tank or bowl. Also, any tank that is not filtered, regardless of its size, should be treated as a small tank or bowl.

Hanabi です
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Hanabi です

Should I have a lid of my betta fish bowl?

Sadie Cornelius
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Sadie Cornelius

It’s probably a good idea to keep the fish protected and safe!

Carolyn Bagley
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Carolyn Bagley

I want to purchase 1 female betta, 1 ghost shrimp and 1 nerite snail. I need to know can they live together? This will be my first female betta. I have tried to get information on the female but, they end up talking about the male betta. I know a lot about the male. I wanted to buy the female, to start something new. Any help I would be thankful.

Kate Bayda
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Kate Bayda

Females are the same as males I find they live longer idk why but I’ve been breeding them for some time and the females always seem to live longer

Luna
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Luna

IF you get a female, most likely it’ll get along with the 2. It might think your shrimp is a tasty snack though! So yeah you can try it out, see what happens. I don’t recommend getting a snail because they have bacteria all over them. But yeah you can do it. Make sure they all have at least 4-5g of space.

Amy
Guest
Every time we move our Betta’s to larger square, rectangular, or any hexagon shaped tanks, they see their reflections and stress out to the point of fin splitting, gray scales, etc. We eventually have to move them back to their tiny plastic bowls so they can settle down and heal. My daughters have been training their Betta’s to do some tricks, but we eventually want to move them to a larger tank for some of the training (and for a nicer environment for them). Are there any non reflective surfaced tanks available for Betta’s, or does anyone have a suggestion… Read more »
nobody
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nobody

I’m kinda stupid but would sinking the small tank in with the big one work here as would be there safe spot untill they’re used to the new environment?

Garth Slack
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Garth Slack

Thanks for the great article Amy Brannan! Helped out a lot.

Jamie
Guest
Jamie

Umm… most of the “recommended” tanks are highly inappropriate for a betta. Bettas jump and if people select any of these lidless tanks they’re going to end up with a crispy betta chip pretty quickly.

Sadie Cornelius
Guest
Sadie Cornelius

Jamie, thanks for the insight, most of these tanks have lids or come with lids however we removed one that might not be as suitable for Betta fish. Thanks again for reaching and sharing!

Maia K
Guest
Maia K

I have a five gallon plastic tank and I have a Aqueon brand mini heater (10W) and I was wondering if this heater would be okay to use in my Bettas tank?

Luna
Guest
Luna

Yes! Absolutely! Please do, it’s great for your betta!

Teann S.
Guest
Teann S.

This article is so contradicting, in the beginning it states how a Bettas should be in a larger tank not a cheap small plastic one which that’s exactly what the Hagen Zen is! So why suggest it?

Sadie Cornelius
Guest
Sadie Cornelius

Teann, you’re right the Hagen Zen is a smaller tank so not ideal for Betta fishes, but it is a good choice for those looking for a sleek/modern design and don’t have a lot of room. Although Betta fishes prefer bigger tanks, it’s not always an option given people’s space/budget. Thanks for reading and letting us know your thoughts on this matter!

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
The explanations from Chris Simms on how to identify a sick Betta fish were quite enlightening and make a good, quick reference source for any Betta owner. Chances are, these are easy to commit to memory as you watch and play with your fish, however. I especially liked the part about washing your hands after handling a sick fish. This is good practice, and for me it really signaled the level of care that a Betta owner has for his or her pet. Fin and tail rot are unfortunate, and I am pleased to say that I have not had… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
I have been inspired by this article to get a new Betta fish! Bettas are rewarding pets that are peaceful and pretty to watch, and are great for apartment living. While the points made in this article are helpful for the beginning betta fish enthusiast, some of the information is simply incorrect, or at least not explained within the proper context. For example, the author indicates that there are many incidents of male on female betta fish aggression. Most of these acts of aggression occur during mating and spawning situations, not when they are within the same aquarium tank under… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
The section on advanced fin and body rot was particularly alarming, as the Betta in this case is being eaten alive by bacteria and is in a lot of pain. I have never had this happen to a fish, but I certainly bad that anyone would ever allow this to happen. Please take care of your pets, people! Recognizing that a Betta fish is sick or diseased is important as a pet owner. I wanted to know more about how to determine whether your Betta was depressed, as well, since that was brought up in the article but not elaborated… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
The water quality is also an important factor to consider. Use a quality liquid water conditioner to remove any chlorine and chloramines from tap water before adding it to the tank. You may also need to use general hardness and carbonate hardness supplements depending on your local water supply. The PH of the water should be around 7.0. The general hardness should be between 7 and 9 degrees, while the carbonate hardness is between 5 and 8 degrees. Additionally, regularly test your water for its PH, GH, KH, ammonia, nitrite and nitrate levels. Regularly maintain your tank. This involves changing… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
This article is a ‘must-read’ for anyone considering keeping a Betta fish as a pet, since it gives you a great sense of what the fish require and how to set up a home for them. Although I do not fully see the need for some of these recommendations, this comes from my personal experience with Bettas and not out of any expert knowledge I have about them. And the truth is, if you know very little about Bettas, these guidelines are a solid way to keep a healthy and happy pet. Too often, people buy Bettas at the store… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
Filling your tank with water that is not distilled is a great point that was made in this article, but I think the issue bears mentioning because it is such a common myth among first-time fish owners. Although in reality this is not the case, there is a common belief that some people hold that distilled water is cleaner and somehow healthier for you than water that has not been distilled. Water that is distilled lacks dissolved oxygen that the Bettas need in order to breathe. The addition of the reviews for the aquarium kits was absolutely great. I loved… Read more »
Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous
I have kept several Betta fish as pets during the course of my life, and they are beautiful and interesting little fellows to have around. I think they even like it when you talk to them through the glass of the fish bowl, crazy as that sounds. Let me tell you from experience, then, that it is actually pretty hard when your fish gets sick and dies and you do not have any idea why. Interestingly, I have heard a lot of rumors that fish in pet stores can catch illnesses much more easily than at home, although after reading… Read more »
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