How To Choose The Best Betta Fish Tank

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Blue Betta swimmingThe 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 many.

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.

Article Overview

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.

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 typically preceded with puffing out of the fins in an attempt to make itself seem more prominent 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.

How To Choose The Right Betta Fish Tank Type

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 Betta 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 vast 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).

Bettas like to exercise, and larger tanks allow them to do so. It’s better for their health to get activity and a larger fish tank also allows for higher water quality (smaller tanks get dirty faster than bigger ones). A betta fish tank should be at least one gallon, but ideally it would be five gallons.

Ideal Betta 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.

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. All but one of the tanks below come in a “kit” that includes everything you need to get started. You still need to supply 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

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 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

Fluval Edge AquariumView on Amazon

If you want to spoil your fish with the five-star treatment of a spacious suite, this is the tank for you. It’s raised above the base so your fish can have a nearly 360 degree view. 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. Note: this tank does not include a heater.


Best Bowl-Shaped Tank: The biOrb Aquarium Kit – 4 Gallons

The biOrb Aquarium KitView on Amazon

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 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

Tetra LED 1.1-Gallon Betta TankView on Amazon

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 (sold separately). However, then you can get creative and select the items you wish.


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 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 it with warm water, reducing contaminants in the tank when you fill it.

Step 2: Clean Your Gravel

Gravel is an integral part of any aquarium, but frequently, when packaged for pet stores, dust will settle in the gravel. So it is essential 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 it around to ensure it all gets cleaned thoroughly from top to bottom. Once it has been cleaned adequately, the gravel can be placed in the bottom of the tank.

Step 3: Add Décor And Plant Life

Editor’s Pick
Sinking Ceramic Betta LogSinking Ceramic Betta Log Cave

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.

You don’t need to fill 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 it can breathe. The fish breathes air not only through the water but also from its surface. A Betta fish tank that is too overcrowded 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. Letting the water sit out helps for a couple of reasons: to help reduce the chlorine content in the water and to enable it to come to room temperature.

Tap water usually has chemicals added to make it safe for humans to drink, but some chemicals may be harmful to your Betta. So depending on the quality of your municipality’s water, it may be a good idea to use a water conditioner or treatment to ensure that it doesn’t contain any elements that could be harmful to your fish (i.e. chlorine).

Another option is to use bottled spring water with the chlorine already removed, but you’ll want to make sure the PH levels are between 6.5-7.5 (see next step below).

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. To keep a healthy tank, try to maintain a pH level between 6.5 and 7.5. Most municipalities maintain water pH levels between 6.5 and 8.5, based on EPA guidelines. You can purchase pH testing kits that will allow you to test your water and adjust it as needed.

Step 6: Filter Your Betta Tank Water

Every healthy fish aquarium requires a filter designed for the specific size of that aquarium (verify the size before purchase). Before placing your Betta fish in your tank, it is best to allow water to filter for a day or two and to test the water’s pH levels to ensure that your fish is not going to be stressed out by the levels of pollutants in its new environment.

Step 7: Heat Your Tank Water (Optional)

Editor’s Pick
Tetra HT Aquarium HeaterTetra HT Aquarium Heater

Not everyone chooses to heat their Betta fish tank. However, if you do decide to add a heater in your aquarium, it is critical to make sure that you place a thermometer in the tank as well to monitor its temperature. A malfunctioning heater can quickly produce water that is too hot, possibly killing your Betta fish.

Note: you do not have to heat your Betta fish tank, but it is recommended to keep water temperature between 77 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. You will also want to place the tank away from any HVAC vents. 

Step 8: Add Your Betta Fish

Last but not least, it’s time to add your Betta fish to its new home. It is important to remember that merely throwing your new fish into its fish tank will most often result in shock. So you should always acclimate your fish to its new environment. When you purchase your Betta fish, it will come with its own water that is likely to be significantly different from the water that you have set up in your fish tank.

Acclimating Your Fish To Its New Home

When you bring your new Betta fish home, allow it to remain in its original water and float them together in your aquarium. This will allow the temperature of the two bodies of water to reach the same temperature so your fish will not be shocked when placed in its 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 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 introduce your Betta fish to a new tank safely.

Debate Between Real vs Plastic Plant Life

Plant life is important in setting up a Betta fish tank because they thrive in a “natural” environment.

There are 2 options: real or plastic plants. Real plants create a natural environment for your fish while also providing additional oxygen to the water. However, many people prefer to use plastic plant life because it keeps the tank cleaner. Plastic’s static nature doesn’t break down or 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 one for your tank.

Additional Betta Fish Tips

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 any fish. While fish can live for a period in stagnant water, it does not thrive and will 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, eventually resulting in an unhealthy fish.

Avoid Cheap, Flimsy Tanks

It is vital to make sure your tank is made from a solid, high-quality material that will withstand wear and use over time – not cheap plastic. Flimsy tanks do not hold up well to the use of a heater and can be extremely dangerous.

Do Not Aerate Your Tank

Aeration with air stones might make a tank look pretty, but is not recommended for Bettas. Betta fish are used to swimming in still water and aeration can create too much turbulence for your fish, resulting in stress from 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 distilled water filters out these essential elements, denying your fish life-sustaining nutrients.

Betta Fish Infographic

Check out this graphic we made that summarizes tips and how to set up your tank.

Betta Fish Infographic

To share this infographic on your site, simply copy and paste the code below:

More On Betta Fish

Once you get your Betta acclimated, you will enjoy watching it swim around. However, if it starts acting unusual or showing 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.

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 (in comments below) to help answer each other’s questions regarding specific fish tank experiences.

About The Author:

Sadie is a vegetarian and an avid recycler who loves riding her bike and practicing yoga. She is passionate about the planet, conserving life’s precious resources and making the world a better place for generations to come. A big fan of up-cycling, Sadie loves yard sales and vintage stores to find new uses for old things. She loves to cook, clean and enjoy the many parks and outdoor spaces in DC where she currently resides with her husband.

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I have a male and female in my 123 gal tank, naturally planted, established eco system with guppys, zebra danios, black skirt and red tetras, khuli loaches And shrimp..all are doing fine. My male lets everyone do their things. Most enjoyable for me, even with doubters. But each is a different experience. I also have approx.20 yrs personal aquarium experience in fish keeping tropicals.
If you don’t have the space or money for a proper tank (5 gal or more) then you should not have a Betta or any fish.
I have a five gallon tank with a filter, plastic bonsai tree in middle. I don’t have a heater. I clean hen it gets dirty. That’s about all I do and my fish “blue” has a 4year birthday today!! I have never had a fish before and didn’t know he would live that long, but blue has become just like a dog or cat to my son and I.
Hi. Some of your info was nice, and your review on different tank set ups was a help. However:
1) A betta really does need about 5 gallons (more is better)

2) Plants should NOT be plastic. Silk is acceptable, but with plastic you run the risk of damaging their fins. The best option is live plants. They actually make the water cleaner for the fish. It may look dirtier, but it takes more upkeep. Even looking dirtier, though, it has better oxygen.

3) Yes, a betta does need a heater. Unless one lives in a warm climate. The water needs to be in a range right around 76 degrees (F).

Can a betta SURVIVE in the conditions you described? Yes. Should it? No. It would be much like a person living their entire life in a jail cell, but without ever having a chance to do so much as visit an exercise yard. A person CAN survive like that, but it would be miserable and unhealthy.

Stuart Stephens
I feel the luxury tank #2 has limited access to water serfic . Betta actually have “lungs” and need access to the serfic. I know I am not spelling serfic right.
I had a Betta Fish several years ago and enjoyed “Fish” for two years. I had him in a 1/2 gallon tank without filtration or a heater and he seemed to love it. THen I heard these fish need a filter, so I moved him to a 1 gallon tank with a filter. He hated the current and sat behind a live plant 24/7. After a month, I put him back into his smaller tank where he swam happily.

I changed 50% of his water weekly and cleaned the tank. Now I hear all this stuff about 5 gallon tanks, heaters and filters. Is this something new?

Mauricio Rendon
I think you don’t love your Betta… A half gallon of water it’s a terrible prison for any fish. With no filter you have to change the water at least every 2 days, because the ammonia levels going up fast in bowls or small containers without a filter and the ammonia it’s the most dangerous chemical for the fish. Nowdays there are some good 3 gallons fish tanks for $50 with everything: Lights, filter and pump. I think your betta deserves it.
The movement of the water with the addition of the filter made my betta in a ?5 gallon tank miserable. He stayed near the bottom and didn’t fair well either. I turned filter down low but it was awful. I still will try again with a new betta. You tried, at least.
To really be an Earth Friend you shouldn’t advertise those horrible little containers they put Bettas in. 5 gallons is the bare minimum. Otherwise the tank is too small to cycle and the water quality it’s too difficult to control. These fishes’ beauty has been their downfall. They aren’t ornaments or things you can forget. They’re living things. I have mine in 29g / 110 litre tank and he loves it. They’re very intelligent fish that need stimulation.
Sarah Jin
Hi, I recently got three female betta fish from my friend. I’m really worried about one of them. She is laying at the bottom of the tank every time I see her. I got them about ten days ago, and at first I could see her swimming around sometimes. Then I went away for a week while my brother fed them every day. When I came back, she was like this. A couple days ago, her eyes developed white spots on them. I also think her fins are clamped; they look shriveled up. Today, I noticed that her gills are a bit red as well.

The tank I keep them in is 20 gallons with a filter. I use conditioned tap water and do a partial water change every week. I don’t have a heater or testers but my house temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit on average. There are no plants or ornaments since I just got them, but I am planning to get some along with other fish of different species. There is no tank lighter either. I feed them about 15 pellets every day, but I haven’t seen the sick one eating. The friend that I got them from did all the same things as me except she also used aquarium salt, is that the problem? I tried to do some research but none of it really helped. I can’t tell if it’s clamped fins, cloudy eye (the eye doesn’t seem to be protruding outwards), inflamed gills, or all three. How do I treat my betta?

Thank you so much for helping!

“sorority” set ups place an incredible amount of stress on female bettas especially when they aren’t heavily planted. that is likely the reason for her lethargic behavior. i would strongly recommend seperate tanks and certainly not introducing any more fish into an already stressful and territorial environment (also I notice now that this comment is a quite a few months old but still i hope this information is useful to you or to someone else)
I have been researching beta fish and what they need to survive as i have been planning to get one for a while. I have had beta fish before but it has been a while and there are new products that help take better care of them. I have a 1 gallon tank(it is round and looks a bit like a large vase, it is not a vase i was assured it was safe for a fish) already and am planning on buying a live plant as well as a rock cave so the fish can live more comfortably, but i have been told it is highly reccomended i get a filter for said tank. Sadly due to the round shape of the tank and smaller size i am unable to find a good filter that would fit comfortably in the tank do you have any recommendations.
Troy Tholen
Get a different tank…
Do Betta fish need to have heaters to survive and stay healthy?

I got my Betta fish today and he seems to be happy but I’m wondering if the water is too cold for him!

25.5°C-26.5 C apparently but I think it’s somewhat larger than that, what’s your room temp and does it have any sudden changes?
Also, how long should i run the tank before i get my fish?
I got a 5 gallon hexagonal tank for my betta for Christmas, my mom keeps saying I don’t need a heater. Is the tank ok for my betta, and does it need a filter?
Your does need a heater and a filter. Make sure the water temp is 25c to 28c and the filter flow is not too strong as this will stress out your betta
i Just got a betta fish, she is a female and her name is pumpkin. I clean her tank every other week . I had her at the window with two balloon plants in her tank , after about three weeks i noticed that algae started growing in the tank and it was caught in her fin. I was a bit concern until a colleague of mine told me to remove her from the window. I did and i got her a bigger tank, she is now on my desk and is doing beautiful. I enjoy watching her swim. She is beautiful but sometimes she scares me when she stay still in the tank for a period of time.
my betta is in a 10 gallon and he loves it. but i dont use a heater, i have had him for a year and he is always active even tho the water is cold.
Hi, your fish may be living but that doesn’t mean it’s thriving. You’ve been lucky. Shame on Amy Brennan! It is extremely irresponsible to tell people that you do not need a heater for Betta fish. To state an opinion and inform people it is just an opinion is one thing. To mislead people by stating a heater is optional can cause Betta fish to live miserably and possibly die. This is a tropical fish and and need to be kept at tropical temps to live happily and thrive. Look elsewhere for your advice! Humans become very active when they’re freezing and don’t want to die of hypothermia. I’m not an expert by any means but this woman doesn’t know what she’s talking about. A quick search of other sights will tell you how important it is to keep your Betta at consistent tropical temps, what they should be and so on. Please do your Betta a favor and look it up elsewhere. No where else have I read that it’s not important to make sure your water is heated to a certain range and stay there.
Really 5 gallons is the minimum. Anything less is definitely putting stress on your fish and making maintenance unnecessarily difficult. Especially in your date is tell type is especially large like halfmoons or double tails. Most people never think of it but the more space your fish’s tail takes up the more room they’ll need to maneuver around. Not to mention you have King bettas which are normally particularly large in body and require even more space than usual. Also your article should make perfectly clear that any tank less than 10 gallons is probably not suitable for a community or sorority tank. Bettas need their space and the larger the tank once you start adding other fish, the better. Also your article should explain that aquariums absolutely need a lid because bettas are Infamous for jumping out of their tanks.
Is a 5 gallon too small?
Can you please at least correct the minimum tank size? Putting a betta in a 1-gallon tank is just animal cruelty.

Also, a heater is only optional if your climate is warm enough even at night.

Lilla Murazo
so much information in this article is wrong. Bettas need a heater. They are tropical fish and come from Thailand. If you get a thermometer then you can watch it make sure that your tank isn’t too hot or too cold. Bettas need 2.5 gallons as a minimum anything less is cruel. I would never call 6 gallons a “luxury”. The best tank that you could get is a 10 gallon. Buying a 10 gallon, filter, lid, heater, and decorations would cost less than any of the tanks you show. Finally, you need to test more than pH. Don’t get me wrong, pH control is important but just as important (or even more important) are Ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate.
Right. I bought a 10 gallon tank at Walmart for my female juvenile betta to grow into and it’s cheaper than any tank kits I saw under 3 gallons at Petco
I’ve had my Betta, Oscar, for almost 4 years in a round 2 gal bowl, no filter, no heater. He’s just fine… I change his water every other Friday. He comes to the top of the water when i walk by. He’s awesome!
Modern Fish Bowls designs come with very amazing features. They come with many decorative possibilities. The glass fish bowls are the modern introduction on the market.
Why on earth would you say a heater is optional, and emphasize it? Bettas can survive cooler temperatures, but in order to thrive they need stable temperatures (emphasis on STABLE) and minimum 76 degrees up to 80 degrees. I hear so many folks complain that their betta isn’t active – it’s because it’s too cold. You can’t leave a light on to warm the water, first it’s not capable of maintaining stable temps and second, the fish need dark to sleep properly. The recommendation of 1 gallon as a minimum tank size also wants to make me put the author in a cold closet, throw her a chicken wing from time to time and see how she fares. Survive? Sure. Thrive? I doubt it.

Some of the content here is good – let’s not throw the baby out with the 68 degree water – but please revise it so that it accurately reflects what the fish needs.

it must be remembered that the Beta is found in rice patties, and although only knee deep, stretch out in length and width forrounded distance , and has both short term and long term memory capabilities.
It is not a fish you can leave alone for hours at a time,day after day.
Mine loved car trips to watch the ocean waves, and an occasional viewing at the computer web videos of underwater scenes at home. He would swim with the video and then swim up into his homemade floating couch where he would fall asleep watching the video. I loved him so.
I’ve got a rescue in a 2.5 gallon tank now, and looking for a bigger forever home for him. I’ve heard good things about the Fluval Edge, I love the surface area, but the price tag made me hesitate. It really looks to be the best, though, and I just love the way it looks.

One quick thing, though….

Heating is optional for a betta? You don’t have to heat the tank to have a healthy betta?


I don’t keep my house at 80 degrees, do any of you? If you don’t, the tank needs to be heated.

I mean, I guess it’s not super necessary. I suppose you could get lucky and have a betta survive in cold water. Sure, it happens.

My mom ate nothing but Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches for two years and didn’t have major physical health issues because of it.

But I wouldn’t go as far as saying you don’t have to eat anything else to remain healthy.


The first thing you need to know before owning a betta: keep them separate. Yeah you could do a sorority, but if you don’t have tons of experience, you’re going to kill all the girls, so don’t try it. Keep them apart.

The second thing you need to know before owning a betta: 1 gallon is the absolute minimum, and expect it to kill your fish after 2-3 years (yeah, the 3-5 year lifespan is straight garbage, they can live up to 8-10. I have a 7-year-old female right now). They need AT LEAST 2.5, preferably 5, and it needs a filter.

And the third thing? HEAT THE DAMN TANK.

That’s not optional, unless you’re cool with abusing intelligent, sentient animals who remember and recognize faces, show preferences for food, toys, and people, can be trained to do surprisingly complex tasks, and express an array of emotions. One of my boys can literally count to 3. They can also problem solve and have been trained to figure out how to solve mazes.

They’re not particularly smart, but they’re smarter than most people realize. They’re not dumb.

If you’re cool with keeping a Great Dane in a 3-foot kennel for its entire life, then by all means, get a 1 gallon, unfiltered, unheated tank for your betta.

If you want to look for an affordable tank don’t forget to search thrift stores. You’ll be surprised when you can find. You might find a tank as big as 10 or 20 gallons for a fraction of the price they would go for at any pet store. You might or might not need to add yourself but it’s worth it for a bigger tank. I found a 29 gallon for $12 complete with a filter and a hood. Granted the light needed to be replaced as it turned out but it wasn’t nearly as expensive as then 10 gallon tanks at the pet stores I was previously considering. And it enabled me to have a nice peaceful community tank
Please do NOT use plastic plants for your Betta. The roughness of the plastic can tear their fins to shred. Live or silk plants are best. If you absolutely have to use plastic, it needs to be able to pass the hose test. Aka, take some pantie hose with you to the pet store. If the plastic catches or snags on the hose? It’s too rough.
Yeah and if they do tear their fins they can get fin rot and other diseases. If you want plants, silk plants or real ones are the options.
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/.
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.
Crap……… mine is 1/4 of a gallon
Now is not too late to get a larger tank for your Betta! I would recommend a 10 gallon– the smaller the tank, the more concentrated the bacteria. I recently lost my Betta to ammonia poisoning in a 5 gallon. My mom had the same trouble with her Betta but we were able to save hers because he was in a 15 gallon and therefore didn’t get such a high dose of ammonia.

This article has some misinformation in it.
What to do:
1.Get a tank, filter, thermometer, and heater. I wouldn’t recommend starter kits, they are usually lower quality and break easier. Also, the filter has to be low powered since Bettas aren’t strong swimmers. I read online that you can put panty hose on the filter suction to stop the Betta’s fins from getting caught and ripped. The thermometer has to heat between 76-82 degrees. I think 78 is perfect.

2. Get decorations/gravel: If you’re going for fake, get the Nat Geo silk plants. Be very careful. Bettas are very fragile and any plastic plants will rip their fins. I had that problem with soft plastic grass.

3. Get Betta Safe/ Safecoat: makes tap safe for Betta. (Yes, tap is better for Bettas) Bettas are adaptable fish and can survive in basic water, even if they prefer acidic.

4. LET YOUR TANK CYCLE FOR 2 WEEKS: The article doesn’t mention this. Newly set up tanks don’t have beneficial bacteria that breaks down ammonia and waste. Also, new tanks have air pockets. These can harm and kill your Betta. I didn’t know about that when I got my first Betta, luckily he didn’t die.

This should increase your Betta’s life span by years

Good Luck! 🙂

My Aquarium Club has good information. Check it out if you need any help.

i think i will
Hi! This is rather old i know, but I am looking at getting beta for my room. I’m reading this and finding out i went about it VERY wrong last time i had a beta, (he lived for two years in a small tank with no heater, no filter and no light) is there a way to get a link to the aquarium club you mentioned?
Thank you,
Hurry up and get a bigger one! I hardly know anything about bettas, but they need a much bigger space than that.
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.
I agree!

Bowls have to have their water changed twice a day. My tank is infected so I am keeping my new Betta in a bowl. I do not reccomend!!! It is a pain to maintain. Not to mention it shortens their lives by years when in small, unfiltered, unheated tanks.

I just had another Betta die in my 5 gallon tank. Bacteria/ ammonia/ nitrates/ nitrites are more concentrated in smaller tanks. Both my mother’s tank and mine suffered from ammonia poisoning AND fungus from introducing new fish. Her Betta survived, however, because he is in a 15 gallon tank.

yeah, I was lucky I got a little beta when,I was 10, it was just a little plastic tank with one decoration in it, I’m surprise (looking back) that he lived so long
Hanabi です
Should I have a lid of my betta fish bowl?
Bettas can jump 3 inches. My family learned that the hard way. I am temporarily keeping my Betta in a Bowl because her tank is messed up. I kept it partially covered first with a washcloth partially covering the top at first, then I covered it with two thin peices of plastic wrap just narrow enough to keep her from jumping out, but wide enough to feed her and for her to breath. I think the washcloth is safer since it is softer. There are other solutions though, you just have to use your resources. 🙂

If possible, I would upgrade your Betta to a tank. It will increase his/her life by up to 3 years. I have heard of Bettas living up to 10 years. One thing this articles doesn’t mention about setting up tanks is that the tank should be left vacant and running for 2 weeks to cycle it and get bacteria in it that eats ammonia and waste. It is also inadvisable to put the Betta in right away, since there are air pockets in new tanks which can kill the fish. (I got lucky with my first Betta when I did that)

Yes! They are infamous for jumping out of their tanks.
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.
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.
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
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 for a larger round bowl with a lid? We would love to add a filter too, so we do not have to deal with weakly water changes, but obviously can’t do that with a tiny round bowl. Thanks for your insight.
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?
That is sort of what you are supposed to do, but not with a tank. The best thing to do is to get the cup they were bought in (or something similar that hasn’t been exposed to harsh chemicals) and put them in that when transferring them to the new tank. Float them in the tank for about 45 minutes to get them acclimated to their environment and the temperature. Also, if the water has different properties, slowly put some of the tank water into the cup over the 45 minutes to adjust them.
Actually, the reason that they see their reflection is because of lighting issues. I don’t know where they are or what the situation is, but you should check out that lighting. Also, putting a back to the tank will reduce their reflection.

I would recommend a 10 gallon tank or larger. The starter kits are cheaply made, I would recommend buying the parts separate, even if more expensive. Make sure to get a low power filter because Bettas are weak swimmers. If they are seeing their reflection, its an issue with the lighting.

I’m not trying to be mean here, but even with a filter you still need to do weekly water changes of 20% to 30% of the water. If you don’t have a filter, I would be doing water changes every 1-2 DAYS, regardless of tank size. If you want to get a larger tank for them, I would recommend a 30+ gallon tank with tank dividers that you cannot see through
Garth Slack
Thanks for the great article Amy Brannan! Helped out a lot.
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.
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?
Yes! Absolutely! Please do, it’s great for your betta!
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?
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 this! Aquarium kits are a good way for beginners to get the feel for putting a tank together as well as getting the aesthetic quality of a fish tank that adds to a home’s decor. I appreciated the inclusion of the prices in the aquarium kit descriptions, as well. This was a great thing to include, since it demonstrates how aquarium kits, while they have many advantages, are not an inexpensive way to go, especially if you are only keeping one Betta in the tank.

I also wondered about the part where the author mentions the need for a heater and a filtration system in a Betta fish tank. While I certainly understand that for the health of the fish, a filtration system takes a lot of the work out of maintaining the tank, a glass tank without a filter, that you clean and maintain regularly, works great. And plastic, if you keep it away from extreme heat or cold, is also just fine. In my experience, Bettas hold up pretty well to water at room temperature or warmer, and this does not always require the use of a heater. A recommendation from my personal experience is to get a small freshwater snail to clean the sides of the tank naturally. Just one snail will keep even a twenty gallon tank clean.

After reading through the parts about a heated twenty gallon tank with a filtration system, I felt a little bit like the article was attempting to over-sell me on an overly-large, complex, multi-faceted and expensive tank. I understand the desire to have a comfortable and hospitable environment for the fish, but the entire set up is for one small Betta fish. Something that is overly-complex is just not necessary and more money spent than it needs to be.

In saying that, I do acknowledge that the author of this article does have a level of knowledge on the subject, and seems very versed as to the needs of the fish. Because this information has been conveyed in the article, it made me think again about whether I was really doing the fish a dis-service by putting them in a vase instead of a twenty gallon heated tank with a filtration system. While my answer to these questions ultimately was, “No”, that does not mean that I think that the advice is not good.

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 because they are pretty and do not know how to really care for them properly, which can result in a Betta with poor health or disease that will likely die early. Starting with proper tank set-up and care is the first step!

Something that I have noticed having Bettas as fish myself is that they indeed do appreciate a bigger tank, and having a smaller tank that does not allow them to move around as much or go from top to bottom can actually give them signs of depression. The little cups they are sold in are only for Betta transportation. They are freshwater fish, which means that they are more active, and do need a bigger tank in general. I would recommend a two- to five-gallon tank at minimum for a solitary male Betta, and to not place tanks with males close enough together that they will see and recognize each other as rivals. The twelve gallon tank recommendation from the article seems quite excessive for most purposes, and a twenty gallon tank for just one fish is what I would call overboard.

The advice on how to clean and set up a Betta fish tank was fun and good advice. I like to set up little hiding places for the fish using a combination of real plants and plastic decor as well. This for me is just to set up something that looks cool in the tank and will be peaceful and serene to watch your fish interact with. I also liked the video demonstration of how to introduce a Betta to a community tank. I thought that was great help for those who are not accustomed to introducing Bettas to other fish in an aquarium where rules are likely already established. One other thing to point out here is to make sure that you have enough space in a community aquarium for a Betta to be introduced. All too many times, I see community aquariums stuffed to the gills with far too many fish, and this is not a way to keep happy pets.

In fact, if there are too many fish in the tank, this can be a recipe for disaster. Of course, you only want a single male betta; more than one will fight and possibly kill each other. Also, introducing too many fish can cause a lot of stress and possibly even overt aggression in different species.

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 approximately 10% of the water once per week. Use a gravel vacuum to remove waste and uneaten food from the substrate. At the same time as you are doing this, wipe down the sides of the tank with an aquarium safe sponge. The filter media and any decorations in the tank should be cleaned off in the old tank water (this maintains the beneficial bacteria).

You also must keep the tank out of direct sunlight in order to inhibit algae growth and avoid excessive heat. Do not keep aquarium lights on for any more than 12 hours in a 24 hour period. This is to allow the fish adequate rest time (and also to help avoid algae growth).

You also want to ensure that the tank environment provides your fish with enough interest and stimulation. These are intelligent fish which require a varied environment. They come from environments which are densely vegetated. It would certainly make them feel more comfortable if there were some plants and other types of vegetation within their tank. This allows them to explore and feel more and more secure with their new home. In fact, you may even want to change things up from time to time by providing different types of plants and things, or even just changing their location.

Within the tank itself, you want the gravel to be smooth and the decorations not to have any rough edges. This will help to ensure that their fins are not torn (especially for the males). You may even consider sanding some parts of the plants, decorations or pieces of driftwood to protect against this possibility. Another benefit of having tall plants with large leaves is that the fish can rest close to the surface. This is helpful since they do require taking in fresh air from time to time.

I have had other fish that seemed to have a fine time in a flower vase, who lived long and happy lives and liked hiding among the plant roots. Thus, this is one of the recommendations that I think can be bypassed, although I do not officially recommend going against it.

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 upon. My thoughts are, that if they are like humans or other pets, they may just need a dose of sunshine and something interesting in the tank to hide behind or play with. I also wondered whether Bettas might get depressed in a community aquarium as a result of negative interactions with other fish and if there are ways to prevent this. As I mentioned, I believe Bettas should have separate bowls away from other fish, but it is clear to me from this article that not everyone does it this way.

I think that it is certainly normal for some of these fish to rest or just hang out for a while in certain areas. However, observe your fish closely. Any that seem to be constantly hiding or appears lethargic and unresponsive is very likely sick. If this is the case, seek appropriate medical attention.

These are some of the most interesting fish you could ever imagine. If you treat them right they will provide you with hours upon hours of visual entertainment along with a calm and peaceful experience. This all starts with you understanding what is involved in terms of setting up a proper tank and providing an environment in which these wonderful little ones can grow and thrive.

Recently I read an article that discussed caring for sick Bettas in a community aquarium, although I disagreed with the idea that Bettas should be kept with other fish. This article confirmed my views about the issue off-the-bat, in advising that Bettas be kept solitary. This is, as mentioned in the article, for their own safety and happiness. I also agree that male and female Bettas should not be housed together except for mating, although I would like to add that you should not attempt to breed Bettas unless you have the proper training.

That said, I am guilty myself of keeping Bettas in a flower vase, and it was unfortunate to read about how many fish do not like this, mostly because some of the consequences that I read could happen actually did occur for me, I think. It is strange to say that I think my fish got depressed, but I think that given the symptoms, that is probably what happened. Whether that is because of the size of the tank, however, is hard to say.

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 generally peaceful conditions. In fact, it is certainly possible to keep multiple betas in the same tank, as long as there is only one male. It is certainly true that the males will likely attack each other and fight to the death in certain situations.

These fish are some of the most well known and popular freshwater aquarium fish. This is because of their bright colors and entertaining displays.

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a tank for your betta fish. The first of these to think about is the size of the tank itself. While actual size recommendations are numerous and cover quite a wide range, all experts seem to universally agree that smaller bowls and tanks are not a good idea. These are smart and curious fish who like to have a lot of room to explore and spread out. Plan on at least 10 to 12 gallons per betta fish kept in the tank. They are also excellent jumpers, so the tank should have a lid to prevent escape. Additionally, make sure that the fish have access to the surface, since they do need to breathe fresh air from time to time.

You may use a filter, but be careful. These fish prefer slow moving water, so make sure that the flow on your filter is adjustable. Just make sure that it does not change the flow of the water, but is able to do the job of converting the fish waste products into more beneficial nitrates.

The water temperature of the tank needs to be around 80 degrees or so. Remember that these fish come from a tropical climate and will have a very difficult time adjusting to water which is below 75 degrees (they will become increasingly listless). You water your tank to use a submersible aquarium heater. These are not able to be used with small fish bowls, which necessitates having a larger tank.


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 this happen to a pet of mine. However, this is a good warning of what happens when you do not take care of your Betta by changing the water and making sure it is purified with anti-fungal. This is a tragic sort of disease because it is so easily prevented with proper care. I hope that anyone, if you think you want a Betta fish for a pet, will take pause after reading this part about fin and tail rot and decide whether you can really commit to changing the water regularly and putting drops of purifier in so as to prevent this disease. If you cannot answer that you could truly do that, perhaps a plant that you do not have to water very often would be a better option for a starter pet.

To that end, the fungal infections and other sections such as Popeye also demonstrate the need for proper care. I was certainly surprised to see how many of these diseases and disorders were almost entirely preventable in nature, and it was heartening to see that the “Prevention” section was not really anything extraordinary or out-of-the-way. These measures are much easier and less expensive than having to deal with a sick fish and less of a ‘bummer’ emotionally than having your fish die on you. It is also less emotionally difficult than watching your beautiful Betta fish battle an illness or disease.

Ich and Dropsy had me a bit concerned for different reasons, mostly because these are the result of feeding them frozen pellets of live food, which I like to do for my fish as a treat. The fact that this could have such disastrous consequences is unfortunate, although there is not a whole lot to do to prevent it since live food is also tasty and nutritious for Bettas. In this case, having the Betta First Aid Kit is particularly handy, since these diseases can be treated quickly and effectively. I would say, although it might be difficult for you to want to, that if you are feeding your Betta live food and it comes down with one of these parasitic infections that throwing away the rest of the food batch is the best way to be safe.

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 this article on proper fish care, I realize that I may have been more to blame for some of my fish’s ailments than anything. I wish I had read this article sooner!

The pet store employees themselves should have given me the Betta First Aid Kit pamphlet. Chances are, it would have helped sales, since I would have definitely purchased these items on-the-spot. Better yet, a miniature, pre-made Betta First Aid Kit that I could just buy as a whole package. The nice thing about the first aid kit is that it will last you the entirety of your Betta’s life, which could be a few years if you are careful. It can also can make you the Betta hero if you recognize your friends’ Betta fish are getting sick and you can come to the rescue.

One interesting thing in the article was that it discussed acclimating your pets to their new environment with BettaZing or BetaMax when adding a Betta to your existing tank. There was also a part of the article that discussed removing a sick Betta from a community tank. The addition of medications to a community tank is an issue here as well as the fact that I have always read or heard that male Bettas (which are the ones most often purchased, since the females are not as colorful or vibrant) are ideally kept in a bowl or tank by themselves. You should never put two males together in the same tank, since they will fight each other. I once had two bowls with Bettas and when I put the bowls together, each started getting aggressive at the other one. This will lead to attacks and such. Male Bettas also have a lot of ornamental fins and bright colors, which makes them targets within a fresh water aquarium. Although there might be exceptions, these are the guidelines that I have always been given by pet store employees. I also think that putting Betta medication in a tank with other types of fish might not be a good idea, since there is a chance that the other fish will eat medication intended for the Betta and the medication itself may or may not have consequences on the health of the other fish. Better to keep Bettas alone, I say. They seem to like it.