Generally, the best environment for any fish is one that closely matches its natural home conditions. In particular, most aquarium fish are native to warm tropical areas with flowing waters. Hence, they require an aerated tank with good water quality. Also, they require temperatures ranging from 72-82 degrees Fahrenheit.
Thus, the Betta fish is an exception. Particularly, because it is an air breathing fish from shallow stagnant waters that can do well in a quart size or tank without needing aeration. However, it does require good water quality and warm water temperature.
Table of Contents
- tank size
- betta tanks – comparison chart
- the ideal betta tank temperature
- pay attention to water quality in the tank
- include a lid and space at the top of the tank
- use an aquarium filter
- include plenty of places to hide
- select the right tank mates
- picking your betta’s tank
- do bettas need a filter?
- do bettas need a heater?
- getting your gravel
- plants and decoration
- lighting for your betta fish
- how to set up your betta fish’s tank
- other ways of setting up your tank
- how to introduce your betta to its new tank
- final thoughts
Tank Size: The Bigger the Better!
In particular, one of the biggest misconceptions surrounding Betta fish care is that it’s perfectly okay to keep them in a small fishbowl or vase.
That’s often how they keep them in the pet stores. Meanwhile, those stores can sell you a fish more easily if they tell you that you won’t have to buy a large tank. As well as, other equipment for your beautiful betta fish.
However, even though bettas can survive in smaller tanks, it’s not ideal for the fish. Thus, if you want a happy, healthy and long-living Betta fish, you shouldn’t have a tank smaller than 2.5 gallons, and 10 gallons or more is better.
Also, a larger tank will give your betta more room to swim and get exercise. Similarly, there will be more space to add in plants and other hiding places that will make your Betta more comfortable.
Likewise, it’s easier to maintain a larger tank. Particularly, because you won’t have to change the water as frequently and you can add a filter to help maintain your water chemistry and filter out debris.
Maintain the Ideal Betta Tank Temperature
Generally, betta fish originated in the streams and rice paddies of Southeast Asia. Thus, they naturally prefer warmer temperatures.
Meanwhile, to create the ideal Betta fish tank environment, you’ll need a heater and thermometer set up to monitor your tank temperature and keep it at a consistent level.
In general, if the temperature is too low, your betta’s immune system will suffer. Meanwhile, he’ll be more prone to disease. Thus, too high a temperature and your betta’s metabolism could accelerate, causing him to age too quickly.
However, the ideal water temperature for betta fish is between 78° and 80° F (25.5° to 26.5° C). Thus, to keep your fish healthy, the temperature should never go below 74° F (23° C) or above 84° F (29° C).
Also, adding a heater to your tank will help you keep the temperature consistently in this range. Thus, your fish won’t be too stressed out from sudden temperature changes.
In any case, maintaining the right temperature will go a long way towards keeping your betta healthy and energetic.
Pay Attention to Water Quality in the Tank
Particularly, like all fish, you should not expose your bettas to chlorinated water. Therefore, when you’re filling your tank, make sure to apply a water conditioner to your tap water.
Accordingly, the next thing to consider is the pH level in your tank. Usually, bettas prefer a neutral pH with an ideal range between 6.5 and 7.5.
Also, it’s important to make any changes to your betta’s water gradually. Even if your betta tank is outside of the ideal range, it’s better to adjust it over time than to make an immediate change.
In general, sudden fluctuations in temperature or pH will stress out your fish and could potentially cause harm.
Include a Lid and Space at the Top of the Tank
In particular, bettas are a type of fish known as labyrinth fish. Ordinarily, it means they can breathe oxygen directly from the air as well as from water.
Generally, your betta will enjoy coming up to the surface for a quick breath every so often. Thus, you’ll want to leave 1-2 inches of space between the top of the water and the edge of your tank.
Your betta fish will thank you for this breathing space. Most especially if the oxygen level in the water is getting low.
However, bettas are also jumpers. Thus, they can make it surprisingly far out of the water if you let them. Ordinarily, you’ll want to make sure you have a good lid or hood on the top of your tank to prevent your fish from making a run for it.
Otherwise, you may find your beautiful betta fish flopping around on the floor, and that’s definitely not good for it.
Use An Aquarium Filter for your Tank
In particular, while betta fish can survive in smaller tanks without a filter, they’ll be much happier in a larger, filtered tank.
Also, unfiltered tanks require frequent water changes to keep the water quality up and remove toxic debris.
Therefore, adding a filter will reduce the frequency and volume of water changes. Thus, it will help keep the tank clean and cycle in beneficial bacteria.
In general, there are a few things to consider when choosing the right filter for your Betta fish tank.
Generally, bettas don’t produce a ton of waste. Thus, a small hang-on-back filter is perfectly adequate.
Likewise, bettas prefer an environment with little to no water movement. Hence, make sure to choose a low-flow filter or place a sponge in front of the output to lessen the water flow.
Include Plenty of Places for your Bettas to Hide
Generally, the betta’s natural environments are the
- rice paddies and streams, and
- Southeast Asia, which vegetation and places to hide fill.
Also, plenty of “softcover” like aquarium plants will make your betta much more comfortable in his tank.
Ordinarily, live plants are best. However, if you go with artificial plants, avoid plastic ones, which can slice betta’s fins. Likewise, plants with large leaves will give your betta a place to lay on and rest.
Similarly, your tank should include plenty of plants. Nevertheless, driftwood and other fish tank structures can also add some variety and give your betta more places to swim around and explore.
Thus, to create the ideal environment for your betta fish, most of the tank should be composed of plants and other hiding places, with very little open water.
Select the Right Tank Mates
Generally, while bettas are solitary and can become aggressive around other fish, it’s definitely possible for them to coexist peacefully with other fish in a community tank.
In particular, some tank companions will even help keep your tank clean and free of debris. Therefore, increasing the overall health of your tank and decreasing maintenance.
However, when deciding to introduce companions into your betta’s life. First, make sure that your tank follows the fundamentals of the ideal betta fish tank below.
- Your betta tank should be at least 10 gallons,
- Also, have plenty of vegetation and places to hide.
- Avoid betta fish that are brightly colored, have long, flowy fins.
- Lastly, two male bettas should never be put in the same tank together.
In particular, some of the best tank companions for betta fish aren’t even fish. Particularly, freshwater snails and ghost shrimp, for example, won’t raise the ire of your betta. Meanwhile, they’ll even do double duty by keeping the tank clean.
Do Bettas Need a Heater?
Yes, you’ll need to buy a heater because betta fish come from the tropical waters of Thailand.
In particular, you should buy a fully submersible heater which can keep the temperature between 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, you need to be able to easily monitor the temperature.
However, if the temperature drops too low, you open the door up to diseases such as Ich. Also, too high, and you’ll speed up your Betta’s aging process.
Particularly, choose a heater that comes with a thermostat so it’s easy to monitor. Similarly, always use a separate thermometer, the readouts from heaters aren’t always accurate.
Also, never put a heater on a tank under 5 gallons. It can be dangerous to your betta fish’s health, due to the water temperature warming and cooling too fast.
Getting Your Gravel
Generally, bettas love to swim at all levels. Meanwhile, it’s common to see your betta cruising along the bottom. Hence, you’ll need to buy small or smooth gravel so your betta doesn’t hurt itself.
Likewise, your gravel will play an important role in your tank ecosystem. However, beneficial bacteria will grow on the surface, helping to break down waste.
Ordinarily, if you buy gravel made with large pieces of rock, food and waste can get stuck among them and hurt the health of your betta fish.
Essentially, if you’re using live plants, you’ll need two inches of gravel to ensure they root.
Plants and Decorations For Your Betta Fish
Again, bettas originate from Thailand, inhabiting rice paddies, slow-moving streams, and large puddles. Particularly, they are all shady places with plenty of hiding sports.
Ordinarily, your betta will love swimming in a tank which contains caves to hide in and plants that provide plenty of shady areas. Also, bettas enjoy lounging on leaves and have comfortable places to hide and sleep.
Therefore, it’s important you check ornaments for spots that could snag or tear your Bettas delicate fins. However, if you’re going to use fake plants, don’t use plastic ones, use silk plants.
Likewise, live plants are always good because they’ll help clean the water. Also, they’ll provide your betta with a natural environment.
Ordinarily, your betta can become bored and depressed easily. Meanwhile, it’s a good idea to rearrange the decor when you clean the tank. This will help keep things interesting for your betta fish.
Lighting for Your Betta Tank
Generally, your betta fish is just like you when it comes to lighting. That is, it prefers a schedule: wake up when it’s light, go to sleep when it’s dark.
If your chosen aquarium doesn’t come with its own lighting, it will be nice you get one. Also, you’ll be able to provide your betta with a regular schedule it needs to stay healthy.
Particularly, LED lights work best because you can control the light intensity. Also, some will come with automatic timers so you don’t even have to think about it.
How to Setup Your Betta’s Tank
Preparing and Placing the Aquarium
Start by cleaning out your betta tank with just water, no soap! Afterward, choose a sport that’s near a window, but not exposed to direct sunlight.
However, make sure the surface is nice a sturdy. Particularly, you may want to consider purchasing a stand designed to hold the weight of your tank. Also, leave five inches between the aquarium and the wall to allow for the filter.
Lastly, if you have other pets, you may want to consider placing your Betta in a room they don’t have access to.
Install Your Filter
Generally, not all filters are the same. Hence, different types will require different installation methods.
Ordinarily, it’s very common that the instructions on filters are terrible.
Lastly, make sure you don’t turn your filter on until water fills your tank.
Add Your Gravel
Particularly, give your gravel a thorough rinse with cool running water to remove dust which could clog your filter. Note: Don’t use soap.
Next, add your gravel to the tank. Meanwhile, remember, if you’re using real plants, you’ll need at two inches of gravel. However, for silk plants, one inch will be enough.
Set up your Plants and Decorations
Again, ensure that you properly bury the roots of your plants in the gravel. Meanwhile, install all your decorations in the gravel, so they won’t come loose.
Note: To get the best views of your betta fish, arrange your plants so the taller ones are at the back of your tank.
Fill it up!
Specifically, place a plate on top of your gravel, and pour water on top of the plate to fill your tank. However, using a plate will prevent you from displacing the gravel.
Meanwhile, during this process you’ll want to check for leaks.
Also, don’t fill your tank all the way up, leave about an inch and the top. Generally, your betta’s an anabantoid. That is, it’s able to breathe the same air as you by using a unique organ called a labyrinth.
However, if your betta is unable to use its labyrinth from time to time, it can be very bad for its health. Meanwhile, that’s why you leave a gap.
Likewise, your betta is a surprisingly good jumper. Thus, filling your tank to the brim is risky.
Therefore, remember to remove the plate after you’re through!
Turn on Your Filter and Install Your Heater
After filling your tank with water, it’s very safe to turn on your filter. However, make sure the water is circulating gently, smoothly, and quietly. Ordinarily, you may just need to adjust the settings.
Similarly, it is common your heater will come with suction cups to attach it inside your aquarium. Meanwhile, following the instructions, you’ll want to set to temperature. Generally, it’s between 78 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Also, place your thermometer so you can easily monitor the temperature.
Other Steps in Setting up your Betta Tank
Add Neutralizer and Perform a Fishless Cycle
In general, after filling your tank with tap water, it’ll contain chlorine. Thus, add some neutralizer to remove the chlorine.
Particularly, this is important because chlorine will stop you from being able to perform the most important step – the fishless cycle. Thus, if you don’t do this, when you add your Betta it will die.
Generally, a fishless cycle is a humane method of the Nitrogen Cycle.
Particularly, beneficial bacteria will become established in your tank and filter media. Therefore, allowing ammonia (toxic) to convert to nitrite (toxic), then nitrite to nitrates (non-toxic).
Specifically, that’s why you can’t skip this step. In particular, the beneficial bacteria will supplement your fish’s environment by neutralizing their waste.
How to Introduce Your Betta Fish to its New Tank
Buying Your Betta Fish: How to Choose a Healthy Betta
Don’t buy your betta fish until your tank finishes cycling. In particular, it will just make the whole transition smoother. Meanwhile, when your tank is ready, it’s time to go buy your Betta!
Thus, here’s how to tell if a Betta is healthy:
- Bright body and undamaged fins
- Also, the betta fish is active and swimming well
- If it’s flaring at another betta fish or you
- No deformities
- Lastly, no white dots or fuzzy substances (signs of disease)
Finally Introduce Your Betta Fish to its New Tank
Don’t go plopping your new betta fish into your tank. Consequently, it will stress your fish and is likely to end in tears.
In particular, you need to acclimatize it to its new environment.
Also, your betta is going to come in a bag of its own water, which is going to be different from the water in your tank. Thus, don’t open the bag. Instead, float it in your aquarium until the water in the bag reaches the same temperature as your tank.
In general, this can take around one hour, so be patient.
Meanwhile, once the water in your betta’s bag reaches the same temperature in your aquarium, begin to add small amounts of your tank water into its container.
Also, if the majority of the water is from your tank, let your fish swim freely into the tank.