Betta Fish Supplies List

The right Betta fish supplies and accessories don't just make your tank look great, they help keep Betta happy and healthy.
The right Betta fish supplies and accessories don't just make your tank look great, they help keep Betta happy and healthy. | Source

Your Betta Fish

Choosing to keep a Betta fish is a responsibility you ought to take seriously. Having a list of supplies in mind before you even get started is a smart way to ensure you are making the right decisions from the beginning of your Betta's life.

Bringing an animal into your home means you are responsible for its health and wellbeing, and many beginning Betta keepers don't take the time to properly learn about their new pet. Unfortunately, you know what that ultimately means for Betta.

The silly thing is that simply by putting in an hour or so of reading many newbie Betta owners could have prevented their new pet from going belly-up. So, since you are here reading this it means you are already moving in the right direction when it comes to caring for your Betta correctly. Good for you!

In this article you'll learn about the supplies you need to maintain your Betta fish. Hopefully you are reading this before you even purchase your Betta, so you can keep him in an appropriate home from the beginning. If not, hopefully you can correct some of the bad choices you made.

Hey, this is supposed to be fun, and I guarantee you'll have a lot more fun with your Betta fish if you take the time to learn what he needs to be happy and healthy.

If you are new to Betta keeping you may want to read this first:

Choosing the Right Betta Tank

The first thing you need to consider is the type of tank for your Betta. You might be thinking of a bowl, but I hope you reconsider. Keeping your Betta in a bowl is a bad idea. For one thing, bowls are generally too small for Betta fish.

If you've heard that Betta prefer small containers you need to understand that this is a marketing idea, not anything with the best interests of the fish in mind. Bettas need room to swim around, just any other kind of fish.

The other problem is that bowls are very hard to regulate as far as water conditions and temperature. Waste builds up quickly, and even though Betta can survive in poor water conditions that doesn't mean it is healthy for them. Bad water means potential disease, and a Betta who croaks before his time. A tank with a filter greatly improves this issue, and will be easier to take care of.

Betta are tropical fish, so keeping them in an unheated bowl means they are subject to low temperatures which can cause stress and ultimately illness and death.

I recommend a minimum of a 5-gallon tank for your Betta fish. This will allow you to employ a filter and heater, and will give your Betta fish plenty of room to swim around. In fact, there are fish tank kits that have everything you need in one package, so you don't have to hunt around for individual items.

Better still, think about a 10-gallon tank if you have the space. It may seem counter-intuitive, but a larger tank is actually easier to take care of, and you can spend less time on maintenance every week.

You're also going to want to make sure your tank has a secure hood, as Betta fish can jump.

You Need:

  • A glass or acrylic fish tank with hood, at least 5 gallons or larger.

Gravel and Substrate Options

What kind of substrate should you consider for your Betta's tank? Some people like to use glass marbles or large pebbles because they look pretty, but be aware that there can be issues with larger pieces.

Food and waste can fall between marbles and pebbles where you won't be able to reach it. If you are doing full water changes weekly that may be okay, but otherwise this will be bad for water conditions.

Instead, if you are using a tank 5-gallons or bigger, I'd suggest standard-sized aquarium gravel. You can still choose from a vast array of pretty colors and textures, but it will be too small for food to get through, and you can vacuum up anything that falls to the tank floor.

Speaking of vacuuming, it's a good idea to purchase a small gravel vacuum for cleaning your Betta's tank. This is one of those things that will make your life so much easier, and greatly improve tank health. You have to do water changes anyway, and these gravel vacs work so that you're cleaning the gravel while you are removing the water.

The rule of thumb is a pound of gravel per gallon, which makes sense for large tanks. In a tank as small as 5-gallons I'd suggest letting your eye be the judge. Add gravel until it looks good, as long as it is adequately covering the tank floor to a depth of at least an inch or so.

You need:

  • Standard aquarium gravel for a 5-gallon tank or bigger.
  • Marbles for smaller tanks (you'll need to perform weekly water changes).
  • Small aquarium siphon/water changer.

Aqueon 06232 Siphon Vacuum Aquarium Gravel Cleaner with Bulb, 10-Inch
Aqueon 06232 Siphon Vacuum Aquarium Gravel Cleaner with Bulb, 10-Inch

A small gravel vac can make tank maintenance a whole lot easier.


More Advice from PetSmart

Heater and Filter

Does your Betta need a heater or filter in his tank? Probably! Betta are tropical fish, and just like any other tropical fish they need clean, warm water. This is another big reason it is so important to choose a large enough tank for you Betta. Heater and filter options for small tanks are harder to come by, and many are unreliable or even dangerous. Choose a tank of at least 5 gallons so you can find a good nano filter and heater to match.

Betta need temperatures between 75 and 80 degrees, just like any other tropical fish. The exception to needing a heater comes when you can be sure the room temperature where you Betta is kept will always be around 75 degrees. This is true in many climates during the summer months, but if the temperature dips at night remember that the water temperature will dip as well.

You need:

  • Nano filter for a 5-gallon tank
  • A heater rated for a 5-gallon tank

Don't forget a place for Betta to hide!
Don't forget a place for Betta to hide!

Decorations for Your Betta Tank

Now that you've got your tank and gravel lined up, you need to think about what kind of decorations you're going to choose. There are a few things to consider here in regard to the health of your Betta, but otherwise let your imagination run wild.

It should go without saying that you should only use decorations that are made specifically for use in a fish tank. You can't just throw anything in there.

Secondly, Betta like to have hiding places in their tanks. Any decoration your Betta can easily swim into is fine. This helps with stress and gives your Betta a way to escape if light levels or other environmental factors in the room are too much for him.

Betta also like to have places to rest. If you see your Betta fish lying on a plant leaf rest assured this is normal. Any fish would prefer live plants, but plastic plants serve just as well for an afternoon siesta.

Finally, make sure you don't overstuff the tank with decorations. This is one good reason a 5-gallon tank is a great size for a Betta fish, and 10-gallons is even better. Your Betta needs room to swim around.

Otherwise, go nuts! You may choose to use live plants and driftwood to create a natural environment, or artificial plants and driftwood to create a simulated natural environment. Or, you may wish to pack your Betta's tank with cartoon characters.

The appearance of the tank is for your enjoyment. As long as your choices meet his needs, Betta doesn't care what you put in there.

You need:

  • Live plants or artificial
  • Hiding spots for Betta

Zoo Med Laboratories AZMFA50 Sinking Ceramic Betta Log
Zoo Med Laboratories AZMFA50 Sinking Ceramic Betta Log

Forgetting to provide Betta with a place to hide and feel secure is a common beginner's mistake.


Betta Food

Betta gotta eat, so what should you feed him? You should provide a standard Betta pellet or flake food as the basis of his diet. You may consider alternating several brands to ensure he is getting an array of nutrients. Any other foods should be offered only occasionally as a treat.

Some Betta owners like to provide foods like bloodworms or brine shrimp, but care must be taken not to overfeed with such items. Overfeeding can result in an unhealthy fish, and some maladies are incurable and will result in death.

Remember your Betta is a small fish, and feed appropriately. Don't give him more than he will consume, and if large amounts are left uneaten in the bottom of the tank remove it.

Some fish keepers put their fish on a feed/fast schedule. This means you choose one day or more per week when you do not feed your fish. It reduces the risk of any overfeeding issues, and keeps your fish healthy.

Fasting your fish for a day is not a cruel tactic. It's very difficult to starve a fish, and there is much greater risks of disease associated with overfeeding than there is with fasting. Kind of like with people!

You need:

  • Basic Betta pellets or fish flakes
  • Treats if desired

Give your awesome Betta everything he needs to thrive in his home!
Give your awesome Betta everything he needs to thrive in his home! | Source

More Betta Tank Supplies

Here are few other things to add to your Betta fish supplies list that will make your Betta care experience easier and more enjoyable, for you and your fish:

  • Digital Thermometer:You need to monitor the temperature in your Betta's tank to make sure it stays between 75 and 80 degrees. A digital thermometer takes up little tank space and is very easy to read.
  • Magnetic Algae Scrubber: A magnetic algae scrubber lets you clean the algae from the sides of your Betta's tank without getting your hands wet. If you drop it, it floats!. For more info on how to keep your tank algae-free check out this article.
  • Water Conditioner: Depending on your water source, you may or may not need to add water conditioner to your Betta's tank. I suggest adding as few chemicals as possible, but sometimes it is necessary to use water conditioner to remove elements that may be harmful for your fish.
  • Safe Container: Ideally, you never want to net your Betta. In fact, ideally you should never remove him from his tank. But in cases where you must it is best to scoop him out in a large cup where he will be safe until he can return. Choose a cup that will only be used for Betta, and don't forget to cover it.
  • Reference Materials: While the internet provides a wealth of information, sometimes it can all be a bit confusing. Having a reference book handy can help you sort out care issues and better understand why your Betta does the things he does.

Putting it All Together

Caring for a Betta fish need not be hard, and assembling a list of supplies and accessories is the first step to building a healthy home for your pet. Due to the commercial exploitation of Betta fish, it is far too easy to fall into the common practice of keeping him in a bowl or plant vase.

Now that you've read this, of course you realize what a tragedy that would be. It would't be good for Betta, and it will make you job as caretaker much harder. It easier just to do it the right way.

Good luck with your Betta fish!

The Betta Tank and Accessories Poll

What do you think is the most important aspect of your Betta tank setup?

  • Choosing the right size tank
  • The gravel/substrate
  • A good heater and filter
  • Proper food
  • Decorations that look good and make Betta happy
  • All of the above!
See results without voting
Aquarium Care of Bettas (Animal Planet® Pet Care Library)
Aquarium Care of Bettas (Animal Planet® Pet Care Library)

The more you can learn about your Betta the better you will be at caring for him. It is smart to have a reference book handy to help you understand you Betta fish.


© 2014 Eric Dockett

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Comments 7 comments

sheilamyers 2 years ago

Thanks for the great information. I'm not yet ready to buy a Beta, but now I know what I'll need when if I get around to it. I do have a question for you about the magnetic algae scrubber. Is the one you've listed the kind you use? I've tried two different ones and neither seemed strong enough to get the algae off the glass. For now, I've given up on them and use a piece of a Scotchbrite. I'd like something easier to use without having to put most of my arm in the tank and splashing the water around.

Sunardi profile image

Sunardi 2 years ago from Indonesia

I had two Betta fish several month ago. The read and black one. Betta is beautiful.

EricDockett profile image

EricDockett 2 years ago from USA Author

Thanks Sheila and Sunardi.

@ Sheila: Yes, that's the type of algae scrubber I use. I have the larger version for bigger tanks. It does a good job for me. I was actually a little surprised, because it does seem like it wouldn't be strong enough, but it works.

You just drop the inside piece into the tank and put the outside piece against the glass and the inside piece will be attracted straight to it. When you're done scrubbing, release the outside end and the inside end floats to the top where you can grab it. Never get your hands wet.

The only drawback I've found is where I can't physically reach around the back of the tank. For those small spots I have to do it the old-fashioned way with a plastic algae scraper.

sheilamyers 2 years ago

Eric: Thanks for the additional information. I'll have to look in the pet store for larger version.

potato 7 weeks ago

hi thanks i needed this for research

BluEyeWard 5 weeks ago

Hi! Thank you for putting together this article. I'm planning on getting a betta fish (soon hopefully) and I've been researching a lot to make sure that I take good care of the betta fish when I bring him home. I have a quick question about decorations. Will it be okay to change up the décor and gravel color every once in awhile for holiday themes or when I just want to change the layout theme? Will the change be too stressful for the betta?

EricDockett profile image

EricDockett 5 weeks ago from USA Author

Hi BluEyeWard. You should not change the gravel except when absolutely necessary because there will be healthy micro-organism colonies living in there. Changing out the gravel gets rid of them and can impact the water conditions in your tank. There is no harm in changing up the decorations, or adding new ones for special times of year, as long as you don't over-crowd the tank. Good luck and have fun!

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