Betta Fish Supplies List: 15 Items You Need for a Betta Setup
Caring for 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.
The silly thing is that simply by putting in an hour or so of reading many newbies could have prevented their betta from dying too soon. 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 fish, 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 first read my betta fish care guide.
What Supplies Do You Need for a Betta Fish?
Here is a basic list of supplies you'll need to care for your betta fish:
- Five-gallon tank or larger
- Tank hood/light
- Gravel or other substrate
- Real or artificial plants
- Betta pellets or flake food
- Mini siphon
- Digital thermometer
- Freshwater testing kit
- Magnetic algae scrubber
- Water conditioner
- Small fish net
- Safe container
- Reference materials
The rest of this article covers each item in detail. If you have any questions please let me know in the comments section and I will help if I can.
Choosing the Right Betta Tank
The first thing you need to consider is the right 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 fish who croaks before his time. A tank with a filter greatly improves this issue and will be easier to take care of.
Bettas are tropical fish, and they need a filter and heater just like any other tropical fish. 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 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.
- 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. I've always used Aqueon siphons. The bigger models hook right up to your faucet to make water changes a breeze, but you don't need something like that here. I've found the works better for small tanks, and stores away much more easily. Aqueon Mini Siphon
This is one of those things that will make maintenance tasks less stressful 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.
- Standard aquarium gravel for a 5-gallon tank or bigger.
- Marbles or stones for smaller tanks (you'll need to perform weekly water changes).
- Small aquarium siphon/water changer.
More Advice from PetSmart
Heater and Filter
Does your betta need a heater or filter in his tank? Probably! Bettas 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 your 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.
Bettas 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.
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, bettas 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.
Bettas sometimes sleep on plant leaves or even the bottom of the tank, and they like to have places to rest. If you see your 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, your betta doesn't care what you put in there.
- Live plants or artificial
- Hiding spots for Betta
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 a much greater risk of disease associated with overfeeding than there is with fasting. Kind of like with people!
- Basic betta pellets or fish flakes
- Treats if desired
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:
- Freshwater Testing Kit: Test kits let you keep track of the water conditions in your tank so you can be sure if it is safe for your betta. Typically a good kit will measure pH, ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites.
- Digital Thermometer: You need to monitor the temperature in your 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 the tank without getting your hands wet. A while back I discovered the , and I've become a big fan. If you drop it while cleaning the aquarium glass (which I do), it floats! I've used them in big tanks and small ones. They work well, and they're not too pricey. For more info on how to keep your tank algae-free check out Mag-floatthis article.
- Water Conditioner: Depending on your water source, you may or may not need to add water conditioner to your 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 to your fish.
- Safe Container: Ideally, you never want to net your betta, though I advise having a net on hand in case of emergency. 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 a 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. Even a one-gallon tank isn't the best choice for a betta, and it will make your job as a caretaker much harder. It is 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?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Questions & Answers
How much should you feed a betta fish?
Feed your betta once per day, and only as much as your betta will eat in a couple of minutes. This usually means a very small pinch of flakes, or two to three pellets. Pay attention to how much your betta is eating. If the food you are giving seems like too much, cut back. Choose a good-quality flake food or pellet as the staple of his diet. Better yet, find a few quality foods and alternate them so your betta gets a wider range of nutrition.
Overfeeding is one of the most common ways to make a betta fish ill. Uneaten food decays and fouls the water, and overfed bettas produce more waste. This means it is harder to keep the water clean. Too much food can also lead to physical problems for your fish. Avoid overfeeding, and you may be saving your betta from an early demise.Helpful 26