Betta Fish Tanks: How to Choose the Best Aquarium for Your Betta
Betta Tank Kits
If you want to make sure your Betta fish lives a long, happy life, you need to choose the best tank you can for his home. Aquariums come in all shapes and sizes, and you have a lot of options. Ultimately, you want a Betta tank that is attractive, easy to care for and healthy for your fish.
Unfortunately, things get a little convoluted when it comes to the poor Betta fish. Betta are anabantids, which means they can gulp air above the water if they need to. In the wild this helps them survive for short periods of time in harsh, low-oxygen conditions and muddy, stagnant puddles.
Because of this ability to tolerate poor living conditions, people mistakenly get the idea that Betta prefer tiny little tanks or bowls with no filtration. Even worse, people stick them in plant vases, book ends, "cubes" and other horrible enclosures.
If you were hoping to get any such suggestions from this article you've come to the wrong place. Betta do not belong in tiny little tanks any more that you or I ought to live in a closet. Just like any other tropical fish, Betta need space to thrive.
If you choose a larger tank your Betta will be healthier. But there are benefits for you, too. Larger tanks are easier to care for. You'll spend less time fussing with the tank and performing water changes. And, you'll have lot more room to decorate, whether than means lives plants or artificial décor.
Ultimately, choosing the right tank means a happier Betta fish and a happier you. This article will get on the right track to finding the perfect home for your Betta.
Betta Tanks Under 5 Gallons
One gallon of water is the absolute minimum tank size your Betta needs for survival. Even though there are plenty of options out there for smaller tanks and other habitats, I really hope you avoid them.
In fact, even one gallon is very small. Frankly, I do not like to see any fish in a tank under 5 gallons, even a solitary Betta. Tanks that small get dirty way too fast, and don't provide enough room for your fish to swim around. Really, putting your Betta in any tank smaller than 5 gallons is not a great idea. If you take anything away from this article, I hope it is this lesson.
However, I know I can say this until I turn blue and pass out and people are still going to do it. So, let me at least offer some points of advice.
- Do not rely on the air pump that comes with many small tanks to operate as a real filter. Instead, choose a tank with a decent in-tank filter or hang-on-back filter, or one that has the capability of mounting an aftermarket nano filter.
- You still need to do full weekly water changes with a tank under 5 gallons. If you move up to a larger tank with quality filtration you can do partial water changes at less frequent intervals.
- Betta may not like the bubbles or current created by the air pump. You might be better off without it, and again this is a one big reason to avoid small tanks that rely on air pumps for so-called filtration.
- Do not put any other fish or critter in with your Betta fish in such a small tank. If you want tankmates for your Betta consider a tank of at least 10 gallons.
- Choose pebbles instead of aquarium gravel so you can remove them weekly and clean out any waste or uneaten food. In larger tanks you can vacuum the substrate, but in tanks under 5 gallons you are going to need to do more thorough cleanings to maintain healthy water quality.
- Do not choose a tank under one gallon, whatever else you decide.
Betta Care Advice from Fluval
5-Gallon Betta Aquariums
A 5-gallon tank is perfect for your Betta fish. It is small enough for a desktop or tabletop, but large enough to provide adequate swimming room for Betta. In a perfect world every Betta keeper would house their fish in a tank 5 gallons or bigger!
There are some good reasons why bigger is better. Really, it all comes down to water quality, and space. Not just space for your Betta to swim, although that is important too, but space to provide all the needed elements for your fish to thrive.
Betta need heat and filtration just like any other tropical fish, and this is very difficult to accomplish in a tank under 5 gallons. There are nano filters and heaters available for tanks as small as 5-gallons, and these are smart addition to your setup. By making sure these needs are met your fish is going to be more resistant to disease, enjoy better quality of life and probably even live longer.
The volume of water itself plays a role in the overall living conditions in your Betta tank. All fish tanks accumulate pollution as time passes. If you think of a stream or lake, you can imagine how these bodies of water have natural processes that ensure waste is properly eliminated and water conditions are adequate for life to thrive.
In a home aquarium you must intervene on behalf of nature and make sure those processes are happening. This means cleaning your tank and performing water changes in order to dilute waste. The larger the tank, the easier it goes.
Very small tanks pollute quickly, and the more water you can give your Betta the better. Remember, just because Betta has the evolutionary adaptations needed to survive in poor conditions doesn't mean it is okay. He still needs clean water to thrive.
There are a lot of 5-gallon tank kits out there, but when I recommend small tank kits to new aquarium owners I typically point them to the . I really like this tank for a few reasons. First, it comes with everything you need, including good lighting and a real filter (not one of those wimpy under-gravel filters you often find in small tanks). The only thing I would add is a nano heater, since the temperatures where I live aren't appropriate for tropical fish. I also like that the Spec V has a footprint that's a bit more narrow that most 5-gallon tanks. This gives you a few more option for placement. Fluval Spec V
Provide the Right Conditions for Your Betta to Thrive
Not just survive!
10-Gallon Betta Tanks
A 10-gallon tank is the ultimate Betta setup, and the best choice if you have the space. In a tank this big you'll have plenty of room to decorate Betta's home, and he'll have enough area to swim.
A 10-gallon tank is a standard size in the aquarium industry, so you'll have many more choices when it comes to accessories. However, you can always choose to take the road less traveled and build a unique Betta tank that not only gives your fish everything he needs, but looks amazing.
Most importantly, a 10-gallon tank is able to establish itself as small ecosystem, with healthy bacteria colonies in the filter and substrate that will help break down waste. Remember, in a home aquarium you need to assist nature in managing waste, and a larger tank gives you the space to make sure this gets accomplished.
This means a healthier tank, healthier Betta, and lot less work for you! Instead of weekly cleanings you can learn to do easy water changes once or twice per month. This is less stress on Betta, since you won't have to remove him from the tank every seven days. It also means less stress on you, and a more enjoyable fish-keeping experience.
Don't think a single Betta needs to live in a tiny tank! A well-planted or decorated 10-gallon tank with a single Betta in it looks amazing!
If you need some help finding a tank, I recommend checking out the . I've had good experiences with Fluval products, and there is a lot I like about this particular aquarium. For one, it's got a unique design that really pops, especially compared to a standard, boring rectangular aquarium. I like how the filtration and lighting assembly are contained within the back of the aquarium, which makes things a little neater and much more attractive. I also like that it's a bit larger. This is actually a 12-gallon tank, so you'll have a bit more space while still maintaining a reasonable footprint. Fluval Edge
Building a Tank from the Ground Up
Tank kits are very popular for good reason. They provide everything you need to assemble an aquarium in one package, minus the fish and the water of course. Fish tank kits come in sizes from under one gallon, all the way up to 55 gallons. They are an easy and economical way to get into the aquarium hobby.
However, if you already know a bit about fish care, or if you are willing to do a little research, there is another way to go about building the perfect Betta tank. Many aquarium owners like to choose their own tank components rather than rely on a kit.
Start out with a basic glass or acrylic tank and a hood, and from there choose your filter, heater and other accessories. This allows you to build a custom setup, without limitations based around the design of the aquarium kit manufacturer.
This is smart and fun way to create exactly the kind of Betta tank you want.
Your Betta's Home
Good luck choosing the perfect tank for your Betta fish. I hope you decide to give him at least a 5-gallon tank, to ensure he has the best quality of life. No living creature should be stuck in a tiny tank for its whole life, especially not your awesome Betta Fish!
As you progress in your new hobby take some time to learn more about the needs of your Betta, and about fish keeping in general. This is one of those hobbies where you can never really know everything, and the more you learn the better.
If you make some mistakes along the way, don't beat yourself up over it. The important thing is to approach fish care from a position of respect and appreciation for nature, and to do your best as a steward of a living creature.
Even a little Betta fish deserves your best effort, so make sure your Betta thrives in his new home!
Which Betta Tank?
What size tank will you choose for your Betta fish?
Questions & Answers
- Helpful 3
How many betta fish can I put in a 12-gallon tank?
Just one betta fish. No matter how big the tank, it should not house more than one male betta fish. This is because bettas are very territorial and aggressive, and will fight each other on sight. One or both fish may be injured, or they may even fight to the death.
While not as ornery as their male counterparts, even female bettas can be aggressive. For this reason betta fish are best kept in single-specimen tanks, or with carefully considered tankmates.
However, there are a couple of exceptions to this rule. Some betta keepers partition their tanks, meaning they use a separator so they can keep two male bettas in the same aquarium. It’s a clever idea – you can have two fish, but only have one aquarium to care for.
Using this method you could keep two bettas in a 12-gallon tank, but be careful to choose a divider that doesn’t allow them to see each other. Otherwise, they will constantly try to get at each other, causing a great deal of stress for both fish.
The other exception applies to female bettas. Some fish keepers have several females in the same tank, and these are commonly called sorority tanks. Remember that females can still be aggressive. You’ll want to have a least four of them so a single weaker fish doesn’t take the brunt of the abuse.
Four to six is a good number of female bettas in a 12-gallon tank, but make sure you do some research before getting started. Betta sororities can be tough to manage for beginners.Helpful 3
Can I put one male and one female betta fish in a 10-gallon tank?
I don't advise keeping two bettas together, even if they are different sexes. Bettas are often aggressive toward others of their kind. Of course males will fight with other males, sometimes to the death. But males can be aggressive to females as well.
If you intend to keep them apart with a partition it may work. Even then, you'll want to be sure to add lots of plants and decorations so they don't constantly see each other.
Another exception, naturally, is if you are attempting to breed them. But betta breeding really should only be attempted by experienced fishkeepers who know what they are doing and have a plan for the fry.