Do Betta Fish Need a Heater and Filter in Their Tank?

Updated on December 12, 2017
EricDockett profile image

Eric is an aquarium enthusiast with over two decades of experience caring for a wide array of tropical fish.

Does your Betta require a heater and filter in his tank?
Does your Betta require a heater and filter in his tank? | Source

Betta Fish Requirements

Betta fish are often housed in bowls. That means no filter, and no heater. Even people who keep Betta fish in small tanks rarely provide filtration or heated water, and they survive for the most part.

Really, this is what makes the Betta so popular. For beginning fish keepers, kids, college students and others who don't feel like dealing with the maintenance requirements of a real aquarium, the Betta is a way to have a pet fish without all the hassles of having a pet fish.

Unfortunately, these same Betta owners later end up wondering why their fish appears perpetually stressed, or suffers from some malady such as fin rot. Betta may survive in bowls of stagnant water, but that doesn't mean they are thriving.

Cold temperatures and dirty water can cause stress for your Betta and make him more likely to get sick and die before his time. But this doesn't mean you can't keep your Betta in an unfiltered, unheated tank. It just means you need to fully understand the requirements of your Betta fish before deciding if that is the correct decision. It also means you need to be ready to do the extra work required to keep an unheated, unfiltered setup in top condition for your fish.

In this article we'll take a look at whether or not you should consider housing your Betta in a tank with a heater and filter. If you are new to Betta keeping, you might want to first check out my article on proper Betta care:

How Is the Betta Different From Other Fish?

What makes us think it's okay to keep a Betta in a bowl, anyway? We'd never consider putting any other tropical fish in a tiny bowl without a filter.

Betta fish do have physiologies that allow them to survive in low-oxygen environments in the wild. They are anabantids, or labyrinth fish, and they can come to the surface to take a gulp of air when they need it.

By the way, this is just one more reason keeping a Betta in a plant vase is a really stupid idea. Your Betta fish needs access to the water surface!

In the wilds of Southeast Asia Betta can live for short periods in small puddles where other fish would perish. This is because of evolutionary adaptations that allow the species to persevere in times of drought or poor water conditions.

In other words, they have evolved to take in air, not just rely on the oxygen in the water, so they can survive harsh conditions.

This makes them the perfect fish to house in a small bowl, or so it seems. They can do without the aeration effect of a filter, and survive even if the water gets dirty.

But think of it like this: You could probably go a month without food if you had to, living on the stored fat in your body. As humans, we have evolved to survive periods of famine by storing fat.

But how much fun would you be having during that month without food? You'd probably be pretty miserable, and you might even suffer from some physical problems as a result of your fast. Just because you are surviving doesn't mean you are thriving.

Betta fish thrive in warm, clean water.
Betta fish thrive in warm, clean water. | Source

Does a Betta Need a Filter?

You can keep a Betta in a bowl, though I personally really hate seeing it. You need to really stay on top of weekly water changes, be sure not to overfeed, and keep the water crystal clear. You also need to make sure your room temperature remains appropriate for tropical fish, which means in the mid-70s.

When things go bad in a small bowl, they go bad really fast. Poor water conditions can lead to fin deterioration, infections and, ultimately, premature death for your Betta. This is why, if you are on the fence between a tank or a bowl, I strongly encourage you to choose the tank.

To thrive, Betta need clean water just like any other fish. Fish tanks with filtration are able to establish themselves as tiny ecosystems, although they're ecosystems that need a little help from you.

Colonies of microorganisms develop in the tank and in the filter, and they assist in breaking down the waste caused by the fish and his uneaten food.

You don't need to, and shouldn't, do a complete water change in a tank with a filter as you'll destroy those helpful microorganisms. About 30% weekly water change is enough, plus vacuuming the gravel and cleaning up any algae.

This equates to about ten minutes of work per week for a 10-gallon tank. Compare that to the hassle and time involved with removing your Betta from his bowl or tank, completely cleaning it and the decorations, then adding clean water and waiting for it to return to room temperature before you can put Betta back in his home.

Tanks with filtration are simply easier to care for. And the larger the tank, the easier it is to maintain the system. A 55-gallon tank is much, much easier to maintain than a 1-gallon tank.

That's not to say your Betta needs a 55-gallon tank of course, but a 5-10 gallon tank isn't a bad idea.

The actions of a filter also help to oxygenate the water. Betta do best with low-flow filtration, as they tend to get knocked around a lot by high-output filters. Even a low-flow filter will help with oxygenation.

Below are a couple of filters to consider for your Betta. No matter what you choose, keep an eye on your fish at first and make sure he is coping with the water movement without any problems.

Azoo Mignon Filter 60

This is an inexpensive nano filter for small tanks up to 10 gallons. There are a few things I like about it. The first is the adjustable flow rate. As stated before, Betta don't do well with fast-moving currents. They tend to get pushed around the tank, and that, of course, causes stress.

With this filter, you can position it and adjust the flow so your Betta isn't struggling.

I like that it's a hang-on-back filter. Many nano filters are fully submersible, and they take up a lot of space in the tank. If you're already starting with a small tank, you don't want to cut down your Betta's swimming area even more with a bulky filter. With the Azoo Mignon, only the intake submerges.

Finally, I like that you can add your own filter media. Some filters are cartridge-based, and when the cartridge gets dirty you have to replace it with the exact same type of cartridge. With this filter, you can use whatever fits. You might just want to use a sponge to catch debris, or you may want to include something like activated carbon.

Rio Mini 90 Internal Power Filter

Here's another good choice for small tanks. It an internal filter, so it will take up a little space and attaches to the inside of the tank by suction cups. But it's a fairly small design that can be placed vertically or horizontally, so you can tuck it out of the way.

The output can be adjusted by the various included adapters, as well as the direction of the water output, to help keep Betta stress-free.

Like the Azoo above, you have the choice of different filter media.

This little filter would be a great upgrade for one of those aquarium kits that comes with the 1, 2, or 3- gallon tank plus the hood and the air-pump filter. People love those tanks for Betta fish, but they have their drawbacks.

Those air-pump filters are designed to be a type of under-gravel filter, and frankly they don't work very well. Even if debris gets sucked down into the gravel, there it stays to foul the water. It's far better to have a filter with a removable sponge so you can clean out any debris.

Does a Betta Need a Heater?

When people keep Betta fish in bowls or small tanks they usually don't consider a heater. This means the water temperature will be governed by the surrounding air temperature.

This can be bad news. Though people don't often think of them this way, Betta are tropical fish. That means they live in warmer water in the wild. They require temperatures from the mid-70s, up to around 80 degrees.

If your room temperature is consistently in the mid-70s at the lowest, you can get by without a heater. This is true of any tropical fish tank. But if you have periods, at night for instance, when room temperature drops into the 60s or even 50s, you need to consider a heater for your Betta's tank.

Just like pollution, water temperature is easier to control in larger volumes of water. The water temperature in a 1-3 gallon tank or bowl will drop fast as the air temperature goes down.

A 10-gallon tank will take a little longer to adjust, and big tanks even longer still.

Low water temperatures will cause stress for your Betta, and make him more at risk of disease and premature death. Remember, just because he's surviving doesn't mean he's thriving. You need to keep your Betta's water temperature between 75-80 degrees if you want him to be as healthy as possible.

One of the problems with very small tanks is that even very small heaters may heat them up too much, and you could end up killing your Betta.

This is all the more reason you should consider a tank 5 gallons or bigger for your Betta fish.

You need to monitor the water temperature and make adjustments to the heater size and/or settings as you go. Ideally, you should set up the tank, heater included, before you ever add your Betta to make sure the temperature is staying within desirable ranges.

A 5-gallon tank with a filter and nano heater is the perfect home for a betta fish.
A 5-gallon tank with a filter and nano heater is the perfect home for a betta fish. | Source

Taking Care of Your Betta Fish

Although I'd really like to see you choose a larger tank with filtration and a heater for your Betta, you can keep him in a bowl if you stay on top of weekly water changes and make sure the water temperature is appropriate for his needs.

Missing a water change, or two, or three, will soon mean doom for your pet fish.

If you are too busy to perform the weekly maintenance on a smaller vessel, consider keeping your Betta in a 5 or 10-gallon tank with a heater and filtration. It's less work for you, and a better environment for him.

Betta fish are truly the most abused aquarium fish in the world, by both their well-meaning but uneducated owners and by an industry that pushes them out by the millions as disposable pets. It's unfortunate, but countless Bettas are purchased every day by people who have no clue about their needs.

It's all about education. The first part is understanding how to care for your Betta fish correctly. The second part is telling someone else, so more of these fish can thrive instead of just survive.

Please consider keeping your Betta fish in at least a 5-gallon tank with the proper filtration and heater.

Your Betta Tank

What size tank will you keep your Betta in?

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    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      9 days ago from USA

      @Susan - I would not add a betta to a 5-gallon tank that already has four tetras in it. Your tank will be overstocked. Please stick with the tetras or consider upgrading to a larger tank.

    • profile image

      susan 

      9 days ago

      I recently added 4 tetra to my 5 gallon tank, which were the first fish to be in it... i thought to allow inhabitants to get acclimated before welcoming a betta to be included to the neighborhood...

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      2 weeks ago from USA

      @Sara - I always advise keeping bettas in 5-gallon tanks or larger, but if you take care of him well he can have a happy if life in his current situation. If you find it possible to upgrade his tank at some point in the future you may want to consider it.

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      Sara 

      2 weeks ago

      I just bought my first beta and set up a 2.5 gallon tank with a small low flow filter and some silk plants for it to take shelter in but I still feel like i'm not doing enough for it. I spent as much money as a could on the tank setup. Can a beta live happily in these conditions or should I save up money to replace its tank and get a bigger one with live plants. My main worries are that I don't have the space or the budget to do so.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      2 weeks ago from USA

      @Cary - Sounds like you are on the right track. I agree it would be beneficial to discuss the nitrogen cycle in this article and next update I may include a section on it.

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      Cary 

      2 weeks ago

      Being a first time betta owner, i was uneducated about them in the first place. My wife began a project working with Betta breeders and i became fascinated. I bought my first Betta and a 2 gallon tank. I started researching and found that adding plants and a 5 gallon tank would be better, so i bought a really nice 5 gallon tank and placed living plants inside and on top of the water. My Betta is certainly much happier, though one thing not mentioned in the article is the nitrogen cycle. That caught me and my Betta and now I'm changing water twice daily to avoid nitrite poisoning. It's almost over though, but if someone buys a tank, they have to know about the nitrogen cycle, otherwise their fish will die a brutal death from ammonia and nitrite.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      4 weeks ago from USA

      @Monica - Sounds like you are doing everything you can. Keep the water clean and feeding under control and hopefully he'll live a long life. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Monica 

      4 weeks ago

      Hello I want my betta to be happy and healthy but an Aqueon 1 gallon minibow tank is the best I can do. It is a filtered tank and I keep it heated and keep an eye on the temperature. I took extra filter material and wrapped it around the filter intake tube and covered it in pantyhose to reduce suction because it is a small tank and I know bettas typically do not like moving water. I plan on a 25-30% water change weekly and a monthly filter change any siphoning. Can you recommend anything different and in addition to what I'm doing? Thank you!

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      4 weeks ago from USA

      @Cassandra - Bettas sometimes sit on the bottom. Unless you see other issues it is probably nothing to worry about.

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      cassandra greenwood 

      4 weeks ago

      is it ok for a fighting fish to sit on the bottom tank

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      Daniel Kim 

      2 months ago

      Hi again Eric, thanks for the quick reply. I do have a larger tank buy do not have the space for it. While Googling, this tank pops up and I kinda like what it advertised so I bought and uses this one because of the function.

      I did stop after 5 tiny bits of the freeze dried worm. I'm just happy that he started to eat compare to when I first got him for few days. I also just found out you have a Faq for betta feeding. Got it. Pellets or flakes as staple food and freeze fried worm as treats.

      Thanks again for your expertise. I'll keep an eye on him and perhaps find a place for a larger tank.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      2 months ago from USA

      Hi Daniel - I'm not really familiar with that tank. I just took a look at it and it seems like an interesting idea, as long as it works correctly. It is awfully small, though. I like to see bettas in at least 5-gallon tanks.

      I'd be careful with overfeeding and only give anything but pellets or flakes as supplemental treats. If you feed a good staple food plus a variety of treats he should be okay as far as his nutritional needs.

      You ought to be able to manage his water parameters and keep them healthy without bacterial drops. You can experiment with them if you want but make sure you keep an eye on things.

      Good luck!

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      Daniel 

      2 months ago

      Hi Eric, thanks for the filterization and heater tips. I just got myself a hagen marina ez care tank about 0.7 gallon. Is this tank good enough in your opinion? As I do not need to disturb my betta for the water change. As for food, I am currently feeding him once a day with freeze dried tubifex worms. He seems to be enjoying it a lot. But I have other concerns, such as vitamins and good bacterial drops, are these necessary?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      2 months ago from USA

      Hi Jesse.

      1. Yes. You need to perform regular water changes and tank maintenance even if you have a filter.

      2. Hard to say, but he may just get startled. You may be overfeeding a little too.

      3. Bettas come in all different colors, and some are brighter than others. But if you aren't changing the water and if you are overfeeding there is a chance he isn't as bright as he could be. Get on a good maintenance schedule for your tank, get the feeding under control and get an inexpensive freshwater test kit so you can measure and manage his water parameters.

      Hope this helps. Good luck!

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      Jesse Hui 

      2 months ago

      -Do I need to change my crowntails betta water if I have a water filter? It’s a 3 gallon tank.

      -Why does my betta swim everywhere when I get close to his tank? I feed him twice daily, 2-3 tetra pallets each time.

      - Is it normal that he doesn’t have vibrant colors? He’s red only at the back fin and everywhere else he is like a purple grayish color, I bought him that way.

    • profile image

      nagyany 

      3 months ago

      Thank you again Eric Dockett for your quick answer.

      He lived most of his life with this shell in his bowl and I take extra care to place it in such manner on the gravel that he can not injure himself in any way with it. The leaves of the decoration are made of silk with the plastic parts rounded and polished and all of them passed the “pantyhose-test”, and I would not think that the leaves of the only live Anubia plant could hurt his fins.

      This little guy makes me admire his creativity and geniality when it comes to hurting himself. Thank you again for your advice. I’ll keep watching him and maybe one day I’ll be lucky enough to catch him in the act and confiscate his “weapons”. :)

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      3 months ago from USA

      @nagyany - Is it possible he is scraping against the shell? Or the cut leaves? The only thing I can say is to watch him for a while and see if he is squeezing himself into places or scraping against things that could injure his fin. Otherwise, I really can't guess.

      If you choose to use the salt I wouldn't use more than about half a tsp for the whole tank, but since he healed up without it before I probably wouldn't use it unless I saw signs of infection. If you can remove the source of his injuries the clean water should be all he needs. Good luck!

    • profile image

      nagyany 

      3 months ago

      Thank you Eric Dockett for your quick answer, nice words and good advices. I came back with an update and new questions.

      So, I kept my little critter in his bowl, as you suggested while I was cycling the 5 gallon tank. For the first 10 days I did daily water changes, and the injuries healed really well and then I switched to 30% water changes in every 2-3 days and one 100% water change per week until the 5 gallon tank was cycling. His scales are healed completely now and I can hardly see where the injuries were, the scales grew back, and they just have a slightly lighter color then the older scales. As I read a lot of contradictory things about the dosage of sea-salt and how dangerous it could be if done improperly I did not dare to use it, and luckily the frequent water changes did their effect.

      The cycling of the 5 gallon tank took me 28 looooong days, but it was worth the effort. I put my little betta in his new heated and filtered home 3 weeks ago, with 4 silk plants, 6 Marimo balls, an Anubias barteri nana and a sea-shell that he used have in his bowl for more than a year now and seems to love resting on [I know it’s not a good idea to have sea-shells in freshwater tank, but the former owner of the fish did not know about it and Joy seems to love it, and I did not have the heart to take it away from him]. His water is constantly heated to 25 degrees C [77 degrees F], with 0 ppm Ammonia and Nitrite and 10 ppm Nitrate.

      So life was good, the little guy seemed happy about the new home, eats like crazy, swims, has his favorite spots to rest and to hide, and builds his bubble-nests weekly. BUT even though I was extra cautious not to put anything that could cause him any injury, even made some kind of a mask for the sponge of the filter to keep this little critter away not to scrape his scales again, somehow he managed to tear his fins. He seems to have a super-power of finding out ways to injure himself and drive me nuts :D I even cut round the silk plants’ leaves that are made of plastic so that he can not tear his fins with them, still today morning I woke up to find him with his caudal fins torn in 4 or 5 places. This part of his fin is so much torn as if it would be the caudal-fins of a crown tail betta. [He might think that is the new trend:) ]. Could you please help me guessing what could cause this and how should I Protect and heal him? [My only guess would be that he might have bit it, as I can not think of anything that could cause such an injury inside of his tank.] Should I start dosing some sea-salt in his tank? What would be the safe dosage of it? Would it mess up the cycle in the tank? Or should I take him out of the big tank and put him back in his bowl to treat his fins by doing daily water-changes and eventually dosing some sea-salt?

      Thank you for your patience, that you read this long post and thank you in advance for your advices and treatment ideas.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      5 months ago from USA

      @nagyany - Good to see you are thinking things through, but try not to drive yourself crazy.

      I would do the fish-less cycle and keep him in the smaller tank for now. My main concern with moving him is the stress from his injury. While the new tank is cycling try to keep his present tank water clean. As he is injured, you may consider dosing it with a small amount of aquarium salt for about a week.

      If you don't have one, you'll want to get a water testing kit to see how things are going with the cycle. I don't think it will take months or even weeks, but it's hard to say.

      You can speed things along by introducing some of the gravel from his present tank into the filter or substrate of the new tank. You'll want to keep it in a fish net or mesh bag if you don't want it in there permanently. This will help the microbial colonies grow faster.

      If you were to just move him into the five-gallon tank today and keep up with water changes it would not be ideal but he'd probably be fine. That's what most people would do. But I'm really glad to see you are trying to give him a good home and cycle the tank properly. Good luck!

    • profile image

      nagyany 

      5 months ago

      Hi there! I'm new for fish-keeping and I would really like some advice. A friend of mine moves abroad and gave me her betta fish - Joy - to take care of. The fish is about 1 year old and he lives in a 2.2 gallon fishbowl without a heater or filter. As he is going to live with me and be my new little buddy I would like to grant him the best life-conditions possible. So I bought a 5 gallon tank [Aquael smart shrimp set] with a Pat mini filter and heater included. I read that I should start by cycling it, but there are a lot of infos out there and I'm totally confused. As i have never had a fish before and noone around me whom I could ask for help I really have to jump in and and try to do my best for this buddy. The only think I know for sure that I don't want to use bottled ammonia for cycling. I like this little critter and I would not like to harm him in any way. He seems happy and active in his fish-bowl, so what would you suggest? Should I risk a fish-in-cycle with Tetra Safe Start or should I try to cycle the new fish tank with fish-food and leave him in his bow until the cycle is over? Which one is better for him? [I know that he has been in his 2.2 gallon fishbowl prior for a whole month without any water-change and he survived it, but I can not stand letting him in such poor conditions].

      I do also have to add that he had scraped himself to a decoration that I thought it would be safe to add to his bowl as a hiding place and now he misses a few scales from his head. I took out the decoration immediately and proceed with daily 100 % water changes to avoid any infections. How should I proceed. Please give me advice, as under the present circumstances I don't know which state is more harmful, letting him for 1-2 more months in his fish-bowl or trying to move him to the heated and filtered 5 gallon tank and expose him to the risks of cycling process. Thank you in advance for your answers.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      6 months ago from USA

      @Ava - That's a matter of opinion. Some fishkeepers do dose their tanks with aquarium salt with every water change. I am more of the opinion that it is better to save it for when it is necessary. I see the pros and cons of both approaches. That's just my opinion.

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      Ava 

      6 months ago

      I just recently bought some aquarium salt for my betta and was wondering if it is ok to add every water change?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      7 months ago from USA

      Hi Sarah. I don't think you are overthinking, and the folks in the pet store, as often the case, seem to have a very simplistic view of fish care.

      Bettas can adjust to slightly higher pH but 8.5 does seem a little too high. There are over-the-counter water treatment products that will lower pH, and you might want to try some natural solutions such as a small piece of driftwood. Try to get it as close to 7 as you can. You can also use spring water, as you've been. Just don't use "distilled" water.

      I think you want to get your betta out of that cup ASAP. Whatever is going on in the tank, it is unlikely worse than that cup.

      Good luck! While I don't endorse the idea of bettas as disposable pets, if something goes wrong try to be too hard on yourself. You can learn from the experience and try again.

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      Sarah J 

      7 months ago

      Hi there! Great post. My husband spontaneously bought me a betta and a 1 gallon tank for Valentine’s Day. I have had only ever had goldfish so decided to do research, so glad i did. I returned the 1gallon in place of a 3.5 gallon (really only space we have) and it has a low current filter and small heater. I haven’t yet introduced “rainbow” to the tank yet as I’m having issues with ph levels and a hard water area. It’s too alkaline (8.5+) and i have tried tap with dechlorinator as well as Crystal Geyser spring water to bring it down. I don’t want to add him to the tank and have him die but he’s in the tiny container from store and I’m worried that will kill him if he’s stuck in there much longer. My husband thinks I’m way over thinking it all but all life matters to me so i want to do the best i can for him! The petsmart staff all said “they like small spaces” which i know to be incorrect from what I’m reading. The pet stores all have the mentality that i can just “buy another one” if he doesn’t make it! That’s just wrong to me. How long should i wait to introduce him? My nitrate and chlorine levels are 0 but not sure if the high ph will be a problem.

    • profile image

      Leslie 

      7 months ago

      A new owner of beautiful male Betta fish... 5.5-gallon tank, no filtration, no heater...74.5 degree.

      I already love my Betta.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      7 months ago from USA

      @Stephanie - I can't say I agree with the assessment by your local fish store person, especially if it was a low-flow filter. I can't imagine why such a filter in itself would cause harm to your fish. Glad he is doing better though.

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      Stephanie Rymas 

      7 months ago

      Just wanted to post a comment about what happened to me putting my betta, Drako, from a non-filtered to filtered tank. This past Sunday, Drako's bowl developed a stress crack. The bowl broke, luckily I was right there, and everything poured out including Drako. I caught him in my hand an immediately got him into a cup. He had had been in this 1 1/2 gallon glass bowl for about a year. Monday I decided to upgrade him to a 3 1/2 gallon filtered tank. Everything I read said they should really be in a larger, filtered tank anyway. Finally got him in Monday afternoon and he seemed happy as good be. The filter was a very low flow waterfall type filter. Tuesday, noticed he was staying at top of the tank, struggling to swim, starting listing. I attributed this to the stress of the bowl breaking. At 6 that eve he looked really bad. My husband suggested unplugging the filter, since he never had one. Did, and by 11 that eve it looked to me like he wasn't going to make it. the next morning he was swimming around, diving back to bottom of tank. Back to himself. Went to my local fish store and they informed me that if we had left filter on, he would have died. It was because of such a drastic change in his environment. He is now back to being a happy, healthy betta.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      8 months ago from USA

      @Aiden - Nope, not too big. :-)

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      Aiden 

      8 months ago

      I keep my betta in a 15 gallon heated and filtered tank. It this too big for him?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      8 months ago from USA

      @Lizzie - I'm not familiar with that filter system and what it removes from the water, or what is already in your city water. You *might* be okay using the filtered water along with a water conditioner for aquariums, but I can't say for sure.

      @Pratyush - 65 degrees is too cold for bettas. Surely he'd survive for a while but it is not optimal.

      @ Shelly - Moss balls are fine for bettas.

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      Shelley 

      8 months ago

      Are moss balls good for your Betta tank?

    • profile image

      Lizzie 

      8 months ago

      Hi! I have a Berkey water system (system cleans city water and filters all the bad chemicals out) so I was wondering if I could just use that filtered water and clean it every week like you said without a filter?

    • profile image

      Julie 

      8 months ago

      I have 3 different betta tanks and I having trouble finding the right filter and heater for them. Two are a 10 gallon tank and one is a 2.2 gallon tank

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      9 months ago from USA

      @Kathy - Depends on why your Betta died (I am assuming he did). If he had an infection or parasites you may be endangering the new fish. If he died because tank conditions were poor you'll want to address that. If he died of old age you're probably fine.

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      Kathy 

      9 months ago

      Do I have to clean my aquarium water after I get ready to put something else besides Betta

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      9 months ago from USA

      Hi Rachel! Glad to hear you are advocating for proper betta treatment! My best advice on heaters for small tanks is to always check the specs listed by the manufacturer when choosing a heater and get one rated for the correct tank size. You also want a heater that's easy to adjust, and you'll need an inexpensive thermometer to keeps track of the temp in your tank.

      I've read about cases where a heater was too powerful, even though it was supposedly for bowls or small tanks, and ended up killing the fish because it heated the water too much. That's obviously what you want to avoid, and that's why it's so important to choose an adjustable model with the correct rating.

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      Rachel Patterson 

      9 months ago

      Hi Eric!

      My husband was totally guilty of uneducated betta ownage, he brought home two betta fish for our son's and a ONE gallon container with a divider :O

      I did get them quickly into a 1.5 gallon each, but we will be upgrading to a 5 gallon tank for each here on Christmas.

      Do you have any heater recommendations for a 5 gallon tank? I really appreciated the price of the filters you listed, both were reasonable, but so far the heaters I have seen for tanks this size are just a constant on ones or the ones that you can set the actual temperature to just have terrible reviews! Our house is kept warm, because I am someone who is always cold lol, so I am sure our betta's will survive but I want them to be happy in their environment as well.

      Thanks in advance!

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      9 months ago from USA

      Hi Joe. That's a bit of a tough situation in a tank that small when the filter is not adjustable. I've had some success with arranging decorations so they slow the flow of water coming out of the filter. You can try adding extra elements if the filter allows you to do so. That might help. All you can really do is experiment and see if you can find a method that works. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Joe 

      9 months ago

      I have a filter that has a little bit more power than I think is necessary for the 5 gallon tank. I got it from someone else. How would you recommend I break the flow from the filter so my fish doesn't get pushed around too much?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      11 months ago from USA

      Hi Matthew. I don't know if your betta will survive or not, but those are not ideal conditions. I always recommend a tank of at least 5 gallons. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Matthew 

      11 months ago

      Hello I was wondering I have a 0.7 gallon tank with a live plant in it. Not can I put a betta in it and will it survive?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      11 months ago from USA

      @Kaylynn: A little more light in the room will prevent him from seeing himself.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      13 months ago from USA

      @Alex: You are correct that warmer water can speed up biological processes slightly, but I don't think that's a reason not to use a heater for a tropical fish. If you let your tank get too warm, that could be a problem.

    • profile image

      Alex leimone 

      13 months ago

      Okay so I don't have a heater but I have a five gal with a filter, the water is clean and the tank is in direct sunlight but there are objects to hide behind. Anyhow having a heater can sometimes cause more harm than good since heat can help speed up infections cold water can cause stress, so I'm kinda stuck In a root here......

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      13 months ago from USA

      @Maya: There are small heaters that may work for you. Just be very sure you monitor your tank conditions closely, especially temperature. Those small tanks can heat up too much sometimes.

      A better solution would be to upgrade to a 10-gallon tank where you can have a proper heater and filtration system. :-)

      Good luck whatever you decide.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      15 months ago from USA

      Thanks for the kind words, Melissa! And nice move upgrading Betta to a better tank. Just be careful that the heater and filter for the small tank are enough to do the job in the 10 gallon. Good luck and glad Betta is happy!

    • profile image

      Melissa coppola 

      15 months ago

      I really like this post.Your information is true and accurate unlike other posts i've read to do research on. When i first got my betta i bought a 2.5 gallon tank and was doing water changes every few days to weekly.Then i kept doing research on my lil buddy and read online how they love to swim. So i said im upgrading to a 10 gallon tank to give him more room and it was the best choice i ever made. I also moved the tank to an area where we are more too and he loves the interaction. My 2.5 had a filter and heater for a 10 gallon so i just moved it to my tank to save money and decorated with real plants and a store bought fake tree trunk drift wood piece and he was a different fish when i put him in there. He is more active and looks like he is smiling at times. He swims like crazy now and his fins stay fanned out alot more now. If you are reading this and deciding to get a bigger tank that might seem like a "waste" for you because its only 1 fish remember the rule all fish owners should know 1 gallon per inch of fish. Would you want to live the rest of your days in a tiny bowl or vase?

    • profile image

      Melissa 

      16 months ago

      I have a 6.5 gal semi hex tank with a beta and 3 neon tetras and a mystery snail. I've had the beta for awhile and added the tetras and snail about a month ago. So far so good. Everyone is getting along fine. I decorated with a fern in the corner and a decorative coliseum piece across the way.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      17 months ago from USA

      @Renny: I think you are probably right that he must have collided with something. Unless he is missing scales or something I'd just let him be to heal up on his own. The best remedy for an injured fish is low stress and clean water. If he has an open wound, scrape or missing scales you may consider dosing the tank with aquarium salt for a few days.

      It may be that he injured his fin to the point that it won't be the same again. He can still live a normal life.

      I'd take a look around the tank and see if there is anywhere he could have gotten stuck. None of the decorations you mentioned seem to be any particular problem, but a startled fish can run into anything and get hurt.

      Hope he's fine! Good luck!

    • profile image

      Renny Miles 

      17 months ago

      I have a male half moon beta in a 3 gallon tank. He has a filter and light but not a heater. I am looking for one now after I read the article.

      One of his little pectoral fins are bent like an elbow! I don't know what happened I came back from school (I check on all my fish when I get back) and I guessed he ran into something. He has one of the fake leaf that have a suction cup that sticks to the side of the tank so he can rest on, rocks, a "fish school" to hide in, and a little rubber anemone.

      If you have any idea what it was and if I can fix it please tell me. Thank you.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      19 months ago from USA

      @Betta Novice: I assume your intent is breeding, and unfortunately I don't have a lot of experience breeding Bettas.

      If you don't intend to breed them my opinion is they would be better off in separate tanks.

      Good luck, whatever you are up to!

    • profile image

      Betta novice 

      19 months ago

      I have 3 bettas ( 2 male, 1 female) I am having a custom tank buit, should be ready in about a week. The tank dimensions are 75cm length, 38cm wide & 25cm deep. The tank will have 2 dividers giving each betta 25cm length. I haven't decided yet how many filters or heaters.

      What are your thoughts on this? Are the dimensions ok?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      20 months ago from USA

      @John: What you read is correct. You need to adjust the light level in the room so they don't see themselves in the reflection in the glass.

    • profile image

      John Delgadillo 

      20 months ago

      I habe two Betta. Both male. Both in their own tanks. One is on my night stand in a 1.5 gallon tank that has the filter, heater, couple of real plants and a small cave he likes to go in and out of. The tank also has a led light and is covered. The second is in a 2.5 gallon glass bowl. We rigged the same type of filter with suction cups to work in the bowl and got a heater also. He also has a couple of plants and a cave to swim into and play. They both explore and stay active. They have also both discovered their reflections on the walls of the tank. One tank has a led light and one tank does not have a light. I have read that the lighting in the area or on the tank needs to be changed so this does not continue to happen. Seriously one of the fish is on the head hunt going after himself fiercely. What suggestions do you have for me.

      Thank you in advance.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      20 months ago from USA

      @Levi: Moving him to a larger tank and keeping the temperature at the correct level should help a bit, but you do need to keep the substrate tidy to prevent too much trapped debris from decaying in there. Even if you do water changes, if there is waste and uneaten food lurking in the gravel it could quickly foul the water again. Just keep doing your best to keep his tank clean. Good luck and I hope he recovers!

    • profile image

      Levi Alexander 

      20 months ago

      Our Beta has pop eye. We have been treating him with Bettafix as recommended by the pet store for a few days. He appears to have more energy but his eyes are not getting any better.

      As for his living conditions, he is in a 1 gallon tank (now that I've read this I'll put him in a bigger one), we use a heating pad under his tank because the heater made the water too hot even though it said it was for a desktop aquarium. We change his water regularly, but I had never even heard of vacuuming the rocks.

      Any suggestions?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      20 months ago from USA

      @Austin: That sounds like a nice idea. However, I ask you to reconsider where you are buying your Betta. While the idea of a "rescue" seems kind, remember that the store doesn't see it as a rescue. Instead, they say to themselves, "Hey, people are buying our Betta fish! Awesome! Let's stock more!"

      Instead of "rescuing" a Betta, why not take your business to a store that treats fish humanely? Keep that store in business, and maybe that other store will stop selling fish altogether some day.

    • profile image

      Austin 

      20 months ago

      I have a 6.5 gallon tank that I use to heal damaged aquarium plants. I'm considering putting in a Betta fish. To benefit the plants with bacterial and water movement and to rescue a Walmart Betta from impending death by in store negligence

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      20 months ago from USA

      @Adam4449: The 20 gal is much better than the one gallon. It's a bit large for one fish but certainly superior to a tiny 1-gallon tank. He will be fine in it, but you do need a filter. With the 20-gallon tank You can grow some live plants and even explore the idea of a few tankmates for your Betta. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Adam4449 

      20 months ago

      Hello.Just bought a betta fish from a major pet store. it had a small white dot on its belly I bought a 20 gallon and the water has been ready and running for a week before it arrived. I have a nice heater at 80 all the time no filter.The fish did not eat betta food, blood worm, or shrimp that I had from previous fish ( it's been 5 days ) I read that it can take a week before they start eating. Not the fish looks sick and the belly and back is turning white or lighter color. The fish is moving around. Now I moved it to a 1 gallon tank maybe a 20 gallon is too big to be without a filter? Thanks

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      21 months ago from USA

      Hi Alfie: I don't agree with the killing them part so much, but I do think it is a shame so many people keep bettas in such horrid conditions.

    • profile image

      AlfieTheBetta 

      21 months ago

      So sad and scary to see that majority of Betta owners having them in a 1 gallon. That is literally a torture chamber. You are better off killing your betta right away than keeping it in a 1 gallon. That is the worse living condition a betta can be in.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      21 months ago from USA

      Hi Laken. Check out my article on betta care referenced earlier in this article. It has all the info you need. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Laken 

      21 months ago

      Hi, I find this article very helpful, but I just got my betta fish yesterday. I know for the most part on how to take care of them I just have not had one before. Someone got this for me so I would really love to have it happy with its new home. As of now, I have him in a 1gallon bowl without a heater or filtration. I have one little plant and some pebbles. I really think I need to at least get him a two gallon tank, but I do not have much space. Could you give me some tips on bowl cleaning, feeding, water changes, or anything else I need to do to make my fish happy. As of right now he does not look very happy. Any recommendations will be truly appreciated. Thank you.

    • profile image

      anon 

      21 months ago

      I just bought a massive 60 gallon tank on impulse for my betta haha, this article was great help thankyou!!!

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      21 months ago from USA

      Well done, Kaylin!

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      21 months ago from USA

      Hi MB. Of course you know I am going to say the tank is too small, but otherwise I think you are on the right track. I try to avoid using medications to treat disease except when absolutely necessary. Clean water and low stress will help him recover from the fin rot. The lack of filter in such a small tank isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as you keep up with water changes. Good luck!

    • profile image

      MB 

      21 months ago

      So mine is in a 1.4 gal tank. I have bought the heater but have been told repeatedly that betas that are pets don't like filters in smaller tanks. That being said, I have only had my boy for 3 days! I plan on weekly water changes which I really don't mind, I feel guilty about not having a filter but there is just no more space for anything else. I monitor his temp with two different types of thermometers, he has a huge moss ball in there, and three smaller plants with a little hidey hole in there too that's larger than a quarter! I have conditioned his water with the drops I bought too. I think he's got some early Fin rot, which I'm going to go get drops from petco to add to his next water change. He has had a rough start, my cat got into the first bowl he was in, so I traded up for the 1.4 imagitarium cube which has a better seal on it. I'm hesitant to change waterand everything right away because of all the stress from the last 2 1/2 days. I'm scared it'll be too much for him!

      I guess what I'm wondering is if I'm setting him up to fail or if I'm setting him up to succeed? Any advice to share?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      23 months ago from USA

      Hi Kady. He is not lonely. Betta fish don't get lonely, and you're right: the tank is too small for any other fish. It sounds like he has fin rot, which is typically brought on by stress and/or poor water conditions.

      I'm wondering if you are over-cleaning his tank and killing off the helpful bacteria that live in the gravel and the filter. I also wonder if you might be over-feeding a little. Perhaps try backing off on his feeding and giving him a fast day once a week. You can probably get a little more mileage out of those filter elements too. Healthy microbe colonies will develop on it and help keep the water clean. When you change it once a month they never have a chance to grow.

      If possible, keep him in his tank while doing the water change. The stress of removing him is likely worse than what he'd experience if you kept him in there. You can vacuum the gravel with a small siphon and add warmish water back to the tank when you're done.

      Good luck and let me know what happens!

    • profile image

      Kady 

      23 months ago

      I have my crowntail male in a 5.5 gallon tank with a heater at 78 degrees Fahrenheit and a filter that he likes swimming with,because the current isn't too strong. Every month I change the filter cartridge and every 2 weeks I do a 50% water change. I even have a small bowl (2 gallons) to keep him in while I clean his tank.

      He has a castle to hide in and 2 silk plants he likes resting on. I have gravel that I clean out on his tank floor. He's fed a rotating diet of flakes, pellets, and brine shrimp. I turn off his light at night and I turn off his filter while he's eating so it won't steal his food. I always make sure the water is conditioned and warm too.

      he has a perfect life, but he seems so stressed out. His tail has lots of black dots on it, which weren't there before, and it looks like he's been chewing on it. I'm not sure if he's just lonely, but I don't have any room for tetras or snails in his tank. Any suggestions on what I can do to make him happy again?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      24 months ago from USA

      Hi Amy! If the class room is around 78 degrees then the tank water should be around 78 degrees. That's a good temp, and the heater will keep it stable. No need to take him out. Just make sure you monitor the water temp so you know the heater is working properly. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Amy 

      24 months ago

      Hi, I have a new betta in a 5 gallon tank with a filter but no heater. He is in my classroom at school and the classroom stays around 78 degrees. It is a school building so stays fairly chilly. I have ordered a 25 watt heather for my tank (it will be here tomorrow).. But I was wondering if its safe for the fish to add the heater and slowly adjust the temperature? Or do I need to take him out?

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      2 years ago from USA

      Hi Julie. Fin rot is typically due to poor water conditions. Review your tank maintenance practices and see what you think might be wrong. Keep his tank water clean and clear, and if it is really bad you may dose with aquarium salt for a few days to prevent infection. Otherwise, it's just a matter of keeping the water clean and waiting for the fins to grow back. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Julie 

      2 years ago

      I think my betta has Finn rot. I have a 2.5 gallon tank with a filter but no heater. He is a little over a year old and has done fine up until now. I just did 100% water change which I don't like to do often and he really went down hill after that. What can I do to save him?? Please help. He's very tired and gets pulled around when the filter is on which never happened before so he hides in his house. Please help Sully!

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      2 years ago from USA

      Hi Brandon. If your Amazon Sword survives it is going to be busting out of that little 1-gallon tank. They are large plants that will easily grow to the top of a 75-gallon tank. I'd think about replacing the plant with a decoration your Betta can hide in. In a tank that small you're going to have to do full water changes and cleanings anyway, and that's going to make it tough for the plant and the fish. Up to you.

      As for Betta, if you just got him yesterday it is certainly possible he is still adjusting to his new home. Don't interpret all weird behaviors as something wrong. Look for specific behaviors like glass surfing, or watch for his face and jaw turning gray or white. These are signs he is stressed.

      Good luck with Betta! If your school allows 5-gallon tanks I seriously suggest upgrading him ASAP. 1-gallon is very small, even for a single Betta.

    • profile image

      Brandon 

      2 years ago

      I'm a college student and we are can't have very large tanks so my Betta is in a 1 gallon tank that National Geographic makes. He has an Amazon Sword plant, some blue gravel, and obviously water (treated with conditioner made by Aqueon). That's all that's in his tank, besides occasional food. I just got him yesterday from PetSmart. He seems happy enough, but it's like he goes on pause for a while sometimes and just freezes and floats. I just want to make sure he's OK, my thought is he's still just adjusting from his move.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      2 years ago from USA

      Hi Kelsey. If your room is around 75-80 degrees you don't need to worry about the heater.

      Re: saving Bettas. You didn't do anything wrong, so please don't take this in a negative way. Just for future reference and for anyone else who reads this:

      "Saving" a fish from a bad pet store seems nice, but in reality when we do that we are reinforcing the behavior of the store. Some stores have no business selling fish, and buying from them (as far as they are concerned) tells them we like their product, and are happy to buy them. They just see the numbers. They don't know why we did it.

      If you don't like how a store manages their fish, you can talk to the manager. I actually did that once with a big store store like the one you mentioned, and they really did listen and make a change.

      I hope your Betta lives a long life and you don't need to buy another for a very long time. But if and when you do, it always better to buy from and support a store that manages their stock in a more humane way.

      Food for thought. Good luck with your Betta and let me know if I can help!

    • profile image

      Kelsey 

      2 years ago

      I feel so bad want to get a Heater but can afford it at the moment however I do have a filter a bubble maker set on low and everything else just for now don't have a heater and recommendations. I saved my beta from Walmart they way they treat their betas are horrid!!my room is extremely warm but I want to make sure my beta is as safe as possible

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      2 years ago from USA

      Always check the manufacturer recommendations for tank sizes when it comes to heaters. It's smarter and safer than guessing. :-)

    • profile image

      Betta newbie 

      2 years ago

      Can I use this filter for a ten gallon??

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      2 years ago from USA

      Hi VexiWolf. I don't feel all that confident recommending a heater for a 1.5 gallon tank. There are small heaters intended for bowls you may try. You need to be really careful it doesn't overheat the water, though.

      If the filter current is stressing him out to the point where he won't even move, you may be better off without it. You can do a weekly water change for a small tank like that pretty easily, but make sure you stay on top of it. Otherwise, there are nano filters you can try, but again that's a very small volume of water.

      Really, my advice is to get him into a bigger tank. You'll find more and better options for heat and filtration for 5 and 10-gallon tanks. It will be easier for you to maintain, and a better living situation for him.

      It's up to you. Good luck, whatever you decide!

    • profile image

      VexiWolf 

      2 years ago

      Hi there,

      I just got my half-moon double tail betta a couple of days ago. I haven't had a fish since I was in grade school and I really wanted to give it a shot and do it right. I haven't bought a heater for my API 1.5 gallon tank and I know that the water is below the desired temperature. Is there a good heater that I can use to help get him through the winter months? I've been doing research like crazy but I haven't found anything.

      Also the filter that came with the tank has a current that is way too strong, I can't change out the filter and I'm not exactly sure how to divert the flow so my betta can swim around more easily. He's been sitting at the bottom of the tank with stress lines running over his body.

      The poor thing is so stressed out, I don't know what to do...

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      2 years ago from USA

      Hi Isabella. It's tough to guess about the lip thing. A few thoughts:

      -Try him on a feed/fast schedule for a week or so.

      -Make sure the water temp is appropriate. Should be 75-80 degrees as any tropical fish.

      -Lightly dose his tank with freshwater aquarium salt (NOT marine salt) in case there is an infection brewing. Discontinue the salt if his condition improves.

      -Don't use distilled water. Many of the minerals are removed. Switch to quality spring water.

      I'd try those options before anything else. If you can identify it as a fungal or bacterial infection you'd have more precise options. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Isabella 

      2 years ago

      My male Tetra Betta was starting out well then something happened to his lip it looks like it got hurt but wht could it have gotten hurt on? Hes becoming really "lazy" he doesnt swim around like he usually does... i dont have a heater or a filter but i clean his tank almost every sunday and i fill it with distilled water i make sure his tank is super clean and i feed him with TetraBetta food literally thats the name TetraBetta its pellets he hasnt been eating them right away well he trys to but he struggles and honestly hes been alive for awhile with this whole lip problem but i still cant figure out whats wrong with him i really need help please...

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      4 years ago from USA

      Thanks mariekbloch. Sounds like you have some nice setups for your Bettas!

    • mariekbloch profile image

      mariekbloch 

      4 years ago

      Completely agree with this article. I have three bettas. One is housed in a 5.5 gallon, and the other two share a divided 20 gallon long, so that's 10 gallons each. They are beautiful fish that need to be treated like fish, not décor.

    • EricDockett profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dockett 

      4 years ago from USA

      Thanks janderson99!

      Two-gallon isn't bad Sheila. 5-gallon is better! :-) But 2-gallon with a filter and heater is definitely much, much better than a bowl.

    • profile image

      sheilamyers 

      4 years ago

      If I ever got a Beta, I'd buy at least a two gallon aquarium and have both a filter and heater. I like what you said about even if a person's house stays around 70 degrees, it can get colder at night. As hot and humid as it gets at my place during the summer, there are times it gets cool enough at night that when I get to my living room in the morning the heater in my 28 gallon tank is on (I have it set for 75). And some people tend to forget the water in a small bowl or tank can chill quite rapidly if the air conditioner is running, especially if the bowl is near a vent.

    • janderson99 profile image

      Dr. John Anderson 

      4 years ago from Australia on Planet Water

      Very interesting. Thanks!

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