A betta fish may be the very first fish you plan on getting. But since the pet store keeps them in small containers with no filtration, that obviously means that you can get a small tank for your betta fish too, right? No. Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about how to properly care for bettas. In this article, we will discuss betta fish care and everything you need to know about tank size requirements.
To help you get started with your own betta fish tank, we’ll be listing and going through our top five aquarium kits!
What is the best size tank for a betta fish?
One of the biggest discussions within the aquarium hobby is how much space do betta fish actually need? When shopping for a betta tank, it may be easy to fall into the trap of buying an all-in-one betta bowl or another small plastic aquarium. If you would like to know more about why these small tanks are not enough to keep betta fish happy and healthy, make sure to check out our post here.
In general, a 5 gallon (18.9 L) tank is the minimum accepted size to house one betta fish; some hobbyists will even argue that 10 gallons (37.8 L) is the best option for giving your betta a natural ecosystem. If wanting to keep other species of fish with your betta, at least 15 gallons (56.8 L) will be needed.
Betta fish are surprisingly active fish, despite their often sluggish appearance in stores. Given the right care, high-quality food, and time to flourish, betta fish will fill out a tank no matter how many gallons.
What do I need for a betta fish tank?
A betta fish tank should be treated just like any other freshwater aquarium. Tank water needs to be fully cycled and heated by an aquarium heater; water temperature should remain constant between 77-83° F (25-28° C) and should be tested several times throughout the day with an aquarium thermometer.
Tank water will also need to be regularly tested for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and pH, with regular weekly or biweekly water changes. Water conditioner should always be used to prevent chlorine and other unwanted chemicals from entering the system.
Betta fish will also need a filter to help with maintaining water parameters and creating flow within the tank. However, the filter needs to be powerful enough to clean the water but not so powerful that it pushes your betta fish all over the tank; those betta fish variations with longer fins will especially need special consideration when it comes to choosing a filter as they usually have more difficulty swimming.
Many hobbyists choose to go with an internal filter, a hang on back filter, or sponge filter for exceptionally good water quality and easier tank maintenance.
Betta fish will also need a substrate and provided with places to hide. Again, hobbyists are divided about the best substrate for betta fish with both gravel and sand having pros and cons. Sand provides a natural environment for the fish and is easy to clean, but gravel allows for plants and other decorations to be weighed down easier and won’t be pushed around by water currents.
Betta fish will also appreciate places to hide throughout the tank in the form of caves and dense vegetation. Driftwood and smooth rocks can be used to create safe places for your fish throughout the tank. Betta fish will also prefer low lighting, meaning that any plants that you want to add to the tank should be low to moderate light-demanding species.
For more help setting up the basics for your betta fish, you can find a full equipment list needed for your betta tank here.
How much is a betta fish tank?
As with any aquarium, a fish tank can cost as much as you are willing to spend. With aquarium kits costing 50 USD alone, it is safe to assume that a betta fish start-up will be at least 100 USD. It is important to consider additional expenses, like filter media, water test kits, food, substrate, decorations/plants, a heater, and the actual fish.
Our top five betta fish tanks
Many companies will sell an all-in-one betta fish bowl kit for easy setup. These bowls are usually very small and under the desired 5 gallon (18.9 L) minimum and should never be used to house any kind of fish. However, some companies also sell other appropriately-sized aquarium kits that usually include all that you need to give your betta fish the tank it needs.
We have chosen our top five betta fish tanks based on size, included accessories, price, and customer reviews.
Aqueon 5 Gallon MiniBow LED Desktop Fish Aquarium Kit, Black
This basic bowfront aquarium could be perfect for a beginner betta fishkeeper! The Aqueon 5 Gallon MiniBow LED Desktop Fish Aquarium Kit, Black also comes in several other smaller sizes, however, the 5 gallons 14.5″ L x 10.0″ W x 13.5″ H (36.8 L x 25.4 W x 34.3 H cm) tank would be the best option. This tank is slightly lifted off the ground by a plastic platform and is available in white as well.
This plastic tank includes an internal Aqueon filter (requires small Aqueon filter cartridges), pre-installed blue and white LED lights attached to the aquarium hood, fish food, and water conditioner. A heater is not included.
Some hobbyists have found a few problems with the kit: 1) the filter tends to malfunction if it clogs up 2) the water current from the filter can be too strong, but is easily fixed by introducing more media 3) the aquarium hood does not lay flat due to electrical cords. However, this sleek and compact tank offers enough room for a betta fish to happily live with LED lights that will make the water shimmer beautifully!
- Rounded design for desktop viewing
- Included internal filter, hood, food, and water conditioner
- Relatively inexpensive
- Some issues with the filter, lights, and hood that are not easily replaced due to untraditional dimensions
- Heater not included
MarineLand 5 Gallon Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit
One of the most popular nano tanks today is the MarineLand 5 Gallon Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit. This tank can easily be used for either freshwater or saltwater purposes, and really puts a betta fish on its best display. This glass tank measures 9.63″ L x 9.63″ W x 17.20″ H (24.5 L x 24.5 W x 43.7 H cm) and has been tastefully designed to have rounded corners and sit on a slightly raised platform.
The tank includes a hinged LED light (with blue and white LEDs and the option for full moonlight mode), glass lid, and an internal filter; this filter is designed like most sumps, featuring a chamber system, and includes a return pump that directs water back into the tank via a return nozzle. A heater is not included.
While the customizability of filtration is a big bonus for hobbyists, some have said that the inlet slots are on the larger size and can easily suck in small invertebrates. The tank is also taller than average, which can make growing plants and maintenance a little more challenging.
- Finished all-in-one look with rounded corners
- Highly customizable lights and filtration
- Includes glass lid
- A taller-than-average tank
- Larger inlet slots
- Heater not included
Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit, 5-Gallon
One of the more expensive betta tank options is the Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit, 5-Gallon. This glass tank can also be used for either freshwater or saltwater and comes in a stylish black or white-themed peninsula design for multiple viewing angles. These tanks measure 20.5 L x 11.6 W x 7.5 H in (52.0 L x 29.5 W x 19.0 H cm) and feature an internal chambered filtration system with an adjustable and quiet return pump for better customizability. A heater is not included.
This aquarium kit includes an impressive 7000K high output LED light that can support low- and moderate-demanding aquatic plants; the light can also be switched to full moonlight mode during nighttime hours. However, the arm support that holds the light above the tank can be a little flimsy. Unlike the MarineLand 5 Gallon Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit, this Fluval tank includes a plastic lid with a cut out for easy access and slightly better light penetration.
While the return pump is adjustable, some hobbyists still find the water current to be too strong for their betta fish. The filter inlet slots also have been known to drag betta fish, ripping their fins; the opening in the aquarium lid allows fish to potentially jump out if startled.
- Stylish and all-in-one glass appearance
- Adjustable return pump
- Better-than-average stock LED lighting
- Plastic aquarium lid
- Heater not included
- Inlet slots and return water flow can injure the betta
Aqueon LED Aquarium Kit – 10 Gallon
- Low profile full hood contains vibrant cool white LED lighting to bring your aquatic environment to life
- QuietFlow 10 LED PRO power filter has a red LED light that flashes to indicate when it’s time to change the cartridge – no more guessing!
- Preset heater will keep your aquarium temperature at a constant 78 degrees, appropriate for most tropical fish
If you’re looking for a slightly larger tank that doesn’t require much additional care or maintenance, then the Aqueon LED Aquarium Kit – 10 Gallon is perfect for getting you started. This glass tank measures 20″ L x 10″ W x 12″ H (50.8 L x 25.3 W x 30.5 H cm) and includes a low profile aquarium hood with attached LED lighting, 50 W preset heater, QuietFlow 10 LED PRO power filter, fish food, water conditioner, fishnet, and stick-on thermometer. The LED lights do not come with a moonlight setting.
This tank is easy to set up and get cycling in a very short amount of time. However, many hobbyists find the silicone seal to be messy, but these tanks have proven to be watertight regardless. The filter can sometimes be on the noisier side and a preset heater for 78° F (25.5° C) usually isn’t optimal for fishkeeping.
I have personally used this aquarium kit for a saltwater reef tank and have since upgraded the lighting, filtration, and thermometer. However, I was successfully able to keep red mushrooms under the stock LED lights and filtration, as well as clownfish, a yellow watchmen goby, hermit crabs, and snails.
- More space than a 5 gallon tank at a comparable price
- Included filter, preset heater, LED lighting in hood, fish food, water conditioner, fish net, and stick-on thermometer
- Standard tank size for easy upgrades
- Messy silicone
- Sometimes loud filter
- Preset heater that should be upgraded
Cobalt Aquatics 14011 Microvue3 20 Aquarium Kit
If you’re looking to spend a little more money on quality equipment and a seamless look, then a Microvue3 Aquarium Kit by Cobalt Aquatics may be the solution. These glass tanks come in three sizes, 2.6 gallons (9.8 L), 5.3 gallons (20.1 L), or 8.0 gallons (30.3 L). For betta fish, we will only be focusing on the 5.3 gallons and 8.0-gallon options.
The 5.3 gallon measures 10″ L x 10″ W x 11″ H (25.4 L x 25.4 W x 27.9 H cm) while the 8.0 gallon measures 11.5″ L x 11.5″ W x 14″ H (29.2 L x 29.2 W x 35.6 H cm). Both options include an adjustable Clear Vue 20 internal filter, 6w black mini LED lamp, glass lid, and an underlying foam pad. This LED lighting will support low to moderate light-demanding plants. The filter can also be secured anywhere along the vertical wall of the tank to provide surface water agitation or be hidden lower under decorations. An especially cool asset of this aquarium kit is that the lid can be temporarily hinged to the wall of the aquarium to make tank maintenance easier.
- Quality and appealing glass cube design
- High-quality LED light for growing a variety of plants
- Easy to clean filter that can be hidden in the tank
- LED light cannot be dimmed
Do betta fish get lonely?
Betta fish are naturally territorial fish that actually prefer to be given their own space. For the most part, betta fish are entirely solitary and will not get lonely in their own tank. However, it is possible for your betta to become bored, especially in smaller tanks. Enrichment, like live foods and plants, as well as adequate swimming space should keep your betta healthy and interested.
For as aggressive as these fish can be towards each other, they have especially bold personalities most of the time! It is not unheard of for betta fish to interact with you through the glass or during feeding times.
Can I keep other fish with my betta fish?
Yes! But only if there is enough space. For a betta fish community tank, at least a 15 gallon (56.8 L) tank is recommended, with 20 gallons (75.7 L) being even better. Female betta fish will tend to intermingle better with other fish, but hobbyists have had success with males as well. Every fish will be different, but if you see any signs of stress, immediately remove the fish from the tank.
Most times, betta fish are compatible with other community fish, like small tetras and guppies. Fin-nippers and overly active fish should be avoided.
What filtration does my betta fish need?
Betta fish need a filter just like any other kind of fish. Poor water quality will affect the overall health of your fish; betta fish should also never be placed in an uncycled tank.
When it comes to bettas though, it is important to choose a filter that isn’t too overpowering for the fish. Some betta fish have especially long fins that can make swimming difficult let alone against a strong water current. Many hobbyists like to use sponge filters or other internal filters. Hang on back filters can also be used, but may need to be modified to lessen the return flow.
Betta fish are tropical fish and will always need a heater unless ambient room temperature is consistent in an appropriate range.
Can I put invertebrates with my betta fish?
Betta fish are omnivores by nature, meaning that they will need a diet of both meat- and plant-based foods. Their bold personality also usually makes them unafraid to pick at and try to eat anything that resembles food in their aquarium. This means that smaller invertebrates, like shrimp and snails, can become a fast snack.
Some hobbyists have had success keeping their betta with larger snails, such as mystery snails. However, some species of snails can reproduce very readily and could end up taking over a small tank. Also, remember that each fish is different; while one betta fish might ignore everything added to the aquarium, another betta fish may eat those same things overnight.
Betta fish are easy, beautiful aquarium fish that are usually shoved into tight spaces. Giving your betta a 5 gallon tank with good water quality will lead to a long and healthy life for your fish and bring out its best personality.
There are a few things to consider when buying a tank for your betta fish, like if you want to keep other fish and the amount of space you have to put an aquarium. You will also need to consider the shape, material (glass/plastic/acrylic), stock lighting, filtration, and aquarium hood when choosing between kits. Unfortunately, most kits don’t include a heater so make sure to pick one up at the same time!
If you have any questions about betta fish, setting up a betta fish tank, or have had experience with keeping betta fish, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!