Ideal Betta Fish Tank Size What You Need [Best Setup Guide]

Estimated read time 14 min read

So you just bought a beautiful new Betta fish and wondering how to care for it?

With the proper tank setup your Betta will live a happy, healthy and long life. But with the wrong setup your Betta may become depressed, lethargic, and short-lived.

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about caring for Betta fish.

Poorly-educated pet store employees may tell you to keep them in a small fishbowl or vase. Or, that they originally lived in shallow puddles so they prefer small tanks. Or, that they’re very hardy and you don’t need to pay much attention to temperature or water quality.

Further Reading: If you’re setting up a new tank for your Betta make sure you know what the ideal Betta Fish tank size is and give your little buddy some room to swim.

Tanks To Provide The Best Environment For Your Betta Fish

Everything You Know About Bettas Is Wrong


Check out the following infographic for more common misconceptions:From Deviantart

These misconceptions are a recipe for an unhappy fish.

But what makes a happy Betta Fish?

Glad you asked.

My Buddy Johhny over at Petsoverload wrote a great article on how to tell if your Betta fish is happy. Once you know some signs of happy healthy Betta you just need to set up the perfect home.

In this article, we cut through the myths and present you with the 7 fundamentals of the ideal Betta fish tank.

1) Tank Size: The Bigger the Better

One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding Betta fish care is that it’s perfectly okay to keep them in a small fishbowl or vase.


That’s often how they’re kept in pet stores, and those stores can sell you a fish more easily if they tell you that you won’t have to buy a large tank and other equipment for your beautiful Betta fish.

But even though Bettas can survive in smaller tanks, it’s not ideal for the fish. If you want a happy, healthy and long-living Betta fish, you really shouldn’t have a tank smaller than 2.5 gallons, and 10 gallons or more is better.

A larger tank will give your Betta more room to swim and get exercise, and there will also be more space to add in plants and other hiding places that will make your Betta more comfortable.

It’s also easier to maintain a larger tank because you won’t have to change the water as frequently and you can add a filter to help maintain your water chemistry and filter out debris.

Any of the tanks above meet this “Bigger is Better” rule.

2) Maintain the Ideal Tank Temperature

betta fish environment temperature

Photo Via Twitter

Betta fish originated in the streams and rice paddies of Southeast Asia, so they naturally prefer warmer temperatures.

To create the ideal Betta fish tank environment, you’ll need a heater and thermometer set up to monitor your tank temperature and keep it at a consistent level.

If the temperature is too low, your Betta’s immune system will suffer and he’ll be more prone to disease. Too high a temperature and your Betta’s metabolism could accelerate, causing him to age too quickly.

Are you unsure about the perfect betta fish water temp for your aquarium? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Find out everything you need to know about maintaining the ideal water temperature for your betta fish’s well-being. Click the link to ensure your little buddy thrives in a comfortable and healthy environment.

Adding a heater to your tank will help you keep the temperature consistently in this range so your fish won’t be too stressed out from sudden temperature changes.

Maintaining the right temperature will go a long way towards keeping a healthy, energetic Betta fish.

3) Pay Attention to Water QualityPH water testing

Like all fish, Bettas should not be exposed to chlorinated water. When you’re filling your tank, make sure to use bottled water or apply a water conditioner to your tap water.

The next thing to consider is the pH level in your tank. Bettas prefer a neutral pH with an ideal range between 6.5 and 7.5.

It’s important to make any changes to your Betta’s water gradually. Even if your tank is outside of the ideal range, it’s better to adjust it over time than to make an immediate change.

Sudden fluctuations in temperature or pH will stress out your fish and could potentially cause harm.

4) Include a Lid and Space at the Top

best environment for betta fish

Photo Via Twitter

Bettas are a type of fish known as labyrinth fish, which means they can breathe oxygen directly from the air as well as from water.

Your Betta will enjoy coming up to the surface for a quick breath every so often, so you’ll want to leave 1-2 inches of space between the top of the water and the edge of your tank.

Your Betta will thank you for this breathing space, especially if the oxygen level in the water is getting low.

But Bettas are also jumpers and they can make it surprisingly far out of the water if you let them. You’ll want to make sure you have a good lid or hood on the top of your tank to prevent your fish from making a run for it.

Otherwise, you may find your beautiful Betta flopping around on the floor, and that’s definitely not good for it.

5) Use An Aquarium Filter

betta tank setup with filter

Photo Via Twitter

While Betta fish can survive in smaller tanks without a filter, they’ll be much happier in a larger, filtered tank and you’ll have less maintenance as a bonus.

Unfiltered tanks require frequent water changes to keep the water quality up and remove toxic debris.

Adding a filter will reduce the frequency and volume or water changes and will help keep the tank clean and cycle in beneficial bacteria.

There are a few things to consider when choosing the right filter for your Betta fish tank.

Bettas don’t produce a ton of waste, so a small hang-on-back filter is perfectly adequate. A large canister filter is usually overkill.

Bettas also prefer an environment with little to no water movement, so make sure to choose a low-flow filter or place a sponge in front of the output to lessen the water flow.

Further Reading: Learn more about Fish that don’t need a filter

6) Include Plenty of Places to Hide

best habitat for betta fish

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The Betta’s natural environment are the marshes, rice paddies and streams and Southeast Asia, which are filled with vegetation and places to hide.

Including plenty of “soft cover” like Aquarium Plants will make your Betta much more comfortable in his tank.

Live plants are best, but if you go with artificial plants avoid plastic ones, which have been known to slice Betta’s fins. Plants with large leaves will also give your Betta a place to lay on and rest.

Your tank should include plenty of plants, but driftwood and other fish tank structures can also add some variety and give your Betta more places to swim around and explore.

To create the ideal environment for your Betta fish, most of the tank should be composed of plants and other hiding places, with very little open water.

7) Select the Right Tank Companions

proper betta tank companions

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While Bettas are generally solitary and can become aggressive around other fish, it’s definitely possible for them to coexist peacefully with other fish in a community tank.

Some tank companions will even help keep your tank clean and free of debris, increasing the overall health of your tank and decreasing maintenance.

When deciding to introduce companions into your Betta’s life, first make sure that your tank follows the fundamentals of the ideal Betta fish tank outlined here.

  • Your tank should be at least 10 gallons,
  • Have plenty of vegetation and places to hide.
  • Avoid fish that are brightly colored, have long, flowy fins, or that have a reputation for nibbling on the fins of other fish.
  • Two male Bettas should never be put in the same tank together.

Some of the best tank companions for Betta fish aren’t even fish. Freshwater snails and ghost shrimp, for example, won’t raise the ire of your Betta, and they’ll even do double duty by keeping the tank clean.

The Complete Guide to Creating the Ideal Betta Fish Tank

Betta fish, scientifically known as Betta Splendens, are captivating tropical fish renowned for their vibrant colors and glorious fins. However, there are several common misconceptions surrounding these fish, particularly when it comes to their care. This guide aims to shed light on the proper care of Siamese fighting fish and the paramount importance of providing them with an ideal tank.

Betta Fish and Their Natural Habitat

In the wild, betta fish are found in the tranquil waters of shallow streams, where they thrive in their natural habitat. Replicating their native environment is crucial for ensuring their well-being.

Tank Size Matters

A. The Ideal Tank Size for Betta Fish

The ideal tank size for betta fish is a topic of debate among enthusiasts. Some suggest a 1-gallon tank is sufficient, while others advocate for a 5-gallon tank10-gallon tank, or even a 20-gallon tank.

B. The Dangers of Small Containers and Tiny Bowls

Small containers and tiny bowls are a common misconception when it comes to betta fish care. These cramped spaces do not provide enough room for these active fish to swim freely, and they can lead to health issues.

C. Providing Enough Space for Your Betta Fish

To ensure a healthy life for your betta, it’s crucial to offer them plenty of space to explore, swim, and display their vibrant colors.

Water Parameters and Quality

A. Maintaining Warm Water for Tropical Fish

Betta fish thrive in warm water, as they are tropical fish. Maintaining a stable temperature is essential for their well-being.

B. Understanding the Nitrogen Cycle

Understanding the nitrogen cycle is fundamental for maintaining water quality in your betta’s tank. It ensures a healthy environment by breaking down waste products.

C. Filtration Systems and Sponge Filters

A good filtration system, such as sponge filters, is necessary to keep the water clean and provide the right conditions for your betta.

D. Adjusting Water Parameters for a Healthy Life

  1. Temperature: Betta fish need a consistent warm temperature.
  2. pH Levels: Maintaining the right pH levels is crucial.
  3. Water Hardness: Betta fish prefer soft water.

E. Removing Harmful Chemicals and Heavy Metals

Ensuring that the water is free from harmful chemicals and heavy metals is vital for your betta’s health.

Creating the Best Betta Fish Tank Setup

A. The Role of Glass Aquariums

A glass aquarium is the best choice for your betta’s tank, providing durability and visibility.

B. The Importance of a Good Aquarium Heater

Choosing between small heaters and adjustable heaters depends on your tank size and the climate in your area.

C. Adequate Lighting for Vibrant Colors and Glorious Fins

Proper lighting enhances the vivid colors and showcases the glorious fins of your betta. However, it’s essential to avoid direct sunlight and excessively bright light.

D. Adding Fake Plants for a Natural Look

Fake plants can make your betta’s environment feel closer to their natural habitat without the maintenance of live plants.

E. Why Small Fish and Insect Larvae Are a Good Idea

Introducing small fish or providing insect larvae as part of their diet can add variety to their meals and stimulate their natural hunting instincts.

Room for Play and Exploration

A. Avoiding Sharp Edges and Strong Currents

Eliminate any sharp edges or objects in the tank that could injure your betta. Strong currents should also be avoided, as bettas prefer calmer waters.

B. The Significance of Providing Plenty of Space

Offering your betta fish plenty of space ensures they have room for play, exploration, and the freedom to exhibit their natural behaviors.

C. Betta Fish Need a Day-Night Cycle

Maintaining a consistent day-night cycle is essential for your betta’s health and well-being, helping to regulate their activity and rest patterns.


In conclusion, the key to a healthy and happy betta fish lies in providing them with the ideal tank. Recapitulating the minimum tank size, maintaining optimal water parameters, and creating a well-thought-out tank setup are essential steps. By following this complete guide, you can ensure your betta fish thrives in captivity and enjoy the beauty of these remarkable fish in the comfort of your own home aquariums.

Final Thoughts On The Ideal Betta Fish Tank

Betta fish aren’t difficult to care for, but there’s definitely more involved than the average pet store employee will tell you.

Sure, you can keep your Betta in a vase and not pay too much attention to water quality. But don’t be surprised if your fish becomes depressed and lethargic, or even dies after just a few months.

Below is a helpful video with step-by-step instructions on how to set up your ideal Betta tank. It goes over putting in sand and gravel, filters, heaters and lights, and acclimating your fish to his new home.

What is the best size tank for a betta fish?

The best size tank for a Betta fish is at least 10 gallons. A 10 gallon aquarium provides plenty of room for your Betta to swim have a few tank mates and plenty of live healthy plants.

What do bettas need in their tank?

When setting up your Bettas tank do you best to include the following;

  • The tank should be at least 10 gallons,
  • Have plenty of vegetation and places to hide.
  • Avoid fish that are brightly colored, have long, flowy fins, or that have a reputation for nibbling on the fins of other fish.
  • Two male Bettas should never be put in the same tank together.

How to set up a Betta fish tank

Ideal Betta Fish Tank Environment - Video

If you follow the fundamentals in this article, it’s easy to create a healthy environment for your Betta fish. Your fish will be happier, he’ll live longer and you’ll get joy out of seeing him swim around his tank.

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