A snug home for your betta fish

The Siamese fighting fish is very popular among aquarists due to its unusual coloring and interesting behavior. Usually, beginners tend to listen to what the seller says – that it requires a tiny tank, no water heating is needed, and in general, a betta is not demanding as for its keeping.

However, there is very little truth in these words, and it requires completely different care.

betta fish tanks

Unfortunately, freshwater fishes are not that good looking as the seawater ones. Siamese fighting fish is considered as one of the most colorful inhabitants. To evaluate its beauty to the full extent, you should create proper conditions for it.

Otherwise, all you will get is disappointment and loss of interest to betta fish, which they don’t deserve.

There are quite a lot of articles about Siamese fighting fish, since they are one of the most popular fish. Of course, we have a complete article about it on our site. Here is the link.

However, in this article, I’ll tell you how to choose a tank for a betta. It will be of special use for beginners, who want to have exactly this dweller in a tank. Though there is nothing difficult in choosing a tank, since the product is a popular one, it won’t be easy to make the best choice.

I must warn you right away, that unfortunately, betta doesn’t live long in a aquarium. If the fighting fish is two years old, it’s considered a senior age. Species not older than 12 months are used for breeding.

That’s why, here’s rule number 1 – buy a young fish. It may not have gorgeous fins (this will change), but it’ll easily adapt to new conditions, it’s active and it’ll live longer.

Rule number 2 – betta fish should live alone
. This is due to many reasons, but the main one is its behavior in a tank.

Behavior in a tank

It’s desirable to keep it alone in a tank, or it should have small or average-sized, very peaceful tankmates. You may encounter information that this fish is an aggressive one and it can even kill other dwellers.

This isn’t true!

It gets along well with other fishes, and only sometimes they may nip long fins of their tank mates.

Though completing with each other is quite an ordinary and natural thing for them. Besides, it happens only between the male, but sometimes it can be observed between the females as well.

Do you remember another name for betta fish – it is Siamese fighting fish. Therefore, males can’t stand each other and fight until one of them gives up.

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In small-sized tanks with a small number of dwellers, fights between the males may even end up with the death of the weakest one.

For this reason, it’s recommended to keep just one male or a male and several females in small tanks.

Still, I’d advise keeping just one betta fish. Why?

When the male is alone, he has no one else to fight with. When there is a couple in a tank, the male continuously haunts the female stimulating spawning.

I’ve had a situation when the female was hiding all the time, since the tank was small, and in the end, she died because of stress.

Quite often, you may hear that betta doesn’t swim. It just rests on a bottom or plants.

Yes, this happens quite often, but in tanks where there are also larger or more aggressive tank dwellers or if the water temperature is low and if betta is rather old.

The higher the temperature is, the more active is the fish, and it is also less prone to various diseases. It doesn’t like it when the temperature gets low or changes abruptly. If this happens, it gets ill and dies very fast.

Tank with betta should be thickly planted with different plants, and the water has to be clean and fresh. The fish is less active in old water, and it is more prone to illnesses.

What tanks are good for betta fish?

Sometimes you may see it sold in small plastic bags or tiny jars. In Asia, it occurs especially often. Well, this happens because this way, the seller can put more species in the same square, and they are seen better.

However, surely the fish can’t live in a glass or a jar with water.

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Its size is 2 inches(5-6 cm) on average; that’s why they still require some space to swim freely.

But it is not ascetic. Therefore it will get the best conditions in a special tank for it. You will enjoy observing the fish through an artificial bowl, and it will get used to it fast and even may have some offspring there.

In general, I opt for a big tank for the betta, and the bigger, the better. Not least because it’s easier to keep biotic balance in it, the fish feels more comfortable, and looks better. However, I’ve seen bettas kept pretty well in smaller volumes.

Below I’ll list several options of the tanks you can take into consideration.

A rectangular-shaped tank of 1.3 US gallons (5 liters) capacity may look too plain, but yet it suits the fish better than a glass jar.

Siamese fighting fish can swim freely in it, enjoy decorations, and in such a volume, you can keep water parameters stable. The tank won’t get too hot, and it’ll maintain stable biotic balance.

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A rectangular-shaped tank of 2.6 US gallons (10 liters) capacity – if you yet can’t buy 20 liters tank, take a bit smaller one.

This tank is of a minimum capacity acceptable to keep one adult betta. However, it is much harder to maintain biotic balance here. The tank will get dirty and heat very fast.

Round shaped tank for a betta fish – there is anecdotal evidence that they die in such tanks, although this is not quite true. It is good to use such tanks to keep it in quarantine until it gets used to the new environment.

Round tanks will do as a convenient bowl to transport it. You can even put some small decorations and a filter into it. But, it is difficult to clean such a tank – ordinary scraper won’t clean the algae from the glass as well as a brush.

It is considered that tanks of such shape harm the fish sight since they distort its appearance from an optical point of view.

Of course, you can choose a round-shaped tank, though rectangular ones are better and easier to clean.

A few words about equipment

The bottom substrate, in this case, is just a decoration, but that reduces the amount of water in the tank, which means that less space is left for the fish to swim. I prefer to do without the substrate just because it’s easier to clean the tank without it.

If you want to have the bottom substrate, put a very little amount of it and not very brightly colored.

I like dark substrate, black, for example. If you are dreaming to see it in a tank with bright multi-colored bottom, think twice – the bright fish won’t look as good as it could on such a background.

Though, if the substrate is black, the dweller’s coloring will be shining like a star.

It’ll be a good idea to buy a heater. There very small ones on sale. You can install it on the back glass of the tank. Thermometer will be also needed in case if the heater breaks and heats the water too much. It’s better to keep water temperature stable, since such small water volume is prone to rapid change of temperature.

As for an air pump – you don’t need it since betta fish is from climbing perches (Anabantidae) family, and it breathes with atmospheric air taking it from the water surface. In my opinion, the water filter will also be a needless device in a small tank and with only one fish in it.

How to set up an aquarium properly?

So, you have bought all the stuff mentioned above, brought it home, washed the tank with clean water, put it where you’d like it to be (don’t put the tank close to the window, because algae will grow very fast on walls), you washed the substrate and put it on the bottom, planted plants and turned on the heater.

Now you have to wait for a week and then you can go and get your betta fish.

It’s better to buy young species (male, of course!) – he has a higher chance of living a long life. But if you can’t do so, then examine the one you are buying very carefully – its fins have to be straight and not torn.

There should be no injuries, no coating of any kind or grains on its body…

Adult betta fish should live alone in the tank! And don’t forget to buy food for your new pet!

After you brought it home (keep in mind, that if it’s cold, you should carry it under your coat, for example, so that it won’t get cold), now put the bag with the fish into the tank, in 30 minutes renew half of the water in the bag with the water.

After another 30 min, you can put it into the tank. You can feed it 2-3 hours later.

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It’s not difficult to take care after such a tank if you stick to the feeding rules. You should every day wipe the glass with a sponge, siphonage the substrate (you can find small siphons on sale).

At that, you have to renew 1/3 of water with a fresh one, that has been settled for 2-3 days.

And the last thing – if it seems to you that the fish is getting bored alone, first of all – you are wrong, since in the wild they also don’t live in schools!

If you put some snails or shrimps, the fish will eat them (though, you can try to put Amano shrimp).

Also you can try to put several pigmy cory, harlequin rasbora, white cloud mountain minnow. But remember, that in this case the volume must be larger!

Popular betta fish tanks

Further I’ll be reviewing 10 most popular betta fish tanks. Please, keep in mind, that my opinion may differ from other points of view. I adhere to classical tanks (large volume, live plants, quality lighting), but I do understand that not everyone can afford it for many various reasons.

Here, I’m giving my opinion about one or another tank, indicating its advantages and disadvantages. And of course, it is up to you what tank to choose.

Also, for convenience, I’ve created a table with the most important characteristics (there are not so many of them).

Tetra LED Half Moon

This is one of the most popular tanks for betta fish on Amazon.com, almost the best-selling one.

As for its advantages, I should mention its half-moon shape, which makes it very convenient to put it near the wall and it’ll look perfect. Another plus is an embedded cover with a LED lamp.

The capacity is 1.1 gallons isn’t the largest one, but it’s quite enough to keep it successfully. As for the drawback of this tank – it is inconvenient in routine maintenance, has no power cord in its set, and the most important it is made from plastic.

This material is easily scratched, and taking into account its shape and scratches will inevitably appear.

Aqueon Betta Falls Kit

This is one of the most interesting tanks with the worst execution, though. I must admit that the idea was brilliant – provide three instead of one, which are connected into one system with a waterfall.

Also, it has an embedded filter. However, it’s not that simple in real life. If you have just one fish, the other will stay empty. It’s difficult to heat all three equally, so you’ll need three heaters for each of them. The volume of each separate tank is not enough to keep one betta in comfortable conditions.

The water flow rate is excessive, and because betta fish is not very active, this leads to its death. The filter contains sintepon inside, which gets clogged very fast, and you’ll have to buy expendables.

In general, this tank may be more interesting for those who want to keep several fishes at once, but don’t want to overpay for buying three.

MarineLand Portrait Glass

I’m familiar with MarineLand company as with a manufacturer of external quality filters. Yet, they produce quite a lot of things, including aquarium kits.

And I like MarineLand Portrait Glass a lot. See for yourself, and the tank has an embedded LED lighting, which is not a simple one – it has three different colors. For example, at night, you can turn on a blue light.

It will not disturb you and help you to fall asleep easily.

The tank has a convenient shifting cover and an embedded water filter, which works, not to mention the tank’s convenient shape and proper capacity – 5 gallons.

This tank is an excellent choice to keep most of the small fishes, and it will do for betta fish as well. I agree, its price is higher than that of other tanks, but here you pay for the quality, convenience, and good design.

Tetra 1.8 Gallon Waterfall

This is a classical round-shaped tank, but with some modern features like waterfall, for example.

In general, German company Tetra has been manufacturing quality devices for aquariums for a long time. This tank is worth its money, and it is good for the betta, but I wouldn’t get it just for one reason – it is round-shaped.

Have you ever had a round tank? I have. It’s impossible to wash it. And you’ll have to do it because algae grow fast on its walls. And you come to the question – how to remove these algae?

I had only one option – a sponge. I successfully washed the tank, but I scratched the glass. Another thing is that this tank distorts the view of how fish and plants look due to its shape.

AquaView 2-Gallon 360

The name of the company says nothing to me, and I suspect that it is a true Chinese product. Correct me if I’m wrong.

I don’t mind, though, they can do some quality products. However, there is nothing I can say about its advantages either, and I have no experience with this tank. All I know is that it has the same problem as the previous one – the shape isn’t convenient for washing, and it is made of plastic instead of glass.

Which means that it is easily scratched. As for its advantages – it has embedded illumination with various seven colors and a timer, a powerful internal power filter, and it is qualitatively assembled.

Fluval spec v

Fluval company is classics of aquarium husbandry. It is like Mercedes – the time-proven quality. In this case, the aquarium kit is too much high-end for it, but I’ve included it to the best list.

Stylish design and easy maintenance make Spec tank a decoration of any office or house. Matted glass hides the filter that keeps the tanks clean and makes the water good for your fish health.

The tank has LED illumination that consists of 31 powerful LED lamps, which perfectly light, add colors to its inhabitants and plants and allow to keep live plants.

Hagen Fluval Spec aquarium has a powerful recirculating pump with adjustable output, three stages filtration system that provides more than efficient filtration to keep the water clean and transparent.

The set has all necessary components for filtration: mechanical filtration, biological one (BioMax rings), chemical filtration (absorbent carbon). This is the only tank in the list equipped with such a filter.

Of course, we should mention its capacity – it’s enough to keep not only one small fish. I fancy the tank a lot, but the price is rather high.

Hagen Fluval Spec III

This tank is of smaller capacity, as for the rest, it is like the previous model. The tank has a stylish design and will perfectly fit any interior. It looks especially nice on a work table.

LED illumination provides excellent lighting, makes inhabitants colors more bright and pronounced as well as plants and decorations. Due to this illumination, the tank can be used to keep live plants.

There are two lighting modes – bright daylight and blue for night time. The feature is that it uses matted glass to hide the water filter.

The filter is installed on the back wall of the aquarium.

Three staged filtration system provides quality cleaning of the water. Mechanical filtration ensures rough purification of water from coarse particles of dirt.

Coal filler is for chemical purification – it absorbs organic wastes, dyes, drags BIOMAX filler is for biological purification, and it ensures useful bacteria growth as well as optimal biotic balance in the aquarium.

The pump is located in the filter bottom, and water intake is performed through the upper aperture.

Tetra LED Cube Shaped 3

This is another quality tank made by Tetra company. It has a classical shape, LED illumination, an embedded water filter (hidden behind the decorations), and a stand.

It’s roomy but not too big. The look is modern and stylish. Unfortunately, it is made of plastic, which again means that it easily gets scratched as well as there are some issues with assembling quality.

Marina LED

This is quite an attractive option for beginners since the kit includes all that is required to set up a tank.

Namely: the tank itself (with three options for capacity), a cover with LED lights inside, a filter, fish food, a net, Fluval aqua plus water conditioner, Fluval cycle biological supplement to create a biologically balanced environment and a manual with explanations.

The smallest capacity of 5 US gallons is enough to keep betta successfully, and the classical shape doesn’t distort the image and looks very appealing.

Back to the Roots Water Garden

It was not easy to choose the best aquarium, but I did my best. And I’d like to finish my review with not the best option of the tank to buy. Why do I think so? Well, let’s take a look at Back to the Roots Water Garden.

The idea was adopted from the large tanks. Nowadays, it’s getting popular to create a live filter above the tank – a volume in which there are marsh plants and other plants that can grow in flooded areas.

Water comes from the tank into this volume after passing through the substrate. It is getting filtered, and the marsh plants absorb nitrates from it. But the problem is that what works for large doesn’t work for small ones.

The water flow is insufficient for such a way of filtration, and it’s more difficult to maintain this system. It’s more complicated than a standard classical tank.

Another thing is that the capacity is small even for betta fish, and one more drawback is its shape. Thus, in general, the product is ok, but as for me, who favors everything natural and ideally perfect – I don’t like it.