The perfect Betta tank is one where your Betta fish can thrive, but if you are going to have it in a location where other people will see it you want it to look cool too! You may want to pick a tank with an interesting shape, something other than the usual rectangular box. But another thing you need to think about is the size of your tank.
One-gallon of water is the absolute minimum standard for your Betta. That said: In my opinion this is still way too small even for one fish. But it is enough water to provide your Betta a minimum amount of living space, and as long as you are doing weekly water changes pollution should stay under control.
A tank in the three-gallon range is much better than a bowl or smaller tank. You still need to be diligent in making sure the water stays clean, but at least Betta will have a slightly larger living area. There is also more space to place decorations. Bettas like to feel secure from time to time, and he'll appreciate a little decoration he can swim into and hide when he needs some alone time.
Three-gallon tanks are small enough for a desk at work or in your home office, and as long as you stay on top of things they are relatively easy to care for.
Better Betta Tanks
In my opinion, a 5-gallon tank is the minimum Betta fish tank size you should consider. This is a size that begins to offer better options for filtration and heat, and five gallons will stay cleaner longer.
You can also create some really pretty tank setups with five gallons of space to work with, and it's still small enough to fit on a desktop. You'll need to be vigilant with water changes and keeping the place clean, but the bigger the tank gets the easier that job becomes.
Seriously consider giving your Betta a home that's a least this size. Five gallons gives your Betta plenty of room for swimming, and you have lots of room for decorating.
Is a 10-gallon tank twice as good as a 5-gallon? If you're talking about a single Betta fish, it may be even better! Even though this is a relatively small tank, there are many more filtration and heat options than with 5 gallons and below. You may even decide to plant live plants. (Which your Betta would love!)
Ten gallons is an ideal size for a home, dorm or office setting, but you're probably not going to put it on your desktop at work. It will be the focal point of the room. A beautifully planted and cared for 10, 12, or 20-gallon tank with a single Betta in it can look spectacular!
Oh, and Betta will like it too! Make sure the current isn't too strong, and keep the water clean and he'll feel like king of his domain. A 10-gallon tank or bigger gives you many different options for filtration and heating, and is large enough to grow some freshwater plant species. Betta will have plenty of room for swimming, and with the right aquascaping he'll have lots of places to hide and explore.
In a 10-gallon tank your Betta will thrive, not just survive!
Real Decorations or Artificial?
After you've chosen a pretty tank for your Betta, the next decision is what you are going to put into it. Some fish keepers prefer natural decorations, where others prefer artificial, and there are pros and cons to each.
Real plants, rocks and driftwood give your tank a soothing, earthy look, like a snapshot from the wild. Live plants also have some benefits as far as water quality goes as well. They tend to keep algae under control, and even provide a little supplement to the diets of some fish.
On to con side, live plants and driftwood decay, which means you'll need to keep up with water changes and tank cleaning. In very small tanks like those in this article, you really need to be on the ball.
The negatives of artificial decorations mostly have to do with their appearance. While some are very lifelike, spotting a plastic plant is pretty easy.
On the other hand, when you clean your tank you just take them out, rinse them off and put them back. Artificial decorations make a tank a bit easier to care for, especially if you are going to choose an aquarium under 10 gallons.
Hiding Spots for Betta
Betta fish need places to hide. When light conditions or other environmental factors stress them out, or just when they need some alone time, they will retreat into a cave to feel secure. If you do not provide a decoration where they can escape, you may find your Betta tucked behind the filter, or in the corner of the tank. You'll also have a very stressed fish on your hands.
Use your imagination when choosing a cave decoration for your Betta. It doesn't have to be a cave! There are all kinds of different ideas out there for your Betta tank. Some replicate the natural world, and some replicate cartoon characters. Betta will not care. The most important thing is that he has a place to hide when he needs it.
There are all kinds of other decorations on the market dedicated specifically to Betta tanks. There are floating Betta logs for Betta to hide in and swim through, and even "Betta hammocks" where he can take a load off and rest for a while. Take your time and be creative and you can put together a unique and fun tank for your Betta fish.
Learn More About Your Betta Fish
Knowing more about your Betta fish will help you to better understand his tank needs. Here are a few facts about your new fish:
- Betta splendens, also known as the Siamese Fighting Fish, is native to southeast Asia. There they inhabit shallow, slow-moving bodies of water, and sometimes end up in muddy, stagnant puddles for short periods of time.
- They can survive in these nasty conditions because they are anabantids, or labyrinth fish. That means they can breathe air above the water as well as absorb oxygen through their gills.
- Bettas prefer slow-moving water, and filtration systems that push a lot of water can be very stressful for them. However, this doesn't mean dirty, unfiltered water is acceptable. They can survive because they can breathe the air, but their fins and general health will still suffer if they live in bad water for too long.
- Bettas are tropical fish, not cold-water fish. This means they need a minimum temperature in the mid-70s. If your room temperature is around that most of the time your Betta can get by, but if your Betta lives in a cold room you need to warm up his water with a heater.
Keeping Your Betta Happy and Healthy
Keeping a Betta can be rewarding and enjoyable. Unfortunately, due to its tolerance for poor living conditions, the Betta is also one of the most abused fish in the aquarium industry.
The Betta is not a disposable pet. He deserves the same care and consideration as any animal. If you feel you can't provide that it's best not to have a Betta at all.