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Also known as the Siamese fighting fish, the betta is a small fish with a big personality and is one of the most popular inhabitants of domestic aquariums and fish tanks. Relatively easy to care for and stunningly beautiful, with its plume-like fin tail and rainbow colors, it is no wonder bettas attract so much attention. But before owning a betta, there are some key things you need to know, including how to give them the perfect aquatic home.
With a reputation for being territorial, bettas are best living on their own and need enough space to swim and thrive. And while they are freshwater, they are considered a tropical fish and so a constant water temperature in their tank is essential. To help you choose the right home environment for your new betta, we take a plunge and review 10 of the best betta fish tanks you can currently buy.
With its five-gallon capacity, day and moonlight LEDs and an adjustable filter, this is a smart home for your betta. And the portrait design will look good in any room of your home. The MarineLand is a tall tank, with plenty of space inside for plants and accessories, although with bettas it’s better to keep it minimal so they can swim naturally. The curved glass corners let you see your fish from all angles, and it comes complete with a pedestal base. We also like the back section, where you can hide any wires and the glass slide canopy for easy access when feeding, and security when shut. The LED lights are a cool addition too and have a three-way switch for day or moonlight – white lights mirror the sunlight on the water while blue lights create a relaxing moon glow. The filter system is a little keen but can be easily adjusted for betta preferences. The only real downside is that this portrait aquarium kit doesn’t include a heater, but this can be bought separately and easily installed.
If you like your aquarium with gadgets, then this 5 gallons tank from Fluval will not disappoint. The Fluval Spec V aquarium is a classic looking landscape glass tank, and ideally sized for a single betta. The styling is sleek too, with aluminum trim to ensure the best view. What stands out with the Fluval Spec V aquarium is the lighting system, which is a high output 7000K LED, which can generate 20% brighter light, perfect for illuminating those bold betta colors and supporting plant growth. There is no heater included with this betta fish tank with filter, so you will need to buy this separately if you cannot maintain a constant water temperature, but the filtration is pretty impressive. It features a three-stage system, providing efficient mechanical, activated carbon and biological filtration for excellent water clarity. The filter pump is also adjustable so you can get it just right for your freshwater betta – with all the filtration system contained in a separate compartment for easy maintenance.
While not one of the largest betta fish tanks in our review, this premium frameless aquarium kit is well-sized and is designed to fit in smaller spaces. An excellent choice if you like the calming influence of an aquarium in your office, playroom or bedroom, the design of this tank is smart, giving you a great view thanks to the gently curved corners. Holding 2.7 gallons and easy to set up, the Water-World Vertex is also one of the best betta fish tanks for betta fish beginners and is a great way to introduce these little fish into your home. You also get a high-performing hang-on filtration system, a fish net and, while there isn’t a heater included, you do get a full range digital thermometer to monitor the water environment. We think this quality tank is a good starter kit for single, small betta fish and, as there’s a clear plastic lid you get a great view, while your little betta stays safe and secure.
The idea behind the Aquaponic is to create a healthy plant and fish habitat, so you can top your fish tank with your favorite house plant. Working together, the plant then helps to regulate the mini aquarium by purifying the water and absorbing fish waste. The main negative to Aquaponic is the size of the small betta tank, which holds around 1.4 gallons of water, so perhaps not ideal for larger betta fish. And it should only ever contain one betta fish or could be used for much smaller fish or marine life. However, the neat aquaponic idea means there’s no need for a filter system, making more room for your little betta fish. Although you may need to add a heater if you can’t maintain the temperature all year around. This is an interesting idea and is a good way to demonstrate aquaponics to children or in the classroom and is compatible with most herbs or houseplants.
Standing out for its crescent-shaped design, the Tetra is a fun place for your betta to call home. And he will also get plenty of space to swim, thanks to the 5 gallon capacity and long tank design. Plus, as it has no seams in the design, the curved shape of the tank sets off your pretty betta and enables you to have a lovely clear view at most angles. It is lit well too, thanks to the energy efficient LED lights set in the plastic lid for a low-profile illumination, although you may need to add a few more LED lights if you want to include natural plants. Inside the tank there is a bio-bag filter, but you will need to buy a heater and thermometer separately to make the kit complete for your tropical betta. And the tank is made from acrylic rather than glass, and is lightweight and sturdy, although it can scratch if you are not careful. As a starter aquarium kit for betta fish that would look good in your home, overall this is a well-priced tank that can also be used for smaller fish.
While it may look more of a novelty portrait aquarium, this tall betta fish tank has a simple but clever self-cleaning system to keep the water fresh. It works by pouring fresh water in at the top, which pushes dirty water at the bottom through the cleaning spout, making cycling the water a breeze. However, this tank is small – just half a gallon capacity – so not ideal for larger betta fish. But for the price this mini tank is good value and certainly has its uses, as we think it works well as a holding tank or for when you temporarily need to remove or separate your fish from their main aquarium. Included in the price, you also get a battery-powered LED light for illumination plus a supply of riverbed stones and an aquatic plant. You may need to add a heater for those colder months, but it also has a well-fitting lid, so a good way to safely transport your betta fish.
This is a well-thought-out starter aquarium kit, designed to work with a wide range of smaller fishes, and is easy to set and use by an aquarium beginner. Although there is no heater included, you do get pretty much everything else you need to set up a happy home for your betta. The 20-gallon capacity is ideal for a solo betta, allowing room for a few shrimp friends and aquatic plants. This betta tank is a well-sized long, slim shape too, giving your shallow-swimming betta plenty of space to naturally move around. In the secure-fitting canopy, you get LED lights to create a natural daylight effect, which also helps any plants bloom. The filter is slimline and clips onto the side, and the cartridges are easy to change. Add in Fluval fish food, water conditioner, and cycle supplement, and you can get the right healthy balance in the water environment, making this one of the best betta fish tanks in our review.
As a desk or countertop novelty ornament, this cute Princess Castle Aquarium kit is lovely to look at and will appeal to the youngster in your life. But at around ½ gallon capacity, this eye-catching fish tank is sized for very small or juvenile bettas only. Or it could be used as a temporary holding mini aquarium to supplement your full-sized betta fish tanks. The tank is made from lightweight acrylic with a castle-shaped lid that also features a handy feeding hole. Inside you get decorative gravel and an aquarium plant to get you started, although add a fish and there is very little room for anything else. There’s no heater or filter included but you do get a couple of water conditioner samples to get this mini betta fish bowl up and running.
The largest of our betta fish tanks, the Hygger Horizon is a sizeable and good-looking aquarium any betta would be happy to call home. Made from 5mm thick glass, with a curved glass front, the clarity of view is impressive and thanks to the landscape design, gives your betta ample space to swim around all day. This aquarium also tops the cool betta fish tanks list thanks to the clever 3D rockery mountain background that adds a nice touch of outdoor atmosphere to catch your eye. The lighting is pretty cool too, thanks to the digital-controlled 18W LED lights, that offers a choice of white, blue and red light combinations, taking you and your bettas from day to night. Add in the super-quiet filter and water pump for water quality control and you almost have the perfect betta home. Buy a heater and thermometer and you are pretty much there.
The eye-catching trapezoid shape of this 1 gallon fish aquarium kit sets it apart and would look good on a desk or kitchen countertop. The size means it is only sufficient for a solo small betta, or it could be used as a holding tank when needed. The tank and lid are made from clear, durable plastic, while the black base plinth has a built-in LED light so the whole aquarium is illuminated from below for a natural glow. For the price you get enough to set up a basic tank for a betta, but you will need to buy extras such as a heater and filter to make it more of a permanent home. But we liked the extra touch of the glass stones, which help the under light to bring out the best in your colorful betta.
What to Look Out for When Buying a Betta Fish Tank
Your aquarium will be your bettas’ home, so you need to ensure it has all the features these pretty fish need. Here’s what you need to look out for:
Tank Size: The size of the tank is vital for your betta fish to thrive. Although they are small fish and easy to care for, it is a mistake to assume they can live in a small tank or bowl. Experts recommend the ideal sized aquarium has a 2.5 to 5 gallons capacity – or more – to give them the space they need to move around and live in comfort. Smaller tanks are possible, particularly for juvenile fish but the more space you can give your pet the better. If you are in any doubt about the size of tank to get for your betta, use the general rule of thumb – one inch per fish for every gallon capacity.
Tank Lid: Bettas are born jumpers so you will need to get a tank that has a secure-fitting lid to prevent them from escaping.
Filtration: The betta fish originated in the relatively still waters of Asian streams and paddy fields but still needs a filtration system to maintain the water and oxygen quality in their tank and keep their lives stress free. Look for an adjustable filter as bettas will struggle to cope with too much water activity.
LED Lighting: Bettas are renowned for their good looks which is why they are so popular for home aquariums, so you want your fish to be shown off in their best light. LED lights in your aquarium are the best option for bettas as they are energy efficient and work well to bring out those amazing betta colors. If you can opt for LED lighting that offers day and moonlight as these sensitive fish thrive better if they have a regular night and day routine.
Heater: The bettas’ natural environment in Thailand and Cambodia is warm so you will need an effective heater system in your aquarium to keep the water temperature constant.
Style: You will want to put your bettas on show in your home, so choose an aquarium that also fits in with your own style and décor. It also needs to fit in the space you have available, without obscuring other features or furniture in the room.
Additional features: Bettas like to hide and will seek out privacy so plants (real or artificial made from silk), hideouts and tank decorations can all help to make these fish feel safe and at home. A thermometer to measure water temperature is a handy addition too, especially if you don’t have one with the heater.
What Temperature is Best for Betta Tank?
Betta fish originated as tropical fish and so prefer warmer water. This means their tank should never drop lower than 74°F, which is around 23.5°C. The ideal aquarium temperature for bettas is between 78-80°F. However, many starter aquaria kits don’t come with a heater, so if this is the case, it is advisable to buy one for your bettas, especially if you live in a location that experiences seasonal temperature changes, especially going into a cold winter.
Unless you live in a warm climate, room temperature water for bettas is going to be too cool, and you will be able to see in your fishes’ behavior if the water temperature has become a problem. And, at temperatures below 70°F, bettas will fall into a state minimal activity as their metabolism slows right down, limiting its physical activity to essential functions only.
How to Set Up a Betta Fish Tank
Always read the instructions that come with your specific betta fish tank, but as a general guide, here’s how to set up your fishes’ new home:
Clean the inside of the tank with fresh, plain water and allow to dry.
Find a suitable place for your betta fish aquarium, ideally near to a window for natural light but not in direct sunlight, and on a surface or aquarium stand that is nice and stable.
Install your filter as per the manufacturer’s instructions
After rinsing your gravel in cold water to remove any dust, pour into the bottom of the tank, creating a suitable depth for your accessories. For real plants, you will need two inches, but for fake plants, one inch of level gravel will be enough
Add any additional decorations – pre-rinsed – on to the gravel and let them settle
Gently pour in the required amount of water, taking care not to disrupt or dislodge the gravel and decorations. Don’t fill to the top as bettas are excellent jumpers!
Turn on the filter and install your aquarium heater, setting it to the required temperature for your betta fish
Add a neutralizer if you have used tap water to remove the chlorine
You will now need to do a ‘fishless cycle’ to establish good bacteria – speak to your aquarium shop for more on how to do this as it is an essential part of the process.
Once all of the above has been completed, you are now ready to start introducing your bettas to their new aquarium home.
Smaller tanks – under three gallons – will need more frequent cleaning than larger aquariums due to a build-up of ammonia, which can be dangerous for your tropical fish. And due to the fact that bettas don’t respond well to too much change, you should ‘cycle’ the water (that is, replace some of the water rather than all of it) more often than a full clean. An unfiltered tank will need cycling around twice a week, without removing your bettas. Filtered and larger tanks will need cycling 1-2 times a week.
When doing a full clean, carefully remove your fish and never use soap to clean inside the tank. All your tank decorations, including bottom stones, should be removed and washed thoroughly with very hot water, while the filter and associated parts should be rinsed in the existing tank water to maintain the healthy bacteria. When it comes to cleaning the tank itself, non-perfumed and detergent-free bleach can be used, as a 10 parts water to 1 part bleach mixture, then thoroughly rinsed with fresh, clean water. And never place your betta fish straight back into the new tank water, but slowly acclimatize them back into their tank following a complete clean and water change.
Best Betta Fish Tank FAQ:
Q: Where is the best place to put a betta fish tank?
A: While your betta fish thrives on natural light, during which he can experience night and day, it is important that your aquarium is out of direct sunlight, as this can cause a bloom in algae growth as well as upset the delicate temperature balance of their tank water. The tank also needs to be near to an electrical socket for plugging in their tank heater but avoid any air conditioning or heating units. Especially if you have cats or other pets, make sure the tank is clearly off the floor and placed on a stable surface where it cannot be hit or knocked, by a door for example. And fit their tank lid securely, so your high-jumping bettas cannot escape.
Q: Do betta fish prefer long or tall tanks?
A: Native tropical fish of shallow streams and pools of water, your betta will thrive in a long rather than tall tank. As they are suited to shallower water, your betta will naturally swim left to right rather than up and down, so even if your tall tank is a decent size, it will give them less room to swim naturally than a longer aquarium, which are the best betta fish tanks you can buy.
Q: What do bettas like in their tank?
A: Betta fish are inquisitive little fellows and need more than an empty tank to happily thrive. As well as plenty of space and freshwater, your betta will appreciate a few added extras. However, as these little fish love to explore and swim, their tank decorations need to work with this requirement, rather than taking up precious betta space. For a positive environment for your betta, adding in a cave toy, some fresh, live plants, and a small feature will suffice, but make sure these additions have no sharp edges that could rip and fray the betta’s beautiful plume tail.
When it comes to adding company to a betta tank it is fair to say that bettas are territorial – they are also known as Siamese fighting fish – and so not the most sociable creatures. In fact, two males kept together will actually fight and injure each other, often leading to a fatal situation. Your betta won’t get lonely, but if you do want to add in some other marine life, then opt for snails or ghost shrimp or, for more than one betta per aquarium, you can add in a tank divider to keep them apart.
Our Top Pick
The MarineLand Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit scoops our best choice on size, design and ease of use. With a 5 gallon tank, it is ideal for bettas, and gives them plenty of space to swim around. There’s also a neat LED lighting system which switches from sun to moonlight and an adjustable filter to keep the internal environment just right. Add a heater and you have a great starter kit for your betta.