What is the best tank size for one male Betta fish?
Just because Bettas can survive in a small bowl does not mean they will thrive in such a small tank. Those bowls are just too small. Betta fish enjoy swimming around and develop great “personalities” when they have ample room in which to live. Ideally, any tank from 1 gallon to any size up is just fine (5 gallons and up would be best). If you want to keep many Betta in the same tank, it is recommended that you have at least one gallon of water per Betta.
Remember that Betta fish have a tendency to jump so a lid is a very good idea.
Do my Bettas need a fish tank filter?
Ideally, yes. Using a filter is the way to keep the water from becoming toxic. Without a filter, deadly ammonia levels will build up very quickly. Tiny tanks with no filter require daily water changes to keep Betta healthy. Daily water changes can stress the fish greatly so I strongly recommend a filter. I know, I know, this is not easy to find a filter for a bowl but I never said it’s a good idea to keep fish in a bowl. If you keep your Betta in a bowl, what you can do is to use a small fish tank filter. They are easy to find and very cheap.
Avoid water movement:
The Betta fish live naturally in very shallow water that has little movement. Bettas like calm water and don’t like current on the surface of thrir water either.
Decorations in the tank
Bettas, like any fish, need to have lots of hiding places to feel secure. They will be more active and less prone to stress related diseases. There are many options available for decorations but make sure all ornament are smooth to the touch with no rough edges. Sharp edges could potentially harm your Betta’s fins so you don’t want that in your tank.
As they are from marshes and rice paddies, they will love floating plants (live or artificial) and any other aquatic plants. If you chose to go with fake plants, it is better to go with silk plants rather than plastic plants. Silk plants are soft with no sharp edges, while plastic plants can be rough on the fins.
The more hiding place, the better.
One thing that is often overlooked in Betta keeping is the water temperature. Bettas are tropical fish native to the shallow waters of Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Vietnam and parts of China. They like their water temperature stable and warm (but not too warm). Low temperature is one of the most frequent causes of death for Bettas. The optimal range of water temperature for your Betta fish is 78 -80°F (25-26) and should not vary more than a degree or two from night to day. If you do have to alter the temperature, do it gradually over the course of a few hours. The temperature should never drop below 74°F which would have negative impacts on their immune system, making them susceptible to diseases.
Since temperature plays such an important role in your Betta’s health, a fish tank heater with thermometer is essential. If your tank (or bowl) is really small, it might be difficult to fit a heater in there. In that case, waterproof heating pads can be used. It can be difficult to heat a small bowl and it is perhaps one of the biggest argument against keeping them in such tiny tanks.
The air temperature at the surface is also important. Bettas are surface breathers, meaning they also breath from surface air. Low surface air temperature is a common mistake that can be fatal for Bettas. Ideally, the air temperature at the surface should be 78 -80°F (25-26). A lid is a very good idea too keep the air warm.
Compatibility with other fish:
Although Bettas have their territorial side, it is possible to set up a community tank for them where they can live peaceably. When it comes to mix Betta fish with other fish, try to avoid any aggressive and/or fin-nipping fish. Keep in mind that male Bettas are very territorial toward any fish that look like an another male Betta invading their territory. So don’t keep two male Betta in the same tank, avoid fish with long, flowing fins and fish with similar shapes. Betta usually do well with platys, swordtails, rasbora, white cloud minnow, plecos, mollies, neon tetras, cardinals tetras, cory catfish and ottos.
You would have to get a 10 gallon or larger tank with a good filter and heater to have more than just the Betta. Bowl are just too small.
Finally, the tank setup makes a huge difference in whether or not keeping Bettas with other fish is successful. Having plenty of hiding places and room to get away from each other will help lot.
Following the steps to setup the ideal aquarium for your Betta is what will make the difference between a happy and an unhappy Betta. Unhappy Bettas usually don’t last very long so why not do things the right way. So lets resume what we’ve learn about the ideal aquarium for Betta fish:
Any tank from 2.5 gallon to any size up is just fine (5 gallon fish tank and larger ones would be best). Fish bowl are too small.
Using a filter is the way to keep the water from becoming toxic.
Decorations such as fake or silk plants make great hiding places. The more hiding place, the better.
The optimal range of water temperature for your Betta fish is 78 -80°F (25-26). Warm air temperature at the surface is also important.
No more than one male Betta per tank
When it comes to mix Betta fish with other fish, avoid any aggressive and/or fin-nipping fish.