April 21

Aquarium Setup for Betta Fish – A Comprehensive Guide


Do you love betta fish? Obviously, they are so attractive to the eyes. Do you want to set up an aesthetic betta fish tank? We got you!

Setting your betta fish can be tricky but it doesn’t mean you can’t do it at all. But if you take every step carefully and with a proper guide, the outcome would be jaw-dropping.

Well, this article is all about it. I believe, if you read on till the end, you will definitely get a proper outline of designing a betta fish tank.

Let’s get started!

What to Look For in A Betta Tank?

betta tank

Betta fish are beautiful creatures, don’t hurt them in the wrong tank setup. The market is full of eye-pleasing tanks and materials, but are they really safe and comfortable for your betta fish? You need to take care of this thing.

And for this reason, you should know what to exactly look for while setting up a betta tank. Everything matters, the size, the material, the height, and every relevant thing. We will guide you with the most optimum choices. Check out!

What’s The Optimum Tank Size For Betta Fish?

I believe every fish needs enough water to swim. Keeping them in the aquarium should never feel like a prison. Let them swim freely. When I set up my first betta fish tank, I only kept them in 2 gallons of water because of the tank size. As a result, sadly, they did not survive longer. 

If you really love your betta fish, do consider the perfect size so they can live a longer and healthier life. Whenever you set up a betta tank, bring the one that has a good capacity of at least  4 to 5 gallons of water. This will keep your fish healthy and happy. 

Ones With Lids Are Better

Aquariums with lids are safer. Not only does it keep your fish safer from any accidents, but also it doesn’t let it jump out of the tank. 

If you ask me, my son and my cat always try to put their hands in and catch the fish. The lids made me safer from this situation. If you think, this would be your situation too, considering lids are one of the wise choices.

I am not saying lids are the only option to be on the safer side, you can also have some net or mesh on the top of your aquarium. 

Length is Better Than Height

Consider the tank that has more length than height so the fish can swim a longer distance, anytime, at any speed. Fish like to swim horizontally.

Keep in mind, that tall tanks are unsuitable for a betta. Bettas, in their native habitat, reside in shallower water and like to swim left and right. 

A deeper tank really limits your betta’s ability to swim normally. If you intend to maintain a betta, you will need a tank that is longer than it is high.

Our Picks for Best Aquarium Setup for Betta Fish


    Below are some of our recommended tanks. This list might help you pick one for a betta tank. Have a look!

    Tanks Capacity Size (LxWxH) Light Lid
    Tetra Crescent Aquarium 5 gallons 16.6 x 11.2 x 13.2  Yes Yes
    Aqueon LED MiniBow 5 gallons 15 x 10.67 x 15.44 Yes Yes
    Marine LED Aquarium 5 gallons 21.8 x 14 x 18.8  Yes Yes
    GloFish Aquarium Fish Tank 10 gallons 23.69 x 13.44 x 19.88 Yes Yes
    PENN PLAX Water world radius 10 gallons 17.75 x 11.75 x 12.63 Yes Yes


    Does Your Betta Need A Filter?

    A filter is always a good option for fish. Yes, you may have seen lots of fish swimming in just a bowl of water but keep in mind they die so quickly. Why? Obviously because of dirt and bacteria.

    Without the filter, your tank would get dirtier a lot quicker, and you wouldn’t like to clean it again and again with a stinky smell. Moreover, it also prevents any kind of illness, algae, fungus, and bacteria invasion.

    Note that the filter should have an instruction manual so you can avoid any mistakes. After you have added it to the betta tank, make sure it works and the current is not too strong. It can be really dangerous.

    However, if you believe the filter is too powerful and your filter isn’t adjustable, you might craft a baffle out of a simple tank divider or place a few plants in the path to interrupt the current.

    Does Your Betta Need A Heat?

    Betta fish belongs to tropical waters, so yes they do need a heater in their sweet little home. 

    The suitable water temperature for a betta is around 77 to 80 Fahrenheit. And yes, ensure that the temperature is constant as frequent temperature changes can harm your betta fish. 

    Whenever you pick a heater for a fish tank, choose one with a thermostat to make it easier to monitor. Double-check the temperature with the thermometer too.

    Picking A Substrate

    A substrate is actually the floor of your betta fish tank. It can be made of little rocks, soil, sand, and some other stuff. Well, I have a suggestion for you;

    The Best Substrate

    I would suggest you use gravel as it is perfect for holding plants and any aquarium pieces. Large gravel can be irritating as they trap the food particles in between which can cause ammonia production. However, this problem will be reduced with a smaller, finer gravel substrate.

    Plants & Decoration

    Plants and decorations may add a lot of life to your fish tank. Betta fish enjoy hiding, lounging on plants, and sleeping in secret locations. Placing green decorations will assist to meet all of these requirements. Keep things exciting for your Betta fish, and you’ll be surprised at how joyful it is!

    However, be cautious while selecting decorations and ensure that they are suitable for your betta’s long and sensitive fins. You can’t use plastic plants with bettas for the same reason, therefore use silk plants instead if you don’t want genuine live plants.

    Do Bettas Need Lightning?

    Betta fish like to swim in light lively places and take a rest in the dark, so yes it’s really mandatory to have lightning in your betta fish tank.

    Your betta fish will feel anxious if there isn’t a variation in illumination. It will also struggle to know the exact timing of eating.

    LED lights are very handy in this regard since you can pick and adjust the brightness of the light. You may even set certain automatic timers to avoid manually changing the lights.

    The Process Of Setting Up Your Betta Tank


    Now we know the answers to every basic thing regarding betta aquarium. Let’s dive into the process of setting up a betta tank.

    Cleaning The Tank

    Firstly, use some water to clean the tank. There should be no soap used.

    All you have to do is place the tank on a soft mat or on grass. Scrub the inside glass with a scrubbing glove or any sponge. Then, wash it with water.

    The Ideal Placement

    I always place the fish tank near a window so the fish can experience nature. Make sure the place where you are placing your aquarium is sturdy, any accident can break it into pieces. You can also buy a stand to place it.

    Maintain a gap of 5 to 6 inches between the wall and tank so you can place the filter easily.

    Adding Substrate

    Before placing any gravel and ornaments in the aquarium, make sure you wash them properly with clean water. Chemical cleaning products should not be used to clean decorations or substrates since they are damaging to the aquarium and its occupants.

    Simply place your substrate, make a width of 2 inches at least so you can fix any other things in it, especially plants.

    Adding Plants

    Your betta would most probably feel more at ease in an environment that resembles his natural environment. You can use live or silk plants, both options are nice.

    Ensure that your plant’s roots are well tucked away in the substrate.  And all of your ornaments are securely fixed in it, ensuring they won’t fall apart.

    Fill Up The Tank

    Use tap water that has been cleaned with an aquarium water conditioner. The fish will die if they are exposed to polluted tap water. Also, make sure the water is not stagnant even if it is boiled. If you are doing some other things, cover your bucket.

    If the substrate has already been placed in the aquarium, slowly pour in the water so that the gravel does not scatter.

    Adding Filter

    It’s time to add the filter. Luckily, some tanks come with a compartment to place a filter, some not. If your tank does not have any compartment for a filter, the best place to add to the filter is the top back place of your betta fish tank. 

    Moreover, bettas dislike harsh water movement, so ensure the filter you select has a mild flow or a changeable current. 

    Adding Heater

    The last thing to add up is a heater. As I told you, bring a thermostat heater so it can maintain the temperature. 

    You will know the exact location of placing a heater on its instruction manual. I always place the heater near the filter, it’s the optimal place. 

    Moreover, some heaters are not adjustable, if this is the case, place the heater and wait for 24 hours. Check it again and again with a thermometer. Once the temperature is around 74 Fahrenheit, that’s best. 

    Cycling Your Tank

    Before adding your betta to their new little home, cycle your tank. There are basically two methods but the in-fish tank cycle is highly recommended.

    In Fish Cycle

    If you are planning to do this method, you will also require a biological enhancer.

    Begin by introducing a few tiny fish to the tank, and then wait about a week before introducing a betta fish.

    Fishless Cycle

    You can simply understand by the name, that the fishless cycle does not require any fish. It basically begins by adding beneficial bacteria to the tank, which you may accomplish by adding a biological enhancer to the filter media.

    The fishless cycle allows beneficial bacteria to establish themselves before releasing any fish waste on the biological filter.

    Regardless of the tank cycling method you employ, it will take at least ten days for the beneficial bacteria population in the tank to become large enough to reduce the ammonia levels in the habitat. 

    You have to check the tank’s parameters every few days. Make sure that the ammonia level is 0 parts per million and the nitrate level is no more than 20 ppm.

    Final Verdict

    Betta fish are happy fish. They like living with their owners. Giving them the right habitat will ensure that they have a happy and healthy home. Doing some effort can help them live a longer and healthier life.

    However, it is highly recommended to use a high-quality filter and heater in the fish tank. Not only this, check for every minor detail while setting up the beta fish tank, so you won’t end up regretting it!

    Happy fish keeping!


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