Updated on 2016-10-05 – Like I mentioned in a previous post, even though betta fish are known to live in close quarters, it doesn’t mean that’s how they should to live in your home. Can they survive in a small aquarium bowl? Probably, but chances are they won’t live as long. The problem is that there are so many different tanks available these days (especially with all the novelty ones coming out), that its hard to pick a proper betta aquarium.
Tips For Choosing The Best Betta Aquarium
Below are some tips and things to look out for when you start shopping for your next betta aquarium. This should get you started and the rest comes down to personal preference.
Size Definitely Matters
Many sites will say that the minimum size of the aquarium for bettas should be at least 2-3 gallons. I’ve tried this and found that they were more of a pain to deal with because you constantly have to clean the aquarium.
In my opinion, if you are new to betta fish and you aren’t sure if it’s for you, I recommend that you start with a 5-gallon tank. They are easy to set-up and the start-up cost isn’t outrageous. The environment is easier to maintain. One downside is that they aren’t really recommended for more than one betta fish. (Of course some people don’t follow this rule and still have success, but in my experience it isn’t worth it).
There are a lot of 5-gallon starter kits that you can get that will get you up and running in no time. See below for an example. Keep in mind that some betta fish aficionados will argue that those kits are not the greatest if you plan on keeping your fish for a long time. I agree with them; however the reason I recommend them is that they are generally a low-cost way of getting started and to really see if this is something you want to get into for the long haul.
When you get into 5-gallon tanks and larger, the water quality becomes a lot easier to maintain. That, and you can get into fancier equipment such as heaters and filters (which helps with the maintenance) and more choice for decorations.
Once you get familiar with caring for betta fish and you want to venture into getting more, I highly recommend going for something bigger. For example, nowadays I usually go for 20-gallon tanks where I keep 4-5 females, and still have some 5-gallon tanks around with 1 male betta in each, spread throughout the house. Never mix a male and female betta fish together, or your asking for trouble!
One final thing that I will say about this is that studies have proven that aquarium bettas can live longer when they live in bigger spaces and are less prone to stress and disease.
Shape Of Your Betta Aquarium
It might not be obvious, but the tank shape is actually important. The reason for this is that betta fish need access to air and will often come up to the surface to get it. If you have a long vertical tank for example, then it may be tricky for some types of bettas (like those with extremely long fins) to get up to the surface. Getting a tank that is more horizontal than vertical is a better way to go. Such as the Fluval Spec V:
Supplies You Will Need
If you have been in the aquarium hobby for a while, then chances are you probably already have everything that you need. However, if you are just starting out, it’s important to know that most aquariums that you buy come with some of the things you need to get going, but not all. For example, even if an aquarium is sold as a “starter kit”, it may not have all the essentials. That’s why I came up with a separate post just about the supplies that you will need. Please read “7 Must-Have Betta Fish Supplies“.
Where You Put Your Betta Aquarium
The last bit of advice I have for you is to walk around the house and think long and hard about where you plan to put the aquarium. The place where you decide to put it will often make the take size/shape decision for you.
What do you have at home? Do you prefer the smaller tanks or bigger tanks? I’m always curious to know what other people are doing.
Updated on 2017-11-07 – Updated the format of the post and other minor updates. Added the section “Supplies You Will Need” as well as provided an example of the shape of the tank that is preferable (i.e.: horizontal vs vertical – see Fluval image above).
Before you leave, please check out our SHOP for amazing deals on betta fish tanks, decorations, supplies and more!
In need of a new betta fish tank? Have a look at our reviews on the Fluval View, Fluval Chi and/or Fluval Edge 6 Gallon. They are fantastic tanks to get started.