Also known as the Siamese Fighting Fish, betta fish are known for their long, flowing tails and bright color. These fish are also known for being incredibly aggressive with males of the same species. As long as you keep a single betta in his own tank, however, there shouldn’t be any problems.
But what is the best tank for a betta fish and how do you decide?
Betta fish are not a particularly large species, but all aquarium fish need space to swim. Despite the fact that bettas are often sold in tiny bowls, your betta fish needs a regular aquarium with the proper equipment in order to thrive. It doesn’t have to be huge, but it does need to provide a certain amount of space to keep your betta fish happy and healthy.
Our top 10 Picks for the Best Betta Tanks in 2018
#10 Tetra LED Half Moon Betta Aquarium (1.1-Gallon)
Though the Tetra LED Half Moon Betta Aquarium is at the smaller end of the size spectrum, it still makes a good choice for keeping a single betta fish. This aquarium features a unique half-moon shape that enables you to see your betta fish from all angles. It is made from lightweight plastic so you can move it if needed and it is less prone to cracking or breaking than glass.
The Tetra LED Half Moon Betta Aquarium includes a clear plastic canopy with a feeding hole for convenience. It also comes with an LED light that you can reposition to illuminate your betta tank from above or from below. All you need to do is decorate the tank as you like and add a filter or air stone to maintain high water quality.
Pros: priced under $15, half-moon shape gives you a large viewing window, comes with LED light for illumination, plastic canopy has a feeding hole, great choice for desk or counter
Cons: only 1-gallon in capacity, doesn’t include any equipment other than LED light, may need to be cleaned more often than a larger tank
#9 Penn Plax Vertex Desktop Aquarium Kit (2.7-Gallon)
Perfectly sized for a desktop or counter, the Penn Plax Vertex Desktop Aquarium Kit is a 2.7-gallon glass aquarium kit. Not only does this kit include the streamlined glass aquarium, but it also comes with a hang-on filter, thermometer, and fish net. You may want to purchase a submersible heater to keep the tank warm, but for under $50 you can buy a nearly complete aquarium kit for your betta fish.
The Penn Plax Vertex Desktop Aquarium Kit is easy to set up and maintain. With a clear plastic lid, you can prevent your betta fish from jumping out, but it opens easily for feeding and cleaning. The tank itself is frameless and made from unique bent glass to maximize your viewing window. It takes just a few minutes to set up and you have the freedom to decorate your tank however you like.
Pros: 2.7-gallon capacity, glass aquarium is sturdy, comes with filter and thermometer, lid has hinges to open for cleaning or feeding, fits well on a counter or desktop, frameless design for optimal viewing.
Cons: doesn’t include a heater, doesn’t come with a light fixture
#8 Fluval Edge Aquarium Kit (6-Gallon)
One of the larger betta tanks on this list, the Fluval Edge Aquarium Kit has a lot to offer. In addition to a generous 6-gallon capacity, this tank features a modern design and it keeps your tank equipment hidden out of the way. This six-sided aquarium offers easy viewing of your betta fish from all angles and it is still small enough to place on a desk or counter. This tank is also equipped with both nighttime and daytime LED lighting so your betta is always displayed to his best advantage.
The Fluval Edge Aquarium Kit features a 6-gallon glass aquarium but also comes with additional equipment to get you started. This kit includes the powerful, easy-to-use Edge filter equipped with Cycleguard. It also comes with Nutrafin Cycle and Nturafin Aquaplus water treatments to keep your tank water clean and clear. Plus, it includes an LED light fixture and hides all of the cords in a decorative column at the back of the tank.
Pros: generous 6-gallon capacity, six-sided aquarium for optimal viewing, includes filter and lighting, hides cords away in a decorative column, LED fixture has both nighttime and daytime lights, comes with water treatment solutions, also available in 12-gallon size
Cons: somewhat expensive, doesn’t include a heater, lid doesn’t have a hole for feeding
#7 Marina 360-Degree Aquarium Kit (2.65-Gallon)
Nothing is more beautiful than a fully developed male betta fish in all his colorful glory. If you’re looking for a betta tank that displays your fish to his best advantage, consider the Marina 360-Degree Aquarium Kit. This tank features a unique 360-degree tank with built-in LED lighting, all in a manageable 2.65-gallon capacity that works well on counters and desktops.
The Marina 360-Degree Aquarium Kit measures 10-by-10 inches and it features both day and nighttime lighting. The tank itself is made from plastic but the edges are tinted to simulate real glass. The cover is easy to remove for cleaning and the built-in pump and filter is hidden away in a unit at the back of the tank. All you need to do is decorate the tank to your liking and you are ready to go!
Pros: 360-degree view, lightweight plastic construction, includes LED light and filter, equipment components housed in back of the tank, 2.65-gallon capacity, day and nighttime LED lighting
Cons: doesn’t come with a heater, plastic materials may scratch easily
#6 Back to the Roots Water Garden (3-Gallon)
Why choose a standard betta tank when you can have one that serves an additional purpose? The Back to the Roots Water Garden features a mini aquaponic tank that takes dissolved waste from the tank below and uses it to fertilize the plants above. This tank is a closed-loop ecosystem in and of itself, helping to keep your tank clean while also growing your choice of plants above.
The Back to the Roots Water Garden features a 3-gallon fish tank as well as a submersible water pump, gravel substrate, and growstones. It also comes with seeds to get your garden started. This betta tank is unique among all of the options out there and, while it may be a little more expensive, it is definitely something to behold.
Pros: closed-loop mini ecosystem, fish waste fertilizes plants, generous 3-gallon capacity, includes pump and other accessories, grows your choice of plants
Cons: doesn’t come with a light fixture, water heater not included, top must be removed for cleaning
#5 Fluval Spec III Aquarium (2.6-Gallon)
Sold as a nano aquarium, the Fluval Spec III Aquarium is a lovely desktop tank that would do very well for a betta fish. This aquarium features a 2.6-gallon etched glass tank with aluminum trim and it comes with a powerful 3-stage oversized filter and a 31 LED lighting system. It also comes with all the necessary filter media to keep your tank water clean and clear.
The Fluval Spec III Aquarium is a little pricey compared to some of the other options on this list, but the fact that it includes such a powerful filter is a selling point. The tank is easy to set up and maintain, and it will display your betta fish to his best advantage. You may nee to purchase a submersible heater, but that is a minor expense.
Pros: perfect for counter or desktop use, 2.6-gallon capacity, etched glass tank, comes with powerful 3-stage filtration system, includes 31 LED light fixture, comes with all necessary filter media
Cons: doesn’t include a heater, somewhat expensive compared to other options
#4 MarineLand Contour Glass Aquarium (3-Gallon)
Available in both a 3-gallon and 5-gallon size, the MarineLand Contour Glass Aquarium is a great option for a betta tank. This aquarium features a stylish design that offers more vertical space than most nano aquariums. It consists of a beautiful curved glass tank with an integrated LED lighting system that utilizes both white and blue LEDs for optimal illumination.
The MarineLand Contour Glass Aquarium comes with an advanced 3-stage filtration system to keep your betta tank water clean and clear. The sleek design of the tank keeps all cords hidden, and the hinged light can be adjusted as needed. Both sizes include a glass canopy that slide back over the filter to create a gap for daily feeding but also prevents your betta fish from jumping out.
Pros: comes in 3- and 5-gallon sizes, curved glass aquarium, includes advanced 3-stage filter, LED light fixture comes with white and blue LEDs, glass canopy slides back for feeding, perfect for desk or counter
Cons: doesn’t come with a heater, somewhat expensive
#3 Tetra Crescent Acrylic Aquarium Kit (3, 5-Gallon)
If you’re looking for a unique desktop betta tank, the Tetra Crescent Acrylic Aquarium Kit is a great option. Available in 3- and 5-gallon sizes, this kit features a seamless, curved front aquarium with a black cover and base frame. It features energy-efficient LED lighting and the Tetra Whisper internal filter, equipped with all necessary filter media.
With the Tetra Crescent Acrylic Aquarium Kit, all you need to do is decorate the tank to your liking and set up the filter. It is really that easy. With the larger size, you’ll only need to perform water changes every three to four weeks because the filter will help keep the water in your tank clean.
Pros: available in 3- and 5-gallon sizes, seamless curved front aquarium, comes with energy-efficient LED lighting, includes Tetra Whisper internal filter, easy to set up and maintain, priced under $50
Cons: doesn’t include a tank heater, lighting could be stronger
#2 MarineLand Portrait Aquarium (5-Gallon)
For a small space such as a desktop or counter, the MarineLand Portrait Aquarium is a great option. This 5-gallon tank has a surprisingly small footprint while still offering your betta fish plenty of room to swim. It features a 5-gallon curved glass aquarium and comes with all of the equipment you need to get your betta tank started off right.
The MarineLand Portrait Aquarium comes with a hidden 3-stage filtration system including an adjustable flow filter pump. It also comes with a hinged LED light fixture that includes both bright white and blue LEDs to produce a moonlight glow at night. This tank comes with a base as well as a glass canopy that slides back for feeding and cleaning.
Pros: generous 5-gallon capacity, curved front glass aquarium, comes with 3-stage filtration system, equipped with white and blue LEDs, glass canopy slides back for feeding, easy to set up and maintain
Cons: doesn’t come with a tank heater, provides more vertical than horizontal space, somewhat pricey
#1 Fluval Spec V Aquarium (5-Gallon)
Though it may be one of the more expensive betta tanks out there, the Fluval Spec V Aquarium has a lot to offer. This 5-gallon aquarium features an etched glass tank with aluminum trim, making it sleek and modern to fit with your home or office décor. It also has a streamlined design that makes it easy to view your betta fish from multiple angles.
The Fluval Spec V Aquarium comes with a powerful 37 LED lighting system as well as an integrated filter. The kit comes with all the filter media you need as well as a powerful circulation pump. All equipment is conveniently stored in the chamber on one end of the tank for convenience and to keep these elements out of sight for aesthetics.
Pros: generous 5-gallon capacity, comes with powerful 3-stage filtration system, 37 LED lighting system, equipment is housed in a chamber for convenience, etched glass with aluminum trim, sleek design
Cons: doesn’t include a tank heater, fairly expensive compared to other models
Everything You Need to Know About Caring for Betta Fish
Originally known as the Siamese Fighting Fish, betta fish are known by the scientific name Betta splendens. These fish hail from Southeast Asia where they can be found living in shallow waters such as rice paddies, drainage ditches, and floodplains.
Because of their history, many people assume that betta fish are adapted to living in small, confined spaces. In reality, however, betta fish need just as much space as any other aquarium fish.
The Basics About Betta Fish
The betta fish belongs to the same family as the gourami and, as such, they share some similar qualities that make them unique from other fish. The most interesting thing about betta fish and other anabantoids is that they possess a unique organ called the labyrinth – this organ enables them to breathe air from the surface. This organ is the reason why betta fish are able to survive in low-oxygen water conditions like rice paddies and slow-moving streams.
Betta fish range in size from about 1 inch to 5 inches in length. In the wild, betta fish exhibit a very dull coloration, but they have been selectively bred in captivity to produce the long-finned, brightly-colored betta fish you know today.
In addition to selective breeding for color, betta fish have been bred for a variety of different tail types. Here are some of the most popular:
- Veil Tail
- Crown Tail
- Super Delta
- Double Tail
- Half Moon
- Round Tail
- Spade Tail
Because betta fish are so beautiful, it may be tempting to collect a whole school of them. The problem is that male betta fish are highly aggressive and territorial – placing two male bettas in the same tank could be a fatal mistake. You can keep a female betta together with a male or, in some cases, you may be able to keep a single male betta in a community tank with non-conspecific. For the most part, however, it is best to keep these fish alone.
Choosing the Right Betta Tank
Betta fish are a beautiful sight to behold which is why they are so popular. When it comes to keeping betta fish, however, you need to think about more than just their aesthetics. Betta fish are living, breathing organisms that require care just as much as any other pet.
So, what do you need to know when choosing an aquarium for your betta?
First and foremost, you need to think about the size of your tank. If you are already an aquarium hobbyist, you are probably familiar with the “one inch of fish per gallon” rule. This rule is simply a guideline for stocking an aquarium to prevent overcrowding. If you follow this rule, you’ll see that a one-gallon tank is the absolute lowest you should go in terms of size.
Before you go out and buy a one-gallon betta tank, however, take the time to think about the benefits of choosing a larger tank.
Water quality is one of the most important things you need to think about when choosing a betta tank and in caring for your fish. As your betta fish eats, he will produce waste and, because the aquarium is an enclosed environment, that waste has nowhere to go. As it breaks down, it produces harmful byproducts like ammonia which can accumulate in the water and poison your fish.
The larger your aquarium, the more diluted toxins and other harmful substances are, reducing their impact on your fish.
This fact contradicts the common misconception that large aquariums are harder to maintain than smaller ones. There is no need to buy a 20-gallon tank to house a single betta fish, but you will be better off with a 3- to 5-gallon tank than a 1-gallon tank. At the very least, you’ll be able to go a little longer between water changes and cleanings with a larger tank.
Tips for Feeding and Caring for Betta Fish
In addition to choosing the right size for your betta tank, you also need to stock it with appropriate equipment. You’ll need a filtration system to keep the water clean, lighting to illuminate the tank, and a heater to maintain a stable tank temperature.
Once you have your betta tank set up and all of your equipment installed, the tank will more or less run itself. You’ll need to check your equipment once in a while to make sure it’s still working properly but, on a day-to-day basis, your primary concern is feeding your betta.
Many people don’t realize that betta fish are carnivorous. This means that they require a meat-based diet. Fortunately, you can purchase commercial betta pellets at the pet store which will be perfectly adequate to meet your betta’s nutritional needs. Just be careful not to overfeed your betta fish because they have sensitive digestive systems and are prone to constipation. Generally, you’ll only need to feed your betta two or three pellets twice a day.
In addition to feeding your betta a healthy diet, you’ll also need to keep his tank clean. Plan to perform a 15% to 20% water change once a week along with a larger 25% water change every 4 to 6 weeks. Use a gravel vacuum to siphon dirty water and accumulated debris from the substrate in your tank, then refill the tank with dechlorinated water the same temperature as your tank water.
Something else you should consider doing is testing your betta tank water on a weekly basis. You can buy an aquarium water test kit online or at the pet store and use it to test your water chemistry (things like pH level, water hardness, etc.). Record the results in a notebook and compare the results each week. If you notice any drastic changes, test again to confirm then take the necessary steps to correct the problem. The sooner you notice a problem and take care of it, the less likely it is to have a negative impact on your betta fish.
Choosing the right betta tank is only one part of the equation, but it is a very important part! So, take what you’ve learned here and put it to use in choosing a betta tank and caring for your new fish.