How to Set up A Beautiful Betta Fish Tank

How to Set up a Beautiful Betta Fish Tank Congratulations on getting your new betta fish! Betta splendens is one of the most stunning, beginner-friendly fish out there, so of course he needs to have …


How to Set up a Beautiful Betta Fish Tank

Congratulations on getting your new betta fish! Betta splendens is one of the most stunning, beginner-friendly fish out there, so of course he needs to have a beautiful aquarium to match. Our recommended shopping list and setup tips will help you give your betta the warmest welcome.

Betta Checklist: Everything Your New Fish Needs

Before setting up your betta fish’s new home, let’s go shopping for the necessary components. All of these items can be easily found at your local pet store or online.

#1 Aquarium


5-gallon tank

is a great starting size for a single betta fish. Many people mistakenly think that betta fish can live in small containers. However, just because a dog can survive its whole life in a kennel doesn’t mean she wouldn’t much prefer to roam around a large house or backyard. A bigger aquarium gives your betta fish the freedom to swim around and explore his environment. You will also notice a cleaner aquarium for a longer time.

A small 0.5-gallon tank may need to be refilled every day, while a 5-gallon fish aquarium can last for up to two weeks.

Betta fish are well-known by the nickname “Siamese fighting fish” because of their aggressive behavior towards their own species. Therefore, all bettas – both male and female – should be housed separately. In fact, betta sororities (or an aquarium with all female bettas) are not recommended except for the most experienced fish keepers. The good news for betta fish is that they can be kept in larger community tanks with other species of fish. Check out our list of tank mates.


Betta fish do like to jump out of the water, so make sure to get an aquarium

lid or hood

To prevent escape. Also, you will need to have an

aquarium light

To best admire your handsome boy. Because of their long finnage, bettas have a hard time swimming in strong currents, so choose a

small, gentle filter,

Like a sponge filter, or nano hang-on back filter. Finally, betta fish, which are tropical fish, can be kept at temperatures between 78 and 82.2 degrees F. Make sure to get the appropriate sized filter.


Your tank.

(Most betta fish aquarium kits are much too small, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the many equipment options, look for an all-in-one kit that’s 5 gallons or bigger to help simplify the shopping process.)


Aquarium decor is a great source of enrichment for your betta fish, so design a look that is both attractive and fun for your pet to explore. Most people enjoy using an aquarium.

Gravel or sand

Cover the tank bottom with some


You can also use fake plants with no sharp edges. Consider adding

live aquarium plants

to make a beautiful nature aquarium. Anubias, Java Fern, and Marimo Moss Balls are great for beginners. They don’t need any special lighting or substrate to grow, and help keep the water clean through biological filtration.

Blue male betta fish in a planted aquarium with carpeting plants

Other Supplies

Don’t forget about the materials inside the tank.


To remove the chlorine from the water.


for easily cleaning the aquarium.

You can use high-quality betta food pellets or freeze dried bloodworms as your staple food. Finally, invest in an aquarium water test strips so you know when to clean the tank. Water changes should be performed if ammonia, nitrite or nitrate levels rise above 0ppm or 40ppm respectively.

Aquarium Co-Op Multi-Test Strips

How to Set Up a Betta Tank

Now that you have all your supplies, here is a step-by-step guide to assembling your aquarium:

1. Pick a good location. The aquarium needs to be near an electrical outline for the equipment and a source of water for easy tank maintenance. To minimize algae growth and temperature fluctuations, avoid areas in direct sunlight or right next to the air conditioner or heating unit. Finally, remember that your aquarium is likely made of glass or acrylic, so select a spot where the tank will not get hit or crashed into because no one wants 5 gallons of water leaking all over the floor. 2. Use a good aquarium stand. Fish tanks are surprisingly heavy (close to 10 lbs. You can expect to pay about 10 lbs per gallon for water and supplies when your aquarium is full. Plus, the stand should be somewhat water resistant so that it won’t warp over time. 3. Wash your supplies. Use warm, soapy water to rinse your tank, equipment, substrate and decorations. Avoid using soaps or other cleaning products that could be harmful for your fish. If you purchased a used aquarium, you may want to check for leaks by letting it sit full of water for 24 hours and looking for signs of dampness. 4. Get the supplies installed. Now, it’s time to design the interior! Install the equipment in the aquarium (without plugging them in yet) and then position the decorations around them in a pleasing manner. Since betta fish don’t like fast currents, try placing some ornaments or plants in front of the filter to hide it and lessen the water flow. 5. Add the water. Fill the tank with tap water and add dechlorinator to remove chlorine and other toxic chemicals. The filter can now be plugged in, but most heaters require you to wait 30 minutes before turning them on (in order to acclimate to the water temperature). For more information, including how to add drip loops for power cables, refer to the equipment manuals.

One of the most common questions we receive is “Do bettafish need a cycled aquarium?”. So, if you don’t know what the nitrogen cycle is, read this article on how to “cycle” an aquarium.

Red and white dumbo betta fish with white pebbles

Welcoming Your New Betta Fish

The final step in setting up your aquarium is of course adding your new betta fish. You don’t need to give preventative medication if he is the only fish in your aquarium. Most betta fish bought from pet shops have been kept in isolation their entire lives. Simply float your betta’s little container or bag in the aquarium for 20 minutes so that the temperature in his bag matches the temperature in the tank. Then let your betta into his new home without adding any of the fish store water into the aquarium – either by scooping him out with a net or draining all the old water first.

We hope you found this tutorial helpful in creating a stress-free and amazing environment for your new fishy friend.