The most commonly know type of betta fish is the Siamese fighting fish, but there are actually over 60 types of fish that fall into the betta species category. However, they all have many things in common and all betta fish tanks have similar set up and care requirements.
Bettas are fairly flexible in terms of appropriate tank, water conditions and care, and they can happily live within a relatively wide range of different tank environments.
In this introduction, we talk about what type of tank and living environment is best suited to keeping betta fish.
Betta fish tank size
The size of a betta fish tank will vary depending on how many fish you wish to keep. To keep one lone male Siamese fighting fish on its own, you will only need a small tank, but to keep a range of fish together, you will of course need something larger!
Generally, the ready-to-go freshwater aquarium set-ups that you can buy in a range of sizes are perfectly well suited to the betta breed, and the tank size will dictate how many fish you can keep within it.
A good rule of thumb to follow is to allow one gallon of water for every inch of fish within the tank. Bettas benefit most from shallow but wide/long tanks, similar to their natural living conditions in the rice paddies of Thailand.
Betta fish tank water conditions
Bettas are freshwater fish and therefore do not require the addition of salt or minerals to create a brackish environment within the tank.
The betta is relatively hardy when it comes to differing water conditions and normal freshwater parameters are fine. Condition tap water to de-chlorinate it before adding it to the tank, and add softeners if you live in an area with particularly hard water.
Necessary equipment in betta fish tanks
Betta fish tanks need all of the usual aquarium fixings and fittings, such as a tank heater, filtration and lighting.
The ideal water temperature for bettas is between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit (24-27 degrees Celsius), so if you live in a warmer area, the ambient temperature may be sufficient without adding a heater, providing that you can monitor the temperature.
Filtration should be added in order to clear waste and toxins from the tank and provide a gentle flow of water movement, but without any strong streams.
Decorating your betta fish tank
How you decorate your betta fish tank is largely up to you! Many owners prefer to keep the aquarium décor minimal, so that the colorful, bright fish themselves are the focus of attention, while others like to keep a highly decorative aquarium.
A gravel or sand substrate is recommended, though leaving the base bare is also an option, and live or artificial plants can add interest and hiding places for your fish.