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 a beautiful aquarium to match. Our recommended shopping list and setup tips will help you give your betta the warmest welcome.

Betta Checklist: Everything You Need for Your New Fish

Let’s get shopping before we set up the new home for your bettafish. You can easily find all of these items at your local pet shops or online.

#1 Aquarium


5-gallon tank

It is the perfect size to start with a single bettafish. Many new owners mistakenly believe that betta fish are like houseplants that can live in tiny containers. But a dog who can survive in a kennel all their life would not prefer to live in a larger house or yard. 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 is that betta fish can be kept in a larger community tank with other types of fish, so check out our list of suitable 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

Your handsome boy will be best viewed from the highest angle. 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 are tropical fish that enjoy temperatures between 78 to 82degF, so purchase an appropriately sized


For 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

to cover the tank bottom, as well as some


or fake plants without any 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

Other than the materials that go inside the tank itself, don’t forget to buy


To remove the chlorine from the water.


for easily cleaning the aquarium.

High-quality betta pellets and freeze-dried bloodworms are good staple food. Finally, invest in an aquarium water test strips so you know when to clean the tank. It’s time for a water change if the levels of ammonia or nitrite exceed 0 ppm.

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. Avoid areas that are directly in sunlight, or near the heating or air conditioner to reduce temperature fluctuations and algae growth. 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. Do not use any soap or cleaning detergents, since they may be harmful to 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. To reduce the flow of water, betta fish won’t tolerate fast currents so place ornaments and plants near the filter. 5. Add water. Fill the tank up with tap water. Add a dechlorinator for the removal of toxic chemicals and chlorine. Although the filter can be plugged in now, most heaters require that you wait at least 30 minutes before turning on. This is because they need to adjust to the water temperature. Read the equipment manuals for more details, such as how to add a drip loop for the power cables.

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 dumbo betta fish with red pebbles and white dumbo

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.

Hopefully, this simple tutorial helped you make an amazing, stress-free environment for your new fishy friend.