How to Set up A Beautiful Betta Fish Tank


How to Set up a Beautiful Betta Fish Tank

Congratulations on 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. For a warm welcome, make sure to check out our recommendations for shopping and setting up tips.

Betta Checklist – Everything You Need to Get a 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

This is a good starting size for one 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

Cover or Hood

You must prevent escape. An additionally, you need an

aquarium light

To best admire your handsome boy. Bettas are unable to swim in strong currents due to their long finnage.

small, gentle filter,

You can use a sponge filter or a nano hang-on to-back filter. Finally, betta fish are tropical fish that enjoy temperatures between 78 to 82degF, so purchase an appropriately sized


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’s bottom and some


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

live aquarium plants

to make a beautiful nature aquarium. Beginner plants like anubias, java fern, and marimo moss balls are great because they don’t require any special substrate or lighting to grow and they help keep the water cleaner 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.


Remove toxic chlorine from water and use a


for easily cleaning the aquarium.

Good staple foods include high-quality betta pellets or freeze-dried bloodworms. Finally, invest in an aquarium water test strips so you know when to clean the tank. If the ammonia and nitrite levels get above 0 ppm or nitrate levels are above 40 ppm, it’s time to do a water change.

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. The stand must be water-resistant so it doesn’t crack over time. 3. Wash your supplies. Use warm, soapy water to rinse your tank, equipment, substrate and decorations. Use soap and cleaning detergents sparingly as they can be harmful to 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. Install the supplies. Now it’s time for the interior design! 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. 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). You can find more information in the equipment manuals, such as how you add a drip loop to 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.