Betta fish are popular pets due to their beautiful, striking appearance and perceived ease of care. Though they are certainly hardy fish, there are many misconceptions about the conditions they can live in.
For instance, we are led to believe that cheap, tiny tanks are appropriate because why else would they say “betta” in the product title? However, bettas should not be kept in such small tanks as they need ample space to swim and explore.
The fact that you’re looking for the best betta tank shows that your pet’s health is important to you. Not only will we help you find a great tank, but we’ve also provided a guide to help you properly care for your beautiful fish.
- What to Consider When Shopping for Betta Tanks
- Top 7 Best Betta Tanks to Buy in 2023
- 1. Best Overall Pick: Marina LED Aquarium Kit
- 2. Best Premium Pick: Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit
- 3. Best for Sororities: Aqueon 10 Gallon Aquarium Kit
- 4. Best Compact Betta Tank: MarineLand Portrait Glass Aquarium Kit
- 5. Best for Beginners: Tetra Crescent Aquarium Kit
- 6. Best Budget Pick: GloFish Aquarium Kit
- 7. Best Looking: Koller PanaView Aquarium Kit
- Caring For Your Betta
- Final Thoughts
What to Consider When Shopping for Betta Tanks
Getting a betta and setting up an aquarium is exciting. However, picking a tank isn’t always easy. There are so many choices at different price ranges, so how will you know which one is the best? Considering the following factors can help you make your decision.
When you buy a betta at a pet store, it comes in a teeny-tiny plastic cup. This leads many to believe that bettas don’t need a lot of living space. However, in order to be healthy, bettas actually need a 5-gallon tank or larger.
While small tanks may be enticing due to their convenient size and cheap price tag, they get dirty much faster than larger tanks. This makes it difficult to maintain the nitrogen cycle that is vital to your betta’s health (more on this in our guide).
A filter is a necessary component of your tank. It helps keep the tank cleaner and aids the growth of beneficial bacteria. Without a filter, you will have to clean the tank frequently.
Filters with strong currents can either suck your betta in or blast it around the tank. In the worst-case scenario, a powerful filter could lead to your betta’s death. If possible, choose a filter that has a low or adjustable flow or is designed for a tank smaller than what you have.
You can also modify your filter by adding a “baffle.” This is an object that will disrupt the current and/or block a filter’s opening. Baffles can be purchased from retailers or made at home using aquarium safe sponges or plastic bottles.
What goes inside the filter (sponges, cartridges, etc.) is referred to as filter media. Filters always come with some sort of media, so beginners won’t have to worry about this. Advanced fishkeepers may want to consider filters that allow for customization of the filter media.
Just like humans, bettas are diurnal: they’re active during the day and sleep at night. Indoors, bettas won’t be getting much sunlight, which means we need to provide an artificial sun.
Lights are also necessary for plant growth. If you want to enjoy a planted tank, then you’ll need a light that is up to the task.
A lid is an important component of a tank, especially for bettas. This is because it’s not uncommon for bettas to jump out of their tanks. Furthermore, a lid can keep fish safe from other pets. If you happen to have a cat, then you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about.
Consider the shape of a tank, how it is made (a single curved piece or several pieces glued together), as well as the material it is made of. Tall tanks take up less space, but fish prefer wide tanks because they’d rather swim side to side than up and down. Curved tanks look cool but, from some angles, may distort your view into the tank. Acrylic (plastic) tanks are usually cheaper than glass tanks but are easier to scratch.
Bettas are native to tropical areas such as Thailand and Cambodia. Therefore, you’ll want the water in your tank to be between 76 and 81°F. To achieve that, you need a heater. Unfortunately, many aquariums don’t come with one and you’ll have to buy it separately.
Top 7 Best Betta Tanks to Buy in 2023
1. Best Overall Pick: Marina LED Aquarium Kit
Why we like it: The filter on this tank is betta-friendly and big enough for customizing media. This kit also includes a number of useful items such as a bottle of water conditioner, fish food, a net, and a helpful guide on aquarium care.
- 5-gallon glass aquarium
- LED lights
- Filter and cartridges
- Fish food
- Water conditioner
- Fluval Cycle Biological Supplement
- Aquarium care guide
The filter is suitable for bettas without any modifications. The flow is adjustable, and the low setting won’t toss your betta around the tank or suck them in.
For the most part, this filter is pretty quiet but can be noisy if the waterline drops below the output. Furthermore, the filter may rattle against the glass if the provided plastic spacer falls off (which it is likely to do). You can make your own spacer out of a piece of sponge or a silicone coaster — whatever you have around the house.
What’s more annoying than the spacer issue is the placement of the filter. It’s smack dab in the middle of the tank and cannot be moved. This, plus the addition of a heater results in a loss of tank space. Not only that, the placement makes it harder to hide with plants and decorations.
While it sucks that the filter takes up so much space, it’s large enough for you to customize filter media.
The LED lights on this tank only come in one color, a daylight white. However, they’re great for planted tanks as they support both medium and low-light plants. The on-off switch is on the cord rather than being on the top of the tank. This could be either convenient or inconvenient depending on your preferences.
The lid on this tank is decent in that it fits relatively well and isn’t flimsy, but it could still use some improvements. It doesn’t have any hinges, which is inconvenient when it comes time to clean the tank. Since the LEDs are attached to the lid, it’s hard to see into the tank when you have to take it off.
This lid also has a feeding hole which is a nice touch, but it’s completely uncovered. This means that fish have an easy way out. You may want to consider covering it with mesh or tape. This lid does provide space for extra cords, which is great since you’ll need to install a heater for your betta.
This aquarium is well-built, even down to the small details. Since it is a glass tank, the pieces must be glued together and sealed with silicone. This is done very neatly. The silicone is black instead of clear, which looks nice and won’t become stained if you were to have any issues (algae, we’re talking about you).
The tank is wide and not too deep, making it easy to clean. This is also great for bettas because their native homes are shallow, and they take oxygen from the air despite having gills. And, as we’ve mentioned before, most fish prefer to swim in a horizontal direction.
- Filter is safe for bettas on its lowest setting
- Filter is large enough for media customization
- Comes with useful accessories
- LED lights can support medium and low-light plants
- Filter is large and inconveniently placed in the middle of the tank
- Plastic spacer for filter won’t stay in place and causes filter to rattle against the tank
- Feeding hole is uncovered which may result in escapes
Why we like it: The filter housing is huge and perfect for those who want to use several types of filter media to customize their aquarium. For those who prefer a planted tank, the included LEDs can support both medium and low-light plants.
- 5-gallon glass aquarium
- LED lights
- Low-voltage transformer (for the LED lights)
- Circulation pump with an output nozzle
- Fluval foam filter block with handle
- Fluval activated carbon insert
- Fluval BioMax insert
The filter that comes with this tank has an adjustable flow, but it’s still too strong for bettas. Fluval actually makes an inexpensive sponge baffle to use with the filter, so it’s an easy fix.
The sizable filter is built into the tank. It doesn’t take up any of your fish’s swimming space, and it contains a large piece of sponge for beneficial bacteria to grow on (you’ll learn more about this in our section on how to cycle a tank).
The filter housing offers some extra space for those who would like to customize their media. It’s also a great place to hide a heater. The filter media is easy to remove from the housing, which makes cleaning a breeze. Best of all, the filter is actually quiet!
The LEDs on this tank are very bright and can be switched between white and blue to mimic day and night. They are placed above the tank on a strip that spans the entire length of the tank, leaving not a corner of the aquarium unlit.
While other tanks on our list only support low-light plants, the lights on this Fluval aquarium are good enough for medium-light plants as well. However, if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, the Marina Led Aquarium Kit also includes LEDs capable of supporting medium-light plants.
The plastic lid on this tank is decent but could be better. The feeding hole in the center is huge, making it easy for fish to escape and water to evaporate. There are no notches for extra cords, which could be problematic if you don’t want to put a heater in the filter housing.
The design of this tank is rather sleek. This is likely due to the placement of the filter housing and the honeycomb design around it, as well as the black base.
However, the designers could have done a better job when it comes to the air pump. It is difficult to get into place, which means it can be equally difficult to remove. Luckily, you shouldn’t have to remove it all that often because the filter housing is unlikely to get clogged with debris.
- Sleek design
- Lights support medium and low-light plants
- Quiet filter with a large sponge for bacterial growth
- Filter housing has extra space for customization
- Fish can escape through large hole in lid
- Filter needs a baffle to be safe for bettas
- Pump is difficult to install
3. Best for Sororities: Aqueon 10 Gallon Aquarium Kit
Why we like it: This kit has it all. Not only do you get a tank with LED lights and a filter, but you also get a heater, fish food, a net, and other necessities. The size is also great for those looking to keep a sorority of bettas.
- 10-gallon glass aquarium with lid
- LED lighting
- Filter with cartridge
- Fish food
- Water conditioner
- Stick-on thermometer
The filter is too strong for bettas and will need to be baffled. It also has some issues with noise: it tends to vibrate against the glass. This can be fixed by putting something behind it like a piece of rubber or sponge.
One of the nice aspects of this filter is the replacement indicator. A red light will flash when it’s time to change the filter’s cartridge. This is especially useful for those new to fish keeping.
This tank has white lights that are very bright and can support low-light plants. However, the lights can get quite hot and even heat up the water, so make sure you keep a thermometer in your tank to monitor the temperature.
Because the lights are in the lid and are not waterproof, there is a chance that condensation could reduce their longevity. If you’re okay with a smaller tank, the Marina LED Aquarium Kit comes with all the bells and whistles but has better lights.
The major issue with this lid is that it houses the lights. Because they aren’t waterproof, they don’t last, and the whole lid needs to be replaced just to get working lights again. Luckily, there is some extra room at the back for additions, so you may be able to sneak a new light through there if needed.
This lid does not have a hinge and will need to be taken off completely during cleaning. However, it does have a covered feeding hole, which is convenient and prevents escapes.
The Aqueon 10-gallon aquarium is your classic rectangular glass tank. It’s made of several pieces of glass glued together and sealed with silicone caulk. The quality control here isn’t great. While the tank isn’t likely to leak, the sealant is rather sloppily laid along the seams, so you may feel better keeping some spare silicone sealant on hand to prevent leaks.
The size of this tank means you can add more fish to it. Check out our list of appropriate tank mates for bettas.
This is the only kit that comes with a heater! You could consider this a rare find.
The heater is preset at 78°F and not adjustable. This is an appropriate temperature for a betta, but if you ever wanted to house something else in this tank down the line, you wouldn’t be able to adjust the temperature.
The thermometer that comes with the heater is a nice addition, but it is a bit difficult to see without a flashlight.
- Size is better for those looking to keep betta sororities or add tank mates
- Comes with a heater
- Comes with accessories (thermometer, water conditioner, etc.)
- The feeding hole in the lid can be closed to prevent escape
- Lights wear out quickly from exposure to condensation
- Heater temperature cannot be adjusted
4. Best Compact Betta Tank: MarineLand Portrait Glass Aquarium Kit
Why we like it: The shape of this tank makes it perfect for small spaces. The LED lights mimic sunlight and moonlight, are strong enough to support low-light plants, and are height adjustable.
- 5-gallon glass aquarium with sliding lid
- Filter, pump, and cartridge
- Marineland bio-foam
- Blue and white LED lights
- Aquarium base
The filter included with this aquarium is nice and quiet, and replacement cartridges are easy to find online and in pet stores. While the flow is adjustable, the current is still too strong for a betta even at the lowest setting. However, this can be fixed with a baffle.
The area in which the filter is housed is rather narrow and thus difficult to clean. Luckily, the rest of the tank is easy to maintain.
This tank includes a height-adjustable LED light with two different color options: white and blue. The white is meant to act as an artificial sun, whereas the blue is supposed to mimic the moon. This is a nice option for bettas since they are diurnal.
These LED lights are super bright, which is both good and bad. They’re great at illuminating the tank, but some bettas are stressed out by them. To reduce stress, try covering the lights with a piece of masking tape or some nylon stockings.
If you’re interested in a planted tank, these LEDs are capable of supporting low-light plants like moss balls or Anubias.
This tank has a sliding lid, which is nice for feeding. Unfortunately, the quality of this lid isn’t the best, with it often being a bit too narrow. If you don’t place it just right, then it may even fall into the water.
This tank is tall rather than wide, which means it takes up less space and is perfect for those looking for a small aquarium. However, fish prefer to swim from side to side rather than up and down.
This MarineLand aquarium also comes with a base, but the tank simply sits on top of it rather than latching in. Despite this, it’s unlikely that the tank would actually slide off the base.
The front of the tank is made from a single piece of glass with curved edges. This reduces the chance of leaks but somewhat inhibits your view into the tank. If you look from the sides, the curved edges create a sort of Fresnel lens effect.
The filter and lights do not share the same power cord, which means you can keep the filter running continuously while having the lights on a timer. All in all, you will need three available outlets for the filter, lights, and a heater (which you have to purchase separately).
- Quiet filter
- Takes up less space than classic wide tanks
- LEDs are strong enough for low-light plants
- LED lights are height adjustable
- Filter is too strong for Bettas and requires modification
- Filter housing is narrow and difficult to clean
- Lid is narrow and may fall into the tank if not placed perfectly
5. Best for Beginners: Tetra Crescent Aquarium Kit
Why we like it: This tank is perfect for beginners who want a simple set-up and aren’t concerned with growing plants. It comes with a betta-safe filter and doesn’t take up a lot of space.
- 5-gallon acrylic tank with lid
- LED lights
- Filter with cartridge
- Aquarium base
This filter has adjustable flow settings, and you’ll need to choose the lowest one to keep your betta comfortable. There is a pocket on the filter that fish can swim into, so you may want to block it with a sponge.
The filter is nice and quiet, but it is quite large. This means it will accommodate any filter media, not just the provided Bio-Bag cartridge. However, it takes up more space in the tank.
The LED lights on this tank only come in one color: white. They are not able to support plant life. If you’re looking for an affordable tank with lights that can support low-light plant growth, then check out the GloFish Aquarium Kit instead.
The lid on this tank is just okay. It functions, but it isn’t very secure because it doesn’t lock into place. It has slots for extra cords but lays awkwardly on the tank when you use them. Extra cords tend to fall out of the slots and into the water.
The one good thing about this lid is that it has a small opening for feeding, so you won’t have to take it off and risk ruining the perfect placement it took you 10 minutes to achieve. You may want to cover this opening, though, as bettas can be escape artists.
Despite being made of acrylic plastic rather than glass, this tank is sturdy and crystal clear. Unfortunately, it does scratch easily, so you’ll need to take care when cleaning it. This tank is small and doesn’t take up much space.
- Doesn’t take up a lot of space
- Filter’s lowest setting is safe for bettas
- Filter is large and allows for personalization of filter media
- Lights are not strong enough for a planted tank
- Lid is not secure
- Scratches easily
6. Best Budget Pick: GloFish Aquarium Kit
Why we like it: This tank is affordable and its triangular shape makes it perfect for tucking into a corner. The lights are strong enough to support low-light plants.
- 5-gallon acrylic tank with lid
- Tetra Whisper Bio-Bag Filter cartridge
- LED lighting
The filter included in this kit is quiet and has adjustable flow settings. Unfortunately, even the lowest setting is too strong for bettas and will suck their beautiful fins into the filter. You’ll have to modify it with a baffle or purchase a different filter.
The LED light in this tank is a blue-white shade and does not change to any other colors. It works well for lighting up the aquarium, but isn’t as cool as the lights in the Koller Panaview Aquarium Kit and doesn’t have the benefit of mimicking day and night like the lights in the MarineLand Portrait Glass Aquarium. If you are interested in a planted tank, these lights will support low-light plants only.
The lid on this tank is not great. It’s flimsy and ill-fitting. Rather than snapping into place or being attached in some other way, it just sits on top of the tank. It’s easy to knock into the tank, and if you add a heater (which you should), then it won’t stay in place at all. On the bright side, it does have a feeding hole, so you won’t have to move it once it is in place.
The Glofish aquarium is made of plastic and is completely seamless, reducing the likelihood of leaks. The shape of the tank is actually somewhat triangular, so it fits nicely in corners and is perfect for those who don’t have much space. Because it is made of plastic, it scratches easily.
- Fits nicely into corners
- Quiet filter
- LEDs can support low-light plants
- Filter is too strong for bettas and requires modification
- Lid is flimsy and ill-fitting
- Scratches easily
Why we like it: This tank is affordable and made of sturdy plastic. The lid fits well, is attached by a hinge, and has cut-outs that allow you to add extra components like a heater. The color-changing lights enhance the appearance of the tank.
- 5-gallon plastic aquarium with lid
- Filter and cartridges
- Color changing LED lights
- Set-up instructions
The filter included with this tank is quiet and the replacement cartridges are easy to find. However, it isn’t the best filter out there. The flow isn’t adjustable and it’s too strong for bettas. This can be solved with modifications like baffles, but you may want to consider replacing the filter as the one included is known for having issues and being short-lived.
The lights in this tank are mostly for show as they are color changing LEDs with seven color choices: daylight white, blue, green, amber, aqua, purple, and red. They do look very cool, but they cannot support plant life.
There is also a built-in timer, so you can have the lights on for 1, 2, 4, or 8 hours. However, you have to set it every single day and it can be a bit tricky to use, so be sure to follow the provided instructions.
All too often, aquarium kits come with less than stellar lids. However, Koller has provided a pretty solid cover for this tank.
It has a hinge on it so you do not have to awkwardly hold it in your hand while you feed your fish or clean the tank. Similarly, the hinge allows for the tank to open in such a way that any condensation will run back into the tank rather than all over your counters.
Though this kit doesn’t include a heater, the lid itself has cut-outs that you can remove to create space for one. The only downside to this is that it leaves a sizable hole that your fish could potentially jump out of.
This tank is made of plastic; it’s sturdy, but it will scratch much easier than glass does. The tank is molded as one piece, so there are no seams and less of a chance of leaks. The shape of this tank also makes it spacious for an adventurous betta.
- Lid comes with cut-outs for more customization
- LED lights come in seven colors
- Filter is too strong for bettas and may require replacement
- LED lights cannot support plant life
Caring For Your Betta
Many people think that bettas are an easy, low maintenance pet to own. However, once you learn more about them, you know that that isn’t exactly the case. While bettas are hardy fish that can survive in less than ideal conditions, proper care will bring out their true nature.
We’re going to teach you all about how to set-up and maintain your tank so that you can give your betta the best possible life.
Initial Set-Up Checklist
Initial tank set-up is pretty straightforward: put in your gravel and decorations, set up your filter and your heater, and fill the tank with water. However, there are some other important aspects of tank set-up that are necessary to keep your betta happy, healthy, and most importantly, alive.
Refer to this short checklist when setting up your tank:
- Use a water conditioner to neutralize chemicals in tap water.
- Provide lots of places to hide, but avoid plastic plants that can tear your betta’s fins; opt for silk or live plants instead.
- Heat water so that it is between 76 and 81°F.
- Make sure the tank is cycled (more on that next).
How to Cycle a Tank
This refers to the process of nitrogen cycling. Your fish produces waste that turns into toxic nitrogen compounds that can kill your fish if left unchecked: ammonia and nitrites. Beneficial bacteria in the tank consume this waste and turn it into nitrates which you remove with regular water changes. The cycle repeats continuously, keeping your fish healthy.
There are several ways to cycle an aquarium, but we’re going to focus on the fishless method. This can take up to six weeks to complete, so you may want to hold off on getting your betta.
Step One: Introduce Ammonia
The first thing you need to do is add ammonia to the water. You can either buy pure ammonia to add directly, or you can use betta food that will produce ammonia as it decays (this takes much longer).
Add about 1 part per million (ppm) of ammonia per gallon. Figuring out how much ammonia to add to get 1 ppm per gallon may take some trial and error, so we recommend using a bucket instead of trying to do this directly in your tank at first.
Step Two: Water Tests
Leave your tank to sit for a few days, and then test the water. Use something like the API Freshwater Test Kit, as test strips aren’t always accurate.
If you notice a decrease in ammonia, this means that your beneficial bacteria are growing! Add more ammonia so that your water is at about 3 ppm per 5 gallons, and continue to test daily, adding ammonia as needed. Eventually, you should see nitrite in the water as well.
After two to three weeks, you’ll likely see nitrite levels drop and start seeing nitrate in the tank. This is a very good sign. Keep testing your water, and you should see nitrite levels drop as nitrate levels rise. When both nitrite and ammonia readings are 0 ppm, your tank is fully cycled!
To be certain, you’ll want to do one final test. Add four ppm of ammonia to the water and let the tank sit overnight. Test it the next day. If ammonia and nitrite read zero with only nitrate appearing in the tank, then you’ll know for sure that your tank is safe for fish!
Step Three: Do a Water Change and Add Fish
Now that your tank is fully cycled, it’s almost time to add your fish. But first, you will want to do a partial water change. Though bacteria in the tank take care of ammonia and nitrite, it’s up to us humans to deal with nitrate.
Remove about 50% of the water from the tank and replace it. Do another test to make sure the nitrate levels are below 40 ppm and ammonia and nitrite are still at 0.
Finally, you can add your fish!
Levels in a Balanced Tank:
- pH: 6.5-7.5
- Ammonia: 0 ppm
- Nitrite: 0 ppm
- Nitrate: Less than 40 ppm
If you’ve managed to successfully cycle your tank, then you’re going to want to perform the proper maintenance to keep the process going. There’s nothing worse than having your tank’s nitrogen cycle crash and needing to start all over again.
Water changes are vital to keeping your tank in good health. Depending on the size of your tank as well as your nitrate reading, you’ll want to replace between 10% and 25% of the water each week.
The best way to do this is to get an aquarium vacuum. With a vacuum, you can clean out debris like fish poop and uneaten food from the gravel of the tank, all while removing your 10-25% of water. But don’t dump the water you’ve removed down the drain! You might need it for cleaning.
Any surface in the tank may have beneficial bacteria growing on it, and tap water and soap can kill it. If your bacteria die, the nitrogen cycle could crash, which could lead to dead fish. The best way to keep bacteria alive and well is to clean items with water that you’ve just removed from the tank during a water change.
Feeding and Tank Mates
Maintaining your betta’s environment through tank maintenance is an important part of caring for your pet. Now, we’ll address its needs in terms of feeding and tank mates.
How Much Should You Feed Your Betta?
Many of us have had the horrifying experience of finding our betta laying on his side at the top of the tank, wondering if our lovely fish is at death’s door. A Google search reveals that his illness is a result of overfeeding, an all too common mistake for new betta owners.
A betta’s stomach is about the size of its eyeball. Once you know that, it’s easy to understand why they’re so easily overfed. We recommend buying betta specific pellets and feeding only two to three of them once or twice a day.
Can Bettas Live With Other Fish?
Many people know of the betta’s moniker, “Siamese fighting fish,” and assume they cannot have any tank mates. Male bettas will fight one another, but there are other species they can get along with. Female bettas are less aggressive and can even live with other female bettas in “sororities.”
The following is a list of appropriate tank mates for bettas:
- African dwarf frogs
- Clown plecos
- Cory catfish
- Ember or neon tetras
- Ghost shrimp
- Kuhli loaches
Just remember that the more fish you have, the larger the tank you need.
It’s no surprise that bettas are such a popular pet. They’re beautiful and hardy. Unfortunately, there are a number of misconceptions about the type of care they need. But you’ve just finished reading this article, so your betta is going to have an awesome crib with a fantastic caregiver.