Bright colors, vibrant patterns, warm water, colorful stones… These are all the building blocks of a beautiful tropical oasis. Or, if you want something a little more accessible, a gorgeous aquarium for your new tropical fish! Vacations to exotic islands may not be within your reach right now, but a tropical fish tank is a fun way to bring some of the tropics to you.
Bettas are very popular tropical fish, because of their majestic flowing fins and rainbow colors. They’re easy to care for, but you’ll still want to get the best betta tank you can to make sure you set yourself up for success. Unlike other tropical fish, bettas are not particularly picky about their habitat and environment. Although you shouldn’t neglect them, they’re often less finicky than a lot of other popular tropical fish breeds and easier to keep alive.
As far as fish go, bettas are an easy choice for beginners, a wonderful first pet for a child, and beautiful addition to your office space or home. When well taken care of, bettas are brilliantly colorful and enjoyable to watch as they swim around. To give your little friend the best chance at a happy and healthy life, make sure you set him up with an appropriate tank to call home.
5 of the Best Betta Fish Tanks
What to Look for in a Betta Fish Tank
While bettas are fairly easy fish to care for compared to other picky varieties of tropical fish, they do still need a little TLC. There are a few things to consider when you’re looking to get a good tank for your betta. You need to look at a few things in particular:
Betta Tank Size
Bettas are sold in cups or tiny containers at pet stores, but that doesn’t mean they prefer it that way. To get technical, bettas belong to a family of fish known as anabantids. These fish can breathe through their gills or by gulping surface air through their mouth. As convenient as this ability is in dirty environments, you still need to make sure you get your betta a big enough tank to keep it well cleaned.
Larger tanks are easier to maintain, and they handle waste a lot better than tiny tanks. To house a solitary betta, 5 gallons is a great size for water quality and for giving your fish a little room to swim around and get some exercise. You can easily go smaller, but 3 gallons is the absolute minimum. Some people may suggest larger 10 or 10+ gallon tanks for ease of maintenance, but that’s not necessary.
If you’re planning to have multiple fish in the same tank, you need to think bigger. For multiple fish, especially bettas that can be territorial, 30 gallons or more is recommended.
Aquarium filters help to improve the water quality in your tank. A decent filter is going to make it easier for you to keep the tank clean and will probably help you keep your betta healthier. Filters should be appropriate to the size of the tank itself and the number of fish you plan to keep inside. If you’re shopping for a betta tank, you’ll usually need a smaller aquarium filter.
As tropical fish, bettas need nice warm water between 78 – 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Unless you live in a tropically warm climate, you’ll need an appropriately sized heater for your betta tank or a tank with a built-in heater.
Kit or Separates
Some smaller tanks are available as kits that include everything you need to get it working well for your fish. A tank kit will usually include the tank itself, a filter, and a heater. Some kits also include water testing equipment, but not all. Kits are very convenient because you don’t have to buy each piece of the tank equipment individually. For beginners, a kit can be a great idea to simplify the process of setting up.
1. Tetra LED Cube Shaped 3 Gallon Aquarium
As a 3-gallon square tank, this is a great size for one betta fish. It’s a low-profile clear plastic tank with a small footprint, making it easy to fit almost anywhere. The edges have a seamless look because they’re made from the same plastic material as the body instead of opaque supports. You can easily get a full view of the aquarium from any angle. Here you can find the Tetra LED Cube Shaped 3 Gallon Aquarium!
- Inclusive kit with tank, filter, cartridges, and LED light
- Plastic is as clear as glass and shatter-resistant
- Modern design looks great with a small footprint
- Does not include a heater in the kit
- Included pump filter is very loud
This cube tank sits about 2 inches off the ground on a black plastic pedestal. The top is made of clear plastic with a black LED light and filtration attachment. On the lid, there’s a small hole to help circulate air inside and to allow you to drop fish food inside without having to open the whole tank up. Combining the black and clear pieces gives this tank a modern aesthetic that fits well for professional settings and homes where the fish tank will not be a centerpiece decoration.
Although this aquarium kit comes with an LED light and filter, there’s no heat source included. You’ll probably want to look into a heater if you plan to keep a betta in this tank. However, the design of the tank may make it a little difficult for you to install a top heater, which will narrow your options. There are other options you can use, like an under-gravel heater, and your fish would benefit from a regulated tropical water temperature.
The included filter uses replaceable bio-bag cartridges. To keep it running at peak efficiency, you’ll need to occasionally replace the cartridge and change the water around once a week. You’ll get an instruction manual and access to the TetraCare phone service to answer any questions that might come up while you’re putting everything together or later on when you’re trying to keep your fish happy.
This tank is 10 x 10 inches and 10.51 inches tall.
2. Back to the Roots Water Garden Aquaponic Tank
Back to the Roots is a company that specializes in creative ways to grow food in urban settings. This compact fish tank is a good example of a quirky way to experience your own hydroponic growing garden while also enjoying the company of a pet fish. It’s a 3-gallon clear plastic tank with a small white growing tray in place of a lid. Here you can find the Back to the Roots Water Carden Aquaponic Tank.
- Exciting tank to teach the basics of hydroponic growing
- Looks nice at home in or the office
- Water stays clear most of the time
- Included plants grow quickly
- Tank takes more maintenance than expected, possibly more than a regular tank
- Needs a heater to be suitable for a betta
In the growing tray, there are six slots for you to place the included grow stones and seeds. This kit comes with wheatgrass and radish sprout seeds to start you off, but you can use other seeds of your own if you prefer. Once the plants have grown roots down into the water of the tank, the plants are meant to help filter and clean the water while receiving fertilization from the fish waste and ammonia.
This tank is meant for simple fish like bettas and wouldn’t work well for any fish that need complex care or treatment. The kit includes a pump filter to help keep the water quality as high as possible. Water evaporation and absorption from the plants will require you to keep topping it up and replacing the water regularly to maintain a good habitat. As is, it’s not a self-sustaining system without a few extra additions, but it’s a unique betta tank that will give you a small hydroponic garden with your pet fish.
You need to put this Back to the Roots tank near a natural light source, though not necessarily in direct sunlight. Depending on which plants you keep in the growing slots, they may need some natural fertilizer to keep them healthy. If you don’t want to grow the included herb, bamboo is a low-maintenance alternative that still helps filter the fish tank water below. The tank kit includes the tank, starter seeds, grow stones, a bag of gravel, a water pump, starter fertilizer, and a coupon for a betta fish.
Tank dimensions are 8 x 12.5 inches on top and 13.8 inches tall.
3. Marineland Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit
If you’re interested in getting a larger than average home for your betta, this 5-gallon tank from Marineland is an option a lot of people have considered. It’s a tall glass portrait-style tank, which just means the height is more than the width. This is not a panoramic tank, and it does have a definite back panel that limits your viewing from one side. To make up for this, the front has seamless rounded edges with minimal distortion. Here you can find the Marineland Portrait Glass LED Aquarium Kit.
- Minimal distortion when viewing the tank from an angle
- Tall design makes it easy to decorate, especially with live plants
- The included filter is strong and quiet
- LED fixture moves comfortably for easy access to the tank
- Minimalistic, clean design
- The filter area is difficult to clean by hand
- The top cover leaves small gaps that may jumping fish to escape
The glass is strong and scratch-resistant. Because of its size, you won’t have to change the water as frequently in this tank, especially with the right filter setup. You also have room to include live plants to help improve the water quality and overall environment of the tank. This kit has a built-in filter connected to the back of the tank which works well to clean up the large tank, though the water flow is a little stronger than the average betta would prefer.
On top, there is a glass panel that slides into place and easily slides for removal when you want to feed the fish or clean the tank. Above the glass lid, a movable LED light fixture hangs over the top from its connecting point on the back of the tank. The LED light fixture is made from sturdy black plastic and has three different settings: white light, blue light, or off.
The tank itself is made entirely from the clear glass while all finishing details are made of black plastic. A short base sits underneath the tank to give it a more modern aesthetic and help prevent water damage wherever you place it. The base is optional. In this kit, you’ll get the tank, filter pump, and LED lights. No heater is included in the kit.
This tank’s dimensions are 9.625 x 9.625 inches and 17.2 inches tall, including the base.
4. Fluval Spec III Aquarium 2.6 Gallon Kit
Fluval’s 2.6-gallon aquarium kit has more features than you would expect looking at it. It’s a simplistic design that sits nicely in tiny spaces like an office, dorm room, or a desk or table at home. You can view the aquarium from three sides while the back is reserved for the large built-in filter system and water pump. Although there’s no heater included in the kit, it’s simple enough to add one if you need it. Here you can find the Fluval Spec III Aquarium 2.6 Gallon Kit!
- 3 stage filtration system is highly effective for the tank and keeps water clear
- The filtration system is quiet and great for professional settings
- Compact design fits easily in small spaces
- The etched glass tank is scratch-resistant and sturdy
- Limited setup instructions, may be difficult for new aquarium owners
- Only compatible with small water heaters
Filtration is done in three stages in this kit. It’s built to have mechanical, chemical, and biological filtration. This covers all the different types of water filtration for an aquarium and gives you cleaner, clearer water than any single type of filtration alone. Each element of the filter can be removed and replaced as needed.
The tank itself is made from etched glass. On each corner, aluminum trimming adds visual detail and a little extra support. A clear glass lid sits flat on the top with a small opening for the attached LED light to shine through. You can remove or adjust the LED light fixture depending on what you want your tank to look like. There are 31 LEDs in the fixture, making for a bright light suitable for small live water plants.
The light and the water pump are both adjustable, so you can customize your aquarium for your betta. Since bettas don’t usually prefer rapidly moving water, you can lower the pump speed and direction to compensate for the power of the pump. In the kit, you’ll get all the pieces to set up the filter, lights, and tank out of the box. Even with the more advanced filtration, you do need to clean out the tank regularly to keep the water quality as high as possible.
The tank is 11.8 inches tall and 10.8 x 8.7 inches on the base.
Important Factors to Consider
Beyond the specifics of the fish tank itself, there are other things worth paying attention to. You’re buying a fixture for your home, so you need to think about it in that context. The fish and its needs are important, but so are your needs. After all, you’ll be the one maintaining it and enjoying the view. Here are a few more things you should keep in mind while you’re buying a betta fish tank:
- Tank shape doesn’t matter to your fish
Most fish don’t really care about the shape of their tank as long as it’s big enough for them to have good water quality and a little space to move around. Tank shape is mostly aesthetic, so choose something you’re going to like looking at.
- Tank Accessories
While accessories don’t exactly depend on the tank you get, you should consider them when you’re buying an aquarium. Try to picture in your head how you’ll set up a tank so you can judge if you’ll be able to make it look like you want. Your aquarium will be a fixture wherever you put it. Make sure it’s adding to your décor and not detracting.
- Happy bettas are more lively
You may have the idea that bettas are boring and like to just sit around or hide in their tank all day. Actually, when they’re happy and healthy in their environment they’re quite lively fish. Setting up a great tank for your betta is going to encourage more activity.
- Hygiene matters
All fish can get sick. When you put a betta in a small tank and don’t clean it often enough, you’re practically inviting disease in. If you go with a smaller tank size, you need to clean the water a minimum of once per week. This means changing the water and getting rid of waste from the rocks and decorations around the tank. A filter does not keep a tank 100% clean.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you’re new to fishkeeping or if you just want to make sure you’re making the right choice, here are a few FAQs people have while on the hunt for the best betta tank:
Can you put more than one betta together?
You can put multiple female bettas together if the tank has enough space to accommodate them. Male bettas are more territorial, so it’s not recommended to put more than one unless your tank is 30+ gallons.
Do bettas need live plants?
Live plants are not a necessity, and may not be possible unless your tank is at least 5 gallons and provides enough lighting.
What do you do if the water pump is too strong?
If the built-in pump filter is too strong for your betta, you can try adjusting it to the lowest setting, re-directing it towards a corner, widening the output pipe to reduce pressure, or placing a pre-filter sponge close to the output pipe. There are other solutions to help you reduce the water pressure without scrapping the whole tank.
How can you cat-proof a betta tank?
Pay careful attention to the lid of a tank if you’re worried about cats. Any tanks with holes on the top or loose-fitting lids won’t be a good idea.
Do betta fish really need heaters?
Unless you can keep the water temperature somewhere around 78 degrees naturally, your betta would prefer to have a heater.
Knowledge is half the battle. Now that you’ve done half the work in getting to know what makes the best betta tank versus the not-so-great, go ahead and make up your mind so you can get your new pet’s tank all set up as soon as possible!
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