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. Our recommended shopping list and setup tips will help you give your betta the warmest welcome.

Betta Checklist – Everything You Need to Get a New Fish

Let’s get shopping before we set up the new home for your bettafish. All of these items can be easily found at your local pet store or online.

#1 Aquarium


5-gallon tank

is a great starting size for a single betta fish. Many new owners believe that bettas are houseplants and can live in small containers. A dog that can live in a kennel for its entire life doesn’t necessarily mean it would prefer to be outside. 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. Both male and female bettas should be kept separate. 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

To prevent escape. You also need an

aquarium light

to best view 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. Betta fish are tropical fish that can tolerate temperatures of between 78 and 82 degrees F. So make sure you get the right sized filter.


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.

Sand or gravel

to cover the tank bottom, as well as some


Fake plants that don’t have sharp edges. 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.


to remove toxic chlorine from the water and 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. It should also be water resistant to ensure it doesn’t become brittle over time. 3. Wash your supplies. Use warm, soapy water to rinse your tank, equipment, substrate and decorations. Avoid using soaps or other cleaning products that could be harmful for 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. Since betta fish don’t like fast currents, try placing some ornaments or plants in front of the filter to hide it and lessen the water flow. 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. For more information, including how to add drip loops for power cables, refer to the equipment manuals.

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.

We hope you found this tutorial helpful in creating a stress-free and amazing environment for your new fishy friend.