How to Set Up a Beta Tank

Set Up a Beta Tank
Set Up a Beta Tank (Image: alfonso diaz ~ sxc)

Beta fish, otherwise known as Siamese fighting fish are beautiful and colorful and often misunderstood and mistreated. Usually found in small cups of water at your pet store or mega-mart, the beta does fine in a small environment, though it will thrive in a larger tank with little care. Want to start your beta off on the right fin? Here is how to set up a terrific beta tank.

Things You'll Need

  • Small 3.5- or 5-gallon fish tank
  • Gravel
  • Aquarium salt
  • AquaStart or other dechlorinating fish water treatment
  • Tank furnishings, including fake plants and logs
  • Beta
  • Water
  • Filter (optional on smaller tanks)

Purchase a 3.5- or 5-gallon fish tank. Fish tanks these days are very affordable and many times will come with the gravel and other items you will need to get your tank going.

If your tank does not come with accessories, purchase gravel (enough to put at least an inch down on the bottom of your tank) and some fish "toys," including a plant, small castle or log. Betas love to swim in and out of things, so this will make it very happy. You will also need to purchase some aquarium salt and water conditioner for fish tanks. If your tank does come with a filter and aeration device, assemble per product instructions.

Wash gravel and fish furniture in warm water. Never use soap or any cleansing product on your fish equipment, as it will kill your fish.

Add clean gravel and fish furniture to your tank. Fill tank with warm water. Add some aquarium salt per package directions for your size of tank and dechlorinator.

Photo: Kevin Webste
Photo: Kevin Webste

Float the beta in its bag (from your purchase) in the warm water to let the water temperatures match for a better transition for your fish.

After approximately fifteen minutes, you can slowly pour your beta into its new home. Try not to put too much of the water from the pet store in your clean tank, as it is probably dirty.

Enjoy your new pet!

Tips & Warnings

  • Betas can survive in a puddle, so if you want to use a smaller bowl you can, although your beta will do the best in a larger environment.
  • You do not need to have a filtration system or air pump in a smaller bowl, but more frequent water changes will be necessary.
  • Do not place your beta bowl in direct sunlight or on top of electrical equipment. A constant warm temperature is best for the beta so use an aquarium heater if in a cold climate.
  • Make sure your tank or bowl has a lid. This is very important as betas are jumpers.
  • Remember, you can only place one male beta in a tank, although you can place a different breed of fish in there with him if so desired.
  • Don't go in for the old "peace lily and beta" combo. Betas are carnivores and cannot live off plant roots alone!

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