How to Set up A Beautiful Betta Fish Tank

How to Set up a Beautiful Betta Fish Tank

Congratulations on your new betta! 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 Your New Fish Needs

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 new owners believe that bettas are houseplants and can live in small containers. But a dog who can survive in a kennel all their life would not prefer to live in a larger house or yard. 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.

Because of their aggressive nature towards other species, betta fish are known as “Siamese Fighting Fish”. All bettas, male and female, should be kept 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 is that betta fish can be kept in a larger community tank with other types of fish, so check out our list of suitable 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. An additionally, you need an

aquarium light

Your handsome boy will be best viewed from the highest angle. Bettas are unable to swim in strong currents due to their long finnage.

small, gentle filter,

like a sponge filter or nano hang-on-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

Cover the tank bottom with 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. A great choice for beginners are anubias and java ferns. They do not require special substrate or lighting and can help to keep the water cleaner by biological filtration.

Blue male betta fish in a planted aquarium with carpeting plants

Other Supplies

You should not forget to purchase the materials for the tank.


Remove toxic chlorine from water and use a


for easily cleaning the aquarium.

You can use high-quality betta food pellets or freeze dried bloodworms as your staple food. Finally, invest in an aquarium water test strips so you know when to clean the tank. It’s time for a water change if the levels of ammonia or nitrite exceed 0 ppm.

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. To minimize algae growth and temperature fluctuations, avoid areas in direct sunlight or right next to the air conditioner or heating unit. 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. Plus, the stand should be somewhat water resistant so that it won’t warp over time. 3. Wash the supplies. Use warm water to rinse the tank, equipment, substrate, and decorations to remove any dust and debris. 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. Prepare the supplies. Now you can start 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. You can hide the filter by placing ornaments or plants next to it. This will help reduce the current for betta fish. 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). 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.

Hopefully, this simple tutorial helped you make an amazing, stress-free environment for your new fishy friend.