Any home aquarium should replicate a natural environment as closely as possible. Keeping your fish healthy is all about consistency, especially when it comes to Betta care. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a tank.
Be Aware of the Tiny-Bowl Myth
A common misconception is that Betta fish prefer to live in tiny bowls. Just because this is how they are sold in pet stores, does not mean the theory it true. This species has been known to inhabit the rice paddies of Southeast Asia, but these are established ecosystems with regular drainage and access to large bodies of water. Furthermore, most aquarium Bettas come from generations of captive breeding, so they are not completely identical to those found in the wild.
Your Betta may be able to survive in one inch of water, but it certainly will not thrive.
You should never keep a Betta in less than one gallon of water. Instead, opt for two and a half gallons or more. Keep in mind that larger tanks allow for a greater degree of error. Nitrates, ammonia and other toxins build up much more quickly in smaller tanks, so you will need to do more water changes with more accuracy. The water parameters in a small aquarium can fluctuate considerably, even when you simply put your hand inside the tank.
Your tank should include the following basic elements:
- Gravel substrate
- Water heater
Bettas don’t require lighting, but a hood lamp is necessary if you want to grow plants. Choose a few low-light varieties that don’t require a lot of maintenance. Bettas are social, but they do enjoy their privacy from time to time. If you don’t have plants, be sure to give your fish another non-metallic feature to hide under. Just be sure that any artificial items you select do not alter your water chemistry.