What Do Betta Fish Like in Their Tank?

Last Updated on October 5, 2020

In order to provide a good home for our Betta fish, we should try to know as much as possible about its origins and its natural habitat.

What do betta fish like in their tank and why is knowing this matter?


Your fish will live a longer, happier, and healthier life if you can simulate, as close as possible, the natural habitat where it came from.

The Betta, also known as the Siamese fighting fish, originated from Thailand. They have spread throughout the tropical countries of Southeast Asia. Its natural habitat is slow-moving streams with dense emergent plants, borders of rice paddy fields, shallow portions of river basins, marshes, and ponds formed during the rainy season.

During the dry season, the water levels drop, and the betta fish jump from one puddle to the next until they find an area deep enough for them to survive. This is where the idea that you can keep betta fish in small containers. It’s frowned upon by many fish keepers to put betta fish in small bowls, flower vases, and glass jars.

Keeping a betta in a tiny container will require frequent water changes because the water gets dirty quickly and it’s difficult to control the temperature. Ammonia increases fast especially with no filtration and this is very lethal to your fish. Please give your betta enough room to swim by providing at least a 5-gallon aquarium.

What kind of tank does a betta fish need?

what do betta fish like in their tank

Imagine vast rice fields and streams where a betta would love exploring all day as it guards its territory. These bodies of water aren’t too deep but they are long and wide. Let this guide you in choosing a betta fish tank kit for your betta.

Providing a tank of at least 5 gallons with a water depth of around 12 inches or a foot deep will give you peace of mind that your betta is comfortable and happy.

Related: How to Warm Up a Betta Tank Without a Heater?

The tropical temperature range is best for the betta

The bodies of water where the Betta came from are mostly shallow and let the sunlight to constantly heat the water at a range of 25 to 31.5 degrees Celsius or 77 to 88.7 degrees Fahrenheit. In an aquarium, it is ideal to be at a range of 25-27 degrees Celsius or 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Temperature is important in a betta fish’s tank. A temperature that is too low will make the betta sluggish, lack of appetite, and prone to being sick. A temperature that is too high will increase the betta fish’s metabolism and this will shorten their lifespan.

Fish keepers who live in tropical countries need not worry so much about the temperature of their betta fish tank. But, if you keep your aquarium in a constantly cooled room that is at a temperature lower than the average tropical range, then it is best to place a heater in your aquarium.

Do not worry if you live in a country where the temperature falls below the tropical climate range because you can use an aquarium heater to give your betta the correct water temperature.

What do betta fish like in their tank? Plants! 

what do betta fish like in their tank

Betta fish love to explore through the long stems and use broad leaves of plants to rest and hide.

Betta fish are very territorial.

In the wild, betta uses lush vegetation as hiding spots when they feel threatened by other aggressive bettas and larger fish. The stems of plants provide sight breaks so that aggressive fish avoid seeing each other. This will calm your betta making it feel safe that no intruders are around.

Studies have also shown that a betta would rather join other fish than go into an empty open tank. That’s why other fish keepers say that a large tank is not good for a betta. Open spaces make the betta think a predator can easily see it so it would rather be in an area where there are other fish and lots of plants to hide in.

Aquascaping is the art or craft of designing underwater landscapes inside an aquarium by arranging substrate, rocks, driftwood, plants, and other decorations in an aesthetically pleasing manner. Let your creativity flow while providing a haven for your betta fish!

Before deciding to buy a certain aquarium plant is sure to know the requirements of a plant such as a substrate, light, temperature, and pH it needs. These should match the requirements of your betta so you will create harmony in your aquarium.

If you decide not to take care of live aquarium plants, then there are many imitation plants available.

The advantage of not having live aquarium plants is that you can choose from so many designs without worrying if it can live in the environment of your betta fish. Just choose those that are made of soft materials such as silk because artificial plants that have sharp edges will damage the delicate fins of your betta fish.

What do betta fish like to play with?

Bettas have an inquisitive nature and toys such as a small floating plastic ball are a great option for giving your betta some exercise. Playful bettas will push the plastic ball around.

You can place a small mirror near the side of your tank for a few seconds to stimulate your betta’s instincts to protect its territory. Gill flaring and fins spreading are a healthy betta’s reaction to other bettas.

Do not overdo it, though, because this requires much energy from your betta and excessive amounts of effort will stress your betta.