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


Betta Checklist: Everything Your New Fish Needs

Before setting up your betta fish’s new home, let’s go shopping for the necessary components. These items are easily available at your local pet shop or online.

#1 Aquarium


5-gallon tank

It is the perfect size to start with a single bettafish. Many new owners believe that bettas are houseplants and can live in small containers. However, just because a dog can survive its whole life in a kennel doesn’t mean she wouldn’t much prefer to roam around a large house or backyard. 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”. Therefore, all bettas – both male and female – should be housed 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

lid or hood

To prevent escape. You also need an

aquarium light

to best view your handsome boy. You can best view your handsome boy because of his 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.


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.

gravel or sand

To cover the tank’s bottom and some


You can also use fake plants with no 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.


Remove toxic chlorine from water and use a


for easily cleaning the aquarium.

High-quality betta pellets and freeze-dried bloodworms are good staple food. 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. Plus, the stand should be somewhat water resistant so that it won’t warp over time. 3. Wash all supplies. Use warm running water to rinse tank, equipment and decorations. This will remove any dirt and dust. Do not use any soap or cleaning detergents, since they may be harmful to 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. Install the supplies. Now it’s time for 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. 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 the water. Fill the tank with tap water and add dechlorinator to remove chlorine and other toxic chemicals. You can plug in the filter, but heaters will require that you wait for 30 minutes before they turn on. This is to allow them to adjust to the temperature. Read the equipment manuals for more details, such as how to add a drip loop for the power cables.

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 betta fish and dumbo with white pebbles

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.

This tutorial should have helped you create a stress-free, amazing environment for your fishy friend.