How to keep Bettas in small tanks

Keeping a betta in a one gallon the right way.

  1. goplecos

    Disclaimer: I am by no means advocating for this. But as Lucy said it is better to have information on the best way of doing it than none at all. I also hope that this article is important because most people are not going to dig through old forums trying to find the answer. And if you have the space for 2+ gallons that really would work better. I also know this article is going to be very controversial but this is just my experience and if had you different one, please tell me about it. I do not want to negotiate with anyone who is just quoting the opinion that Bettas need 2.5+ gallons without actually keeping the fish in a one gallon tank. I do not think that Bettas should be in anything less than a gallon.

    Setup: The tank should be long and low, not high. Bettas like horizontal swimming space, not vertical. It should NOT be a bowl. Bowls are the wrong shape since Bettas like to swim side to side, not in circles. Therefore the tank should be rectangular. Most good one-gallon tanks have a built in filter so that’s not an issue. If the tank does not come with a filter a small sponge filter will do the trick or a small internal filter. Most small tanks do not come with a heater and small ones are notoriously expensive. But an Aqueon Adjustable 10 Watt Heater will do the trick. But really any 5-10 watt heater will work.

    Maintenance: Frequent water changes are a must. I would do a 50% water change twice a week.

    Tank Mates: No other fish would work. 1-2 snails or a few shrimp would work.

    Getting the Right Fish: You should get a full-grown fish that is a smaller type of Betta. A Dwarf Veiltale or Crowntale rarely exceeds one inch and is appropriate for a one-gallon tank. A small female Betta would also work. A Placket or Dragontale needs a much larger tank.

    Thank you so much for reading. Again if you had a bad experience with keeping Bettas in a one gallon tank, then tell me about it, and why you think it didn't work.

Recent Reviews

  1. Katie13
    I do not, by any means, agree with this. If you're even considering keeping a betta in a tank that size, there should be absolutely nothing else. A filter and 78-80 degree water/a heater are essential to having a happy Betta. This is like with goldfish, just because they can fit in a tank that small doesn't mean that they're going to be happy, healthy, etc.
  2. WTFish?
    Living does not equal thriving.
  3. Cori Elizabeth
    Cori Elizabeth
    I wouldn't be advocating for this at all, this is what spreads the rumours that bettas can be in small tanks. If you want to educate people on betta care then write an article on why bigger is better.
  4. tunafax
  5. Merryn O'Shea
    Merryn O'Shea
    Basically, don't buy a Betta if you can't afford the appropriate space for one. Don't keep a pet fish in a one gallon aquarium. That's ridiculous! If it is a pet then they deserve an aquarium much better that that. At least 20 litres (about 5 gallons). The only reason that people may keep them in one gallon objects is because they may be breeders, and the fish will be sold and move to a better tank.
  6. Prism
    I will agree bettas do good with a filter and a heater, but since petsmart has the small gallon bowls ect, it doesn't mean its correct to keep it in that small.
  7. Aquaphobia
    While some of the advice is good (bettas do best with a filter and heater) and frequent water changes are necessary in such a tiny tank, I have a problem with the article seeming to advocate for the keeping of bettas in tiny tanks. Yes, the author mentions that the tank should be long and low, but how long and low? No mention is made of the fact that the tiny volume is going to be more prone to swings of temperature and parameters which will be stressful to the occupant. Plus the fact that appropriately shaped tiny tanks are almost impossible to find and likely to be expensive if they are found due to their rarity. The vast majority of ~1g tanks are aimed at children and are shaped like bowls or cubes (or worse, like vases) and are wholly inappropriate.

    Is it possible to keep bettas in 1g containers? Yes. BUT...there are simply too many caveats to make it even worth suggesting.
    1. goplecos
      Author's Response
      I have never had an issue finding an appropriate one gallon tank. Petsmart has a wide variety of good one gallon tanks. I am not encouraging people to keep bettas in gallon tanks. I am simply telling people who have their hearts set on it how to do it right.