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.

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  1. D
    As i read this article, it appears that you are relying on nothing other than ill opinion. I think the best example i have is when you stated "bettas like to swim side to side, not in circles". Do you think a betta really likes swimming side to side, or maybe it doesn't matter. While this is just a simple acknowledgement of the lack of experience this article was written with. i suggest you look at some of the studies done with bettas in small aquariums. You can find these by typing scholarly articles about fish bowls into google. The main issue with what your are doing is stunting your fish. this is when the body and skeleton of the fish cease growing due to cramped conditions, however this doesn't deter the organs from growing. this causes pressure and death eventually.
  2. F
    I really think that if you CAN get a better tank, you should, and if you CAN'T then you shouldn't get a betta at all. This would be really bad for the betta. You should never put one in a one-gallon tank.
  3. Compatability
    I agree with that advice.
  4. akcarroll12
    Please do not keep bettas in a one gallon, because they come from rice patties in Thailand hundreds of miles long. It is simply not natural. Also, if I tried heating a one gallon to 80 degrees the only result would be fish soup in my experience. Bettas shouldn’t have any Tank mates in a tank less than 10 gallons, and even then only snails and shrimp are acceptable. I would reccomend a 2.5 gallon bare minimum.
  5. Platylover
    I get that your just trying to help the bettas, but this is really very short. There isn’t much explaining as to why, despite what most recommend, a 1g is suitable. Others who have the opinion of 2.5g have reasons as to why only 2.5/5g are the minimum, but I don’t see that here. I’d also be pretty nervous trying to heat a 1g tank to 80F, seems like one small mistake or heater malfunction could easily kill the fish.
  6. NavigatorBlack
    A one gallon tank shortens the life of the fish. I think we have to think longterm needs when we take on care of animal, and this piece is too shortsighted.
  7. andychrissytank
    I can see your point of view that there will be people inevitably in the future who will buy a betta and have it live in a 1 gal, however what you should have done was at least try to inform them that this is wrong and ways they could improvise. For example a 3 gallon high tank would have virtually the same footprint as a 1 gallon long tank so they occupy the same space but at least the betta has more room to swim in if said people absolutely only had the space for a 1 gallon. This would be the bare minimum at least for trying to keep a betta in anything under a 5g
  8. 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.
  9. WTFish?
    Living does not equal thriving.
  10. 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.

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