Betta Fish: Tank vs. Bowl (And Why Tanks Are Better for You And Your Fish)

Betta Fish: Tank vs. Bowl (And Why Tanks Are Better for You And Your Fish)

Betta fish are one of the most popular fish in the world to keep as pets. They are intelligent, have a striking appearance, and are relatively easy to care for. So why are they often displayed in tiny fish bowls that limit their natural instincts, and lead to health and happiness issues? Here’s why your beloved Betta fish will be far happier with a 5-gallon+ tank rather than a small fish bowl.

Making the Tank Feel Like Home 

Betta fish are native to southeast Asia and inhabit shallow water with plenty of vegetation. For example, Betta fish thrive in marshes, floodplains, and rice fields where the water has a natural abundance of foliage. Betta fish like this type of environment because it offers protection from predators or aggressive males and security for females during mating season. To understand what this environment might look like, envision dense aquatic vegetation, with surface foliage such as fallen leaves, and surface-growing aquatic plants like Water Lilies. 

Why Do Betta Fish Need So Much Room?

Betta fish need plenty of room in their environment to thrive and can become depressed or ill if it is not provided to them. These gorgeous fish need a large tank of at least 3.5 gallons (but ideally 5+ gallons) to accommodate aquatic plants that mimic their natural environment, and enrichment items to stimulate their intelligent brains. 

To create a happy environment for your pet Betta, start with tall background plants like Amazon Swords. Many aquatic plants help to purify the water of toxins left by your fish’s waste as they have antifungal and antibacterial qualities. Betta fish love to explore and investigate the plants in their environment, lay egg clusters among their leaves, or take shelter among them at night time. If you choose plastic vegetation for your Betta tank, be sure that the edges aren’t rough enough to scratch your pet’s fin as it swims past. Silk plants are a better option for Bettas because of this.

Looking for plant decor for your tank? Try Fish Gear Anubias Nana Silk Betta Plant (4"). This plant mimics popular living aquarium plants such as the Amazon sword plant. This silk plant moves naturally with the water flow and provides a spot for your fish to feel safe and secure. 

Petland Canada Fish Gear Anubias Nana Silk Betta Plant

Fish Gear Anubias Nana Silk Betta Plant (4")

We have another great post all about great aquarium plants! It touches base on which live plants are great for starter tanks. You can find that post here. 

What Other Enrichment Does My Betta Fish Need?

Betta fish are territorial and should not be paired together in their tank. However, they can be given aquarium friends such as certain types of snails, frogs, shrimp, and fish. It’s important to remember that because Bettas are territorial, their tank mates mustn’t be bright in colour as your Betta may view them as competition. This is yet another reason to provide your Betta with a nice large tank; it needs room for friends and a larger filtration system that comes with it! Two great options for Betta tanks would be the Marina 5-gallon Starter Kit, and the Marina 10-gallon Starter Kit. Both kits come equipped with a few essentials to help you get your new tank started.

Marina 10 Gallon LED Starter Kit

Bettas are tropical fish that need temperature monitors, and a low-flow filtration system that filters toxins such as waste and uneaten food. 

Your pet Bettas tank will need a freshwater tank filter to suit its needs. Try Aqueon Quietflow Power Filter 10. This filter is good for up to 20 gallons and provides 5 stages of filtering. Featured is an LED filter cartridge change indicator light that flashes when the cartridge becomes clogged with debris, providing a reminder that it's time to replace the cartridge. A great benefit of the Aqueon QuietFlow filters is the internal pump design that helps dampen noise, eliminates leaks and is self-priming, meaning it starts up automatically after cleaning or power interruptions. Higher flow rates also ensure a higher dissolved oxygen content for healthier, more active fish. Don’t forget to check your new tank to make sure that it doesn’t already come with a filter, or if you need to buy a filter, to make sure that your new filter is the right size for your tank!

Aqueon Quiet Flow Collection

A big difference between a bowl and a tank for your Betta is not only the filter, but it's also the heater! Bettas are much more comfortable and active when the temperature of their environment is between 75ºF-82ºF. It's always important to choose a heater that is fitted to the size of your tank, because a heater that is not high enough in watts will work overtime and burn out quickly. One of our favourite heaters to use with the Marina starter kits are the Marina Submersible Aquarium Heaters. One thing that is great about these heaters is that they have a temperature gauge on the top of them, making it very easy to set the tempature for your tank.

Marina Submersible Aquarium Heater

For temperature monitoring, a lot of people prefer a thermometer that has a suction cup on it so that it stays put. One of our favourite thermometers to recommend is the Marina Floating Thermometer with Suction Cup. Suction cups adhere it to the tank for easy temperature readings at any time. 

Marina Marina Floating Thermometer with Suction Cup

Marina Floating Thermometer with Suction Cup

With the right products and care, your Betta fish will be a happy and healthy swimmer for up to 5 years. Visit your local Petland Canada for helpful advice from our knowledgeable and caring Pet Counsellors today!

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