It’s not just that betta fish need a specific environment in order to thrive and reach or exceed their 5-year lifespan. The care starts with picking an appropriate fish tank and accessories that go along with it.
Capacity is highly important, but so is the design. There are two materials used to make fish tanks, acrylic and glass, but you can’t always point at one and say that it’s best for every situation. Unfortunately, picking a betta tank isn’t straightforward, not so much because of the tank itself but rather the wide range of accessories such as filtration systems, heaters, circulation pumps, etc.
7 Betta Tanks for Creating a Healthy and Colorful Aquatic Ecosystem
Take a look at my top picks for betta tanks and see which one suits your budget and desk space, or which one pleases your eyes the most. While each tank will have its own unique little hook that makes it a better choice than the rest for some people, the short guide that follows should help you better understand some of the features to look for if you love to take care of bettas.
- 7 Betta Tanks for Creating a Healthy and Colorful Aquatic Ecosystem
- 1. Fluval Spec V Aquarium Kit (5 Gallons)
- 2. MarineLand ML90609 Portrait Glass Aquarium Kit (5 Gallons)
- 3. Aqueon LED Aquarium Kit (10 Gallons)
- 4. Marina LED Aquarium Kit (5, 10, 20 Gallons)
- 5. GloFish 29045 Crescent Aquarium Kit (5 Gallons)
- 6. Tetra Crescent Aquarium Kit (5 Gallons)
- 7. AquaSprouts Garden – Take Fish-Caring to the Next Level
- Ranking in Order of Importance – Accessories vs. Tanks
- Acrylic vs. Glass – Everything You Need to Know
- Maintenance – When and Why You Should Never Skip it
With its 5 gallons capacity, the Fluval Spec V already ticks an important checkmark for bettas. Usually, anything over 2.6 gallons is considered acceptable for bettas to thrive, so this one is more than enough for a couple of these colorful little fellas.
The glass tank is sturdy and has quality aluminum trims which should be plenty for anyone to enjoy their fish for many years to come. A lighting system is featured on top of the tank and its 37 LED lights allow you to keep the fish in a less illuminated room. Of course, there’s also the aesthetic factor to consider which is always a plus.
The downside is that the LED lighting framework makes it a bit difficult to access the opening at times. This may be annoying when feeding your fish. But let’s talk size some more. There are a lot of tanks with massive capacity but with a petite build. The Fluval Spec V is not one of them – what that means is that you have enough room to attach a heater if you live in a cold region.
Another highlight is the pump itself. It comes with a foam filter and an activated carbon insert which should improve the water quality for longer. It’s also powerful enough to support the Fluval Spec V aquarium at maximum load.
The ML90609 is an interesting alternative to a standard fish tank. MarineLand opted for a taller frame for this 5-gallon aquarium which still has plenty of room for your bettas. As an added bonus, the tall frame allows you to grow taller plants such as Rotala or Bacopa.
Betta fish like having plenty of room to roam but they also like hiding places. Since there are many varieties of tall aquatic plants, you can go nuts decorating the fish tank while also improving the oxygenation of the water.
The tank also comes with its own LED lighting framework which should come in handy since you’ll likely have a dense plant bed on the bottom of this tall and slimmer tank. The glass cover has a slide-in feature which gives you easy access when you have to refill the tank and feed your fish and all.
The water filtration system is totally hidden behind the back wall of the tank. It also creates a black background which should allow the fish, plants, and even the gravel to stand out even more under the soft LED lighting.
But, aesthetics aside, what I enjoyed most about the filtration system was the adjustable flow rate which lets you create optimal oxygenation and filtration depending on how many fish you keep.
The tank’s rounded edges make it more appealing than most budget-friendly alternatives. Although the ML90609 also comes with an attractive price tag, you should keep in mind that many accessories such as plants, decorations, water heater, and even filter cartridges are sold separately.
If you’re a fan of the phrase ‘go big or go home’, then this Aqueon 10-gallon aquarium might be just what you need. Not only does it have more than enough to keep your bettas happy but it also has lots of room for plants, decorations, and a variety of other fish. Bettas aren’t the only colorful fish on the planet so there are many ways to bring even more color to your aquatic ecosystem.
This Aqueon kit is quite affordable considering all the accessories it comes with. A 50W heater is included and it’s preset to keep the water at betta-friendly temperatures. It also comes with a quiet flow filter with an LED indicator which is very helpful if you’re new all things fish tanks.
The low profile obviously has that classic aquarium look and should allow you to see all of your fish at the same time. There’s still enough room to add plants and decorations. All things considered, the multitude of accessories in this starter pack is what makes it most interesting and worthwhile to me.
You get everything but the gravel and betta fish food, which means that beginners should have a blast putting all this stuff together before buying their first fish. However, even long-time aquarium owners can opt for this kit as the large tank and the 5-stage filtration system bring a lot of value to the table.
Marina’s Slim S10 clip-on filters are some of the best in the business. They make some noise but they’re more than powerful enough to handle 5-gallon aquariums. This kit offers you almost everything you need to raise betta fish and keep them healthy and happy for a long time.
5 gallons of water is enough for bettas and a couple of other fish as well without worrying about them getting into each other’s faces. The LED lighting module is fairly bright and improves the aesthetics and quality of life of your fish. The classic low-profile aquarium build allows you to insert a variety of decorations and short plants so that your bettas and other species can hide.
There are also a bunch of accessories included in the kit – a soft mesh fish net, water conditioner, biological water supplement, thermometer, and care guide for the aquarium. Although a heater isn’t one of them, the thermometer should help you monitor and keep the temperature above 74 degrees, if your home is temperature-controlled. If not and your winters are cold, you’ll definitely need a heater to keep the fish healthy.
One issue that you may find has to do with the filter guard. The mesh is quite rough and it may hurt your fish if they swim into it. But it shouldn’t be life-threatening and if your fish have any sense at all, they’d stop going back there.
I’ll be the first to admit that an expanding aquarium with a curved front is pretty impressive to look at. Especially when you populate it with bettas and other colorful creatures. However, with a capacity of only 5 gallons, the GloFish 29045 aquarium has rather tight spots on the edges, which limits the decoration possibilities and makes adding accessories like thermometers and heaters a bit more tricky.
What might make or break this model for some of you is the fact that it’s an acrylic aquarium. I personally prefer glass because it’s easier to maintain and it doesn’t yellow with age. Luckily, this acrylic model is rather cheap considering the accessories that it comes with.
Even though impact resistance is high, you’ll have to exercise a great deal of care to avoid scratching it while cleaning the aquarium. As far as bells and whistles go, the kit includes a framework equipped with 15 blue LEDs. It’s energy-efficient and does a good job when the tank houses blue, violet, or even multicolored bettas.
The filter is capable and uses a medium-sized cartridge which doesn’t need changing too often. However, it does take up a big chunk of space in the aquarium, which is needed to do a good enough job of cleaning this odd-shaped tank.
The Tetra Crescent aquarium is a medium-profile acrylic aquarium with a rounded front. With the build and 5-gallon capacity, it’s as light as they come. However, don’t assume that it won’t be enough for your bettas to thrive in as it’s more than twice the minimum recommended capacity for the species. In addition, the rounded front has a way of making the aquarium look bigger.
Whether or not acrylic is your thing is not for me to say. It’s true that the maintenance is a bit sketchy and with a high risk for scratching the walls, but acrylic tanks of this size are generally cheaper and also have a higher impact resistance than glass tanks.
The included filtration system is fairly good too. It has a double-sided mesh which captures waste and other debris in order to improve the water quality. It also does a decent job of reducing odor. That being said, the food has a lot to do with how smelly or pleasant your water will be.
An LED lighting framework is also included in the package. This puts out a bright white light which is great at times but it won’t do you much good during the night. Since you can’t adjust the lighting system, you and your bettas are probably going to be better off with natural moonlight or artificial lights in the room.
For starters, this product doesn’t come with a tank. I’m throwing this in as a bonus, in case you’d want to soup up your betta tank. This can be your first upgrade if you plan out your initial purchase of a tank.
The AquaSprouts is an aquaponics garden kit that will fit over any standard 10-gallon aquarium. This means no rounded acrylic aquariums or multiple wall designs.
If you’re not familiar with the purpose of such a system, you can relax because it’s not complicated. The garden setup goes on top of an aquarium. You can grow a variety of plants, although with this particular kit you should stick to greens and spices, something that you might use in your recipes, but nothing too tall or heavy.
The fish will take care of the fertilization that your plants need to grow. And the plants return the favor by cleaning up the water for your fish. It’s a fun and efficient way of growing both plants and fish and observing the interaction between them on a daily basis. You can really get into the science and relationships if there are young children in the household who have an interest in this subject.
Because of its black matte color, the garden should work well with just about any tank design. It has a removable light bar which you can use to add whatever lighting configuration you prefer. Note that the lighting will only affect the plants and not the fish tank.
The pump features a timer which is necessary because you don’t need a constant flow when using this setup. Depending on the number of fish and plants, you can set it in 15-minute intervals up to 24 hours per cycle.
The AquaSprouts Garden also comes with special grow media which helps convert waste into plant nutrients by trapping waste as well as uneaten food. The entire system is well-thought-out but it’ll take some knowledge to use properly.
The included guide is somewhat detailed but you may benefit by doing some more research on your own for the sake of all your fish if you decide to go with this system.
Ranking in Order of Importance – Accessories vs. Tanks
When it comes to fish tanks, you’ll often find yourself worried about the size more than anything else. Bettas need a minimum of 2.6 gallons to roam in. However, you don’t want to keep just one or two of them and no other fish. Even if you decide that two bettas are enough, they’ll still prefer having more room than needed, as opposed to less.
Because of this, when buying a fish tank for bettas and other species that prefer the same temperature and food, you should be looking at the included accessories. Those tend to add more value to the package.
Having a high-quality pump and filtration system is important, even though bettas are not hard to tend to. But you want them to have a high quality of life, not the minimum requirements. This may be the difference between having them for three years or five years.
Most filtration systems have three stages. More advanced systems come with five stages of filtration, which is naturally better and saves you from having to clean the aquarium more often.
Water heaters are more important than you think. Unless your house heating system does enough to keep the tank warm in the winter, you will need a heater as bettas are warm water fish.
Nets, water conditioners, replacement filter cartridges – these all come next in line but are also important. Some manufacturers may include a complimentary net with a very hard mesh that can be rough on your fish. Weigh carefully the quality of each accessory before making a purchase.
Acrylic vs. Glass – Everything You Need to Know
There is no clear winner between acrylic and glass aquariums unless you’re dealing with very specific scenarios. Acrylic is resistant to higher impact but, unlike glass, it scratches very easily during routine maintenance. Even something as trivial as laying gravel for the first time can ruin its appeal.
In terms of aesthetics and design, acrylic tanks are the ones to beat. Glass just can’t be shaped as easily have too many high pressure points. This is why if you’re looking for a fish tank that can hold well over 100 gallons, you’ll likely be looking for an acrylic tank.
For low-capacity tanks, both acrylic and glass should be similarly priced. This makes the choice a matter of personal preference. But once you get past the 50 gallons mark and start looking at big fish tanks, acrylic can become almost exponentially pricier due to the size of the packaging required to preserve its looks. This means that when you draw the line, glass is a clear winner until it reaches its structural integrity limitation.
In terms of clarity, both glass and acrylic tanks will be just as clear. However, no matter how well you take care of your plastic tank, it will develop a yellow tint eventually. To be fair, this could take years. The quality of the plastic also matters.
Maintenance – When and Why You Should Never Skip it
No matter how high-end your household water filtration system or the fish tank filtration system is, you still need to clean your betta tank. Because bettas tend to be found in shallow waters, many people assume that it makes them hardy enough for muddy waters.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Dirty water out in the real world is not like dirty water in an enclosure, in this case the fish tank. Fish tanks don’t have the bacteria and plants of complex and bio-diverse ecosystems that filter what we see as dirty and convert all into a thriving environment for bettas.
This is why washing the gravel, replacing the water, adding conditioner, and replacing filter cartridges are highly important. You have to make up for everything that nature has over your equipment. This also applies to add-on aquaponic systems.
Treat Your Bettas Like Alphas
Bettas are a gorgeous species of fish that can bring life to even the most boring workplace. Their colors are stunning, and when they have an optimal environment with plants, clean water, plenty of space, and good lighting, they’ll swim inside the tank most of the day, which is enough to make me smile when I look at them.
However, bettas should have proper treatment. Just because they’re tough fish doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give them the best care you can afford. Therefore, picking the best tank for them and pairing it with the best accessories and gadgets is just as important as the food you give them and the rest of the fish that you pair them with.