Best Betta Tank – Roundup and Reviews of Top Choices for 2017

Best betta tank written beside a blue and red betta in a decorated tank

© shishiga / Adobe Stock

There are lots of myths and half-truths around the keeping of betta fish.

Because they've evolved over the years to be able to survive in harsh conditions, many people think it's okay to keep them in tiny bowls, jars or other weird and wonderful setups, without adequate heating or filtration.

They key word there is “survive.” Yes, a betta might survive for some time in a small bowl, but they wouldn't be happy or healthy.

For your betta fish to thrive, you need a decent sized aquarium with heating and filtration systems and all the proper extras and accessories to make them happy.

We're going to shed some light on what exactly makes a good betta aquarium and how you can go about choosing the right one.

Even when you know what you should be looking for, there's so much choice out there it can be an overwhelming decision, searching for the best betta tank. So, we're also going to roundup and review some of the best tanks for betta fish, listing our favorites to make things as easy for you as possible.

Should You Choose Acrylic Or Glass for a Betta Tank?

One of the first decisions you need to make is whether you want a glass aquarium or an acrylic one.

It's important to note, neither is inherently better than the other. Some fishkeepers are diehard fans of either acrylic or glass, so they'll try to tell you one or the other is the best option.

The truth is, however, that both materials have their pros and cons. We're going to look at the good and the bad things about each so you can make up your mind for yourself.

What Are The Pros Of An Acrylic Aquarium?

  • Lightweight
  • Clear
  • Less likely to break than glass tanks (although it is possible with an incredibly strong impact)
  • Easier to repair
  • Can easily be drilled for bulkhead fittings
  • Refracts light differently from glass so fish and other things inside are less likely to appear distorted
  • Easier to mold into shapes other than cuboids

What Are The Cons Of An Acrylic Aquarium?

  • Scratches fairly easily so you have to be careful when cleaning
  • Requires stands that support the whole bottom or they can buckle under the weight of the water
  • Tends to be slightly more expensive than glass aquariums
  • Sometimes comes in non-standard sizes which makes it harder to find lids and other accessories that fit properly
  • May eventually yellow with age

What Are The Pros Of A Glass Aquarium?

  • Much harder to scratch and easier to clean as you're not worrying about scratches
  • Don't need specialized tools for cleaning
  • Come in standard sizes, so lids, etc. are easier to find
  • Generally cheaper than acrylic aquariums
  • Maintains clarity over time
  • Can support the full weight of the water inside so can be kept on stands with open bottoms

What Are The Cons Of A Glass Aquarium?

  • Generally speaking, only used to make cuboid tanks as harder to shape
  • Fish inside more likely to appear slightly distorted
  • Less clear than acrylic - (When acrylic is new!)
  • Easier to break (although it's still very hard to break a glass tank)
  • Heavier than acrylic
  • More Difficult to fix if chipped or broken

What Size Aquarium Should You Choose?

Think about it this way, whichever aquarium you choose is likely to be your bettas only home for the rest of their life.

If you want to give them the most pleasant and enriching experience possible, choose the largest tank you have space for and can afford.

5 Gallons and Above Is Ideal For a Single Betta

Although, betta fish can survive in small tanks, anything under 5 gallons isn't ideal. The absolute minimum to keep your betta comfortable and healthy would be a 2.5 gallon tank.

If you go any smaller than that, your fish would have no room to swim. Plus the water would quickly become polluted and they'd essentially be swimming around in their own waste.

Assuming you have space, it is better for both you and your fish if you can go to 5 gallons, however. If you have a tank smaller than 5 gallons, you'll need to do a weekly full water change, which can be time-consuming.

It can also be difficult to properly heat and filter a small tank, and the filtration devices that come with them may be substandard or unsuitable for betta fish.

If you select a tank that’s 5 gallons or more, you only need to do a partial water change of 10 to 15 percent weekly, as this is large enough to build up a proper nitrogen cycle. There are also nano filters and heaters available for tanks of this size that are of a much higher quality.

10 Gallons Plus - If You Want to Add Tank Mates

However, for those who have space and want the best possible conditions for their betta, we'd recommend going for an aquarium of at least 10 gallons.

A tank of this size is large enough to accommodate some tankmates without it being too cramped or your betta getting too territorial. (We're sure it goes without saying, but you can never keep a male betta with another male betta, no matter how large the tank!)

Once you go over 10 gallons, a tank can establish itself as its own mini-ecosystem. Healthy bacteria colonies thrive in the filter and the substrate. This helps to break down waste and also makes for a healthier environment to keep your fish.

Once these colonies are well-established, you may also be able to cut down on partial water changes to once or twice per month, which is good news for any lazy fishkeepers out there.

What Shape Aquarium Should You Choose?

Bettas naturally live in shallow water so they prefer to live in an aquarium that's wider and shallower to most traditional tanks.

Choose a tank longer than it is tall to make the best home for your betta. That said, a larger tank will still provide extra room for your betta to swim. So, if you have a maximum width of tank you have room for, but no maximum height, it's still better to go for a larger volume tank even if it means it's taller than it is long.

The main thing to avoid is a spherical bowl-like tank. The curved glass severely distorts the world outside for the fish and can stress them out.

What Extras And Accessories Do You Need?

In addition to the tank, there are some other things you'll need,

A secure lid: Betta fish are well known for their escape attempts and will try to leap to freedom if you don't have a lid on your tank. Unfortunately, the outside world is too dry for our betta friends and you're liable to come home to a dead fish on the floor, which nobody wants.

A heater: Bettas are tropical fish and need to live in water of between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. So, unless you live in a warm climate, you'll need a heater.

A filter: Most aquariums come with some sort of filter, but depending on the type, you may need to replace it with one more suitable for bettas. They don't like a strong water flow or bubbles in the water, so air pump type filters aren't ideal unless you can adjust the flow.

Substrate: You'll need some sort of substrate for your betta tank. Pebbles are better than aquarium gravel, especially in smaller tanks, as you can take them out to clean to help maintain good water quality.

Plants and ornaments: Like most fish, bettas like to have some cover and places to hide. Live plants, fake silk plants and ceramic tank ornaments are all good choices.

What Shouldn't You Put In A Betta Tank?

There are some things you should never put in a tank with your betta. These include,

Terracotta plant pots: There has been a trend for adding real plant pots designed for garden use to fish tanks. The problem is, they're not meant for this purpose and the drainage hole is often sharp, which could injure your fish.

Fake plastic plants with sharp leaves: Fake plants are fine for betta tanks but make sure you don't pick one with sharp leaves as these could damage their delicate fins. Silk plants are ideal, as plastic types are often too sharp.

A second male betta fish: We're sure any potential betta keepers already know this but you absolutely cannot keep more than one male betta in the same tank or they will attack and kill one another. If you have a tank of 10 gallons or more, you can keep a male betta with a few females, or other more peaceful tank mates.

What Are The Best Tanks For Betta Fish?

Now you know a little more about the tank requirements of betta fish, we're going to show you some of our favorites.

Every one of the tanks listed below have been chosen because they represent some of the best available in different categories, but all being perfectly suited to home a happy betta.

Our Top 3 Picks for Best Betta Tank in 2017:

If you want the very best for your betta, and an easy setup for yourself, these are the tanks to go for. You'll notice all our top picks are 10 gallons or larger, as we think this is the best way to go if you have the space.

A 10-gallon tank is large enough to give your betta a good quality of life, and to establish a cycle of good bacteria to help improve the aquatic environment. Plus, if you want to keep any other fish or aquatic creatures with your betta, you definitely need a minimum capacity of 10 gallons!

Aqueon Aquarium Fish Tank Starter Kit

Aqueon Fish Aquarium Starter Kit LED, 10 gallon

This is probably our favorite tank on the market for a newbie fish keeper. It comes with everything you need to get your tank set up, except plants and ornaments. And the fish, of course.

This 10-gallon glass tank is great quality for a first aquarium. It comes with LED lighting in the hood, a quiet flow filter with cartridge, a 50W heater preset to 78 degrees Fahrenheit (which is perfect for a betta), substrate for the tank, a fish net, a thermometer, and even samples of food and water conditioner.

For those who want the same convenience, just with something larger, this tank also comes in a 20 gallon size.

What we love:

  • Comes with everything you need to get started
  • Big enough to keep your betta happy, and give them some tankmates, if you like
  • Two sizes depending on needs
  • Shape is ideal for bettas
  • Affordable starter kit

What could be improved:

  • Filter isn't the best out there, as doesn't allow a buildup of good bacteria
  • If you choose to keep anything other than bettas, you might benefit from an adjustable heater

Marina LED Aquarium Kit

Marina LED Aquarium Kit, 10 gallon

This is another great aquarium kit for those starting out. We're showcasing the 10-gallon tank here, but it also comes in 5 and 20-gallon varieties.

Although you will need to buy a heater, an appropriate substrate and any plants and decorative items, it has just about everything else covered.

Along with the tank, you'll receive a slimline clip on filter, LED lighting, a net, food, water conditioner, and a supplement to help quick-start a colony of good bacteria in the aquarium.

What we love:

  • Good value for money
  • Contains most of the basics
  • Roomy tank that's wider than it is tall – which is ideal for bettas

What could be improved:

  • Doesn't come with a heater, which you will need unless you live in a tropical climate
  • Filter may cause too much water flow for bettas, so you may need to replace it with a different variety

SeaClear Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set

SeaClear 20 gal Acrylic Aquarium Combo Set, 24 by 13 by 16', Black

This 20-gallon aquarium might seem like overkill for a single betta, but if you're planning on keeping them with any tankmates, you'll need something of an adequate size.

This is an acrylic tank, so it's stronger and clearer than its glass counterparts.

What you're getting for your money is just a basic setup of the tank itself, the hood, lighting fixtures and a reflector. This means you'll have to go out and buy your own heater, filter, bulbs and anything else you require.

This might be daunting for anyone who's setting up their first aquarium, but could be a bonus for a more experienced fish keeper or anyone who'd rather be fully in control of what filter and heater they use, rather than being stuck with whatever they got with the tank.

What we love:

  • Good quality acrylic tank
  • Reasonably priced for acrylic
  • Large enough to home some tankmates with your betta

What could be improved:

  • Doesn't come with a filter or any accessories (though this could be a good thing for some people)

Best 5 to 10-Gallon Tanks for Betta Fish:

This is a selection of 5 to 10-gallon tanks, perfect for anyone who just wants to keep a single male betta.

A 5-gallon tank may still be large enough to build up some beneficial bacteria if kept properly and will generally provide a more enriching environment for your betta.

Fluval Edge Aquarium With LED Light

Fluval Edge 6-Gallon Aquarium with 21-LED Light, Black

This is not only an excellent quality aquarium, it also looks great and makes a showpiece for your home.

The six-gallon capacity is fine for a single betta, but it also comes in a larger 12-gallon model for those looking for something bigger.

It has a decorative column and partial hood that houses the filter, LED lighting and all the wires, but the rest of the lid is glass, so it looks very different to your average tank.

It also comes with water treatments, but you will need to buy everything else you need separately, such as a heater, substrate and plants.

Speaking of plants, you might need to stick to silk ones because the LED light isn't powerful enough to keep most aquatic plants alive. However, it might sustain some low-light varieties.

What we love:

  • Gorgeous design
  • Comes with filter and lighting
  • Proportions are compact, which still allowing plenty of space for your betta
  • Larger size also available

What could be improved:

  • LED lighting not powerful enough to sustain plant life
  • Need to buy heater separately

Fluval Chi II Aquarium Set

Fluval Chi II Aquarium Set, 5-Gallon

This is another tank with a stunning design, which is more like a combination of an aquarium and a water feature.

A gentle filter pulls water out of the tank and lets it trickle back in. At first glance, you might be worried that this creates too much water movement for betta fish, but many betta owners have said it's gentle enough not to disturb their fish.

It has a 5-gallon capacity, which is fine for housing just one male betta.

It comes with a filter and LEDs, but you'll need a filter to maintain the correct water temperature for your betta.

Like the tank above, the LED lights are a little weak, so it's not the best option if you want a densely planted tank, although you may be able to keep a few low-light plants.

What we love:

  • Unique, eye-catching design
  • Ample size for a single betta
  • High-quality construction
  • Doesn't take up much space on a table or counter
  • Gentle waterfall filter is great for bettas

What could be improved:

  • Taller than it is wide so not the ideal shape for betta fish
  • No heater included

Best Betta Tanks For Small Spaces:

While we think that, if possible, you should go for a tank of at least 5 gallons, there are slightly smaller options available.

As mentioned above, we would never recommend an aquarium of less than 2.5 gallons. Smaller tanks can lead to poor quality water and generally speaking, a poor quality of life for your fish.

Fluval Spec III Aquarium Kit

Fluval Spec III Aquarium Kit, 2.6-Gallon, Black

The Fluval Spec III is a 2.6-gallon aquarium ideal for those who don't have space to house a larger tank. Made from etched glass with an aluminum trim, it comes with almost everything you need to keep a betta fish happy.

It comes with a powerful filter that should keep the water clean enough even in this compact tank. There is also a 31 LED lighting system that will help regulate night and day for your betta, and which is strong enough to maintain some live plants if desired.

What we love:

  • Great looking tank
  • Compact enough for countertop use
  • Comes with a good filter and lighting system
  • Affordable

What could be improved:

  • Doesn't come with a heater so you will need to purchase your own
  • Filter flow may be slightly too strong for bettas so you'll have to turn it all the way down and put some filter sponge over the intake

Best Looking, Unique Design Betta Tank:

If you're searching for an aquarium that's functional but will also look decorative in your home, the following is an excellent choice.

AA Deco O Aquarium

AA Deco O Aquarium, Black

This sleek tank is like a contemporary take on the classic fishbowl, but without the curved sides and spherical shape that can stress fish out.

It comes in a 5-gallon capacity, ideal for keeping your betta in, and also in a smaller 2.6-gallon capacity which is adequate for those struggling for space.

You are going for somewhat style over substance with this tank, however. The air bubble filter isn't suitable for betta fish, so it will need to be replaced with something like a sponge filter, a nano filter or anything with a low output that won't create bubbles or too much water flow for your betta fish. You'll also need to find a suitable heater as this tank doesn't come with one.

What we love:

  • A unique design that looks great
  • Two sizes to choose from
  • Comes with substrate and some tank ornaments
  • Easy to turn lights from “daylight” to “moonlight” with just one touch

What could be improved:

  • Air bubble type filter isn't suitable for bettas
  • Will need to buy heater

Best Aquaponics Aquariums for Betta Fish:

For those who don't know, aquaponics is an interesting way of fishkeeping more in line with nature. It uses plants, rather than filters, to keep the water clean, while also creating a gorgeous natural-looking environment.

However, it doesn't mean you can totally check out as a fishkeeper just because your tank predominantly maintains itself. You still need to be vigilant about checking the levels of chemicals in the water and takes steps to improve them, if and when necessary.

Following are a couple of our favorite aquaponics tanks for bettas.

Fin to Flower Aquaponics Large System C

Fin to Flower Aquaponic Aquarium - Large System C (Black)

This gorgeous two-tier acrylic tank has plants growing up top and also plenty of room for live plants inside.

With a 5 gallon capacity, it's the perfect size for keeping a single betta fish.

Due to the nature of the system, you shouldn't need to use a filter at all, but it does come with a water pump and built-in filter, in case you need that extra boost.

The tank also comes with pots and grow media for the plants, gravel for the tank and a natural water dechlorinator.

It doesn't, however, come with any sort of heater, so you are going to need to buy one separately.

There's also no lid for this aquarium, so you'll need to find one that fits to stop your betta from jumping out.

What we love:

  • Stunning tank
  • Aquaponic filtration method
  • Also comes with water pump and filter for when needed

What could be improved:

  • No lid
  • No heater
  • Water pump may be too strong for bettas
  • LED lighting is sold separately

Elive Aqua Duo Semi Circle Kit

Elive AquaDuo 3 Gallon Betta Aquarium Fish Tank Kit, LED Lighting, Aquaponic and Power Filter, Cartridges and Hydrocorn Included

This 3 gallon aquarium is a good starter for someone who wants to try out an aquaponic tank, perhaps with a view to getting something larger and more impressive at a later date.

The filter has room to grow a single plant, but you do have the option to switch it over to be used as a regular, non-aquaponic filter if you find this style of tank isn't working out for you. It is a waterfall style filter, which might create too much water movement to keep some betta happy, but it may be okay on a lower setting.

It also comes with LED lighting and growing media for the plant, but you will need a heater to keep the water at the correct temperature for your betta. It also comes without a lid, so you'll need to buy one separately to keep your betta safe.

What we love:

  • It's an affordable and compact intro to aquaponic aquariums
  • Filter is able to switch between aquaponic and non-aquaponic methods
  • Comes with integrated LED lighting

What could be improved:

  • Needs a lid
  • Doesn't come with a heater

Best 'Budget Model Aquarium for Betta':

Still good quality, still great value, also very popular, we present:

Tetra Cube Aquarium Kit

Tetra 29095 Cube Aquarium Kit, 3-Gallon

This aquarium is a number one bestseller on Amazon and we can see why. It offers excellent value for money and would be a great starter tank for a newbie fish keeper.

With a 3 gallon capacity, it's slightly smaller that is ideal for a betta, but it's perfectly adequate for keeping your fish's water clean and healthy for them.

It comes with a quiet whisper power filter, a filter cartridge, LED lighting and a pedestal base. Again, you will need to buy a separate heater to regulate the temperature for your betta.

The lid has a convenient feeding hole for no-fuss mealtimes.

What we love:

  • It's an affordable choice
  • It comes with a filter
  • LED lighting allows you to keep your betta's day-night cycle intact

What could be improved:

  • You may need to replace the filter with something more suitable for bettas
  • A little on the small side
  • Made from plastic, rather than glass or acrylic, which isn't ideal

How Do You Set Up Your Tank When You Get Home?

If you're totally new to fish keeping, setting up a betta tank – complete with heater, lighting, filter and the right water – can be a bit daunting.

Here's a brief overview of what you need to do to get it ready for your new betta fish.

  • Pick a secure spot to house your tank. Somewhere near a window is good, so your fish gets at least some natural light, but the tank shouldn't be in direct sunlight. You'll need to leave some space between the back of the aquarium and the wall for the filter and heater to sit.
  • Make sure the aquarium, substrate, and rocks and ornaments are clean. Wash them thoroughly with hot water, but never use soap or detergent as it can be harmful to your fish.
  • Install the filter according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Put down an ample amount of substrate.
  • Fill the tank about one-third of the way with water, checking for leaks as you go.
  • Arrange any plants and ornaments in the tank, making sure they're securely anchored down.
  • Fill the tank the rest of the way, stopping around an inch from the top.
  • Attach the heater as per the manufacturer's directions. Set it between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the optimum temperature range for betta fish.
  • Add a water neutralizer to remove chlorine from the water. If you used distilled water to fill the tank, this step is unnecessary.
  • Cycle the tank without fish. This will make it safer when you add your betta as the conditions should be correct by the time the tank has cycled.
  • Use a testing kit to check the levels of the water. The pH should be 7, while the ammonia and nitrate should be at 0.
  • Once the levels are correct, you're ready to introduce your betta.

Conclusion

There's a lot to think about when selecting the right tank for your betta fish.

While some people will tell you that you can keep a betta in any old container, even a small jar, this is cruel, as it doesn't provide the optimum conditions to keep your fish happy and healthy.

We'd always recommend picking the largest tank possible, but keeping your betta in anything under 2.5 gallons isn't fair on the fish.

If you've read through all the information above, you should have a good idea of what's required in a betta tank and how to get everything ready to go.

While you'd do well with any of the tanks we've recommended, there are plenty of great aquariums out there, so select whatever makes you happy and will provide a good environment for your fish.

Happy fish keeping!

Image credits: © Amazon.com

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