The following is a list of supplies and equipment needed for successfully keeping bettas, along with brief discussions of their importance, and can serve as a check-list for potential owners. Where equipment is, in our opinion, non-essential, it will be noted as such.
This list is also available as a free, downloadable shopping list in our FREE DOWNLOADS section, to take with you to the pet store!
Bettas are active fish who require adequate space and are accomplished jumpers capable of launching out of the tank to their death if not contained by a lid. Bettas must have access to the surface to breathe, and this must be considered when choosing the tank/hood.
TIP - As a rule of thumb, a tank's weight when full of water, gravel and decorations is roughly 10 lb/1 gallon capacity. So a 5 gallon tank will weigh 50 lbs. Bear this in mind when choosing a table on which to place your tank.
Bettas require water heated to 76-80° F, which is achieved and maintained through the use of a heater. A thermometer is used to verify and monitor the temperature produced by the heater.
TIP - To choose a size of heater, a rule of thumb is 5 watts per gallon (ie: a 5 gallon tank gets a 25 watt heater).
To monitor levels of toxins, determine when a water and/or filter media change is necessary, and as a first check when fish appear sick or in distress. A sudden drop/change in pH, or the build up of ammonia (or nitrite or nitrate, in a cycled tank - see below) may cause distress.
To track the progress of a cycling tank, determine the frequency of water changes for a cycled tank (to keep the level of nitrate within a reasonable range). Also, the levels of these chemicals should be checked in a cycled tank, or a tank that is undergoing a cycle when signs of distress/illness are noticed in your fish, as any level of nitrite, and/or and excess level of nitrate will have a negative impact in the same way that ammonia does.
Choose a water conditioner that neutralizes both chlorine and chloramines, and also locks ammonia. One such water conditioner is Seachem Prime.
WARNING: Some water conditioners only address chlorine and chloramine. When broken down, chloramine forms chlorine and ammonia. At this point, a water conditioner that only treats chlorine and chloramine will neutralize the chlorine but leave the toxic ammonia! Be sure to choose a conditioner that locks ammonia as well. For a discussion about the toxicity of ammonia, see our WATER CHEMISTRY page.
Used to remove debris/uneaten food/fish waste with the weekly water change
For spot cleaning and removing bits of debris and missed/uneaten food between water changes
One bucket will receive water being removed during a water change, and the other will hold water being added during the change. Choose buckets with a volume approximately 1/3 that of your tank. Unless something goes awry, routine water changes won't be more than this proportion of your tank volume. As long as your tank is fairly small, you should be able to find buckets of this size.
Bettas evolved in densely planted regions and may be nervous without plants and other hiding places. As long as they know they have a hiding place, they won’t stay hidden!
TIP - Bettas are very curious and may investigate/become trapped in small holes in décor. They may also tear their long fins on sharp edges. Keep this in mind when choosing tank décor. See the AQUARIUM/HOUSING section for further discussion regarding decor.
Silk plants are a better choice than plastic, and live plants will offer benefits over silk plants for those who are able to care for them. Choose the best option according to your experience level.