Before we begin, let’s just be clear about what’s ethical and what’s not. You may see photos of these setups where a betta looks happy and healthy, but you shouldn’t keep a betta in something like a vase, a small bowl or a cup. In fact, you really shouldn’t keep your betta in anything less than 15 litres if you want to be certain your betta is happy.
The problem with keeping a betta in something like a bowl or vase is that it makes it really hard to maintain the quality of the water. Water changes would need to be done very often, and the only way to combat this would be with a filter. Even then, unless the vessel was particularly large, a filter would not be a good idea as it would leave even less room for the little guy to swim around comfortably. The current of the filter would also cause stress in such a small container. You can read about this more in our betta care section.
What makes a good betta aquarium?
We’re going to cover some of the best aquariums for these littles guys, ranging in affordability. Some just fit the fish, but some are specifically manufactured for betta comfort. We also have an article that talks you through setting up your own betta tank.
People who have the most success with betta keeping usually have a set-up that includes:
- A container (usually glass) of between 10 and 40 litres (sometimes more)
- A light (UV or LED) above the aquarium
- A small filter (read our post on filters)
- A heater
- A lid
A good aquarium will include all the items listed above as a minimum
AN IMPORTANT NOTE: There are aquariums on the market that state they are ‘made for bettas’ or are ‘good for bettas’, but these manufactures are usually cheap and haven’t taken into account the anatomy of a betta. For example, we have come across aquariums ‘made for bettas’ that don’t even have a lid. This is a basic must-have for betta aquariums. There’s always a risk that a betta will leap out of its aquarium. If not found in time, they could dry up and die. If you purchase an aquarium like this, you’ll find yourself having to buy a filter, heater or a lid sometime in the future anyway.
Betta Aquariums We Recommend:
We wouldn’t like to say that any one aquarium in particular is the ‘best betta tank’, but we’ve listed some of the best options available for you to choose from, and noted what’s good about them. The good thing about all the tanks below is that they are easy to clean, even if you don’t have much experience as a betta keeper. You can read more about tank maintenance in our cleaning guide.
Where available we have linked to the tanks on Amazon. For those that don’t include links, they weren’t available on Amazon at the time of writing, but you may be able to find them else where if you do a Google search.
Aqua One; the ‘Duo’ and ‘Trio’ range
- 32 Litres
- Built-in Filter
- Built-in Heater
- LED light
We think the Aqua One aquariums are great. They are very reasonably priced for what they give. The Aqua One ‘Betta Trio’ Aquarium shown above is 32 litres, comes with a built-in UV light, sponge / carbon filter and heater. Overall we find them to be very aesthetically pleasing!
The carbon filter cartridges are easy to replace and the heater is easily adjustable. General access to the aquarium (for feeding, for example) is a doddle.
Aqua One recommends that you replace the filter cartridge on a monthly basis and do a 25% water change every month.
As you can see, this is a barrack aquarium. Each barak is segregated to about 10 litres, which is indeed under our recommended limit but each betta fish in technically living in 32 litres of water. There are slits in the top and the bottom of the barak walls to allow the water to pass through barracks.
The fish will not be able to come into contact with each other but do occasionally see each other through the slits and flair. We’ve read mixed reviews as to how often the betta fish do see each other through the slits. Occasional flaring isn’t too bad — it can be considered a healthy stimulant — but understandably too much flaring is unhealthy and can cause stress. Keepers have used aquarium decor, plants and mesh to cover the slits, which can work well but remember, if you plan to do this yourself you need to be careful not to affect the water flow going through the barracks or worse, cause congestion.
These aquariums are very popular with betta keepers. Any large fish stores stocking bettas usually sell these aquariums. They are also available online.
Here’s a good site to buy components (filters, cartridges, etc).
The Fluval ‘Spec’ 19L
- 19 Litres
- Built-in filter
- Built-in LED light
The Fluval Spec is the home that we have chosen for our betta, Naan. You can see a photo of him in his tank here:
The Fluval Spec comes in 2 different sizes (10L or 19L), but we highly recommend the 19L. The 19L model is the more popular version. It comes with a carbon / sponge filter, LED light and a moon light switch. Also, we don’t recommend keeping a betta in anything less than 15L, so we feel the 10L might not do a great job for betta keeping.
You may notice that there is a gap in the lid on the Fluval Spec. While we have recommended that a betta tank is not left uncovered, the gap in the tank is covered by the light, so it isn’t an issue.
NOTE: this aquarium does NOT come with a built-in heater. You can find more info in our betta heating section. The reason this aquarium is popular is that a small heater can easily be added to the aquarium, either in the filter compartment or the open section. We added an Aqua One Nano Heater 25W to ours without any issue.
There’s actually a great website, Spec-Tanks, dedicated to modifying Fluval Spec aquariums should you wish to customise the Fluval Spec further. You can check Spec-Tanks out here.
Bettas don’t like a strong current. This aquarium is great as the current is adjustable on the filter. The filter head is also adjustable too.
This aquarium is available in some fish stores and online.
Aqua One Xpression 17 Nano Aquarium
- 17 Litres
- LED light
Another Aqua One on the list. Aqua One are prized for making nano aquariums, which in some cases are great for betta fish. In a way, this aquarium isn’t too different from the Aqua One ‘Betta Trio’, apart from the fact the ‘Betta Trio’ was specifically manufactured for bettas. Unlike the Aqua One, this model does not include a heater. This aquarium comes with a sponge / carbon filter and an impressive LED light. There is a compartment for a heater, which you’ll have to purchase separately for the aquarium.
JUWEL VIO 40 LED
- 30 litre
- UV light
Juwel are known for creating some of the finer aquariums on the market. High quality and reliable. The Vio 40 is a 30 litre aquarium. It comes with a great little sponge/carbon filter, along with an LED light. Much like the some of the other aquariums, it does not come with a heater, but installing one is no problem.
Aquael ‘Shrimp Set and Shrimp Set Smart’
Don’t be fooled by the name ‘Shrimp Set’ — this aquarium is perfect for bettas, although originally designed for tropical shrimp. Aquael states that, “The sets are intended for keeping shrimps and small fish (including Siamese fighting fish), as well as for the cultivation of aquatic plants necessary for the well-being of aquarium inhabitants.”
The aquarium comes in 3 sizes: 10, 20 and 30 litre, but we only recommend the 20L or 30L as 10L is under our recommended minimum of 15L. The bigger the size — the higher the price. This aquarium is super reasonable for what it offers, and not only that but it looks great! It has an artistic, minimal design. The filter gives out a very weak current, which bettas love. It’s just a bit more finicky changing the filtration cartridge compared to similar models.
Of course, there’s nothing to say that you can’t assemble your own aquarium. It can sometimes be the more affordable option, and it is rewarding knowing that you’ve crafted your own setup. We also have a guide that explains in detail how to set up your own betta tank.
You can buy an aquarium, heater, light and filter separately and create your own betta home. All of the compact set-ups above come with fancy lighting, but this isn’t strictly necessary if you’re not planning to keep live plants in your aquarium. That being said, housing a betta in one of the aquariums above might be less hassle for you and the betta.
Keeping a betta without ‘maintenance technology’
People like the idea of keeping a betta in an aquarium without any maintenance technology, AKA the old ‘goldfish in a bowl’ philosophy. Given the right conditions, this is possible, although it isn’t easy and it’s probably best for the betta if you use a more ‘complete’ set up. If you are going to proceed with minimal maintenance technology, there are some conditions that you must take into consideration.
A consistent water quality and water temperature is vital.
If you feel the temperature of your betta aquarium can constantly sit between 74°F to 82°F then you may not need a heater. Most houses sit at room temperature, which is 70°F give or take. If water is left in a room at a temperature of 80°F, it will eventually cool down to room temperature in a matter of hours. So if an aquarium is left in a room of a standard temperature, the aquarium temp will be 70°F. You may have a room in your house that is particularly warm, for whatever reason. For example, some reptile keepers have reptile rooms which usually sit at quite a toasty temperature.
If you do decide to set up an aquarium without a heater, do check the temperature regularly (at least 5 times a day). Make sure it doesn’t fluctuate and stays at a good temperature. If this is not the case, add a heater.
As much as bettas are hardy fish, they need to be kept in adequate water conditions . A filter is the best way of ensuring this. For 20 litres, we recommend a 50% water change every month. Even with regular water changes, it can still be hard to cycle the aquarium. A monthly water and cartridge change, with a filter, will ensure healthy water. For more info see our section on recommended betta water conditions.
We highly recommend you have a covering on your betta tank.
You may have an aquarium set up without a lid or a hood or an overcover. The aquarium that we have doesn’t have a complete covering, there’s hole in the middle of the lid to allow the overhang light to shine through directly onto the surface of the aquarium water. However, vertically the aquarium is covered, so the betta won’t attempt to jump at any point. If the top of your aquarium is completely open, without any kind of light, mesh, hood or overhang, your betta may leap from the water.
We can’t stress this enough: a betta isn’t like your average goldfish. Betta are courageous and daring! Given the right opportunity and the right moment, they WILL leap from an aquarium, no matter where they might land. It sounds crazy, but it’s true.