How to Setup a Betta Fish Tank – Plants, Lighting, Tank & Toys

Betta fish in the aquarium

Pet fish require a lot of work and maintenance. If you have a pet fish, you ought to have a proper fish tank that can serve as a comfortable home for your fish. Many homeowners want to have colorful fish that add even more value to the room in which their tank is kept.

With glorious fins and vibrant colors, betta fish or siamese fighting fish are some of the most sought after fish species that people love to keep in their homes. Their bold color and fine texture make them a favorite among pet fish lovers. However, proper betta fish care requires a lot of work. This fish needs a sufficient amount of space to live a healthy life.

You’ll need to make sure that you have the best betta fish tank set up for your fish. This guide will help you learn what accessories you need to give a secure home to your fish.

1. Betta Fish Tank Setup

Betta fish is a medium-sized fish. This is why fish lovers often end up buying a small fish tank for them thinking that the fish can easily survive in them. Contrary to this, betta fish requires a large space to move around easily.

The bigger the tank size, the better it is for the fish to live healthily. You should choose a tank that is at least five-gallon betta fish tank. This water level is the lowest volume required to set up the Nitrogen Cycle. Before moving on, let us explain how to cycle a fish tank.

Cycling a Betta Fish Tank

The process basically involves establishing a filtration system that can remove toxic waste from the water so that your fish can have a healthy environment to live in. For this, the first thing you have to do is to add a neutralizer to the tap water that you have filled in the tank.

This is done to eliminate the chlorine present in the water. If you don’t do this, the chlorine will stop you from performing the cycle. With the passage of time, beneficial bacteria will begin to grow in your tank. But why do you want bacteria to grow in your tank?

When components like the fish poop, rotten plants, or uneaten food break down, they give off ammonia. This ammonia will continue building up in your tank until the time the beneficial bacteria begins to grow and eats them. Once ammonia levels start to decline, you’ll start noticing a rise in nitrites, which is the element that bacteria give off. This is also highly toxic to your fish.

But you don’t need to worry as other bacteria starts growing in your aquarium which loves to eat these nitrites. Over time, you will see the level of nitrites falling down and the level of nitrates going up. These nitrates are harmless to your fish. However, you have to ensure that these nitrates are in a small amount. Once they start rising, you must clean the tank and change the water to prevent it from becoming toxic.

Learn more about how to cycle your fish tank in the video below:

Ideal Betta Fish Tank Environment

The other thing that you have to consider while setting up the tank is the swimming habits of betta fish. Even though these fish can swim at any level, they are mostly found swimming at the bottom. This means that while choosing gravel, you have to pick small and smooth ones to avoid your betta from hurting itself.

Besides being a safe bet for betta fish, small gravel plays an important role in the tank’s ecosystem. The beneficial bacteria that help break down waste grows on the surface of small gravel. Another important aspect for you to consider is the betta fish tank’s water temperature. You’d probably be thinking if you should install a heater and a filter in the tank.

You should always install a filter in your aquarium. It keeps your tank clean and prevents the spread of diseases by reducing harmful bacteria. However, since betta fish has long fins, it becomes difficult for them to swim in strong currents. For that, make sure to buy a gentle filter so that the fish can swim with ease.

With regard to the heater, it is a must. Betta fish comes from Thailand’s tropical water and, therefore, it is important to have a heater that can keep the temperature between 78 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Here is an important tip: You shouldn’t install the heater in the tank which is less than five gallons. It will have serious effects on the health of your betta fish.

2. Betta Fish Plants

As mentioned above, betta fish originates from Thailand. This means that they are more comfortable in slow-moving streams, rice paddies, and large puddles. This gives them a better place to hide.

It is always best to use live plants to provide a natural environment to the fish. These plants also help in cleaning the fish tank. However, if you are not up for live plants, don’t go for plastic ones at least and use silk plants instead.

View our complete guide on betta fish plants here.

3. Lighting for a Betta Fish Tank

You’d probably think that the fish has no schedule. They move around the aquarium and eat. Eat, swim, and repeat. However, betta fish are a stickler for the schedule.

They wake up when the light is on and go back to sleep when the lights are switched off. If you want a proper schedule for your fish, it is advisable that you get a light installed in your tank, if it doesn’t have one already. A regular schedule is important to keep your fish healthy.

4. Betta Fish Toys

Adding toys in betta fish tank is an important element of betta fish care. Since they usually live in isolation – you can’t keep them with other species because of their aggressive nature – they may get bored. To help them escape boredom, you should get some toys for them.

Betta fish are naturally shy and they will appreciate their setting more if you provide them with more hiding spots. Other toys like live plants or moss balls will also offer mental stimulation and allow them to break free from swimming around the tank.

In Conclusion

With this comprehensive guideline for betta fish tank setup, proper care and regular maintenance, you will be successful in providing a good environment for the fish to thrive in.

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