Size of Tank, Bowl, Vase, or Aquarium for Betta Fish?

Topic: I just got a new betta fish and have it in a flower vase until I go get a new tank tomorrow. What size would you recommend that I get for my betta setup. It is just one male and no other fish. Are there friends that can go with the male betta fish or no? A friend told me that male betta fish do not get along with any other fish.. is he right? I need some help here. Thanks for answers.


*Awarded Answer
Reply from Chris W.
I would advise going with a 5 gallon tank at bare minimum. That’s a very common size because its not too tough to move around by hand and you can do water changes very easily by just pouring the tank. If you want my personal opinion though I would tell you to go with a 10 gallon tank. It will be easier to keep clean cause it is a larger body of water and the fish will be super happy as if that’s a lake for him to swim in. You can buy a basic 10 gal at Walmart for a cost of 12.99. I know that a lot of people fall for those “fancy” gimmick tanks with LED lighting and all these bells and whistles but.. at the end of the day.. your fish just wants the largest living parameters as possible with the cleanest water possible.

Don’t get me wrong, those setups are cool but some of them are only like 1 gallon…! That is not enough water for a fish to live. Even though these fish are bought in these small tiny cups doesn’t mean they want to live inside them for the rest of their lives. Your only going to help the fish live a longer life remember. Back to what I was saying about the 5 gallon minimum RULE. And as far as flower vases go… NO. Just a big fat NO. I hope I am not being too forward with you but I just want to strive my point across as best as possible.

Posted by Bobby U.
As far as tank mates, I would say no because it is a male betta. These fish are highly aggressive and almost always kill the opponent or die themselves of anxiety of the fight. You could get something that the betta may not mess with though like a crayfish. I’ve never seen that before but maybe someone else can help you on that.

Reply from Grant O:
The crayfish would be all cool until the crayfish killed your fish. I think they strike fish from time to time if I’m not mistaken. I would just stick to the betta and maybe start harvesting brine shrimp for him to feed on. They really do love brine shrimp and blood worms and such. Promise me you won’t fee him those crappy pellets that people always buy. A premium fish eats premium food. First you should concentrate on taking care of one betta first.

Posted by Vicky R.
I was wondering the same thing about roommates. Isn’t there some fish out there that gets along with this beautiful fish. I wonder if a female and a male would be ok.

Reply from Admin:
We have touched base on the fact that male betta fish don’t get along with other fish. Hopefully we don’t waste anymore time going through this again. What happens is people start messing around and experimenting and fish die through the process. I have had only one male betta in my life that got along with other fish. But he late does of anxiety .. So it was still a failed mission and I lost a good friend through it.

Reply from Vicky R.
I know I know.. I was just wanting to thrill myself that he could have friends but you are right and we always fool ourselves on the fact that these fish can have roommates when they really can’t. You read stories online but the people always seem like they don’t care of the fish dies an I’m not on that scenario.. I would cry my eyes out if I caused my betta to die.

Posted by Casandra R.
I once had a male betta that got along great with a goldfish of mine. I know that sounds stupid but its totally true. Most people don’t believe me when I tell this story but I promise that it is true. It all breaks down to what personality that specific betta fish has.

Reply from Admin
Ughhhhhhhh! Really.. A goldfish. This post is now closed. No more talking about make betta fish roommates that do not work. Here is an awesome article on setting up a tank. I know it is based around the basics but it’s a great read for noobies. What are some good filters to use on smaller setups?

Posted by ADMIN **This is a Great Article to Read

Setting Up Your Tank for Your Betta

I found this helpful article and want to publish it here. I have come to matters with people using bowls for their betta fish. I don’t like using bowls to keep fish in because I feel it is inhumane but I can’t stop it. I can at least preach good practices to keeping fish in bowls. I don’t take credit for writing this.. but want to share it because its dead on!

  • Tank, bowl or jar with cover that provides circulation of air – 1 gallon is okay, no less than ½ gallon, best case scenario 2.5 gallon.
  • Floating thermometer – Cheap handy device that your betta will appreciate.
  • Cave or plant cover – Give them a place to hide if they get stressed out. Make sure there are no sharp edges that the delicate fins of the betta fish can catch on*.
  • Net
  • Water conditioner
  • Water Test Kit – preferably high quality

The supplies and materials above are the minimum required for taking care of a Betta fish.


  • Turkey baster – clean, unused and never to be used for anything other than cleaning your betta tank.
  • Silk handkerchief or cloth, panty hose or other smooth fine cloth to check for jagged edges on aquarium décor and equipment that goes inside the tank.
  • Heater – required if your room temperature drops below 76°F
  • Substrate – marbles, sand, whatever you like and that is not dangerous to a betta and aquarium safe*.

betta-bowl*Note, for betta fish, unsafe décor and equipment is equipment with sharp or jagged edges. Sharp or jagged edges can damage to the fins of betta fish. Causing unnecessary harm and stress to betta fish can lead to a sick fish, which can lead to a dead fish.

Why you need the listed equipment and supplies for keeping betta fish.


It’s probably obvious why you need tank or bowl if you are interested in keeping a betta aquarium in a home. However, it may be less obvious why size is important. To fully understand the importance of a properly sized betta bowl you need a basic understanding the nitrogen cycle. Now that you have read about and understood the nitrogen cycle (right?), we can discuss the importance of the size of the betta tank and the role of the nitrogen cycle in a betta bowl or aquarium.

For small betta bowls and tanks (less than 1/4 to ½ gallon), the concentration of ammonia in said tank or bowl will sky rocket after a few short BM’s (Bowl Movements) performed by the betta. Thus bumping the concentration of ammonia above 20 ppm in 24 to 48 hours. (20 ppm = 20 part per million, meaning 20 parts of ammonia for every millon parts of water) An ammonia concentration above 20 ppm is considered toxic to betta fish and requires you to perform a water change. The faster the ammonia concentration reaches 20 ppm, the more often you are required to perform a water change. Therefore, if you have a larger betta bowl, like a 1 gallon tank, it would require a weekly water change, but for anything smaller (1/4 to ½ gallon) you would be required to do a water change almost every day. In short, get a tank or bowl at least 1 gallon in volume.

Betta fish jump. If your betta tank or bowl is uncovered, it will jump out. However, since betta fish are animals, it requires oxygen. A tight fitting lid will prevent oxygen from being absorbed into the water and you will drown your fish, so to speak. Additionally, betta fish are labyrinth fish (read more about labyrinth fish here), and can actually breathe air directly in waters that are poorly oxygenated. Again, if you have a tight fitting cover on your betta tank, you will suffocate your fish in a different way. In this scenario, air is unable to circulate over the top of the water which prevents your betta from absorbing oxygenated air into its labyrinth organ (the part of the labyrinth fish that makes it possible for it to absorb oxygen directly from air). Read more about labyrinth fish to fully understand how this is possible.

cool betta tank bowl

Floating Thermometer:
The temperature of a betta bowl should be maintained between 76-82 °F. The easiest way to measure the temperature is with a thermometer (duh!). However, a floating or handheld thermometer is the best choice because you easily remove the thermometer after you observed the temperature.

Cave or Plant Cover:
Betta fish, like myself, appreciate their alone time, and if you lived you in a clear bowl or jar, you too would find it difficult to find a nice place to lay low and collect your thoughts. Therefore, do them a favor and give them a cave or enough plant cover to hide. This is an important feature you should add to your betta bowl or tank. If a betta becomes stressed, it will want to hide and recover until it’s comfortable to come out again. Keeping stress to a minimum will help reduce and prevent disease.

Anubias is a great choice for a live plant for a betta aquarium. It is an extremely hardy plant that is slow growing and its broad leaves provide plenty of cover for the betta to hide.

Steps to prepare your betta aquarium for your new fish:

    1. Rinse tank and everything that will ever enter the tank with hot water (i.e. décor, turkey bastors, your hands, thermometer, etc). Do not use soap!
    2. Rinse everything again.
    3. And again. A betta lives in very small confined environment, and therefore water quality is absolutely essential, and if there is even a small amount of a toxin present, the concentration will be much higher compared to a larger tank because the volume of water in the betta tank is much lower.
    4. Using your silk or silk-like cloth, lightly drag it across all the aquarium décor and equipment that will go in the tank. If it catches on any edges, sand down the edges where the cloth caught and re-rinse the item. If there are any sharp or jagged edges on the décor and equipment in your betta tank, the delicate fins of the betta could catch and ruin their beautiful fins. The damaged fins could become infected and create a lot of problems for your fish and you.
    5. Assemble the aquarium as you wood any aquarium. Fortunately, betta tanks are pretty straight forward and do not require special setup and just common sense (i.e. substrate goes first, followed by the décor and then add your water). If you are assembling a tank that uses a filtration system then follow the guide here for setting up and cycling your tank. Note, betta fish do not like current in their aquarium. Therefore, be sure to set your aquarium filter to the lowest circulation setting possible.
    6. After water has been added to you tank, add the water conditioner to remove chlorines, chloroamines and ammonia.
    7. Use your water test kit to check the ammonia, nitirites, pH, kH and temperature of your water BEFORE you add your fish. Make sure they the fall within the guidelines listed below:
Parameter Range
pH 6 – 7.5
Water Hardness 5 – 20 dH
Temperature 76 – 82 °F (25 – 28 °C)
Ammonia < 20 ppm
Nitrites < 50 ppm (preferbably < 25 ppm)


  1. If the water fails any of the water quality tests be sure to correct them and identify if this will be an ongoing problem or if it is a result of the initial setup. If it will be an ongoing problem, be sure and identify and an easy way for you to quickly correct the problem in the future so it does not become burdensome to do in the future.
  2. Add Betta to Tank – After the water has passed all the water quality tests, it’s time to add the betta to the aquarium.