Articles Betta

Why betta bowls are bad

March 10, 2015
betta bowl

Even though awareness on betta fish care seems to be slowly spreading, both pet stores and the internet are still an enormous source of misinformation. Betta bowls, vases and tiny “aquariums” are still sold on a large scale, which means many unfortunate bettas die a premature death due to bad housing. Even though bettas are very small fish and often quite cheap, they still need to be kept in a heated, filtered aquarium to thrive.

Keep reading to see some of the most common betta myths smashed and find out just why a bowl, vase or very small tank is not enough to keep your betta healthy.

Why you should never keep a #Betta in a bowl #aquarium

Hover over image to pin to Pinterest. Photo by Mason

Betta myths

Myth: Bettas in the wild live in small muddy puddles and even animal footprints. They like dirty water and small spaces.

False! While the water bettas live in sometimes seems muddy due to its darker color, it’s actually stained by plants and fallen leaves. They are not “used to” dirty water: a filter and water changes are necessary.

Although the water is often quite shallow, the rice paddies and streams bettas naturally occur in are actually huge! Your betta will not “freak out” in a larger space. If it does, you should add more hiding places in the form of plants, rocks and decorations. Growing live plants can be intimidating, but luckily there are many beginner plants such as Java fern that help a betta feel safe.

Myth: Bettas can survive in vases eating plant roots.

False! Bettas are carnivorous surface feeders that mostly eat fallen insects. When kept in a vase with only plant roots to eat, a betta will starve. The plant roots may also block the surface, making it impossible for your betta to reach the surface to breathe! Breathing air is necessary for your betta to survive, so it should always be able to reach the surface.

Wheat grass about to get a haircut after two weeks.

Betta aquaponics systems are not suitable betta housing. Wheat grass about to get a haircut after two weeks. by hackaday

Myth: An “aquaponics” system is a good way to keep a betta in a tiny container because the plants will remove wastes.

False! There is no excuse for keeping your betta in a very small unfiltered container. Proper aquaponics systems, where plants are grown on top of the aquarium using the wastes from the fish as fertilizer, can be a fun project.

However, the tiny “aquaponics” tanks that seem to be all the rage because they claim to make water changes and cleaning unnecessary, are little more than betta death traps if you use them as advertised. Cleaning, heating and filtering is always necessary!

Myth: Bettas are not tropical fish so they don’t need a heater.

False! Bettas naturally occur in Thailand and Cambodia, where it actually gets really hot. This myth was created to make impulse buying a betta more attractive. If you keep your betta in temperatures below 76 °F/24,5 °C, you will quickly notice it becoming lethargic due to the cold. A heater like this one is 100% necessary unless you have a fish room with a stable, high temperature.


The myths are proven false: bettas can’t live in bowls, vases and tiny containers. But why not? So many sources say it’s okay – what could possibly make this kind of housing so bad?


Filter and heater

The first and most important reasons are water values and temperature.

In a round bowl, adding a filter and a heater is almost impossible, and they will take up much of the already very small space. Getting a square vase or tiny aquarium that can accomodate this equipment is unfortunately not a better option. The filter will be mostly ineffective in breaking down ammonia and nitrite: establishing a stable cycle in such a small amount of water is almost impossible and water values will constantly fluctuate.

The alternative, very frequent 80-100% water changes, is stressful for the fish unless you work with a drip system in a bigger fish room (which is what many betta breeders do). As mentioned before, adding plants is unfortunately not a good replacement for a filter either, as they are not able to remove the waste a betta produces.

Not sure where to start with setting up your Betta tank? Have a look at Betta Than A Bowl.

Water values and temperature

Since betta bowls cannot be filtered, problems with keeping your water values stable will arise. Even if you work very hard to keep your betta bowl/vase clean, an ammonia spike can occur very quickly and without you noticing.

For example: In a 10 gallon (38L) aquarium, a tiny piece of rotting food won’t do much harm. The beneficial bacteria will take care of any ammonia and there is plenty of water to dilute it; water values will remain relatively stable. However, if you only have 1-2 gallons (3,5-7,5L) of unfiltered water to work with, that piece of food can cause a big ammonia spike that can harm or even kill your betta within a short time span. There are no beneficial filter bacteria to break the ammonia down and no large amount of water to dilute it.

The same goes for temperature, which is almost impossible to keep stable in a small container. The constant fluctuations are very stressful for the fish, which can eventually result in disease.

Consistently bad water values inside a small pet store cup caused this betta to develop severe fin rot as well as blood poisoning. Luckily, he was rescued in time by Tumblr user theblondeaquarist.

Consistently bad water values inside a small pet store cup caused this betta to develop severe fin rot as well as blood poisoning. Luckily, he was rescued by theblondeaquarist.

Disease

Although heightened ammonia and nitrite levels can kill your betta by themselves, this is not the only danger in a bowl.

As mentioned before, water values and temperature will often be all over the place; this is very stressful for your fish. Stress is very bad for the immune system, so even if bettas seem hardy enough to survive the fluctuating, dangerous water values at first, they will eventually fall prey to disease. This can range from fin rot, which is very common and relatively easy to cure if not progressed too far, to parasites, fungus and internal bacterial infections like popeye.

These diseases can all be fatal to your betta. Although there is always medication, you should try to prevent them. Overmedicating damages fish and doesn’t solve the initial problem of bad housing!

General guidelines

Although they are small fish, it’s best to house your betta(s) in an aquarium of at least 5 gallons (~20L) like this one. More is always a plus! Some aquarists say a starting point of 2,5 gallons (~10L) is fine, but this is not something I would recommend unless you’re an experienced betta keeper or breeder. It’s very difficult to keep the water values stable in these mini setups and I personally think a 2,5 gallon is too small to keep any fish in. A bigger aqauarium is usually much more pleasing to the eye as well!

A betta setup needs to be filtered like any other aquarium. The filter is necessary to establish a stable cycle, which is crucial to keep your betta healthy. If you don’t know what cycling is, be sure to read this article before you get your betta. A thermostat heater is necessary even in very warm areas to keep the water values stable and prevent stress, unless the fish room is consistedly heated to a suitable temperature.

To make your betta feel safe and comfortable, it’s also a good idea to add tall plants and hiding spaces. Regularly checking whether your water values are still where they need to be is very important. You can use a drop test kit to do so, as test strips are unfortunately quite inaccurate.

#Betta fish should never be kept in a bowl. But why? Find out all about why bowls are bad. #aquariums

Photo by Mason.


If you’re still unsure about suitable betta housing, take a look at Betta Than A Bowl! This article contains more info as well as some great examples of well-housed bettas. Still not sure how to go about setting up your better Betta fish tank? This extensive 12-chapter guide might prove helpful.


Conclusion

It will unfortunately likely be a while before betta bowls, vases and tiny unsuitable tanks disappear from pet- and aquarium store shelves. In the mean time, don’t support these products.

A bowl is pretty at first, but the fish will turn lethargic and sick quite quickly without proper care, which is definitely not a pleasant sight. Your betta will live a much longer and happier life in a filtered, heated and well-decorated aquarium.


If you still have questions about betta bowls, want to share your (bad) experiences or think I forgot something in this article, be sure to leave a comment below. Happy betta keeping!

Cover photo: IMG_7138 by portablematthew


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48 Comments

  • Replyfrank mccowanJune 2, 2018 at 6:34 pm

    From what I have read both hear and on other websites is that Bettas need a certain amount of water (even with good water quality) to be healthy/happy/ flourish etc… I hear this all the time, the only issue for me is that I can not find any scientific research that agrees with this assumption.. The scientific research needs to show a number of fish (individually) living in different size enclosures in controlled environments, where fish living in a enclosure over a certain size did better, i.e., grew faster /better, moved more, showed better muscle tone, better finage , less disease, ate more food, metabolized the food better etc…. So far as I have been able to find is conjecture to the point that it has been repeated so many times that it has ‘almost’ become ‘fact’…. But I feel that ‘real facts’ come from scientific testing and not from personal experience or a feeling ‘that something is better’… So, to make a long explanation longer, could you please point me to the research that proves your ideas to be truth? I understand that this comment appears harsh, but in reality I am just trying to find some answers based on real research. thanks

    • ReplyMariJune 4, 2018 at 5:20 pm

      Hi Frank!

      I totally understand wanting to see actual scientific research, as much fishkeeping knowledge is based on just experience. You mention the fish needing a certain amount of water even with water quality, but I think the main issue with smaller tanks is that it’s very difficult (especially for beginners) to actually maintain that water quality. That’s the real issue to me. It’s not exactly scientific research, but you can easily see the fluctuations in smaller tanks yourself using a liquid drop kit. Things can get out of control so fast! Even if you’re not a beginner, this can cause issues if you catch a problem too late. Thus, the reason I personally recommend a larger water volume is mostly based on the extra leeway it gives you when it comes to water values (when it comes to a species as tiny as a Betta anyway). I’m also a fan of trying to imitate the natural habitat of the fish or its wild ancestors as far as that’s possible in a glass rectangle (and their natural habitat is not tiny), but as you say that’s just a matter of preference. I tried to communicate that in this post, my apologies if it didn’t come across as it was supposed to.

      I have access to scientific databases right now so if that reply doesn’t satisfy you then I can always have a look. I’ve found it difficult to find proper research on these topics though, as many studies are riddled with validity problems.

  • ReplyTJApril 9, 2018 at 1:42 pm

    My son has received a betta fish for his birthday today (unbeknownst to me) and he loves it so much, he wants to keep it. Its in a glass bowl, and I’ve made plans to buy a proper tank tomorrow (21L, secondhand), and researching like mad. My question is, if I fishless cycle the new tank, does it need a filter? And is the fish (now named Reddy. As you’ve probably guessed, it is red) able to stay in the glass bowl until the new tank has been cycled?
    Thanks for the incredibly helpful article, I had no idea you couldn’t keep fish in small bowls-although that sounds incredibly ignorant

    • ReplyMariApril 15, 2018 at 11:02 am

      Hey!

      My apologies for the late reply, I hope Reddy is doing well. I suspect you might already have found some info on this by now, but in case you haven’t: yes, you do definitely need a filter if you’re fishless cycling as the filter is the thing that actually makes your tank cycle in the first place. Reddy will be able to stay in the glass bowl, but you’ll have to do frequent water changes with temperature matched dechlorinated water (I’d say 50% every other day). He’ll also appreciate the addition of a heater, which you can also use for the 21L.

      I have an entire article on cycling an aquarium here which contains everything you need to know and should be helpful if you’re still not sure how this works.

      A lot of people don’t know you can’t keep fish in small bowls, especially Bettas, as pet stores still spread misinformation all over the place. The only thing you can do now is use your newfound knowledge to give your fish a better life – and maybe pass on the info to other people! 🙂

      Good luck, I hope it all works out.

      • ReplyTJApril 20, 2018 at 11:56 am

        Thank you so much. I ended up not doing a fishless cycle because my sisters cat knocked the bowl over and smashed it. We managed to save Reddy in an old ice cream tub, but moved him into his tank as quick as we could. He’s thriving, and seems so much happier, and now swims around his tank instead of just floating in one spot. The lady at the pet store thought I was crazy for buying everything I needed, as was his friends mum who bought it for him. They both told me it was a waste of time because they only live to a maximum of 6 months.
        Thanks for all the information you’re spreading, you’ve given one fish a better life and a little boy who is excited to have a good friend for a few years

        • ReplyMariApril 22, 2018 at 10:01 pm

          Hey, thanks for the update. Sorry to hear Reddy took a tumble, but I’m glad he seems happier. And also SO glad to hear a success story like this where a reader actually upgrades their fish. Makes it all worth it. Just watch those water values like a hawk and I’m sure things should turn out just fine 🙂

  • ReplyHarryMarch 21, 2018 at 11:42 pm

    One of the main reasons people buy Bettas is because they can live in very small confines without any major problems. another reason is that they are very hardy fish and can survive for long periods of time without changing the water and without feeding. I have a friend of mine who went on vacation for a month and when he came back his Betta was still alive. This is why people by Bettas, other than they are beautiful to look at. I would not try what my friend did with his fish, but personally I have kept Bettas in 1 gallon or less tanks alive for more than 3 year ! All I did was change the water over the weekend and nothing else. Sometimes I would forget to change the water with no ill effects. My Bettas continued to look health and looked very happy. When I read articles like this I scratch my head and wonder what the authors were drinking. If you need a 5 gallon tank then you don’t need a Betta. Maybe some other type of fish would Yo Talk about fake news. If you think need a 5 gallon tank then you don’t need a Betta, maybe some other type of fish would fit the bill….

    • ReplyMariMarch 22, 2018 at 11:12 am

      Please don’t try to spread misinformation on this website. Bettas need a cycled, heated aquarium of at least 5 gallons to thrive. 2.5 gal and up MIGHT work if you can get the tank to cycle, but it’s not ideal and I’d recommend against it if you’re not an experienced fishkeeper.

      You can tell yourself otherwise all they want, but that doesn’t change the facts. Being alive is not thriving. Keeping fish in tiny unfiltered bowls is abuse and the fact that misinformed people buy them because they “can be kept in very small confines” does not change this. If you had done water tests on your 1 gallon or less “tanks” you would have known how much your fish were most likely suffering.

      Additionally, there are no other fish that can be kept in a 5 gallon tank besides one or two species because it is TINY. Again, please do not spread misinformation and consider reading up on fishkeeping with a more open mind rather then dismissing everything that doesn’t agree with your stance as “fake news”.

  • ReplyBetta ownerDecember 17, 2017 at 4:23 am

    While I’m going to upgrade my little guy’s 0.5 gallon to a 2 gallon (at most), I hardly trust anyone who actively promotes and makes a profit from advertising aquariums and fish supply stores.

    • ReplyMariDecember 17, 2017 at 12:00 pm

      Well, what do I even respond to a comment like this? If you’d like to keep your Betta in a tank that’s too small despite reading a 1300+ word article that details exactly why you shouldn’t, that’s your own personal choice. If you choose not to trust a site that advertises Betta-friendly aquariums so it can pay hosting and keep publishing informative articles such as the article in question, that’s also your own personal choice. I’m not sure why your Betta would have to suffer just because I include ads in my content, but hey, that’s just me.

    • ReplyBetta EducationJanuary 21, 2018 at 3:11 am

      BETTA OWNER This is a joke right? How about me then? I dont advertise for anything, anywhere. However, I am a Zoologist and I can tell you that this article is absolutely correct. You may also want to look up the principles of Denialism and Confirmation bias.

      • ReplyMariJanuary 21, 2018 at 1:31 pm

        The cognitive dissonance is strong in those with tiny Betta tanks.

    • ReplyHarryMarch 31, 2018 at 3:58 pm

      Mari please get a life. Like I said my fish look healthy and happy and certainly are not suffering. People that come visit me always praise the way my fish look. No fungus, their tails and their fins are very well formed and colorful. I live in an apartment and maintaining a 5 gallon, 48 pound tank for one sole fish would be ridiculous. I’m not sure how you got the idea that these fish suffer in small tanks. Maybe they spoke to you ? In their native habitat these fish are known to live in puddles. Of course a bigger tank would be better just as a River a Large Lake or an Ocean would be perfect. U

  • ReplyBaMAugust 12, 2017 at 8:05 am

    I feel really bad about keeping my first two bettas in bowls. I was a small child and didn’t know better. I recently lost a betta due to an unknown infection, but he lasted significantly longer than the ones in bowls, even though he was sick. It really makes a difference, folks.

    • ReplyMariAugust 12, 2017 at 9:34 pm

      Thanks for sharing. I think we all made aquarium-related mistakes when we were younger but the most important thing is learning from them and changing our ways!

    • ReplyReidFebruary 18, 2018 at 1:57 am

      Oh man, I think I need some help. I got a betta a week ago. I had no idea how much I didn’t know. I bought a bowl and some gravel and the pet store people said “Get a betta, that’ll be perfect.” So I got it and brought it home. And as I was looking at him, I thought, “It’s too small.” So last Sunday I went and got a 2.5 gallon tank. I put a plant in and a couple decorations, and I sat and looked at it and thought, “It’s still too small.” Then I started googling. Ugh. So I got a ten gallon tank, set it up and put him in. I treated the water first, but had yet to come across the concept of cycling. Anyways, that’s where I’m at. The water is stable temp at just under 80 degrees, and I just cycled 15%. But he’s very, very lethargic now. I’m afraid he’s going to die. Incidentally, I got the fish because my brother has one – he says he’s had it for two years in a 1 gallon bowl and the pet store people scoffed when I went back and told them the bowl and then the 2.5 gallon tank were too small. Do you have any advice on how I can keep him alive through the cycling process?

      • ReplyMariFebruary 18, 2018 at 12:13 pm

        Hi,

        I’m so sorry to hear you were misinformed at the pet store, but I’m glad you’re dedicated to improving things for your Betta.

        Okay, so. Keeping the fish alive. It seems you’ve got everything in order now (I assume the new tank has a filter?). Your most important tool the next few weeks will be your liquid water test kit – if you don’t have one yet, get one ASAP. Avoid test strips, they’re less accurate. You’re going to have to do very frequent water changes to keep your ammonia down while still allowing the tank to cycle, which can be pretty difficult and also a long process. There is no guarantee the fish will make it, but a good method is described here in the section “fish-in cycling” (I don’t have an article on fish-in cycling on Aquariadise, sorry!). It offers a good chance of success.

        Since your Betta is lethargic right now, it’s probably a good idea to do a relatively large water change of ~50% to lower ammonia. Be sure to add in the new water slowly to avoid shocking him, and treat it beforehand to remove chlorine. Overall, try to keep his stress levels as low as possible and try to leave him alone unless absolutely necessary.

        If you have any more questions feel free to ask. I hope your fish makes it. In the meantime, be sure to research like crazy – but don’t believe everything you read at face value, there’s a lot of nonsense out there.

        Further reading:
        Setting up a Betta tank
        How to cycle an aquarium
        Top 10 mistakes when setting up a fish tank

  • ReplyJoyceJune 12, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    Thanks for this info. I have wanted a betta for awhile but every time I see them in stores I think, “I should really research this first.” I’ve heard of aquaponics and thought it might be something I’d like to try with a betta. So I googled it, ended up here, and now I don’t think I’m equipped to ever own a betta. I’m not experienced taking care of any kind of fish. So I’m glad I came across this. I had NO idea about anything in this article.

    • ReplyMariJune 20, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      Hi! Glad the article was helpful to you and prevented you from buying a Betta without doing research. Don’t let it scare you away from owning a Betta, though, they’re actually great beginner fish as long as you don’t stuff ’em in a one gallon bowl with a plant plopped on top! You can even grow plants from their tank aquaponics-style, nothing wrong with that, it’s just that those “aquaponics” setups are tiny and unfiltered. If you want to read more about Betta care there’s a basic caresheet here and a very thorough article on what Betta tanks should look like here. And if you ever have any additional questions you can always comment and I’ll try to answer them 🙂

  • ReplyChris MintjesFebruary 20, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    I think we have to warn people to not ‘save’ Betta that are sold like this…

    If we keep buying them, we actually support their way of handling these Betta’s

    Stop buying them, and buy them from a good fish or pet store!

    • ReplyMariFebruary 20, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      You’re absolutely right and I call people out on this all the time! You’re not saving the fish, you’re just sustaining the market and telling stores it’s okay to treat them like this. Spread the word 🙂

    • ReplyFishmanMarch 18, 2017 at 4:50 am

      I bet if you ask any of the fish in those cups they would strongly disagree and actually prefer you buy them and get them out of that situation. Not many martyrs for the cause among fishys…

      • ReplyMariMarch 19, 2017 at 11:40 am

        Let’s not anthropomorphize here! Collectively not buying Bettas from pet- and aquarium stores that treat them badly is the best way to ensure the least amount of Bettas ends up mistreated and miserable (along with writing to the store and speaking to the manager). If you ‘save’ a fish, another will take its place.

  • ReplysudarshanDecember 4, 2016 at 8:50 am

    I have kept my betta in a 2g tank i dont have enough money to buy it,i feel bad for my betta.Is the aquariums in craiglist fine?im from india will they recieve inr(indian rupees)pleease reply befor dec30.ive seen many websites and videos too.this website gave me every information,thanks!

    • ReplyMariDecember 4, 2016 at 11:40 am

      You should be able to find cheap aquariums on any site where people can sell their used products. Good luck!

  • ReplyKatarinaOctober 2, 2016 at 5:30 am

    I really wish I would have known this information sooner. My first betta Charles got sick yesterday. I was changing his water regularly (twice a week), and I had enough space for him to surface. It wasn’t a vase or bowl, but a giant apothecary jar that held about 3 gallons of water. Today, he was so sick he was laying on the bottom of the tank. I went to petco and asked around and they said I was overfeeding him, nothing about the bowl being the problem (the bloodworm container said 3x a day, instead of once every 3). I came home from petco with a salt treatment, but he had died. :'( I wish I had known this.

    • ReplyMariOctober 2, 2016 at 11:37 am

      Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear that 🙁 Unfortunately a larger setup that’s filtered (and more importantly, cycled) and heated is crucial in keeping bettas healthy. If you ever decide to get back into betta keeping, this article describes exactly what a proper betta tank looks like. This article contains everything you need to know about feeding bettas – they do need more than just bloodworms to stay healthy.

      The apothecary jar makes a great container for tropical plants like Cryptanthus bromeliads.

      If you ever decide to get another betta – good luck 🙂 I’m sure things will go better with the knowledge you have now!

  • ReplyAlexaSeptember 29, 2016 at 2:05 am

    I have 5 gallon bowls the temperature is right and I do regular cleanings, all my bettas are in good health and seem to be stress free. Is this OK?

    • ReplyMariSeptember 29, 2016 at 4:21 pm

      If the bowls are filtered (and cycled) and heated and have lids then that’s fine. 5 gallons is the recommended minimum for bettas, the shape of the tank doesn’t matter that much. It’s just that the average fish bowl is much too small!

  • ReplyPri HowellAugust 25, 2016 at 8:44 pm

    Hi! After reading your article, I’d still like to try aquaponics but with a different container. I can build my own tank (already done one and went great) but I’m wondering if you could help me with the measurements, specially height. Which is smallest height possible? Do bettas prefer swimming up and down?
    Also, are guppies good tank mates according to your experience? I’ve read mostly good comments in other websites. A few were bad, though.

    Thanks!

    • ReplyMariAugust 31, 2016 at 6:04 pm

      I’m not an expert on aquaponics, you could try asking Izzy, I think she has more experience with it 🙂

      What I can tell you is that no, bettas don’t prefer swimming up and down – they naturally inhabit shallow waters and prefer a shallow aquarium as well. So a longer aquarium is better than a taller one. As for your other question, bettas and guppies don’t really match. The guppies are too active and colorful and might also nip a long-finned bettas fins.

      Good luck! Sounds like a fun project 🙂

  • ReplySammyJuly 8, 2016 at 4:08 am

    Oh no! 🙁 I recently bought my little guy with one of the betta “bubbles” they displayed beneath them. They only hold 0.5 gallons! He seems happy currently but after reading this article i’m a concerned fish mama! I have the money for a tank but i don’t have the space for it as his home is on my desk. Any suggestions? I don’t want him to be unhappy 🙁

    • ReplyMariJuly 8, 2016 at 12:55 pm

      Hi! Oh dear, that’s not an ideal situation at all, 0.5 gallons is indeed much too small and you should get your betta out of there as soon as possible. Are you sure there is no room for something like a 5 gallon? That’s about the size of a decent sized laptop. If it’s not possible to upgrade him then I unfortunately have to recommend rehoming him. A heated, filtered and cycled tank is really a must for these fish. If you haven’t looked up the other betta related articles on this site already these might be good reads:

      What a betta tank should look like
      Betta caresheet
      If you set up an aquarium it’s also crucial you cycle it, which is something many beginning aquarists don’t know: How to cycle an aquarium

      Good luck! I hope you can upgrade him 🙂

      • ReplySammyJuly 8, 2016 at 2:50 pm

        Thanks for the quick reply! I’ll go to the pet store today after work and see if i can find a decent volume tank that will fit on my desk and maybe a snail tank mate too. Thanks again for your help, hopefully my fishy will be happy and in a bigger home shortly 🙂

  • ReplyAbbyMarch 13, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    I have 2 bettas Spike and Mr.Bubbles. Mr.Bubbles is in a ten gallon tank, and Spike I just got today from Walmart he has fin rot and an infected looking face. I was not prepared for spike so I got a vase ready put some stress coat in and he seems ok. The bowl is about one gallon. Is this ok?

    • ReplyMariMarch 13, 2016 at 11:19 pm

      No, as you can see in the article a bowl is not a good home for a betta at all, you should always have a full tank set up and cycled before you adopt a betta! Please get a real aquarium as soon as possible, it will be a hassle to cycle it with the fish already in there but not impossible. Good luck!

      • ReplyAbbyMay 4, 2016 at 10:26 pm

        ok I will soon be getting a 30g tank! His face is not infected anymore and is growing back his tail fins. I clean his tank every week

        • ReplyMariMay 5, 2016 at 10:58 am

          That’s great to hear! 🙂

          • AbbyMay 6, 2016 at 2:15 am

            how can I tell if my betta is happy???

  • ReplyJenOctober 29, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    I feel really bad for my beta, when i got him I didn’t realize that there was a need for a heater and filtering system. I have him in a normal bowl now with rocks and a synthetic plant, but I can tell he’s unhappy. Aquariums seem really expensive and my parents are not willing to invest in all of the equipment. What can I do to help out my beta?!?! I hate feeling like I’m being cruel by not giving him to best care he can have, but I don’t have the money. 🙁

    • ReplyMariOctober 30, 2015 at 12:37 pm

      Don’t worry! Have you looked at used product sites like Craigslist? A 5-10 gallon aquarium with heater and filter can be really cheap when you buy it used, and they are often still in great condition. I bought a 60 gallon with external filter and stand for $130 a while ago 🙂
      Once you have your aquarium, be sure to have a look at this article so you know what to do to get started. Good luck! Keep me updated if you can. 🙂

      • ReplyJenNovember 2, 2015 at 1:32 am

        I talked to my parents and saved up my money, I bought a 5.5 gal tank with a filtering system and a heater with a thermometer. I plan to check the ph levels now too! I think my fish will be happier now 🙂

  • ReplyJasmineMarch 11, 2015 at 3:02 am

    Totally agree with you. I myself keep my betta in a 20 gal. Having a filter is necessary as long as there is a fish in there, to me, no filter = no fish. However, there are still many people who believes that it is alright to keep bettas in small containers, as that’s how they were housed in pet shops as well. I have a few friends who keep bettas in small containers, (all of them less than a litre of water), as they were insistent that an experienced betta breeder taught them this way. =(

    • ReplyMariMarch 11, 2015 at 10:20 pm

      A 20 gal is so great for a betta! I kept mine in 13 gallons and it was so clear they don’t “freak out” in bigger spaces at all, he seemed to love the space and being able to explore. As for the betta breeder thing, many experienced breeders actually do believe tiny containers are suitable for bettas, I’ve experienced this as well when I visited betta shows. These people are fish experts who often work with drip systems and know how to keep a betta healthy in a very small container, which is necessary because of how many bettas they have to keep. However, they often also seem to think any aquarist can do this, which is not the case. If you don’t have a bigger filtered setup, there are going to be problems.

  • ReplyLyraMarch 10, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    Great article! Very informative, I wish I could have shown this to my aunt when she had a betta..poor little thing.

    • ReplyMariMarch 11, 2015 at 10:21 pm

      Thank you! Hopefully it’ll come in handy in any future cases of bad betta housing 🙂

  • ReplyAndrewMarch 10, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    As someone with a betta in an aquafarm, i think this article is a bit unfair toward the miniature aquaponics systems. Calling them a “deathtrap” is an overstatement. Yes, the advertising for these tanks need to be changed, but these tanks can be used properly. The Aquafarm is three gallons, small, but within the range for a betta. There is room for a heater, as mine has. Also, just because it says self cleaning does not mean that you have to not clean it. Mine gets water changes and I test with the API test kit, and everything is great. This being said, it can be harder to get to the tank to clean algea and vacuum gravel. The plants also actually do help remove nitrates, making a noticible difference whe. The plants are removed. Roots also allow for nitrogen fixing bacteria to grow, thus allowing a cycle. So I would say overall the problem with these is false advertising, not necessarily the tank itself. This being said, i have bought another tank since then for a rescue betta, and i went with a 5.5 gallon and its planted, and i did not get another aquafarm. If someome was between a bowl and an aquafarm, the Aquafarm is much better in my opinion, though a normal tank is probably still best.Sorry this is super long.

    • ReplyMariMarch 10, 2015 at 10:24 pm

      You are right, my wording was a bit harsh. As you say, the point I was trying to get across is that these tanks are death traps when used as advertised, which, unlike you, many people do! Aquaponics can be a very fun and rewarding project when done right, but the “betta specific” aquaponics tanks are a waste of money in my opinion and cause many unexperienced fishkeepers to end up with dead fish (due to the way they’re advertised). I’ll be sure to change the wording in the article! Thank you for your input 😀

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