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Betta Fish Supply List: 8 Essential Items You Need to Care for Your Fish!

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By Lindsey Stanton

betta fish_Armacus, Shutterstock

Betta fish are cool creatures and are fairly affordable and easy to care for, too. With that being said, you cannot just plop a betta fish in water and hope for the best. You need certain items to keep them happy and healthy.

So, what do you need for a betta fish? Well, as far as most people are concerned, there are 8 main things you need for a betta fish. This includes:

  • Fish tank.
  • Filter.
  • Substrate.
  • Plants & decorations.
  • Dechlorinated Water.
  • A heater.
  • Lights.
  • Food.

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The 8 Items You Need For A Betta Fish

Betta fish are beautiful, they are not too hard to care for, and setting up an aquarium for them is not too costly either.

Let’s talk about the 8 things you need for a betta fish.

red betta fish
Image Credit: panpilai paipa, Shutterstock

1. Right Size Fish Tank

The first thing that you need for your betta fish is, of course, the aquarium itself. Here you should look into the differences between glass and acrylic aquariums, but generally speaking, glass tanks look nice. Remember that betta fish require at least 3 gallons of tank space at the least.

However, this is the very minimum. Ideally, to keep a betta fish happy and comfy, you should aim for a 5+ gallon aquarium.

Keep in mind that a gallon of water weighs around 8 pounds, so you want to find something durable. An aquarium is not something you want to go the cheap route with (here is a good buyer’s guide if you need some help and suggestions).

large fish tank with plants and filter
Image credit: M-Production, Shutterstock

2. A Filtration Unit

The next item that you will need for your betta fish tank is a good filtration unit. Many people will claim that betta fish are hardy and do not require any kind of aquarium filter.

Those people are simply wrong. While a betta fish may potentially be able to survive in a fish tank without a filter, at least for some time, it is certainly not ideal. Fish waste and rotting food can build up, causing ammonia and nitrate spikes and dirtying the water really fast.

Eventually, the changing chemical composition of the water, as well as a high amount of unwanted compounds, can kill your betta fish.

You want to get a nice filter that can handle at least three times the amount of water in the aquarium per hour. So, if you have a 5-gallon aquarium, the filter should be able to handle around 15 gallons of water per hour.

You also want to look out for types of filtration. Ideally, a good betta fish filter should feature all 3 major forms of water filtration: mechanical, biological, and chemical. Since your betta tank is probably pretty small, we would recommend a hang-on back filtration unit.

Close up of an internal fish tank filter

3. Substrate

The next item you will need for your betta fish is the substrate for the tank. This is the sand or gravel you have at the bottom.

Here, for a betta fish, it is highly recommended that you go with small and fine aquarium gravel as the substrate. Sand makes a huge mess, and betta fish do not really like it anyway.

The gravel should be inert, small, and smooth, so it does not release compounds into the water and so your betta fish does not injure itself on jagged gravel edges.

Here you will want to put roughly 1.5 inches of gravel substrate at the bottom of the aquarium. This will also allow you to plant certain aquarium plants with relative ease.

We have covered our favorite colored gravels if you want to add a splash of color to your Betta tank.

aquarium with plants and gravel
Image credit: Pixabay

4. Plants, Rocks & Decorations

Betta fish can get stressed out easily, and they do need hiding places or just places to relax in or under. Also, to mimic their natural environment, so they are happy and feel at home, you will want to add in some things like plants, some driftwood, rock caves, or other items.

In terms of betta fish aquarium plants, some good options to go with include Anacharis, java fern, Amazon sword plants, Java moss, hornwort, and Anubias (here are our top 7 plant picks).

Some inert driftwood, possibly a hollow piece of wood, as well as some rock caves or other decorative caves are recommended as well.

For one, betta fish often sleep on large leaves, and they like to hide in and relax in hollow openings too.

double tail betta fish
Image Credit: Buddy BIGPhotographer, Shutterstock


5. Dechlorinated Water

When it comes to filling up the betta fish tank, be sure to use dechlorinated water. You cannot use tap water as is because it contains chlorine and other chemicals which will harm and even kill your betta fish.

Find out how to dechlorinate water so you can provide your betta fish with the ideal water conditions.

A pink, red and swhite betta swimming in a planted tank beside a snail

6. An Aquarium Heater

Betta fish are warm water tropical fish, or in other words, they need their water to be fairly warm. For most people, unless you live in a tropical environment, this means that your home will not be warm enough to sustain the proper and ideal temperature for a betta fish.

These guys require the water temperature to be between 74 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, with somewhere around 78 degrees being the ideal. Now, you do not have to get a very large or expensive aquarium heater, but chances are that you will need one.

Don’t go with anything too cheap because if they crack and break, cheaper models can electrocute everything inside of the aquarium (here are our top 5 heater picks for Bettas).

Saltwater coral reef aquarium at home is most beautiful live decoration
Image credit: Vojce, Shutterstock

7. Aquarium Light

Next, you are also going to need a little aquarium light for your betta fish. These fish live in tropical and bright conditions, and they like to have a good amount of light during the day.

It is not like you have to get anything fancy or expensive, but you will want a lighting system. If you want the live plants in your aquarium to grow and be healthy, look into getting a light that is ideal for both fish and plant growth.

8. Betta Fish Food

Finally, you are also going to need betta fish food. You can buy tropical fish flakes or fish pellets. Just ensure that they are designed for carnivorous betta fish, that the food has a high protein count, minimal ash, and plenty of natural ingredients.

You can also feed them brine shrimp, daphnia, Mysis shrimp, and various insects, plus boiled and peeled peas and cucumbers too. Just be sure to maintain the correct feeding schedule, that’s important.

RELATED READ: How to Feed Betta Fish on Vacation (4 Expert Tips)

seashell dividers


There you have it: everything you need for a betta fish. As long as you get a sizable tank, dechlorinated water, lights, a heater, a good filter, some substrate, plants, and high-quality fish food, you are ready to have a pet betta fish.

Featured Image Credit: Armacus, Shutterstock

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