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What Kind of Water Do Betta Fish Need? Facts & FAQs

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By Lindsey Stanton

Multi color Siamese fighting fish(Rosetail)(halfmoon),fighting fish,Betta splendens,on nature background

Betta fish are pretty easy to care for. You really do not need much to take good care of a betta fish. However, there are some things that you do need to keep in mind. One of the important things for you to know here is that betta fish cannot live in just any water. So, what kind of water do betta fish need to be happy and healthy?

Well, you need to ensure that the water you use for your betta fish aquarium does not have chlorine in it, does have the proper pH level, and contains some dissolved minerals and nutrients and no ammonia.

Let’s go over the different kinds of water you might be tempted to use for your betta fish tank, and whether or not they are ideal choices.

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Can Betta Fish Live In Tap Water?

kitchen sink tap water
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Sure, tap water is the most common and readily available source of water in your home. Sure, it is safe to shower in, to cook with, and to drink as well.

However, this is mainly because whoever supplies you with water adds chemicals such as chlorine to make it safe for human consumption. Yet, this does not make it safe for a betta fish to live in. Quite the opposite, actually.

The chlorine and other chemicals in your local tap water can and will harm and even kill your betta fish. Now, there are various water conditioners out there which you can purchase to easily and quickly remove the chlorine from your tap water.

Once you have treated the tap water and removed the chlorine, tap water is actually a pretty good choice for betta fish. This is because tap water does contain a variety of minerals and nutrients which your betta fish wants and needs to thrive.

Can You Use Bottled Water For Betta Fish?

bottled water for betta fish
Image: Pixy

Another type of water you might be tempted to use for your betta fish aquarium is spring water or bottled water. Now, depending on the brand name and quality of the bottled water brand, this could be a good choice to go with.

Bottled water usually comes without chlorine in it, which is of course necessary for betta fish. Sure, bottled water does cost money to buy, but it does already come without chlorine, so you don’t need to go through the whole dechlorination process.

What is also beneficial about bottled water is that it usually contains an ample amount of minerals and nutrients which your betta fish needs to live. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing though, so be careful, because some bottled water companies will add excessive amounts of minerals and nutrients into the water, which is not always a good thing.

Also, keep in mind to check the pH level of the bottled water, as betta fish need a specific pH level to survive, and different types or brands of bottled water will have varying pH levels.

Can You Use Distilled Water For Betta Fish?

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Yet another type of water that you might be tempted to use for your betta fish tank is distilled water. Yes, distilled water is very clean, it contains no chlorine, and therefore you might think that it is ideal for your betta fish.

However, distilled water also does not contain any kind of nutrients or minerals. It is literally pure water, and this is not good for a betta fish.

As we have touched on a few times now, betta fish need the water to have some nutrients and dissolved minerals to be happy and healthy. Because it doesn’t contain minerals and nutrients, distilled water is not the best choice for a betta fish aquarium.

If you do use distilled water, you would have to add a bunch of minerals to it, which ends up being expensive, especially because distilled water itself is not cheap to buy in the first place.

What About Well Water For Betta Fish?

pump with well water
Image: Unsplash

If you live out in the country or any kind of rural area, chances are that you get your water straight from a ground well, not from your local municipality.

You might think that because your well water does not contain chlorine, and because it is rich in minerals, that it is a good type of water to use for a betta fish tank. However, this is not true.

This is because you really have no idea what is in your well water. Depending on where you live, it could be full of chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, and who knows what else. Any and all of these things can harm and even kill your betta fish.

It is best to avoid well water at all costs. But if you really want to, you do have one option. You can always bring some of your well water into a fish or pet store and have them test it to see how it would fare for a betta fish tank.

Do Betta Fish Need Special Water?

betta fish
Image Credit: panpilai paipa, Shutterstock

The answer here would be yes and no. Betta fish do not really need special water per se. It does not need to be filled with magic.

Generally speaking, as long as you can find water that is free of chlorine, chemicals, and pesticides, and if you can find water with a good amount of dissolved minerals and nutrients, with the proper pH level, your betta fish will be just fine.

The water does need to be special in this sense, but it’s not like it is hard to find. You can use bottled water, dechlorinate some tap water (here is a good guide), or get your well water tested.

Actually, what is pretty neat is that in pet stores and fish stores, you can actually find betta-specific water, often just labeled as betta water. This is bottled water which is specifically designed for betta fish tanks. Yeah, it does cost a pretty penny, but it comes complete with minerals and nutrients, it has the proper pH level, and it comes free of chlorine.

Technically speaking, it really does not get any easier or better than betta-specific water straight from your local aquarium store.

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Betta Fish Water Conditions & Filtration Needs – Tips & Rules

Before you go out and buy or use water for your betta fish tank, let’s go over betta tank water needs, some betta fish necessary water parameters, and other tips regarding the water which you keep your betta fish in.

  • Betta fish require the water to be between 74 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit, so chances are you will need a heater.
  • Betta fish require the water to have zero ammonia, a pH level of 7, minimal levels of nitrites and nitrates, and a water hardness level of about 80. This means that you might need to get some water conditioners.
  • You definitely need to get a good filter for your betta fish tank, one that engages in mechanical, biological, and chemical filtration. It has to be able to handle 3 times the volume of water in the aquarium per hour.
  • You should aim to do a 25% water change for the aquarium once per week. Never change 100% of the water at once (see our water change guide).

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Ok folks, so remember, the water you use should have some minerals in it and be free of chlorine. Be sure to change around 25% of the fish tank water once per week, get a good filtration unit, and be sure to keep the water at the proper pH range and temperature too. If you follow these tips and rules, your betta fish will be just fine.

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