Are Betta Fish Freshwater: Proper Care Guide in Captivity

Betta fish are small, colorful fish popular in aquariums and as pets. They are easy to care for and can live in various water temperatures and pH levels. Bettas are active fish that enjoy swimming and playing, and they make good companions for people who want an easy-to-keep pet.

Most betta fish are freshwater fish. Betta fish are often sold as freshwater fish, but they can also survive in slightly salty water. So if you have a saltwater tank, you can keep betta fish in it – be sure to clean the water regularly and add fresh water as needed.

Species Overview

Betta’s Appearance and Behavior

Betta fish are generally small, colorful fish that often have a playful disposition. They can live in freshwater and saltwater but do better in pure freshwater tanks. Bettas are herbivorous and eat small insects, plants, and other food items.


Small adult betta fish typically range from 2 inches to 3 inches long and can weigh 2 to 3 grams. When healthy, bettas exhibit clear silver or green colors with a few black spots on their bodies. Some individuals may also have bright blue scales on the sides of their heads and along the back of their bodies. Bettas are active fish that enjoy swimming around and exploring their surroundings.

Proper Betta Fish Care and Tank Setup

Tank Requirements

It is essential to understand that they are freshwater fish when keeping betta fish. As such, they require a specific type of water to thrive. Ensure your tank has a consistent temperature of 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (23 to 26 degrees Celsius) and a pH level of 6.5 to 8. Additionally, make sure the water contains plenty of oxygen and clean gravel to provide your betta with plenty of places to hide and explore.


Betta fish are typically peaceful and easygoing fishes, but they do best when kept with other similarly sized, non-aggressive fish. Some compatible tank mates for betta include Cory catfish, guppies, tetras, kuhli loach, and harlequin rasbora. As with all fish, always watch your betta and closely monitor their water quality and temperature.

Diet and Feeding

When feeding your betta, offer them small live foods like brine shrimp or daphnia twice a day. Always check with your veterinarian before starting any new pet. Ensure you have the necessary supplies on your hands, such as an aquarium thermometer, aquarium filter, and garden hose, in case of emergency.


You can breed betta fish in captivity, but it is essential to understand that they are sensitive fishes and require special care when being raised. They should only be produced by experienced aquarists who understand betta fish needs thoroughly. Please provide them with plenty of hiding places, healthy food sources, and clean water when breeding your betta.

Habitat Setup

When caring for your betta fish, you need to provide them with a clean and healthy tank. Consider using an aquarium thermometer to monitor the water temperature and ensure it stays between the suitable temperature. Make specific the substrate is moist but not wet and that there are plants ornaments for your betta to hide in. Additionally, clean the tank frequently to remove uneaten food, decay, and debris. Also, ensure that you wash your hands after removing fish from a water source as betta feces can cause illness for humans if not cleaned correctly.

Aquarium Size

Like all other freshwater ornamental fishes, the ideal tank size for betta fish is 40 gallons or larger. You can alternatively create your home aquarium in a 5-gallon plastic container. The vast majority of people keep their betta in tanks without any additional decoration since they enjoy avoiding moving around as they can consume their food in one place.

Filtration & Lighting

Purchasing an aquarium filter is essential for keeping your betta healthy and contamination-free. Choose a quality filter that can remove organic and chemical toxins from the water. Additionally, provide daytime lighting to encourage proper tank husbandry and help keep your fish happy. Avoid using T5 lights as these may negatively affect the health of betta fish over time.

There is no single best filter for a betta fish tank, as the type of filter and size will depend on the specific needs of your aquarium. However, some good filters to consider include:

  • A canister filter with internal filtration: This filter is suitable for smaller tanks and includes an added Immunity System that helps keep your tank clean and free from harmful bacteria. Canister filters are also quieter than external filter types, making them suitable for those who want to keep their betta’s noise levels low.
  • An external filter: This filter is perfect for larger tanks and can be mounted on the sides or top of the aquarium. Many have adjustable media to accommodate different types of water and come with built-in lights that provide daytime illumination.
  • A power filter: These filters are similar to external filters but include a series of pumps to remove debris and toxins from the water. They are more expensive than other filters, but their ability to quickly clean the aquarium makes them ideal for high-volume tanks.

Water Changes

Regular water changes are essential for the health of your betta fish. Remove as much water as possible, using a good quality aquarium filtration system if necessary, and replace it with fresh tank water. Add new gravel or coral to the tank every few weeks to keep things looking lively and add different substrates that can scavenge harmful toxins from the environment. It is essential to change your betta fish’s water every day, even if the tank looks clean. This will help keep the tank clean and healthy and ensure that your betta receives the best possible care.