What Is The Best Betta Fish Tank Size? Choosing The Right Size Aquarium For Your Fish

You’ve probably seen betta fish kept in tiny bowls or vases. No doubt you’ve seen them kept in small plastic containers at the pet store. If you’ve never owned a betta before, you’re probably thinking that you can house a betta in a small bowl too.

But is it good to house your betta in a small bowl or tank? Would they be happier in something bigger? What is the ideal betta tank size?

Keep reading and you’ll find out the best betta fish tank size.

What Is The Best Betta Fish Tank Size?

betta fish tank

There is so much misinformation about what size aquarium a betta fish can live in. Still, most experts agree that you should keep a betta in at least 5 gallons. Anything bigger than that will be beneficial to your betta. But, anything smaller than 5 gallons, and your betta will suffer.

Why 2-3 Gallons Isn’t Enough For Your Betta Tank

Some people will argue that bettas only need 2-3 gallons to be happy. It’s true that tanks this size are much better than keeping your betta in a bowl. Still, they don’t give your betta quite enough space.

Besides, a 5-gallon aquarium won’t take up much more space than a 2-3 gallon. It also won’t cost you must extra. So, it’s better to have this as the minimum tank size.

House Your Betta In At Least A Minimum Tank Size of 5 Gallons

Generally, an aquarium between 5-20 gallons is going to be best suited for a betta fish. These sizes give your betta plenty of room to explore and grow.

Are Larger Aquariums Okay?

Many people keep their bettas in aquariums larger than 20 gallons and have success. Others find that their betta becomes stressed in an aquarium that is too large. The volume of water you provide all depends on your betta’s personality.

The bottom line is that 5 gallons is the smallest you should go for your betta fish tank.

Are Bowls Ever Okay?

You may be wondering then if you can put your betta in a large 5-gallon bowl. Technically, you can, but we don’t recommend it.

Bowl-shaped aquariums are never ideal because they cause distortion of the glass. When your betta isn’t able to see properly, it can cause them stress. It’s also difficult to install a filter and heater inside a round aquarium. If you want your betta to thrive, a heater and filter are essential.

Length Is Better Than Height

It’s also better to choose an aquarium that is wider than it is tall. In the wild, bettas live in shallow rice paddies, so they’re not used to a lot of depth. They’re not great swimmers because of their long, flowy fins. They’re also required to breathe air. So, the taller your betta tank, the more energy your betta will have to exert to reach the top.

What’s the Ideal Tank Size For Giant Bettas?

Giant bettas are exactly what they sound like — very large bettas. They are the result of continually breeding only the largest stock of bettas. Some of these giant bettas can reach sizes twice as large as normal bettas.

Because of their large size, giant bettas should live in at least 10 gallons of water.

What Size Tank Do Betta Sororities Need

A betta sorority refers to a group of female betta fish living in the same tank.

We won’t get into all the care requirements of a sorority tank right now. Just know that you should never attempt a sorority tank as a beginner.

If you think you’re ready for a sorority, know that you need at least 20 gallons of water for 5-6 bettas.

What’s Wrong With A Small Tank?

betta fish bowl

For years, people insisted that bettas could happily live in a small bowl or vase.

The Bowl Myth

They argued that because bettas live in shallow rice paddies in the wild, a small bowl is no different. They argued that bettas are hardy and don’t need the same care as other fish. They argued that as long as they kept the water clean, it was the same as providing a filter.

Even today, there are people that insist that a small bowl or aquarium is suitable for a betta. At some point, you’ve probably seen a betta housed in a vase with a plant as “natural filtration”.

Although people still claim that bettas can live in small bowls and tanks, you shouldn’t believe them.

Yes, bettas are hardy fish. But, that doesn’t mean you should subject them to conditions that aren’t suitable for them.

Bowls Get Dirty Quickly

The main issue with a small aquarium is that the water gets dirty quickly. If your betta doesn’t eat all its food, the food will break down and dirty the tank. When your betta poops, that dirties the tank and water.

When organic matter breaks down, it converts to ammonia which is toxic for your betta. If your betta tank is missing a filter on top of that, you’re spelling disaster for your betta fish.

Your Betta Will Get Bored

Your betta is also likely to get bored in a small aquarium. They are active fish that enjoy interaction, so they can become bored and depressed in a small tank. Yes, they live in shallow rice paddies in the wild. But, rice paddies cover a lot of area for the bettas to swim.

A Small Fish That Needs Room

Others say that bettas don’t need a lot of room because they’re small fish. But think about it this way. Keeping your betta in a small bowl or aquarium would be like you living in a small bedroom your entire life.

You’re not confined to your bedroom 24/7 (at least we hope not), so your betta shouldn’t be either. Providing a 5+ gallon aquarium is like providing your betta with a whole house.

Beginner-Friendly Fish Tanks – Our Recommendations


If you’ve never had a betta before, choosing an aquarium and learning about betta fish care can be intimidating. To make your job easier, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best beginner tanks for bettas.

Fluval Spec V

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This is a 5-gallon-long aquarium that is perfect if you’re tight on space. It also includes a filter and light, so you don’t have to worry about picking those out. The only thing you’ll need to buy is a heater and decorations.

The great thing about the filter is that it lives inside a blacked-out compartment to the side of the tank. Filters can take up a lot of space and can be ugly, so it’s nice that it’s hidden in this aquarium.

Marina 5G LED

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This is another 5-gallon-long aquarium that comes equipped with a filter and light. It’s slightly cheaper than the Fluval Spec V, but that’s because it doesn’t have a hidden compartment. Instead, the filter sits on the back of the aquarium.

Aqueon Black 10 Gallon

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This is a very simple aquarium that every pet store is guaranteed to carry. It is a simple 10-gallon long aquarium that doesn’t come with any accessories. It’s very cheap, but you’ll have to buy all the accessories on your own.

Tetra ColorFusion Aquarium 20 Gallon Fish Tank Kit

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This is our favorite option, although it is one of the most expensive. Although it costs more, it includes everything you need to get your aquarium set up.

The kit includes a 20-gallon glass tank, a lid with color-changing LED lights, a heater, a filter and filter cartridge, a net, a sample size of fish food, and a few decorations. The kit even comes with AquaSafe to jumpstart your aquarium’s cycling process.

Plus, since this aquarium is 20 gallons, it provides your betta with more than enough space to swim around. It even gives you enough space to include a few tank mates if you’d like.

MarineLand Contour 5 Gallon Glass Aquarium Kit With Rail Light

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This aquarium is another option that is more expensive. Yet, it’s sleek and stylish and comes with most of what you need to get your aquarium set up.

The setup comes with a 3-step filtration system that hides in a compartment at the back of the tank. It includes a clear lid for easy viewing at any angle. It also comes with a stylish overhanging LED light. The light has both daylight and moonlight settings.


The general consensus is that a tank can’t be too big for a betta, but it can be too small. If you keep your betta in anything smaller than a 5-gallon aquarium, your fish will suffer. Anything bigger than that, and your fish should thrive.

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