If you’re thinking of getting a betta fish, you’ve probably heard conflicting opinions on their care. Some people say that they do fine in a bowl without any filtration or heating. But, is this true? Or, do betta fish need a heater?
Keep, reading and you’ll find out exactly why betta fish need a heater and why they’ll be happier with one.
Do Betta Fish Need A Heater?
Betta fish are tropical fish which means they need a heater. You will see people keep their betta fish in bowls or tanks without heaters. But, unfortunately, your betta fish won’t thrive without a heater.
In most cases, your house’s temperature won’t be warm enough to keep your fish happy and thriving.
Plus, your house is likely to experience temperature fluctuations. It might only fluctuate a couple of degrees, which we may not even notice. But, betta fish are sensitive to slight fluctuations in temperature. Having a heater in their tank keeps the water temperature constant and stable.
Betta Fish Are Tropical Fish
In the wild, betta fish live across Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia. These countries are subject to intense heat and humidity, so betta fish like warm water.
What Temperature Do They Need?
The best temperature for your betta is between 78-80°F (25.6-26.7°C). But, they can do well in temperatures between 76-82°F (24.4-27.8°C).
Do you live in a country where your house consistently sits in this temperature range? Then, you may not need a heater.
But, most people will need a heater, at least during some parts of the year.
Warm Water Keeps Them Healthy
When given ideal tank conditions, bettas can live for four to five years. Most bettas that are not given a heater will only live for about one to two years.
Cold water compromises their immune system. They become more susceptible to sickness and disease, so they are likely to die sooner.
Warm water boosts their immune system, keeping them healthier for longer. It also gives them more energy and boosts their metabolism for better digestion.
What Temperature Is Too Hot?
Just because bettas like warm water, doesn’t mean you can crank up the heat in their tank. Water that is too warm can be as harmful as water that is too cold. Their water should never be above 85°F (29.4°C).
When the water gets too hot, bettas will begin swimming around frantically. Many will try to jump out of their tanks to escape the heat.
Their immune systems become stressed out, and they may get sick.
Preventing your tank from overheating is usually as simple as watching the thermometer. It’s possible for heaters to malfunction and become too hot.
If you naturally live in a hot environment, keeping the water cool may be trickier. Use air conditioning when you can to keep the temperature in your house regulated.
If air conditioning isn’t an option, you’ll want to use a fan. Blow air over the water surface to reduce the temperature.
Also, make sure to place your aquarium somewhere shady. Keep it away from windows and direct sunlight.
What Happens If You Don’t Have A Heater?
If the temperature in your betta’s tank drops too low, it can make them sick.
If the temperature drops below 70°F (21.1°C), your betta’s metabolism will slow down. They will likely become lethargic as they try to conserve their energy. They may begin to lose their appetite and may stop eating altogether.
You will also notice them begin to lose their coloration, and they may develop stress stripes.
If you have a heater, but it’s set too low, your betta will probably sit next to the heater where it’s warmest.
Their immune system becomes compromised when their water is too cold. With a weakened immune system, bettas can develop all kinds of conditions. They may develop bacterial, fungal, or parasitic infections.
What Kind Of Heater Is Best?
There are all kinds of aquarium heaters on the market, and some are better than others. You should choose a heater that:
- Is adjustable & has a thermostat
- Is fully submersible
- 3-5 watts per 1 gallon of water
Heaters that are adjustable are best because you are in control of the temperature. This is especially nice if your betta gets sick as you’ll want to raise the temperature a couple of degrees.
A fully submersible heater is more efficient and is less likely to cause a fire. Likewise, glass heaters are less likely to cause burns or malfunction than plastic ones.
We’ve included three of our favorite betta fish heaters below.
Freesea is one of the best heaters you can get for your betta fish. It is a 100% submersible heater, so you never have to worry about the waterline dropping too low. The 25-watt heater is suitable for 1-5 gallons, making it perfect for most betta fish aquariums. Want something a little bigger? You can choose the 50-watt for 5-15 gallon aquariums.
You can easily adjust the temperature between 63°F-95°F (17.2-35°C). It even comes with a free diving thermometer for easy monitoring. When the water reaches your chosen temperature, the heater automatically shuts off. When the water temperature drops, the heater will turn on again.
Even better, the heater consists of quartz glass. This prevents scalding when touched. So, it’s safe for you to handle when turned on. Plus, you don’t have to worry about your fish burning itself if it rubs against the aquarium.
Th PGfunny heater has auto temperature control and a smaller temperature range. The temperature can reach between 77 – 82°F (25-27.8°C). This can be good for beginner fish keepers who are unsure of their temperature needs. The heater will keep the tank within the ideal range for a betta. So, you won’t have to worry about overheating your fish or keeping the tank too cold.
The heater consists of glass and nylon material to prevent scalding. It is also flame retardant, so it’s safe for you and your fish.
It is also one of the easier heaters to use because it’s fully submersible. On top of that, it’s small and compact, so it won’t take up much space in a smaller aquarium. This heater is ideal for aquariums that are 3-5 gallons.
#3 Hygger Mini
The Hygger Mini is another wonderful heater for small betta fish tanks. It’s small and compact, so it won’t take up much room in your aquarium. Despite this, it is powerful enough to heat 5-10 gallons of water.
It is an adjustable heater with a temperature range of 68 – 90°F (20-32.2°C). It comes with a built-in thermometer with red and green indicator lights for easy reading. It has an automatic shut-off, so when the water reaches your desired temperature, it will turn off. Likewise, once the temperature drops, the heater will automatically turn back on.
This heater consists of quartz glass to prevent scalding of your skin or your betta’s fins and scales.
To reiterate, betta fish do need a heater. They can live for a time without a heater, but it lowers their immune system. Water that is too cold often leads to sickness, and eventually, death.
Giving your betta fish a heater will keep them healthier. They are tropical fish, so a heater supports their immune system and keeps them happy.
Before setting up a new aquarium for your betta fish, make sure you get them a nice heater.