Do Betta Fish Need A Heater? (Complete Answer and Guide)

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The most popular, ornamental, tropical fish in the aquarium world is the Betta fish. Originating from Southeast Asia, Betta fish are commonly found in countries of Malaysia, Cambodia, and Thailand.

Despite the popularity of these freshwater fishes, Betta fish are considered a wonderful pet for beginners. However, special attention needs to be paid to their environment and food, which brings me to today’s topic: Do Betta fish need a heater? 

The answer is pretty straightforward. Bettas thrive in a temperature range of no less than 72 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything below or above this temperature range can turn your fish too lethargic or sluggish. Therefore, a heating system is imperative to keep your Betta fish happy.

Now that I’ve given you a quick review about whether Betta fish need a heater, let’s just jump to the basics and discuss further.

What are the requirements for a Betta Tank?

Betta fish are territorial and highly aggressive. They have problematic behaviors where the males can even fight one another to death. Females, however, are less aggressive.

If you’re planning to build a community tank, avoid keeping bright, colorful fish with your Betta as they will most likely be killed. Go for plain, simple fish for your Betta community tank.

Tank Size

If you’re planning to keep one fish per tank, it’s suggested to get a 5-gallon tank. Any type of tank would do as long as it’s 5 gallon. Be it a betta fish bowl, 3 gallon wine glass-shaped aquarium, or other shaped betta tanks. The key is to keep it at least 3 gallons.

However, if you plan to house more than one fish in your tank, you need a larger tank. For example, to house 5 bettas, the tank size would be 25 to 30 gallons.

Placement of the tank

The water temperature matters a lot when it comes to Betta fish, and so does the placement of the tank.

Betta fish belongs to the tropical areas that receive a lot of sunlight. However, they don’t do well in areas where the tank receives direct sunlight throughout the day. That’s because the rays of the Sun increase the water temperature to the point they go into temperature shock and begin to act erratic, which is unhealthy for Betta. The abnormal increase in water temperature makes Bettas disoriented and it starts swimming in absurd patterns or worst of all— stops swimming altogether.

The ideal place for your Betta fish tank would be inside, near a door or outside of direct sunlight.

Tip: Never place your Betta tank on a wall opposite mirrors. The male Bettas would think they have another male in the tank and act territorial and aggressive for no reason.

Tank Toys 

Betta fish loves a colorful environment. Thus, it’s shame to keep them in a tank full of water only.

I suggest putting an aquarium background on the back of your aquarium to provide your betta with a bright or dark background. One great toy to use with a Bettas are ping pongs. Check out the video below (video source). They can even be trained to play water basketball!

Also, your betta tank should entertain your fish. For this, you can place a few river rocks on top of each other to provide them with a fun hiding space. Betta plants and colored gravels would also add to the beauty of your fish tank. Indian almond leaves also work great.

Water Conditioner

Would you want your kids to drink tap water? Absolutely not!

Similarly, in most areas, the water from your taps won’t suit your betta to live. Because it has some chemicals like Chlorine, Ammonia, and Nitrates that are harmful to your fish. To cater to this problem, a water neutralizer is essential to make your water safe for the fish.

I suggest filling a container with water and leaving it overnight. Add a high-quality water conditioner like seachem prime to the water and add it to your fish tank.

How To Properly House a Betta Tank?

Bettas are tropical fish that originate from tropical climates of South-East Asia. Despite being hardy and low-maintenance pets, bettas need proper attention and care for a healthy lifestyle.

Water Temperature

I cannot emphasize enough the importance of maintaining water temperature for your bettas.

Bettas need water temperature that ranges between 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything below this range will cause your bettas to be lethargic and sluggish. And if the temperature exceeds or lowers too far from the range, you might wake up one day to die, floating betta. Therefore, it’s essential to install a heating system in your fish tank.

Filtration System

Installing a filtration system in your aquarium might not be essential, but a smart choice to keep the tank water clean.

Just make sure to provide a steady water flow in the tank as bettas prefer less water movement in the tank. I suggest going for filters designed for small tanks or adjusting the filters’ settings to restrict the water flow.

The best filters for a betta fish are ones with lower flow. This means sponge filters ideal. However, power filters can work if the flow can be lowered and if the intake can be covered with a sponge.

Canister filters are going to be more ideal in planted tanks. All-in-one tanks are also have adequate filters in their tanks.

Betta Fish Food

Bettas are carnivorous top-feeders that enjoy wholesome food. Due to their carnivorous nature, bettas require a healthy diet, rich in protein. However, like much other fish, they enjoy variety in their food.

You can feed your bettas pellet food and live food, including blood worms or brine shrimp. I suggest handling bloodworms with tweezers to avoid mosquito bites. The reason I suggest variety in betta fish food is constipation. Bettas can get easily constipated if given the same food every day. In such conditions, where constipation and other diseases such as swim bladder disease is involved. If you select high quality foods you can avoid this.

One staple to try is Fluval’s bug bites. It’s made of solider fly and has the roughage needed to keep bladder issues in check. Use multiple foods to balance our your Betta’s diet.

As mentioned earlier, live food is a good option. However, frozen food is the best choice for your bettas as they are free from parasites and are designed to meet the nutritional requirements of your bettas.

It’s essential to invest in high-quality frozen food to keep your bettas healthy and maintain their vibrancy.

Do Betta Fish Need A Heater?

Yes, Betta fish need an aquarium heater to keep the water warm and temperature maintained.

Many novice aquarists believe the apparatus like an aquarium heater has advanced features, and so they are reluctant to invest in heaters. However, that’s not the case. Think of a heater as an oven. Just set the temperature to 76 – 82 degrees Fahrenheit on your heater, submerge it in water, and it into the wall. And you’re all set to go.

Why Do Betta Fish Need A Heater?

Betta Fish Swimming In Black Background

Now the question is that bugs betta breeders and keepers big time. If I live in a warm climate, why do I need a heater for the aquarium water?

Of course, you do.

No amount of warm water and climate can guarantee temperature fluctuations without the aid of a heater. Even in warm climates, the water temperature can go down during the night and abnormally increase during the day, causing temperature shock.

To keep your betta healthy, the best thing you can ever do is to minimize the chances of temperature shock by installing heaters to ensure the temperature will stay within the safe range. Therefore, it is imperative to get a tank large enough to accommodate a mini heater suitable for a 2-5 gallon tank.

However, the problem with mini heaters is their inability to take into consideration the actual temperature of the water inside the tank. Due to this, the tank water can get too warm or too cold, adversely affecting the health of your bettas. To administer this problem, small adjustable heaters do a great job of considering the actual water temperature.

To keep your heaters working properly is also advisable to use a thermometer which makes sure the heater is working perfectly. You can get a variety of thin, small, and cheap thermometers to insert on the side of your aquarium to display the tank temperature.

Also, to avoid temperature fluctuations, it is important to make sure the room temperature is not different from the tank temperature. Thus, cover your aquarium with a lid or glass cover to lower the rate of water evaporation and ensure that the air above the tank remains warm and moist.

There are two main reasons to maintain the water temperature for your betta tanks.

  1. Betta’s immune system becomes highly compromised as it gets too stressed out due to temperature fluctuations. This opens room for bacterial infections and other diseases to enter the Betta’s body
  2. Bettas are accustomed to living in a tank with water temperatures ranging between 72 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If the temperature goes too low or high, it affects the betta’s immune system and energy levels. Your betta, at its worst, can become unresponsive and lethargic, and eventually might die.

Best Heaters for Betta Fish’s Tank

There is a myriad of brands in the market, selling various types of heaters. And this might confuse the betta owners.

Therefore, I’ll list the three best heaters for betta’s tank.

First of all, remember that the unit of measurement for aquarium heaters is always in watts. So, a great rule of thumb while deciding on a heater is 5 watts per gallon of water. Also, make sure the heater is installed properly to avoid inconvenience.

If, after research, you’re still not sure which one to buy, I suggest visiting the store and asking the manager to help you choose the right one.

Types of Heating Systems

Based on requirements, there are two types of heating systems.

  1. Internal heating systems
  2. External heating systems

To understand which one works the best for your tank, I recommend asking your local pet store or betta breeders to give you recommendations.

Note: Proper water circulation is necessary to keep the water temperature maintained. Without proper circulation, your tank water will have cold or hot spots, which are harmful to your bettas.

Internal Heating Systems

The most common type of heat source in a betta tank is internal heating systems. These heaters consist of a glass tube, ranging from 4 inches to 12 inches in length. Some practical heaters have a built-in thermostat and some have a thermostat attached outside the tank to control multiple heating systems.

External Heating Systems

External heating systems are commonly available offline and online. There are various models, including the one that fits under the tank and heats the water from below, while others just connect to the filtering systems.

Here are three of my best-recommended heaters for your Betta tanks.

1. BRS Titanium Heater Element

Editor's Choice
BRS Titanium Heater Element

Best Aquarium Heater

The ultimate in heater reliability today. It is the holy grail of high end aquarium heaters. A must for anyone with prized livestock.

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A very reliable heater that solves most of your tank problems. This is a fully-submersible heater, allowing you to install it right where you need it.

The corrosion-resistant Titanium body will not rot or corrode even after years of use.

2. Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater

Best Value
Eheim Jager Aquarium Heater

Best Value

Very accurate, durable, and German made. A great value buy for any aquarium

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This German-made, exceptional aquarium heater stands the test of time with its simple and safe temperature recalibration, temperature control accuracy, and precise temperature adjustment for up to 93.2 degrees Fahrenheit.

The only downside to this heater is its big, bulky, old-school lab-grade glass design.

3. Helio Heater

Premium Pick
Helio Heater

The Helio heater by Innovative Marine offers a new heater technology that is safer and more reliable than traditional heating systems

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An amazing heater for your Betta aquarium with cutting-edge PTC technology. However, they come in smaller wattage sizes. Therefore, for a large tank, you need multiple units. It’s also very expensive. It’s best for tanks where your Betta will be in a prized aquascape.

FAQs

Can Betta Fish Survive With A Heater?

Yes, Betta fish can survive with a heater. It’s a requirement to install a heater in Betta’s tank as they require temperatures ranging from 72 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

How Can I Keep My Betta Fish Warm Without A Heater?

You can keep your Bettas warm without a heater. However, it’s not advisable as temperature fluctuations can even kill your pet fish.

Still, there are a few ways to keep them warm without installing a heater.

– Use a heating mat
– Cover the tank properly
– Use strong tank lights
– Add insulation layers
– Thermometer to monitor the water temperature of betta’s tank

How Do I Know My Betta Is Cold?

Here are some of the symptoms of cold temperature shock in your bettas.

– Restless, erratic swimming
– Resting at the bottom of the tank
– Lethargic behavior
– Rapid breathing
– Staying at the surface

What Is The Coolest Temperature A Betta Fish Can Live In?

The ideal temperature range for your betta is 72- 82 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above or below these ranges is detrimental to your tropical fish. Therefore, I recommend maintaining the temperature below 75 degrees Fahrenheit but it shouldn’t fall below 70 degrees at any cost.

Final Thoughts

Bettas are popular among many aquarists in the aquarium trade. They are hardy, low-maintenance, and easy to keep. However, a few things about Bettas should be taken into consideration, including, the amount of fish you’re going to keep, the size of your rank, tank toys to fend off boredom, and most importantly, keeping the water warm with the help of a heater.

by Mark

Mark is the founder of Aquarium Store Depot. He started in the aquarium hobby at the age of 11 and along the way worked at local fish stores. He has kept freshwater tanks, ponds, and reef tanks for over 25 years. His site was created to share his knowledge and unique teaching style on a larger scale. He has worked on making aquarium and pond keeping approachable. Mark has been featured in two books about aquarium keeping - both best sellers on Amazon. Each year, he continues to help his readers and clients with knowledge, professional builds, and troubleshooting.

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