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Can You Keep Betta Fish In Iwagumi Aquarium?

My experience with bettas has taught me that these vibrant and often territorial fish can indeed be kept in an Iwagumi aquarium, but with several important considerations.

The principle of Iwagumi is harmony and simplicity, which can sometimes clash with the bold and individualistic nature of bettas.

Betta Fish Compatibility With Iwagumi Aquarium

Here are the things you need to consider if you want to keep a betta in your iwagumi aquarium:

Tank Size and Conditions:

  • Betta: Need peaceful environments and can get stressed in high flow water.
  • Iwagumi: Typically features strong water flow, which is less than ideal for bettas.
  • Solution: Opt for a larger tank that allows for calmer areas where the betta can swim easily.

Substrate and Rocks:

  • Bettas are fond of softer substrates and may not appreciate the sharp edges of rocks used in Iwagumi setups.
  • My tip: Use smooth, rounded stones and secure the layout to protect the delicate fins of the betta.
iwagumi aquascaping

Hiding Places:

  • These fish enjoy having places to hide and rest.
  • In an Iwagumi tank, I make sure to include fine-leafed plants that provide shelter without disturbing the minimalist aesthetic.


  • Male bettas are famously aggressive towards other males, so I never keep more than one in the same tank.
  • As for tank mates, choose peaceful and small fish that won’t nip at the betta’s fins or compete for territory.
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I’ve found that an Iwagumi aquarium requires diligent maintenance to ensure water conditions stay within the parameters bettas need: warm (76-81°F) and slightly acidic to neutral pH (6.5-7.5).

Ultimately, it’s a balancing act. When I design my Iwagumi, I aim to respect the betta’s needs while maintaining the style’s integrity.

iwagumi aquascape layout rock positions with name
Iwagumi Aquascape Layout – Rock Positions & Their Names

Adjusting Iwagumi Layout for Betta Fish

When I decided to keep a Betta fish in my Iwagumi aquarium, I paid close attention to the layout, ensuring it was suitable for my colorful friend.

The Iwagumi style, characterized by its minimalistic approach and use of carefully placed rocks, needed a few adjustments to meet my Betta’s needs.

Firstly, I made sure water conditions were optimal for my Betta, keeping the temperature around 78°F and the pH slightly acidic to neutral. Since Bettas prefer calm waters, I set up a gentle flow that wouldn’t stress my pet or disrupt the aquascape.

In terms of substrate, I opted for a fine, smooth variety that wouldn’t damage my Betta’s delicate fins. This also helped accentuate the beauty of the stones, which I arranged to provide ample swim space.

While indeed Bettas don’t require vast expanses, my tank size was no less than five gallons to give enough room for exploration.

I positioned the signature rocks of the Iwagumi layout such that they offered hiding places without making the tank feel cramped. My Betta appreciates retreating behind these natural shelters, away from the light or to rest.

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To ensure ease of maintenance, I chose low-growing plants that complemented the Iwagumi style without necessitating frequent trimming. This helps preserve the layout’s integrity while providing my Betta with some cover.

See also  How To Set Up An Iwagumi Style Bowl Aquascape?

Finally, I cut back on unnecessary decorations that could potentially harm my Betta and focused on maintaining the clean lines and open areas characteristic of Iwagumi. This prevented my Betta from tearing its fins and allowed it to be the living jewel of this underwater landscape.

tree style aquascape with driftwood moss epiphytes

Suitable Plants for Both Betta and Iwagumi Aquascape

When I design an Iwagumi aquascape, I always consider the needs of my fish. I choose plants that contribute to the aesthetic simplicity of Iwagumi while ensuring the water quality is ideal for my Betta.

For those of us with these sleek aquascapes, here are a few plants that serve both purposes beautifully:

  • Java Fern: This hardy plant attaches to rocks and substrates with ease. Its broad leaves provide shade and resting places for Bettas, which they love.
  • Anubias: Much like Java Fern, Anubias is low-maintenance and thrives in the same conditions Bettas does. It’s excellent for attaching to stones, integral to Iwagumi design.
  • Mosses: I relish using mosses for their lush texture. They play well into the Iwagumi layout and offer nooks for Bettas to explore without promoting algae growth.

Here’s a quick list that I find indispensable:

Plant TypeBenefits for BettaIwagumi Role
Java FernResting spots, shadeAccentuates stone layouts
AnubiasLow light requirementEasy to attach to hardscape
MossesPrevents algae, hideawayAdds greenery at base level

I also occasionally incorporate floating plants like Water Lettuce or Frogbit for their roots, which Bettas sometimes use for cover.

However, one must be cautious not to overcrowd the tank’s surface to maintain that minimalist Iwagumi charm.

See also  Iwagumi Layout Tutorial for Beginner Aquarists

Lastly, adding a few almond leaves can improve water quality by releasing tannins, beneficial for my Betta’s health, all while subtly complementing the natural feel of the Iwagumi aquascape.

Remember, the goal is to keep tank maintenance to a minimum while creating a harmonious environment for all inhabitants.

betta temperature poll

Maintaining a Betta-Friendly Iwagumi Aquarium

First and foremost, the water temperature is critical. Betta fish thrive in water that’s consistently between 76-81°F. This means I need an aquarium heater to keep the temperature steady.

It’s essential to monitor the water quality regularly. Betta fish are sensitive to ammonia and nitrite levels, which should be kept at 0 ppm to prevent health issues. I make sure the pH level is ideally between 6.5 and 7.5, which suits both the betta and the live plants often found in Iwagumi setups.

A good filtration system is key, too. It helps maintain clean water and proper flow, keeping debris to a minimum without generating strong currents that my betta might struggle with. I opt for a filter with adjustable flow settings.

Routine maintenance involves weekly water changes of about 20-25%. This keeps the nitrate levels down—a crucial part of betta care. I also use a water conditioner with every water change to remove chlorine and chloramines, making the tap water safe for my betta.

Table for Tank Maintenance Schedule:

Check water temperatureDaily
Test water parametersTwice a week
Clean debris (gravel vacuum)During water changes
Change water (20-25%)Weekly
Check filter performanceWeekly

Lastly, smaller tanks, like a 5-gallon, can house a single betta comfortably, but I avoid putting my betta in a community tank as they enjoy solitude.

Moreover, making sure there are no sharp edges on gravel or decorations prevent damage to the betta’s delicate fins.

By following these guidelines, my betta and the Iwagumi layout coexist in a harmonious and visually appealing environment.

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of AcuarioPets.com. I’m passionate about aquarium pets like shrimps, snails, crabs, and crayfish. I’ve created this website to share my expertise and help you provide better care for these amazing pets.


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