Do Betta Fish Like A  Lot Of Space? [Tank Size Recommendation]

my betta swimming

When someone takes the name of better fish, the first picture that comes to your mind is probably a small tank filled with a few inches of water. But is that what betta fish actually like? What about having a bigger space?

Beta fish can indeed sustain in a smaller space. But they like having a tank space of at least 5 gallons. Like any other fish, a bigger space like this gives them more room to swim and have a better environment.

But is that all? Is there nothing else that betta fish get from a bigger tank? Oh no! The list is quite long. Just hold on and keep scrolling.

Key Takeaways

  • A betta fish tank should be 2.5 to 5 gallons to give the fish enough room to swim and explore.
  • A bigger tank is important as it helps to maintain water quality and temperature and manage the fish’s aggressive behavior.
  • No bigger tank will be beneficial if it doesn’t have a heating system, filtration system, and proper decor.
my betta top view

Tank Size As Per Size of Betta Fish

No, you won’t need the same-sized tank for all the betta fish. It will undoubtedly vary depending on the size and age, just like this table says.

SizeCompanyTank Size
Full GrownSolo5 gallons
Full GrownWith mate10 gallons or more
YoungSolo2.5 to 5 gallons

Betta enthusiasts often wonder about the ideal tank size for their vibrant companions. Mary McCauley, from Mary’s Magic Bettas, advises that while bettas can adapt to smaller spaces, they thrive in tanks of at least 5 gallons.

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This space is not just about luxury; it’s a necessity for their well-being. With larger tanks, bettas enjoy more swimming room and a healthier environment, echoing the natural habitats they yearn for.

McCauley’s extensive experience in betta care underscores the importance of ample space, alongside essential elements like gentle filtration, stable temperatures, and decor that mimics their natural habitat.

Why Does A Bigger Tank Size Matter So Much?

Nobody said getting your betta fish a big tank is a must. But doing so surely will get your fish a better place to live. Now the question is how? Well, it starts with having –

Space for Swimming

I don’t know how many fish out there you’ll see as active as betta fish when it comes to swimming. So, when you’re getting them enough space, they’ll feel like exhibiting their natural behavior more, especially in the swimming part.

The more spacious the tank you put them in, the more room they’ll have for exploring and swimming freely.

Water Quality

Smaller tanks tend to make water conditions bad pretty fast. After all, the waste buildup takes less time in such a small place to mess with the water quality. But things are quite the opposite for a larger tank. Your fish will have a stable environment there, and the water quality will also be on point.

Better Environment

If you’ve looked into the environment bettas came from, you’ve seen it’s got lots of hiding spots and plants. Clearly, in a small tank, getting all of these is nothing but impossible. So, when using a larger tank for them, you can easily get them enough hiding spots and stimulating decor. It will help a lot with their mental well-being.

expert quote betta betta fish require a tropical temperature, ideally between 78 to 82 degrees Fahrenheit

Managing Aggression

You already know about the kind of aggression betta fish display against each other, especially the males.

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That happens more often when you’re putting them in a smaller tank. But when the tank is large enough, the fish can fix its territory. It ultimately leads to a significant reduction in aggressive encounters.

Stability in Temperature

Temperature is the key element for fish in an aquarium for their sustenance, and betta fish is no exception.

However in smaller tanks, maintaining temperature is tough as the water volume is significantly low.

On the contrary, bigger tanks with more water can keep the temperature more stable, favoring the temperature sensitivity of betta fish.


Unlike the smaller tanks, you can easily set the filtration system in larger tanks. And no, that’s not going to create any strong current that will make it uncomfortable for the betta.

Adding a filtration system not only ensures better water quality but also proper oxygenation through aeration.

Improving Longevity

When your fish gets a specious tank backed by the right environment, their surroundings become much more stress-free. Once the stress goes away, their overall health starts to improve, and also their longevity.

Look at my betta fish! He’s trying to hide!

What Else Do Betta Fish Need with Lots of Tank Space?

Who said that only changing your tank size would be enough to make it all good? If you want the big tank to work out for your fish, you need to take care of a bunch of other things as well, such as –

Water Stability

Betta fish hate it when the water is not calm enough for them. So, keep it as stable as you can.

Plus, take care of the temperature as well and keep in a range of 76°F to 80°F.

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Try using a heater to serve that purpose. The larger the tank, the stronger the heater you’ll need.


Pick a filtration system based on the size of your tank. It will bring aeration to the water and maintain the water quality. Plus, it gets rid of the impurities in the water.

And don’t use a filter that is too powerful and creates a strong current, as that’s not something betta fish prefer.


Clearly, a bigger tank will have bigger space, which means more space to decorate, put plants in, and create hiding spots. Doing this will give the fish a bigger area to explore and hide whenever it feels stressed or threatened. Plus, if you manage to create a comparatively natural atmosphere, you’ll see them displaying their natural behavior.

Suitable Decorations/Enrichment For Betta FishDecorations To Avoid
Silk or live plantsPlastic plants with sharp edges
Terracotta pots or coconut shellsSharp or pointed rocks
Betta hammocksAnything small enough to swallow
Floating betta logsMirrors as tankmates
Marimo moss balls
Rocks (smooth, rounded edges only)
Ping pong balls
Mirror (for short periods)

Tank Shape

Usually, when it comes to bigger tanks, we think of the vertically large ones. But for betta fish like horizontal ones. After all, in those, they can swim better. So, don’t just buy it big, buy it right.

Tank Lid

You never know when your fish might feel a bit jumpy. So, it’s better to have a proper lid on the tank to stop the fish from landing on the floor. It’s more important for larger tanks as they increase the chance of jumping.

Want to get a printable version of this infographic? Click here! [If you want to use this infographic on your website, please link back to this post as the source!]

Before We Go…..

You’re probably still confused about the part where I said fixing tank size as per the size of the fish. Well, let’s make it a bit easier for you. Check out my Betta Fish Calculators, where you’ll get a calculator just to find out what the tank size should be against the number of fish.

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Muntaseer Rahman

About Author

Hello, I’m Muntaseer Rahman, the owner of 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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