How To Move Betta Fish To A New Tank?

The idea of moving your Betta fish to a new tank can stress you out. Some people are afraid of moving their Betta fish to a new tank because of all the myths saying it causes your fish to die soon. But this is not the reality. Moving a Betta fish can be pretty stressful for the fish, but doing everything right will make the move as safe as possible.

To move a Betta fish to a new tank, you need to know about the proper size and type of the tank, the quality and parameters of the water, the right way to put your fish inside the new environment, and most importantly, how to take care of your fish after it has been moved.

In this article, we’ll try to cover it all for you. So, before moving your Betta fish to a new tank, make sure you’ve educated yourself well enough to not cause any stress to your Betta fish.

Why Should I Move My Betta Fish To A New Tank?

For many reasons, you may need to change the tank of your Betta fish. Betta fishes are well known for being hardy enough to adapt to different kinds of environments and tank types. But sometimes the environment of the tank becomes stressful for a Betta fish.

The most common reasons for changing your Betta fish tank are:

  • The previous tank is not big enough.
  • More fish in the tank than the tank’s capacity
  • Other fishes causing stress to your Betta fish
  • Shifting from a bowl to a tank
  • For breeding

Choosing The Right Tank

Perhaps the most important task of all is choosing the right tank. Betta fishes are more than just your regular fish. They are playful, need attention, and have a proper environment. Putting your Betta fish in the wrong tank setup can lead to many problems for the fish.

It can reduce the quality of life of your Betta fish, making it more stressed and prone to disease. For these reasons, the right tank setup is the first and foremost thing to achieve.

Tank Size

You should never use a tank smaller than 5 gallons for your Betta fish. It must be 5 gallons or more, depending on the size and number of fish.

It’s a common myth that Betta fish just require small tanks because they used to live in Asian rice terraces and small waterways. This is not the case, those bodies of water are large, with lots of room for movement.

A further reason little bowls are unsuitable is that it becomes almost impossible to maintain the water parameters consistently, which means ammonia bursts can happen fast. Because the smaller the volume of the tank water, the greater the concentration of ammonia in it.

You should put your Betta fish in a 5-gallon tank or more to give them a greater swimming area as well as make your aquarium more visually pleasing. Bettas come in a variety of types, almost all of which require a minimum 5-gallon water tank. Some varieties demand more space, so do your homework on the kind you intend to keep.

You can also keep your Betta fish in a larger tank, a 10-gallon tank if possible. It will require less maintenance since the water parameters will be more stable in this case.

Water Filter

Another widespread misunderstanding about maintaining Bettas arises from the assumption that because they live in shallow areas, the water has to be dirty.

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This is absolutely false. The natural water bodies have a well-maintained ecosystem, providing enough oxygen for fish. Like other labyrinth fishes, Bettas can also breathe in the open air.

Betta fish require an oxygen-rich atmosphere, which a filter may supply. If you don’t want to use a filter, ensure that you change the water in your tank partially (about 40 percent) twice a week. 

Using too many water filters might lead to an overflow of water. It will cause stress to your Betta fish. You can use a pre-filter to reduce the flow.

Water Heater

If you are thinking of not using a water heater inside the tank, assuming your Betta fish can live without it, it is definitely a bad idea.

The typical climate in Thailand and Cambodia is extremely hot, so you have to maintain the temperature of your tank at around 76 degrees Fahrenheit. A further reason why a tiny bowl or tank is impractical is that heaters and filters might be impossible to utilize.

But you might not need a heater in a region where the water temperature stays around 76 degrees Fahrenheit naturally. You also need a thermometer inside the tank, opposite the heater. This will let you know the temperature of the tank water and maintain it throughout. It should be kept at a temperature of 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Why Not A Bowl?

A small bowl is never ideal for Betta fish. As we mentioned earlier, they need a big tank to swim around freely. A bowl comes with its own cons. You can not keep more than one Betta fish in a bowl. Even so, it is not sufficient for one Betta fish.

Ammonia buildup is one of the biggest enemies of Betta fish. It can lead to many diseases and cause the death of your fish. The rate of ammonia buildup is higher in a bowl.

Also, the dissolved oxygen level of the water is low in the bowl water. You cannot use a water heater in this case. So overall, a bowl is a big no.

Preparing The Equipment

If you want to use new equipment, give it a good rinse prior to putting it in the tank. This will keep any toxins or waste from entering the water supply. It’s a wise precaution to take in order to keep the fish secure.

You can use the equipment from your old tank, including the pebbles, the old filter, and other accessories. This will transfer the useful bacteria from the old tank to the new one.

Removing Your Betta Fish From The Old Tank

This is one crucial part. You have to safely take your Betta fish out of your old tank without harming it or causing extra stress. Follow these steps below to do it right:

  • Use suction or a siphon to take the water out of your old tank and into a fresh bucket. Make sure there is no soap or detergent remaining in the bucket. It’s wise to be safe as your Betta fish will only be in this tank for a short time. Soap, for example, can be poisonous to your Betta fish and lead to many diseases.
  • Once you’re done filling the new bucket, pick up your Betta using a fishnet. Make sure you rinse some of that aquarium water off your hands.
  • After you’ve caught the fish inside the net, place your hand above the net. Or else it may jump over the net.
  • You should put your Betta inside the new bucket as soon as possible, avoiding delaying time outside water.

Setting Up The New Tank

Once you’re done arranging all the equipment, it’s time to set your tank up.

  • The tank needs to be cleared of any chemical substances, and make sure the gravels are clean. One of the most important things to keep in mind is the decoration of the tank.
  • Betta fish love to play with different colorful things and often hide behind stones, trees, and bushes. So you should place some underwater plants and stones inside the tank. Make sure they do not take up much space.
  • Do not put any stickers on the surface of the tank, and keep it as clean and clear as possible. Here is some information on setting up your tank.
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What Kind Of Water Do You Need For Your Betta Fish?

Betta fish don’t require any special kind of water. But there are some criteria that need to be fulfilled. The water parameters should match according to the needs of the Betta fish.

The first and foremost thing to ensure is that the water should be free of any odor and color. It should taste just like water. Make sure it is free of any pesticides, chemical products, and, most importantly, chlorine. Chlorine can cause serious damage to your Betta fish.

So, before adding water to your Betta fish tank, make sure you “dechlorinate” it. There are so many water conditioners available on the market. Grab one that suits your preferences.

You can use bottled water, distilled water, or well water if it is marked as safe. Some pet shops also sell a special type of water labeled “Beta water.” They are filled with essential minerals.

 But, considering the price and the frequency of water changes, we do not recommend you go for it. So, the bottom line is that all kinds of water can be used as long as the water parameters are kept in an optimum range.

Let’s talk about those water parameters real quick.

Optimum Water Temperature for Betta Fish

Betta fishes are extremely sensitive to temperature fluctuations. They cannot survive well in cold temperatures, also in too hot temperatures. So the temperature should be kept in the optimum range.

Since, Betta fishes are naturally found in Thailand, Cambodia, and other humid Asian countries, they are more tolerant to heat. You should keep the water temperature between 74 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit. To make the water temperature optimum, follow these instructions below:

  • Make sure the water temperature is within the optimum range in the old tank. And try to maintain the same temperature in the new tank. Any sudden fluctuation in the water temperature can stress out the Betta fish.
  • Use a water heater to achieve that temperature. Put a thermometer inside the tank to check the temperature.
  • After reaching the desired temperature, wait for a moment, because the heat should be distributed thoroughly throughout the tank water.

Optimum pH And Chemical Level for Betta Fish Tank

Betta fish are also sensitive to the chemical constituents of the water. Acidic or alkaline water can cause many diseases in your Betta fish. So the optimum pH of your tank water should be 7.

The pH level above or below this level is harmful to Betta fish. Test the pH of your tank water with a pH kit. They are easily found in general stores or chemical shops.

  • If the water is too acidic, you can use reverse osmosis, crushed coral, or calcium carbonate-based gravel to adjust the pH.
  • If the pH is too high, you can use driftwood. Its natural properties of it can reduce pH. You can also use peat moss that releases tannins. Tannins help to reduce the pH of water.

The water should be free of ammonia. The ammonia level should be absolutely zero and the nitrate and nitrite levels should be kept under the normal range. The water hardness should be kept within 80.

Once you’ve corrected the water parameters, it’s finally time to add that water to the new tank. You can also fill one-third of the tank with the water from your old tank. This will help to stabilize the temperature and pH. But make sure the water clears off any debris or visible dirt.

Place The Filter And Other Items

You should begin the processing of the nitrogen cycle in the new tank. This is a process where you remove ammonia from the water and replace it with good bacteria. This process can take several weeks in the new setup.

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You can accelerate this process by putting your old water filter in the new tank. The old filter has a bacteria colony in it which will help to stabilize the water in the new tank and make it safe for your Betta fish.

After using the old filter for three to four weeks, you can replace it with a new one. Because, within this period, the water will be stable and the bacteria will start colonizing inside the new tank.

You can also use other items from your old tank, including gravel, sand, rocks, and underwater plants, for the same reason. It is one of the most effective ways of controlling ammonia buildup inside your new tank. The useful bacteria can easily eradicate nitrate and maintain a safe environment inside the tank.

It’s Time To Add Your Betta Fish To The New Tank

If you’ve done everything mentioned above, now is the time to put your betta fish inside the tank. Before making the switch, check the water temperature and pH level again.

Here are some tips on how to put your Betta fish into a new tank:

  • You can add the fish directly if the water temperature and pH level match.
  • Take your Betta from the bucket using a fishnet. Gently place your hand above the net, so that the fish doesn’t jump out of the net.
  • Place the fish along with the net inside the tank and let the fish swim out of it on its own. If the water parameters do not match the bucket water, you need a fish bag to transfer your Betta.
  • Put your fish inside the fish bag and hold it over the water in the new tank. Make sure the fish bag is half empty.
  • Now gradually add water from the new tank, filling 1/4 of the fish bag. Wait for a few minutes and do it again.
  • Once you’re done filling the fish bag, you can now release your Betta fish into the new tank. This process helps to reduce stress by helping the betta fish adapt to a new environment.

Take Care Of Your Betta Fish After The Switch

Once you’re done moving your Betta fish, keep a close eye on it. Closely observe its movements. If it shows any sign of stress or hides behind any object for a long time, you may need to check the water parameters again.

Do not feed your Betta fish immediately after making the switch. Let it get familiar with the new environment.

Maintenance Of The New Tank

Your job is not done yet. Actually, it’s never over throughout the lifespan of your betta fish. You need to keep a vigilant eye on the ammonia buildup. Maintain the optimum water temperature and pH level with regular checkups.

Temperature regulation can be easily done with a water heater, but the job can be a bit tricky in the case of pH. To maintain pH, you can add some peat moss and driftwood.

Make a partial water change at least once a week. It will help to reduce ammonia buildup and keep the water clean. But be careful not to make any sudden changes in the water. Always keep the environment around your pet safe for your pet.


Moving your Betta fish to a new tank can be a little stressful for both you and your fish. But knowing the right ways will help you to make it easy. All you need to do is, create a friendly environment for your fish that matches the one of your old tanks.

Don’t stress out your Betta fish by doing anything in rush. Do everything slowly and swiftly. Do not drop your fish on the floor from the net or your hand. If you manage to do everything right, moving a Betta fish is as easy as it sounds.

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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