Can Betta fish live in tap water?

In this blog post, we will answer the question “Can Betta fish live in tap water?” and learn more about Betta fish tank conditions and also how to build an ideal aquarium for your Betta fish.

Can Betta fish live in tap water?

The answer to the question “Can Betta fish live in tap water?” is that it depends. Tap water is normally treated for human activities, such as cooking, drinking and bathing. This treatment used in tap water can be harmful to fish. The problem with tap water is subject to poisoning due to excess ammonia, nitrites and nitrates, thus, it is not recommended using it in Betta fish tanks.

Many countries add chlorine to the water to remove impurities and bacteria. While this helps prevent humans from getting sick or developing parasitic infections, chlorine makes the water habitable for most fish species, including Betta fish, as their bodies cannot efficiently process the chemical.

One option would be to use a suitable filter to the tank size and water derived from the purifying processes, like:

–       Water purifier;

–       Bottled water.

Water purifier

There are several types of devices, some specific for fish keeping. It is possible to add chemicals and supplementation for better development of your Betta fish on it. Of course, attention to dosages is necessary. 

Bottled water

This option is generally cheap, bottled water can be found in many places and markets. The production process of bottled water is based on quality control, leaving aside heavy metals and high amounts of chlorine, unlike tap water. Despite this, bottled water can be easily controlled for pH and other nutrients levels. If your bottled water tests are high or low, you can simply use pH adjustment treatments to get to the correct levels. This is one of the easiest and healthiest options available.

Can I use distilled water in my Betta fish tank?

The use of distilled water is strictly prohibited, the definition of distilled water is pure water. Although distilled water is an excellent option for many human activities, fish keeping is not one of them. This excess of purity directly prejudices your Betta fish. 

The purity of distilled water is given by the removal of nutrients, chemical substances, and mineral contents. Fish need minerals for their survival and well-being. Although there are pH regulators, nutrients and chemicals, this environment formed by distilled water is harmful to your Betta fish’s health and can result in diseases, such as anaemia and growth rate.

Do I need a filter for my Betta fish tank?

Yes, you definitely need a filter for your Betta fish tank. In the past, it was a common belief that to have a Betta fish you did not need to prepare your tank with equipment such as a filter, thermometer, heater, or even running hydrological tests.

However, like all other fish, Betta fish also depend on water quality to remain healthy, such as water temperature, pH level control, humidity and other environmental conditions. Thus, having a good water quality depends on having a heater, thermometer, filter, and running hydrological tests are very important items and practices to raise a healthy and happy Betta fish. 

Besides this, it is also necessary to take into account the strength of the equipment, such as filters and air pumps. Betta fish behaviour might be affected by strong currents and water flow. For example, Betta fish bubble nests can be destroyed or even not built by the male Betta fish. Similar to reproductive behaviour, other behaviours may also be impacted.

How do I build a Betta fish tank?

An ideal tank for your Betta fish is one that it is comfortable in. There are several ways to make your Betta fish’s environment ideal for its development and well-being.

You should tank into account some characteristics for your tank, such as:

–       Size and amount of fish;

–       pH, temperature and humidity;

–       Substrate and décor;


The minimum tank size for a single Betta fish is 5 gallons, male or female. Remember that male Betta fish are extremely territorial and can be aggressive in the presence of other Betta fish. Thus, you should follow tips to avoid conflicts between your fish. Consider having at least 20 gallons territory for each male Betta fish if you have more than one fish in the same tank. Females can be kept in small groups, however, competition due to hierarchy may occur for some time.

pH, temperature and humidity

The pH level of a Betta fish tank is important to be kept between 6.8 and 7.4. This condition will avoid harmful algae and fungi to propagate in the aquarium, which could be dangerous to your Betta fish.

Betta fish come from tropical waters and, therefore, depending on the water temperature, you may use a heater to keep the water temperature ideal. The best water temperature for Betta fish ranges between 78 and 82 degrees Fahrenheit.

Related to water temperature is humidity. Humidity is important to maintain bubble nests when Betta fish are performing reproductive behaviours. Thus, if you plan to breed Betta fish, it is important to maintain air humidity on the tank surface.

Substrate and décor

Aquarium substrate, décor, and veggies must be chosen very carefully. You need to keep in mind that ever you put in the tank affects your Betta fish life. The substrate type is an important choice, some substrate types may hurt your Betta fish, choose finer and lighter grain substrates. All décors must be specially made for aquariums, such as fake rocks. Betta fish like floating items and floating plants. 

Which plants should I use in my Betta fish tank?

The top 5 veggies suggestions are: 

–       Java Fern;

–       Anubias;

–       Marimo Moss Ball;

–       Cryptocoryne;

–       Water Sprite.

Java Fern

This plant is the most popular plant for a tank. This is because of its appearance and it requires low maintenance effort. They need to be attached to driftwood or rock. And its leaves provide nice hiding spots for Betta fish.


Anubias are also nice plants to be kept in your Betta fish tank. They also require very low effort for maintenance and can be placed over a rock or fake rock.

Marimo Moss Ball

Marimo Moss Ball is the easiest veggie to be kept in a fish tank. Besides its name, Marimo Moss Ball is actually algae. They just need to be dropped in the tank where there is low light amount. They are very cheap and are also very popular.


Although Cryptocoryne is a short plant, it can provide good hiding and resting spots for your Betta fish. This plant group has many varieties in many colours. Unlike the other plants above, Cryptocoryne requires a nutrient-rich substrate, once they do not absorb their nutrients from the water column.

Water Sprite

Water Sprite is also very nice to keep in a Betta fish tank. It is very versatile, you can keep it attached to the substrate or as a floating plant, mainly if you have breeding purposes. This plant can easily stimulate bubble nest building. In addition, it helps with water cleaning. Because it is a fast-growing plant, they absorb toxic nitrogen compounds from fish waste.

What else is important to keep my Betta tank?

Now the tank is set up to give your Betta the best life possible, you need to know few more things:

–       How to feed your Betta fish;

–       When to change the water from your Betta fish tank.

How to feed your Betta fish

Betta fish are carnivores and fulfil their role as predators. Although there are several different types of Betta feed to choose from, one of the most popular choices is flake foods. If you want to feed your Betta with something more natural it is possible to include frozen and dry foods. They can be fed on small shrimp or crustaceans and other invertebrate larvae.

Normally, adults should be fed twice a day. More than that could influence the water quality and make your Betta fish environment dangerous to its health.

When to change the water from your Betta fish tank

In their natural habitat, Betta fish depend on natural circulation and water flow to renovate the water. In the tank, the role of nature is kept artificially. About 25% of the water in the tank must be refreshed weekly to ensure conditions are stable. If not changed partially weekly, dirty water can be extremely harmful to your Betta fish health.

Use a gravel siphon to clean the tank once every fortnight and remove any algae build-up and Betta fish waste or any debris.


This post answered and explained why Betta fish can not be kept in tap water tanks and also described a few topics when building and maintaining an ideal Betta fish tank.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Can Betta fish live in tap water?

Do betta fish need plants in the aquarium?

Plants are always welcomed by Betta fish because they provide hiding places, make the tank look more natural and keep the Betta fish entertained. It is commonly recommended the plants be artificial so that there is no transport of disease to your Betta fish. However, if you know the origin of the plants, and can guarantee that they are not contaminated by any disease, it is highly recommended to use the natural plants in your tank.

Do Betta fish like light?

Yes, the presence of standard light is important for the Betta fish well-being, nothing too exaggerated. You need to keep the environment comfortable for your Betta fish.

Betta fish also enjoy aquarium plants, which need light to grow and survive, although the plants also produce shadows that provide a hiding place for the Betta fish.

Is it cruel to keep betta fish in small tanks?

Betta fish are extremely territorial and need a minimum space to live healthily. A 20 gallons territory is recommended for each male Betta fish in the tank. It is common to see Betta fish being sold in small tanks in many pet shops. However, this can be harmful to health and if they are in a small tank they can get bored and stressed.

Can I leave my betta fish alone for a week?

Some articles in the literature say that Betta fish can go up to 2 weeks without food, even for a healthy adult this period can lead to malnutrition. Ideally, a maximum period of food withdrawal is up to 7 days, once each individual has their metabolism based on age, sex, health and genetic factors.

Do Betta fish like music?

No scientific studies support the idea that Betta fish enjoy music. Despite this, Betta fish can recognize specific sounds or words. These words are normally linked to feeding time, some word that drives a pattern when receiving food.

Why does my Betta fish stare at me?

Betta fish like to observe what is going on around them. One way to interact with your Betta fish is to put the tank where it can see what you are doing. Although this is not direct interaction, it allows your Betta fish to see you as part of its environment, which can keep it mentally alert and occupied.


How to Set Up a Betta Fish Tank: Starter Guide for Beginners. 2021

How to create the perfect aquascape for a betta fish tank. 2020

Top 10 Betta Fish Plants for Your Aquarium

The beauty of the Betta

Bettas Need More Than Bowls. University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.