Betta Fish Water: Ideal Parameters & What Kind Is Best

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Last Updated on 2023-09-20

If you’re just getting a betta you’ve probably asked yourself what kind of water for betta fish tanks is best. Without the right water, your betta may die a lot sooner than you’d like. Not all water is created equally when it comes to betta fish.

There are so many questions when it comes to betta fish water conditions, and this helpful article of frequently asked questions is going to answer them all!

The Ultimate Guide To Betta Fish Water Conditions!

Without proper knowledge, all water whether it’s distilled, spring, or tap can be fatal to a betta fish. But the worst of all water has to be distilled water…

Is Tap Water Safe For Betta Fish?

Tap water is the most commonly used water for betta fish and all fish in general. Reason being that it’s easy to get hold of and a lot cheaper than spring water. However, if you plan on using tap water then you need to remember that it isn’t initially safe for fish.

Tap water is treated to make it safe for humans to drink. This, however, makes it lethal for bettas. Chlorine is added to tap water, which is extremely harmful to anything living. This on top of the heavy metals in water mean it needs to be treated first.

The good news is you are able to remove the chemicals and metals from your tap water. And once they’ve been removed your betta will be left with all the nutrients and minerals it needs to survive! It’s as simple as buying a water conditioner and dechlorinating your water.

Chlorine & Chloramine

Chlorine and chloramine are the main two harmful chemicals found in tap water, which are going to kill your betta fast. While chlorine used to be used solely, it isn’t as stable as chloramine, so it would evaporate after 24 hours (which is why you used to be able to leave water out overnight for your betta).

However, with the addition of chloramine, this can last a lot longer now, which means it’s always best to treat your tap water.

How To Know Exactly What’s In Your Tap Water?

If you want to know what’s in your tap water, you should contact the water company you use. They’ll be able to tell you exactly what has been added to the water in your area.

How Long Can A Betta Fish Live In Tap Water That’s Untreated?

You may have heard that bettas are hardy fish, so you think you won’t need to worry about dechlorinating your water. But the truth is, not dechlorinating your water is going to cut your bettas life dramatically short.

Your betta may appear fine and like he’s thriving, but he will be getting poisoned by the chlorine. By not treating your water first you’re going to knock years off your bettas life.

In worst case scenarios your betta can die within 24 hours of being added to tap water that hasn’t been treated. However, whilst stronger bettas may be able to survive being put in unconditioned tap water a few times, eventually, they’ll perish too.

The good news is that water conditioners that make water safe for your fish are super cheap! So you don’t have to worry about spending a lot of money on them.

How To Treat Tap Water For Betta Fish?

If you haven’t dechlorinated water for a fish tank before then don’t worry. It may sound complicated, but it’s incredibly easy. All you need to do it is the right water conditioner. I love API Stress Coat.

To treat tap water for your betta fish, add the recommended amount of water conditioner to it and give it a stir, then check the temperature and pH levels before adding the conditioned water into your betta’s tank.

How Long Does It Take To Dechlorinate Water For Fish?

A good dechlorinator isn’t going to take long, and you’ll be able to add your betta in no time! Obviously, there’s more than one answer because it really depends on the brand of dechlorinator you’re using. As a rule of thumb, the chlorine is often treated within 2 minutes and other substances such as chloramine will take 5 minutes to be neutralized. Either way, as you can tell it’s not going to be too long.

What Is The Best pH Level For Betta Fish?

As a hard and fast rule, you’re going to want to keep the pH level of your tank at 7 or slightly more acidic. Having said that, a lot of bettas have been known to thrive in more alkaline conditions as well. The key is to keep the pH level as stable as possible. If your pH level drops too quickly, even by 0.2 it can kill bettas. At the very least it will seriously stress them out.

What Is The Best Temperature For Betta Fish?

The ideal temperature your betta fish needs is 78°F. With that being said, anything between 76-80°F will also be sustainable. You should also remember that ensuring fluctuations in temperature don’t happen is just as important as ensuring the right temperature, as fluctuations can lead to temperature shock.

The only way to maintain a stable temperature for your betta is to add a heater to the tank. As a general rule of thumb a heater should be 5 watts per gallon of water (For example, a 5 gallon tank would need 25 watts). And of course, use a thermometer to ensure that that the water temperature in your tank is right.

how to cycle an aquarium

What Is The Best GH & KH For Betta Fish?

Bettas thrive best in a GH between 3-4dGH and a KH Between 3-5dKH. This is going to keep the water soft and slightly acidic which is going to be the best for letting your betta thrive. When the GH or KH is too high add Indian almond leaves to lower them.

How Do You Test Water For Betta Fish?

The best ways to test water for your betta fish is by using a test kit. There are two main types of test kits available: test strips and liquid test kits.

Liquid Test Kits

Liquid test kits are the preferred method for testing your bettas tank water. They’re more accurate, more consistent in their results and last longer than test strips.

The downsides with liquid test kits is that they can be used incorrectly easier, they’re longer than test strips, and they can be affected a lot easier by the lighting in the room.

Water Test Strips

Water test strips are another option that you can use, they’re a lot quicker than liquid test kits which is the main benefit. They’re also a lot cheaper and easier to use as well.

However, the main downsides of these test strips is that they’re a lot less accurate than liquid testing kits.

Digital Water Test Kits

Digital test kits are the best choice as they’re going to give you the most accurate results possible. There’s no way the data can be misconstrued as it will be a number not a color.

However, the biggest downside of digital test kits for your betta’s water is how expensive they are. If you’re willing to shell out the money though, they’re your best bet.

Distilled Water For Betta Fish

Distilled water is a type of purified water. On paper, purified water sounds incredible. But when it’s added to your tank, it’s only incredibly unhealthy.  Distillation takes a lot of dangerous chemicals out of water which is great for fish. But in doing so it also removes all the nutrients and minerals, which fish need to thrive.

If you use distilled water for your betta a few things will start happening.

  • Your betta will start to look dull and colorless. Without the correct nutrients in the water, the color of your betta will quickly fade.
  • Your betta will also lack energy and become lethargic.
  • And lastly, without the proper minerals and nutrients, your betta will die.

While both spring water and tap water can be used for your betta fish, distilled water should ALWAYS be avoided.

Can You Use Spring Water For Betta Fish?

Spring water is similar to distilled water except mineral and nutrients haven’t been taken out. Whereas the harmful substances such as chlorine, chloramine and heavy metals have.

Still, you shouldn’t use spring water straight away. Before adding spring water to your tank you need to check whether the pH level is within the range bettas need. Which is as close to 7 as possible. If not, then your betta has an increased chance of getting sick.

Also, you may think that all water is the same, but different companies will have different pH levels. This is because they source their water from different locations. So if you are buying bottled spring water, you’re best off getting it by the gallon and making sure it’s the same brand.

Once you’ve found spring water that fits the water parameters of your tank, you don’t have much else to worry about. Spring water is going to provide all the necessary nutrients and minerals for your fish whilst being chlorine free!

The only downside to using spring water, of course, is the price.

Can You Use Bottled Water For Betta Fish?

Another type of water people ask about is bottled water. The problem with bottled water is that there are so many types. Obviously, if you’re using bottled spring water and you’ve tested the pH, then it’s going to be fine. But there are other bottled waters out there such as, deionized, distilled, demineralized and god forbid you ever accidentally used flavored bottled water.

So when it comes down to using bottled water it is normally easier just to avoid it.

blue betta splenden

Can You Use Well Water For Betta Fish?

While it’s not as common, some people are curious whether you can use well water for betta fish. In some places, well water may be better for your fish than tap water. However, in other places, it could be a lot worse.

Oftentimes well water is left untouched. So while it may not have any chlorine or chloramine in it, there could be heavy metals. If bettas are living in this water the heavy metals will make them sick.

On top of this, depending on the area around you, pesticides or fertilizer from neighbouring areas may have leeched into the water which could make it extremely harmful to your betta.

You can get heavy metal testing kits as well as chlorine and chloramine testing kits. But they can often be quite expensive. Personally, if I was set against using tap water, I’d also avoid well water and stick to bottled spring water.

Can You Use Rain Water For Your Betta?

It is possible to use rain water for your betta, however, even if you plan on using rain water, you should still make sure you’re testing all the parameters beforehand to ensure that it’s going to be safe for your betta.

On top of this, rain water tends to have a lot less minerals in it than other forms of water. Because of this, while it is possible to use rain water, I’d still recommend tap or spring water.

What Is Betta Specific Water & Is It Worth It?

Betta specific water, is water that has been created especially for bettas, with their pH, KH, and GH requirements in mind. It’s also had all the harmful chemicals and heavy metals removed. While it’s good for your betta, in most cases tap water is going to be just fine.

If you notice that the tap water in your home hasn’t got the parameters you need, however, then betta specific water can be a great substitute.

blue betta

What Is A Stress Coat Additive?

A stress coat additive is similar to a water conditioner. While a water conditioner is only going to treat water, a stress coat additive will treat your fish. Even if there’s nothing wrong with them, it’s going to replace their slime coat. A fishes slim coat is what helps keep them healthy and less prone to diseases. But it can often be damaged during handling as well as when it interacts with other fish.

You can add a stress coat additive to your tank whenever you want, especially if you think your betta is stressed. And normally it’s a good idea to add when your betta is being introduced to a new tank. (Get API Stress Coat.)

How Often Should You Change A Bettas Water?

Once again how often you’re going to need to change your bettas water depends on a few different factors. How big the tank is, whether it’s filtered, or if your betta is being housed with other fish. All of these factors are going to influence how quickly the water can become unsanitary.

If you’re unsure how often you should change your bettas water, then it’s normally recommended to change 25% of the water once a week.

If you change too much water it can affect the parameters of the tank. The pH, ammonia levels and hardiness of the tanks water could all become thrown out of balance. Causing havoc for your betta.

Betta Fish Water Ideal Parameters And What Kind Is Best

How Do You Cycle Your Bettas Water?

If you’ve just gotten your betta, then you’re probably wondering how to cycle the tank. Here’s a quick step by step guide on what to do.

  1. The first step is to make sure there is ammonia in the tank. To do this you can either add some pure ammonia to the tank, or add some fish food and let it rot.
  2. After this, add biological starter which you can get from any pet store.
  3. Now you just need to keep testing the water to see if the nitrogen cycle is working. you should see the ammonia spike, then the nitrites spike, then the nitrates spike. After the spike the ammonia and nitrite levels should go to 0ppm, and the nitrate levels should go to 20ppm. (This can take between 4-6 weeks.)
  4. Once all the parameters are where they should be, you can now add your betta to the tank. Make sure that you keep an eye on the parameters over the next few weeks to ensure that the parameters stay stable.


Here are some frequently asked questions that people have about water for your betta fish.

Can You Put Betta Fish In Tap Water Overnight?

You should always avoid putting your betta in unconditioned tap water, even overnight. Instead you should use bottled spring water, which shouldn’t contain chlorine or chloramine, but will still have beneficial minerals in it.

Do Betta Fish Need A Filter?

It’s vital to use a filter in your betta’s tank to keep the water clean. Not only will it make the tank look cleaner, but it will also remove any ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate from the tank as well as any harmful bacteria.

On top of this, your filter (along with the gravel in your tank) will house beneficial bacteria which is vital for removing ammonia.

What Water Are Betta Fish Used Too?

Betta fish are used to rice paddies, swamps and shallow streams in the wild, so you want to mimic this as much as possible in your tank. A great way to do this is by creating a blackwater tank which is densely planted, with nice soft substrate and slow flowing water.

Why Does Betta Fish Water Get Cloudy?

If your betta’s water gets cloudy during cycling. This is a normal part of the process, and it’s just a bacterial bloom. However, if it happened in an established tank, it could be a sign that the ammonia cycle in your tank is crashing, or that there is an algae bloom in the tank.

How To Change Betta Fish Water Without A Siphon?

The best way to change your betta’s water without a siphon is to to simple scoop out some water with a cup and then place it into a bucket, until you’ve removed enough. However, remember, a siphon is still needed to gravel the vacuum.

Can Betta Fish Live In Tap Water Without Conditioner?

Betta’s can live in tap water without conditioner as long as it’s been left out for long enough. You should make sure the tap water is left out for at least 24-48 hours before adding your betta, but ideally even longer if you can.

How Much Water Does A Betta Fish Need?

Betta’s need at least 5 gallons of water to be happy, however, there is no upper limit. In fact, the bigger the tank, the happier your betta will be.

Betta Fish Water Conditions – Conclusion And Main Points

Now that you know the ideal betta fish water conditions you should have no problem replicating them in your tank.

Caring for your Betta can be tricky, but it gets easier with the right guide. Click here to read a comprehensive guide on Betta fish care! 

So to go over the main points you should:

  • The best water to add to your tank is tap water, as long as it’s conditioned first. Failing that, you should try using spring water
  • You should ALWAYS avoid purified or distilled water, as it lacks the necessary minerals and nutrients your betta needs to survive.
  • It’s often beneficial to use a stress coat additive. This is going to restore your bettas natural slime coat, which can be removed during handling or when your betta is stressed.
  • Just because your betta may survive for a time in untreated tap water, the chances are it will cause a lot of damage over time.
  • Making tap water safe for bettas is incredibly simple, you just need to add water conditioner beforehand.
  • Even though water conditioner treats water very quickly, it’s still best to let water stand in your tank for a day or two before adding your betta.
  • The ideal pH for bettas is 7 or slightly more acidic.
  • And as a rough guide, you should do a 25% water change once a week.

If you liked this article or have any more questions make sure you leave a comment in the section below. Also, don’t forget to bookmark this page and share it with any friends that have bettas or are just starting out.

Is Your Betta Fish Living Alone?

If so, then you may be interested to know about lots of tank mates that can live with them. So check out the Ultimate Betta Tank Mate Guide where you’ll learn about 68 different tank mates that can live with your betta, as well as fish to avoid. You’ll also learn how to create the perfect environment for mates, how to introduce tank mates and much more! So check it out!

If you liked this article, make sure you check out the rest of the website!

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Hey! I'm Nicolas from Iguane Media !

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3 thoughts on “Betta Fish Water: Ideal Parameters & What Kind Is Best”

  1. Thanks for sharing, it’s very helpful. Can I use Betta Water Conditioner to reduce the chlorine? If yes, will it pose any danger to my aquarium?

    • Hey, you should always use water conditioner before adding new water to your tank to remove the chlorine and chloramine!


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