Why You Should Never Keep A Betta In A 3 Gallon Tank

If you’re wondering whether you can keep a betta in a 3 gallon tank, then you’ve found the right article.

So keep reading to find the best size aquariums for betta fish, what kind of space they need to thrive and what happens if they are forced into an environment that is too small.

Can A Betta Fish Live In A 3 Gallon Tank?

A 3 Gallon tank is not big enough for a betta to live happily. While they are able to survive in one, there wouldn’t be enough space for a betta to be happy. As well as this, the tank would be a lot more prone to water parameter and temperature fluctuations that can prove fatal to a betta.

So to summarise your betta needs more space than 3 gallons of water if you want them to be happy, energetic, and responsive to you.

In fact, certain types of betta fish, such as the King Betta, cannot survive at all in a 3-gallon tank.

Why You Shouldn’t Keep A Betta in a 3 Gallon Tank

While there are many fish owners who do keep bettas in smaller tanks, they all agree that the smaller aquariums need extra care and more regular maintenance and that there are a few disadvantages to the setup.

  • Reduced space prevents bettas from moving freely around the tank
  • Added tank décor reduces water volume so that the fish have even less room
  • 3-gallon tanks become soiled very quickly
  • Some 3-gallon aquariums don’t have enough surface water.
  • 3-gallon tanks can only take one fish. Therefore, if you purchase more, you’ll need a bigger tank anyway.
  • Betta fish in environments that are too small lose their appetites, energy, and bright coloring.
  • Unhappy bettas don’t make bubble nests.

Generally, the bigger the tank, the happier and healthier the betta fish will be.

How Many Bettas Can I Put In A 3 Gallon Tank?

It’s not a good idea to put one betta in a 3 gallon tank, and it would be a terrible idea to put two in one. If you want to keep more than one betta together, you’ll need 10 gallons minimum, and you should only keep females together, unless you’re using a tank divider.

Keeping more than one betta in such a small tank will cause the fish to be cramped and stressed, which will impact their health and shorten their lives.

If your fish are losing color and appetite or no longer responding to your presence at the tank, they may be stressed and need an environment upgrade.

Betta fish can also jump. The smaller the tank, the more likely it is for them to jump to their deaths. This is another reason to invest in a larger tank – and a lid for it.

And without being graphic all betta fish use their environment as their toilet. This means that the smaller the tank, the more quickly the water becomes soiled. Bettas become lethargic and dull in tank water that is not clean and fresh. And the chances of them suffering from disease is going to increase massively.

How Long Can a Betta Fish Live in a 3 Gallon Tank?

Betta fish live in captivity for about 4 or 5 years, but this depends on the quality of the environment that you provide – a betta fish will likely live for considerably less than this in a 3-gallon tank because it is such a small environment.

There are a few things you can do to keep your one betta fish going for as long as possible. The first is to clean the tank thoroughly and regularly.

Do not clutter the tank with too much stuff as this will leaves even less space for your fish. And choose a tank that does not have a narrow neck, such as a vase.

These may look great, but your betta needs as much surface water as you can give them. They like surface water and will spend a lot more time on the surface than swimming around in the deeper water.

The traditional fishbowl aquariums are not beneficial either because they don’t have room for filters or heaters. This means the tank water will become cloudy and soiled faster.

Why You Should Never Keep A Betta In A 3 Gallon Tank


Choosing the right tank size for a betta fish is important, and there is a lot of good advice available. However, taking note of why certain equipment is purchased as well as what to purchase is an excellent way to provide the best environment for your bettas.

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