While a betta fish may be simple to take care of, you need to meet certain standards to have it live a long and healthy life. An economical 5-gallon tank with all equipment and a Betta fish can cost as little as $82, plus $99 annually in maintenance. This article will break down the cost of buying, maintaining, and owning a betta fish in various price ranges.
Betta fish are some of the most popular aquatic pets for children and adults alike. That’s why we’ll also include some interesting facts about bettas as pets, including FAQs about owning one. Make sure to read through this article before deciding if a betta fish is the right pet for you.
How Much Do Bettas Cost?
The most common Bettas at your local pet store could run you around $5.00, including tax. These include Crowntail, Delta, Doubletail, Half Sun, and Halfmoon breeds of Betta. The difference between the breeds is found in the shape of their tails.
If you wanted to purchase a less common Betta breed, you could spend anywhere up to $40.00. These include Bettas that are harder to find, like those with rarer color combinations such as purples, greens, or yellows.
The most expensive Betta in the world recently sold for over $1,500! This Betta’s colors and design almost perfectly resembled the Thai flag, making it a hot commodity. Don’t worry – unless you’re a professional Betta collector, you won’t have to spend nearly as much at your local pet shop… $10 or so will do.
What Equipment Do I Need for a Betta Fish?
The more comprehensive your fish tank, the easier it is to take care of your Betta. On top of the tank, water, and food, you’ll need other equipment to ensure tank sanitation and the health of your new beloved pet.
Taking care of your Betta can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. Click here to read an article with everything you need to know about Betta fish care.
Tank (5-gallon or larger preferred)
Betta marketers have long shown this species in small fish bowls. Unfortunately, this is an advertising method that makes it seem like Bettas prefer smaller tanks, which is not the case.
We recommend a 5-gallon tank or larger to allow proper room for water regulation and for your Betta to flourish.
The average Betta can jump 2-3 inches out of the water, so you’re going to need a tank hood. If this hood has an adjacent light, it can make it easier to both see your Betta and showcase the tank in your home.
Bettas are tropical fish that need to live in water that is between 75°-80°F. Anything colder could lower their immune system, making them prone to illness. Higher temperatures can increase their metabolism, aging them faster.
A water heater is essential to keep your Bettas alive and thriving.
A Betta in a tank without a filter is like a human stranded on a lifeboat in the sea – both can survive for some time, but both will be miserable, sickly, and die a premature death.
Filters remove the tank’s dirt and toxic buildup, as well as aerate the water so your Betta can breathe easier. Save your Betta from the lifeboat, and be sure to buy a filter.
The most popular underlying layer for a tank is gravel, although some people may opt for pebbles or glass marbles. Gravel is the most sanitary option of the three, especially if you’re using a mini siphon to clean the bottom of your tank.
Live or plastic plants are a great addition to your Betta’s fish tank. Bettas like to hide or sleep between plant leaves, so this creates a safe space for your pet. If you opt for live plants, they will enhance the water quality and produce more O2 for your fish.
Either option will enhance your tank’s beauty and practicality.
Choose decorations that are specifically made for fish tanks. This could include driftwood, cartoon characters, hiding spots for your Betta, or anything else to enhance your tank’s style. Make sure to also leave enough space for swimming, of course.
You won’t know if your heater is working unless you have a way to test the water’s temperature. Purchase a small digital thermometer that can be stuck right on the inside of your tank, and you’ll be able to regulate the water temperature daily.
A mini siphon is a tool used to remove uneaten food from inside an aquarium. Using a natural suction method, a mini siphon will capture particles in your water and remove them out of the other end of a small hose into a sink or bucket.
Betta Fish Tank & Accessories Costs
Now that you know what you need, let’s have a look at the price range for each piece of equipment and accessory piece.
Tank (5-gallon or larger) Price
A 5-gallon fish tank can run anywhere from $20-$100, depending on the model, inclusions, and store. More expensive tanks may already include some additional equipment or decorations and can be vertical instead of horizontal.
If you’re just looking to buy the tank without add-ons, a great option would be to check out second-hand tanks for sale on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or other online markets.
Find out how to help your Betta acclimate in the tank successfully.
The heater you purchase will depend on how much water is in your tank. If your tank is less than 3 gallons, you can find a mini-aquarium heater for as low as $8.
If you have a 3-10 gallon tank, the price rises to around $16. More expensive heaters may include their own digital thermometers.
You can find basic aquarium filters for between $18-$25. Most of these include quiet technology to make the lowest amount of noise possible.
You’ll want between 1-2 inches of substrate on your aquarium floor, which is roughly 1 pound of gravel per gallon of water. Aquarium gravel runs at about $1 per pound, but most bags are sold at 5-pound intervals.
The plant cost for your tank depends on if you’re using real plants or artificial ones. The former’s price depends on the type of plant and can range from $2-$20 per plant. Artificial plants typically run from $1-$10 per plant.
When it comes to aquarium decorations, the world is your oyster. Prices range wildly depending on which decorations and how many you want in your tank. Most ornaments, driftwood pieces, and rock designs cost between $6-$22 each.
Digital Thermometer Price
If it isn’t included in your heater, you can purchase an aquatic digital thermometer for as little as $6.
Mini Siphon Price
A mini siphon for your aquarium also costs around $6. If you have a 15+ gallon tank and opt for a full-size siphon, you could spend between $10-$30.
Regular Cost of Maintaining Betta Fish
Betta fish are much more economical to maintain compared to other pets like dogs, rabbits, or snakes. Even so, you’ll need to account for the prices of food, electricity, water, vacation preparation, medication, and tank maintenance.
Betta Food Cost
Bettas are carnivorous and should be fed a diet that is high in protein. It is not enough to simply give them dry fish food, as their color thrives from a diverse diet.
If combining dry food ($3.99 for a 7oz. container) and wet, such as frozen or live blood worms, it could cost you between $4-$10 per week.
Your Betta tank will be running 24/7, which means you’ll be spending electricity on the heater, light, and filter. Electricity costs vary depending on the location and wattage used.
A generalized 5-gallon tank with a 50-watt heater, 5-watt filter, 5-watt light for viewing (no live plants), and 2.5-watt air pump could use around $2 worth of electricity per month. If you’re using a powerhead or stronger light to support live plants, this price will increase.
A gallon of water in the U.S. currently costs less than 1 penny per gallon, which means that your Betta’s water cost will only add on a few cents to the total cost.
Vacation Preparation Cost
If you often travel for more than a few days, you’ll need to hire someone to take care of your Betta fish. Fish blocks created for this purpose often include ingredients that are hard for Bettas to digest, so you won’t want to rely on this method often.
If given the wrong diet or exposed to low temperatures, a Betta fish can get sick. The most common illnesses for Bettas are fin and tail rot, columnaris, and hemorrhagic. All are treatable with antibiotics which can cost around $15.
With routine maintenance, you can preserve your tank for years to come. This includes regular water changes, servicing the filter, and testing the aquarium water.
If you have a chemical filter, this will need to be changed once per month, but biological filters are preferred and don’t require this step. Water test kits cost about $1 per kit to be used at least once a month.
How Much Does a Betta Fish Cost with All Supplies and Accessories?
Calculating the total cost of owning your pet Betta depends on your tank, shopping preferences, types of plants and decorations, Betta’s diet, and your lifestyle. We’ve broken down the basic price brackets below, depending on your preferences.
Total Cost for Economical 5-Gallon Tank
A 5-gallon tank purchased second-hand, with one common Betta fish, 3 artificial plants, one ornament, gravel, filter, heater, thermometer, and one mini siphon, will cost $82.
The additional price for maintaining the fish and tank is about $99 annually, including medication if the fish gets sick.
Total Cost for Mid-Grade 5-Gallon Tank
If you prefer to be somewhere in the middle, with an interesting Betta fish, a few quality decorations, and durable tank equipment bought on sale, you can spend between $200-$300 setting up your aquarium.
After that, you’ll spend around another $25 per month on maintenance and general expenses for your Betta, costing a total of $300 annually in maintenance.
Total Cost for High-End 5-Gallon Tank
A high-end 5-gallon tank includes live plants, a top-tier filter, high-quality food, a large siphon, 3 new decorative pieces, and a less common Betta fish. This could cost roughly $614 to put together.
Once your luxurious tank is set up, you’ll need to pay another $550 annually, or $46 per month, plus the cost of hiring someone to care for your fish while on vacation.
Total Cost for Larger Tanks
If you’re looking at larger tanks, such as 10- or 15-gallon options, simply take the price listed above and multiply it accordingly.
For example, if you want a 10-gallon tank, economical setup for your Betta, multiply $82 (cost of 5-gallon economical set up) by 2 for the cost of initial purchases. Then multiply the maintenance cost by the same number ($300 x 2) to add in your annual maintenance cost.
For a 15-gallon tank estimate, multiply by 3, and so on.
Betta Fish Costs FAQs
Here are the top Q&As around Betta fish costs and maintenance.
Are Betta Fish High Maintenance?
No, Betta fish are generally low-maintenance pets. Their diet and the temperature of their water are the most specific requirements for caring for your Betta, but these can be met with a simple water heater and a mix of dry and frozen/fresh foods sold at your local pet store.
How Long Do Betta Fish Live?
Betta fish can live for 2-5 years. Male Bettas are often sold already a year old, as that’s when they fully develop their fins and colors. Females are sold around 6 months old.
Can I Have Multiple Bettas in One Tank?
Male Bettas are very territorial, so it is not recommended to have multiple males in one tank. Some individuals have a tank with one male and one female, 4-5 females (called a Betta sorority), or one male and one Betta sorority.
Introduce the Bettas one at a time to avoid quarrels, and follow these tips for deciding how many Bettas to bunch together in one tank.
Overall, Bettas are low-maintenance, excellent pet options for all ages. Setting up a Betta in an economical 5-gallon tank can cost $82 plus $99 annually in maintenance. A more luxurious setup with rarer Betta types and more exclusive decorations can run as much as $600 to set up, plus another $500 in annual maintenance costs.
Your Betta’s tank is a world you develop on your own, so get creative and find the price range that works for you and your Betta today!