11 Steps To Transfer A Betta Fish To Their Tank

Betta fish are popular pets for various reasons; they are beautiful, they are easy to take care of, and watching them swim around a tank is fascinating. Knowing how to transfer a betta fish properly will ensure they adapt to their new home in the healthiest way. 

Stress can make it hard for bettas to adapt, whether they are in a tank on their own le, so your betta lives its longest life in a safe environment. 

How To Transfer A Betta Fish 

You don’t want to just simply place your betta into a tank and leave it at that. Transferring fish into a new environment is a process that takes several steps, and without following these steps, you can stress out your betta very easily. 

Plan Ahead

You should have all of your required materials set up at home before you bring home your betta. You don’t want to be running around looking for a tank, water conditioner, food, or anything else while your betta is hanging out in a cup. 

Choose A Healthy Fish

When you’re going to purchase a betta fish, take the time to observe the bettas swimming around in the tank to get a feel for what they’re like. 

Purchase Your Fish 

Once you spot a healthy betta, buy them and prepare them for the trip home. Unless you’re an expert, it’s not worth trying to bring home an unhealthy betta if you don’t actually know how to rehabilitate them. 

Bring Your Betta Home Immediately 

You shouldn’t let your betta stay in the transfer cup for too long. It’s restrictive, and it’s not an ideal environment for a happy fish. 

Quarantine Your Betta If Necessary

If your new betta isn’t going to be alone in its new tank, it will have to be quarantined. Quarantine makes sure you have the ability to monitor them for any signs of illness while you’re preparing your tank for your betta’s arrival. 

How To Safely Transfer Your Betta Fish From Cup To Tank

Taking the most care when transferring your betta from the cup to the tank is absolutely crucial. Before you start transferring your betta, make sure you test your water to make sure it’s at the right temperature and pH level for your betta. 

Open The Cup

You can start the transferring process by opening the cup and sitting it on top of the water. You should not be letting your betta get into the water yet. 

Let The Cup Float In The Water

You’re going to let the cup float on top of the water for some time during this process. Be sure that the cup stays upright. If it’s unsteady, you can have the cup beside the tank.

Add Small Amounts Of Water To The Cup

You’ll want to add about 100-150 milliliters of the tank water to the cup every fifteen minutes or so. Continue to let the cup float, and don’t walk away from the area.

Let The Betta Acclimate To The Water

By slowly adding small amounts of the tank water to the cup, your betta will be able to acclimate to the new water conditions in a safe way. Their bodies won’t get shocked or stressed when exposed to the water in short intervals. 

Add Your Betta To The Tank

Once you’ve acclimated your betta to the tank water within the cup for about a half-hour to an hour, they should be ready to go into the tank. You’ll want to carefully remove the cup from the tank and transfer your betta into a clean cup or a net. 

You can then slowly put your betta into the tank. You shouldn’t be pouring any of the water from their transfer cup into the tank. 

Monitor Your Betta

You’ll want to keep your eye on your betta once they’re in the tank to see how they react. It should take about a week or so for your betta to get accustomed to their new environment. 

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How Long Can A Betta Stay In The Transfer Cup?

Your betta shouldn’t be in the transfer cup for long. In an ideal situation, you’ll be taking your betta straight home after your transaction is done. Whether your betta is put in a cup or bag, it’s not a very good environment for them to be in for a long time. 

There’s a very constricted amount of oxygen coming in and out of the cup, even with ventilation. There also isn’t an adequate amount of water in the cup for your betta to be in for an extended period of time. The water can also go bad pretty quickly, especially if your betta needs to use the bathroom. 

Water temperature is also crucial for your betta’s health. It’s impossible to regulate the temperature within a cup or bag. 

How Long Should You Wait To Put Betta Fish In A New Tank?

Ideally, you shouldn’t wait a long time after bringing your betta home to put them into their new tank. If they are going to be the only fish in the tank, then as long as the water is cycled and properly conditioned, you can start the transfer process right away. 

Bettas that are going to be part of a tank with other fish have to go through a quarantine process before they are put into a new tank. This process, when done properly, will require about two to four weeks of effort from you. 

How To Acclimate Your Betta To New Water

You should know the type of water that bettas like and create those conditions before your betta goes into that water. The last thing you want is for your betta to get sick from their new water. 

Take It Slow 

You want to take your time acclimating your betta to new water. If your betta will be in a tank by themselves, the steps will be different than if your betta will be joining other fish in a tank. You’ll be quarantining them first in a tank suited to their needs. 

Test The Water

As mentioned, the water temperature and pH balance of your tank water need to be tested before you do any acclimation. 

Move Betta To Clean Container (Only If Needed)

If the cup used to transport your betta home seems to be way too small to add water to, you can consider moving them to a clean container beforehand. It’s very, very important that you only do this if absolutely necessary and that the container is completely clean and was never used for cleaning products or other potentially toxic substances. 

Add Small Amounts At A Time

Stick with the described method of about 100-150 milliliters of water every fifteen minutes. If the cup you’ve brought home is small, you can do a little bit less water, but don’t do more. Repeat this process until it’s been about an hour. 

Give Time Between Adding Water

Be sure to allow your betta time to adjust to the small amount of water you add to your betta’s cup between each pour. Pouring a full cup of tank water into their cup right away could put your betta into shock, which is dangerous. 

Betta Fish Tank Requirements 

You should have your betta’s tank at home and set up to their specifications before you bring them home. This process may involve some adjustments depending on whether or not they will be in a new tank on their own or will be added to a community tank. 

Tank Size

A tank that is long and not too tall is the ideal shape for bettas. In terms of size, you should opt for a minimum of five gallons per betta. They’re small fish, but they should be offered ample space to swim around in. 

You also want to be sure you leave some space at the top of your tank so your betta can come to the surface and grab some air. The water should not be filled to the top of the tank. Be sure there’s a lid at the top of your tank and it’s locked on tightly. 

Tank Location

The location of your tank is important as many elements can increase or decrease the water temperature, such as direct sunlight, air blowing from fans, or drafts coming from windows or vents. Keep your tank away from these potential disruptions. 

Water Temperature

Bettas are tropical fish, and the temperature of their water needs to accommodate that. The recommended water temperature to maintain a happy and healthy betta environment is between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Water pH

The pH of your water needs to remain relatively stable as much as possible. Any spikes or drops that come on suddenly can make your betta sick. The ideal pH for bettas is between 6.8 and 7.5. 


You will want to have some type of lighting system for your bettas. Be sure to decrease the light at a certain time each day, so they aren’t forced awake when they need some rest. 

Filter And Heater

The ideal filter for your betta tank is one that has an adjustable flow rate. This will ensure the filter doesn’t blow around too strongly, so your betta’s fins don’t get damaged. A heater can also help regulate water temperature, but it isn’t needed if your tank is below five gallons for a single betta. 

Tank Accessories 

Bettas like having soft gravel at the bottom of their tanks as it’s gentle on their fins and scales. Bettas are also fans of soft aquatic plants that offer some areas to hide away for rest and solitude. Real plants also help oxygenate the water and clean the water. Decorations that have smooth and soft edges with areas for hiding are also ideal. 

What To Do During And After The Transfer 

The transfer process is not over once your betta has left their cup and is in your tank. The same is true if you quarantine your betta before adding them to a tank with other fish. 

Test Water After Acclimation 

After you’ve acclimated your betta to the tank water, and before you transfer them into a net, test the water in the cup and in the tank once more. Make sure that no dramatic changes have occurred between the tank water and cup water. You may need to remove some cup water and add more tank water and wait a little longer. 

Distract Other Fish After Transferring

A good tip to help your betta have time to navigate their surroundings is to feed the other fish once you’ve transferred them into their new tank. This will distract them so your betta can explore. This is only necessary if you’re adding a betta to a tank with other fish already inside. 

Look For Signs Of Stress

Bettas typically communicate stress through obvious physical signals. This could include consistently hiding in a plant or conclave. They might also refuse to eat or may swim around frantically. This should ideally dissipate after a couple of days, but if not, test the water to make sure it’s safe. 

Look For Signs Of Happiness

Apart from seeing whether or not your betta is stressed, you should also make sure they seem happy. Otherwise, you might need to make some changes to your tank to suit them. Signs of happiness include active swimming, eating, bold coloring, and making bubbles. 

Look For Potential Bullies

So long as you’ve made an effort to only put a betta with complementary fish, there should be no bullying or bad behavior between fish. You should also set up ample hiding spots for your fish to utilize if needed. If bullying does occur and doesn’t subside after a day or two, you should move your betta to a different tank. 

Don’t Forget To Check In 

You should plan ahead before transferring your betta into a tank, as you’ll want to be able to monitor them fairly closely for a few days after the transfer. You don’t have to watch them all day, but you should have some time to observe their behavior. 


There’s a lot to know about bringing bettas home and taking responsible precautions when adding them to a tank. This is true whether they’ll be solitary bettas or part of a new family with other fish. 

How Long Should You Wait To Put A Betta With Tankmates?

You should quarantine your betta before putting them in a tank with other mates. It’s also important to research which fish get along with bettas so you don’t run the risk of losing any of your fish to fighting. 

It’s a good idea to have a backup plan for your betta in the off-chance they don’t get along with their new tankmates. The last thing you want to do is force your fish to live in a stressful environment where they don’t like each other. 

How Long To Wait After Adding Betta Water Conditioner To Your Tank?

You should wait for at least a day or two after you’ve added betta water conditioners to your tank to add them to the tank. This will give the product ample time to work. Water conditioners are a really good idea for a new tank, as they help remove a lot of bad chemicals that could make your betta very sick. 

Each conditioner on the market is a little different, so follow the product’s instructions carefully. Even if the package says it works right away, you may still want to wait a day or two. 

How Can I Transfer My Betta To A Community Tank?

As mentioned, bettas will have to be quarantined before being added to a community tank. This quarantine tank should mimic the conditions that their forever tank will have. You’ll then want to go through the same transferring process of letting them float in a cup on top of the water while adding tank water to the cup every fifteen minutes. 

After you have completed that process, you will want to take a seat and watch how all your other fish get along with your betta and vice versa. Ideally, you’ll have already researched whether or not the fish you already have at home are suitable tankmates for your betta. 

As said, keep your eye on your fish for signs of aggression, harassment, or bullying, and remove your betta if necessary. There could be some adjustment for all parties involved, but generally speaking, all fish should get used to each other somewhat quickly. 


Bringing any fish home is not as simple as it may seem. Going through the correct transfer process for your betta from the store to your tank at home is going to require your patience, your research, and your dedication. Follow each step carefully and check on your betta frequently, and you should have a happy, healthy, colorful fish excitedly swimming around in their new tank in no time.

About the author

Hey there! I'm Antonio, the passionate owner and chief editor of Betta Care Fish Guide. With over half a decade of hands-on experience, I've become your go-to expert for all things betta and tropical fish.

Over the past 5 years, I've not only kept bettas and other tropical fish but also connected with a diverse network of hobbyists, seasoned fishkeepers, and even veterinarians.

Now, I want to help other beginner fish keepers who had the same questions as me when they were just starting out! So they can save themselves a ton of time and keep their fish happy and healthy!