What Kind of Water for Betta Fish?

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Statistics indicate that the global ornamental fish trade stood at 8380 million US dollars in 2017.

And the forecast is that its size will get to 13600 million dollars by 2025. Clearly, more and more people are now interested in rearing fish. And among the many different species getting trades out there, the Betta fish is arguably one of the most common.

This is mostly because of the benefits this type of fishes offer their owners. They can help reduce stress, improve sleep quality, decrease anxiety and pain, as well as enhance productivity. Not to mention that they can also act as a therapy for Alzheimer’s patients and agitated children.

Even so, better fish can only thrive in specific conditions. Here’s everything you need to when it comes to betta fish water:

Recommended Water Parameters for Betta Fish

Water Parameters for Betta Fish

Firstly, the ammonia levels in your betta tank should be at O to avoid intoxicating your fish.

Additionally, let the levels of nitrates remain at 0, or at least below 40ppm. To keep nitrates at non-toxic levels you’ll need to properly cycle your tank. This means performing at least a 10% water change every week.

It’s important to realize that you shouldn’t use water with chlorine, no matter how small the amounts. Other than that, the water temperature ought to be at between 76- 82 degrees.

Can You Use Tap Water for Betta Fish?

Without a doubt, tap water is the most readily available.

All you need to do is collect some from the faucet. Even so, tap water may have added chemicals like chlorine, depending on your location. And in as much as these levels of chemicals are absolutely safe for humans to drink, they pose a great risk for betta fish.

In other words, your fish can get sick or even die because of tap water. Still, this water is an excellent choice when it’s free of heavy metals and chemicals since it contains high levels of nutrients and minerals.

As such, you ought to use a high-quality water conditioner, such as Seachem Prime, to remove all the heavy metals and chlorine from tap water.

Once you get the right conditioner, simply follow the instructions. Most brands require that you put one or half a teaspoon of de-chlorinator in every ten gallons of untreated tap water.

How long will the dechlorinating process take? It all depends on the kind of conditioner you’re using. Even so, it should take only a short while for the water to become safe once you add the conditioner.

As a rule of thumb, heavy metals like chloramine take about five minutes to get neutralized, while chlorine takes no less than two minutes.

You may also need to invest in a heater to keep the tap water at optimum temperatures.

Can You Use Bottled Spring Water for Betta Fish?

Bottled spring water is quite an expensive alternative when compared to tap water.

But unlike distilled water, it doesn’t get processed to remove nutrients and minerals. Also, this type of water lacks any chlorine, making it ideal for betta tanks provided that the PH levels remain safe.

This is why it’s imperative to check the bottled water’s pH before using it. If anything, different brands of spring water have dissimilar pH levels because of the different ways they get processed. It’s, thus, best to invest in a pH altering treatment just in case you buy a bottled that has a pH level that’s either above or below the required range.

Is Distilled Water Good for Betta Fish?

As mentioned earlier, distilled water lacks any nutrients and minerals.

To emphasize, it’s nothing but pure water. So if you choose to use distilled water in your betta tank, ensure to properly treat it. This will help control the pH levels and add the necessary nutrients.

Betta fish living in non-treated distilled water usually adopt a dull-looking appearance. This is mainly because they lack enough nutrients to keep them energetic. In fact, bettas die after staying in untreated distilled water for a long time.

And from a financial point of view, it doesn’t make sense to buy distilled water plus the required treatments for pH and nutrients, while you can get better betta water from your kitchen faucet. For this reason, many aquarists don’t recommend using distilled water for betta tanks.

Can You Use Well Water for Betta Fish?

If you live in rural areas without any access to municipal water, chances are your water get sourced from a well.

Now well water contains heavy chemicals like iron and copper in large quantities. Additionally, this kind of water may have chemicals used in fertilizers and pesticides. Well water is, therefore, not ideal for betta fish.

Not sure what kind of water you’re using? Most local pet stores can test the water for you when you deliver a sample. It’s crucial to know the number of contaminants in any water before using it in a betta tank.

Betta-Specific water

You can find pre-conditioned betta-specific water in many outlets.

In essence, this water that falls within the correct pH range and has no harmful metals or nutrients. The only problem is that it’s way expensive than all other options. But it offers convenience in that once you only need to pour it in the tank after you buy it.

Best Water for a Newbie Betta Fish Aquarist

When starting out, it’s always best to use Betta water from a pet store.

You can then start using any other kinds of water when performing the first water change. This is because the fish have a better chance of surviving with specifically formulated water. If you have no other option but to use tap water, ensure to prepare it first.

With spring water, simply ensure that you go for a brand with the right pH. Also, test every bottle you buy just to be on the safe side.

What’s the Most Preferred pH level for Betta Fish?

Notably, pH is one of the most important parameters when it comes to betta tanks.

Betta fish thrive in a pH ranging from 6.5 to 8. Even so, it’s best to keep them in a neutral environment of pH 7.  But no water can ever have a constant pH of 7 because of oxidation, which occurs the moment any water gets exposed to air.

So just make sure that your water doesn’t go below 6.5 or past 8. You can do this by frequently performing pH tests on your tank water using test strips. These strips are available as well as affordable, can save your fish’s life.

Take note that the pH levels in your water will inevitably rise because of debris, poop, and uneaten food in the tank. And the smaller your tank, the quicker the water parameters will fluctuate. This is why water cleanings and changes are so crucial.

Changing Betta Fish Water- The Best Practice

Always ensure to limit drastic water changes when it comes to the pH and temperature.

This is because your betta fish will always need to get accustomed to the new water after a change. Otherwise, they will get extremely stressed.

As such, cycling, acclimation, and partial water changes will come in handy when performing betta water changes because they help reduce your fish’s stress, which can be quite deadly if not controlled.

With this in mind, always perform a 20-30% partial water change once (or twice) a week in evenly spaced intervals. The percentage to change depends on whether or not the water has gotten filtered, as well as your tank size. But for deeper cleanings, go for a full water change.

Deeper cleanings get rid of disease-causing organisms, debris and algae buildup. Combining partial water changes and deeper cleaning will keep your tank parameters as consistent as possible. Mind you, consistency in parameters goes a long way in lessening the stress levels of betta fish.

If you possess an unfiltered tank, you may need to closely monitor it since its nitrogen cycles will be extremely challenging to regulate.

Use a Stress Coat Addictive to Protect Fish

While buying a water conditioner, you’re likely to come across a complimentary product known as a stress coat addictive. ‘

This product treats fish by replacing their bodies’ slime coats. Interestingly, a fish’s slime coat protects it from disease and helps in keeping it healthy. Therefore, it’s worthwhile to invest in a stress coat addictive for your betta fish, especially when performing tank water changes.

Adding it to your tank will also keep bettas free from stress.

Final Thoughts on Betta Fish Water

Many people often confuse the conditions required for betta fish because they survive in extremely harsh conditions in the wild.

Even so, these beautiful fishes are so sensitive to contaminants. So don’t assume they can tolerate anything just because they seem to live happily in small containers in the pet store.

Luckily, betta fish keepers have a myriad of options when it comes to the water to use. All you need to do is avoid any untested water.


This is George, the Aquaman, editor at AquaMantra. I'm a water quality analyst by profession, and used to work at one of the largest water bottler company.
  1. Is it okay to use tap water for a betta fish ?

    1. avatar

      Yes, its is ok to use tap water for your betta fish, but you need to use a water conditioner or let the water stay overnight, so the chlorine can evaporate.

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