Their flashy colors, long fins, and iridescent scales make the Betta fish extremely popular.
Due to extensive interbreeding, they are cheap and easily available.
While you may be able to get the betta fish itself for as low as $2, the overall cost of keeping fish (with the right food and equipment) is way higher.
In this article, I will give you a break up of all the essential and non-essential costs of keeping a betta in your home aquarium.
How Much Does a Betta Fish Cost?
The average cost of Betta fish can be as low as $2. It could be higher if you buy it from a betta breeder (where you end up getting a healthy fish that lives longer)
That’s good news for amateur hobbyists since they don’t have to break the bank. But it’s bad news for the Betta fish.
At $2, the fish owner may not perceive them to be valuable.
Yet, these animals deserve as much care and attention as any other living being.
Not helping their case are the myriad of misconceptions that make life difficult for Bettas.
The worst of these is a dangerous urban legend is that Bettas can comfortably live in bowls. It’s true that Bettas are hardy creatures, but a bowl is no place to call home.
Betta fish are fun little goofballs, but taking care of them is hard work. Proper betta fish care includes providing a safe, cozy tank.
They need regular attention to keep them healthy, happy, and safe. All of these ongoing costs will add up over time.
It is important to research the expenses before purchasing betta fish to ensure affordability.
Most Betta fish can live for over two years – and you’ll have to stay committed.
So how much does a Betta fish cost? Let’s take an in-depth look at all the things you’ll need to care for bettas.
Overall Cost of Owning a Betta Fish
The costs below are an approximation, and the actual cost may be a little lower or higher than the mentioned cost.
|Tank stand (Optional)||$50|
|Toys for betta fish (Optional)||$50|
|Diet (per year)||$520|
|The total cost of owning a betta fish||Approximately: $815+|
Cost of Betta Fish
As mentioned earlier, the prices for Betta fish start at $2.
Depending on the species, you may end up spending over $40. The final amount depends on the rarity of the species.
Most owners will spend around $10 from a local pet store.
Cost of Betta Fish Tank
The size of the aquarium will dictate the prices you’ll have to pay. Some owners end up buying a small fishbowl for only $30.
This is a dangerous mistake that could harm your betta fish. Instead, you should buy a tank with a volume of 5 gallons at least.
Do not keep your betta in a bowl. They won’t survive long if you do.
Betta fish love the extra space and will be healthier when they get it. They appreciate lots of hiding space.
When buying a tank for a betta, bigger is always better. You can choose from many types of aquariums on the market.
This ultimately depends on your budget and space. On average, the price of a 5-gallon tank will set you back around $50.
If you plan to keep multiple bettas together or keep betta with other fish, I recommend you go for an even bigger tank.
Also read: How to Setup a Betta Fish Tank?
Cost of Filter
Your Betta fish will need a filter. Betta fish mostly come from slow-moving streams.
Make sure your filter mimics their natural habitat. Some experts on Betta fish recommend adding a canister filter in the tank.
The filters are quieter and more efficient than other filters on the market. The price of a filter varies from $5 to $150 and above.
An external canister filter can cost $50.
Cost of Substrate
The best substrate for Betta tanks is gravel for low maintenance.
Sand is the second-best option, but it requires raking every now and then. Marble isn’t a great choice because it can trap betta debris and requires cleaning.
The gravel will cost you anywhere from $5 to $50, depending on the tank size.
Gravel is very important for the tank’s biological cycle. It also provides stability to plants (real and fake), as well as toys.
On average, a single packet of gravel can cost $20 (for a large tank).
Two to four packets may be required for a modest Betta aquarium.
For plants, you should have at least 2” worth of gravel for them to root.
Cost of Betta Toys
Betta fish are intelligent and playful creatures and like to stay engaged. Toys are a great way to keep them entertained.
The best betta fish toys cost between $5 to $50.
It is worth noting that toys are not necessary to keep Betta fish healthy. But they do play a role in keeping them happy.
Also note, they account for a one-time cost and only require occasional maintenance.
For instance, this Avengers-themed fish log costs only $12 (based on retailer prices).
Cost of Betta Plants
The average price of live plants for betta will set you back anywhere from $15-$40.
Your Betta fish needs the occasional place to hide and play around. And what better place to hide than plants?
You can choose from a large variety of plants to include in your aquarium. The most popular seems to be moss balls.
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of live plants, choose faux plants.
Just make sure the fake plant does not have sharp edges.
Bettas are fragile creatures and easy to tear. For the most part, stick to either live or silk plants.
Here are a few recommendations for betta fish plants:
Amazon sword: They grow nearly 3 feet tall, so you’ll have to cut them down to size. They’re better suited for 10-gallon tanks.
Java fern: The defacto choice for betta fish tanks. Java ferns are easy to grow and do well in low lighting. Moreover, they have a slow growth rate, so you won’t have to cut them often.
Java moss: These popular freshwater plants are hardy and easy to care for. They’re visually stunning to look at and perfect for beginners. Java moss do get a bit dense and untidy, so you’ll have to do regular maintenance.
Anacharis: These plants grow very fast and can curb the growth of algae. Dense plants act as great hiding places for Betta fish to rest or sleep. The Anacharis plant also acts as an ideal location for invertebrates to call home.
Décor and Aquaspacing
How you decorate your aquarium depends on your taste and budget. However, try to opt for minimalist design concepts.
They’re least obtrusive to your Betta, are visually appealing, and are affordable.
Other than including plants and rocks, you should include different shapes and formations. Aquaspacing can be cheap, or it can be expensive.
This ultimately depends on the items that you buy.
Also read: Best Decorations for Betta Fish Tank (Betta Tank Decor)
Cost of Lighting for Betta Fish Tank
Most aquariums come with inbuilt lighting. If your aquarium doesn’t come with its own lighting, you’ll need to purchase them separately.
A single LED light (blue or white) is enough to get the job done. Do not add too much light because it may cause stress to the Betta fish.
Also, excessive light will cause algae to grow and upset the biological cycle.
In general, a single LED bulb is enough to establish the day/night cycle for them.
Also read: Do Betta Fish Need Darkness to Sleep?
If the ambient air does not provide the ideal temperature, you’ll have to make arrangements.
This is where a heater comes in. Betta fish thrive best in temperatures of between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Also, buy a thermometer to monitor the temperature.
Don’t let the water get too cold or hot. This will increase your Betta’s chance of contracting an illness or disease.
Heaters are mostly recommended for tanks that are larger than 5 gallons.
Betta fish enjoy a varied diet. This will be an ongoing expense that will quickly rack up depending on their appetite.
The good news is that betta fish aren’t big. This will cost you as much as owning a regular dog or cat.
However, if you choose to opt for live fish – that will cost you.
Here are a few examples:
If your Betta fish fall ill, you’ll have to purchase medication. You must consider these costs before buying them.
These expenses mostly depend on the diseases and pests your betta fish is dealing with.
In some cases, you could treat your betta fish yourself. For example, you can raise the temperature to treat Ich.
You can also move the fish to a quarantine tank and raise its temperature.
However, this means buying a quarantine tank. And that is a separate cost of its own with all the associated items included.
Betta fish are known to be fiercely aggressive against their own kind. However, they do live peacefully with other tank mates.
Depending on your Betta’s personality, you might want to introduce other compatible tank mates.
Just make sure the aquarium is at least 10 to 20 gallons. It should provide plenty of space.
Here are a few tank mates you can buy:
- Kuhli loaches: They lurk at the bottom and rarely make it to the surface. This makes them perfect tank mates for betta fish.
- Albino Cory: Another bottom dweller that will mostly stay out of your Betta’s territory.
- Tetras: Tetras are small species that pose no threat to bettas. They will mostly stay out of the Betta’s way.
- Nerite snail: This snail is an excellent option because it’s active at night when bettas are asleep. Moreover, it cleans the tank. Come daytime, and it will hide under the sediment, out of sight and out of mind.
The cost of tank mates depends on their availability and rarity.
If they’re super rare, expect to shell out over $100 (or even $1000+). This one’s entirely up to you.
Note that the above does not include the cost of ongoing energy bills.
Caring for Betta fish is every bit as rewarding as it is challenging. Be sure to pick one up and create a setup based on your budget.
Our recommendation is to invest in a large tank and filter. This provides your Betta with a lot of moving space to swim around and exercise.
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