What Kind of Water Do Betta Fish Need?

If you are a new fish keeper, you should know that all fish species have specific living requirements.

This includes particular water conditions to remain active and healthy.

Just like this, Betta fish are incredibly sensitive in terms of the water quality in their living space.

Hence, you must provide them with exactly the kind of water they need.

Let’s discuss everything you need to understand about what type of water your Betta fish needs.

We’ll also discuss how you can keep your Betta fish happy in its very own fish tank.

Water Sources & their Impact on Betta Fish

Even though all kinds of water look the same, several sources of water impact your Betta fish differently.

Water drawn from different sources is not the same. This is why you should understand the correct type of water your Betta fish needs.

A wrong decision in choosing a water source or carelessness in maintaining water quality could end up poisoning your Betta fish.

Water Type for BettaCan it Be Used?
Tap WaterYes, but you need to condition it to remove chlorine and chloramine
Distilled WaterNo, don’t use distilled water for Betta
Betta WaterYes, but it is expensive. Recommended for new Betta owners
Rain WaterYes, rain water can be used for Betta. Best to mix it with conditioned tap water
Bottled Spring WaterYes, but make sure to check the pH before using it for Betta

So, let’s explore the different water sources available:

Tap Water (Needs Conditioning)

Water that comes straight from the tap is perhaps the most commonly chosen water source by inexperienced fish owners.

Even though the water is safe for us to use, you must never use unconditioned tap water for your Betta fish tank.

Why is Tap Water unsafe for Betta fish?

The water that flows through your taps is chemically treated to eradicate any bacteria.

These chemicals make the water safe for us to drink, bathe, wash dishes, clothes, etc.

Unfortunately, this chemical treatment includes chlorine and chloramine – both are poisonous for Betta fish.

Dealing with Chlorine & Chloramine

Chlorine is a commonly used chemical substance used by water companies and pool owners to disinfect water.

To make chlorinated tap water safe for your Betta fish, allow the chlorinated water to stand still for at least 24 hours in a bucket.

The process allows the chlorine to evaporate. This leaves you with a bucket of water that is safe for your Betta fish.

However, local water companies have recently started using another chemical known as chloramine to replace chlorine in the water supply.

Chloramine is another disinfectant substance made with chlorine and ammonia.

The problem arises with the use of chloramine because it is not possible to have it evaporate by leaving the water to condition.

Chloramine does not behave like chlorine due to the presence of ammonia molecules.

These stop chlorine molecules from evaporating. Even though this is great for killing the bacteria in the water, it is not safe for Betta fish.

Condition Tap Water Before Using in Betta Tank

If you want to use tap water for your Betta fish tank, it is essential for you to go through a conditioning process.

Tap water conditioning includes using different chemical neutralizing substances.

These balance out the chlorine and chloramine found in tap water, making it safe for your Betta fish.

Tap Water Conditioner

You can opt for a tap water conditioner as it can neutralize the chlorine in the water.

API Tap Water Conditioner, 32-Ounce

However, it is not useful if your tap water contains chloramine.

Chloramine Neutralizer

Chloramine neutralizers can help neutralize the chloramine found in your tap water to make it safe for a fish tank.

API POND CHLORINE & HEAVY METAL NEUTRALIZER Pond Water Neutralizer 16-Ounce Bottle, White (141B)

These particular conditioners deal with ammonia, heavy metals, and chlorine.

Neutralizers offer a complete solution for your tap water conditioning needs.

By using a good-quality chloramine neutralizer, you can convert the ammonia to ammonium. The latter is harmless for Betta fish.

Once you’ve treated your tap water, it is ready to use for your Betta fish tank.

Other than the problem involving chemical additives, tap water is pretty cheap and readily available.

It also contains nutrients and minerals that Betta fish need to be healthy. Therefore, tap water is a good choice only if you thoroughly condition it.

Distilled Water (Lacks Minerals, Don’t Use)

Distilled water is a particular type of water specially processed to remove any nutrients, minerals, or chemicals it may have.

As a result, you are only left with absolutely pure water.

Although this sounds great, and purified water is beneficial for several purposes, it is not a good option for your Betta fish tank.

If you provide your Betta fish with a tank full of distilled water, your Betta will not remain healthy and could even die.

The nutrients, minerals, and chemicals found in natural water other than chlorine and chloramine are important for your Betta fish’s survival.

This is why distilled water is not the way to go unless you manually add minerals, nutrients, and pH-balancing chemicals to it.

Betta Water (Expensive Option)

Several fish and pet stores sell Betta-specific water, claiming to be specifically for a Betta fish tank.

API Betta Water Betta Fish Freshwater Aquarium Ready to Use Water, No Aquarium Water Conditioner Needed, 31-Ounce Bottle

That particular bottle of Betta water is preconditioned to make a perfect environment for your Betta fish.

Essentially, all harmful chemicals and heavy metals are treated, while the pH level is maintained for the Betta fish.

However, Betta-specific water is not cost-effective.

Even though it provides your Betta fish with the perfect habitat, it will cost you more than treating tap water yourself.

This is especially true if you have a larger tank. If you have a small Betta fish tank, you can purchase bottled Betta water from a pet store for your convenience.

Otherwise, it will be pretty expensive to purchase bottled Betta water for a larger fish tank.

If you’re a new betta fish owner, you can go with Betta Water, while you get used to having a betta fish and taking care of it. As you get more experience with betta, you can switch to tap water (after properly conditioning it)

Rainwater (Can be Used)

If you live in an area where you have the chance to collect rainwater, it might make you wonder if you can use it for your Betta fish tank.

It is true that rainwater is natural and does not contain any chemicals.

However, there are a few things you should know before you use rainwater for your Betta fish’s habitat.

Rainwater may not contain pollutants, but that solely depends on where you live. If you are in the United States, then rainwater is mostly clean to use.

Moreover, rainwater is known to be acidic because it does not contain any chemicals to balance the pH level.

In the wild, Betta fish typically live at a pH level of 5 or less. By that theory, your Betta fish can survive in pure rainwater.

Additionally, you can mix rainwater with at least 20% of treated tap water to balance out the pH level if it drops too low.

Adding a small percentage of treated tap water will give this water mixture a buffering capacity in order to maintain the pH level.

For your Betta fish, try to keep the pH level between 6.5 to 7.5. You can experiment by using 25 percent rainwater and 75% tap water to monitor the pH level changes.

You can increase or decrease the amount of pure rainwater depending on how the pH level balances.

Springwater (Can be Used)

Bottled spring water can be a luxury treatment for your Betta fish.

If you want to use spring water for your Betta fish tank, you can go for this option.

Springwater is safe for your Betta fish because it does not contain chemicals or chlorine and has healthy mineral content.

However, before you expose your Betta fish to spring water, make sure you check the pH levels to be around 6.5 to 7.5.

Even though bottled water is a great alternative to treated tap water to use for your Betta fish tank, it can be pretty expensive.

Note: You can only use the normal kind of spring water, not the sparkling or carbonated one.

Understanding pH Levels for Betta Fish Tank

Knowing your water tank’s pH level is essential, especially if you want to keep fish as pets.

Balancing the pH level is a crucial aspect of maintaining a Betta fish tank. This is why you should invest in a PH Measuring scale right away.

A Betta fish needs a pH level of at least 6.5 to 8 to survive. Bettas can even tolerate acidic water, but it is best to help them thrive in the water close to 6.5 to 7.5.

It is imperative you test your fish tank before you put your Betta fish in.

If needed, you can always invest in a pH level buffer, which is a chemical that allows you to balance out the levels in the water.

The Bottom Line

It is crucial for you to remember that Betta fish cannot survive in water with chemicals such as chlorine, ammonia, and chloramine.

The pH level needs to be around 6.5 to 7.5, along with healthy minerals and nutrients.

Tap water is a readily available option, only if you are willing to put in the work to treat it properly.

If you feel you may not be able to check off each of these items on your list, it may be a good idea for you to invest in specially prepared Betta water to keep your pet happy.

Other articles you may also like: