Best Water for Betta Fish: The Ultimate Guide

best water for betta fish
betta fish in aquarium water

Optimal Water Parameters for Betta Fish

Water is perhaps the most important thing to consider for the health and happiness of your Betta Fish. For this reason, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with what your Betta Fish aquarium water needs and how to measure, correct, and clean the water in your Betta Fish Tank.

pH Level

Betta Fish are considered a hardy species of fish. They are able to tolerate a wider range of pH levels than other species of fish. However, there is a preferred level. The pH of the water measures the hardness of the water.

Betta Fish are happiest and most comfortable when their water parameters reflect their natural habitat in the rice paddies of Thailand. Their pH needs to remain in the 6.5 to 8 pH range. It is possible that they  can survive a slightly higher pH up to 9, but only if it is raised gradually and not all at once.

It is important to note that the pH of the water will change as the fish poops, and leaves behind food debris. In a much smaller tank, the water pH will fluctuate more quickly and require more frequent water checks and changes.

Owners of Bettas suggest using Indian Almond leaves to your Betta’s tank to not only help lower the pH, but help prevent your fish from infections. Test strips can be purchased from  a pet store or online to help you keep a close eye on the water parameters of your Betta Fish tank. Test strips are fairly inexpensive, and will quickly provide you with an accurate reading of your Betta Fish tank water parameters.

gH Level

The gH level of the water refers to the general hardness of it. The hardness of the water refers to the amount of dissolved minerals in the water. The more dissolved minerals, the harder the water. If the water does not contain a lot of dissolved minerals, it is referred to as soft. Betta Fish do best in water that has a lower gH of around 3 to 4. Higher gH can be harmful to Betta Fish.

kH Level

The kH of the water measures buffers in your water. For this measurement, the buffers are carbonates and bicarbonates in the water. The kH of the water directly affects the pH. Carbonates and bicarbonates help neutralize the acids in the water and keep the pH from fluctuating too much. A higher kH is great for your Betta tank, and great for aquarium plants.

Alkalinity Level

The alkalinity level of the water refers to the sum of all of the buffers in your water that help keep the pH level of the aquarium from fluctuating rapidly. The alkalinity of the water needs to be low for it to be effective, and alkalinity should be corrected before the pH of the water as they directly affect one another.

Ammonia Level

There are some fish that can tolerate levels of ammonia, but the Betta Fish is not one of them. It is recommended that their ammonia levels as well as their nitrate levels are kept at or as close to 0 ppm, or parts per million. When ammonia levels get too high, your fish are in danger. Beneficial bacteria can help the nitrogen cycle by breaking down nitrates and ammonias to safe levels.

Water Temperature

Betta Fish prefer warmer waters, and they prefer to be kept at a temperature in the range of 75 to 80F. This may require you to purchase a heater to keep their water level at a constant comfortable temperature. Betta Fish do not do well in colder water, and if it dips too low, they will die.

What is the Best Water Test Kit for Betta Fish?

Keepers of Betta Fish and other species of fish often suggest that the API Freshwater Master Test Kit is perhaps the best water test kit that is available for purchase due to the ease of use of the product as well as the different parameters that the test covers.

API Freshwater Master Test Kit

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The API Freshwater Master Test Kit is fast and accurate. It tests the water for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, and pH. With easy to understand directions, checking your water parameters is easy. Establishing a routine and monitoring your Betta Fish tank water parameters frequently will help you maintain the correct levels for your Betta Fish to keep them happy and healthy.

API 5-in-1 Test Strips

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API 5-in-1 Test Strips are an even easier way to check your water parameters. You simply take one of the strips, dip it into your water, and wait for the results. These strips can be helpful as they test nitrites, nitrates, pH, carbonate, and the general hardness of the water. This makes it easier to check and correct any issues with your Betta Fish water before it can harm your fish.

What is the Best Water for Betta Fish?

Believe it or not, there are many different types of water that you can use for your Betta Fish. There are advantages to each type of water available for Betta Fish, and you should get to know the difference in each water source before you make a decision.

Preconditioned Betta Water

Preconditioned Betta-specific water is water that is already made safe for a Betta Fish aquarium. There is no preparation involved when you use preconditioned water, you just purchase it and pour it into your tank. This is a great choice for people who need correct water for your Betta Fish but you are lacking the time or resources to create Betta safe water on your own. Purchasing preconditioned water can be expensive to use, but it is extremely convenient.

API Betta Water

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API Betta Water is aquarium water that is already balanced and ready to use. It comes free of all things harmful to your Betta Fish, and without adding anything to it, or testing it, the water is ready to pour into your Betta Tank. You can use this water during water changes, or to set up a new tank for your Betta that is ready instantly without waiting for the water to cycle.

Activ-Betta by Nature’s Ocean, Instant Water for Betta

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Activ-Betta Instant Water is a great choice as it comes in a convenient gallon sized jug. It contains live denitrifying bacteria that help keep your tank water clean. It is hailed as an instant water change solution that is ready for your fish when you need it. This product is perfect for freshwater fish aquariums. You can even set up a new aquarium by just pouring it into your tank and adding your fish.

Activ-Betta Worldwide Imports Bio-Activ Live Aqueous Solution

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Activ-Betta Worldwide Imports Bio-Activ Live Aqueous Solution is another great choice for those who wish to use preconditioned Betta Fish water. This preconditioned water also includes denitrifying bacteria that help keep your Betta water perfect for your fish, and is great for smaller Betta Fish aquariums as the water can fluctuate quickly in a smaller space.

Tap Water

Tap water is water that comes straight from your faucet. Tap water’s parameters can vary depending on how the water is treated and made fit for consumption as well as the geographical location of your water supply.

Is Tap Water Good for Betta Fish?

Tap water typically does have the correct pH for Betta Fish, but is not safe for Betta Fish as it is straight from the faucet. However, it can be made safe for Bettas with some conditioning and time. Tap water contains chlorine and chloramine which are harmful to Betta Fish, but tap water can also contain beneficial minerals. Once the water is treated and the harmful chemicals removed, tap water can be a great choice for your Betta Fish with just a little more work. It is also slightly more cost effective than purchasing preconditioned water.

How to Treat Tap Water for Betta Fish

If you are planning on using tap water in your Betta Fish aquarium, you will need to test the parameters of your tap water first. It is important to know these before you treat the water and add your Betta Fish. Tap water will mostly be the correct pH, but it also contains disinfectants that are safe for humans, but harmful to fish.

You can treat your tap water and make it Betta Fish safe by purchasing and adding the water dechlorinator of your choice to the tap water. Once you have added your dechlorinator you will want to test your water again before adding your fish.

How to Dechlorinate Water for Betta Fish

Treating water to make it safe for Betta Fish is not as difficult as it may sound. You simply need to purchase a dechlorinator for your tap water, and follow the directions to use. Adding dechlorinator to your tap water will eliminate both chlorine and chloramine from your water and make it safe for your Betta. An important note about dechlorinators to keep in mind is that they will rid your water of the harmful chemicals, but it will not correct the pH of the water. It is also important to test the water after you have used your dechlorinator to make sure that the water is safe to use.

What is the Best Water Conditioner for Betta Fish?

There are many different types of water conditioners on the market for Bettas and other aquarium fish, but perhaps the best water conditioner available for purchase is Seachem Prime. Not only does it dechlorinate the water, but it also removes harmful nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia from the water.

Seachem Prime

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Seachem Prime is described as the best water conditioner on the market for treating tap water to make it safe for use in aquariums. Seachem Prime helps condition tap water by removing harmful chemicals like chlorine and chloramine, as well as toxic ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites. It is easy to use and fairly cost effective in comparison to preconditioned water.

Tetra Aquasafe Plus

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Tetra Aquasafe Plus is another great product used in making tap water safe for use in aquariums. It also contains helpful seaweed extracts that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria in your tank. This added ingredient can help the levels of beneficial bacteria increase, which in turn, will help keep your water clear and clean for your fish.

API Stress Coat

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Another choice in water conditioning products for your Betta Fish is API Stress Coat. It not only dechlorinates your water, it can also be used to help nurse sick or injured fish back to health. It does this by helping strengthen the slime coat of your Betta fish. The slime coat is the coating that is on the skin of the fish. A healthy slime coat in a fish can prevent the fish from becoming infected by bacterial and fungal parasites. This added feature is not standard in water conditioners, and can prove to be incredibly helpful for use in the home aquarium as injuries and illness can potentially occur in any aquarium. API Stress Coat works almost instantly, and you can add your fish without worry. However, it is important to know that this product does nothing to help establish a brand new tank.

Does Tap Water Need to be Left Out Overnight?

Tap water used to contain chlorine, a chemical disinfectant used to make public water safe to use. Tap water used to be left out for the chlorine to evaporate from it. With time, and a few stirs it would eventually become chlorine free. Presently, a chemical disinfectant called Chloramine is used to make public water safe to use. Chloramine is a mixture of ammonia and chlorine. These two chemicals bind together and it keeps it from evaporating from the water. Leaving tap water out overnight will not make it safe for use in your fish tank. It will still need to be treated before use.

Purified Water

Purified water is water that has been filtered until it is free of chemicals and contaminants.

Is Purified Water Good for Betta Fish?

Purified water itself is not harmful to your Betta Fish, and it can be used in your aquarium without issue. However, even though it does not contain anything harmful to your fish, it does not contain anything helpful. If you are using purified water in your Betta Fish tank, you will also need to make sure that you are adding it to an already established tank where its lack of minerals and bacteria aren’t an issue.

Bottled Water

Bottled water is exactly what it sounds like. Water that is sold in plastic bottles that has been made fit for human consumption. Just like with water from your tap, bottled water may be fit for human consumption, but it may not be safe for your fish. Bottled water could have added minerals that are harmful to your fish, or just simply be lacking some of the beneficial minerals that your Betta Fish needs. Bottled water will need the same treatment as tap water, but in the end it can actually end up being much more costly. Not all bottled waters are created equal and some bottled waters such as Fiji Water are a better bottled water choice.

Can I Use Bottled Water for Betta Fish?

Bottled water can be used for your Betta Fish, but you will have to approach your use of bottled water much like you would regular tap water. Bottled water that is sold in stores can vary wildly on what it contains. Since bottled water is just filtered tap or well water, you will want to test it before you ever consider adding it to your aquarium. Once you have tested your bottled water, you can determine what type of water conditioner to use before you add it to your aquarium.

Spring Water

Spring water is water that comes from an underground source. To be classified as natural spring water, the water has to rise to the surface by itself. Once the water is collected it is run through several filtration systems to make sure that it is fit for human consumption.

Is Spring Water Good for Betta Fish?

Spring water can be a great, although more costly, choice for your Betta Fish tank. Spring water comes from natural water underground that rises to the surface. It is then collected and run through several filtration systems before it is bottled and sold. Spring water can contain beneficial minerals for your Betta as well as lack the harmful chemicals of tap water, and will most likely have an adequate pH level. Even though this water can be a great choice, you still need to test the water with a reliable testing strip or kit to make sure.

Does Spring Water Need to be Conditioned for Betta Fish?

Once it is tested and you have determined what is in your spring water, you can then decide what it needs before you use it. Typically, spring water is considered safe for Betta Fish as is, but you will want to make sure that the pH level is correct before you add it into your aquarium. Spring water, in most cases, does not contain harmful chemicals like chlorine or chloramine, but it has not been filtered to remove beneficial minerals.

Distilled Water

Distilled water is created by collecting steam from boiling water. This process of distillation removes salts, minerals, and other materials from water. Distilled water is not safe for use in an aquarium as it lacks the beneficial bacteria that help control the pH level of the water. Bettas placed in distilled water will not thrive, or live a long life. Distilled water can be made safe for Bettas, but you will need to add in nutrients and minerals to stabilize.

Reverse Osmosis Water

Reverse Osmosis water is water that has been filtered through a synthetic lining to ensure that the water is free of contaminants such as salt, bacteria, minerals, microorganisms, and sediment. This process leaves behind pure water. Reverse osmosis water can be a good choice as you know it is free from harmful substances, but you will also need to add back in the beneficial bacteria and minerals before you add it to your tank.

Mineral Water

Mineral water is water that comes from a mineral spring underground. This water contains various minerals such as sulfur and salt. Mineral water is typically free from chemicals and contaminants, so it is safe to use as long as you test it. It is important to test any water that you are planning on using in your Betta Fish tank.

Well Water

Well water comes from a hole that dug deep in the ground. Some houses have access to this well water. Even though well water is free from the chlorine or chloramine of city water, it can still contain heavy metals like copper. Well water can even contain traces of some pesticides and fertilizers that are used heavily and sink deep into the soil. Well water can be used, but it must be tested so you know exactly what you have in your well water and how to treat it to make it safe for your Betta Fish. 


Rainwater is exactly as it sounds, and is water that falls from the sky while it rains. Like with all other options for aquarium water, rainwater will need to be tested before use to ensure that the pH level, and mineral levels are not harmful to your fish. Rainwater is typically free of chemicals, but it may also lack important nutrients and minerals that your fish need to be healthy.

How to do a Water Change for Betta Fish?

Establishing a regular water changing schedule is a must for the health and happiness of your fish as well as the water quality. Regular water changes can help keep the pH of the water at the correct level as well as helping oxygenate the water. Betta Fish water should be changed roughly every week for small tanks.

Performing water changes for your Betta Fish tank is fairly simple. If you have already established a regular cleaning schedule, you can do just a partial water change by removing about 25% of the water in the tank and slowly adding in your water of choice. You want to add your new water into the tank slowly so as to not disturb your fish.

If you have not established a regular cleaning schedule or have waited a long time in between cleanings, you may want to remove a larger amount of water or all water in your aquarium. Remember to test your water, and make sure that it is safe before you add your Betta Fish back into it.

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