How much space does a Betta require? This has been a discussion for years.. People have suggested everything from a bowl to 15 gallons, so what is the answer? The quick answer is YES… It’s what you feel is adequate. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and their feelings, they are all as valid as our own and should be respected, but if you want to know the true facts, I would be happy to share my research. But please understand that their is a difference between facts, opinions and emotions.
I’ve studied Betta fish for over ten years and I can comfortably say I have the factual answer to this question I don’t think that anyone would disagree that the only way to answer this question is to go to where and how a Betta chooses to live in the wild, in their natural habitat.
Even though Betta’s have a wide body of water to live and swim, its natural choice is tiny, small, still bodies of water for protection and breeding. When Betta fish are harvested they are found in small, shallow areas of still water, areas that are about ankle deep resting on the blades of grass or in the pockets of watery plants where the leaf leaves the stem, barely large enough to put your hand in. They are by themselves, they are loners and very territorial and will defend there area most times to the death. Betta’s by nature are not big swimmers or swim in schools of fish, they are not social.
It would be very difficult for any fish to survive in places where Betta’s choose to live. By living in tiny, shallow still waters, the oxygen levels can be dangerously low and can suffocate many fish, but because of it’s evolution to adopt to these conditions Betta’s developed a labyrinth organ that gives them the ability to take oxygen directly from the air instead of taking air from the water.
When a male Betta is ready to reproduce, it builds what’s called a bubble nest. A bubble nest needs still water, otherwise it would break up and there would be no place to put their eggs and without a bubble nest the eggs would probably not hatch. The reason why a male Betta blows a bubble nest is to create an environment that is low in oxygen to artificially create oxygen so that its babies can live.
Not all animals require large spaces: look at the clown fish, otherwise known as Nemo from the Disney movie. The clown fish lives in the ocean and has all the real estate it can see, but it chooses and spend most of its life in about a one and a half foot diameter area in an anemone.
I’ve spoken with breeders, importers, Aquatic store owners and they all agreed that a Betta’s natural selection is small, still environments by themselves. when I presented this evidence to the biologist of one of the worlds largest pet protection activists in the world, he said ” they naturally require little space… In this regard keeping Betta’s in small tanks is justified” As a test I put four Betta’s in one gallon jugs of water, within a few days three out of four found the handle and spent most of their time in the handle.. They didn’t even use the gallon of water. Pet stores house Betta’s alone in bowls with no heaters, no pumps, no filters, changing their water about once a week. They even sell Betta hammocks for the Betta’s to rest on.
Aquablock has sold 10’s of thousands of Betta tanks and found they live on average 3-5 years and in some cases longer, which is similar from talks and studies of hobbyists placing them in larger tanks.
Betta fish choose to live in areas that we might find claustrophobic, small and tiny, but this is what they naturally seek out and choose to live. So the answer is YES, they can live happily in bowls or in larger tanks with the proper care.
To learn more please go to Amazonas Betta’s in the wild.