Any animal lover is familiar with that electric sensation of walking into a pet store and being greeted by a kaleidoscope of color as they pass the betta display. Betta fish are some of the most common, easy-to-care-for pets available on the market today.
They are hearty, and their demands are easy to understand. Ensuring that your betta is provided with an appropriate water temperature is a simple goal to reach.
One of the most important elements of caring for any fish is the temperature of the water in your fish tank. Recommended temperatures are based on the habitats in which each fish species is found in the wild.
Bettas are no different than any other pet fish. They require a specific range of water temperature. To provide your betta with the optimal level of care, fish keepers caring for bettas should strive to maintain an ideal fish tank temperature between 75 °F and 80 °F, or 23 °C to 26 °C.
Betta fish hail from Asia, and are primarily found in Thailand and Vietnam. This region boasts a subtropical climate and has three general seasons: a hot season, a cool season, and a wet season.
Bettas, being the resilient fish they are, survive all three seasons successfully, but struggle through the hot season, with temperatures rising at times to over 105 °F (40 °C). Temperatures during the cool season rarely drop below 70 °F, or 21 °C, although it does occur.
In 2019, bettas living in their natural habitat in Thailand adequately grappled with a record low of 60 °F (15 °C). Bettas battling moderate temperatures in the wild can search their homes in shallow ponds and rice paddies for locations in which the sunshine has warmed the water to more pleasant temperatures
One of the most important purchases you can make when it comes to preparing a tank for a new betta is the purchase of a good thermometer. Pet stores frequently carry tanks that come with accessories to aid shoppers with a quick betta setup.
Sometimes these pre-selected accessory packs have peel-and-stick tape thermometers meant to be applied to the outside of the tank. These thermometers are very helpful, as they allow for a glance at an approximate temperature.
Betta families may also opt to purchase affordable floating thermometers for the inside of the tank. For a reasonable price, these thermometers give very accurate readings and can even offer bettas additional enrichment.
If you are looking for a digital option, fish supply manufacturers make a wide variety of electric and battery-powered thermometers.
Betta keepers may be able to maintain comfortable tank temperatures between 75 °F and 80 °F without the aid of a heater. If your home does run cooler, or if you would like to keep your betta tank in an area of your home that may be near a window or a possible draft, you can purchase a heater for your tank.
Submersible tank heaters come in a wide range of sizes to accommodate any scale of tank. Many can be purchased for under fifteen dollars, and offer a reliable means of providing your betta with water temperatures that mimic those they would find in the wild during the most pleasant times of the year.
While the cool season temperatures in a betta’s natural environment infrequently slip below 70 °F, a brief power outage even amid a bitter winter will not endanger your betta. Betta keepers monitoring tank temperature will often keep water temperature readings around 78 °F or 25 °C.
If you experience a blackout while your tank heater has been maintaining this temperature your water will retain adequate warmth for some time. Even after your tank water has begun to cool, your betta will be healthy.
Remember that bettas can tolerate lower temperatures, although comfort will be compromised. The only instance in which your betta tank water may become too cold due to a power outage would be during an extended blackout in a cold climate.
Betta keepers in colder climates who find themselves suffering through extended periods of power loss can still provide their companions with warm water. If circumstances were to leave a betta keeper without access to electricity the tank could be moved to a location where it would be exposed to sunlight.
Full sunlight filtering through a window and into the tank could help elevate water temperature.
Bettas in the wild must tolerate the hot season that occurs in their region each year. In 2016, Thailand experienced one of the most brutal hot seasons on record, with temperatures rising to approximately 112 °F or 45 °C.
Bettas can cope with these conditions. In nature, bettas facing these extreme temperatures would spend their time looking for cooler, less sunny portions of the rice paddies and ponds in which they live.
Densely growing plants provide wild bettas with shady spots in which to hide from the sun. We typically would never permit our homes to become so overheated.
If your home is very warm during summer months, or if areas of the tank exposed to the sun become too hot, pet betta fish will search their tank for a comfortable location. Help your betta in this situation by turning off a heater or removing it completely if your home is very warm.
If you are caught off guard and are surprised to find that your tank temperature has become exceptionally high you can move a tank with an elevated temperature reading to a location away from direct sunlight. Even if your home isn’t particularly hot, bettas housed near windows may wish to escape the sun.
Hides within the tank, like a ceramic log, can give your betta the perfect place to seek out a dimmer spot to rest.
If opting to buy your betta and tank on the same day, you may find it difficult to immediately provide your new pet with a healthy water temperature. New betta keepers may want to plan out the process of bringing home their fish carefully.
The best option is always to purchase and set up a fish tank before coming home with your betta.
When preparing to adopt a fish, it is always best to cycle the tank before introducing the occupants. This would require the purchase and preparation of a tank before picking up your betta.
There are several benefits to cycling your tank before you introduce a betta.
Ensure the Filtration System Works
Setting up your betta’s tank completely and having it fully operational at least 24 hours before adding fish will allow you to monitor the functioning of a filter or heater. This cycling of the tank will also allow the good bacteria that live within a fish tank to begin to grow, ensuring that your betta will have a better chance of being provided with proper low ammonia and nitrate levels.
Optimize Tank Temperature
An exceptional benefit to cycling the tank at least 24 hours before introducing your betta is also the ability to confirm that the tank is at an appropriate temperature. If a new betta keeper opts to set up a fish tank on the same day of the betta’s purchase the temperature will need to be immediately assessed and perfected.
Your new betta will be depending on you to get her or him out of the transport bag or container as soon as possible. Arriving home without a tank set up will more likely than not result in a new betta keeper struggling to add additional tiny amounts of heated or cooled water to the tank to get things just right.
An early setup will allow your new betta friend to escape the transport environment more quickly and reduce the possibility of stress.
Even if your tank temperature is ideal, it is still good practice to acclimate any new fish to the water temperature of the tank. If you’ve brought your betta home in a plastic bag you can help your new friend grow accustomed to the temperature in the tank by floating the unopened bag at the top of the tank.
Leave the bag floating there for no less than fifteen minutes. The water within the bag will slowly level out to match the water temperature of the tank.
When you release your new friend, your betta will be comfortable. Bettas that come home in a small cup can be floated in the tank if the cup will allow, or new betta keepers can place the cup into a larger critter keeper or plastic container.
Fill the plastic container in part with some of the tank water. Wait fifteen minutes or more before slowly pouring the tank water back in followed gingerly by your new betta.
Betta fish are remarkable animals. They have been known to survive in environmental settings that would seriously challenge other commonly kept freshwater species.
They are curious about their surroundings, intelligent, and each boasts a unique personality. By ensuring that your betta tank water is around 78 °F, you are providing your aquatic buddy with a home that will add to her or his quality of life and overall health.