Betta Display, originally uploaded by Joseph Hoetzl.

AK wrote,

Hey there, Just stumbled across your website and i think its great. I am a first time owner and am so excited. We named him Jean-Michel, after the famous eighties art star:) So we did decide to go with a 1 gal. bowl. I understand that is a little small now and will be changing soon, but for now I wanted to know if there are any recommendations for keeping the bowl heated? The water reads at about 75, but if the whether cools off… I will be going to get a pH kit this week too. Thanks for the site.

A: Thanks for writing in and congratulations on your first Betta fish. Small fish bowls can be pretty difficult to maintain a stable, warm temperature. As you mentioned, the best way to keep the temperature stable is to increase the water volume, which will slow the rate that the temperature fluctuates. In the meantime I recommend placing the bowl in a warm location away from drafts. I have heard some people keep their bowls on top of the refrigerator or in the bathroom. Unfortunately there are no aquarium heaters made for bowls as small as one gallon and placing small bowls on a reptile mat or heating pad can quickly cause the heat to raise to unsafe levels. If you can move him to a larger container between 2 and 5 gallons then you open up other options like a mini heater.

One common mistake aquarists make when heating small bowls is to use a lamp light to warm the water. This method creates several dangers including raising the temperature too quickly, too high, and creating drastic, dangerous fluctuations when the light is turned off at night.

While not ideal, it will be better for your fish to be kept at a slightly cooler temperature that is stable then one that is warmer but fluctuates.

Photo of Jean-Michael provided by AK.

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Reader Interactions


  1. AB says:

    I just bought two Bettas. I am worried of the water heating situation. Are there any mini heating mats available for small bowls?

    • Elise says:

      You can check Amazon.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I wrap my 2L bowl in christmas lights most of the time and it keeps the water at 75. It goes down to about 70 at night sometimes, but Mr. Wiggles is happily blowing a bubble nest right now, so I think he’s ok. He also thinks the white christmas lights are pretty. And the more plants the better as he wiggles in between the leaves and pretends he’s in a rice paddy.

  3. Elise says:

    Yeah, I used Christmas lights to keep my betta bowl warm once. It worked, but I’m afraid the lights will blind him or something. But since nobody told Anonymous up there that it was dangerous, I’ll keep at it. But at the moment he temp. Is ok because I just changed my water. Cheers

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