Q: JP wrote,

Hi Christie! I recently discovered you site and have a few questions…. A couple of days ago, I received a betta fish for a Christmas present. I am very excited, but want to make sure that I take good care of him. I got a small bowl with him… but its only 1 gallon… I know you said 2.5 was the smallest you would go. What do you think? Also I’m worried about temperature. Do they sell water heaters for small fish bowls? If you could answer my questions that would be great. Thank you!


Good for you for taking the time to research your new betta fish. This is the busiest time of year for me as I get tons of emails from new fish owners who have received a betta for the holidays.

To get to your question; it is difficult to keep a betta healthy in a small unfiltered and unheated bowl. Success is based more on luck and good genetics than anything else. Initially, keeping your betta in a small bowl may seem like the easiest thing to do but in actuality you are setting yourself up for difficulties from the beginning. Small volumes of water are unstable. They quickly fill with toxic ammonia from fish waste and the temperature in small bowls is especially erratic. Fish, more than anything, need a stable environment to thrive. A 1 gallon bowl needs constant attention, water changes and testing and even if you have the time to do the work it can still be impossible to keep stable.

I recommend doing it right from the beginning, which is really easier than you may think. There are lots of great starter aquariums available for not a lot of money. I recommend the small 5 gallon Aqueon Mini Bow or the 6 gallon Marineland Eclipse.

They are both sturdy desktop aquariums with an internal filter system, a light and a lid to keep in bettas which are notorious jumpers. Hope this is helpful and that you enjoy your new Betta. Happy holidays!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Insurance Telemarketing says:

    Thanks for he advice!!

  2. Hemdeep says:

    I’m sorry.. But I’ve had a betta that died a few days ago in the same fish tank for about 7 years! With nice furnishing and water changes, and it survived! But I have one question, if you cannot buy a water heater, then are you allowed to keep a heater where your fish is, just a few inches back, for the temperature to get up?

  3. Christie F. says:

    An aquarium heater would be recommended because it has an automatic temperature sensor allowing it to keep the temperature stable. If it is impossible for you to get an aquarium heater, then keeping the tank in a warm part of the house, like you described, would be better than leaving him in a cool place. Just make sure that he isn’t so close to the heater that you overheat him. A thermometer is very important. 🙂

  4. Angel says:

    I just got a Betta for Crhristmas. The tank though is a One Gallon Fish Bowl. I Just got her a logg, with plants decoration for fish tanks. I thought she might need a place to herself. I got her yesterday so today is her second day. The Fish Bowl has a light, I bought the thermometor, but I can’t put a heater in it. So what can I do to keep her as stable as I can? It says it’s in 74. 23 is that too low for them?
    I feed her those Betta Flakes. I have not given her any today because yesterday by accident I gave her too much, but then again she was eating her own poop when I first got her. So am I doing alright? I really want her to live as long as possible.

  5. Angel says:

    Oh I also bought a water conditioner Tetra BettaSafe,, The Food is alsoTetra BettaMin Tropical Medley and I read that Aquarium Salt helps with cleaning and calming them. She is active exploring her area but she also has her calm moments. So I hope with this I can do the best for her.

  6. lucy says:

    hi i am getting a betta fish tomorrow and i was wonder are there ways u can play with ur fish

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