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!