Unlike tap water or spring water, distilled water has gone through a process that strips it almost completely of all minerals. Like RO water (reverse osmosis), it is essentially pure and no longer contains any of the trace elements that would be found naturally in water. Fish kept in distilled water over a period of time may show signs of lethargy or color loss. Most aquarists choose to use tap water because it is very inexpensive and if treated with a good aquarium conditioner is safer and healthier for your fish than distilled.

If you have tested your tap water and found that it isn’t suitable for fish (extremely high or low pH for example) you could buy bottled spring water. Spring water has not gone through the distilling process and still contains the minerals bettas need. It is considerably more expensive then tap water but usually less expensive than distilled water.

Betta Bowl | Photo By Aspecticide

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Reader Interactions


  1. Amy says:

    I filter my Bettas tap water then add the conditioner. Is filtering my water taking away some of those minerals?

    • Christie F. says:

      I think filtering is different than distilling but I’m not sure. I’d have to know more about how you are filtering the water.

      • asia says:

        im wondering if its safe for betta fish to use tap water

    • Cayla says:

      Filtering it takes out hard minerals such as lead with all of our tap water contains small traces. So filtering it and then adding water conditioner seems like the best thing to do in my opinion to remove the harsh hard minerals

  2. leonard cummings says:

    what are the bubble floating around the top of the water from my male betta?

  3. Stephanie R. says:

    I’ve been using distilled water for my Betta in his bowl for about 7 months now, he seems about the same health wise – an employee at Petco recommended using it – my only fear of switching to spring water would be some minerals may be too concentrated. I’m not familiar enough with how it’s produced to know what the mineral levels in spring water are. Would I have to a water conditioner it before using it? Or is it already made safe to use?

    • Christie F. says:

      Minerals aren’t added into spring water. They are naturally present in all bodies of water (spring water, lake water, ocean water, tap water). The distilling process strips the minerals away leaving you with water that is so “pure” that it has no health benefits to your fish. Bottled spring water (for drinking) is perfectly safe for bettas and requires no water conditioner.

  4. Rhonda C. says:

    My Beta acts like the rear half of his body is too heavy for him. He was not like this when I first brought him home.
    I recall my sister had one that had this same mannerism & he is still alive and doing fine.
    His appetite is good.

  5. Danielle says:

    I use just normal well water and betta plus+ do i need the water conditioner?

  6. jodi says:

    My daughter’s male blue beta died. He seemed lethargic for a week and this am he appeared to be fighting for his last breath. I keep my house temp. lower at night. Did I kill Blue?

    • Ltraine says:

      there is a chance you did kill blu, escpescially if he didnt have a heater. bettas are tropical fish and like their water to be between 80 and 82 degrees farenheit (more or less). whats also possible is that the nitrate and amonia levels were too high in his tank and he got poisoned from poor water quality, but the likeliness of all of this is dependant on the setup your aquarium has

  7. Kerry Stubbs says:

    When using any water, whether bottled or tap, check the phosphate levels. High levels of phosphate will kill a Siamese Fighting Fish, and some bottle water have lethal levels of phosphate. RO water should not and minerals can be added by using tropical salts. Even using rain water you should add salts.

  8. Donna says:

    It for nesting and they happy. I think he’s ready to mate.

  9. Theresa Weaver says:

    I am a new Bets owner. Please just tell me which water to buy. and the reccommended size tank. I am not concerned about the cost.

    • Matt says:

      Tanks should be a minimum of 5 gallons for a betta, but the bigger the tank the better. Tap water is fine, but you need water conditioner to remove contaminants like chlorine.

  10. Bettie says:

    I use ro water from our system for my fish. Should I add any thing to this water?

    • Bonbob says:

      Water conditioner

  11. jennifer says:

    Fist time fish owner here. I am going to use bottled spring water for my betta. Do I still need to treat it with a water conditioner?

    • Bonbob says:

      Yes. But purified water is ok alone

  12. Ingrid says:

    I am no scientist but i suspect my son’s 1stmale betta died because I switched to distilled water only. I used to use tap water w a conditioner treatment. I figured distilled would be easier/faster. Well…maybe within the month his color faded and he got an odd patch on his scales. He shortly died. Then I read the conditioner bottle that said it “protects fish with 4 slime coat enhancers”…well distilled water alone doesnt give any protection and my lil guy died. Sad.

    • Bonbob says:

      Its ok just buy another one and use purified wahtah

      • Matt says:

        Gah so much misinformation here….could the webmaster please delete some of these comments to prevent bad info from getting out there? Just use tap water for your betta. It has healthy minerals, and is the standard for freshwater fish. Be sure to add stress coat/water conditioner with every water change to condition the water and remove contaminants like chlorine. And no, it’s not “ok” to kill your fish. Everyone makes mistakes, but that animal depends on you for its health and safety. All pet owners need to research as much as possible before purchasing and making any drastic changes to its lifestyle.

        • Bonkers says:

          Omg thank you. Someone had to say it

          • John says:

            Everyone’s information helped

  13. Trista says:

    i use the water in the bottle that is for betta fish is that fine i just got mine today and have no idea how to do this

  14. Corey says:

    I am new to the Betta area. I have my Betta in a 2.5 gallon tank with a filter. It now does not seem to make bubbles as when I had it in a smaller bowl, unfiltered. Could I need to change out some of the water? “Chaz” has been in his new home for about 3 days now and am just curious to this new behavior.

    • Bonbob says:

      He is clausterfobic buy him a 20001 gallon tank

  15. Patrik says:

    i’m not into betta keeping
    but im running an aquarium with gouramis botia etc
    normally when u use R/O water it’s like mentioned water that is striped from all minerals good and bad
    what u have to to after is add for ex dennerle osmose remineralt to bring your water on the right kh / gh
    mixing with tap water is not recomanded bc u still keep bad minerals phospates etc …

  16. Taylor says:

    My betty has not been eating his food he goes up to it and eats it but spits it back out and I found a little patch of bubbles on the side of his tank what do I do?

    • Bonbob says:

      Take him to a buffet and let him pick out his own food duh!!

    • Matt says:

      Try changing his food. What are you feeding him? Bettas generally like frozen brine shrimp and bloodworms. The bubble nest is fine. That’s often a sign that your betta is healthy, and they make bubble nests when they are ready to mate.

  17. Mike says:

    I have a male betta in a 4 gallon tank, with 3 neons. They all seem to be doing great! as the water temp is at 82

    • Bonbob says:

      Ok sooo

  18. Kathy says:

    I’ve always kept my beta in distilled water. Never had a problem. His bowl gets the bubble nest so I guess he is doing ok. He also lets us know when he is hungry. Very comical for a fish.

  19. Bonbob says:

    My betta fish “zues” is doing great in bottled water im planing on buying water conditioner but im wondering if bottled water with no conditioner will kill him.

  20. Tessa Shewcraft says:

    I got my son his blue/red beta fish “Nemo Philippe” about 3-4 years ago. I did not know that we were suppose to change his water so often. Tonight I notice his under belly fin showed signs of a grayish color which has never occurred before. Is it bc he water needs to be changed more often along with continuing water conditioning with spring water or is he dying? I’m very concerned. Pls help. My son loves him so much. Thank you

  21. Tessa Shewcraft says:

    My son’s male beta fish “Nemo Phillipa’ is at least 3-4 years old. His behavior is always the same. Tonight I checked on him before bed as usual & notice his under belly fin is a grayish color. With continue use of spring water & water conditioning is he dying? I did not know that I was suppose to be changing his water more often. Is it a bacterial infection or poor water conditions. I don’t know what to do. My son loves him. His water temp is always 72 degrees. What do I do & is he dying?

  22. Tessa Shewcraft says:

    also he has no filter for i can not afford one & adapts well to it. Is that ok?

    • Carol says:

      I’ve always heard that betas should not be kept in a tank with a filter, unless it’s a really big tank with a very small filter. In nature, they live in rice paddies, which means shallow, non-moving water. It’s much better to change the water frequently and toss the filter.

      • Matt says:

        No. Please do some more research. Unless you’re going to change the water daily (stressful for the fish), bettas need a filter.

    • Stacy B. White says:

      Not sure how old this chat chain is but…
      Tessa…you should have thought of your lack of $$$ before you bought the betta. So many people jump into purchasing a pet w/out taking into consideration the expenses in the long run & the poor animal ends up suffering.

  23. Sarah says:

    I have just bought a betta for my 3 year old son. He named it Atikis. Lol. Anyways, I live on a lake and I’m wondering if using the lake water would b better for him or more beneficial. Please help ASAP!! :/ thank u!!

  24. jeveh says:

    much better..but check it first that is not salty 🙂

  25. Leslie Wassmuth says:

    I have been using distilled water & would like to change to spring water do I need to do half & half to get him used to it or can I just put him straight into the spring water? In the stores you can bring your empty bottle & refill it, is that usually spring water or distilled? It’s more than half the cost of distilled per gallon.
    Thank You!!!

  26. Peggy says:

    I received a small tank and things for Xmas to get a beta. My question is my tap water is on a water softener but I have an RO system separately on the sink. I received some water conditioner with the set up. Should I use the ro water with conditioner, tap softened water with conditioner or buy spring water @ store and add conditioner?? I’m really confused by all the comments.

  27. Elizabeth Cake says:

    Could i use a britta water filter For my Bettas water just a though im a first time owner and have had him 4 weeks i let the tap water sit for two days before placing him the bowl,the lady at the pet store gave me enough water for the holding tank, once i placed him in the bowl i have not seen any problems hes very happy and is very social

  28. Elizabeth Cake says:

    Could i use a britta water filter For my Bettas water just a though im a first time owner and have had him 4 weeks i let the tap water sit for two days then add the conditioner before placing him the bowl,the lady at the pet store gave me enough water for the holding tank, once i placed him in the bowl i have not seen any problems hes very happy and is very social

    • Matt says:

      I don’t recommend using a Brita filter, as it takes away all the healthy minerals. Use tap water that’s as close in temperature to your tank as possible, and you can use it right away. Add the water conditioner before putting it in the tank, and your fish is good to go.

  29. larallye says:

    How many times should I feed my male beta a day or week

    • Matt says:

      Once a day is fine, with maybe one fasting day per week to give them a chance to clear out their digestive systems.

  30. Isabel says:

    How much food should I feed my betta

    • Matt says:

      As much as they can eat within a few minutes. Their stomachs are only the size of one of their eyeballs. They’ll act like they’re starving, but they don’t know when to stop eating.

  31. candixce says:

    my fish is died R.IP FLOYD

  32. Renee B says:

    i have a question. I went to buy a new bottle of the bettasafe water conditioner, but walmart was out. so i bought this other water conditioner for bettas but it has aloe in it. is that safe for the bettas or should i find the betta safe? Also, i had a filter cartridge in my filter and my fish developed fin rot. I have read the cartridges can cause fin rot. Is this true or not? i see in comments above we do need a filter. Which filter is best. I have a small whisper filter and currently the cartridge is out. thank you

  33. SRW says:

    Some sites say distilled water is perfectly safe, others say it is dangerous. Who to believe? Honestly, with two opposing “professional” opinions all over the internet, who to believe? Why should I choose one to believe over another site? So tell me this, instead: If the complaint against using distilled water is consistently that it is stripped of the nutrients a beta fish needs, then can I not simply add those nutrients via a store bought nutrient supplement for the water? This way, I can fill the tank with distilled water, a heater, a filter, refill water as it evaporates without worrying about matching temperatures and conditioning the new water with the right amount of conditioner for the amount I am adding and only having to clean the inside glass of the tank now and then, while occasionally using a gravel vacuum, or even buying a gravel filter.

    So, instead of asking me why I want to do it this way, or telling me your way is better for you, how about just telling me if there is a water nutrient product I can safely add to distilled water and work as well as conditioned tap water?

    • Melon says:

      Yes, only reason why distilled RO water is bad is because the fish needs some minerals in the water and they are removed. A better supplemented RO water will always be way more superior than tap water with declorinator. Reason being you have no idea how good or bad your tap water is unless you test your water for PH Ammonia GH KH and so on to figure out exactly what’s the condition in your tap water. High PH is not ideal for Betta and some tap water will be very hard high PH. Hence declorinator + crap tap water is still bad. RO water is for what I know PH 7 which is neutral and is good as Betta prefer neutral to slightly acidic PH.

      Get RO if your tap water is not ideal. The only confusing thing is which remineraliser is good to use for Betta. There are many in the market and you may need to research on that. However I think seachem has some good product that should get you covered. Look into seachem equilibrium or seachem replenish.

      Tap water + declorinator is not always the best. Please test your tap water guys. My tap water is not stable fluctuate between 7 to 7.6 in PH. So you still should test your tap every now and then to be sure. For the average owner I guess tap + declorinator will do but don’t let people tell you tap + declorinator is the best way to go. It really depends

  34. Lee says:

    Yes…..very confussing…..all the varying opinions! I have well water but its treated well water…..I use aquasafe dechlorinator and easy balance for ph control but the water is still testing as alkakine

    I think i need to switch waters…I can buy RO or spring water but these comments arent really helping…..Im worried about my fish his name is Bertie…..

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