Are Bettas Freshwater Fish? (Can They Live In Saltwater Or Tap Water?)

Image of a betta in a freshwater tank

Bettas are native to Asia, where they are found in shallow and heavily vegetated marshes, rice paddles, ponds, and slow-moving streams. So, are bettas freshwater fish?

Yes, bettas are freshwater fish. They live in freshwater lakes and rivers in their natural habitat, and so they can’t survive in a saltwater tank. Overdosing of salt can stress the bettas and be fatal to them. However, you can use aquarium salt in moderation to treat bacterial infections of bettas.

Let’s now understand this in more detail.

What Kind Of Water Do Bettas Need?

The water you use in your betta tank can significantly impact their health.

The most crucial thing to remember is that not all water is the same.

Water quality varies as per the source. So it’s best to replicate the water conditions of bettas from their natural habitat.

Water parameters need to be considered when establishing a new tank or while recycling the water in an existing tank.

Water that doesn’t contain chlorine, pesticides, and chemicals, contains a good amount of nutrients and dissolved minerals, has no ammonia, and has the desired pH level is best for your betta fish.

You can use dechlorinated tap water, bottled water, or even well water by testing it in the pet store for bettas.

Betta-specific water is also available in pet and fish stores if you have more budget.

This is bottled water designed explicitly for bettas.

It contains the required minerals and nutrients, has the ideal pH level, and is stripped of harmful chemicals, metals, and chlorine.

Betta-specific water is basically readymade water that you can directly pour into the tank without conducting any test on the water.

Can Bettas Live In Saltwater?

Bettas can’t live in saltwater. They are freshwater fish. However, bettas can tolerate salt if the concentration is not very high.

You should strictly avoid table salt and marine salt for bettas. They contain various additives that can be detrimental to bettas’ health.

However, aquarium salt is safe for bettas as long as you aren’t overdosing.

The amount of aquarium salt to be added to an aquarium depends on the reason for adding the salt.

Some aquarists add aquarium salt in their tanks to recreate the natural environment of the fish, while others use aquarium salt as a medication to treat fish diseases.

You can add aquarium salt as per the instructions mentioned in the package.

Salt can be used as a preventive measure against parasites and potential fish diseases.

You should always dissolve the aquarium salt in a separate water container before adding it to the aquarium.

When used effectively, aquarium salt can help create a salinity similar to bettas’ natural environment.

It also helps in preventing harmful nitrate intake.

Besides, aquarium salt aids in a healthy slime coat, reduces stress and swelling, and promotes healthy fin growth.

Although aquarium salt is beneficial to bettas, it’s essential to know that too much salt can cause problems.

If you notice any signs of illness or disease, stop using the salt immediately.

It’s better to consult your vet immediately to avoid any complications.

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Is Tap Water Safe For Bettas?

Betta in tap water

The water most readily available for all of us is the one that comes straight out of the faucet.

Hence, tap water is widely used for cooking, cleaning, bathing, gardening, drinking, etc.

However, there are some drawbacks associated with using tap water in an aquarium.

Tap water contains chlorine, heavy materials, and other chemicals, thus making it unsafe for bettas.

However, the good thing is that tap water can be used in aquariums for bettas once it’s dechlorinated.

There are various water conditioners available that instantly dechlorinate the tap water.

The water conditioners aren’t only inexpensive but also easy to use.

They help in detoxifying the harmful ammonia from the tap water.

Water conditioners also remove or neutralize chlorine, chloramine, and other heavy metals that are harmful to bettas.

Additionally, water conditioners also add vital components to the aquarium water that can benefit the bettas.

Usage of water conditioners is highly effective as it improves the water quality, making tap water safe for bettas.

Can You Use Distilled Water For Betta Fish?

Distilled water is a type of purified water. Purified water may seem an incredible idea for bettas.

However, it’s not suitable for bettas as distilled water doesn’t contain any kind of minerals and nutrients.

Betta fish need dissolved minerals and some nutrients for healthy development.

When kept in distilled water, bettas can face certain health-related issues like:

  • Bettas will lack energy and become lethargic.
  • The color of bettas will fade due to a lack of nutrients in the water. They will appear dull and colorless.
  • The absence of adequate minerals and nutrients can adversely affect bettas’ health, which can be fatal.

If you want to use distilled water for bettas, you need to add minerals to it.

This can be very expensive as distilled water itself is very costly.

Can You Use Bottled Water For Betta Fish?

You can use bottled water for bettas as it contains an ample amount of nutrients and minerals that bettas need to thrive.

It also doesn’t contain chlorine and is usually safe for bettas.

However, the problem with bottled water is that there are numerous brands of bottled water, each with distinct features.

The pH level also varies as per the brand due to their processing.

Bettas need a specific pH level for optimum growth.

Moreover, some bottled water contains excessive nutrients and minerals, which isn’t suitable for bettas.

So you need to be careful while choosing bottled water for your betta tank.

You need to choose the one in which the pH levels are within the desired range for bettas.

Also, you need to check the nutrient and mineral levels before buying them.

Although bottled water comes without chlorine, it’s not widely used by aquarists as it’s more expensive than tap water.

It can increase your cost considerably, especially if you own a large tank.

Related: Do Angelfish Eat Shrimp? | Do Cichlids Eat Bloodworms? | Can Cichlids Live With Other Fish?

Is Well Water Safe For Bettas?

Well water isn’t safe for bettas.

Many people believe that well water is suitable for bettas as it’s rich in minerals and doesn’t contain chlorine. However, it’s not true.

Depending upon your location, well water can contain chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, or high quantities of heavy metals like iron and copper.

The presence of any of these things can affect bettas adversely.

Problems may further rise if the well water is treated with chlorine for removing the contaminants.

Besides, the chemical properties of well water vary from that of tap or river water. So it has certain risks that need to be addressed.

If you don’t have any other option apart from using well water in a betta tank, it needs to be tested first in a pet or fish store.

Also, you need to ensure that the water’s pH level is ideal for bettas. You can check the same through appropriate tests.

Once the issues of high nitrates, heavy metals, and other chemicals are addressed, you can safely use well water in your aquarium.