One of the first things that comes to your mind when considering getting a Betta fish is whether the conditions in your water tank are suitable for the pet to survive and thrive. This goes especially concerning the water where the Betta fish will live.
Many new and potential owners wonder can Betta fish live in tap water, and if it cannot, what kind of properties should the water have? Additionally, not all tap water is the same – so it makes a great difference whether you live in a big city in Asia or a small, secluded town in the mountains in the US.
With this in mind, additional questions arise: what might happen if the water you provide for your Betta fish is not good? How to know that it is not good? How to know which water is good, and which is not? In this article, we will review all of these questions and provide solutions, so you can be sure that your Betta fish is perfectly happy in its surroundings.
Can Betta Fish Live in Tap Water?
When getting a new fish, regardless of the species, it is very important to provide the same, or similar conditions this fish would have in their natural surroundings. It is one of the prerequisites for a proper Betta fish care.
Tap water, in its original condition (in the springs, basins and reservoirs), would be a great habitat for your Betta fish. However, the tap water we get at home does not have the same composition as the water in nature – chemicals are often being added in it, such as chlorine and fluoride. These chemicals are added for our benefit – chlorine purifies the water from various germs and bacteria and makes it safe for drinking. Fluoride prevents cavities and tooth decay.
This is great news for our human race, but not as good for the Betta fish – these chemicals, depending on their concentration, can seriously harm, or maybe even kill the Betta fish. Tap water also might contain metals, which are not causing us any harm due to their small concentration, but might also pose a serious threat to the Betta fish’s wellbeing.
But not all is that bad – tap water also contains a lot of minerals, which are actually beneficial for the thrive of the Betta fish. The main question now is: how to preserve these beneficial minerals in the tap water, while removing chlorine and other substances that might be toxic for the Betta fish.
The answer is rather simple – Betta fish water conditioner. There are water conditioners that are made specifically for keeping a Betta fish and keep the nutrients in the water that are useful, while removing the heavy metals and the chlorine. In case you’re not able to find a Betta fish-specific water conditioner at the moment, you can temporarily use a conditioner for freshwater fish, but it is recommended on a long run to purchase the one specifically designed for the Betta fish.
Betta Fish Water Hardness
Now when we have established a way to remove chlorine and other toxic chemicals from the tap water, so the Betta fish can feel like home, we should also mention the water hardness. Water hardness varies in each and every city on Earth, and can also affect the wellbeing of your Betta fish.
“Hard” water contains big concentrations of minerals. Even though we’ve already mentioned that Betta fish thrive in water that contains minerals, every excess might actually pose a threat to its health. A 5-20 dH water hardness (70-300 GH ppm) is considered to be acceptable, so your Betta fish can have a healthy environment. The mid-range numbers are considered as the best conditions for the Betta fish habitat. Any results above or beyond will cause serious damage to the health of your pet.
Despite tap water containing water softeners, some places still have excessively hard water. This is often the case in large urban areas. Most of the cities’ water supply organizations have a public information on the water hardness, so make sure to check this before you start preparing the home for your Betta fish. In case the water in your home is very hard, there are water softeners sold at pet stores that might help you with this issue.
pH levels of Betta Fish Water
This is another important thing to have in consideration when preparing the water for your Betta friend. Betta fish’s preferences are somewhere between 6.5 and 8 on the pH scale, with a pH 7 being considered as the most convenient option. Betta fish can survive for some time in a somewhat more acidic water, however, only if the change was gradual.
pH test strips can be found in almost every pet store and pharmacy. Make sure to check the pH level of the water before placing your Betta fish there.
It is very important to keep the fish tank clean. The debris that is collected in the tank can significantly increase the pH in a very short amount of time, so keeping the best hygiene in the fish tank is essential
Other Types of Water
You can also use spring water for your Betta fish’s home. Spring water might be a bit more expensive solution, though. The good thing about it is that it does not contain chlorine (so no water conditioner is needed), and we have already established that chlorine can be deadly for your Betta fish. It also contains all the minerals and nutrients from tap water (sometimes even in bigger concentrations), which is great for the thriving of your Betta pet.
However, keep in mind that some spring water can have a higher level of pH than recommended for your Betta fish. Some brands can go up to 9 on the pH scale which might be fatal for the Betta fish, so make sure to check the label before purchasing gallons of the wrong spring water.
Distilled water is definitely not a good environment for a Betta fish. Even though its pH level is optimal, and chlorine and ammonia are not present in it, it also lacks the minerals and nutrients necessary for the survival of the Betta fish, so be sure to avoid it.
Some pet stores are also selling “Betta-fish water” – water tanks with ingredients specifically optimized to be the best environment for a Betta fish. This is the most expensive option from it all, but it is a time saver if you do not have time to pay attention to all the factors that make the water for your Betta fish optimal.
Can Betta Fish Live in Tap Water Conclusion
With proper research of the properties of your tap water, you can make it a great environment for your Betta fish. Luckily, even if your tap water is not optimal, there are plenty of products today that can help in obtaining the proper water quality level, so your Betta friend can survive and thrive.
The things you need to keep in mind are the water hardness, its pH level and the level of chlorine in your tap water before moving your Betta fish into its new home. Always have a pH test strips, or a pH meter (one can be found in pet stores) to make sure your Betta fish is happy and healthy at any time.
And of course – a clean fish tank is an imperative in making your Betta fish live a long and quality life.
If you have any additional doubts on this matter – do not be shy to ask the experts – after all, they are here to help you in need.