Bettas are frequently marketed as bowl fish who require no additional care. However, bettas require ample space, and if kept in a bowl, require frequent water changes to remain healthy. A plant can help keep oxygen levels in your betta's enclosure high and a larger bowl will remain clean longer.
Select a bowl or aquarium that is sufficiently large for your betta. At minimum, bettas need two gallons of water per fish. A large bowl or small aquarium is often the appropriate size. While pet stores may claim that bettas can live in smaller enclosures, this is untrue and your betta's health may suffer.
Cover the bottom of the aquarium with aquarium gravel or aquarium glass. Avoid using decorative gravel bought at craft stores or rocks you found, as these may contain parasites, bacteria or dangerous chemicals. Rinse the gravel in warm water before placing it in the bowl.
Plant a few plants in the bowl. Avoid having so many plants that your fish struggles to swim around them. Generally speaking, two to three plants for every half gallon to gallon of water is sufficient. Ideal plants for betta bowls include peace water lily, philodendron and Chinese evergreens.
Install a filter designed for bettas. Bettas dislike running water, so a quiet filter that allows the water to remain mostly still is ideal. Some fish stores sell aquariums and filters specially designed for bettas. Without proper filtration, you will need to change the water in your betta's tank at least every other day. While this can keep the water clean, it makes it difficult to keep plants healthy and to maintain the aquarium's ecosystem.
Brenna Davis is a professional writer who covers parenting, pets, health and legal topics. Her articles have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines as well as on websites. She is a court-appointed special advocate and is certified in crisis counseling and child and infant nutrition. She holds degrees in developmental psychology and philosophy from Georgia State University.