Best Water For Betta Fish. (Distilled Water, Tap Water, Or Rainwater?)

Bettas are the most popular fish in the fishkeeping hobby, and their beautiful colours attract everybody that passes through them. In the wild, betta fish lives in shallow, murky places like rice paddies, marshals, stagnant ponds, and slow-moving streams, which makes us think that they can live in a small pot with any water condition in captivity.

However, this is not true, and betta fish require big enough space with their ideal water conditions to thrive. In this article, we will discuss the best water for betta fish. So, let us get into it.

Treated tap water is the best water for your betta fish. When performing a water change, add a water conditioner to the tap water, which will help you eliminate harmful toxins like chlorine, chloramine, and other heavy metals and make the water ideal for your betta.

This article will also discuss a betta fish’s ideal water parameters requirement and how often we should change our betta tank water. So, let us find out.

Which is the best water for my betta fish?

When it comes to the water type of betta fish, betta fish prefer soft water to thrive.

Let us discuss all the types of water and see if our betta fish can thrive living in that type of water:

  1. Rainwater
  2. Betta specific water
  3. Distilled water
  4. Bottled water
  5. Tap water
  6. Well water


Many fish keepers dislike using rainwater because of its high nitrogen level and minimal nutrient content. 

However, you can use rainwater only after mixing it with aquarium or tap water and treating it for nutrients and the ideal pH level of your betta fish.

Also, we always recommend using treated tap water instead of anything, as tap water is cheap and easily available. Treating it with water conditioner and adjusting the pH level makes it perfect for your betta fish.

Betta specific water

There is water in the market that is especially for bettas, known as betta-specific water.

Betta-specific water is ready to add to your betta tank as its pH level will fall under the range of betta requirements and will be free of chlorine and other harmful toxins.

API Betta Water Betta Fish Freshwater Aquarium Ready to Use Water, No Aquarium Water Conditioner Needed, 31-Ounce Bottle

However, the price is the only reason we do not recommend this. Betta-specific water is very expensive and not so pocket friendly when having a weekly water change.

You can use treated tap water instead of betta-specific water for your betta fish.

Distilled water

You should not use distilled water for your betta tank as distilled water is processed to remove chlorine, minerals, and all nutrients, and all you are left for your betta fish is pure water.

And as we know, betta fish require minerals and nutrients in their water and the absence of minerals and nutrients, they will become lethargic, weak, and in the worst cases, can even pass away.

However, you can treat the distilled water to add nutrients and control pH levels, but if you are doing this, then considering tap water instead of distilled water is a good choice.

Bottled water

Bottled water is safe for your betta fish as it is not processed and contains all the minerals and nutrients that your betta fish requires.

Also, it will not contain chlorine, making bottled water safe for your betta fish.

However, the main thing you have to consider when adding water to your betta tank is the pH levels. 

So, if the bottled water falls in the range of pH level required by your betta fish, you can use it.

Different bottled water brands come with varying levels of ph, so it is necessary to test the water first. 

Also, using spring or bottled water will be more expensive. This is why we always recommend using treated tap water instead of anything.

Tap water

Tap water is the best water for your betta fish. 

Most aquarists prefer tap water as it is cheap and easily available.

When we eliminate chlorine, chloramine, and heavy metals from the tap water, it remains with the beneficial nutrients and minerals your betta fish require to thrive.

Use a water conditioner to eliminate harmful toxins like chlorine, chloramine, and other heavy metals from the water before adding tap water to your betta tank.

We recommend using the API tap water conditioner as it will help you eliminate chlorine, chloramine, ammonia, nitrite, and heavy metals from the water.

Also, adding activated carbon to the filter will help you eliminate chemicals and pesticides from the water.

Well water

The one who doesn’t have access to city water use the water from the well for their fish tank.

Mainly, people in rural areas don’t have access to city municipal water and use water from well.

Well, water doesn’t have chlorine because it is not treated by the municipality to add chlorine to make it safer for humans.

However, well water can contain harmful toxins that are used for fertilizers and pesticides.

So, it is essential to treat the water first and make it ideal for a betta fish. 

Like tap water, well water also varies in parameters, so make sure to check the pH before adding it to your betta tank.

What are the ideal water conditions requirement of a betta fish?

Betta fish are tropical freshwater fish requiring clean water to thrive.

When keeping betta fish, you have to pay much attention to water parameters and conditions as they are very sensitive when it comes to these things.

Betta fish require a water temperature between 78-82 °F to thrive as they are warm-water fish.

Water temperature below or above this will cause stress to your betta fish.

The water pH level of your betta tank should be between 6.5 and 8.

API FRESHWATER MASTER TEST KIT 800-Test Freshwater Aquarium Water Master Test Kit, White, Single, Multi-colored

Bettas are very sensitive to ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate and can suffer from a life-threatening condition if even a slight amount of ammonia is present in the tank.

The ammonia and nitrite level of the betta tank should be 0 ppm, whereas nitrate should be below 20 ppm.

So, the ideal water parameters and conditions required by a betta fish are:

  1. Clean water conditions.
  2. Temperature between 78-82 °F.
  3. The water pH level should be between 6.5 and 8.
  4. The ammonia and nitrite level should be at 0 ppm.
  5. The nitrate level should be below 20 ppm.

How to increase and decrease the water pH level of my betta tank?

It is necessary to know how we can adjust the pH level of our fish tank.

Now, if you want to increase the pH level of your betta tank, you can do these things:

  1. Add baking soda
  2. Add seashells
  3. Remove driftwood
  4. Change substrate

And if you want to decrease the pH level of your betta tank, you can do these things:

  1. Add driftwood
  2. Add peat moss
  3. Add aquatic plants

You can go through my article in which we have thoroughly discussed the ideal pH level of a betta fish and how we can increase and decrease the pH level of a betta tank. Ideal pH Level For Betta Fish?

How often should we change our betta fish tank water?

You should perform a partial water change of 20-30% weekly.

Now, performing a major water change once in a long duration is not advisable as it will stress out your fish.

Fishes adapt to the water after some time, and if you replace it with a major amount, they will come under stress.

So, performing a minor water change of 20-30% weekly is best to keep the water clean.

It is necessary to perform a water change as it helps you get rid of excess waste from the water.

Also, the amount and duration of water change depend entirely on the tank’s size and bioload.

If you have a small-size tank, say 2-3 gallons, you have to do a more partial water change as less water will pollute faster than a large volume of water.

And if you have more fish and plants in your tank than recommended, then more frequent water changes will be necessary.

The overcrowded tank will pollute faster, and more partial water changes will be needed.

Also read: How Often To Change Betta Fish Water?

How can I create the best living conditions for my betta fish?

Betta fish live in shallow water like rice paddies, marshals, stagnant ponds, and slow-streaming rivers in the wild. 

They live in murky water with low oxygen levels.

Now, all these things make us think that betta fish can live in a bowl or a small tank with no filter and clean water conditions. 

In reality, this is not the truth. Betta fish require a large enough tank with clean water conditions to thrive. 

So, if you want to create the best living conditions for your betta fish, consider doing all these things:

  1. Provide your betta fish with enough space to live and swim comfortably. (A minimum size of 5 gallons is advisable for one betta fish.)
  2. Provide your betta fish with clean water conditions.
  3. Always treat the freshwater water using the water conditioner whenever performing a water change. 
  4. Maintain the water temperature between 78-82 °F.
  5. The water pH level of your betta tank should be between 6.5 and 8.
  6. Maintain ammonia and nitrite at 0 ppm, whereas nitrate should be below 20 ppm.
  7. Add a heater to your betta tank to ensure adequate and stable water temperature.
  8. Add a good filtration system with a gentle current flow and a biofilter media to keep the water clean and safe from harmful toxins like ammonia and nitrite.
  9. Add plenty of live aquatic plants to your betta tank, as it will be a good hiding spot for your betta fish and help you mimic their natural habitat.
  10. Create plenty of hiding spots for your betta fish to prevent them from stress and give them a place to rest and hide whenever needed.

Ensure all these things, and your betta fish will thrive. 


Treated tap water is the best water for your betta fish.

Treating tap water with a water conditioner is necessary to eliminate harmful toxins like chlorine, chloramine, and other heavy metals from the water.

There are other options available, like betta-specific water and spring water (Bottled water). However, these options are expensive, so we suggest using treated tap water.

pH levels play an important role in water conditions, so maintain the pH between 6.5 and 8.

The water temperature of your betta tank should be between 78-82 °F.

Reference: Journal, NCBI, Wikipedia


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