Should Betta fish be kept in a tank as small as half a gallon?
Keeping Betta fish in a small fish tank or bowl makes it easy for hobbyists to contain these beautiful finned Siamese fighting fish just about anywhere. Small tanks of half a gallon size enable fish owners to keep Betta in places from office desks to coffee tables to kitchen counters. Hobbyists can also keep several Betta in small individual tanks to create a fluorescent medley of fish colors or use individual bowls to keep males from fighting one another.
Questioning whether Betta should be kept in tanks as small as half a gallon is almost akin to examining the idea of confining any fish, no matter what the breed, to man-made habitats. Fish enjoy the freedom to swim about in unlimited spans of oceans, rivers, and streams just as humans prefer their freedom to roam about the earth. With that said, however, placing Betta fish in half-gallon tanks certainly fairs better than keeping them in bowls or bags that hold even less water. For instance, pet stores often display and sell Betta in containers that hold only about 10 to 12 ounces of water. That is 10 to 12 ounces compared to 64 ounces (half a gallon). The fish may live in these minuscule containers for weeks or even months at a time.
A unique thing about Betta fish is that they can lift their heads above water surfaces to take in air. This may be the primary reason that housing captive Betta in small containers has become common practice. Betta owners do not need to concern themselves with providing any type of aeration system for their pet fish when they contain Betta. Thus, housing them becomes almost effortless as far as maintenance goes.
Another consideration is that keeping Betta fish in half-gallon tanks could actually prove useful when hobbyists need to clean larger tanks in which they normally house their pets. The ability to keep Betta in smaller tanks, at least temporarily, enables one to clean a tank or even to give it a complete overhaul without worrying about the well-being of their Betta. When deciding to change the gravel, for instance, one could scoop out the Betta from the larger tank, place them in smaller tanks or bowls, remove old gravel from large tank, and then add new gravel without irritating the fish.
After changing the gravel, adding fresh water to the tank, and then bringing the water condition back to the appropriate temperature and ph level, the Betta could be removed from smaller containers and placed back into the larger tank with their redesigned gravel flooring.
Although keeping Betta in small half a gallon tanks might not be all negative since they can survive in small tanks and fishbowls, owners hoping to keep their pets for as long as possible might want to consider keeping them in bigger tanks. A great reason to do this is that captive Betta tend to live longer when placed in bigger tanks.