Can Betta Fish Live in Tap Water?

Betta fish are most commonly kept in tap water. However, the water needs to be treated to become suitable for the fish to live in.

While betta fish can tolerate a broad range of water parameters, they’re by no means an easy fish to raise and require special care and advanced aquarium-keeping skills.

Can Betta Fish Live in Tap Water?

Tap water is generally a great water option to keep fish in, and bettas are no exception. It’s easy to get and doesn’t cost much.

However, if you’re planning to use tap water for your bettas, then the water needs to be treated first to make it a suitable living space.

Tap water contains a lot of chlorine, chemicals, and heavy metals that could be fatal for bettas. By treating and dechlorinating tap water, all the dangerous chemicals and metals are removed from the water, leaving it with only the minerals and nutrients needed for bettas to survive and thrive.

Betta fish, Siamese fighting fish with green plants and blue background

Can Betta Fish Survive in Untreated Tap Water?

While bettas are hardy fish that can tolerate harsh living conditions, the fish will not be able to survive untreated and unchlorinated water for long periods of time. Living in unchlorinated water will shorten the betta fish’s life significantly.

Betta fish living in untreated water may appear fine at first like they’re thriving, but the truth is they’re getting poisoned by the water chlorine and will surely lead a short life.

Also, if bettas living in untreated water aren’t exceptionally strong, they may die in a matter of a few weeks.

How to Dechlorinate Tap Water for Betta Fish?

Dechlorinating your tap water is a very simple process yet very essential in providing the right living conditions for your betta fish.

All that is needed for treating your tank’s tap water is the right water conditioner. The conditioner will usually have a set of instructions that you should follow.

In most cases, you will have to add either ½ or one teaspoon of the dechlorinating conditioner for every 10 gallons of untreated tap water.

You will only need to dechlorinate the whole tank if you’re changing all the water in the tank. Otherwise, you should only dechlorinate the new tap water you’re planning to add to the tank.

How Long Does It Take to Dechlorinate Tap Water?

The answer to that question is dependent on the brand of water dechlorination you’re using for your tank. However, almost all water conditioners usually take just a few minutes.

Generally, chlorine is treated in tap water in 2 minutes, while other substances like chloramine will usually take around 5 minutes to be neutralized.

How Often Should You Change Your Betta’s Tap Water?

How often you should change your betta’s tap water will depend on the tank’s size, whether it’s filtered or not, and if your bettas are living with other fish. All these factors will affect your tank’s sanitary, and in turn, how often its water will need to be changed.

The general rule to use if you’re unsure is to change 25% of your tank’s water once every week. However, you should remember that while it seems counterintuitive, changing your tank’s water too much could actually cause more harm than good.

Changing too much water will affect different parameters of the tank, like the pH and ammonia levels, throwing the tank’s water out of balance and harming your bettas.

Black and Orange Betta

What Are The Ideal Water Parameters for Betta Fish?

The ideal tank water parameters for your betta fish to ensure that they lead a long, healthy life are as follows:

pH Level

Betta fish survive best in tank water within the 6.5 to 7.5. pH range. While bettas generally do best in softer water, they’re hardy fish that can handle water that’s medium to semi-hard too.


Betta fish prefer to live in a water temperature between 76 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Higher and lower temperatures wouldn’t provide a suitable environment for them to thrive.

Alternatives for Tap Water: Are They Suitable for Bettas?

These are some of the most common water types used in fish tanks:

Distilled Water

While distilled water may sound like a great option for betta due to it being a purified type of water, it’s actually extremely unhealthy.

Distillation is the process of removing dangerous chemicals from water, which is great for Betta fish’s health. However, distillation also removes all the minerals and nutrients from the water, which are essential for bettas’ survival.

Bettas living in distilled water will start losing their color and becoming dull and lazy until they eventually die. This is why distilled water should always be avoided for betta fish.

Spring Water

Spring water is a purified type of water where harmful substances such as chlorine and heavy metal have been removed.

However, unlike distilled water, the natural minerals and nutrients that are essential for bettas haven’t been removed from the water. This makes spring water a great option for bettas.

Before adding spring water to your fish tank, you should make sure that the water’s pH level is suitable for your bettas (close to 7), or you risk your fish getting sick and possibly dying.

Different brands of spring water have different pH levels as they come from different locations, so you should experiment until you find the ones that are suitable for your betta fish.

Spring water is a great option for housing bettas. The only drawback is its price.

Bottom Line

Betta fish are great aquarium pets to keep, but they’re not the easiest to raise and require some aquarium-keeping experience.

Bettas are most commonly housed in tap water, as it provides them with the minerals, nutrients, and living conditions they require to thrive. However, before adding your Bettas to tap water, the water must be unchlorinated in order to become suitable for housing your fish.

Betta fish living in untreated tap water will suffer from many health issues that may end up being fatal.