How to Make Biotope Aquarium - A Betta Natural Habitat Tank

Betta Biotope Aquarium

Betta fish are a popular and elegant species of fish. They do require some special care, and if you decide to get some betta fish, you’ll need to set up a betta biotope aquarium correctly. It’s best to keep these fish in as natural an environment as possible.

The article will tell you everything you need to know about setting up a biotope aquarium specific for Betta Fish. We’ll look at what type of tank is best, which heating and filter system to use and which types of plants to use to create a natural environment.

Creating the Perfect Home for your Betta

Small Betta Tank

Many people believe that Bettas require a small tank of between one and 2.5 gallons. This is actually detrimental to their health, and it’s cruel to keep your fish in such a small space. Bettas need plenty of space to swim to ensure that they can express their natural behaviors.

Bettas kept in a small tank won’t be happy fish and won’t have a very long life span. If you’re thinking of keeping betta fish, you should be a responsible pet owner and invest in a tank that’s a minimum of five gallons in size. 

It’s always best to get the biggest tank possible when housing any type of fish. If you have adequate space in your home, get a large tank.

The Benefits of a Larger Tank

Having a large tank brings many benefits; it will give your fish more space to swim around, but you’ll also have additional space for plants, allowing you to create a more natural environment. 

It’s also easier to control the temperature and pH levels in a larger tank, and you won’t have to change the water as often. Choose a longer tank, rather than one that’s tall as this will give your betta fish more length to swim up and down.

Make a Lid for Your Tank

It’s also a good idea to look for a tank that has a lid. Betta fish can jump, and you don’t want your fish to end up on the floor as they’ll die after just a few minutes. 

If you’ve already got a tank without a lid, you could make one, to reduce the likelihood of your betta fish jumping out of the water. You may like to build a wooden cover or simply put netting or mesh over your tank.

Invest in a Good quality Filter

Your betta fish will also need to have a filter in their tank; this will stop the water from getting dirty quickly. It will also mean that you’ll have to carry out fewer water changes. 

A tank that has filters only need to be cleaned every one to two weeks. This is less disturbing for the fish and will save you a lot of time and energy.

The best type of filter for a betta aquarium has a slow flow, as Betta prefers to live in calm water. If you choose a filter that’s too strong, this could push your fish around the tank. A filter with an adjustable flow is often best.

If you think your filter may be too strong, you can situate some plants in front of it to slow down the flow slightly. Good quality filters have three stages of filtration; mechanical, chemical, and biological.

Heating Your Betta Aquarium

Bettas naturally live in warm waters, so it’s best to invest in an aquarium heater even if the room your aquarium is in is usually warm. 

A heater will allow you to monitor your water temperature and mean that your Betta will be less likely to suffer from temperature shock on a cold day, which could prove to be fatal.

You should be aware that using a heater in a small tank of thee gallons or less is likely to be dangerous. Heaters used in a smaller tank then they were designed for can result in the water overheating, which will cause your betta stress and may even kill your fish. 

Invest in a heater that’s 3-5 watts per gallon of water in your tank. You may need to use two heaters if your tank is huge.

Betta Biotope Aquarium

Lighting in Your Betta Biotope Aquarium

Betta fish have similar lighting needs as humans as they can tell the difference between night and day. Ensure that your tank is adequately lit and don’t keep your tank in the dark, as this will affect your fish’s health. You should also avoid putting your betta biotope aquarium in direct sunlight.

Choosing a Substrate

Once you have all the hardware that you need for your aquarium, you’ll need to choose the correct substrate. This is the material that’s used to line the bottom of your tank. 

Most fish keepers choose gravel, but you may also like to use sand or aquarium soil. For a natural-looking betta biotope, it’s best to use natural stones, gravel, or soil.

Using these types of materials is beneficial to your aquarium’s overall health as it allows good bacteria to grow. Spread gravel over a large surface area, as this will let the bacteria multiply.

Soil and gravel are also great for holding live plants in place. Choose plants that betta fish love and fill your tank with them. Betta fish often swim close to the bottom of the aquarium, so it’s good to make sure it’s natural and a suitable living environment for your fish.

Choose gravel that has small to medium-sized pieces and isn’t too sharp. The problem with large chunks of gravel is that they can trap food, which will result in the production of ammonia in your aquarium.

Choosing Plants and Decorations

Plants and decorations help to create a natural environment for your fish and also make your aquarium pleasant to look at. Natural items are best for betta fish rather than colorful fish tank items from the pet shop.

Your betta fish will feel more at home in a tank with stones, driftwood, and plants. You can also build a cave out of these items to give your Betta a shady area where they can hide. It’s always best to choose live plants rather than plastic or silk ones, which is more natural for your fish.

Live plants have the added benefit of oxygenating the water. They also help to produce beneficial bacteria and can remove harmful waste from your aquarium. Avoid using plastic plants and hard decorations as these could catch in your Betta’s tail.

Setting Up Your Betta Biotope Tank

Before setting up your Betta biotope aquarium, the first thing to do is clean it and check that it is completely watertight. Don’t clean it using any cleaning products as these will affect your fish health. Fill your tank with water and put it in the bath to ensure there are no leaks.

Placement of the tank

Your betta biotope should be kept somewhere safe and secure. It shouldn’t be in direct sunlight, as this will cause algae to grow. 

Keep your tank away from windows, especially if you open them often as your fish may be in a draft. Rapid changes in temperature can cause your fish to go into shock. Your tank should also be away from children.

Add Gravel, Plants, and Decorations

Once your tank is ready to set up, take some time to plan how you want to position the plants and decorations. Put a layer of gravel or soil at the bottom of the tank. There should be two inches of substrate covering the bottom of the tank.

It’s a good idea to rinse the gravel a few times with warm water before putting it in your tank; this will help eliminate any dust, dirt, or debris that may affect your fish.
The next step is to add a couple of inches of water to your aquarium. This will make it a lot easier to add the plants.

Use a de-chlorinator in the water and wait for between ten and fifteen minutes before planting.

You can then add the decorations, creating a cave for your Betta to hide in. When adding the plants, bury their roots in enough soil and gravel. Java moss, betta bulbs, and Marimo moss are all great plants that are hardy, suitable for beginners, and great for betta fish.

It’s good to put the biggest plants at the back of your aquarium and the smaller ones at the front. This will help the tank appear larger and allow you to view your fish.

Fill Your Tank

Carefully pour water into your tank to fill it, then add the filter, heating, and lighting. It’s a good idea to put a plate into your aquarium and pour the water onto this rather than directly onto the gravel. This will reduce the likelihood of the plants and gravel being displaced.

Fill the tank one inch from the top as this will give your fish space to breathe. Leave the tank to sit for a few days without any fish in it, as this will allow the filters to work and remove chlorine from the water. It will also mean that beneficial bacteria will start to grow in your tank.


Creating a natural environment for your Betta will mean that they are healthier and happier. You’ll also be able to enjoy watching your fish. It’s best to invest in the largest tank you can afford and have space for in your home. Make a cave so that your Betta can get some shade and hide if they need to.

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Sujit Modak Aquarium Tales Owner
Sujit Modak

Hello, everyone! Welcome to my aquarium blog. Fishkeeping is my passion, and I started this fascinating hobby back in 2006. Besides my engineering profession, I deeply studied many fishkeeping topics since I started building my home aquarium. I researched effective aquarium filtration and lighting of planted aquariums. I am keeping 20+ species of freshwater and saltwater fish as my aquatic pet collection. I successfully experimented with a complex ecosystem inside the aquarium, biotope aquariums, aquaponics, etc. I would love to share some learnings from my hands-on experience of the last 14 years. Hopefully, my sharing will be somewhat helpful to make your aquarium journey awesome! 

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