Can You Keep Betta Fish in a Jar?

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Betta fish are fish with relatively large fins and tails that usually take up quite a lot of space. These popular fish can grow to about 3 inches, and they can live in community tanks as long as they are provided with enough space.

Betta fish are often kept in small bowls or tanks, but can you keep betta fish in a jar?

The answer is yes, bettas can live in a jar, but there are some things to consider first. The jar must be at least two gallons in size and have a lid that fits snugly. There should be holes drilled in the lid for ventilation. The water should be changed weekly and the jar should be cleaned with a mild soap. Betta fish are tropical fish and need warm water, so an aquarium heater may be necessary.

So if you really want to keep a betta in a jar, you can, but it has to contain at least 2 gallons of water. Anything less can ruin the betta’s natural wellbeing and cause a lot of stress, which can eventually lead to death.

Although a jar is usually not the best way to keep your fish, it can definitely work with the bettas. It is a simple and beautiful way to keep your betta fish.

Setting up a Jar for Betta Fish

You might be wondering how do you actually set up a jar for the betta to live in? The answer is that it is quite similar to setting up a normal tank, with a few exceptions. Here are the steps for creating a jar for your betta fish.

  • Like with normal tanks, you should start by finding a jar that has 2 gallons or more. Then, you should thoroughly clean and rinse the jar to get it rid of possible bacteria. The jar should also have a lid that allows some air through it so that the bettas can get oxygen.
  • Next, choose the right gravel for your jar. You can put fine gravel into the jar, but it has to clean and rinsed thoroughly before you put it into the jar. The substrate should be quite shallow, which will help you to determine when the jar needs a cleanup.
  • You can (or you should) decide to add some live plants or plastic plants to the jar. Bettas need plenty of vegetation in the tank, so adding it to the jar is a good idea. Try to opt for live plants, as plastic plants do not bring the benefits of the live plants. Of course, you should try to thoroughly rinse the plants before putting them into the tank.
  • Take care of the lighting. You can buy a lighting system that will provide light to your tank, so that the betta has enough light. The water should also be heated, so you can consider getting a heater for the jar.
  • Do not overcrowd the jar. When setting up the jar, follow the rule of giving a betta at least two gallons of space. So if you want to add some other fish or animals into the jar, you should consider getting a larger one. The same goes for other creatures – snails or shrimp. Overstocking the jar is a bad mistake to do, and it can cost you the health of the betta.
  • Put the betta into the tank with pre-prepared water. The water in the jar should not be very different from the water where the betta was before.

How Often to Change Water in a 2-Gallon Jar?

The problem with jars is that it is very hard to place filters on it, so you will need to change the water more constantly. Hygiene can become a problem in a jar, especially if you are not thorough and consistent with maintenance and cleaning.

Try to change the water in the jar on a weekly basis, or every two weeks. The waste can accumulate quite quickly, because it is a relatively small environment. Although bettas do not produce that much waste, it can become a problem over time, especially if you don’t have a filter in the jar (which is hard to do).

Should You Do Complete Water Change in a Betta Jar?

Performing complete water changes in a betta jar is particularly hard to do because it is such a small environment. It shouldn’t be done on a regular basis, but rather from time to time.

Maybe you can do complete water changes every few months to keep the water as fresh as possible, especially if you do regular water changes on a weekly or biweekly basis.

If you opt for constant complete water changes, you should be very careful, as the bettas can encourage a lot of stress during the changes.

Be mindful to always have a separate container ready to move your betta during the water changes, and also prepare the water to the best possible parameters before you put the betta into the jar again.

Do You Need a Filter for Betta Jar?

It can be hard to install a filter or a heater onto the jar, simply because of the size of the jar. You can use other means of cleaning the water, such as frequent water changes. As for heating the jar, you can use external tools to heat the water, such as external heaters or panels.

Jars can be delicate when it comes to filtering. Try not to overstock the jar, and perform regular water changes for the best results.

You have to be very careful when it comes to cleaning the water thoroughly, as it can certainly harm your fish in the process, and it can cause a lot of stress.

Filters are generally not seen with betta fish jars.


Placing your betta in jars can be an option, but it should, ultimately, only be done by those who know something about keeping bettas.

It does require a lot of maintenance and regular checkups. If you get it right, however, these jars can look absolutely stunning and can be something different from the regular water tanks that are used for the bettas.

Hopefully, you know a bit more about keeping bettas in jars after reading this article. Always remember to give the betta enough space to live, even if you opt for a jar.

Author Image Fabian
I’m Fabian, aquarium fish breeder and founder of this website. I’ve been keeping fish, since I was a kid. On this blog, I share a lot of information about the aquarium hobby and various fish species that I like. Please leave a comment if you have any question.
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