Betta Fish

Do Betta Fish Need A Heater?

5 min read

Thinking of buying a betta fish, or have one already, but not sure if they should have a heater or not? Experts at Adelphi University, New York insist that water that is either too hot or too cold kills Siamese fighting fish.

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So, no– this old cracked coffee cup collecting dust in the corner of the kitchen cupboard will truly not suffice! These beautiful, colourful, exotic and exciting fish– that originate in shallow marshes and rice paddies in the Mekong and Chao Phraya river basins in Thailand– require and deserve more than just a heater!

Of course you simply adore the dazzling colours of these Siamese fighting fish– their sudden flashes of gold, red, blue, green and violet, their silvery scales, their long, flowing, hypnotic fins– and their volatile bursts of fury!

But the prestigious National Geographic magazine notes that beta fish cost as little in three dollars in pet shops and accuses us of treating these little gems as captivating, swimming decorations.

PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is even pushing to ban the sale of Siamese fighting fish in PETCO– describing them as sensitive and complex individuals who suffer greatly when exploited in the pet trade.

PETA claims that these beautiful living beings are being sold in small, murky plastic bags– and have been forced to live out their very short lives in tiny, ornamental cups, bowls and flower vases!

PETA instead insists that betta fish require a properly regulated aquarium– a filter, substrate, decorations, and properly cycled water to permit beneficial bacteria to grow. Their website gives in-depth advice on how to set up and maintain an aquarium. Please, please consult it!

Reasons why betta fish need a heater:

1. They are used to warm tropical waters

2. It will prevent unnecessary death

3. Heaters make betta fish happy

1. Beta Fish Are Used To Tropical Warm Waters

Specialist aquarium sites such as Aquariadise explode the myth that betta fish inhabit shallow dirty puddles in the wild– so, no, you can’t just shove a couple of Siamese fighting fish into a small dirty bowl, fill it up with chlorinated water from the tap, and expect them all to live happily ever after!

Their origins are in the warm shallow waters of the Mekong and Chao Phraya river basins– and in large natural spaces. These fish are normally only around 5 centimeters in length, but– like the rest of– they do need their own space!

Beta fish also need enrichment– and who doesn’t? Siamese fighting fish require caves, plants and mysterious places to explore!

2. Heaters Prevent Unnecessary Death

Siamese fighting fish require heaters in order to keep warm. Cold weather, winds and drafts lower the temperature in tanks, shortening the life span of beta fish or killing them outright. recommends a regular temperature between 74° and 82° Fahrenheit. It is important to choose a heater that has about five watts of power. If the tank is bigger, it might need two heaters, one on either side.

The only time you don’t need a heater for them is if the room they are in has a constant temperature between 74° and 82° Fahrenheit that doesn’t fluctuate. The average home has a temperature of 66°to 72° degrees – much too cold for tropical fish. Thus, it is vital to make sure the tank is neither too hot nor too cold!

If you don’t take better care of your beta fish they will surely die. One fish lover sums up her heart-breaking experience on a beta blog,

I bought a baby betta from Petco and raised her in to adulthood– had her for 4 whole years and since she died just out of the blue for no apparent reason, I just can’t bring myself to get another one.

Don’t do that– either to your Siamese fighting fish– or to yourself! “

3. Heaters Make Betta Fish Happy

Yes, fish do feel pain and suffering according to the scientific journal, Animal Cognition. Fish cooperate, recognize other fish, solve puzzles, and– in the case of Siamese fighting fish– raise their own young. The idea that fish only have a three-second memory is a myth.

Male bettas are devoted fathers that build bubble nests for their young with their mouths and fiercely protect their babies from predators– hence their name, Siamese fighting fish!

Dr. Christel Moons, an expert on Siamese fighting fish at Ghent University in Belgium recommends that betta fish need the right companionship too.

You want to look at species compatibility and you also want to make sure that it has the option for hiding, Dr. Moons insists.

The Washington Post has even made a connection between their happiness and ours – so aquariums really do have power to reduce stress!

Betta fish just can’t survive long in a bowl – stress and loneliness surely kill! Why would you do that to a living being and to yourself?

PetMD informs us that fish are aware of their human guardians – they get excited any time they see us! Beta fish are watching us – as much as we are watching them!”

Types of Heaters to Get:

If you do not have a heater for your betta fish already, get one immediately! According to, cheaper heaters are not a great idea. Not everyone can afford an expensive heater – but it is important to know that cheaper heaters can be faulty. The heater breaks– the fish die. It’s as simple as that!

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Here are some great suggestions that betta fish owners recommend in 2024:

1. Fluval M50 Submersible Heater

2. Orlushy Submersible Aquarium Heater,300W

3. Eheim Jager Aquarium Thermostat Heater 300W

4. FREESEA Aquarium Fish Tank Heater: 50W Small Submersible Turtle Heater 

5. Hitop 50W/100W/300W Adjustable Aquarium Heater

The Three Main Reasons Why Betta Fish Need Heaters

1. Betta fish are used to tropical warm waters

2. Heaters prevent unnecessary death

3. Heaters make them happier.

Final Round-up

1. Betta fish need heaters to flourish

2. Siamese fighting fish are not good starter pets.

3. Betta fish deserve to be treated betta!

Written by:

Pet Aquariums

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