Do Betta Fish Need A Heater? (Ideal Temperatures)

| Published On: is supported by its audience. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More
Guide On Do Betta Fish Need A Heater

Betta Fish, also called the Siamese fighter fish, are popular for their easy maintenance. Aquarists all over the world adore them due to their vibrant, colorful fins and their playful nature. Betta fish live longer than most pet fishes, up to 5 years, if provided with the environment they require.

Having heard so much about bettas, I decided to get one as my first pet. Later, I realized betta fish needed a heater to survive better. I was surprised to learn that they need a heater, and it’s essential for them to stay healthy.

I wonder what would happen if they didn’t have one? Can betta fish live without a heater? Or if yes, then how long can a betta fish live without a heater?

Well, the answer to these questions really depends on many factors. The most important factor is temperature, how warm or cool your surroundings are. Get ready to learn more about their natural environment, ideal temperatures, and more.

What Is The Natural Environment Of Bettas?

Bettas are the national fish of Thailand, and naturally, Bettas originate from Asian countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

As you can see from these countries, bettas prefer tropical climates all year round. If you plan to find them, you should look for them in ponds, low-lying lakes, and slow-moving streams where temperatures are higher.

Warmer temperatures like 78-82F have low oxygen, and bettas are used to off them. It is why they frequently swim to the surface to breathe some oxygen. They don’t like deeper waters for this reason too.

image of blue betta fish in aquarium

Their labyrinth organ helps them breathe air; it serves the same purpose as a human lung. Besides that, their gills generally function like other fish. Their labyrinth organs are attached to their gills.

In the wild, bettas like to hunt and devour insects and small invertebrates, nothing green, as they are strictly carnivorous.

Their nutrient requirements are very high; even if they munch on some greens, they get sick and die due to lack of nutrition. They mostly survive in their natural environments for up to 2 years.

Do Betta Fish Need A Heater?

Betta fish definitely need a heater to survive. Most of the time, people ask whether betta fish can live without a heater because they don’t find it essential to invest in one. Do betta fish need a light? Yes, having aquarium lights in your tank can add some plus points.

image of fluval aquarium tank heater
Credits: Fluval

Did you know that sometimes, even light can heat your surroundings? You know that now. They can help you warm up your betta tank a little. If you ask do betta fish need a filter, my answer would definitely be that no, they don’t require it.

Bettas can survive and do pretty well without filters in their betta tanks. But a heater for betta fish is a necessity and should be given a top priority if you plan on buying a betta. How long can a betta fish live without a heater? Not very long, mainly because they naturally belong to hot climates.

What Type Of Heater Does A Betta Need?

Now that you know your betta requires a heater, choosing it can be difficult. Especially when there are so many options available in the market, you can get confused easily. Here are what you need to know regarding the type of heater a betta needs.

Firstly, keep your tank’s size in your mind before getting a heater, as any extra watts will result in overheating the water. Here’s a simple formula, one gallon of water will always require a 3-5 watt heater.

Do betta fish need a big tank? Not necessary as small tanks work well, and you’d probably need a low-watt heater for them.

Coming to the types of heaters, immersible and submersible heaters are very popular for all tank sizes. You need to submerse them in water; once the water temperature drops down, they start on their own to reach the desired temperature.

Have a filtration system? A sump heater is what you can install, a heater for betta fish that can be fitted inside the filter.

You can also invest in an under-gravel heater, as you can already guess by its name that it hides under the gravel. Under-gravel heater mainly heats the bottom of the tank only. Out of all of the options, the best option is definitely a submersible heater because of its efficiency.

What Happens to Betta Fish if the Water Temp Drops Too Low?

Bettas naturally are from warm climates; they cannot thrive in colder temperatures. Cold water means a slow and painful death for them.

two blue betta fish in aquarium

Cold temperature shock is a severe issue for bettas if the water becomes too cold, below 75F. Firstly, they will have trouble moving and staying in one place, avoiding swimming. They will become very lazy, and you will be able to observe that their scales start losing color.

All these things will weaken their immune system, and you should know that a weak immune system indicates an early death. You won’t be wrong if you say that cold water kills betta fish.

Is A Heater Necessary For A Betta?  

A heater is necessary for a betta fish if you reside in colder regions. However, if you reside in a tropical country and ask can betta fish live without a heater? So the answer is yes, they can.

In tropical areas, it is already warmer, the way bettas want it to be, so you can skip having a heater there. But to save your betta from temperature shocks that take place during changing seasons, always have a heater in your tank.

What purpose do heaters serve? They help you reach the ideal temperature for your betta tank. Consider it a necessity.

How To Heat A Betta Tank Without A Heater?

Can betta fish live without a heater? What if you cannot install a heater? There are still plenty of other ways to heat your tank without a heater. A heating mat can be beneficial in such a situation, which works with glass tanks.

You can simply put the heating mat under your tank to heat it. Strong lights can also help in raising the temperatures. Some people also use heating blankets by covering the betta tank or bowl with that blanket.

Warm water can also be added to raise some degrees. However, keep in mind that the water should not be boiling. 0.1 Gallon of warm water should be added to a 1-gallon tank; see the ratio. These tips exist but are very risky, be careful and vigilantly keep a check on temperatures if you follow them.

What’s The Ideal Water Temp For Betta Fish?

Can betta fish live without a heater if its temperature is between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit? It will flourish in that temperature! Heaters are necessary to control the temperatures of your betta according to a betta’s requirement.

image of halfmoon betta fish

What temperature is ideal for it to survive and live actively? Anything between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold water kills the fish as they cannot continue activities at their usual pace in low temperatures, get sluggish and then die.

Water exceeding 85 degrees Fahrenheit is not very pleasant for them either. It also kills them, because of extra-heated water they start swimming here and there uncomfortably.

Instead of getting slow, they speed up, but that speed is not beneficial. Both cases weaken a betta’s immunity and kill it.

How Long Will A Betta Survive Without A Heater?

If you live in a place at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit in temperature, your betta may live up to 3-4 years. That, too, without a heater, the only condition is that there shall be no fluctuations in temperature. Temperature shocks can sicken a betta and bring it closer to death.

It becomes prone to illnesses, and a heater for betta fish is designed to save it from premature death. It is always a great idea to avoid unpleasant situations and prepare everything initially.

Final Verdict:

Bettas are not an ideal pet for residing in colder regions. If the hobbyist is unsure of how heaters work, it is best to avoid getting Siamese fighter fish. On the other hand, if a starter lives in a warmer, humid environment, they may get a betta fish.

A heater for betta fish won’t cost you a fortune, but it will surely help you prolong your Siamese fighter’s life. You must keep an eye on the water’s temperature and alter the heater’s size or settings as necessary.

In order to ensure that the temperature maintains within acceptable parameters, the tank should ideally be set up with the heater installed before you add your betta fish.

A warm environment is all that a betta needs, and a heater is something that provides it. Get a good heater, and your betta will feel at home like they are in their natural environment regardless of wherever they are.

It does not matter if you are a beginner; your limited knowledge should not stop you from keeping a pet. Hopefully, you must have found all the information about bettas and their heaters here. I am confident enough that now, you are all ready to welcome a betta fish as your pet warmly!

Your Author

  • Since 2009 I've been writing on different media portals about fishing. Here on this website, it's time to share those experiences I've witnessed in my entire life so far. Let me help you get the best stuff you need while fishing.