Betta Care: Water Conditioners & Additives

Betta fish require well-filtered water, or regular water changes if you don’t have a fish tank with filters, which is where betta water conditioners come in. There is a lot of misinformation regarding betta fish out there. While many websites and pet retailers claim that betta fish take little care, this isn’t the truth when it comes to keeping them as healthy as possible. For a safe water change for your bettas, there are water conditioners and additives that help to remove dangerous chemicals from tap water.

Water Conditioner is a must for any fishtank!

There are many quality water conditioners available at pet stores, fish stores, and even department and discount stores. When choosing water conditioners for your tank, it is important that they remove Chlorine, Chloramines, and Ammonia, as these are toxic to all aquatic life. Be sure that whatever brand you choose states that it removes these key contaminants. A popular combination is Kordon’s NovAqua and Amquel, used together. I highly recommend Prime, an all-in-one water conditioner that requires only 1 drop per gallon of new water.

Note: Some water conditioners contain aloe, suggesting that it protects the fish’s stress coat. There has been some debate as to whether aloe actually works against bettas and irritates their gills; which can in turn cause labored breathing and stress in the fish. If you find this to be the case, it is advised that you switch to a brand without aloe.

Betta Care: Water Conditioners & Additives 1

Other Optional Water Additives

Aquarium Salt

Some people find aquarium salt to be useful in the care of bettas. It is said to reduce stress, add electrolytes, improve disease recovery, and improve gill function. Aquarium salt can be used as a regular water additive at a dosage of 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per gallon, and up to 1 teaspoon per gallon when a betta is ill. Doc Wellfish’s Aquarium Salt is a common brand found in a paper milk-carton container.

Note: Only “Aquarium Salt” should be used. Table or marine salt are not acceptable substitutes.


This is a product made by Boyd Enterprises that contains natural vitamins, naturally occurring extracts, and amino acids that help to boost your betta’s health. Some people find that this is a useful water additive at the dosage of 2 drops per gallon once per week. Vita-Chem can also be added to food several times per week for an added nutritional benefit.

Live Plant Fertilizer

This covers a whole realm of additives that are specifically made to help enhance the growth and health of live aquatic plants for lacking elements in your water and fish tank. For the most part, these are not harmful to fish, however, be aware that scaleless fish and snails can be sensitive to some ingredients in these formulas.

Medications as a regular preventative to tank water

Whoever thought up this one is just plain silly. Over the years I’ve seen this time and time again as advice on fish forums. Let’s look at it from a different perspective – would you feed your child cough medicine if they weren’t sick? No, it doesn’t make sense, and quite frankly it may work against the cause as it can build up immunity to that medication in the event that illness does strike. Similarly, there is no need to add any medication to your fish tank unless your fish is ill and the illness has been properly identified.

Personally, I have the mindset of the fewer additives the better, so I use only the necessary water conditioner during water changes and make sure ideal temperature, water parameters, amount of light, and proper feedings are all followed on a regular basis for my tanks.

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