There’s one thing that I cannot stress enough: you cannot put a betta in a tank without water conditioner! Tap water contains harmful substances, and distilled water doesn’t contain enough minerals to support a betta’s health needs, so you can’t keep him in either one. With just a few drops of water conditioner, though, the water becomes perfectly safe.
Here’s a look at some of the best water conditioners for bettas.
Top Product Recommendations
1. Aqueon Tap Water Conditioner
While most betta water conditioners have very similar features and ingredients, they all offer different advantages for your pet. Aqueon’s Tap Water Conditioner, for example, neutralizes the chlorine and related substances that occur in tap water, but it also helps to de-stress a new betta when he or she arrives in a new tank.
This water conditioner not only makes the water safe, but it also works to repair the fish’s natural slime coat. This might sound gross, but this layer of slime helps protect the betta, and it often gets partially removed when the fish is caught in a net or moved to a new tank.
Aqueon’s water conditioner is especially useful for smaller betta bowls in which the water isn’t as well-circulated. This makes it ideal for those who want to keep their betta healthy and happy, but maybe don’t have as much space for a tank as they would like.
- Effective at neutralizing chlorine and other harmful substances
- Great for smaller tanks
- Works quickly
- Can sometimes turn water blue and make bubbles on the surface
- It takes more of this product to detoxify the water than it does with other brands
- Many people report that if you order it online, it arrives leaking or damaged
2. Tetra BettaSafe Water Conditioner
I have tried several different types over the years, but in my experience, this is one of the best betta water conditioners out there. It is easy to use, it conditions the water perfectly in just a few seconds, and it even reduces your fish’s stress levels.
It neutralizes, not just chlorine, but also ammonia and heavy metals, some of the most toxic things your betta can come into contact with.
The thing that makes this different from some other brands is that it also includes minerals and vitamins that can keep both your betta and his water healthier. It even includes something called “advanced biopolymers,” which are grown by living things like kelp and help to promote the growth of good bacteria in your betta’s tank.
You can use Tetra’s BettaSafe water conditioner when you are first getting your aquarium set up and again during every partial water change, which the brand recommends you do monthly.
- Easy-to-use dropper
- Works almost instantaneously
- Offers other benefits along with neutralization
- You can’t add it to the water while the fish is in it or it can hurt/kill the betta
- Bottle is very small
- Some users report that it led to problems like fin rot, but it is not clear whether there were other factors involved
3. API Betta Water Conditioner
API, like Tetra, is a pretty well-known brand in the world of betta fish products. It has a good reputation, so it is no surprise that it also has a good product. This particular water conditioner neutralizes ammonia, chlorine, and other chemicals, which can irritate your betta’s gills and tissues (or worse).
Like the previous product, this can be used when starting a new tank and when making water changes. Unlike the previous product, though, this one includes green tea extract and aloe vera. These things are meant to help injured fish to heal and to reduce any inflammation they may have.
It works instantly as well, which saves time, and it helps the fish to develop that all-important slime coat that keeps them safe from illness.
API recommends that you do a 25 percent water change every two weeks, each time conditioning the water with this beneficial product.
- Offers benefits outside of just neutralizing the substances in the water
- Can help fish who weren’t doing so well at the store get healthy again
- Small bottle
- Some users reported that it made the water in their aquarium cloudy
- Other users claim that it can cause chemical burns to your fish, but there may have been other factors involved as this didn’t happen to everyone
4. Natural Rapport Aquarium Water Conditioner
Natural Rapport’s Aquarium Water Conditioner is touted as being an all-in-one product that caters to every aspect of your betta water. It removes nitrates, ammonia, chloramines, chlorine, and heavy metals. It also adds in electrolytes and helps to create a slime coat for your betta to reduce his stress.
One of the biggest bonuses for this product is that it works for both freshwater and saltwater aquariums, and can be used for many other types of fish other than bettas. This means that if you are a real aquarium enthusiast, you can use this same conditioner for multiple tanks without having to buy a separate one for each fish.
Another plus is that it comes in a much larger bottle than the other conditioners on this list, so it will last much longer. Just be sure to follow the instructions to make sure that you add the right amount to your tank (even though the label says that it is impossible to overdose).
- Large size makes it more convenient and cost-effective
- Can be used for other fish tanks as well
- Better at removing chlorine than nitrates and ammonia, so you may have to find an additional solution
- Can affect water pH in a negative way
5. API Stress Coat Water Conditioner
We already had one API water conditioner on our list, but this one is slightly different. It is meant to both condition the water and create a “stress coat” for your betta, which is basically the same as the slime coat, but is a term used to make it clear that illnesses and bad water conditions can not only make your fish feel bad physically, but can also make them anxious.
The aloe vera extract in this conditioner helps to repair their coat, which, as mentioned previously, can be partially or fully removed when the fish is captured, transported, or even shipped (or if it fights with another fish).
You can add this product when you are setting up the tank, changing the water, or having a fish that is hurt or recovering from an illness. It works instantly, which is ideal for fishkeepers who want to get their tank under control quickly.
- Promotes good slime coat and reduces the fish’s stress
- Can help heal injured bettas
- Neutralizes chlorine, but not nitrite and ammonia
- May not come with a measuring cap
- Some users reported things like cloudy water, bad smell, and foam on the water
6. Seachem Prime Fresh and Saltwater Conditioner
Seachem Prime is one of the most recommended brands of water conditioner around (just check out some of the betta forums and product reviews for other products! It’s all anyone can talk about). It is a powerful, professional-grade product that removes chlorine and chloramines while also promoting the detoxification of ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites. It also does not affect pH, which is ideal.
It can be used in both freshwater and saltwater, making it another conditioner that is perfect for fishkeepers with multiple tanks. It also has a cap that allows you to measure the proper dosage for your tank (if you have a smaller tank, though, use two drops per gallon instead of the whole cap).
This comes in a large bottle (with lots of other various, decent size options) at an affordable price, so it is perhaps the best betta water conditioner for those on a budget.
- Professional grade
- Doesn’t alter pH levels
- Great all-in-one water treatment
- May not be as effective as it should be at neutralizing nitrites
- Be careful where you buy from: this product works fine if you buy it from pet stores, but multiple users reported getting fake products when ordering online
7. Splendid Betta Complete Water Conditioner
This is another water conditioner that I have used often, and can testify that it is safe and effective. It combines some of the best aspects of the other conditioners on this list, such as neutralization of chloramines, chlorine, ammonia, and heavy metals and the addition of aloe vera and green tea extracts to help heal injured fish and reduce irritation and inflammation.
It works instantly to condition the water and make it safe for your betta, and you can use it on the first tank setup as well as during every partial water change that comes after. Be careful to note, though, that if the bottle of conditioner you have is expired, your water will become cloudy, and the conditioner may not be as effective at doing its job.
For me, the best thing about this product is that it is available pretty much everywhere, both online and in pet stores, so you have lots of buying options.
- Works fast
- Effective at removing harmful substances
- Contains many beneficial add-ons to keep your betta healthy
- Expired conditioner can make the water cloudy and make fish sick
- Comes in a pretty small bottle
Betta Water Conditioner Buying Advice
If you plan to keep a betta fish, there is almost nothing more important than conditioning the water. Without a water conditioner, the tank becomes an inhospitable environment for the fish, and he will die very quickly.
While we already covered which water conditioners are best for bettas, here is a bit more information about them so you can make a better-informed decision.
What Betta Water Conditioner Does
If you read the first part of this article, you will already have a pretty good idea of what water conditioner is and does. Basically, tap water is made with chlorine and other similar substances that are great at keeping us humans safe, but can kill a betta fish.
Water conditioner neutralizes the chlorine and other substances in the water and makes it safe for the betta. All you have to do is follow the instructions and put the recommended amount in the tank. In most cases, your betta will also be protected from heavy metals, ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites, all of which can make him sick.
What to Look for in Betta Water Conditioner
There are lots of options for betta water conditioner, but the best ones protect against all the things mentioned above: chlorine, chloramine, nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, and heavy metals. Almost all of them also promote the restoration of the betta’s slime coat, which keeps him calm and protected against disease.
Try to find one that is a well-known brand, and that does all of the above, and you will get the most bang for your buck.
What to Watch Out For
The above information is pretty simple and straightforward, but there is one more thing you need to know before shopping. This one thing is that not all water conditioners are alike. The ones that are specifically made for bettas are more diluted than generic water conditioners, and are therefore safer for the betta.
Betta water conditioners also typically come in a smaller-sized bottle to make dosing easier. You have to do some pretty tough math to figure out how many drops to put in a five-gallon tank when the lowest dosage listed on the instructions is for a 200-gallon tank!
So my advice is to stick to water conditioners that are specifically made for bettas if you can, especially if you are a newbie fish owner, because these would be easiest to work with.
While all betta water conditioners are made to remove chlorine in the water, not all of them detoxify the other substances, and not all of them are equally effective. So my recommendation is to either make a test tank or test the water in your main tank for nitrates, nitrites, ammonia, etc. after adding the conditioner and before adding the fish, so you know for sure there is nothing in there that can harm him. You can find tests for these things at your local pet store or online.
Frequently Asked Questions about Betta Water Conditioner
Do Betta Fish Absolutely Need Water Conditioner?
Absolutely yes. Bettas simply cannot tolerate the chlorine and other substances in tap water. So, unless you want to say goodbye to your betta, you should put a water conditioner at the top of your shopping list when buying tank supplies.
What is the Best Way to Add Water Conditioner to the Tank?
Every bottle of water conditioner should come with detailed instructions. Some come with a specially made top that allows you to add the conditioner drop by drop, while others are added by the cap-full. Some people recommend using a (new, unused) eyedropper to add the conditioner as an alternative.
Always add conditioner before adding the fish to the tank, and never forget to add it to the new water you are swapping in during water changes.
Can You Over-condition Betta Water?
Technically yes, but unless you really make a huge mistake, no. To clarify, you can overdose the tank with water conditioner, but if you just go a little over the recommended dosage, it shouldn’t be a problem (some brands even recommend using double the dosage to attack ammonia at times).
It is a problem, however, if you, say, dump an entire bottle of water conditioner into a five-gallon tank. This is very unlikely to happen, though, so as long as you try your best to follow the instructions on the label, you should be fine.
Can Water Conditioner Kill My Betta?
If used properly, it shouldn’t. The purpose of water conditioner is to make the water safe for your betta, so under normal conditions, it shouldn’t harm him. Just be sure to check the dosage and the expiration date on the bottle!
Having a good water conditioner for your betta tank is crucial for having a fish that lives a long, happy life. You should do your thorough research before choosing one, but my recommendation is the Splendid Betta Complete Water Conditioner. It is easy to use, effective, and there is hardly anyone who seems to have a bad word to say about it (which is rare for any product!).