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Best Betta Water Conditioners

One important but often overlooked part of setting up a small tank is how to use a water conditioner for betta fish. It can be tricky to sort through all the various products, especially for novice aquarists. I was very confused about these treatments when I first started keeping fish!

So how do you choose the best betta water conditioner for your tank? It’s not as hard as it seems! There’s just a few details to keep in mind, and in this short guide, I’ll break them down and teach you how to pick the perfect product for your tank!

Quick Comparisons of the 6 Best Betta Water Conditioners

IMAGE BRAND DETAILS
tnk-table__imageAPI Stress Coat Water Conditioner
  • Size: 473 mL (16 fl oz)
  • Dose: 5 mL (1 teaspoon) per 10 gallons
  • Entire Bottle Treats: 94.6 gallons
View Product
tnk-table__imageSeachem Prime Fresh and Saltwater Conditioner
  • Size: 250mL (8.5 fl oz)
  • Dose: 2 drops per gallon or 1 capful (5mL) per 50 gallons
  • Whole Bottle Treats: 2500 gallons
View Product
tnk-table__imageSeachem Betta Basics
  • Size: 250mL (8.5 fl oz)
  • Dose: 1 capful (5mL) per 1-gallon of water
  • Whole Bottle Treats: 50 gallons
View Product
tnk-table__imageTetra AquaSafe for Bettas
  • Size: 50mL (1.69 fl oz)
  • Dose: 1 mL (14 drops) per gallon or 1 capful (5mL) per 5-gallons
  • Whole Bottle Treats: 50 gallons
View Product
tnk-table__imageAPI Betta Water Conditioner
  • Size: 50mL (1.7 fl oz)
  • Dose: 2.5 mL (½ teaspoon) per gallon
  • Whole Bottle Treats: 20 gallons
View Product
tnk-table__imageZoo Med Betta H2O Conditioner
  • Size: 15 mL (0.5 fl oz)
  • Dose: 10 drops per gallon or 5 mL (1 teaspoon) per 10 gallons
  • Entire Bottle Treats: 30 gallons
View Product

Buyer’s Guide to Water Conditioners for Bettas

Water conditioners and other water treatment products are a necessity when you keep aquariums, and betta tanks are no different. Most municipalities add chemicals to their water supplies to kill disease-carrying microorganisms that could make us sick. But these chemicals are lethal to our betta fish!

The primary reason we use water conditioners is to remove these toxic chemicals from our tap water so they don’t poison our aquariums. But all water conditioners are not created equally. Some products bring more to the table and also perform other functions in your betta tank.

Water Conditioners Remove Chlorine from Tap Water

All the water conditioning products I’ve researched remove chlorine and chloramines from tap water instantly once they are added to a tank. This is their basic and most important feature. You absolutely need to use a water conditioner unless you’re 100% sure your water supply is unadulterated.

API Betta Water Conditioner, 1.7 oz. in a white background.

It used to be the case that you could just leave an uncovered bowl of water out for 24 hours and the chlorine would evaporate away. After a day, you could safely add the water to your tank without using any water treatments and your fish would be fine. Since most cities have switched to using chloramine, this technique is no longer safe.

Additional Functions of Water Conditioners

What else can a water conditioner do for your betta tank and why might you need a product that does multiple things? It depends on the quality of your tap water and the conditions in your tank. Buying a conditioner that can handle several tasks may save you money since you won’t have to purchase additional products.

Detoxifies Heavy Metals and Phosphate

Tap water often carries microscopic particles of heavy metals that can damage your betta or their tank mates. Zinc, copper, and iron may be introduced to your water naturally or through corrosion in old pipes. These metals can stress and poison your fish and are especially lethal to invertebrates.

Phosphates from farming and plant fertilizers are often present in both well and tap water supplies. While they won’t hurt your betta, they do encourage algae outbreaks in your tank. Removing them from your aquarium water might help you avoid problems with green water and algae overgrowth.

Detoxifies Ammonia and Nitrites

Fish tank decoration, detail of a room to rest

Ammonia and nitrite are both toxic waste products that the “good” bacteria in your tank can help neutralize. But sometimes these toxins build-up and overwhelm the bacteria in your betta tank. A water conditioner may be able to convert them to their safer form.

This feature is not commonly seen in betta water treatments, because these small tanks usually only house a single fish. If you keep up on your water changes, you might not need this function in a water conditioner. But a crowded community tank usually benefits from a product that can handle ammonia and nitrites.

Buffers Your Water pH

Some conditioning products also buffer the pH of your water, to limit fluctuations that could stress your betta. I won’t bore you with the chemistry behind buffering! Suffice it to say, they make it so your water’s pH is not easily shifted up or down. This might be either a useful thing or a horrible option for your betta tank.

If your tap water’s pH is out of the ideal range for bettas, then you’ll need to use a product to adjust it either up or down. In this case, avoid water conditioners that are buffered! They will fight against and cancel out the product you’re using to adjust the pH. If your tap water’s pH is closer to 7.0 a buffered conditioner is fine to use.

Promotes a Healthy Slime Coat

Aquarian fish swims in aquarium water

Many water conditioners contain aloe vera or other ingredients that promote a healthy slime coat on your fish. A betta’s slime coat is what protects it from being infected by parasites, bacteria, viruses, and fungi. You might consider products that boost their slime coat, especially if your fish is recovering from an illness or injury.

How to Pick the Best Water Conditioner for Your Tank

Now that you’ve got the background on what a water conditioner can do to keep your betta safe and healthy, how do you actually single out and use the best product for your tank?

Concentration, Dose and Number of Treatments

Water conditioners come in a wide range of concentrations and bottle sizes and it can be difficult to compare them across brands. Their dose-per-gallon varies a lot too. To make things easier, I always check the instructions before I buy a product. That way I know the dose my tank will require and how many doses I’ll get from each bottle.

I know it’s tempting to buy a huge bottle to save money, but this isn’t always the best way to go. If you’re treating a 5-gallon betta bowl with a super-concentrated formula it may be difficult to measure out the correct dose. So look for a brand that makes it easy to measure or dispense the dose you’ll need for your tank.

Check for Additional Functions

Old and rusty water pipe.

While most products these days remove both chlorine and chloramines from tap water, there are still a few old-school products around that only work for chlorine. Be sure the product you pick can tackle both! I also recommend getting a product that detoxifies heavy metals, especially if your home or city has old lead or copper pipes.

As for removing ammonia and nitrites, this can be useful at times but is rarely needed for routine maintenance in betta tanks. Regular water changes do the same thing and leave enough waste behind to “feed” the good bacteria. These may be useful but not necessary for a betta tank.

How to Use the Water Conditioner for Your Betta Tank

Once you’ve done a water change and added fresh tap water to your betta tank, just follow the dosing instructions on your bottle of conditioner. The dose is usually measured in drops, teaspoons, capfuls or pumps of conditioner per gallon of water added. You don’t have to be super precise in your measuring, either.

Pouring liquid on other liquid water.

Multiple-use water conditioners may have different dosing guidelines depending on why you’re using it. To detoxify ammonia or promote healing in an injured fish, you may need to add 2 or 3x the regular dose to your tank. In that case, you’ll calculate the dose based on your aquarium size instead of how much water you’re changing.

Top 6 Betta Water Conditioner Reviews

Here’s a list of water conditioners I recommend for treating betta bowls and tanks. I’ve tried to find a variety of products to cover different tank sizes and situations over a range of prices. These are all high-quality water conditioners and suitable for planted and community betta tanks.

1. API Stress Coat Water Conditioner

API Stress Coat Aquarium Water Conditioner, 4 oz
  • Size: 473 mL (16 fl oz)
  • Dose: 5 mL (1 teaspoon) per 10 gallons
  • Entire Bottle Treats: 94.6 gallons
  • Removes: Chlorine and chloramines
  • Detoxifies: Heavy metals
  • Buffered: No
  • Supports slime coat: Yes
Check The Price

 

API’s Stress Coat was my go-to water conditioner for many years and is still something I always keep on hand. Like the other products on the list, it removes chlorine, chloramine, and heavy metals from your tap water. It also was the first product to feature aloe vera and minerals to support a healthy slime coat.

Even if you don’t use it for routine maintenance, Stress Coat comes in handy when you have a sick or injured betta. It is safe for use between water changes, and if your fish isn’t doing well, you can use a double-dose of this conditioner to help them recover. I always use this to condition my hospital and breeding tanks.

Pros Cons
  • Removes chlorine/chloramine and detoxifies heavy metals from your water
  • Excellent for promoting a healthy slime coat and helping injured or sick bettas recover
  • Easy to dose for small and large aquariums
  • Does not remove ammonia or nitrites from your aquarium water
  • Does not buffer your aquarium water
  • Not specifically for betta fish

2. Seachem Prime Fresh and Saltwater Conditioner

Seachem Laboratories Prime
  • Size: 250mL (8.5 fl oz)
  • Dose: 2 drops per gallon or 1 capful (5mL) per 50 gallons
  • Whole Bottle Treats: 2500 gallons
  • Removes: Chlorine and Chloramine
  • Detoxifies: Ammonia, Nitrites and Heavy Metals
  • Buffered: No
  • Supports Slime Coat: Yes
Check The Price

 

There’s a reason Seachem Prime is the product so many expert fish keepers turn to for maintaining their aquariums. It quickly removes chlorine and chloramine from your tap water. It also binds toxic ammonia and nitrites for up to 48-hours, so your filter can remove them from your aquarium. This is my favorite product for general use!

The highly concentrated formula is perfect for treating a wide range of tank sizes and is especially useful if you have one that’s 50-gallons or bigger. But it’s not hard to measure out a couple of drops per gallon for betta bowls and small tanks. Since it tackles ammonia too, this is an excellent choice for use in-between water changes.

Pros Cons
  • Removes chlorine/chloramine and detoxifies ammonia, nitrite and heavy metals
  • Can be used between water changes to reduce ammonia levels and reduce stress in a crowded tank
  • Gives the most bang for your buck, since the bottle treats 2500 gallons of water!
  • Highly concentrated formula is harder to measure for nano tanks and small betta bowls
  • The solution will not buffer the pH of your aquarium water
  • Not specifically for betta fish

3. Seachem Betta Basics

Seachem Betta Basics 250ml
  • Size: 250mL (8.5 fl oz)
  • Dose: 1 capful (5mL) per 1-gallon of water
  • Whole Bottle Treats: 50 gallons
  • Removes: Chlorine and Chloramines
  • Detoxifies: Ammonia
  • Buffered: Yes, buffers to pH 7
  • Supports Slime Coat: No
Check The Price

 

Another option from Seachem is their Betta Basics formula. Designed specifically for small betta bowls and nano tanks, the Basics is a buffered conditioner that helps keep your water right around neutral (pH 7.0). It will remove chlorine and chloramine and detoxifies any ammonia that builds up between water changes.

The bottle makes it easy to treat small amounts of water, even less than a gallon if you’re doing a 10% water change in a nano tank. The formulation is much more dilute than the Seachem Prime. That said, this product may be toxic to invertebrates, so don’t use it if you have small shrimp in the tank with your betta fish.

Pros Cons
  • Removes chlorine/chloramine and detoxifies ammonia
  • Stabilizes and buffers your water pH to maintain it right around 7.0
  • Easy to dose small amounts of water
  • Does not remove heavy metals from the water
  • Phosphate-based buffer may cause a white residue to form along the water line and is toxic to shrimp
  • Buffering effect is highly diminished and may not work properly if your water is very hard

4. Tetra AquaSafe for Bettas

TetraAqua BettaSafe Water Conditioner, 1.6 oz.
  • Size: 50mL (1.69 fl oz)
  • Dose: 1 mL (14 drops) per gallon or 1 capful (5mL) per 5-gallons
  • Whole Bottle Treats: 50 gallons
  • Removes: Chlorine and chloramines
  • Detoxifies: Heavy metals
  • Buffered: No
  • Supports Slime Coat: Yes
Check The Price

 

Tetra’s recently reformulated conditioner now sports the name AquaSafe for Bettas. The older formula, Betta Safe, has a different concentration, so be sure you know which product you’re buying. This is an excellent option for treating small tanks after routine water changes.

AquaSafe removes chlorine, chloramines, and heavy metals from your tap water. It also contains a vitamin and mineral blend that helps your betta stay healthy and special ingredients that promote the formation of their slime coat. The formula doesn’t have any extras, but it’s perfect for general maintenance

Pros Cons
  • Removes chlorine/chloramine and detoxifies heavy metals from tap water
  • Contains vitamins and minerals to keep your betta healthy
  • Supports a healthy slime coat
  • Does not detoxify ammonia or nitrites
  • Dilute formula not suitable for larger tanks (over 10 gallons)
  • Solution will not buffer the pH of your aquarium water

5. API Betta Water Conditioner

API Betta Water Conditioner, 1.7 oz.
  • Size: 50mL (1.7 fl oz)
  • Dose: 2.5 mL (½ teaspoon) per gallon
  • Whole Bottle Treats: 20 gallons
  • Removes: Chlorine and chloramines
  • Detoxifies: Heavy metals
  • Buffered: No
  • Supports slime coat: Yes
Check The Price

 

API is well recognized for its high-quality aquarium products, and their Betta Water conditioner is no exception. Designed specifically for bettas, it quickly removes chlorine, chloramines, and heavy metals from your aquarium. Their proprietary formula boosters your betta’s slime coat formation and helps keep them healthy.

API’s Betta conditioner is a dilute formula perfect for dosing fish bowls. It’s a bit too dilute to use for bowls over 5 gallons, however. You’d have to use too much product to make that cost-effective. If you have a small betta bowl and do frequent water changes this could be a great option for you.

Pros Cons
  • Removes chlorine/chloramine and detoxifies heavy metals from your tap water
  • Special formulation promotes a healthy slime coat on your betta
  • Dilute formula is ideal for dosing tanks under 5 gallons in size
  • Does not remove ammonia or nitrites from your aquarium
  • The formula is too dilute to be practical for larger bowls and tanks
  • Does not buffer your aquarium’s water pH

6. Zoo Med Betta H2O Conditioner

Check The Price
  • Size: 15 mL (0.5 fl oz)
  • Dose: 10 drops per gallon or 5 mL (1 teaspoon) per 10 gallons
  • Entire Bottle Treats: 30 gallons
  • Removes: Chlorine and chloramines
  • Detoxifies: Nitrite and Heavy metals
  • Buffered: No
  • Supports slime coat: Yes
Check The Price

 

If you have a small betta tank and want a conditioner that’s really easy to use, then look at the Zoo Med Betta H2O. This formula is ideal for betta bowls and small fish tanks. It removes chlorine, chloramine, nitrite, and heavy metals from your tap water. It also helps keep your fish healthy by supporting the formation of their slime coat.

Zoo Med’s bottle has a specially designed tip that makes it very easy to add the correct dose of conditioner to your aquarium. When you invert the bottle and squeeze, the drops of conditioner come out easily and precisely. You just count the correct number of drops for your tank size and you’re done!

Pros Cons
  • Removes chlorine/chloramine and detoxifies nitrite and heavy metals from your water
  • Special tip makes it easy to dispense the exact number of drops you need to condition your tank
  • Trace minerals support your betta’s slime coat formation
  • The bottle is too small and the formula too dilute to be convenient for dosing larger tanks
  • Does not remove ammonia from your aquarium
  • Formula will not buffer your aquarium water

Conclusion

If you’ve been shopping for conditioners, then you know how many products are marketed as betta water treatments. The truth is, betta fish don’t need a special conditioner or one branded for bettas specifically. Any high-quality water conditioner will keep your betta safe from toxic chlorine and chloramines.

Red and blue fighting fish from Thailand.

The key way to differentiate between conditioning products is to compare their dose-per-gallon amounts. Some products will also buffer your aquarium’s water pH to keep it stable. Other products remove ammonia and/or nitrites, which could stress your fish. The best products also support a healthy slime coat.

I hope this article has helped you pick the perfect product for your betta bowl or tank! We’d love to hear about your experiences with water conditioners in the comments.

If you’re still not sure which product to use:

  • Our Experts Pick, the Seachem Prime, is an excellent option for any sized tank and is my current all-around favorite product for bettas.
  • If you have a small tank or betta bowl then consider either the Seachem Basic or the API Betta water conditioners.
  • For the easiest to dispense option, the Zoo Med’s special tip will make dosing your tank as easy as counting a few drops.
  • You can never go wrong by choosing Stress Coat, and it’s a great product to have on hand if you need to treat an injured or sick betta.

Jen has more than 30 years experience as a biologist, aquarist, and fishkeeper. She is an expert in setting up new tanks and maintaining naturally-planted freshwater habitats, and has experience raising a wide variety of aquatic species.

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