How To Transfer Betta Fish From Cup To Tank

Interested in how to transfer betta fish from cup to tank? This guide is for you!

In many pet stores, nano fish such as bettas are sold in plastic cups or bowls. These cups are not meant to hold the fish for long.

Betta fish should be transferred to an appropriate tank as soon as possible.

The health, growth, and lifespan of the betta fish depend on how successfully it is transferred from the cup. Therefore, a successful transfer ranks higher in priority than aftercare in keeping the betta fish. This is your cue to properly transfer the betta fish from the cup to the community tank without much delay.

Why Transfer Betta Fish from Cups?

Cups Are Too Small for Betta Fish

A single betta fish needs at least 3 gallons of water to thrive. Subjecting this fish to a cup is pure torture.

Cups are too small, and this fish won’t be able to live in one for long.

Cups Restrict Oxygen Flow

Cups don’t have enough water to hold an adequate oxygen supply for your betta. Suppose the fish is forced to live in these conditions for too long. In that case, it will compromise its health, immunity, and overall wellbeing.

Cups Have Limited Temperature Control

Since the water in the cup is too little, temperature fluctuations happen pretty fast. The water temperature oscillates depending on the prevailing environmental conditions.

This is very dangerous for your betta since temperature changes significantly affect this fish.

betta fish transfer from cup to tank

How Long Should You Wait to Transfer Your Betta Fish?

If you plan to put your betta in his own tank, you should transfer him as soon as the tank is ready. However, you can make things easier for this pet by preparing the tank first before you purchase him.

This means that transferring him to his new home won’t last long when you bring him home. The fish will probably only have to wait as you set the conditions in the tank right.

If you plan to transfer the fish to a community tank, you may have to quarantine him first.

A quarantine tank is a unique tank where the betta is kept for about a month as you observe him for infections and diseases.

Because this fish is a new entrant in your home, you wouldn’t want him introducing strange parasites, infections, and diseases.

A quarantine tank allows you to eliminate this possibility, and provide the necessary treatment for your fish where applicable.

Should You Put Your Betta with a Tank Mate Immediately?

Usually, bettas are kept separate from other fish. Because of their aggressive nature, bettas are poor team players.

However, every fish has its unique personality. Some bettas are friendly enough to put up with specific tank mates.

It would be a mistake to transfer your betta from a cup directly to the new tank with tank mates. Bringing a new betta into such an environment is a recipe for trouble.

Your betta may not only turn hostile against the tank mate, but may also bring infections and contaminations.

The best thing to do is wait about a fortnight before pairing the new betta with a tank mate. This will give you ample time to understand this betta’s personality.

How Do You Introduce a Betta to a New Tank?

You need to evaluate the compatibility level of your betta with the old members of the community tank.

Also, ensure there’s enough room for a new member in the tank. Are the facilities and resources enough for the total number of fish?

Because bettas are not so friendly, it is often difficult for them to take a quiet position within the tank. Also, your betta may accept some tank mates while being tolerant of others.

A close observation of your pet’s behavior reveals his personality and helps you know his compatibility partners.

What Kind of Fish Can Cohabit with a Betta?

As noted earlier, you need to establish whether the community members are compatible with your betta before transferring it into the tank.

Although highly territorial, bettas can live with particular tank mates if well chosen.

Fish compatible with bettas include Dwarf Rasboras, Platies, Harlequin Rasboras, Ember Tetras, and Bronze Corys.

Others are Zebra Danios, Lambchop Rasboras, Dwarf Loach, Chili Rasbora, Glass Catfish, Cardinal Tetras, and Pygmy Corys.

Betta fish can also learn to live well with Endler’s Livebearers and Runnmy Nose Tetras.

Even with this in mind, be cautious enough while introducing the betta to a new tank. It would help if you quarantined the betta fish before putting him pairing him up with a tank mate.

Some types of fish are simply not compatible with bettas. Putting bettas as tank mates with this fish is an invitation to trouble.

Avoid pairing your betta fish with barbs, shrimps or small fish, and bright males of other species. Most importantly, never put two betta fish in the same tank, as they will likely fight each other to death.

Also, ensure that you source your betta fish from reputable breeders. This will ensure you get the top-of-the-range betta types for the right price.

How to Acclimate Your Betta to New Tank Water

As noted above, you need to quarantine a new betta for about 4 weeks to check for abnormalities.

This allows you to take prompt action to stop parasites, infections, and diseases from spreading to the rest of the fish population in the community tank.

When your betta fish is new, you don’t just want to throw it into the tank and think your work is done.

Apart from the possibility of spreading parasites, a new betta may be severely shocked by the water temperature in the tank.

One of the worst things that can happen to your betta fish is temperature shock. So naturally, you’d not want to deal with the stress and resultant complications.

Use a thermometer to measure the water in the cup and that in the aquarium. Then, you can slowly lower the fish into the aquarium if the two match.

Otherwise, you’ll need a different approach to introduce your betta fish into the tank.

Float the Cup in the Tank

If there’s a temperature difference between the cup and the tank, allow the cup to float in the tank.

This should continue for about 20 minutes as the betta fish gets acclimated to the water temperature in the tank.

The cup water will receive heat transfer from the tank, and its temperature will gradually change to match that of the tank.

Transfer the Betta into the Tank

After 20 minutes of the cup floating in the tank, the betta fish will be sufficiently adjusted to take to the tank water.

Use a fishnet or your hands to pick the betta and gently slide it into the tank. Take care not to pour the water from the cup into the tank.

No matter how little the cup water seems, it can change the tank water’s chemical composition.

Using the Drip Method

  • Put the cup with the fish in a large container
  • Place the container next to the aquarium
  • Put an air stone in the container and link it to an air pump
  • Use airline tubing and an air valve to make a siphon
  • Using the tubing, connect the new tank to the container with the cup
  • Allow the water to slowly flow into the cup in the container
  • Let the water continue dripping into the cup until it is 3 times more than it initially was
  • Using a thermometer, measure the temperature of this water and that of the tank
  • Also, check the pH level of the two. You can safely transfer the betta fish to the new tank if they match.

Closely Monitor Your Betta

The transfer of your betta fish does not end when you physically move the fish from the cup to the tank.

You still have to closely monitor the progress of this fish in the new tank to prevent regression.

Watch for any behavior change to verify whether your betta is well settled or needs further assistance.

If the betta is happy and well-adjusted, it immediately starts exploring the waters in the new tank. It will look vibrant and energetic.

However, don’t hesitate to take prompt remedial measures if you see any signs of regression.

How to Help Your Betta Fish Adapt

If your betta fish does not take to the new tank immediately, do not panic. This fish may need a few hours to get its bearing and adjust.

You’ll know this because it will be reserved and laid back. However, its behavior should not be too lackluster to alarm you.

For example, if the betta fish is lethargic and won’t move, this needs immediate attention.

However, if the fish is moving about but cautiously, you can be sure it is trying to establish its boundaries.

The betta fish should acclimate to the new environment within 24 hours of the transfer. Ensure that the water parameters are proper to help this fish settle down as fast as possible.

Provide some treats for the betta just in case he is hungry. This will also distract him from any stress associated with a new environment.

Keep a close eye to protect your betta from being bullied by other tank members.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Should I put the betta fish into the tank directly from the cup?

The water composition and temperature in the tank are likely to differ from that of the tank. As such, you must acclimate your fish to the tank water before putting it in.

You can do this by floating the cup in the tank or using the drip method.

Should I put the betta fish into the tank immediately after putting the conditioner?

The effect of the conditioner in the tank water takes about 24 hours to be felt. So wait for this period before putting your betta fish into the tank.

Water conditioner is meant to soften the water by eradicating chloramine, chlorine, and heavy metals.

Additionally, waiting 24 hours allows the conditioner to change nitrogen into outgas.

How long can a betta stay in a cup with tap water?

Betta fish that live in cups filled with water has a short lifespan. This is because cup water is too limiting and stifles the betta’s growth chances.

For this reason, ensure that you transfer the betta from the cup to the tank within 48 hours of purchase.

What’s the ideal water temperature for betta fish?

In the wild, bettas enjoy a temperature range between 23.80 C and 29.40 C (750 F and 850F). Replicate these temperatures in the betta tank for the best experience with this nano fish.

What’s the ideal PH level for betta fish?

Your betta fish will do well in a pH of between 6.5 and 7.5. However, ensure that this level does not fluctuate suddenly, as this could severely compromise the health of your betta fish.

How can I stop my betta fish from being bullied?

Sometimes, fish do get in each other’s way in a community tank. This happens either because the fish are incompatible or because the conditions have made them stressed and highly agitated.

If your betta is being bullied by other fish, don’t hesitate to transfer him to his own tank.

What do territorial bettas look like?

They move around the tank, flaring and displaying their colors to show dominance. Although this does not mean this fish will turn hostile, you need to keep your eyes on him.

At times, the betta fish puts on these shows to establish boundaries and assert his leading position in the hierarchical order in the tank.

What should I do if my betta is harassing other fish?

When you pair your betta fish with a tank mate, you may see some back and forth as the betta tries to establish dominance.

Usually, this ends as soon as a hierarchy is established. However, suppose this continues, and the betta keeps harassing the other fish. In that case, you should move your betta to protect the other species.

How often should I change the water in my betta fish tank?

Many factors inform how often you should change the water in a betta’s tank. For example, what’s the size of the tank?

What are the active filtration systems? How many bettas or other fish do you have in the tank.

You can start by changing about 10% of the water once or twice a week.


To guarantee the health of your betta fish, take the proper steps in transferring it from the cup to the tank.

This part of keeping bettas is crucial because it determines how this fish fairs moving forward.

If this is not done right, you may inadvertently spread parasites, infections, diseases, and contamination to the community tank.

Doing the transfer properly also ensures you avoid making that tank a battleground between the betta and the other community members.

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