What type of aquarium decorations would be best for a small Betta fish tank? I guess it is a common question a lot of people are wondering because Betta is probably one of the most common fish a lot of people are breeding these days. Who can resist the bright colors of these gorgeous fish as well as the fact that they are hardy and can be kept in tiny aquariums with no trouble at all.

The one issue most people face when trying to decorate a Betta tank is space. Most people do keep their Bettas in 2.5 – 3 gallon fish tanks and with the constrain space, there is little or no room for the more common aquarium decor. This means that you would have to be very purposeful when you select the type of fish tank decorations that you plan to put into your tank.

Know what aquarium decorations your Betta fish likes

The key here is to understand the nature of a Betta fish. Betta fish originates from the warm climates of Southeast Asia. As gorgeous as they are, Betta fish are actually very common there and are found in the murky waters of paddy fields and stagnant ponds. Growing up in Vietnam, I remember wading knee deep in muddy water as a kid catching my Bettas and putting them in little bottles to show off to my friends.


Bettas are highly territorial, highly aggressive and highly energetic. Which is why in a small aquarium you can only have one Betta. Because of their aggressiveness, you would have to ensure that the aquarium decor you select for your Betta tank will not cause any injury to your fish from them scraping their bodies against it.

Also, being territorial would mean that they Betta fish would require a place to escape to when their feel stressed or threatened. Your aquarium ornaments would have to provide your fish with a cave or place to hide away.

With these in mind, let’s look at some of the most suitable fish tank decor that your could get for your small Betta aquarium. The best decor for them can be classified into three types: floating decor, base decor or aquatic plants.

Floating aquarium ornaments for Betta fish

Zoo Med Floating Betta Log5 star rating (5/5 by editor)Check on Amazon.com

The floating aquarium decor made for Betta generally look like a hollow log with large openings on both sides. In my opinion, it is the best type of aquarium decor for your Betta. The ornament is generally made up of natural material that is not harmful to your fish and will not cause them to hurt themselves when they scrape against the sides, which they will. The Betta fish will love spending time in them and you would find them in there a lot. Because they are floating, you can still admire your fish even when they are in there unlike other aquarium caves where the fish are hidden completely from view.

Another cool feature of the floating aquarium decor is that it actually cuts down water flow strength. If your filter is a little too strong, there may be too much water flow and this will stress out the Betta which originated from stagnant pools of water. These floating ornaments provide the Betta with pockets of calm water to escape to.

Zoo Med Betta Bed Leaf HammockZoo Med Betta Bed Leaf Hammock

Another thing that any Bettas love is a bed leaf hammock stuck to the side near the surface level by a suction cup. This thing provides your Betta a place to rest on and easily go to the water surface to gulp air. You will soon notice that your Betta guy loves the leaf hammock very much as he spends most of the time lying on it.

Base aquarium decorations for Betta tank

Base aquarium decor sits at the bottom of the tanks and does not float. Having these would mean that when the fish get inside, they would basically be out of view. However, because they are lying at the bottom of the tank, the good thing is that they would not take up any swim space as compared to the floating one.

The best base decor to get are ones that resemble nature such as wooden logs or rocks. These make the tank look natural and make the fish feel at home.

Zoo Med sinking ceramic Betta logZoo Med sinking ceramic Betta log

Exotic Environments Rock Arch with plantsExotic Environments Rock Arch with plants

Marina decor polyresin caveMarina decor polyresin cave

There are literally hundreds of different fish tank decorations that you could choose from to provide your Betta a cave but what you need to be extremely careful about is the openings into the cave. Make sure that they are not sharp. Your Betta will definitely brush against the sides as they go in. They are aggressive fishes and will rush in when they need to. Check that they will not injure themselves when they go in.

Aquatic plants and plastic plants for small Betta tank

As an alternative to floating or base aquarium decor, you can also use aquatic plants to provide some cover for your Betta fish. Ideal aquatic plants for them are ones that are thick and lanky that allows them to hide between the leaves.


If you are choosing live aquatic plants, the best to go for are Marimo Moss Balls and some stem plants such as Cabomba and Green Rotala. These are hardy plants that are able to survive in low light conditions and only need a common aquarium LED lighting to thrive. Because your Betta tank is most likely indoors and away from natural sunlight, these would be ideal.

Luffy Marimo Moss Balls5 star rating (5/5 by editor)Check on Amazon.com

For artificial aquatic plants, choose the ones that have soft leaves. Some artificial plants tend to be too stiff. Betta fish have the tendency to dart into their hiding places, causing them to constantly scrape against the decor. Stiff hard leaves will eventually hurt them.

Jardin plastic long leaf plantJardin plastic long leaf plant

Uxcell green plastic artificial plantsUxcell green plastic artificial plants

Betta Plant BambooBetta Plant Bamboo

It really isn’t that hard to decorate a Betta tank. All that you need to keep in mind is to ensure that the aquarium decor you choose does not hurt the fish as they scrape against them.

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  1. Do beta need to have plants in the aquarium? I have a five gallon I was thinking of making a beta tank but I don’t have money for all of the plants a decorations. Although I do already have some cave decorations that sit at the bottom but besides that the tank would be empty.is thus okay for a beta or should I wait untill I can get plants for it?

    • Hi Austin! 5-gallon is a great tank size for one male Betta. Bettas are known as hardy fish for starters and they don’t have so many requirements. And adding live aquarium plants can be an additional option. As you mentioned about your tank, I’m sure that your fish will be fine, even there aren’t live plants. Remember to do a 10-20% water change for the tank each week. This is the key to keep your fish healthy.

  2. We bought my son a 5 gallon tank for a betta, looking at decor he likes a large wooden looking structure with hiding spaces for the betta. It would take up a lot of the ground area but there is still a lot of swimming area. Would that be okay for a betta? Or do they need more open ground area?

    • Hi Jen!
      I think that is okay for a Betta. Ensure that the decoration you choose features large hiding spaces for a Betta to easily go inside as well as outside.