How Long Should You Wait To Introduce Betta Fish To Your New Tank?

by Aquarium Scoop | Last Updated: February 3, 2023

If you’re wondering how long you must wait before adding them to your new tank, you’re in the right place. This article will cover everything you need to know about introducing Bettas to a new tank.

In this guide you’ll learn:

  • What do you need to know before adding your Betta fish to their new home? 
  • What might happen if you do not wait for the appropriate time before introducing your new betta fish to the tank? 
  • How long must you wait to introduce betta fish to your new tank?
  • What steps do you need to follow once it’s finally time to add your Betta fish?
  • What are some extra tips for introducing betta fish to your new tank? 

How long should you wait to introduce Bettas to a new tank?

1-3 weeks. Betta fish cannot be added to a new tank of water immediately. A source of ammonia must first be added to kick off the nitrogen cycle. This can be done by adding ammonia (Dr. Tim’s brand) or introducing good bacteria into your tank.

Expert Tip 🧠

Betta fish prefer water that is between 76-82°F. Consider testing your tank’s temperature before adding your new fish! 

How to add your Betta to its new tank

Assuming you have everything ready to go, adding your betta fish is a relatively straightforward task.

Here are the steps you’ll need to take:

  1. Gather all the supplies you’ll need ahead of time, so you’re not scrambling at the last minute. This includes a small net, a water conditioner, and some freeze-dried or live food (if possible).
  2. Make sure your water is cycled and stable before proceeding any further! Let it sit out for 24 hours before use if you’re using tap water to allow chlorine levels to dissipate.
  3. Once the tank is full, gently acclimate your Betta by slowly lower them into their new home bit by bit over 15-20 minutes until they’re fully introduced.
  4. Keep an eye on them for signs of stress or illness over the next few days and weeks and consult with a veterinarian if necessary; otherwise, enjoy your new pet!

Expert Tip 🧠

Gently lower your Betta in a cup into your aquarium so that your Betta can swim out gently versus dumping them into the tank.

What to know before adding your Betta to their new tank 

Before you run to the store and pick up your new Betta friend, there are a few things you need to know first:

  1. Cycle your tank and wait for the beneficial bacteria to build up. Depending on the size of your tank, this can take anywhere from 2–6 weeks.
  2. Do not add other fish or aquatic creatures, as they could be at risk if the ammonia levels spike.
  3. Do not overfeed your fish during this period, as uneaten food will start decaying and release harmful toxins into the water.

Once the cycling process is complete and everything looks good, you can introduce your betta fish to their new home!

Expert Tip 🧠

You can use gravel to build up beneficial bacteria. It is also easier to clean since you don’t have to worry as much about accidentally sucking it out with the siphon.

What happens if you acclimate your Betta too quickly?

If you don’t wait the appropriate amount of time before adding your betta fish to their new home, several things could happen:

Your fish might get sick

Because tank water is more acidic than a fish bag or container water, you risk your fish becoming ill if they are introduced too soon to your tank. Before adding your fish, ensure the tank’s temperature and other water parameters match those of the bag or container. The water in the tank might not be cycling right, which could make your fish sick from ammonia or other things.

Your fish might get stressed

If you introduce your new Betta fish too soon to the tank, it may stress out. Your fish may lose their appetite and become less active due to this. Signs of stress may include a decrease in appetite, hiding, or rapid gill movement. Waiting the right amount of time before putting your new betta fish in the tank will help keep your fish healthy and happy.

Your fish might get aggressive

If you introduce your new betta fish to your tank too soon and they get stressed, they may need more time to get used to each other and end up fighting. They are likely to attack or kill other fish in the tank when this happens. 

Don’t fret, though, because all of these potential problems can be avoided by simply taking the time to do things right from the start.

Expert Tip 🧠

Consider adding more hiding places and plants when adding more fish to your tank. This will help reduce stress because your fish will have places to go where they feel safe.

More tips for introducing your Betta to its new tank

Additional tips can assist you in making sure your betta fish is happy and healthy in its new home. Here are some pointers to help your fish adjust to their new environment: 

Do your research

Before you even purchase your new betta fish, research the type of fish it is, what its natural habitat is like, and what kind of care it will need. This way, you can be prepared with the proper supplies and set up for bringing your new betta fish home!

Give them time to adjust

When introducing your fish to their new tank or aquarium, give them time to adjust before adding any other animals into the mix. Then, once they have had a chance to explore and get used to their surroundings, you can slowly introduce other fish or aquatic creatures into the tank.

Be patient

It takes time for all living things to adapt to change including plants and animals. So be patient as your new pet adjusts to its environment, and don’t expect everything to happen overnight!

Have fun

Most importantly, remember to have fun! Keeping fish can be an enriching experience, and watching them grow and interact in their new home is one of the best parts.


How long should you wait to put a betta in a new tank?

You should wait at least two weeks before introducing a betta fish to your new tank. This gives the good bacteria in the tank time to grow and begin breaking down the ammonia.

Ammonia is very toxic to fish and can kill them quickly, so you must give your tank time to cycle before adding any fish.

Can you put a betta fish in a brand-new tank?

You can put a betta fish in a brand-new tank, but you will need to take extra steps to ensure that your fish is comfortable and doesn’t experience any stress. It’s important to acclimate your Betta fish slowly to its new environment by gradually adding water from the new tank into the old one over an hour or so.

You can add some plants or other decorations to the new tank before introducing your betta fish, giving it somewhere to hide if it feels overwhelming.

Lastly, ensure you keep a close eye on your Betta fish for the first few days in its new home and are ready to take it out if you need to.


After you’ve waited long enough and taken the necessary steps, adding your betta fish to their new tank should be a smooth process. Remember to give them time to adjust and explore their new home before interaction, so they can feel comfortable in their surroundings. Your Betta fish will thrive in their new environment with proper care for years!

Aquarium Scoop has some services to teach people how to care for their fish and other aquatic life. We offer classes, one-on-one consultations, online resources, and more. We aim to help you create a healthy and happy environment for your fish and other aquatic creatures.