How to Transfer Betta Fish From Cup to Tank? (Best Ways)

how to transfer betta fish from cup to tank

It’s no wonder so many people keep betta fish in their aquariums because this is one of the most stunning specimens you can have that comes in a variety of vibrant colors. To keep these majestic creatures healthy in a new home, it’s crucial to make a successful betta transfer at first.

How to transfer betta fish from cup to tank? When transferring betta fish from cup to tank, it’s always most important to acclimate a betta first by using either water switch acclimation or drip acclimation. After that, you can release them to a new tank and give them a close look for the first few days.

Let’s keep reading to know these steps in detail!

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An overview table of Betta fish
Care LevelEasy (for beginners)
Average size (inch)3 inches
Temperament / BehaviorActive and pretty aggressive
Lifespan2 – 5 years
CompatibilityFeisty and territorial
Natural dietCarnivores
CommunityGourami family (Osphronemidae)
ColorVariations of color patterns


Step-by-step to Transfer Betta Fish From Cup to Tank


What to prepare

Here are some tools you may need to transfer betta fish from cup/bag to a new tank!

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  • A quarantine tank
  • A cup
  • A small container/bucket
  • A net
  • An aquarium airline tube and a valve
  • A water parameter test kit


Here is how to put a betta fish in a tank properly!

Step 1: Pick healthy betta fish and prepare the tank

It’s hard to keep betta fish staying well if they get sick from the pet store. So, it’s important to pick betta fish with no signs of diseases first.

In addition, if the tank is not cycled, you have to wait 24 hours before having fish inside to give the water time to finish the nitrogen cycle and remove chlorine.

Step 2: Acclimate betta to the water

You’re going to float the cup vertically on top of the fish tank for about 30 minutes. After the first 15 minutes, add a little more (half a cup) of water tank into the cup.

  • The main purpose of this step is to help the water in the cup gradually match the tank water temperature. Then you can start exposing your betta to the tank water by pouring a cup of water from the tank into the cup. Remember to keep the cup floating upright.

About 30 minutes to an hour is required for your betta to adjust to the new water conditions and temperature safely.

Turn on the gentle light during this period to avoid stressing the fish.

Step 3: Transfer the betta to the tank

After acclimating, turn the cup sideways to allow the betta to swim out to the new surroundings. Normally, a healthy betta may take 1-2 hours to get used to the new home, so be patient.

Do not rush to feed your betta right away, wait at least 24-48 hours after putting them in the tank or until they show some signs of begging for food.

Step 4: Monitor Your Betta

After introducing your fish to a new tank, you should continue to observe their behavior to ensure that they’re adjusting well, not sick, and not being picked on by other fish.

It is advisable to quarantine new betta for 2-4 weeks to prevent disease transmission. After the quarantine period, you once again need to do acclimation before moving betta to bigger tank or the community tank.

Steps to Acclimate a Betta Fish to a New Tank


The water switch acclimation and drip acclimation are two main methods to acclimate new betta fish to the new aquarium. Each of them has its required procedures, let’s take a look!

Water switch acclimation

Here are steps to acclimate a betta using the water switch acclimation method:

  1. Turn off the lights or reduce light levels during acclimation to reduce stress.
  2. Floating the betta transfer cup in the tank for 15-30 minutes allows water temperatures to equalize.
  3. Next, slowly add small amounts of water from the tank to the cup containing the betta fish, about half a cup every 10 minutes. This will help the fish gradually acclimate to the tank’s pH and other water conditions.
  4. Keep acclimated until the water condition is closely the same between the destination tank and the cup. Normally, it will take over 30 minutes of acclimation. After that, use a net to gently scoop the betta fish out of the cup and release it into the tank.
  5. Keep an eye on your betta fish after releasing them into the tank to ensure they adjust well and swim normally.

Drip acclimation

  1. Put the betta cup with betta fish into an acclimation container. You should place the container lower than the destination tank.
  2. The next step is to equalize the water parameters between the tank and the acclimation container. Make a siphon to suck the water from the main tank through the acclimation container and slowly drip water for about 5 drips. Wait a few hours until the volume in the container triples compared to the original. This process could last 2 or 3 hours.
  3. Check the water parameters in the acclimatization tank and check the water parameters in the target tank to see the difference. If the values between the two tanks are closely the same, then you can start gently releasing fish to the main aquarium using a small net.
  4. After putting betta in the aquarium, you need to monitor your betta fish for the first few hours to find out any unnormal behaviors.

*This method is best for saltwater fish!

Steps to Introduce a Betta to a New Aquarium

Before introducing a betta fish to a new tank, ensure that the tank is properly set up and fully cycled to prevent betta fish new tank syndrome. Besides, make sure that the new betta will peacefully cohabitate with all other fish in the tank.

If you don’t know, here are some of the best tank mates for bettas, including Ember Tetras, Kuhli Loaches, and Cory Catfish.

Now, let’s take a look at what you should do when adding betta fish to new tank!

  1. Quarantine new betta fish: Quarantine them for a few weeks is a good practice to make sure that the fish is healthy without any signs of illness before introducing it to a community tank.
  2. Acclimate your betta: Slowly acclimate your betta by putting the cup on top of the tank water for 15-30 minutes. Equalizing the temperature of the cup water with the tank water is a good way to prevent fish from shocking.
  3. Transfer betta fish to new tank: After acclimating, release betta into the tank. Make sure to do this gently, as sudden movements can stress your fish out. Give your betta some time to adjust to the new environment. It may take a few hours or even a day or two for your betta to become comfortable in its new tank.
  4. Monitor your betta: Observe your new betta closely for the first few days to make sure it is adjusting well. Keep an eye out for any signs of stress, such as rapid breathing or lethargy. If you notice any unusual behavior, try to identify the cause and take steps to remedy the issue.

The Requirements for a Betta Fish Tank


1. Water temperature

Betta fish are tropical fish requiring a water temperature between 78-82 degrees Fahrenheit (25-28 degrees Celsius) to thrive. It’s important to keep the temperature within this range because bettas are sensitive to changes in water temperature.

2. pH level

Betta fish prefer a pH level from 6.5 to 7.5, which is considered slightly acidic to neutral. You should always maintain the pH level within this range, monitor the pH level regularly, and make adjustments as needed.

3. Oxygenation

Betta fish, like all fish, require oxygen to survive. To ensure that your betta fish have enough oxygen, you can install an air pump and other equipment to maintain the O2 level and try to not overstock.

4. Tank size

Some people prefer to put betta fish in bowl which is normally 2.5 gallons. However, it is generally recommended to use a tank that is at least 3 to 5 gallons in size to provide enough room for the betta to swim around and stay active while also giving them plenty of space to hide and rest.

5. Gravel

When choosing the gravel for your betta aquarium, it is recommended to choose smooth gravel because it won’t damage their delicate fins. It’s also easy to clean, and it can come in various colors to match your decor. Avoid any gravel with sharp edges or jagged pieces that could hurt the fish.

6. Lighting system and aquarium plants

Betta fish also prefer spaces with lighting and plants that mimic natural water. Therefore, it’s best to pick java fern or water sprite as plants for your betta fish aquarium.



How long can a betta fish live in a cup?

Betta fish could live for several days in a transfer cup as long as the water is kept clean and the temperature is consistent. However, this process can be extremely stressful for pet fish, so it’s advisable to move a betta fish to a new tank as shortly as possible.

When fish are still in the store cup, you can minimize stress on the fish by avoiding rough movements or prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. The transfer cup should also be large enough to allow the fish to move freely and should have enough oxygen to support the fish’s breathing.

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

There are two cases:

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  • If you transfer the betta fish to its own new and cycled aquarium, you only spend time to start acclimating your new fish right away using the water switch acclimation or drip acclimation method. To make sure tap water is safe for your betta, only add them to the new tank after conditioner.
  • If you move your betta to a bigger community tank, it will take a longer time to acclimate and quarantine them at first (2-4 weeks).



How to transfer betta fish from cup to tank? Both the water switch acclimation method and the drip acclimation method are effective ways to transfer a betta fish from a cup to a tank.

When using any of these methods above, it’s important to be patient and take your time during the acclimation process, as rushing can cause unnecessary stress to the betta fish.