Recycled Deluxe Beta Tanks




About: I currently am working as a software quality assurance tester. I have enjoyed woodworking since I was a kid and have started to build up my tool collection. I love to make all kinds of things and enjoy all o...

While Beta fish can survive in those tiny cups they are sold in I feel they deserve better. I feel this recycled tanks provide a good size tank where the fish can thrive instead of just survive. This tank allows them to move around a bit and the best part is you can clearly see them. With food and occasional water changes these provide everything the beta needs.

Supplies Needed

1 Utz brand 35oz Cheese Balls or Sourdough Pretzel container – I find these at Walmart or Sam's Club
Several pounds of aquarium gravel.
Artificial aquatic plants
Low light required live aquatic plants
River polished aquarium safe rocks a contrasting color to the gravel

Goo gone or similar sticky residue remover
A sink of water
Dish soap
Paper Towels

Water – declorinated
A single beta fish per tank

Step 1: Prepare the Tank

First step is eat the cheese balls or pretzels. I'm not responsible for your health if you eat all the cheese balls by yourself.

All of my tanks were created with cheese ball containers. I suspect the pretzel containers would be much easier to clean.

After the cheese balls are gone the grease remains. The entire inside of the container will be coated with an orange grease. Fill the container with hot water and dish soap. Take the new sponge and clean off the sides. Empty the water.

Repeat at least three times with the water and soap. That grease is hard to get rid of.

Thoroughly rinse the container as you do not want any soap remaining.

Remove the label. This is really the hardest step of all. That label will not want to come off. First soak the container label side down in a sink of water to soften it. Take your scraper and try to remove as much as possible. This will also probably take several soaks.

Spray goo gone over the left over label sections. I place a paper towel over it and wet the towel. This keeps the goo gone in contact longer and so it doesn't run off the sides.

Rewash the container to make sure all goo gone is off of the tank.
The tank is now ready

Step 2: Landscape the Tank

Wash the gravel as the directions on the bag say. My gravel came from other fish tanks I have taken down over the years so I re washed my gravel as well.

Add gravel to the plastic container. The container should have two bands where the plastic pokes out slightly from the rest of the sides. I will call these “barrel bands”. You will want to fill the gravel to at least to the first “barrel band” of the container.

Add the artificial plants and live plants to the gravel. You do not want it too crowded so the beta can still swim. Betas do want cover to hide in if they feel threatened. With the bigger size tank we are balancing open swim space with hiding space. If you left out all the plants the beta would feel very threatened. Try to achieve a pleasing spacial look.

Add the rocks as accent pieces to the plant groupings.

Step 3: Add Water and Beta

Add water slowly to the tank as not to disturb the water. If you have city supplied water make sure you add a clorine/ammonia remover water conditioner. Both of these are often added to city water supplies but can harm or kill fish.Only fill to the top of the second “barrel band” as you want the most water surface area to be exposed to air.

Let the water sit for a few hours to adjust to room temperature. The water should also clear as any particles will settle and the air bubbles will slowly make there way up out of the water. When the water looks clear you can add your beta.

You must acclimate fish to new water for them to properly adjust to the temperature and water chemistry. If you add a fish to water that is a drastic different temperature you can shock the fish and kill it.

To acclimate betas I remove some of the water from the bowl they come in. I then float the bowl on top of the new tank water for about 15 minutes. I then add a small amount of new tank water to the bowl and wait another 15 minutes. I add water one more time. I then pour off most of the water in the bowl into another container. Then I slowly immerse the bowl into the water where the beta can swim away.

Success! You now have a new beta tank.

Step 4: Finished Examples and Care

Care for your Beta

There are several beta care instructable on here already so I'll stick to a few easy points.

You must feed your beta! Feed your beta only once a day several times a week. They really only need a small amount of food. Several pellets or flakes is all that is needed.

Clean your tank. This tank won't need lots of maintenance, but you will need to do water changes once in a while. For a tank this size I would recommend a squeeze bulb siphon to clean the gravel. Even the smallest gravel vac I've seen won't work well for this small of tank.

Remember to add water as needed when evaporation occurs.

Don't be tempted to reuse the lid on top of the beta tank. The beta has to have air contacting the water to survive with out other filtration. If you get a beta that like to jump cover the top with a fine mesh.

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    11 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is still too small for a betta. Just because they can survive in tiny puddles during drought doesn't mean that their captive habitat should model those conditions. Bettas do very well in gently filtered 5-10 gallon aquariums and even larger tanks. They utilize all the space they're given.

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is a great idea, however, it is VERY dangerous for the fish to use dish soap to clean the inside of the container. Any kind of soap is residual, which means the chemicals will stay inside the container forever. That is why you NEVER use soap to clean an aquarium. Bleach, on the other hand, is non-residual, and the chlorine (which makes bleach so great for cleaning) evaporates as it dries. Please please do not use soap to clean anything related to fish, including decorations, filters, etc. Use a diluted bleach solution to clean these containers and they will be much cleaner than if you use soap.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I am totally doing this today with a plastic Animal Crackers bear shaped container!!

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I think I would have to sacrifice visibility of the fish and paint the bear except for the belly so it would look like the bear ate the fish.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I'm not a huge fan of this. If you stick a bottle of water that's been opened on your for a few days and try and drink it.... it tastes like plastic. Those chemicals are seeping into the water, which means into the fish. I like this idea, but I think it'd be better to find a large glass container this size instead, like maybe an old glass vase or something. I actually have one of my betta's in a 1.5 gallon vase. Anyways, nice instructable, but I'd honestly stick with glass.