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Should You Use Tannins For Betta Fish?

The popularity of keeping betta fish as pets really has took off over the last year or two with the number of people keeping betta fish currently growing at an exponential rate and not showing any signs of slowing down.

Although it is always great to see people getting into the fish keeping hobby, it is even better to see responsible fish keepers and we have been delighted to see just how many people have been reaching out with questions about taking care of their new betta fish.

We have recently seen a spike in the number of questions about using tannins for betta fish from the community so we have decided to publish this article answering as many of the questions relating to using tannins in a betta fish tank to try and help as many of our readers as possible.

Our hope is that we will be able to help you improve the health and general quality of life of your betta fish by integrating tannins into their water parameters but just keep in mind, it will change the color of the water in your betta fish’ tank.

Depending on the amount of tannins added, this can range anywhere from a slight yellow tint to the water to a darker solid brown with the more tannins added, the darker the color being.

If your betta fish are show fish then keeping the water as clear as possible may be a priority so only a very small amount of tannins should be used but this will reduce the benefits that tannins offer.

Why Do Bettas Need Tannins?

Betta fish do not have to have tannins in their water but many people will intentionally add a source of tannins to the tank due to the anti-bacterial properties of tannins as well as it being a great, natural way of lowering the pH, hardness and alkalinity of the water in the tank.

There are a number of other benefits too but those tend to be the main four and the primary reasons that people will add a source of tanning to their betta’s aquarium.

If you want a strong source of tannins then nothing beats Mopani Wood as it is an excellent, cheap source of tannins.

The only problem is that it can also cause your aquarium water to turn dark brown and although this is totally normal for such a large amount of tannins in the water, it does put some people off.

A mild source of tannins that is also natural and very popular is Indian almond leaves that are a very popular option for betta tanks due to many betta fish using an Indian almond leave as their betta hammock.

A single Indian almond leaf will add very small amount of tannins to the water without really changing the water color but you can usually add a number of leaves without issue.

Should You Use Tannins For Betta Fish?

Tannins are not essential in the water of a betta fish tank but they do offer enough benefits to warrant a source of tannins being added to the tank.

Tannins are often cheap and can help to improve the health and quality of life of your betta fish in its aquarium so many betta fish keepers will take advantage of them.

In addition to the benefits to your betta fish’ water parameters, tannins can also help to prevent clamped fins, body or fin rot, and pineconing in your betta fish.

There are also a number of other anti-bacterial benefits of having tannins in the water of your betta fish too offering a great benefit due to the larger fins and tail of betta fish that can sometimes be more susceptible to certain types of bacterial infection.

As with most things in life, prevention is most definitely better than cure so adding source of tannins to the tank can be a quick, easy, and cheap way to prevent any of the more serious bacterial issues developing.

Not only does this prevent any potential scaring of the fish if it does have problems with bacterial infections but it can also help to prevent some potentially life-threatening issues.

Is Tannins Ok In A Betta Fish Aquarium?

A large number of people who keep betta fish in their aquarium use tannins in their tank without issue and many of the natural pools that betta fish live in have various leaves that will release tannins into the water.

The potential risks of having tannins in the water of your betta tank really are minimal and are not worth worrying about with the potential upsides being huge due to the advantages of tannins.

Now, this is specific to a betta fish setup so something like a single betta fish in a tank, a betta sorority or a betta harem.

When you start to factor in potential betta fish tank mates such as algae eaters then this may change for some fish species but this is often due to a lack of light being able to get to the bottom feeders in the tank due to the tannins having an effect on the amount of light able to pass through the water if you use a strong source of tannins like Mopani Wood.

If you are keeping any type of sensitive live plants in your betta tank that require a large amount of light then this may present a potential issue.

Thankfully though, using a weaker source of tannin such as Indian almond leaves instead of Mopani Wood will release less tannins into the water and not have such a strong effect on the color change in the tank.

How Do I Add Tannins To My Betta Tank?

It is very straight forward and easy to add tannins to a betta fish tank and the easiest method is to simply get a natural source of tannins such as Mopani Wood or Indian almond leaves and add it to the water and allow the tannins to naturally be released into the water.

There are some chemical products available that have dosing instructions on the bottles to add tannins to aquariums but natural sources are generally considered to be better.

You will naturally be removing some of the tannins in the tank during water changes so the level will normalise during your tank maintenance and then more tannins will be released from the wood or leaves until your next water change and so on.

It is generally very simple to manage the levels of tannins in your tank as you can simply remove the source of the tannins before a water change to restrict the future build up too.

We know that the whole process may sound like a large amount of effort but it really is quick, easy, and cheap to add tannins to an aquarium and manage the levels within the tank.

The advantages of having tannins in the tank are also usually well worth the time trade off too as it just offers so many benefits to your pet betta fish.


That brings our article going over the advantages of using tannins for betta fish as well as how to add the tannins to the tank to an end. We hope that you have found our article helpful and that we have been able to help you better understand what you should be doing to naturally add tannins to a tank to take advantage of their tweaks to water parameters and anti-bacterial benefits.