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Old 02-10-2013, 09:53 PM   #1 
JessYe
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Smile 3.5 Gallon Tank, wants tankmates!! Suggestions????

Hey, I'm new to raising bettas but hopefully I'll raise them for years to come! (fingers crossed)

Anyways, So I originally had a 0.8 gallon tank and heater but read that was too small for Amber, my crowntail betta (from here, I may refer to Amber as girl, I am aware that he's a boy, but my boyfriend likes to refer to him as a girl and I hear it so often that it sometimes slips out). Back on topic, I had an 0.8 gallon, but now I bought a 3.5 gallon tank with a filter and (new, larger) heater. I love watching Amber swim around but I think she'd enjoy some friends in there with her.

I've done a bit of reading online, and it seems like a lot of people recommend ghost shrimp, cardinal tetras, plecos, platys, cichlid and rasboras. What's good to put in the tank? and how many of them? I've also read that what Amber might get along with depends on her and her personality, but I'm asking to see what you guys have seen from your experiences.

Also, can someone tell me what's the difference between a cardinal tetra and a neon tetra?
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:16 PM   #2 
Bombalurina
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Welcome to the forum! :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by JessYe View Post
I love watching Amber swim around but I think she'd enjoy some friends in there with her.
The first thing to remember about bettas and stocking is that they are solitary fish. They don't need or even necessarily want interaction with other fish. Some seem to enjoy, most are totally indifferent to it, and some hate tankmates with a fiery, burning passion. So, I would encourage you not to think of them as "friends", but as things she may enjoy bullying, chasing or just inspecting. :)

I've done a bit of reading online, and it seems like a lot of people recommend ghost shrimp, cardinal tetras, plecos, platys, cichlid and rasboras.
Lots of people are crazy! Ghost shrimp are great, assuming you don't get an aggressive species (many species are marketed as ghosties and whilst some are docile, others can nip fins). Cardinal tetras are fine in a large enough tank. Plecos ditto. Cichlids are a TERRIBLE idea, as they are (generally) large, aggressive and have very different water parameters from bettas. Rasboras are ok, again given a large enough tank.

What's good to put in the tank? and how many of them? I've also read that what Amber might get along with depends on her and her personality, but I'm asking to see what you guys have seen from your experiences.
In your tank, nothing except an invert, such as shrimps. There are a couple of reasons for this:
- a 3.5 gallon is not a big space. Bettas do appreciate having their own space and adding tankmates to this is not giving them that.
- a 3.5 gallon can't support the bioload of many fish (bioload is the amount of waste they produce). You'd have to clean like crazy and have a really good filter or bajillions of plants.
- most fish that go well with bettas are small, but are either super active, need schools of 6 or more, or both. A 3.5 gal doesn't give enough room for that.

Realistically, if you want other fish with a betta, you need at least a ten gallon tank, or a heavily planted tank like the 6.6 gal Petco bookshelf, which gives a large footprint.

In your tank, I would recommend either ghost or red cherry shrimp, about 5-10 of them. Red cherries are my preference. :) They will need plenty of hiding spots, such as java moss (a really easy live plant that even the most basic beginners should not be afraid to have!). In the right conditions, they should breed. :)

Also, can someone tell me what's the difference between a cardinal tetra and a neon tetra?
Google image it. :) That will be the clearest explanation. The red stripe on a cardinal tetra extends the full length of the body, but on a neon tetra it ends halfway down.
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:34 PM   #3 
JessYe
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I also forgot to mention zebra fish and snails. But I guess seeing some shrimp in there would be cool. Thanks! :)
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Old 02-10-2013, 10:58 PM   #4 
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Hey Jess, welcome to the forums!

And I'll have to agree with Bomb, with the size of your tank 5-10 Ghost/Cherry Shrimp would be good.

Or you can go with a Zebra Snail/Mystery Snail; Zebra snails tend to have less bio-load than Mystery.

Personally i've got a 2.5 gal with my betta, a mystery snail(got it before i knew of zebra lol) and 4 ghost shrimp and all are very healthy and active. Doing two 10% water changes a week is more than enough to keep everything at a healthy level -- but i do have 6 plants in there that help with that lol.
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:02 PM   #5 
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+2 Bombalurina.

I think a few shrimp or a snail would be realistically all you should put in there, if you decide to put anything at all. It's an honest mistake for some people to think that it'll be okay to cramp some rasboras, tetras, and platys into a 3.5 gallon tank (it's not, they require more space) because they're small and beginners are often told that a good rule of thumb is 1 gallon a fish.

But whoever told you that cichlids and plecos would be fine in a 3.5 gallon is just...sorry...mindblowingly stupid. My common pleco is 11 inches long and still growing. He probably wouldn't even be able to turn around in that size tank. Bristlenose plecos do not get as as big as most species but they still should have at least 30 gallons. I had a handful of cichlids in the past. They're notorious for growing extremely fast and even the smaller species are often territorial and get very aggressive when their tankmates infringe on what they view as their territory. Please do not even consider putting these fish in with your betta.
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:09 PM   #6 
JessYe
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Thanks everyone! This is why I asked before I went out to the pet shop. :P

I think I'll get a couple shrimp, maybe a zebra snail and some plants to set up a cycle. And maybe some things for hiding spots for the shrimp in case Amber is more aggressive than I thought.
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:20 PM   #7 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noobalva View Post
Hey Jess, welcome to the forums!

And I'll have to agree with Bomb, with the size of your tank 5-10 Ghost/Cherry Shrimp would be good.

Or you can go with a Zebra Snail/Mystery Snail; Zebra snails tend to have less bio-load than Mystery.

Personally i've got a 2.5 gal with my betta, a mystery snail(got it before i knew of zebra lol) and 4 ghost shrimp and all are very healthy and active. Doing two 10% water changes a week is more than enough to keep everything at a healthy level -- but i do have 6 plants in there that help with that lol.

WAIT WAIT WAIT... Tank is too small for tankmats. IMO I cant believe ANYBODY would put 5-10 shrimp in a 3.5 gallon w/ a betta. Please do not put any in there, as overstocking can lead to betta killing them, high nitrite/nitrate/ammonia readings, and death.
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Old 02-10-2013, 11:55 PM   #8 
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Originally Posted by fishy314 View Post
WAIT WAIT WAIT... Tank is too small for tankmats. IMO I cant believe ANYBODY would put 5-10 shrimp in a 3.5 gallon w/ a betta. Please do not put any in there, as overstocking can lead to betta killing them, high nitrite/nitrate/ammonia readings, and death.
3.5 gallons is absolutely fine for shrimp. They have such a tiny bioload that you could have ten per gallon in an established tank no problems. I have had more than 25 in my 5 gallon with a betta before. They honestly do not contribute to the bioload in any significant way.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:50 AM   #9 
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I am thankful to have stumbled upon this thread. IV only been a betta keeper for about 2 months now, but was just thinking of getting my little girl another female. Came on hoping to find out whether or not they prefer company, and this thread was very enlightening. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, all!

Come to think of it, my girl currently has a fake plant, which she seems to enjoy spending time in, but does anyone have any thoughts on an easy to care for plant in a small tank -- I think mine I like 1 gallon. I got her as a fry, and will upgrade soon now that she's growing. Does a live plant become a hassl when doing a full water change?
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Old 02-11-2013, 01:36 AM   #10 
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I am thankful to have stumbled upon this thread. IV only been a betta keeper for about 2 months now, but was just thinking of getting my little girl another female. Came on hoping to find out whether or not they prefer company, and this thread was very enlightening. Thanks for sharing your knowledge, all!

Come to think of it, my girl currently has a fake plant, which she seems to enjoy spending time in, but does anyone have any thoughts on an easy to care for plant in a small tank -- I think mine I like 1 gallon. I got her as a fry, and will upgrade soon now that she's growing. Does a live plant become a hassl when doing a full water change?
Although females can live together, it is only possible in large tanks (no less than ten gallons) and groups of 4 as the barest minimum. Two will fight. In groups of three, two will gang up on one and attack her. The more girls, the more easily a hierachy can be established. :) The only time I've had two girls together was as my sorority girls gradually died off - these girls lived together in a 16 gallon planted tank and had done their whole lives.

In a one gallon tank, a single live plant could well be a pain, but if you plant it heavily enough you could get away with regular partial changes instead of doing full changes. Alternatively, a larger tank would make things much easier. ;)

For a one gallon tank, I would completely carpet the floor in java moss. In the back corner I would have java ferns tied to little rocks with fishing line or undyed cotton, or left to float. A little anacharis would be great. It's really fast growing so it sucks up ammonia like nobody's business, but you would need to trim it weekly. :) A little shoot of lacefern, wisteria, cabomba or ambulia would also be nice. :) All of these plants are easy to care for and do well in low-light. Just make sure you rinse and quarantine them before putting them in the tank and adjust them slowly to your tropical water. :)
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