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Old 04-15-2013, 05:40 PM   #1 
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Recommend a Divided Setup?

Hello all!

I've had my Gawain (A purple butterfly VT) for about six months now. He lives in a 2 gallon filtered Marineland Eclipse and seems to be quite happy there. For the first three months I had him he had a terrible tail-biting issue which stopped completely when I switched rooms mid-year. I have no idea why he stopped, as I did not change his routine and he is kept in an area with almost identical lighting conditions as the first room.

Anyway, I've been really wanting to get a halfmoon for a few months now, and I have a few questions that I'd like to ask before I start thinking about purchasing and partitioning a new tank:

-Is a 5-gallon tank large enough for two bettas? Each would get more space than my one fish has now, but I'm not sure of the chemical dynamics involved. I am a college student living in a shared room, so I do have size and mobility constraints to think about. I need to be able to move my tank without a ton of trouble at the beginning and end of the summer.
-I know that males don't like to share, and I would probably put some plants up against the partition to block their view as much as I can, but I'm wondering if one being a halfmoon and the other being a VT would make things worse. The halfmoon would probably be bigger than Gawain, and I'm worried that that might stress him out more. I do NOT want him to go back to tail biting, and I'll discard the idea of two fish if that seems like it could be a likely issue.
-How does filtration work? Should I get a filter for each side, or does having the intake in one side and the output in another work fine with a partition?
-Do I need two heaters? What brand of heater would you recommend either way?
-Lastly, what brand of tank/filter would everyone recommend for a divided tank?

Thank you very much in advance!
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Old 04-15-2013, 06:10 PM   #2 
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And actually also, on a rather unrelated note, can anyone recommend to me a brand of conditioner that is sold in larger bottles? I can't find anything but the little bottles for betta bowls, which I of course run out of after like two water changes, but I'm not sure if I'm just not looking in the right place. Do I have to use betta-specific conditioner, or can I use any freshwater conditioner?
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Old 04-15-2013, 06:30 PM   #3 
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Most people would recommend Seachem Prime or one of the API brands of water conditioner. I personally prefer Prime as that is concentrated and ends up being pretty cost effective in the long run.

Any time a product adds 'Betta' to the front you are using paying more for a less concentrated or smaller product. Your products do not have to be betta specific.

Have you looked at a 6 gallon bookshelf tank? They are long and low, and divided in half, will provide more horizontal swimming space which is what bettas prefer. This will give each betta roughly 3 gallons of space each, which is perfectly fine.

I usually use one heater in my divided tanks. You could position it in the middle/near the middle as this should help with even circulation of heat.

A lot of people make a third smaller section where they put the heater and filter in, so not only does it mean that one side is not hotter than the other, but it also means that there is some space between your two males. However, in a 5 gallon tank there may not be enough room to do this.

It depends on the male whether they will tail bite in this kind of set-up or not. I have found HMs are more inclined to bite if they are kept in direct view of another male as I think it may have something to do with misdirected aggression or stress. However, if you heavily plant along the divider and use a smaller craft mesh, it will help cut down on the amount of visual contact, which may help.
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Old 04-15-2013, 06:39 PM   #4 
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I currently have my 2 no wild type bettas in a divided 5 gallon (standard rectangle). I have one heater on the side the outflow flows into so that the water gets warmed before traveling the length of the tank. I have one rosetail HM who has such a heavy tail he can hardly swim and a younger male on the other side of the partition.(not sure what his tail will end up being as I have not seen him flare yet) who was a baby betta who I could just not resist on a trip to Petco. Neither of mine are stressed or seem to even notice each other. Personally though if you have the room, I would go with a standard 10 gallon since they will both have more room and it might ease the tail biting tendencies of the current betta.
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:11 PM   #5 
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-A 5 gallon tank would probably be large enough for two bettas, though probably harder to maintain than 10g or more. I own two of these tanks from Walmart ( – it comes with almost everything you’ll need except the heater, substrate and thermometer (it comes with a stick on, but those aren’t very accurate).

-What were you planning on using as a partition? If you use something with holes where water can flow, you only need one filter and one heater. With the tank that I linked, the intake and output would be on one side. I don’t think that would be a huge issue – but it would take up more space on that side.

-In regards to heaters, the Tetra submersible (50 watt) fits and works fine in mine. However, with dividers, you might be better with an adjustable heater.

My boys flared at each other for a while when they were first put in and do still on occasion, but for the most part, after they became accustomed to each other they stopped. I have a really small boy beside a bigger one and he doesn’t seem stressed at all. I guess it depends on the fish.

If you have enough space for a 10g, I would recommend that. It will be easier to maintain than a 5g and will allow your boys to have more space. I have three 10g tanks divided three ways and each boy has plenty of room.
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Old 04-16-2013, 12:49 PM   #6 
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You've heard answers from others and I don't have anything to add to most of what has already been said. But, I will say, my guys *love* being in divided tanks. They get lonely by themselves, one in particular really pouts and acts like his life is over when I have to remove his tankmate for treatment or anything like that. ;)
I will add though, I have two who tailbite...and they share a tank. I really think that the one learned it from the other. Geoff always tailbit ever since he came home from Petco. Chaucer never tailbit until a few weeks ago. He's a very heavily finned double tail, and after a nasty case of fin rot that took forever to fully treat, when his tail *finally* grew back in...I come in one afternoon and he's "trimmed" the last several centimeters off. He doesn't bite down to the nubs...he's just "trimming" the last bits off. I really think he learned to do it from Geoff, and that he's doing it because of the pull/drag from them when they get too long.
What I'm getting at there is that your one tailbiter may teach the other to tailbite as well. But that's really the only consideration I would have about keeping them in divided tanks. :) Overall, I think they're really quite happy in there together. :)
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Old 04-16-2013, 10:41 PM   #7 
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Oh geez tail bitting. Zen (vt) is a tail bitter and he's in a divded next to Fierce, who used to have a beautiful double tail. Recently I noticed it was shredded and I wondered what in the world he could've torn it on, or maybe he blew it by flaring. Now I wonder if he's copying Zen? Sorry to hijack but I nev thought about this copy cat behavior.
Anyway, back to topic... I am new to this but in my brief experience I think my bettas that are in divided tanks seem happier. After a couple days of flaring they seem to settle in and only flare once in a while for fun. BE VERY CAREFUL about securing the dividers. I found out the hard way that a strong, persistent, aggressive betta can dig through gravel and slip under the divider if it doesn't reach all the way to the bottom. Of course make sure the top is secure as well.
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:25 PM   #8 
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If you sew with fishing line a horizontal piece to the vertical divider and put gravel on top that should make it impossible to break through. Hobby Lobby and Micheals has the plastic canvas craft mesh.
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Old 04-22-2013, 03:25 AM   #9 
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Originally Posted by jadaBlu View Post
If you sew with fishing line a horizontal piece to the vertical divider and put gravel on top that should make it impossible to break through. Hobby Lobby and Micheals has the plastic canvas craft mesh.
Yeah, this is one thing you need to make SURE of. My biggest girl totally ended up on the other side one day and to this day I cannot figure out who she did it, but I was lucky to catch her before she could harass her my other girl too much.
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Old 04-22-2013, 12:42 PM   #10 
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I usually don't have much to add to these threads because I'm such a newbie, but as I am fresh off a tank dividing adventure of my own, I thought I'd share. I had a 10 gallon tank that I had bought with the intention of making it into a sorority tank with five to seven females in it. (I have two female crowntails but had not found at least three other girls yet, plus I kept going back and forth on whether I was going to be brave enough to give a sorority a try). I had bought one of those tank divider kits when I was considering putting my first female crowntail and the baby Betta (a male) in a 10 gallon divided but was then advised it was a bad idea to put a male and female next to each other in a divided tank. Anyway, the divider kit seemed flimsy and I was not confident it would hold, but on Saturday I got thinking and decided that I really wasn't ready to try a sorority yet so I needed to get Aurora, my new girl, out of the 2 gallon unfiltered Kritter Keeper she'd been in for a week or so. So what I did was take the mesh that came with the kit over to Lowe's and asked them to cut a piece of thin plexiglass in the same size, figuring that the plexiglass would be stronger less flimsy. I put everything in and it seemed to work - if you've never seen them, the dividers go on two sides and then the bottom and top and then there are these little metal things that hang over either side of the tank to hold it on. All was good until I tried to put the tank hood on and it wouldn't lay in right because of the little metal things. So I took those off but because of how sturdy the plexiglass is, it was able to stay in there just fine without the metal things over the side. I did this on Saturday, and so far so good. The only thing is that because there are no holes in the plexiglass, I needed an extra heater and filter so that both sides could operate more or less independently. I'd also imagine there would be less chance of any disease transmission than with the mesh, though the plexiglass is not water tight - there was some seepage.

Here's how it came out (you can see the girls floating in their cups getting acclimated. Both sides still need a few more plants and stuff in there but I have a habit of buying too much "stuff" so I wanted to see how much room I actually had:
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