Hey all, I'm about to go off to college and I have put some thought into having a Betta Fish up with me at college. I've seen and heard positive things about these Bettas and how with a little work, make great college pets. I have had some experience with fish, about 2 years or so, so I'm not a complete newb when it comes to fish, but it never helps to ask the experts instead of going to my local Petsmart. I visited the General Betta Care and FAQ Sticky, so I seem to have a rough idea on what I'll need, but I have a few questions:
1. The natural environment they seem to come from indicates a stagnant pool of water or an over glorified puddle. Is this something I would want to simulate with todays bettas or are the ones available in the pet trade too different from their wild brethren?
2. For my fish tanks at home, I always had live plants since, well, they rock. I would assume the same would go for Bettas? I figured Cabomba and/or Anachris in the tank would be a good way to go but are there any other plants that the fish could benefit from? Also, are there any reputable online dealers for live plants? Anyone have any experience with that?
I planed on setting my tank up at college and then purchasing a betta fish (College is 6 hours away from home and fish aren't good travel pets), but I really don't want to spend all this money on a betta from the local walmart. (I've seen those fish and its a wonder they're alive) From what research I did on the morphs, I love the Dragon Betta morph and would love to purchase one from a reputable breeder, so if anyone has a Black Crowntail, please PM me.
Thanks in advance!
Welcome to the forum! Youll find that betta keeping is a fun hobby! So I;m assuming your keeping your betta in a 2.5 gallon or larger. I dont know what you mean by that first question? Q.2. Yes those would be good! Another good plant is hornwort! It is very helpful in removing bad stuff from the water. I'm currently spawning and I might end up with crowntails, if the spawn is succesful, however this could take three months. I would suggest going to www.aquabid.com. It has many great fish!
Wow quick reply! Well, what I meant by the fort question was would I want to put a domesticated betta into a stagnant water environment, or would they prefer a filtered, oxygenated environment? Also, would I want a taller tank or a wider tank, or does it matter? I've had some bad luck with my hornwort decaying and producing major amounts of waste, so I really don't want to add that to my tank. Do you know of any online stores that sell plants? I checked the one link you gave, do they do plants as well?
A filtered, oxygenated tank setup is much betta than an unfiltered one purely for hygiene reasons. Bettas don't like too much current though, or disturbance of the surface, so you have to be careful that your filter isn't too strong. I got my first little guy yesterday, and had to turn my filter off today until I can sort out a weaker one because it was just stressing him out too much.
Cabomba sounds good, I have that :)
A wider tank would probably be better than a tall one with not much surface area, because Bettas have a labyrinth system of breathing (they come up to the surface to breath) and a tall, narrow tank obviously means not a lot of room for swimming at the top of the tank which tends to be 'their level' if you get me :)
All these semi-random posts can be kind of confusing--I'll try to condense all the necessities of betta housing into one post.
You will need to have a tank of 2 gallons or higher--the minimum is 2 gallons because most quality adjustable heaters are designed for at least 2 gallons. Heaters are not optional for bettas since they are tropical fish. I use and highly recommend this heater: http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...8&pcatid=11368
As for the question of "stagnant" versus filtered--bettas do prefer still water--however it is a misconception that they have ever lived in anything mildly resembling a puddle. In the wild, they live in vast rice paddies and shallow wetlands with very little current. They don't like a lot of current, but they can adapt to a weak flow. The question of whether to filter or not really comes down to how you feel about maintenance. A filtered tank can undergo a process called the nitrogen cycle--in which the filter media is colonized by beneficial bacteria that break down toxic fish waste into less toxic compounds. An uncycled tank would need regular 100% water changes (during which you take everything out and scrub it with hot water), whereas a cycled tank would need only regular partial changes without a full tank cleaning. In tanks smaller than 3 gallons, I would probably go with the uncycled method--in tanks 3 gallons and up, you're better off with a cycled tank.
To solve the problem of excess current disturbing your betta, you can baffle the outlet of the filter with pieces of sponge or plastic. There are tutorials on how to do this on this forum as well as other places on the net. You can also opt for a sponge filter rather than a power filter--these are a bit unattractive, but they are effective and produce a very low flow.
If you're going to get live plants, you should be sure to get an aquarium with a good fluorescent light. As far as mosses, java moss is a good beginners' plant. You can sew it onto the craft mesh used for needlepoint to create a carpet--but you must continue to trim it as it grows. If it gets too long, the moss attached to the mesh will die and detach from the mesh--so all you have is a floating clump rather than a carpet. :) Christmas moss is similar, but in my opinion it is easier to sculpt and keep tidy--however it has higher light and care requirements. Lilaeopsis (micro swords) make a great grassy looking carpet and do well in low light--however, I wouldn't recommend this unless you have an enriched substrate like Seachem Flourite or Eco Complete instead of just regular gravel. Anubias, java fern, and rotala rotundifolia can look quite nice in low light as well, although the rotala is much more full and colorful under higher light.
If you are looking for a small tank you would like to plant, I recommend the Marineland Eclipse line of tanks. They come with a small power filter that can easily be baffled to suit a betta, and they come with a good fluorescent light. They are also acrylic instead of glass, making them lighter and more durable. I dropped one on my kitchen floor once (empty, of course) and it was totally fine. They are also extremely quiet. I have both 3 gallon and 5 gallon kits, and I am quite satisfied with them.
If you want to keep plants, I recommend getting an enriched substrate like Flourite or Eco Complete along with a liquid supplement--I use the Seachem line of ferts. Seachem Flourish Comprehensive should give you the results you want in a low light tank.
Sorry about the sporadic posts D: The more I research bettas, the more fascinated I become. I've seen some gorgeous tanks that use Aquascaping. Of course, this typically focuses more on the plants and less on the fish itself, but with a little work, I could find a balance in the two. From the wonderful information everyone has posted, I think I'll end up getting a Eclipse 3 and using some leftover Seachem Florite from my previous aquarium to lay a bedding. I'll need to look into java moss and making a moss carpet a bit more, but that would make for a great addition to this tank. Once I get the Aquarium and plants established, I'll look into adding a betta then. Thanks again everyone!