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Old 10-10-2012, 11:13 PM   #1 
Join Date: Oct 2012
Betta Fish Bowls and temperature

My wife decided out of nowhere to get a couple of bettas and showed up with two bubble shapped fish bowls to keep them in. I have a couple of things that are concerning. First off, it's starting to get cold outside. We have central air and this building is old so the apartment tends to get super cold and then really hot and then the cycle repeats during the winter.

I've also read that the bettas should be kept at over 75 degrees water temperature. I have a medical condition that causes me to get lightheaded and faint and that tends to occur when I get over-warm and over 75 degrees is pushing it for me. I tend to feel normal between 70 and 75.

Now I know that there's no way a heater could fit in these bowls. They're perfectly round and small (big enough for the betta to swim around in, but not big enough to get a heater in).

I'm just worried that the poor fish will get sick or die off from the temperature fluctuation and the cold.

My wife has shot down the idea of getting a fish tank for each betta. She wants them in the bowls and she thinks that they're going to be fine.

Are my fears unwarranted or is there something we need to do before the temperatures get too crazy? I'm just very concerned because I had aquariums for years and I ALWAYS hated bowls because they were so hard to regulate.
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Old 10-10-2012, 11:27 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Texas
low watt reptile heating pads work well ( no more than like 10w) just make sure u have a thermometer to check your temp w/ to make sure it doesnt overheat. my 9w one (natures heat brand) kept my 2g right at 80 deg...I have since upgraded to a 25w adjustable submersible heater so my poor turtle can have his heat pad back lol. depending on the size of your bowl u might be able to fit them both on the same pad (with something between to bowls of course to obstruct thier views of each other)
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Old 10-10-2012, 11:38 PM   #3 
Join Date: Oct 2012
The other issue is that the bowl for the female is half the size as the one for the male so I'm afraid to use an unregulated heater on it. I'm desperately afraid of freezing or cooking the fish. I wish my wife had gotten a couple of small heatable aquariums instead of these stupid bowls. I always hated them. Bowls are so hard to really regulate and they're a pain because you have to change water every two or three days. I'm of the school of thought that you get a tank first, put in a heater and let it sit for a few hours, test the water temp to make sure the heater is functioning like you want it to, give the anti chemical stuff time to work, test the ph and adjust, and THEN get the fish. I have NEVER kept fish in bowls that stayed alive longer than a few weeks.
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Old 10-11-2012, 12:02 AM   #4 
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Batavia, IL
Hey there Blacklight, welcome to the forum. :)

First of all....might I say you really have the right idea here with the temperature and aversion to the little unheated bowls. Those things are betta death-traps.......already far less then ideal temps fluctuation, causing stress and making the fish prone to illness(and if you do manage to heat them it can be so hard to keep the temp steady...), the quick buildup of ammonia requiring very frequent water changes like you mentioned....
They're just terrible, I fully agree. You're very much in the right to hate them.

I'd be a little iffy of using a reptile heating pad no matter what honestly....and especially in small containers. Theres just too much that could go wrong temp-wise with something like that.....I would advise against it. :/

You seem to have the right idea about how to set up a proper fish tank(no real need to mess with the PH though....bettas can handle a wide range, so its usually best just to keep it steady and not mess with it)though. I doubt there is too much more I could say about that that you don't already know. xD

Though it may not be what your wife is probably best if you start looking at other tank options, just about anything 2.5+ gallons per fish should be fine. They do actually make 2-2.5 gallon drum bowls if your wife is set on the idea of a bowl.....they're not completely round, but they are a good long-term home size and you can fit a 25 watt heater in there.
They also make all kinds of other neat tanks in various shapes and sizes if you're wife is really against the look of your typical rectangular glass tank.....theres lots of properly-sized options to look into.

Do a little surfing for tanks around the internet, read up on our stickies and our here at the forum about betta care and whatnot, and perhaps explain and show your findings to your wife? Maybe once she understands an upgrade and heaters really are needed, she'll be a little more open to the idea of a couple slightly larger tanks.

Best of luck!
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Old 10-11-2012, 12:11 AM   #5 
Join Date: Oct 2012
We have one male and one female and we don't want them to breed. What would be the best option that would take up the least amount of space? Should I get a 10 gallon tank and put a divider in and would that affect circulation and temperature? I've never had to keep fish separate before so I don't know about dividers. What's the smallest tanks that you can get a heater in? 2.5 gallons?
Also, if I get a tank with a separation in it, will it need a heater for each side?

Thankfully, my wife bought proper fish bowls and isn't keeping them in those horrid tiny bowls they keep them in in the pet stores. Those things HAVE to be animal cruelty !!!
Also, they seem to spend a lot of time sitting on the tops of the plastic plant stalks in the tank. The female doesn't like to move much and tends to keep her fins closed, however, she gets very active from time to time and she eats like a pig. The male also likes to sit up on top of the plant stalks near the water surface. He does flare fine and usually swims with droopy fins and he's usually curious and comes over whenever he sees us. He seems to eat a LOT less than the female.

Are there any warning signs here or do they sound healthy? I plan to get them into a bigger heated tank asap though. Going to head down to the Petco tomorrow.

Last edited by Blacklight; 10-11-2012 at 12:22 AM.
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Old 10-11-2012, 01:39 AM   #6 
Join Date: Oct 2012
So many questions as I know next to nothing about Bettas. My wife just HAD to buy two. Ugh. That makes things difficult.

Okay. So. If I have them in separate tanks, I will need to get a filter and pump and heater for each one and so.. expensive.

If I do one tank with a separator in it, how big of a tank should I get?
Are we talking more expensive here than going with two separate 2 gallon tanks?

And what about filters? For a tank with a separator, would that require a filter to do proper filtering on each side or do you just need one and would you require a heater on each side of the tank for each fish?

What size air pump do I use for these and how can I tell what I need?

Also, I've always wondered this. Would processing the replacement water through a Britta pitcher be a good idea?

Last edited by Blacklight; 10-11-2012 at 01:42 AM.
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:37 AM   #7 
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go to walmart, get their 5 gallon or 10 gallon kit for 30$ (one is 27.97 and one is 29.97) and divide. Good advice around the forum on how to divide.
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Old 10-11-2012, 10:32 AM   #8 
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Batavia, IL
They sound fairly healthy, but they're likely so inactive because they're cold and a little stressed.....but don't worry too much. They should perk up once they are in heated tanks and they settle into their new home. ;)
Also, watch how much you're feeding them....its best to regulate how much you give these fish rather then letting them eat however much they can in a minute or two like other species as bettas are prone to bloating and SBD(Swim Bladder Disorder). As a staple diet, they should be fed a good quality pellet like Omega One or New Life Spectrum about 2-4 pellets twice per day. For a little variety, you can also feed them some frozen or freeze-dried blood worms or brine shrimp 1-2 times per week as a treat, but be cautious when feeding freeze-dried as it is known to cause bloating issues sometimes.

Ahhh, sadly yes....generally, 2 fish, especially male and female, means twice the cost I'm afraid.
With a female and a male....divided tanks can be a little more tricky. You would practically need an NPT(Natrual Planted Tank.....a setup planted heavily with all live plants)and some pretty good filtration in a 10+ gallon to filter out the hormones the male will produce doesn't bother the female and cause her to be constantly eggy.

I would suggest getting two s separate setups for each for now unless you want to dive into setting up a 10+ gallon NPT.

Yes, a 2.5 is about the smallest you can get a heater in and heat fairly safely. Some people manage with 1 gallons, but they can be difficult to heat stability and long term its best to go with something 2.5+ anyway.
With a 2.5-5 gallon, provided you are willing to make the proper water changes, you don't necessarily need a filter. However, in anything about 5+ gallons I would suggest a filter so you can cycle your tank. Your typical HOB(hang on back)filter, baffled with some panty hose or filer sponge attached with a rubber band, should be sufficient filter-wise, but I would also suggest looking into Sponge filters. They don't produce as much current, which the bettas like, and they don't suck in and rip fins like some HOB filters are known to do(though you can baffle the intake....they make a filter sponge that fits quite well over most filter intakes). If you can stand the extra noise that an air pump makes, sponge filters are a good option to think about at least.

Price-wise it all depends on what sort of tank you go for. Theres your typical glass rectangular tanks, which are sold in kits at 5-10 gallons for about $30-$40 like bamsuddenimpact said. This comes with a hood, light, and HOB filter....but you'll still need to buy a separate heater, substrate, and decor and all that.
If you would prefer to stick with something smaller, there are these Aqueon Mini-bow kits(same deal...hood, light, filter)that are 2.5-5 gallons that are about $40.
If you're really looking to save money and you don't mind the look so much, another option are the Medium-Large sized Kritter/Pet Keepers. The Medium is about 2 gallons and the Large is about 3-5 gallons and they run about $9-$12. They can be safely heated and you can even stick a little sponge filter in there if you'd like.
Like I mentioned before, there is also the 2-2.5 gallon drum bowls that are about $20 each.

There are also lots of other 2-5 gallon kits you can get....look around, compare prices, read reviews, see what you like and what fits into your budget. Also you can hunt around local thrift stores or craigslist for cheap used tank setups if you really want to save some money.
One thing you definitely don't want to get cheaply though is the heater....for the most part, you're generally getting what you pay for with heaters. A good, fully submersible, adjustable one is generally going to run you about $15-$20 depending on the wattage....though if you're going with a 2.5-4 gallon tank I've seen a nice highly recommended Elite heater on Amazon for around $13(not sure if that includes shipping or not)if you'd be willing to buy online.

I'm not sure if the Britta filter would do any good, but if anything it'd probably do more harm then good. Generally just plain ol' tap water conditioned with a good conditioner like Prime(which works instantly, by the way)is the way to go since tap water, most of the time, contains minerals that are good for the fish. Unless your tap water is just completely atrocious and unusable for anything, even if you don't drink it, it should be just fine for your fish once conditioned.
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Old 10-11-2012, 11:54 AM   #9 
Join Date: Oct 2012
So it's not a good idea to put the male and the female together in a tank with a separator?

My wife is going to be pissed when she hears that we're going to have to buy two separate tanks for them. She intended on getting the small fish bowls because they looked nice and took up no room. And she's going to yell at me and blame me for it. I know it. She's of the school of thought that they're perfectly fine in bowls.
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Old 10-11-2012, 12:00 PM   #10 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Central Texas
You don't have to have a filter. I keep mine in critter keepers and heaters work well in them. I have a 10 watt non adjustable heater in one and Tetra non adjustable heaters in the others.
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