The Story: I will be moving in a year to a larger place and the place I will be going to has enough space for a nice 10-15gal fish tank. While pricing the supplies I would need at my local Walmart, I found Gus. He was a pitiful little Metallic Veiltail Betta in a little cup of water that was more urine than water (pic can be seen in my album). He was pale, dull colored, ammonia burned, and had a bad case of fin rot, but he ran up to the edge of the cup and bumped up against it every time I came close or talked. He didn't do it to a single other person that passed by, just me. How could I resist? He had to come home with me. I couldn't afford a large tank, the extra accessories, the upkeep price for a large tank, or even have a place to put the heavy thing if I got it, so I got a 1.5 gal tank. He has recovered beautifully since the month I had him and is a happy and healthy baby Betta. However, I don't want him to spend the next year all alone, so I was hoping to get him a tankmate.
The Facts: The tank is 1.5 gal with a plastic plant (his bed), a small rock, and 2/3 inch of gravel making water volume closer to 1 gal. Everything (including gravel) was soaked in a weak vinegar solution and thoroughly rinsed before being placed, so there are no dyes or foreign chemicals floating around. It has a Tetra filter made for 3 gal and the tank is still being broke in. The tank gets a partial water change every week and has a hood with light. I am still shopping for a heater for it, but having trouble finding one for a tank that small! (would love suggestions for that too if yall don't mind). Gus is about 6 months and has recovered from his experience save for a small scar on his head and a tad of freying on the edge of his fins where he is still recovering from ammonia indued fin rot. He is active, colorful, and has a light and feeding schedule. He is fed Tetra BettaMin and is not overfed. His mouth is very small (unable to even gulp down a small fly that landed in his bowl, which he then just chased around ) and he doesn't "puff up" at anything, even my dog! He prefers to "play" with my minpin through the glass, so I feel he has a good temperament for a Betta.
The Question: Considering the size of the environment, the level of care given to the environment, the filter, and the tankmate, what would be a good fish or invertebrate to place in the tank with him? I feel it would provide enrichment to his little life and would like some options to research. I am leaning towards some type of Cory Cat (would help suggestions on which one) or a pair of small Loaches like Kulli (I would have to get a pair of Loaches as one Loach would die without another Loach). Any suggestions are welcome and the more information, the better. With a tank as small as mine, something that can take temperature fluctuation and breath air is preferred, but not an absolutely required field.
Additional Information: The original tank setup I had planned for the large tank was a female Betta, 2 Cory Cats, and 3+ Loaches. My best friend is a fish expert who has an aquarium for years and currently cares for two 30gal tanks and one 10gal bully tank (she keeps fish in it that were showing signs of aggression or "bully" behavior in her main tanks), so I have someone to help me during a tank emergency or just to answer everyday questions. I included so much information because when I googled it and found posts by people who have asked a similar question in other fourms, they were chastised for having a Betta in a tank that was less than 5gal. I hope I made it clear with all the crazy details that my Betta is well cared for, healthy, and loved and that I can handle an overburdened tank so that I can get some good and informed suggestions.
As I said, 1.5, it's a temporary situation, and I do not think it is healthy for him to be alone. Please keep comments to those that are a tad bit less condescending if you don't mind. This is why I typed all that out. If I didn't get him, he would have died. No question. That's why I had to get him before I could have a nice big tank for him. However, that does not mean that I should deny him a friend. If I did that, when I moved in my new place and placed him in the tank with other fish, he would be more likely to be aggressive toward them. This is a reason behind my wanting to find him s small tankmate. You can help me with my other issue of finding a proper heater for him if you would rather not discuss my request for compatible tankmates. I wish I could give him the best, but right now I can't. Please help if you can as I already know that he should have a larger tank. If my request is unreasonable, the thread will be ignored and the topic will die. I hope it doesn't, but if it does, I will understand. :)
Well it's quite controversial about the minimum tank size at this forum. In my opinion, 1 gallon is the bare minimum and only for smaller sized bettas. As long as you keep the water clean your betta can be happy and content. 2.5 is probably better in the respect that your betta can have a little more fun with the space, but it really depends on the betta. I have had a betta who was bored to death in a 1 gallon, and when I moved him up he was very happy and a lot more active. Again, it depends.
RainbowBettaFish is right though. If you want any tankmates, 10 gallon is the minimum. You could get away with a snail or shrimp in a 5 gallon but that would be all.
Yeah...you need a bigger tank for that. You mentioned the "larger tank" and your original plan for it. Are you going to use the larger tank for the Betta and it's tankmate? Sorry, Im just a bit...confused.
Thank you for the advice! And yes, Gus and his tankmate would moved to a larger tank and his old tank would be set aside as a quarentene for new or sick fish. I will be getting a new tank after I... escape if you will. Abuse and all that. Hard to run with a large tank, but this little one can go right in my front seat! It's amazing the calming effect he has had on me since I got him. He gives me something else to concentrate on. I want him to be as happy as possible!
I would wait until you get a larger tank before you get a tank mate. A tank mate now only means illness and death with such a small space, lots of stress, and 100% fights. Betta's are territorial, keeping him with another animal in a space that small will stress him out and he will attack and possibly kill his tankmate. I wouldn't put a tankmate in with anything smaller than 5 gallons.
In a tank of 5 gallons or so, the most you can get Gus for companionship is a snail or a small amount of shrimp. Cory cats are schooling fish, requiring more than 2 fish per tank to feel safe and happy. The recommended minimum for Kuhli loaches is 20 gallons. Either way, bettas are (as mentioned before) very territorial, but at the same time, they're quite social, so they're far happier/healthier with human interaction than they are with other fish.
As for your other question about the heater, I highly recommend the Hydor Theo 25 watt. It holds a steady temperature of 80 degrees F and it's adjustable. You can crank the temp up gradually in case Gus ever gets sick.
Thanks Deso! I will look for it next time I'm allowed to leave the house.
So he will be okay alone? I didn't think it would be good for him, but if yall think it's for the best. The woman at PetSmart told me to put in an African Dwarf Frong or a Ghost Shrimp with a hidey-hole (meaning I would take out Gus' rock and put one of those in). She also said that Gus would enjoy a real plant more than his plastic one now. Is that true?
Yes I know I am fretting over him, but right now he is keeping me sain! My friends have been on me for a while to run, but I wont do it until my disability goes through. I can deal with it that long. They got me straighttalk unlimited which has helped and Gus helps me relax. Gotta love my little man
In a tank that small an ADF is a BAD idea. Either the ADF will kill Gus or Gus will kill the ADF. People have reported betta's and ADF's in small tanks together do kill each other. You need at least a 5 gallon for an ADF frog.
However the real plants are better than plastic. Plastic will shred his fins and can cause infection.
As said before, wait until you get a larger tank to think about tankmates. Now is not the time to consider them with such a small tank. It hardly fits a betta, adding another animal in that tank is just animal abuse and that is no joke. How would you enjoy being locked in a small closet with one other person? Both of you forced to use the same stinky bucket that is changed only once a week? It's not good at all. It's more like prison at that point and with all the stress levels both animals would created they would fight, get sick, even die. Don't bother thinking about tankmates, even snails or shrimp until you have at least a 5 gallon tank. It's the right thing to do for your betta fish to be honest. You may not think so but scientifically speaking it is. If you love your fish don't risk his life and health with poor choices by overstocking his tank.