They can live without a filter but you have to do a lot more water changes. They can also live without a heater depending where you live Bettas prefer warmer water than most fish but average home temp is too cold and water is cooler than air.
Tail biting solutions is rather an individual thing, there's really no 1 solution that will work for every individual betta. Perhaps the most common (in the sense that it works for most bettas) is putting them in a sorority - say 1 male to 4 or 5 females. BUT this method has it's risks.
A female may be killed; females might attack the male if he becomes less aggressive due to constant non threatening contact; they may spawn (not really a problem). You have to know your betta's general character. I'd take a 10g or more tank, heavily plant it so that some areas are hard to get to plus hiding places if you wish. I don't really mind which goes into the tank first. Sometimes they all move in at once. I've noticed that my tail biters will be busy chasing females instead of his own tail.
Other methods such as cutting the fins very short only works for few. Most eventually will bite their fins once it's long enough. Food is also not the problem - all of mine get the same amount of food. Perhaps what you're trying will work for your little friend.
In any case, good luck. Hope he lives a long and happy life (I'm sure you're going to spoil him) LOL
I have a 3 tailbiters, and I know its the filter, if it is too strong, they get stressed, and if they are long finned males, they cannot get around in the current as well, one of my fishy's a HM male, I had for 6 months with no filter, only a bubble stone, recently started biting, yes his fins got very long, and I had no choice to use a filter, the pump broke, and I used a filter until I could replace the pump, and this fishy is in a 5 gal. now my VT is doing it too, because of a filter, and my newest fishy another HM in a 2.5 gal, and again the filter causing biting problems, my fishy is now in a bigger tank, with only a bubble stone, and is already making improvement. My other fishy;s are female, so no probs there, and my other VT no probs, no filter.
So a betta in a tank with a filter will live for at least twice as long as a betta in a bowl?
Many people who keep their bettas in tiny, cold bowls have reported that their fish have lived for 2X as long. However, they most likely were not happy or healthy fish. If they didn't die from disease due to improper care, it is possible the reason they live for so long is because the cold water slows down their metabolism or at least that's the theory anyways. Is it true? I'm not sure but I know with trapdoor snails - ones kept in warm water have shorter life expectancies then those in cold water.
A betta in at least 2.5 gallons with weekly water changes and a heater (depending on where you live) will be a happy and healthy betta. A filter is not needed if you do 2 water changes a week (one 100% water change with gravel cleaning to remove any poop or whatever that has fallen into the gravel) and one 50% where you just change the water. I don't think its worth the effort to have a filter in anything under 5 gallons - at least not for me. I don't have enough outlets for that so only 10G and up get filters. A few times, I had to keep moving my fish around to try and find one that could be on the side of the tank with the filter and NOT bite his tail ( my 10 gallons are divided to hold 3 males in each tank). If it wasn't the filter then the reflection they saw of themselves in the tank glass caused them to bite. I ended up having to keep the light off so they didn't see their refelction anymore.
If you can figure out why he is bitting, you may be able to stop it. Sometimes they bite cause they are bored or something stresses them out. I have one VT that rips his fins to shreads every time I change the water , some just don't like big heavy tails and some bite cause they can.
Does he have alot of decor or is the tank bare? If its bare, try adding more stuff and at least one plant that reaches the surface. It may help if the reason for the bitting is boredom or stress from feeling exposed.
Amazon fish related order arrived this morning.
Completed 100% water change with Seachem Prime and Stress Coat.
Added 2 x new silk plants (one looks like a penny wort replica the other has tall long fern type leaves) and also added a small zoo-med betta floating log with feeding hole.
Put fish back into his tank with the newtoys – he was calm, seemed happy, floated around calmly-looked to be exploring his new decorations but did not seem stressed by any of it nor did he seem to be avoiding any of the pieces. Within 5 minutes of being put into his bowl he was even swimming straight through the floating betta log, inside, outside, all around – took a pellet through the feeding hole - he even used the bulb of wood on the outside to rest his nose on and seemed very happy with it.
Probably about an hour later I was watching him from the couch – he swan inside his log and then the next minute he was thrashing round in circles like Ive never seen him do before anywhere in his tank.
I moved from the couch and sat by his tank, watching and my hubby sat watching from the other end. After another few minutes he swam back inside the floating betta log – it looked like once he was inside he then relaxed and tried to settle down inside it – his fins floated/expanded/branched out – and he immediately then started thrashing round and round in circles, like he was trying to attack his fins – perhaps because they hit the inside of the log and he thought he was being attacked by something or…?
I took the floating betta log straight out if his tank.
Then put in a new floating lily pad instead. (almost exactly the same as the one he has always had in there)
It looks like there is new damage now to the longest part of his back fin and also a chunk out of his tail fin – but it is really hard to know for sure because I have not seen new damage before and his tail is pretty ragged already from past abuse).
I plan to watch him carefully over the next week – now that I have seen this new frenzied tail attack behaviour, it seems quite feasible that his little house that he had always had but that I did take out of his tank a few days after he moved in with me, was the tail biting trigger. I had removed that little house and never saw him showing any interest in his tail until I gave him the floating betta log – which once inside that it I could clearly see what was happening.
I am slightly concerned now that his new silk plants that branch out through his bowl…which I had hoped would give him new ‘hiding’ and playing and exploring stimulation could in fact trigger the same behaviour – as he swims by the leaves they could touch his fins and set him off on the circling tail attacks – but I have not seen that reaction caused by the leaves yet and he has been swimming in between them and all around the bowl today – something to watch out for though.
At present it appears the behaviour is only triggered when his fins are touched inside a ‘confined space’.
Hubby is concerned that now he does not have a ‘house’ or ‘cave/log’ he can go into whenever he wants that will not be able to get enough ‘dark time’ to sleep properly or enough when he needs to. Hubby has suggested that if he does has this specific confined space tail biting trigger and that is the reason he attacks it all the time/never lets it grow back properly – that perhaps we need to start covering his bowl with a towel/sheet or something to make it dark for him…in place of giving him a ‘cave’ to go inside. I want to do more research to see if that is necessary.
Any thoughts or suggestions from members are welcome!
Thank you :)
PS: I have Attisons betta pellets being shipped from the IBC. Still yet to find supplier who will ship here and has Omega One or New Life Spectrum pellets tho.