I am a new betta owner. After falling in love with my betta, Bob, I did a little research and found out that the conditions I was keeping him in were not ok. So I asked for a new tank with heater and the works for an early Christmas gift and ended up with a 35 gallon tank! I am wondering if this is too much space for 1 betta? Will Bob be happy with all the space or nervous? I want to get him in a better home asap but am anxious about the transition. Any help would be great as I truly love Bob and want to make him happy and keep him healthy. Thank you!
First of all, kudos to you for doing some research and getting your little guy a new larger home, and congrats on the new tank!! A 35 gallon, what a score!!
Second, to answer your question, no, the 35 gallon is not at all too large of a tank for your betta. With the acception of a few special cases, the myth that bettas prefer small spaces is simply not true. No tank is ever too large.....provided that it is planted and decorated properly.
See, bettas like to have cover. Though the common pet store variety of betta is quite different from its wild counterpart which live in VERY densely planted dark waters, IMO/E they do still for the most part prefer a good amount of cover in the form of silk or live plants in order to feel secure. Often times because of the cost, most people don't provide enough cover in larger tanks so their betta becomes stressed in the larger, open space.....which tends to lead people to believe that bettas prefer smaller tanks, which generally isn't true.
So, provided you plant the tank well(at least a few tall plants should reach/get close to the top of the water), maybe add something floating like easy to care for hornwart or take the base off a silk plant and let the stems float around, and offer a couple of caves....your betta should do very well in the 35!! I bet he'll REALLY appreciate all of that wonderful space! :)
Have you considered any tank mates(not necessary, bettas are naturally solitary, just out of curiosity)or are you just interested in keeping him alone for the moment?
Thanks so much for your response! I did go out and buy lots of plants for him to hang out in. But a lot of the decorations ("logs" and "caves") had very sharp edges so I don't anything like that yet. I was thinking about getting a zebra snail or a red onion snail for the tank. Bob is so interesting and smart and I would consider getting him some tank mates if he seemed lonely or bored. But even then, would take mates really be the best solution or should I just interact with him more. Bottom line is, I want whatever is best for Bob.
I cannot give you tank mate advice, but my betta seems to be just fine in his own tank, since I give him quite a bit of attention. He never seems lonely, and he gets pretty excited when he gets to see me.
Some members like to use dividers in their tanks so they are able to have more than one betta. I have never used them personally and I also don't know how common they would be in a 35 gallon tank, but I have seen people make their own dividers.
It's really up to you what you want to do. Personally I like the smaller tanks better because bettas are the only fish I really like. If you were to get females you could set up a sorority tank.
It's all personal preference, and it's your tank and your fish, so it's 100% your decision :)
It does sound like a lot of space but if you do decide to keep him in it, you could make it an NPT to make it look more full of life and then add some snails and cory's, even some other non aggressive schooling fish, even make that a sorority tank and divide a section for bob with a homemade divider, or get him his own separate 10 gallon!
I would like to know what you end up deciding, sounds like an interesting project!
As for decorations/caves and such, you could stick in a few pieces of driftwood. You can sand down any sharp edges beforehand, and it makes for quite an interesting, natural-looking addition if you ask me. Also, those Terracotta clay pots at the craft store make fantastic cheap caves.....you can break them in half, knock the bottoms out, or simple stuff the little hole with a bit of filter sponge so your boy doesn't get stuck, and instant caves for less then a dollar each! They also come in several different sizes. ;)
Just some suggestions for things that I know are safe and soft. xD
And on the subject of tankmates....its mostly up to you. While Bettas can tolerate tank mates(and do occasionally enjoy a little company, depending on the individual fish), they are solitary fish by nature, they do just fine alone with just you as company. I asked only because most tend to at least consider tank mates when they get a larger tank. :)
As the others mentioned, snails, Corys, and small peaceful schooling species like Neons or Rasboras are good options if you do decide to add something else to your tank at some point. Whatever you decide to do, be sure to research whatever other species of fish catches your eye before getting it!!
Oh! Also, are you familiar with the cycling process at all?