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Old 12-02-2012, 10:32 PM   #1 
Dameon
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Starting a Betta tank, need some help!

This forum needs a general "beginner" section as it is a bit overwhelming...

I am wanting to set up a Betta tank in my home office. I have a lot of experience with aquariums, mostly tropical freshwater and currently have two set up. I've never had Bettas before though and wanted to try them. Unfortunately, I have found a lot of very contradictory information or am simply overwhelmed.

So I have a few questions and I would appreciate some simple answers:

1. Originally I was looking at a cute little 3.5 gallon tank but quickly realized a 10gallon would be better, but I know form experience there are many who will tell you that you need a bathtub for your guppy. So is 10gal overkill for 1 Betta and is 3.5gal really too little?

2. I'd like to have live plants in my Betta tank, but it is going in my office which gets very little natural light. The tank would have LEDs and the office is lit with florescents. Should I even bother trying with live plants?

3. If I can do live plants, what are good varieties that Bettas prefer and what ones should I avoid?

4. I'd read that you can have 1 male and two females and other places say that's really bad. So which is it? Is my Betta-to-be sentenced to a solitary life in his little world?

5. Do Bettas get lonely? What other fish would work well with Bettas in a small tank?

6. What sort of tank cleaners (algae eaters, snails, etc) work well in Betta tanks?

7. When I go to cycle the tank, can I use one of the used filters from my other tropical tanks to help or is that going to be a bad mix of bacteria for a Betta?

8. I was told that Bettas are weak swimmers and can get caught in the filter's pull. Should I use a filter that is rated for a smaller tank (ie: one of those small 1-3gal tank filters in a 10gal tank) or just forgo a filter entirely?
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Old 12-02-2012, 10:44 PM   #2 
Kithy
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1. It's not necessarily that it's too small but rather that you'll end up with more water changes than you would in the 10g. The more space the better but it needs to provide cover and interesting things.

2. There are some plants that do well in lower light conditions. I think those marimo moss ball things are good?

3. Not sure :X I'd go with cheap first so you're not downing tons on something that dies.

4. One male betta or like 4-6+ females.

5. You're their best friend :3 They're somewhat solitary, I believe.

6. In smaller tanks I would go with a snail. Algae eaters can get very big and if there isn't enough algae in your tank they will attack your betta.

7. I think it helps, same with gravel. I don't think it is going to hurt your betta while you're still cycling (if you're doing a fishless anyway. I wouldn't think cycling with a betta would be any different).

8. There are ways to "baffle" your filter so it doesn't have as much current. Filters aren't necessary but it makes your life a bit easier.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:02 PM   #3 
Dameon
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Quote:
...The more space the better but it needs to provide cover and interesting things.
What do Bettas find interesting? Sunken wood, rock formations, things to swim through? I know nothing sharp that could hurt fins. Do Bettas require hiding places or do they prefer open water for swimming?

Quote:
...One male betta or like 4-6+ females.
How much space would that many females need?

Quote:
8. There are ways to "baffle" your filter so it doesn't have as much current. Filters aren't necessary but it makes your life a bit easier.
My previous attempts at baffling filters just narrowed the inflow which created a stronger more focused draw current into the filter. I figured the better solution was simply use a filter that processed fewer GPH.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:09 PM   #4 
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Definitely things to swim around or hide in. Caves made from those terracotta pots are popular for many types of fish keepers. You have to be sure to plug the hole with something safe and to file down any edges.

Betta don't like lots of open space but you don't want the tank to be too crowded.

Truthfully, I'm far from a betta expert but if you check out the area of this forum where some beautiful tank pictures are you can get a good idea of what a betta might like.

As for how much space a sorority of females needs, I'd say at least 10. Bigger is always better really. Bigger means less water changes.

http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=22202
Here's some pictures of some neat betta homes.

http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=30139
Here is a step by step baffle. You can see if yours is similar or if this is better. You don't need a filter but if you go without be prepared that you will be doing more water changes.

Are you planning on doing a fishless cycle? If so, I'd move some gravel or decor from your tanks at home to this new tank to jump start cycling.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:17 PM   #5 
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1. Depends on how many water changes you wanna do (needless to say, you will still have to do them . Check out Old Fish Lady's sticky on water changes). You could always go with a 5 gallon. Sometimes bettas with larger fins turn to tail biting in an effort to battle the weight (I just know that in my experience, my betta does better in a 3 gallon or under than he did in his 10 gallon but in the end it is up to you!).

2. I'd stick with moss balls for now until you do more research. Heck I have a black thumb and the only thing I can keep alive plant-wise is moss balls. Plus they are fuzzy :3

3.anything that is totally aquatic. Be very cautious when buying plants in tubes because sometimes they are NOT fully aquatic. I learned this the hard way and they have the potential to rot. And if you buy plants that are already in a tank at the petsmart you will have to quarantine for at least 2 weeks or risk introducing parasites, bacteria or snails to your fishy.

4. One male betta. Females need to be kept in groups of AT LEAST 4 or 5. Remember the more females you have, the more the aggression will be spread out between the girls. But you need AT LEAST a 10 gallon tank and PLENTY of plants (live or silk) to break the line of sight. As a beginner I'd suggest a male for now, you'll learn a lot more the longer you have him and be ready for a sorority in the future! (:

6. Bettas technically don't get lonely. Some are more aggressive than others and will eat anything you put in their tank, even your fingers. But some (like my Leo lol) are very passive and don't really care. Depends on tank size and personality. I suggest ghost shrimp because they eat up excess food and are great little guys to watch, just watch out because they can jump out! Know that even when you have them you still have to vacuum the gravel lol.

7. You don't really need a cleaner pal unless you have lots of algae. Snails produce A LOT of waste and algae eaters need lots of space. Again, the ghost shrimp win out. And they only cost 30-50 cents lol :3

8. Just be careful and make sure your other tank is extremely healthy. You don't wanna introduce any disease or bad bacteria to your new little guy. My suggestion, just get a new filter and start with that lol. But that's just me.

9. This is arguable. Shorter finned bettas and females don't seem to mind the current as much as longer finned bettas. I have a female in my 10 gallon with my Tetra 10i filter and she is fine. But as Kithy said, look up how to baffle the filter (basically using half a water bottle to redirect the flow to help calm the current) but that way you still get adequate filtration.

I know this is a lot of information but asking for help will make you a very good betta parent! Welcome to the forum, enjoy your stay, don't hesitate to ask questions and most of all, Enjoy your fish!!

[if you have any more questions, feel free to PM me!]



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Old 12-02-2012, 11:43 PM   #6 
Dameon
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This has been very helpful, thank you all!

It is not dispersing the inflow of water that has me concerned, but rather the suction from the filter intake drawing the Betta up against it.

Since I have the filter and maybe some gravel from my currently healthy tanks I had planned to cycle with that and get the plants established before introducing a Betta.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:44 PM   #7 
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Hmm that's weird...what kind of filter do you have?
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:52 PM   #8 
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First off, welcome to the forum!

1) 2.5 gallons is typically considered the minimum. Some people keep their betta in smaller tanks for different reasons, while other people say that you should house a betta in no less than 5 gallons. I personally have all of mine in 5 gallons, but that's primarily because I find it easier to maintain a tank of that size or larger. While a female or short-finned male may appreciate more space, a heavier-finned male could do perfectly fine in a 3.5 if that's what you'd like to do. At the same time, a 10 gallon tank would make a typical female or short-finned male very happy, could house more tankmates, and could take less maintenence.

2) Low light plants could work with LED lights - some good ones are Marimo moss balls, Anubias, Java Fern, and Java Moss would be good options. They grow more slowly, but are pretty darn hard to kill.

3) There aren't any plants that I know of that you shouldn't use for bettas, as long as the plant is fully aquatic. All the plants I mentioned in #2 are fully aquatic and do well.

4) Don't mix males and females, even if you intend to breed. 4+ females can be housed together in a sorority in a tank that's at least 10 gallons, with a 20 gallon long being a good size, that is very heavily planted and has lots of places to hide. From what I've heard, a sorority isn't something I'd do for my first time having a betta. But if you went with a 10 gallon, it is possible to have tankmates.

5) Bettas can get bored and benefit from some sort of stimulation. This can be in the form of having a well planted/decorated tank for the fish to explore and patrol, to "playing" with the betta, to having tankmates. I personally don't think I'd keep other fish with my betta, if only for the fact that you pretty much need at least 10 gallons to have other fish, I don't think that many fish that could live with a betta are well suited to a 10 gallon, and there's always the risk that the betta may be stressed by the other fish or vice versa. That said, I have pond snails and malasian trumpet snails in my tanks and one of my bettas lives with some ghost shrimp with no problems.

6) Pretty much covered it in #5 - a lot of people like nerite snails, and I have a few types of "pest" snails and some ghost shrimp. Some bettas will tolerate shrimp, others won't. I'm not fond of the idea of having an animal solely to clean because I don't think there's much net gain - yes, they may eat some of the algae and/or waste products, but they also poop it out. Most snail species kept in the aquarium poop A LOT, as do pleco species (and there aren't many of those that do well in smaller tanks, anyway).

7) As long as you're taking filter media from a healthy tank, it's no problem. Cycling is the same concept, no matter the species kept

8) In a small tank, you don't always need a filter unless you want to cycle the tank, but then you need to do more water changes. If you do have a filter, you don't have to downsize the filter size, but it's usually a good idea to baffle the filter to reduce the flow. Many people use the Aquaclear 20 for their 5.5 gallon tanks with no problem. I put a piece of filter sponge around the intake of my filters to keep their fins from getting cought (this also works as a prefilter and provides more surface area for beneficial bacteria) and use a water bottle to baffle the flow going out. This can also depend on the individual betta - some can deal with a small current better than others. I have one betta that's a very good swimmer and would flit around the tank with no problems and another that would be pushed around by the smallest current.

EDIT: Good grief, I need to take less time writing replies (and try not to get sidetracked while doing so)... Sorry for repeating what everybody else has said!

Last edited by pittipuppylove; 12-02-2012 at 11:57 PM.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:53 PM   #9 
bryanacute
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Every one of my bettas has a cave. Sometimes mine will rest at the opening. So I would suggest a cave. Also a 5.5 gallon tank would be ( in my opinion ) perfect for a home office. Enough space to decorate while not taking up that much space.
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Old 12-03-2012, 12:05 AM   #10 
Dameon
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The plan right now is a 10 gallon with a single male Betta and ghost shrimp.

Pet-Co has a sale on a 10gal basic tank kit with heater and filter for cheaper than I can even buy a smaller tank for! I do have room for that on my desk...

Being used to smaller tropical fish, I have never had just ONE fish in a tank with so much space to himself!
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