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Old 04-16-2013, 04:18 PM   #1 
Pauline
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Newbie. Help please!

Ok. Mea culpa. Please don't flame me. Today i bought a Betta toatally on impulse. I'm really new to fish-keeping and I have a 23L nano tank with 6 cardinal tetras and 2 male guppies. Today i visited a local aquarium shop that was recommened to me by another fishkeeper. They were selling Bettas in what I can only describe as flower vases, with some gravel in the bottom and a scrap of plant. They had one in a tank too, and this one seemed more lively. I questioned if they could live happily like this, and was told that, because their natural habitat is muddy puddles, they're perfectly happy like this, and don't need much room to move about. They also said that, as Bettas are surface breathers, they don't need a pump, and that they don't need a heater as long as I don't let them go below 18C.

I didn't really buy this, but I did buy a fish! I had a 'goldfish bowl' shaped vase at home which I figured woud at least give him a bit more swimming room. Anyway, I got him home and set him up in his new home. He seemed happy at first, but was soon just 'hanging' among the plants. I was worried he was too cold, so i moved him into my tropical tank with my other fish. He seems happier (more lively) there, but I've now been reading that the presence of other fish stresses them.

HELP PLEASE! I KNOW I shouldn't have bought him on impulse, but I did. And now I want to do the best for him. So please could any experienced Betta keepers out there give me some advice about whether he'll be better off in a bowl by himself with no pump and heater or in the aquarium with pump and heater but with other fish. THANK YOU!
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:33 PM   #2 
JellOh
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They are perfectly fine with other fish; as long as the other fish doesn't look like a betta. Tons of people keep bettas with Cardinla Tetras, and the do just fine. The only things I would be worried is about a) the gipsies and b) overstocking. Some bettas will do fine with guppies, others will try and kill them. Just watch your betta for signs of aggression and get him his own tank if you notice any. You should looking into getting them a larger tank. You could even get a nice 10 gallon and set tat up for the tetra and guppies s and leave the betta in your current tank. Regardless of what you do; you'll need a heater, and a filter is preferable.
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:44 PM   #3 
Pauline
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And now I'm reading that Bettas exude ammonia from their skin which could poison my other fish. OMG. Please help!
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Old 04-16-2013, 04:52 PM   #4 
Pauline
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Oh thanks JellOh! He seems much happier in the tropical tank, and hasn't shown any interest in the showy guppies so far. (I was worried about that!). Unfortunately I haven't got scope to size-up or add additional tanks in my current home, so i'm afraid everyone is going to have to rub along.

Since my previous post I've read that Bettas exude ammonia from their skin. Is this true? With such a small tank, i'm worried for my other fish. Do I need to do moren frequent water changes now?

I don't regret getting my betta. he's gorgeous - like a fishy peacock! But I want to make sure I'm caring for him and my other fish right.
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Old 04-16-2013, 05:49 PM   #5 
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All fish leech ammonia in the water. The best combatant is keeping up on weekly water changes.
23L is about 6 gallons which is fine for the betta and other fish. How big do cardinals get? Could you should a pic? I think it might get crowded and you should get another tank for the betta alone with some shrimp or a snail.
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Old 04-16-2013, 05:59 PM   #6 
Pauline
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Hi Laki, Cardinal Tetras only grow to about 2". They're quite shy and like to shoal. I was more worried about my 2 guppies, cos they've got showy tails, but the betta doesn't seem interested/bothered by them, and they're ignoring him too. So far he seems happier in the communal (heated) tank than in the (cold) goldfish bowl, and there's no sign of aggression.
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Old 04-16-2013, 06:01 PM   #7 
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I do a weekly water change of about 30%, with smaller water changes in between if the water quality (nitrites/nitrates) dips.
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Old 04-16-2013, 06:03 PM   #8 
Laki
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If the cardinals like to shoal maybe they should be left to shoal in the tank without the betta (gives them more space).
Absolutely, bettas are tropical fish :) So they would quite uncomfortable in with goldfish!
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Old 04-16-2013, 06:15 PM   #9 
Myates
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It depends on each betta personally, whether they will get along with other fish. Just keep an eye on him and make sure the other fish (especially the tetras) don't go after him- most tetras are fin nippers, cardinals is "iffy".. some do and some don't go after another's fins.

Fish exclude ammonia when they use their gills, also waste and extra food causes ammonia. A betta actually excludes less ammonia as they rarely/if ever use their gills.. weekly water changes of 50% (if there are no live plants in the tank) will help keep the tank safe - make sure to use a gravel vacuum each week to remove the waste from the gravel.. the gravel hides the waste, but it is not actually ever removed unless you remove it.

I do agree with Laki though, a 23L (6g) tank is too small for the cardinals, add in 2 guppies and a betta it is way too small. It may look like they have room, but they don't.. fish can become aggressive, stress and even die if they feel trapped in smaller spaces. There is also too much bio for that tank to hold and be stable. The 6 cardinals need a minimum of 37L (10g) to grow and thrive properly.. if you want to keep all the fish together then the 37L is needed. You could then use the 23L tank to house just the betta, or get another :)
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Old 04-16-2013, 06:36 PM   #10 
Pauline
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Oh dear! Thank you Myates. Not sure what to do now. I don't really have room for another/ bigger tank. I did take advice before I started and was advised that I my tank could comfortably accomodate 10 to 12 fish of the size of adult tetras and guppies. I'd never planned on getting a Betta, and totally admit he was an impulse buy.

I think you are right though, because I've struggled to keep my water quality right. I do a weekly change of about 30%, but I have been having to do small changes (10%ish) every few days to keep on top of the nitrites/nitrates.

It's good to know that Bluu (my Betta) isn't poisoning the water more than anyone else though!
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