We have a male betta at work that we've housed since last January, he's gotten very large and appears to be pretty happy, he's just gone from a 1.5g to a 5g and loves it, but my boss thinks he needs some tankmates and she asked the local LFS lady if Neon Tetras would make a good mate for him and she said yes it would be fine.
I'm not sure about this, I've been around these boards for some time and thought to have an effective tank mate for a male betta, it would need to be a non-flashy fish, something dull without long fins.
So before she goes to get some neons, I'd like to hear your thoughts on the subject, George's tank is in my room at work and I'd hate to have the kids see him fighting with the neons.
It is not a nessecity to get a betta a tank mate, and Neon tetras should not be your first choice for a tank mate, just cause their small. Neon tetras require groups of 6 or more to fulfil their shoaling requirements, and need to be in at least a 10 gallon, so they are a no-no... Neon tetras are abit nippy, and possibly might go after your bettas long flowing fins... Not common, but better safe than sorry. LFS's you'll find will tell you anything to make a sale. If you really want to get it a tankmate, maybe get a glass shrimp or two...
Also, can i advise you to get some plants, and make a small cave for your fish to hide? No fish likes being out in the light(which simulates the sun) all throughout the day. The plants can be used as cover for the fish, and the cave will definitely be used by your Betta.
Real plants are always 100% better than fake plants, as they offer natural oxygenation to the tank, and provided they are something easy like Java Fern, they will grow themselves. Ask for 2 small Java Ferns from your LFS, they should have have them......
Thanks kritas. I honestly didn't think it would be a good idea, but figured I'd check first. I really love George and we've had him for some time now and I'd hate to get him hurt. I begged and pleaded for my boss to get him a new larger tank for months til she gave in and then when she went to get some other fish for our community tank she picked up another Betta for her office and is using the old 1.5g so I'm going to have to beg all over again in a few months as the new guy gets bigger.
We have some silk plants in George's tank and I'd like to get him a cave eventually. I normally turn the tank light on when I get to work and leave it on for about seven hours until I leave. George's tank is in a room where there are kids and they love to watch him swim around during the day. They're very good about not tapping the tank as we've went over it several times how that can hurt the fish.
I'd like to use real plants eventually, but I have no experience with them and going to plant some here at home first and see how they work before branching out to the other tanks.
My advice, as before, is to buy two Java Ferns from your LFS, as they are probably the easiest plants requiring little lighting, and very little Carbon dioxide to thrive(George will provide the Co2 for the Java Fern). They're probably only $2-$3 each so its definitely worth the investment, George will love you for it. Plants help to create a natural cycle in a tank.
Imagine being stuck in the sun, hours on end. It's not fun. I'm just painting a picture for you how George would feel. A cave is 100% necassary for a Betta, they have to be allowed at least that luxury.
I have neons and I've never seen them try to nip anyone in my tank. If anything they're the sissies of the tank. Then again I don't have any fish with large fins right now so take that as you may. I do agree though that your 5 gallon is just too small for a decent shoal of neons and a betta.
You might want to consider some pygmy cories. They won't nip and they'll stay to the bottom of the tank and out of the betta's way.
Cories also have a minimum of 10G, and a Betta is absolutely mimimum at 5G, that is bare minimum. Like I said, maybe a shrimp or two, maybe a few mystery snails, thats pretty much all you have to work with.
Tyyrlym, hope you realise that pygmy cories are only abit smaller than tetras... I don't know, just personally thats not something I'd do. I like to give my fish a multitude of space to swim... You wouldn't be overstocking the tank with 3-4 Pygmy cories, but they are curious little fish, and love to swim around and play games with each other. You won't get their full personalities coming out in such a small tank...
I agree that some small shrimp and snails would work well as tank mates. I haven't found neon tetras to be a problem for bettas, skirted tetras are a big no-no though. Way too fin nippy. But the tank does need to be bigger before you can add more "swimmy" fish. Java moss is a great idea. If you were local to me, I could give you some out of our tanks. It's growing like mad and I hate to throw it away. lol
I think the pygmy cories would be a good idea. I have a standard 5.5g tank with an amano shrimp, two pairs of Endler's livebearers, and six pygmy cories. They do like to explore, but they're so tiny that I think 5 gallons would be enough room for them to roam. What are the dimensions of the tank's floor? Unless it's a hex or something with a small footprint, it should be just fine.
The reason I'd say pygmy corys but not neons is because the neons will occupy the same space in the water column as the betta where as the cories will spend most of their time on the bottom and out of the betta's face reducing the odds he'll get his pants in a wad about them.