I'm new to keeping fish. I just got a new male betta, Blue, that I've had for less than a week. He's my second, as the first one died after 3 months. I also have 2 mystery snails in with him and he ATE their antennae!! The pet store people said the snails were fine to add with the betta. I feel sick about it - the snails were so amazing with their long antennae and now they just look kind of pathetic. Obviously, the damage is done, but are the snails going to be okay without the antennae? What should I do here? Are there other fish or snails that would be ok to put in with the betta? I'm new to this, so I guess I should back up and ask if I might be doing something wrong with the betta too - I really don't want to kill him either! Can anyone help me?
I've only been keeping bettas a short time and learned so much so rapidly, but I've learned enough that I believe I can lend an educated opinion here.
One of the best things my local pet store told me was "If anyone ever tells you something about fish and they say it's 100%, they're lying." Bettas in particular are like people - every one of them has a different personality. One betta might tolerate the snails just fine. Another might find them an offense to their very being and decide that snail is going down.
I've personally had ghost shrimp and zebra danios live peacefully with one of my male bettas. There's a ghost shrimp in just about every betta's tank that I have and they get along quite swimmingly. The zebra danios seemed to drive my boy nuts and he didn't start making bubblenests until they were separated.
So in short, it depends on your little fishy there but a list of possible tank mates for him include:
- Ghost Shrimp
- Zebra Danios / Zebrafish
- "Glofish" (essentially DNA modified zebrafish)
- Miniature Plecos
- African Dwarf Frogs (NOT clawed frogs)
- Neon Tetras
Please keep in mind that you need suitable housing for your betta and it's tank mates. The general rules of thumb for a tank size is 1 inch of fish to 1 gallon. This applies to only small fish... once you get bigger fish, it just doesn't work that way.
Also... 3 months? I'm curious to know how you're keeping your new boy and how you kept your old. Was he sick before he died?
I have a mystery snail in with my Sven and he completely ignores it, doesn't even seem to notice it exists
on the other hand, I stuck it in with my other boy Robin one time to help get rid of some bits of a plant that melted, and Robin ended up with a bash on his forehead from trying to grab at the snail's antennae.
so yeah, any tank mates are going to be a risk with a betta.
also, a lot of the fish that can possibly work with bettas are schooling fish, which means you need to have several for them to be happy, and they generally need a decent amount of room, so they're not really recommended for anything under a 10 gallon. snails and shrimp are the ones that are generally recommended for smaller tanks, shrimp seem to have a pretty high chance of becoming lunch though.
as far as you doing something wrong, it's pretty hard to know without more info. size of tank, temperature, filtered, water change schedule, how much and how often you feed, live plants, etc. this covers most of the basic stuff, but if you have any questions, please don't be afraid to ask
My previous betta that died and possible mistakes I've been making...
Thanks for the info on the snails - I'm glad to know that the antennae grow back! Maybe I just need to separate them from the betta.
My previous betta that died got sick. (I think he had popeye and ich at the same time! His eyes were bulging out of his head and he had white spots around his face and gills.) I didn't recognize it until too late, so he died one day after I started treating him (3 months after I got him). He was in a 1 gallon tank, fed twice a day (I think too much?), water completely emptied and changed every 3 weeks, new filter every month.
Having done some research now, I think I need a bigger tank for Blue, a heater (the water is colder than the recommended 78-80 degrees), and possibly an aerator. I also didn't realize anything about "new tank syndrome" or the bacterial growth that is necessary, so I think I will have to start testing the water for ammonia and nitrites (I'm a little intimidated by this!). The pet store people were apparently useless in my case - they had told me that the betta would be fine in a one gallon, in 70 degree temperatures, and that snails were fine to put in there with him (and that the snails won't reproduce on me!). I think they misinformed me grossly as to the delicate nature of bettas.
a lot of pet store people do seem to be kind of useless when it comes to betta care. not all, but definitely a good chunk of them
every 3 weeks on a 1 gallon is definitely not enough. especially with 2 mystery snails in there, they poop a whole heck of a lot, which will build up the ammonia really quickly. think it's supposed to be 100% changes every other day. a couple pellets two times a day is generally fine, not feeding 1 day a week is usually a good idea as well, they can get bloated pretty easily and it gives them a chance to clear out their systems
don't have to bother with an aerator, bettas breathe air, so no real need for extra oxygen in the water, and too much current can stress them out
bigger tanks are actually easier to maintain. it'll take less time for the ammonia to build up (assuming you're not overstocking it), so you don't have to do water changes as often. easier to heat properly as well
I'm also a newbie (thus the name), but I can offer some advice. Doesn't seem like you were changing your water enough. With such a small tank or bowl, you need to change all the water everyday. I have a 10 gal uncycled and i change around 50% a week. That might not even be enough. Someone with more experience can correct me.
You don't NEED an aerator. You can get one if you like, though the filter splashing air back in the tank should be sufficient.
Testing your water is always a good idea. I take mine to a fish store and they test it for free. This is the best thing for me. You can buy a test kit. People on here often recommend a liquid kit.
Like stated above, snails can be fine. maybe your betta is just extra agressive. My betta leaves my snail alone for the most part. He just likes to swim around him a lot and the snail gets a bit irritated at that, but never tries to fight him. I guess it's a luck of the draw thing. Snails will reproduce. Most definitely. Look for eggs above the water line of your tank. That's probably where they'll be with a mystery snail.
If you want to try other fish with your betta, you can try AQAdvisor.com. I think that's the site? It has a thing to fill out and can give some advice as to tankmates. Yet again,really depends on your betta's personality. Alternatively, you may get a separator for your tank. Split it in half or something so that you can have other fish.
you do have to have a male and female mystery snail for them to reproduce. they're not like pond snails that can do it by themselves. apparently you can see their male or female bits if you know what you're looking for, mine always hides in its shell when I pull it out of the water, so I'm not completely sure what it looks like
with a 1 gal, i think you do need to do a 100% change everyday. in the betta fish care section of this forum, there is a sticky with fish care basics. i've read it and reread it just so i know what i should be doing. you should check it out! it's incredibly helpful! with a five gal, i think you would need to do a 50% once or twice a week. I think twice.