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Old 06-18-2011, 10:05 PM   #1 
LadyB
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Question From scratch betta tank... 5-5.5 gal.

First off this is my first time on this forum. I've had bettas before, but never a lasting tank setup. And never anything more then a one gallon tank (without a filter). I know that isn't good for the bettas, but I know that now and I really want a betta again.

As the title says, I'm thinking of getting a 5-5.5 gallon tank to house a female betta and cleaning fish (maybe other fish later on?).

I'm thinking of maybe something like this setup? Not sure yet, though I really like it. I will be using all plastic plants, though I will try to get really good ones. I was thinking of using an LED light source as well.

On to the main point(s), I'm thinking of going with the 'pure ammonia' cycle, if I can find the ammonia, thoughts?
If I got a tank and lid kit, what brand would be better?
Also, I'm desperate for a really good filter. The last time I tried a tank, I started off wrong, but the filter was horrible. But I also don't want the flow to be too rough. And of course money is a factor, as I will be paying for this out of my own pocket (no job).
And then the heater, I know in the winter I will need one, but it usually stays round about 74 degrees in our house in the summer/fall (do I still need one in the summer/fall?). And when I do get a heater, I want one that is really good and that I can set the temp. to what I want.

And, if in the future I decided to get other fish to live with my betta, what kind and how many could I get without the tank being over-crowded?
Finally what type of cleaning fish go well with bettas? I've heard that sometimes they will eat the shrimp? Thanks in advance! :)
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Old 06-18-2011, 10:36 PM   #2 
SaylorKennedy
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Walmart has a good 5 gallon standard kit and for a few bucks more you could get a 10 gallon which could help if you do ever decide to do a community tank.

This one is glass (which I personally like better): $32
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tetra-Aqua...-Pets/12177653

This one is acrylic (scratches easier): $26
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Hawkeye-5-...arium/14660258

Both are highly recommended by people here and both come with an adjustable filter and hood unit (with light). All you have to do is lift the intake tube up and it will reduce the flow or you could make a diy baffle. The lighting I've always just swapped out for a nice CFL that I've found in the lighting department of my hardware store. You should also find pure ammonia at any hardware store as well. (maybe walmart too?). Heater is your own call. I'd see what the temperature during the cycling process usually is and you can decide if you need one right away or not.

For now, with a 5 gallon, you're pretty much limited to shrimp, snails and otos. Otos are great at keeping the tank clean, you just have to make sure if there isn't enough algae for them to feed that you're giving them algae wafers. You betta might eat the shrimp. I have a female who is an absolute beast and has eaten 3 shrimp in one night. I have a male who doesn't even look at his shrimp, lol. Depends on the fish really. If you got the 10 gallon, your stocking options would change drastically and you'd be able to have more of a variety of fish. A popular option that you could do both with a 5 and 10 gallon is split it by either buying or making your own divider. Divided tank = two bettas! :D
Or with a 10 you could do an all female sorority.

Last edited by SaylorKennedy; 06-18-2011 at 10:40 PM.
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Old 06-19-2011, 02:51 AM   #3 
LeroyTheBetta
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Sorry I can't help much with ideas on tanks, filters, heaters.... as I'm not in the US.

For a 5 gallon tank, you're VERY limited as to what you can put with a betta. You don't really NEED anything that will "clean" your tank, but shrimp and snails are pretty much all that I'd recommend. As Saylor Kennedy recommended... an otto... I'm not familiar with them, but as he said, you may have to give him supplemental feedings if there isn't any algae. And, since bettas are notorious for overeating and being pigs, your betta might decided he likes the food you put in for any other creatures and overindulge.

Some bettas tolerate shrimp and/or snails, but others won't. No way to really tell until you give it a shot. My betta ate a shrimp when he was in with one.

My suggestion is that if you really want to have tankmates other than shrimp & snails, you should get a 10 gallon. But even then, there's no guarantee that your betta will get along with whatever you put in there. I had luck with Leroy and a couple cories and some neon tetras, but you can't have them in only a 5 gallon.

Good luck, though, in getting everything set up for your new guy!
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Old 06-19-2011, 07:09 AM   #4 
LadyB
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@SaylorKennedy: Thanks for the help. I would definitely get the glass tank, 5 g. or more. And thanks for the links, that helps me at least know the price I'm likely to pay.

CFL? Is that better then other options for bettas? Okay, I'm sure my Dad can find the ammonia . Thanks, I'll probably wait on the heater. Can always get it later on.

I'm not a big fan of snails, and I don't wanna wake up and kind my shrimp gone the next morning . Yes, bettas certainly have there own personalities. My very first male betta(Jelly Man) would even let me pet him. He was my all time fave! I might do a divided tank if I can't have a community tank. And I have thought of a sorority tank, but after thinking bout it, for a first time it seems kinda hard? And I'm not sure that I'm ready for more then one or two(divided tank) bettas lol.
But if I did get a 10 gallon tank, what type of tank mates could I get? I would like some that are schooling, if possible.

@LeroyTheBetta: lol No biggie. But any help is great!

I don't really need anything to clean the tank? I always thought that I did? But then again besides bettas I'm new to fish. True, and that would not be good. I wouldn't want a fat betta lol.

Okay, so it sounds like a 10 gallon is the best? Though I know I can't get more then a 10 gallon. And if lets say I couldn't put my betta with others, I could do a divided tank. What would you suggest as tank mates for a 10 gallon though? I know I already asked SaylorKennedy, but the more opinions I have the better!

Last edited by LadyB; 06-19-2011 at 07:12 AM.
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Old 06-19-2011, 08:31 AM   #5 
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Welcome to the forum :)
If you monitor how much you feed your betta, then him gettin fat should not be an issue. 2-3 presoaked pellets twice a day is typically a healthy ammount for bettas. You won't need any fish to clean the tank; that's the tank keeper's job. Of course, certain fish, shrimps, or snails would help keep the tank clean, but they all have certain food requirements and produce waste of their own that you'd have to clean anyways. For the most part, tank mates I would personally recommend for a ten gallon would be platies, cory cats, or ottos. All of them will sort of swim together as a group, but the schooling in tight formation would be more for tetras. Cory cats will do some ammount of cleaning, but they can't have gravel because that could hurt their barbels, so sand would be recommended as your substrate.

Tetras swim too fast, could possibly fin nip, andtend to stress out bettas (from my experience).

Last edited by JKfish; 06-19-2011 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 06-19-2011, 11:30 AM   #6 
LadyB
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@JKfish: Thanks!
Okay, that would make more room for other fish. I'll have to think about what kind of fish I would want. And I will keep the sand in mind, though I might just get that anyways.
I thought that the tetras would make the bettas uneasy.
Also, is the rule of thumb 1 inch of fish per 1 gallon of water?
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Old 06-19-2011, 01:59 PM   #7 
LeroyTheBetta
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LadyB View Post
@JKfish: Thanks!
Okay, that would make more room for other fish. I'll have to think about what kind of fish I would want. And I will keep the sand in mind, though I might just get that anyways.
I thought that the tetras would make the bettas uneasy.
Also, is the rule of thumb 1 inch of fish per 1 gallon of water?
First of all, the rule of thumb 1" fish/gallon is not really a good guide when you consider a couple species .... ie. goldfish. Say a 6" goldfish (they can get up to 10, 12 + inches) ... rule would say that a 6 gallon tank is ok. But, they really need about 15 to 20 gallons for 1 fish, and for them, the "general rule" is 10 gallons for each additional fish. Other smaller fish are so very active that they couldn't possibly live in a tank as small as the general rule would say. So, my point is that you need to research each and every one of the fish you want to possibly have and see what each particular one NEEDS, as many all so very different! And then go about seeing what would be compatible within the several you would pick out. Small fish does not necessarily mean small tank. :)

I don't have a heap of experience with lots of different types of fish, but to go with your betta you want to look for certain things. Similar temperature requirements (about 76 to 80), be sure it's a freshwater fish, pH (know the ph of your tap water and don't mess with adding chemicals to alter it) not too high/low (say 7 to 7.5 good, 6.5 to 8 ok), and also the nature of the fish. A highly active fish will probably stress your betta (stress = very bad for health). Some fish are considered to be fin-nippers, which is a big no-no for the lovely, long, flowing fins of your betta. Some fish need several of their kind with them, they're schooling fish and are less stressed the more there are (again, stress/bad). Check out their adult size and be ready to upgrade to a larger tank, possibly, when they grow... or stick to smaller adult sizes. Anyway, you get the idea.... look up lots of fish... check on their requirements, temperament, and get to know lots about them and ask others what their experiences are.... then use your best judgement. It's all basically up to you to do the research, but we're all here to help.

With my betta, Leroy, I started with him in a 10 gallon and with him I had a couple peppered cories and 5 neon tetras. Shrimp didn't work, I had cherry shrimp that I had to remove because he ate one of them. So, those couple fish worked ok with him. Then, he got his own place and no roommates.

If you want to check out some cories, here's a neat page to start with: http://www.corydorasworld.com/corydoras

Since there are so many, if you're considering cories, see what your fish shop has and then research them. Or, if they can order what you are looking for, then have fun looking through all the types! Some get too big for a 10 gallon, so check their adult size, as well as any fish you're going to put in there. Also remember that cories need to be in groups minimum of 3, but more like 5 to start is better. There are some really small ones out there that you could get away with putting 4 or 5 in a 10 gallon.... but not many.

Phew. Sorry so long, but I got going and nobody here at 5am to stop me! lol Have fun! I'm off to work!......

Last edited by LeroyTheBetta; 06-19-2011 at 02:03 PM.
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Old 06-19-2011, 02:03 PM   #8 
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well, if you cycle your tank, it's not really the size that matters but their bioload- aka how much they poop. Leroy makes some very great points. :D (By the way, you can get pure ammonia in hardware stores like lowes). Along with their bioload, you have to think about space, and what would be comfy for all the fish. In general, I think 4-5 platies and a betta would be a full tank but not unmanagable. 3-4 albino or peppered cories and a betta would be around the same stocking levels. If you decide to go with cories, the species you choose will change how many you could fit. If you go with pygmy cories then you could probably fit 6-8 pygmy cories and a betta.
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Old 06-19-2011, 05:23 PM   #9 
LadyB
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@LeroyTheBetta & JKfish: Thanks a lot for all the help. It has helped make some hard choices (for me) easier.
I think I'm gonna go with the 10 gallon tank, sand for the bottom, and a pagoda type thing. I might try to get some fake bamboo(?) and other fake plants.
And I think I'm going to get the peppered cories, though the albino ones are cool too. Though I'm not sure if I'll get a female or male betta yet (as I've heard that even females can be aggressive).
But I was wondering, tomorrow I'm going to be going into town to look at the fish, and price stuff etc. I have a question though, it would probably be another 3-6 months (depends) before I could buy all the tank stuff and start the cycling. And I was planning on getting the betta first so I could see if it was going to be aggressive or okay with other fish. So the question, should I get both the betta and the cories at the same time? or could I go ahead and get the betta (in a 1.5-2.5 g. tank)? I was probably going to get 4 cories when I have the 10 g. ready (either albinos or peppered).
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Old 06-19-2011, 08:48 PM   #10 
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If you want to get your betta, get him or her. You'll just need to keep his smaller tank heated. As for the cories, I would wait until the tank is cycled, because they do need about a 10 gallon.
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