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Old 06-24-2011, 01:38 AM   #1 
Jrf456
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Do betta fish need a heater?

I have a 5 gallon with 5 females in it with about 5 or 6 hiding spots. I have a filter, and I refresh the water 10% every 5 days, but I'm wondering do they need a heater? It has a light that stays on most of the day and the tank is right next to a window that fights the hot Florida sun..

So yeah, should I buy a heater?
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Old 06-24-2011, 02:35 AM   #2 
LeroyTheBetta
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Originally Posted by Jrf456 View Post
I have a 5 gallon with 5 females in it with about 5 or 6 hiding spots. I have a filter, and I refresh the water 10% every 5 days, but I'm wondering do they need a heater? It has a light that stays on most of the day and the tank is right next to a window that fights the hot Florida sun..

So yeah, should I buy a heater?
First and quickly as I'll let others field this more... 10% every 5 day water changes is insufficient.

As for the heater.... I think it depends on what temperature, and equally important, how stable that temperature is in your tank. Assuming you have a thermometer (should if you don't), as long as your temp is around 76 to 80 and stable at that temp, you should be good. But, if the temperature fluctuates at night, or cooler days by more than a couple degrees within this 76 to 80 range, or if you can't maintain temp within this range, then you do need a heater to maintain an adequate temperature.

Just be careful if the tank is in direct sun... the sun can raise the temp too much and then when the sun goes down, the temp will drop too much in the tank. Again, it's a stable temp that is very important, too.
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Old 06-24-2011, 11:49 AM   #3 
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Why is 10% water changes every 5 days insufficient when I have a filter than runs in the tank 24/7?
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Old 06-24-2011, 12:08 PM   #4 
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Ammonia is constantly excreted from fish. With 5 females in 5 gallons and no cycle you should change 50% and 100% once a week. (correct me if I'm wrong). And yes you do need a heater because the sun and a lamp aren't sufficent enough to keep the tank at a stable temp.
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Old 06-24-2011, 12:56 PM   #5 
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I'd say it's a good idea to get a heater to keep the temperature stable. A 5 gallon can accommodate a 25 watt heater.
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Old 06-24-2011, 04:30 PM   #6 
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Why is 10% water changes every 5 days insufficient when I have a filter than runs in the tank 24/7?
A filter helps to remove waste and ammonia but it does not remove it completely. There is a constant supply of ammonia, no filter can keep up with that alas. And your filter won't be of much help until it's cycled anyway, a 4-6 week process.

Look at it this way: you're locked in a sealed telephone booth with a constant supply of cigarette smoke. An air purifier is in there with you so it removes some of the smoke but not all. Now would you rather have someone open the door and let 10% fresh air in once every 5 days or have them let in 50% fresh air one time and three days later let in 100% fresh air? Sorry, it's the best analogy I can come up with. ^_^ But ammonia is to fish what cigarette smoke is to us, only ammonia will kill within days, not the months or years that it takes cigarette smoke to be injurious or fatal.
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Old 06-24-2011, 05:21 PM   #7 
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As posted you may or may not need a heater...but its a good idea to have one on hand....your goal is to maintain a somewhat stable temp in the 76-80F range....you do need a thermometer to monitor both the tank temp and water temp of the replacement water for water changes....

In a 5gal filtered tank with 5 female Bettas regardless of nitrogen cycle stage....I would make twice weekly 50% water changes to maintain water quality...1-50% water only and 1-50% to include substrate cleaning by vacuum or stir and dip method.......even with a filter and/or an established nitrogen cycle unless the tank has massive amount of live active growing plants....you not only have ammonia issues at that stocking level...but you will also have high DOC's that are harmful to the fish and the only way to control this is with water changes and/or massive amount of live active growing plants......

Once the nitrogen cycle has established in a properly stocked tank the filter can help with some water quality issues from the biofiltration, until then all that is happening is pollution is being circulated over and over in the filter...you just can't see it anymore because it is hidden in the filter box/media.... it is still in the tank.......once the nitrogen cycle has established in a properly stocked tank the biofiltration will help maintain water quality, however, since this is a closed system regular water changes are still needed to control nitrate and DOC's (dissolved organic compounds)

As posted...you are overstocked/poorly stocked with 5 adult females in 5gal tank...its just a matter of time before things go wrong as stress increase and water quality decreases the immune response can be compromised and sick fish will result...its just a matter of time.....

What are your plans, are these the only Bettas you have, how old are they...love to see some pics.....

Last edited by Oldfishlady; 06-24-2011 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 06-27-2011, 03:37 AM   #8 
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Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
As posted you may or may not need a heater...but its a good idea to have one on hand....your goal is to maintain a somewhat stable temp in the 76-80F range....you do need a thermometer to monitor both the tank temp and water temp of the replacement water for water changes....

In a 5gal filtered tank with 5 female Bettas regardless of nitrogen cycle stage....I would make twice weekly 50% water changes to maintain water quality...1-50% water only and 1-50% to include substrate cleaning by vacuum or stir and dip method.......even with a filter and/or an established nitrogen cycle unless the tank has massive amount of live active growing plants....you not only have ammonia issues at that stocking level...but you will also have high DOC's that are harmful to the fish and the only way to control this is with water changes and/or massive amount of live active growing plants......

Once the nitrogen cycle has established in a properly stocked tank the filter can help with some water quality issues from the biofiltration, until then all that is happening is pollution is being circulated over and over in the filter...you just can't see it anymore because it is hidden in the filter box/media.... it is still in the tank.......once the nitrogen cycle has established in a properly stocked tank the biofiltration will help maintain water quality, however, since this is a closed system regular water changes are still needed to control nitrate and DOC's (dissolved organic compounds)

As posted...you are overstocked/poorly stocked with 5 adult females in 5gal tank...its just a matter of time before things go wrong as stress increase and water quality decreases the immune response can be compromised and sick fish will result...its just a matter of time.....

What are your plans, are these the only Bettas you have, how old are they...love to see some pics.....
+1
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Old 06-27-2011, 09:14 AM   #9 
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I'm not sure about anyone elses opinion but I think the minimum tank size for a safe and healthy sorority is about 10 gallons. Also if you upgraded to a 10 gallon you'd probably only have to do one 50% water change a week.
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Old 06-27-2011, 09:22 AM   #10 
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Yes, 5 females in a 5g soroity does seem overstocked.
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