My boyfriend and I just got our first Betta a couple of days ago. We did the typical, by putting him in a small bowl (about a gallon) with one leafy item and some gravel on the bottom. The following day I read up on newest family member and decided a bigger tank was in order along with some hiding places. So yesterday we went out and purchased a 3.5 gallon tank, a castle to go inside as well as some real (meaning not plastic) leafy plants. The tank came with a filter and a light.
My question is regarding the filter. From what I have read Betta do not require a filter system but itís not harmful to have one (less cleaning time per week.). I have also read that Betta do not like a lot of water movement and thatís where my question stems. From what I can see it appears the filter system is causing a current within the tank and Iím not sure this is something my Betta likes. So is it ok to only run the filter for a part of the day? Say the 8 hours that we are at work and then turn it off for the remaining of the day? Or should I look into a different filter system that would run lighter?
Any and All advice is Much appreciated!!! I only want him to be the happiest Betta he can be!!
I would see how he does with the filter on. If the current is too stong (he is blowing around, or struggling to swim) then you can baffle it with a sponge (rubber band a sponge to the filter intake/outtake- either a sponge from the pet store sold as fish filter media, or I have heard just any sponge will do as long as it does not have soap. Has to be new). That should slow down the current. I personally would not run a filter part of the day then turn it off. Hope that helps :) Welcome to the forum.
I'm not an expert, but when I had a similar question about filters (mine was pushing my poor betta across the tank), it was suggested that I either keep the filter off, or put a filter sponge or some panty hose around the intake part of the filter to slow the current. I did the latter, and my betta doesn't get pushed across the tank anymore. Although, I'm not sure about whether or not he likes it. I'm still having issues with his tailbiting, and I can't say if that's because of the filter or something else or just because he's a brat. =P
Edit: smellsfishie's post hadn't posted yet when I posted this. Didn't mean to repost the same info!
Do read past the first post with the instructions - there's pros and cons of using that particular baffle as well as instructions for making alternatives.
The idea of using a plastic baffle that fishy could swim behind and perhaps get injured was scary to me, so I wound up using the aquarium sponge + rubberband method for my tank. It took a little adjusting, but now it works a treat.
Just go to the filter supply section of your local fish store and look for aquarium sponge. It's sold as refill cartridges or sometimes they have packages of 'cut your own.' I bought a package of cheap aquaclear refills and used that.
If it helps visualize it, here's a thread about my baffle with pictures etc.:
Everyone else pretty much has you covered, but it is very important to commit to having the filter either on or off, no in between. When you turn off the filter, any beneficial bacteria you have in the filter will start to die. This might be fine for a few minutes while cleaning the tank or whatever, but after hours of having it off, a ton of bacteria will have died, basically creating a toxic (ammonia laden) sump that is then dumped into your fish's tank when you turn the filter back on. Since you now have no good bacteria to break this down running the filter is pretty much worthless.
Thank you All SO much!!! I did read some past posts regarding the issue with a "too strong filter" and decided to try one route to see if it worked and if not I was going to try the baffling that I read about. I ended up filling the tank with more water, so the water level is just above the waterfall (if you will). Any other ideas on this? I am hoping this won't cause any issues with the filter. But I will say that Phineas is Much happier with the water level higher and the current not so strong.
I swear I had No idea how much fun it would be to have a fish as a pet, but Phineas is one the most interactive pets ever! He does the cutest loops in his tank when I walk in the room and he'll jump for food! Btw he is SO spoiled. So far I can't get him to eat Any pellets. I have tried Three different brands. I finally ordered yet another brand, but one that so many of you mentioned (New Life Spectrum Betta Formula). It should be arriving today and I just hope he'll eat it. Any suggestions??
As for the heater, I live in central FL and have a thermometer in the tank that I check everyday. So far so good on the temp issue.
Oh and one last "brag" about my Phineas, he's been making his bubble nest. Today it's quite big and is almost above his leaf "bed". I love seeing it, knowing it means he's happy.
Oh and one last thing....I had actually been turning the filter off at night, but after reading all your posts I will Not be doing that anymore. As a matter of fact just to be on the safe side, I'll clean his tank tonight and will allow the filter to run all the time. Now that the current isn't so strong, tossing him around I don't think there's any issues with leaving it on.
If you feel the filter is too strong still just sponge the outtake. As far as him eating, he will eat when he gets hungry regardless of what you put in there. I've yet to have a healthy betta starve on me. I've had some be stubborn and wait out for different food, but they all come around eventually.