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Old 02-16-2012, 03:26 PM   #1 
magpie
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A bunch of questions for you

Hey there,

This past fall I got back into fishkeeping after a number of years. I now have a planted 65-gallon community tank and it makes me happy.

I was talking about it with a co-worker, and we thought it might be nice and add some hominess to the clinic if we got a small tank (10-15 gallons) for a Betta and possibly some other small fish. I work at an outpatient Physical and Hand Therapy clinic - I'm a hand therapist but also am the supervisor of the clinicians there.

I have only had a couple of Betta before, however this was back when I was a kid - we had them in a large brandy-snifter-type glass and although they lived a long time (and even made bubble nests), I know now that it's not the way to keep these fish happy. Now I've been reading about these guys, and there's so much to learn!

So... I'd like to get a male Betta. I'm lucky in that I have a great LFS that I can get the fish from, so they'll be more likely to be healthy. I'm not sure which kind I want to get - from what I've read the personality is more fish-to-fish than anything regarding tail-type (is this correct?)
They do have a bunch of wild Betta species, but I think for the clinic it's better to go with a well-recognized fish. Hopfeully then we can do a little Betta-keeping education!

Today I looked at tanks - there are 10 and 15 gallon kits to be had. I'm leaning toward 15 gallons.

I've read that Bettas don't do well with heavy filter flow, so is it better to just piece out the tank instead of getting a kit, and then get a smaller filter than I need? Or should I get a kit and then baffle the filter?

I also saw a 14 gal Biocube on clearance - half-price. I have read a tiny bit about them, again - the filter flow is going to be too much. Does anyone here have one and love/hate it, and / or have they modified it somehow to make it work better?

I plan on doing live plants and some other fish - maybe salt& pepper cories or panda cories, maybe some rasboras or tetras, maybe amano shrimp, though I read mixed reviews about Bettas and shrimp. I'd LOVE to do RCS or bumblebee shrimp or the like, but it sounds like they're more likely to become dinner? Opinions on this?

Has anyone had a tank like this in an office setting?
Will it stress the fish out?
Any advice for me on that front? We'll put up a sign for sure so that people don't tap on the tank, etc.

And if you have anything else for me, I'd love it. Also, feel free to give links for any of my very basic questions. I'm still reading...

Thank you!

Last edited by magpie; 02-16-2012 at 03:30 PM.
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Old 02-16-2012, 03:57 PM   #2 
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Aww! I love this! I'm so tired of seeing people in offices with bettas in cold little jars on their desks.

-- I've never heard anything about personality being reliant on tail type. They're all different. :) At least, as far as I know!
-- It's realllly easy to baffle whatever type of filter the tank comes with. I've done it by rubber-banding Fluval filter sponge around/into the waterfall outlet with great success. Especially if you bring the water level up to the foam (and make sure the foam is low enough that you can bring the water level up to it. Make sure the tank has a lid! :)
-- Mr. Fish ate a HUGE shrimp. He was super aggressive... Sky, however, doesn't care AT ALL about the shrimp. He completely ignores them. Mr. Fish used to follow them around and eat their antennae, then eventually just eat the whole thing. I think it varies betta to betta. If you want some, though, test it out with cheap shrimp (ghost shrimp are usually ten cents).
-- Get corys! They're so cute. :3 If you get a 15 gallon tank, you could get a school of like 6 cories and a school of rasboras and maybe a few other fish. :D
-- Live plants add sooo much to the tank. plantedaquariumscentral.com has awesome plants (I've bought from there a few times). Coupon code BETTAFISH gets you a 10% discount (at least, it used to... haven't bought from there in a few months)

Use this calculator to plan: http://aqadvisor.com/ It'll tell you if you have too many fish.

I think the office setting stressfulness will vary depending on the betta... Mr. Fish would have LOVED IT. He loved anyone coming up to his tank, even if you tapped on the glass. He'd just dance around for food. He was always right at the front of the tank, staring at you. If you find that you get a betta that hates the interaction, bring it home ( ;) ) and get one that seems less shy. But, look for one in the petshop that doesn't dart away from you when you go up to the tank/cup. I'm pretty sure Sky would HATE an office setting. He still runs away from me when I go up to the tank. Although, he will play with my finger after he warms up a bit.

Last edited by kfish; 02-16-2012 at 04:01 PM.
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:20 PM   #3 
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Thank you, that's helpful!

I'll carefully scope out my potential tankmates and look for the gregarious ones. :)

I would love to have some cories - I don't have any in my 65 gallon (too many other bottom feeders) and think they're entertaining little guys.
OK, so I could do 6 of the cories, then a school of the rasboras/tetras. What other fish would you recommend or should I just make the school larger?

Are there better plants for Bettas? I plan on doing some floating pennywort as I can just take some from my 65 gallon, and I read that the Bettas like some floating plants. (I think most fish do!)
Can I overplant for them? Do they prefer lots of open space, or...?

Also, do Bettas like caves? Is there anything else that they like that I should be getting?
What about those leaf hammock things? Do people ever use live plants for those?
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Old 02-16-2012, 04:26 PM   #4 
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Also, for cycling... I have an Eheim external canister filter in my 65 gal. What can I use from it to help with the cycle? I know that it's not as big of a deal in planted tanks, but if I have the option, I feel like I should...
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Old 02-16-2012, 05:12 PM   #5 
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Hmmm... Tetras can be a bit nippy, I think, so be careful. People have recommended ember tetras on here before, though. A lot of people recommend not putting anything in with bettas that's flashy (so no neon tetras). There are a lot of different types of rasboras. I think someone else can answer the tankmates question better than I can, though. There are a decent number of options. But, whenever you have tankmates with a betta, make sure you have an out in case it doesn't work out... a way to take them back or give them away.

Bettas like lots of places to hide. So lots of plants is great for them. Make sure nothing has sharp edges that they can slash their fins on. They really like caves, as well! When choosing decorations, make sure the holes are big enough that they can swim through them... they're known to get stuck in holes and drown. :( Some people use coffee mugs/tea cups for caves, which is kind of cute. I've used terracotta pots, but you HAVE TO make sure to plug the hole securely, or get a pot with a HUGE hole, or take the whole bottom out (but smoothly, so they can't cut their fins on it).

So yeah, impossible to overplant for a betta. However, their rasbora/whatever else tankmates will probably like a bit of open space near the top, and Corys like a bit of open space on the bottom to forage. ALSO, Corys don't do well with gravel/sharp substrates because of their little whiskers.

Bettas also like places to perch, particularly near the top. Anubias with long stems that reach to the top is nice for them. And some people have bettas that are absolutely OBSESSED with their betta logs/hammocks. I've never tried one, since I like to go the natural plant route. You can definitely use real plants for a leaf hammock. That's what I do!

If you intend to have a soil substrate and all that and go the full on natural planted tank route, then cycling isn't important, but it DOES help with establishing the tank while the plants get adjusted and start growing... Just cut some filter media/sponge from your 65 gallon filter and put it in the filter in the betta tank. I seeded my NPT just to get it started (I HAD to... I had a HUGE HUGE HUGE ammonia spike, perhaps because the soil didn't air out enough), and now the filter is just for water movement.
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:32 PM   #6 
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Thanks again! Yes, the ember tetras were specifically what I remember reading might work for tetras. I'd love to do celestial pearl danios / galaxy rasboras however they're so shy I think they'd hate the setting. Right now I have my eye on some emerald dwarf rasboras in the LFS. We'll see if they're still there when the time comes, otherwise I'd probably just do the harlequins. EDIT: just looked them up, and it looks like they're shy too, so probably not a good choice for me. :(

I don't plan on doing soil - looking up the best substrate for the cories... sounds like some use eco complete mixed with sand (i specifically read tahitian moon sand).

I did get the biocube today - $119 for the 14. I'll probably set the tank up tomorrow, and then get the substrate and some plants this weekend, let it run and make sure all is working, see how I want to do the baffle, etc.

Then I'll go look for fish! :)

Last edited by magpie; 02-16-2012 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 02-16-2012, 09:21 PM   #7 
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So exciting!! I'm itching to set up a new fish tank. I'm going to be re-setting up my 5 gallon in the next few weeks and buying a new betta. :D
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