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Old 03-03-2012, 11:01 PM   #1 
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Do betta need extra oxygen in the water from an air pump or filter?

I just got back from petco and would like to clarifiy something. I was asking if they have any 3-5 gallon kits that did not have a filter, especially a power filter, as I was planning to just do a 50% water change every few days. The girl there said I needed a filter to move the water to make sure the water has a lot of oxygen as all fish need this.

Now I've kept a lot of fish over the years, from goldfish and tropicals to pond fish and I do know this. However, I was under the impression that betta take a lot of their oxygen from the atmostphere rather than the water. They have gills of course, but don't they also use thier labyrinth organ to breath the air? And don't they prefer still or at least very slowly moving water?

The small tanks she was trying to sell me all had power filters, which from my experiance, move the water quite a lot and are pretty, well, powerful.

I also thought I read that filters under 5 gallons are hard to cycle or just don't cycle. Is this true as well?

I wanted larger than a 1 gallon so heating it would be easier to keep a stable temperature as well.

Is my plan of a 3-5 gallon tank without a filter but with a heater, 50% water changes every few days, and no air pump a good idea or not. Is the person at the store right, that they need a filter to keep oxygen in the water for betta fish?

Something about her argument just didn't seem right to me. But I would like more opinions about this?
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:12 PM   #2 
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I used this filter in my 2.5 gallon.
It was great/the flow setting really helped for my betta, Fishy.
My only issue is it is a bit difficult to keep the outflow clean. I think that is what made it finally die. It was a great little sponge filter tho :)

BTW, you could always just create a baffle on the filter :)

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Old 03-03-2012, 11:22 PM   #3 
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You are exactly right about everything you were thinking, that sales person has no idea what she was talking about.
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Old 03-04-2012, 04:22 AM   #4 
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I use a small, adjustable Dymax pump on the lowest setting - it isn't a hugely powerful one to begin with, though.

I've read a huge amount of differing opinions on whether a filtered tank under 5g will cycle. A guy whose hobby is creating beautiful nano tanks told me that yes, a 3.5 can and WILL cycle, and OldFishLady has successfully cycled small NPT tanks. These people have years of experience, and I choose to trust them. MY 3.5 will become an NPT as soon as I am confident on a getting a clean soil supply.

My daughter's betta cannot abide any filter flow at all. He stresses out quite badly, so he lives in an unfiltered 3.5 gallon (just under ) Kritter Keeper type tank. I change 20-30% water once a week, and 100% with full tank clean & gravel wash once a week. He's so far very happy and healthy in that environment.
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Old 03-04-2012, 04:42 AM   #5 
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im not by any means experienced. i bought my first betta a week ago (only had him for 4 days :( ...) and my second 2 days ago but ive read a TON about them lol Antione is in a 5.5 gallon tank with only a heater. and a filter which i only use when hes not in there (after water changes) and no air pump and he seems quite happy, still getting used to it i think but still happy :) the few times i did try having the filter on while he was in there it looked VERY difficult for him to swim... especially when he was trying to get to the surface for air. although i havent tried baffling yet. it seems like whoever you talked to didnt know much at all...

although i have heard that some bettas like the flow, it probably wasnt a very strong one and at least from what ive read thats pretty rare
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Old 03-04-2012, 09:25 AM   #6 
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You do not need a filter with a betta, you are correct.
In place of a filter, you would be wanting to do 100% water changes.. it all depends on the size of the tank, and whether or not you will have any live plants.

For no filter anything under 5 gallons you are wanting to do 1 50% and 1 100% per week.
For no filter, 5 gallons and up you are looking at 1 50% per week (with vacuuming) and 1 100% per month.

You can technically cycle a smaller tank that is under 5 gallons, but because the surface area is so small, the cycle won't be stable and can easily crash time and again. As mentioned above, it's after years of building and making a perfect eco system within their aquariums that they can get a small tank to hold a cycle relatively stable.

If you do opt for a filter you can baffle it by cutting and placing an aquarium sponge in the outflow section and held in by a clean/new rubber band. That will help keep the flow low.

For filtered tanks below 5 gallons you are wanting to do a 50% water only and a 50% siphoning each week.
For filtered tanks 5 gallons and up you are looking at roughly 1 50% with siphoning per week.
Again, this is based on no live plants.

Live plants will cut down the % of water changes per week.
They do rarely use their gills, and they prefer no current if possible- which you are correct. Some current won't harm them if it's minimal, just as long as it doesn't cause them to work hard at swimming.

Good luck, and go by your gut and your research before the words of some of the store employees.. sadly, they have caused so many deaths to these fish by giving wrong advice. At least this one didn't fight you on wanting a larger tank for a betta ;)
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:03 PM   #7 
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Thanks for all the info and advice everyone. I think I'm going to add some live plants too. I think they would be comfortable for the betta, as well as help with water quality.

Oh yeah, the girl also said live plants are really hard to grow. I'm guessing not really all that hard.
I may try an air pump run corner filter later if that many water changes get to be too much. I remember when I was a kid in the 60's my dad had a huge tropical tank and those type of filters were mostly what he used. Filter floss and charcoal, seems very nostalgic to me now! But they worked well and sure were quiet.

Thanks again!
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