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Discussion Starter #1
hello everyone, I am new to all of this Betta keeping stuff so please no judgement. I recently purchased a 16L tank for my Betta. I have also put in three neon tetras, a brittlenose catfish and a medium mystery snail. In the first two days the snail has died and one of the neons had died as well. I was expecting some deaths seeing as I had not waited a week for the bacteria to grow. I suspect the tetra and snail died due to either that or they didn't like the temperature of the water or other abiotic factors. The only problem is that my Betta has been furiously chasing the other two tetras around the tank for a few days. I'm worried as I know that he can easily kill them. He has no problem with the catfish. I thought he may have been unhappy or sick or hungry, but upon further inspection found a massive bubble nest which either meant he's ready to mate or he's happy with his environment. I would like for these fish to live in harmony but I don't want any to die from constantly swimming away from the Betta in fear. I have seen the solutions like add in more plants and decorations, which would be a good idea but the plants I have now the tetras don't use, they just swim in the open. Somebody please help as I'm worried about these tetras and do not think they will last much longer.
 

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I'm not being judgmental. We've all made mistakes in this hobby, and those who say they haven't, are lying.

I'm assuming by 16L, you mean a 16 litre aquarium and not a 16 gallon long (I only ask this as I have seen people refer to 20 gallon long tanks as 20L before).

Unfortunately, your aquarium isn't cycled and is massively overstocked. A tank this size would have been fully stocked with a single betta. Neon tetras need to be kept in groups of at least six individuals, and in spite of their small size, they are active fish that do better in tanks of at least 40L/10 gallons. They are also extremely sensitive to poor water quality and are recommended for established aquariums because of this.

A Bristlenose pleco will quickly outgrow a tank of this size, and being large waste producers, will cause problems with water quality in uncycled aquariums.

The presence of a bubblenest means very little. It's something of a fallacy that a bubblenest means a betta is healthy and thriving.

Is it possible for you to return the other fish to the store you purchased them from and keep only the betta? Even if there were no issues with aggression, a tank of this size is not suitable for either the tetras or the pleco.

With a tank this size, I don't think there's really much you can do to stop your betta from chasing the remaining Neon Tetras apart from removing either the betta or the tetras from the tank.

I meant to ask, did you purchase any water testing kits? As you are undertaking a fish-in cycle, you need to know what your parameters are. Ammonia and nitrite can kill fish in only trace amounts, and even if the water looks 'clean', it doesn't mean it is safe for fish.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you heaps for that, I'm going to probably stop listening to pet store workers now as all they talk is apparently wrong. I did mean 16 litre tank and I was still hoping to have other fish so I may just buy a smaller tank and put the Betta in that and use the 16 litre for a couple of other fish. Shame that they lie to you just to sell a couple of fish.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I was going to buy a water testing kit but they were all out so I'm buying one tomorrow, hopefully ammonia levels are alright. Also nitrites and nitrate levels are good too.
 

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While there are some pet/fish store employees that know what they are talking about, most are either ignorant, or are willing to mislead customers to push a sale. Many hobbyists find this out the hard way, myself included. I personally believe it's best to do your own research online first, and try to avoid impulse purchases (often easier said than done).

If you want to keep the Bristlenose Pleco and Neon Tetras, I'd suggest you need a tank of at least 50-60L. I had a Bristlenose Pleco in the past and at its full adult size it would have been much too cramped in a 16L tank. Likewise, even though small fish such as Neon Tetras (or even worse - Zebra Danio), are commonly recommended for small tanks, they are active fish that need space to move about and exhibit natural behaviour.

With that said, a 16L tank is ideal for a single betta. I'm not sure how much experience you've had with the hobby in general, but while a smaller tank may seem easier to maintain than a larger aquarium, it's actually the other way around. This is because in a small volume of water, water quality deteriorates very quickly, so you really need to be diligent with your testing and water changes.

Definitely purchase an ammonia test kit as soon as possible. Ammonia and nitrite pose the greatest risk to the health of your fish.

I also want to make a recommendation. I'm not sure what water conditioner you are using at present, but I strongly advise replacing it with Seachem Prime (if it's available where you live). Seachem Prime temporarily detoxifies ammonia and nitrite, which proves very useful when you are cycling a tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
thanks for your help, it's been actually very useful. I will try to take the catfish back as it will outgrow it soon. The tetras can stay as food/entertainment for my Betta as they were very cheap. I will definitely get a kit and test the water right away. Thanks for your help.
 

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I will also add, a stressed fish is likely to become a sick fish. All it takes is one fish sick with a contagious parasite or disease and the whole tank is infected.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you, I sadly cannot rehome the neon as I only have a tiny little tank that I kept the Betta in and I don't think it's alright to keep a neon in an unfiltered tiny tank. The Betta ate the second neon.
 

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While there are some pet/fish store employees that know what they are talking about, most are either ignorant, or are willing to mislead customers to push a sale. Many hobbyists find this out the hard way, myself included. I personally believe it's best to do your own research online first, and try to avoid impulse purchases (often easier said than done).

If you want to keep the Bristlenose Pleco and Neon Tetras, I'd suggest you need a tank of at least 50-60L. I had a Bristlenose Pleco in the past and at its full adult size it would have been much too cramped in a 16L tank. Likewise, even though small fish such as Neon Tetras (or even worse - Zebra Danio), are commonly recommended for small tanks, they are active fish that need space to move about and exhibit natural behaviour.

With that said, a 16L tank is ideal for a single betta. I'm not sure how much experience you've had with the hobby in general, but while a smaller tank may seem easier to maintain than a larger aquarium, it's actually the other way around. This is because in a small volume of water, water quality deteriorates very quickly, so you really need to be diligent with your testing and water changes.

Definitely purchase an ammonia test kit as soon as possible. Ammonia and nitrite pose the greatest risk to the health of your fish.

I also want to make a recommendation. I'm not sure what water conditioner you are using at present, but I strongly advise replacing it with Seachem Prime (if it's available where you live). Seachem Prime temporarily detoxifies ammonia and nitrite, which proves very useful when you are cycling a tank.
After reading this, I will purchase a water tester this weekend. Are there any levels I need to be aware of particularly for my Betta, or do I just follow the levels listed on the box? Thank you.
 
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