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FAQs on Betta Systems 1

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Related FAQs:  Betta Systems 2, Betta Systems 3, Betta Systems 4, Betta Systems 5, Betta Systems 6,  & Betta System: Bowls/Tanks, Heating, Lighting, Filtration, & Water Quality, (See also: Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, Nitrogen Cycling), Maintenance, & Bettas in General, Betta ID/Varieties, Betta Behavior, Betta Compatibility, Betta Selection, Betta Feedings, Betta Reproduction, Betta Disease,

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Betta Success
Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

20 gal Betta setup     12/26/17
Hi all, I am in the process of collecting data and equipment for a new fish tank. (My Christmas present to me!)
<Cutting out the middle man, eh? I like your style!>
I purchased a 20 gal Innovative Marine Nuvo Nano 20 long tank, 24Lx15Wx13H.
It is made for a saltwater setup, but I am going to use it for freshwater.
The 3 viewing sides are the 2 short and one long. The other long side houses the pump and two micron filter "socks," with room for (but not included) a media reactor, and a skimmer. I also ordered an LED light bridge and I already purchased a 75W Jager heater (still need a thermometer). We keep our house pretty cool.
<Understood. Now, marine tanks can be fine tanks for freshwater species, but with a couple comments. Firstly, the skimmer probably won't work, and since they mix air with water, they do drive off dissolved CO2, which can
be a nuisance if you're growing demanding plants. Secondly, the lighting is very bright and blue, and while appreciated by many, perhaps most plants, without some shading, fish can be a bit overwhelmed by it. Most of the fish we keep come from rainforest streams and other fairly shady habitats. The light can also stimulate a lot of algae, and without fast-growing plants to hold them back, the algae can become a nuisance.>
It came with the socks and a 221 GPH pump with two outflow flare nozzles.
My first question is, what other filtration do I need?
<Unlikely to need more filtration than the tank already comes with, if the filter is designed for marine fishkeeping. It's more about the media. Plain ceramic noodles will be fine. But if there's anything calcareous in there,
designed to buffer the pH in marine tanks, you won't want to use that.>
I also read about ways to reduce the flow, one was by putting a sponge or diverter on the outflow.(other ideas?)
<Both of these are viable. Directing the spray bar at the glass rather than into the water will diffuse the current out quite a bit. But if the turnover is much over 4 times per hour, that's going to be way too much for Bettas. Ordinary community fish are happiest around 6-8 times turnover rates, while Hillstream fish and messy fish (such as Plecs) you go for 10 times per hour, closer to marine levels. Given your system is about 20 gallons, and the filter contains a 221 gallon per hour pump, you're already at turnover of 11 times per hour -- much to much for all but those "rheophilic" freshwater species specifically adapted to living in strong currents. Now, you could embrace that, and choose species of freshwater fish that like those conditions: Stiphodon gobies, Sewellia Hillstream loaches, Schistura loaches, and so on. But if you're set on keeping a fancy Betta, then you will need to cut the flow rate A LOT, by something like 70-80%. You might simply not connect up the filter, and leave it to one side for now, perhaps for use in the future if you decide to keep marines or for that matter attached to a bigger freshwater tank where the flow rate won't be an issue. On a 40-50 gallon tank, for example, this filter would be fine for even Angelfish and Gouramis! If that's the case, then a plain vanilla air-powered sponge or box filter is absolutely the idea for Bettas.
Minimal current, good water quality, and a cinch to maintain.>
I would like to have a sand substrate (ok?),
and I also plan to use live plants (java fern, java moss on a piece of driftwood, Anacharis, Vallisneria, hornwort, Frogbit (any of these not do well in sand? Other recommendations?) for simplicity's sake, maybe limit it to 3 or 5 varieties?
<A thin layer of sand is easy to install, clean and maintain. That being the case, skipping plants with roots is the easiest approach. Bogwood with epiphytes such as Java Moss, Anubias, Bolbitis, Java Fern are all easy to
grow, though personally, I find Anubias to be the most attractive and easiest to grow. Control algae with floating plants. Amazon Frogbit and Indian Fern are the two easiest, handling aquarium hoods rather better than most of the others, provided you're happy to trim away any surface leaves that get burned. The others, like Salvinia, look nice, but they're a bit more sensitive to burning under aquarium lights. By all means experiment with them, but don't worry if you fail to keep them alive for long.
Elodea-type things, like Anacharis, will root if they can, but clumps can do well under bright light just left floating about.>
How many total plants?
<Hardly matters. If the plants do well, one or two species will take over the tank, and pruning them back will be the issue. Unless you're a gardening nut, it's often easier to choose 2-3 easy plants that will get along and thrive in your tank. Indian Fern for example makes fabulous floating greenery, and the shade it produces suits Anubias and Java Fern perfectly. In the same way, in real habitats only contain one or two plant species in the 'square footage' we're talking about in aquaria. So having dozens of species is gardening, not really authentic landscaping.>
I researched compatible tank mates for a Betta (the star!), and I like the following:
a school of something (rasboras (harlequin or galaxy), and I like those Rummynose tetras - how many?),
<Galaxy Rasboras need lower temperatures and brisker currents than Bettas, so they're a no. Harlequins are usually okay with Bettas, and Rummynose Tetras are very peaceful, though quite a bit more demanding (e.g., for soft
water) than the Rasboras. So while either species should be fine, keep an eye on them.>
a Bristlenose and/or rubber-lipped Pleco,
<Both are fine with Bettas, but the Rubber-Lipped Plec, Chaetostoma sp., needs cool, fast-flowing water, so again that's a 'no'. Generic farmed Ancistrus are better in tanks with low turnover rates, but do bear in mind that the wild fish, and certainly the most sensitive species, do want cool, brisk water conditions much like the Chaetostoma.>
panda or dwarf corys (how many? A source said four or more),
<Potentially either, but I think Corydoras panda would be more fun.
Corydoras habrosus and the like are small, nervous, and don't do well alongside bigger fish.>
a dwarf or Kuhli loach (again, how many? Other varieties?),
<Kuhli Loaches make first rate companions for Bettas.>
some cherry shrimp (ok? . they look so cool!)
<Often get eaten by Bettas, so while doable, it will depend on how many you get, how well they can hide, and whether their breeding rate offsets occasional predation of juveniles by the Betta.>
and some or one (?) Nerite and/or mystery or apple snails - I read that some Bettas will nip the eye stalks off (or whatever those are). Have you heard of that?
<Yes; I would go with Nerites, or for that matter, Assassin Snails, as ideal scavengers for a Betta aquarium. Similar needs, almost no risk of them multiplying too fast.>
Any plants or other special considerations that are "required" by any of the livestock I mentioned? Any of them not get along with each other?
<Oh, so much could be said about Bettas; do let me direct you to some reading, here:
Plus Bob Fenner's eBook on Bettas might well be a couple bucks well spent if you're looking for money/lifesaving tips.>
I got the 20 gal because everything I read said bigger is better - "dilution is the answer to pollution". I would love some guidance for a balanced tank that might include some of the livestock mentioned above and any "bewares" that are not especially obvious. I do plan to take my time to get everything cycled - I am retired, but as a former computer programmer my motto was, if you don't have time to do it right the first time, you don't have time to do it over. And in this case there could be greater consequences - the death of the fishes!
<Understood; do follow the links up top at the page just linked to. Many FAQs and articles on compatibility, systems, etc.>
I have outdoor goldfish ponds also. To get them started in the spring, I have some microbial powder. I don't suppose I can put a pinch of that in the aquarium to jump start the bacterial population?
<Worth a shot. But floating plants especially bring a lot of the same microbes to a new system, and to some extent Bettas can tolerate less than perfect water quality for a while, so between the plants and daily water changes, the cycling process will be a lot less difficult here than in a community tank.>
Thanks in advance! I happened upon your website and it has a LOT of information. I apologize if any of this has been answered elsewhere.
<Not a problem.>
<Cheers, Neale.>

Betta lighting inquiry Hi there - <Well hello...this is Jorie> I got a Betta a couple days ago to keep me company at work.  He appears happy, very active and relatively well adjusted in his five gallon tank with a heater (it had been cycling for a few days prior to his arrival, treated, etc. - temperature between 75-80), some pretty rocks, his little cave and a couple of fake plants, though after reading your site I'll be replacing his hanging filter with a sponge filter (it kind of looked like he enjoyed playing in the moving water from the hanging filter). <Sounds like a great setup for your Betta! Only comment I have it with regards to the temp. range...hopefully you aren't letting it fluctuate between 75 and 80 degrees, as that's a pretty big difference for the little guy.  Keep it as close to 80 as you can, and even more importantly, keep it as constant as possible. With regards to the hanging filter, I think you are referring to a small power filter of sorts - I have that setup on both of my 3 gal. Betta tanks and have never had a problem.  As long as the water output flow isn't too strong, the Betta will be just fine, and as you've noticed, may even enjoy it.  No need to switch to a sponge, in my opinion.> Anyway, I'm usually here only eight... okay, some days nine or ten... hours a day.  Should I leave the light on for him when I go home?  Or perhaps every other day?  As they have no eyelids, I don't want him to deal with sleep deprivation, but simultaneously, that means he has about 14-16 hours of relative darkness during the winter months and I don't want him to become sick or depressed. <I wouldn't recommend leaving the light on all the time, as that may interfere with his sleep.  He should be just fine with between 8-10 hours of direct light per day.> Additionally, largely because I like pretty colors, I've been thinking about getting him a Miracle Beam Treasure Chest System or maybe the Tri-Light (cycles through different colored light) to entertain me, and possibly him. <Each Betta truly does have a unique personality, so I can't predict with 100% certainty what his reaction to this will be, but I think either choice should be just fine.  Sounds like he's living in style!!>    You  might not want to include this on your posting - I don't want to get in trouble for directing business to them or away from them - it's just for your convenience: <No worries, you're just providing info. - I do it when responding to people's posts here all the time, and I don't believe it's a problem!> Link to treasure chest system: http://store.worldpetstore.com/lastreasches.html < http://store.worldpetstore.com/lastreasches.html> Link to tri-light:   http://store.worldpetstore.com/mibetr.html < http://store.worldpetstore.com/mibetr.htm>  > I read on your site that the Miracle Beam claim that it improves overall fish well being is merely capitalism at its best/worst, but if it doesn't bother him, it would certainly entertain me.   <I'm not sure I buy the claim that this will "improve" the fish's well-being, but again, I'm fairly confident it won't hurt it.> However, I am now concerned that perhaps the multi-colored light will bother him - or worse, harm him. Obviously I can't believe the capitalist pigs claims of safety... Should I be concerned? <I don't think so, but just pay careful attention to the Betta's actions both before and after installing the setup.  If he appears freaked out, then obviously remove it, but I think it should be just fine.> Finally, how important is it to provide him with live plants?  A large number of Betta owners appear to provide a live plant for their fish.   I'll do that if it will truly improve his overall quality of life - and if it will, perhaps you can make a recommendation. <There are many reasons that live plants are beneficial to a freshwater aquarium, but they are by no means essential.  Both my Betta tanks have fake plants and decorations, and I have two very happy, healthy Bettas! With regards to the plants, many Betta owners are mis-informed that the Betta *needs* the peace-lily for food, and even worse, as per the instructions of certain stores, will not feed the Betta after getting the plant.  This is absolutely NOT in the fish's best interest, and will ultimately cause malnutrition and worse, starvation.  If you're up for the challenge of live plants, by all means, feel free, but you are totally OK just leaving fake, aquarium-safe decorations and plants in the tank.  Purely a matter of preference!> Much thanks, Jennifer Nottingham <You are welcome.  Sounds like a little Betta paradise you've created...wonderful! I'm sure your guy is quite happy...keep up the good work! Jorie>

Question about new Betta Hi. We just got our first fish, a Betta. He is in a 2.5 gallon mini bowl. There is a lot of misinformation out there about Bettas so I have a few questions I was hoping you could clear up. Most places said not to use a heater in such a small tank (and its not glass), but the water temp was only about 70 without one. I found a 25 watt heater that sits inside and have monitored it very closely to not let the temp climb too quickly. It is now at about 78 degrees. Do you see any problem with keeping this in my tank? My Betta likes to swim between the heater and the suction cups that attaches it to the wall.  Im nervous he will get stuck back there but right now he can move through with ease. Is that okay? Also, I couldn't find a sponge filter, but I removed the undergravel filter it came with and put in a small box filter. It hangs from the side with suction cups and we attached a valve to lessen the air flow through the pump. The water movement is light and doesn't bother the Betta at all. Should I stick to this kind of filter or try to keep looking for a sponge? The Betta seems happy now and finally ate after 2 ½ days. I also put some silk plants in there.  Are Bettas happier with more plants or more swimming space? Thanks for all your help. My husband thinks Im nuts for getting stressed about this fish since most people just leave them in a bowl. I want him to stay alive. Kim   <Hi Kim, Don here. The problem with a heater in a bowl is that when it's on, it's fully on and putting out a lot of heat all at once. In most bowls you have to mount it right in the center and the fish can not get away from it. In a tank you can locate the heater to one side. A little buffer room until the temp equalizes. But if this is working for you, stick with it. Better than keeping him too cool. The advantage of a sponge is that you never replace it. This gives the beneficial bacteria a place to grow. When you replace the filter floss, you throw away the good germs. I would look online for a sponge. Don't go crazy with the silk plants. You don't want the fins getting caught in them. Good luck with him>   

Fish Filter Issues, Pt. 2 Thanks so much for your help! The sponge is a great idea. <Not a problem!  Glad to help.> We have Daryl in hanging breeder tank in the regular tank. We added Maracyn. He ate supper and seems to be doing much better. <Nice chatting, Ryan>

Chilly Betta Hi Bob.  I've been searching the internet on information about Betta fish and new tanks and kept coming up with your name. Are you knowledgeable on the subject and can I ask you a question? If the answer is yes, here is the question/situation. We just got a male Betta on Friday, Dec.24th. We have a 2½ gallon mini bowl with lid, light, and under gravel filter with air pump. We treated tap water to dechlorinate and let the fish slowly adjust to the water over 4 ½ hours. We have the tank set up with the filter but as I was reading, realized the air flow is too strong. We bought a valve that slows the air circulation so he can swim okay, but Im not sure about using this type of filter.  We bought a small sponge filter that suctions to the side and uses an air pump but haven't put it in yet. Question 1 is which if any of these filters is best? Second, the tank is too small for a heater. The current temp is 74 degrees but I had the light on all day to help warm it. Now I read we shouldn't keep a light on more than 6 or 8 hours. I would like the temp to be upper 70s but dont know what to do. Is the temp. okay? Even with a small heater, the tank is plastic and the pet shop said that wasn't safe. Third question is, has not eating!!! I tried pellets, freeze dried blood worms, flakes, and freeze dried brine shrimp. NOTHING WORKS. Im starting to get worried. What should I do?  Will he starve? Im trying my best to make sure he survives and has a happy life but everything I read says something different. I already spent the money on this tank, so if there is a way to make it work I want to try, but in hindsight, it seems that the tank is too small. Also, I tested the ammonia, nitrites and Ph and all was okay so far.  How often should I do water changes? Do I need a gravel vacuum? Do I need to take the fish out to clean the tank? If I dont use the under gravel filter, should I remove the filter and some of the gravel? Right now gravel is about 2 3 inches thick. Any help is much appreciated. I've only had the filter on for several hours, so is it okay to just turn it off if we decide to try the sponge filter or not use a filter at all. Thanks sooooo much. Im trying not to be frantic. Kim Larrabee <Hi Kim, Don here. You are very close to having a perfect Betta setup. You are correct that the bowl is a little small. Or more correctly a hard shape to heat. A 2.5 to 5 gallon tank with a heater, lid and sponge filter is ideal for a single Betta. Make it a 10 and you could add a few Corys. I would remove the UGF and use the sponge filter along with a gravel vac. Reduce the amount of gravel to about a half inch or so. Any deeper just holds more waste. Temp should be held steady in the high 70's, to 80. Steady is the important part. Lights do not work for this reason. You need a heater and therefore a new tank. Read here on the first 30 days of having an aquarium. http://www.marineland.com/drtims_articles.asp Take note on Bio Filtration. This is the main advantage of a sponge filter. The gravel vac will remove solids. It will take about 6 weeks to get established. Continue to test for ammonia and nitrite and do partial water changes to correct any spikes. After both remain at zero without a water change start testing for nitrate. Set a water change schedule up to keep nitrates below 20ppm. For right now stop feeding your fish. Do a partial water change with a gravel vac to get all the waste and uneaten food out. This will decay and add ammonia to the water. Give him another two days or so to settle in before adding a TINY pinch of food once or twice a day. No more than he can eat in 30 seconds or so. Good luck. Don>

Heater for Betta I'm concerned that the temperature in my Betta tank is not warm enough. I do not have a heater and was wondering if a small light source would do the job. Thank you, Lindsey <Not really. It is very important the your Betta has a steady temperature in the high 70's. This is not possible using a light. The water would cool at night. This is one of the reasons I do not like keeping Bettas in bowls. The larger the volume of water, the easier it is to keep the temp steady and controlled. Even a small heater is too hot to be used in a small bowl. A 2.5 to 5 gallon tank with a small heater and sponge filter is ideal. Don>

We Got a Jumper! Hi Don, Here I am again, begging for your help with another Betta. My neighbor asked me to watch his male Betta (named Mattie)  for a few days. He arrived in a bowl without a cover (I know - bad idea, but you can't tell other people what to do). I put him under the same covered glass terrarium that my Betta lives in (separate bowls of course).  I have cats and the glass cover keeps them safe. There is a string of white Christmas lights around the base of the terrarium that keeps the water warm and at a steady temperature. My Betta, Ian, is thriving in that environment. <Read ahead, so I know what's coming. If they could see each other this is a little risky. Some are so aggressive the will jump out in an attempt to get at the other. Even if covered the stress is not good> Well, I  guess you know what's coming ....  I got a phone call and was out of the room for about 30 minutes. When I came back and went over to check Mattie, he was not in his bowl. I found him on the bottom of the terrarium, under the  lights and he was pretty much shriveled and dry. I quickly put him in some clean water with a bit of aquarium salt and water conditioner in it and he came back to life right away. He swam around for awhile and appeared to re-hydrate. But now he is either hanging head up, tail down and the top of his bowl, or lying pretty much motionless on the bottom of his bowl. BTW - I covered the bowl with some Press and Seal with a lot of holes punched in it and put Mattie up on a high shelf behind some plants where hopefully the cats (the Bengal's in particular) cannot see him. Is there anything you can suggest to improve this poor little guy's chances of survival?  As you can imagine I feel just awful about this.  I called my neighbor to tell him what happened, and he feels that Mattie was upset by the lights. He has no previous history of jumping. Perhaps he was upset by Ian being near him in the other bowl. I did not think it would be a problem because last week I had another neighbor's Betta in the terrarium with Ian and they were happy as anything.  I jut feel terrible about this. I want to wish you and your family a very happy holiday season. <Same to you and yours> Thank you so very much for your help. Jaime P.S.  On a happier note, my Ian is really doing well. He eats from my finger now and happily swims around his new large bowl all day and blows lots bubbles. He was kind of a scrappy looking fish when I got him but he is filling out beautifully now. <Great to hear about Ian. Hope you have him for many years. As for the jumper. This is a problem. Most other species would have died. Bettas can take O2 from the air as long as the gills are moist, so we got lucky there. But his skin and fins drying out is of great concern. That tissue is dead. This opens him up to infections. But as stressed and weak as he is, a strong med is out of the question. Try a few drops of Methylene Blue. Most pet stores will carry this. It helps kill fungus and is gentle enough to use on eggs and fry. It will also raise the O2 in the water helping the gills. An airstone would also help. Keep the water clean and warm and cross your fingers. But I have to say, I don't think his chances are good. Sorry. Don>     

Betta Set-up Hey All!!! <Hello Megan!> I'm in the process of setting up a fish tank for my younger sister (I'm downsizing and don't have the room in my apartment for it!).  For years she has wanted a Betta, so we thought that at this point she was old enough.  I used to breed Bettas, but it's been so many years, that I've forgotten what the best setup would be for the tank.  Right now, we have an 8 mo old completely cycled 10 gallon glass tank (my old tank) with a dinky little in-tank filter.  Their water comes out of the tap with a very very very high nitrate level (they're on well water).  So, instead of putting plastic plants in there, I'll be putting in Anacharis and Java Moss to help control the nitrate level (she'll also be doing weekly H2O changes). <Sounds good>   Since this will be a community tank of sorts, I told her to put the Betta in last because if my memory serves me correctly, if the other fishes territories have been established it'll, hopefully, help to keep the hostility down in the tank. <Yes... as long as the other fishes aren't slow, have long, flowing fins (like fancy male guppies) or too fast and nippy towards the Betta (e.g. Tiger Barbs)>   I want to put two Otos in the tank along with the Betta.  She's also curious as to what else is compatible.  I'm not real sure as to who would and wouldn't be fin nippers and such.   <Much else... small/er barbs, Danios, Gouramis, catfishes... Do make sure and add a heater (remember, they're all tropicals), and leave the water level down a few inches if you don't have a top... to prevent jumping! Bob Fenner> Any help would be great! Thanks guys!!! Megan

Betta in a Pickle (jar) Hi Crew, I was at a friends house and I noticed his Betta had a tiny white cotton growth on his right pectoral fin only. The Betta is eating, swims and looks health. The Betta is kept in a 2 litre jar (approx. half gallon), and the water is changed (100%) once a week at a temperature of approx. 70c. We did a complete water change and added some aquarium salt. What can it be? What my have caused it? Is there anything more he should be doing? (Example: change the water more frequently, add some medication) Your insight would greatly be appreciated. Thanks, Mario D. <Hi Mario, Don here. My first suggestion is a 2.5 to 5 gallon tank with a heater and sponge filter. This sounds like a fungus that appears when fish are kept in less than ideal conditions. Like a half gallon jar at 70 degrees. Bettas are tropical fish and need a steady temp in the high 70s, up to 80. What you have done so far is correct; A water change and salt. However I would only change about 50%, siphoning from the bottom, twice as often. Daily until the fungus clears. Mix the salt in the replacement water before adding it to the tank. Be careful not to let the concentration rise. But I'm afraid these problems will continue until a better home is provided>

Black Light Would it be okay if I kept a black light on by my Betta at night?  It's not going to hurt him is it? <<Go right ahead. As long as he doesn't start craving alcohol or pot, things should go just fine :) -Gwen>>

Bright Bettas Hi, I just transferred my three Bettas from separate 2.5 gallon tanks to a eclipse system 12 tank with homemade lexicon dividers. The Bettas had a heater but no filtration or special lighting in their old tanks. My question involves the lighting. It seems awful bright and I was wondering since the fish are at the top a lot and do their eating up there is the lighting a concern for their eyesight? Plus, I turn off the filter for a few hours (especially to feed them) so they can relax without the current buffing them around. If I clean the tank every 10 days I don't think this is a problem, do you? Thank you, Linda <Don't worry about the light. I'm sure it is no where near as bright as sunlight. As long as it's not heating the water, you're OK. The filtration does concern me a little. Bettas do not need or want a lot of current. Is there anyway you could deflect the flow enough to leave it running? If not, then your plan of turning it off for a few hours is a sound second choice. Adding a sponge filter would be a good idea. Don>  

Betta Habitat I just lost my Betta, Sam.  Sam and I had been together for a year and I talked to him all the time.  I was amazed at how much he understood.  I am a teacher, and deliberately tried to teach him by saying the same things in the same way and same tone of voice, much as I had done when I had a dog. <<Ok.>> I thought I was doing him a favor two months ago, when I purchased a ten-gallon tank with a heater and filter.  And I bought three Neon Tetras to keep him company.  But he seemed to be jealous of these little guys and chased them around and ate their food.  (He stopped chasing them when I told him to, and I told him what a "good fish" he was, but of course he started again when he thought I wasn't looking.)  He may have been eating too much, which may have led to his demise.  ????????????? <<Bettas can be kept successfully with many other species of fish. I doubt the overeating led to his demise, unless the uneaten food at the bottom of the tank helped contribute to deteriorating water quality.>> When he lived in a (one gallon) bowl, I cleaned it every week, including his plants, rocks and gravel.  I changed out two cups of water each morning and one cup at night.  I let the water sit around for a couple of days, but did not use dechlorinator.  I fed him five pieces of Betta bio gold one piece at a time first thing in the morning.  (I called them "dried bugs").  I tried to do the same thing in the aquarium, and fed the tetras flake food.  It worked for a while, but then he figured what I was doing, before they even knew I had fed them; he swam to the opposite end and ate their flakes. <<Most tetras are faster than Bettas. If these tetras were not fast enough to snag some food, then perhaps they are weakened by toxins in the water: please test the water for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates. By the way, tetras and Bettas eat the same foods in nature.>> Anyway, I now have this tank and equipment, plants, gravel and three little tetras.  I am wondering whether to buy another Betta.  And if I do, should I keep the tetras, or would he be happier alone?  What about a mirror? <<No mirror. Get the water tested for the above things, and buy a new Betta only if the water quality tests fine. I don't mean a pH test, you must ask to have ammonia, nitrite, and nitrates tested. You need to know these values.>> In the aquarium I changed out maybe a gallon and a half of water each week. I know I need to clean it; I don't know how often.????????????????   <<A nitrate test kit will tell you this. Regular water testing will give you test results, which you then compare to the color charts they come with. Keep your nitrates in the 5-20ppm range by doing partial water changes.>> Do I clean the tank as I did his bowl?  Do I rinse the plants and clean the rocks?   <<Buy a syphon at your LFS to vacuum your gravel with.>> I used dishwasher detergent for his rocks and bowl, then rinsed three times as the dishwasher does.  I certainly would need to clean the gravel. Nedra <<Never use detergent in a tank, or on the decor. This is poisonous. All you need to do is vacuum the gravel weekly, and remove about 25-50% of the water, which you will replace with dechlorinated water at the same temperature. You can rinse plants and other decor with tapwater ONLY. Good luck. -Gwen>>

Betta Questions Hello, <Hi...Jorie here tonight.> I have recently purchased a Betta and got him settled into his tank. He was very shy at first and refused to eat. <This is altogether normal, as long as it doesn't go on for more than a few days.  It takes Bettas a little bit to "settle in".> I tested the pH of the water after a couple of days and found that it was extremely low (around 5-it turns out we have very soft water here, which I didn't know before) I did a half water change with bottled water to try to raise the pH. <Although we humans love it, bottled water isn't the greatest thing for fish, as it is missing important trace elements and minerals.  Perhaps look into an inexpensive water filter such as the one put out by Aquarium Pharmaceuticals...this unit will produce what's known as de-ionized water, and you can purchase a couple of supplements to add the necessary elements back, and adjust the pH (the pair sold by Aquarium Pharma. are called Electro Right and pH Adjust, respectively. Simple to use and very accurate - I used them for a couple of years without problem.> He's been fine since the water change, began to eat (he was spitting his food out at first), built a bubble nest, etc., only now he's become extremely aggressive. While he still doesn't react if I put him in front of a mirror, he flares up if he sees my fingers near the bowl or if he sees my face when I'm  trying to look into the bowl from the side. Is this normal? I'm just worried that since he's flaring so often he's going to get stressed out. <This is completely normal, don't worry! Bettas are such neat little creatures, and each one really does have his own personality.  I've got two Bettas right now (separate tanks of course!), and one is meek and timid, and the other is just as you describe.  Both are quite healthy.> I looked all over for an answer to my question and couldn't find one, so  I'm hoping you can help me. I don't want to hurt him if I can help it. <It sounds like you are taking very, very good care of your guy...what's his name? Bubble nests are always a good sign...usually means near-optimum conditions, so kudos to you for that.  Also, it's great that you pay such close attention to your Betta's actions.  Have fun with him...since he doesn't respond to the mirror, just put your face or finger in front of the tank a few minutes each day to let him exercise.  Sounds like he has a very nice home! Thank you, Ashley. <You're welcome, Ashley.  Take care, Jorie>

Betta Questions Hi Jorie (or whoever reads this, I suppose :) ) <Yep, it's still me, Jorie> I wasn't sure what to do about the water issue because I knew that  bottled water takes out some of the minerals but I wanted to get the pH up since it was so low. I thought that since I don't really have the resources here at college to deal with a filter that making a half dechlorinated tap water/half bottled water combo would be the easiest way to up the PH and try to make sure that D'Artagnan has everything he needs. I will look into all that you suggested, though, and see if it would be possible for me to prepare large quantities of water while I'm at home on Thanksgiving break and bring it back in  gallon jugs for class. <Hi Ashley.  Sounds like you made a wise decision having weighed the options.  I haven't tried it myself, but you could investigate whether a product like Electro Right would add essential elements back into bottled water, in addition to reverse osmosis and/or de-ionized water, as it's meant for.  That might do the trick.  Or, in all reality, you may be OK with your "half and half" theory...sounds reasonable and smart to me. And yes, you could, if you wanted to, prepare water at home and store it in gallon containers, if you had the space...> Thank you for your prompt reply! I haven't owned a fish in a very long  time, and I've never owned a Betta, so I'm kind of nervous. :) <You should be just fine. Bettas are relatively easy to care for, and you sound as though you are doing a great job. Please let me know if you have more questions, though, and good luck in school! Jorie> And I'm very glad to hear that it's not a bad thing that he's started to flare up at me. I was concerned that it was a bad sign. <Not at all. Just a feisty little guy you have!> Thanks again, Ashley <You are welcome. Jorie>

Better Betta Barracks Hi there--<Hi back, Don here> we just bought new Betta fish and small tanks with waste absorbing beads <A low growl>. We rinsed the new (plastic) tanks, put the beads on the bottom and added the dechlorinated water. The water is very cloudy from the beads <Growl get's louder>, and we wonder if this will settle, and should we put the fish in it anyhow. Right now they are in measuring cups with the treated water <Screams!>. Thanks for any help you can give us. Don & Joanne <Not growling at you, but the people who sold you this set up. I'm assuming these small tanks have no heat or filtration. And that's bad. Bettas are tropical fish and must be given a steady temp in the high 70's. And although they can survive in water that would kill others, they will not thrive. The beads are ..... No, I'm wrong. That's what they absorb. Look at it this way. A filter is like a bathroom, the beads are like diapers. Pick one to use for life! IMO the best setup for a Betta is a 2.5 to 5 gallon tank with a cover, small heater and a sponge filter. Do not get an incandescent hood for a small tank. The light will cause large swings in temp that could kill, or at least weaken. Now that I got that off my chest, yes, the water will clear. And yes, I would move them from the cups ASAP. But I do fear you will have more problems very soon. It was wrong for the pet store to sell you the tank and fish at the same time. Always set everything up before bringing home the fish. And we haven't even touched water testing and cycling yet. Please do a search on this site for "FW Cycling". In the meantime, please plan on changing about 50% of the water in each tank at least once a week. Always dechlorinate and match temp.>

New home for Betta I am planning on getting a 10-20 gallon fish tank. <Get a 20 long. Couple of bucks extra, but well worth it.> I currently have a beautiful male Betta who has a very good temperament. I was wondering how many fish I could fit in a tank of that size. <General rule of thumb is one inch of fish per gallon. But that is based on the adult size of the fish. Please research before buying. It is always better to have fewer, well kept fish than shooting for the max> I was looking at any combination of the following: Corys <Great, best in groups of 3 or more>, tiger or cherry barbs <Stay away from barbs with a Betta. The Tigers especially. They will rip his fins to shreds>, white cloud mountain minnows <prefer cooler temps than most tropicals. Great for a small unheated tank>, paradise fish <May fight with Betta>, platies <Good>, guppies <Good, but the Betta will try to eat any small enough to fit in his mouth>, butterfly loaches <Great>, and angelfish <No. May work for a while, but angels get big and aggressive. Will also nip a Betta's fins>. Also, in your experience, what combinations have worked best? I currently have Ezekiel (my Betta) in a smaller fish bowl, which he seems to be doing fine in, but I don't really like seeing him in such a small home. <Good> I know he's happy, though, because he's constantly building bubble nests. :) I plan on keeping the fish bowl just in case things don't work out in the bigger tank. Any other suggestions? <Throw out the bowl. Even a little 2.5 to 5 gallon tank with a heater and sponge filter is far better than a bowl. Stay away from incandescent lights in a small tank. Will cause large swing in temp> Thanks bunches!! Jacqueline <If you end up with a ten, I would add the Betta and 3 or 4 Corys. In the 20L you could also add a few platies or swordtails. Stay away from most tetras and barbs, known fin nippers. A few Cardinal tetras would be OK in either tank. Make sure you get a filter and heater. Your Betta needs to be kept at a steady temp in the high 70's to thrive. Something that just can't be done in a bowl. Read up on "Fishless Cycle" and do not add the fish until your tank and filter are established. Good luck and thank you for upgrading your Betta's home. Don>

Betta in a bowl <Hi Bob,> Jorie here... <I'm pretty new at this fish stuff, so sorry for my ignorance.> You don't have to apologize - you are doing the right thing by asking questions...that's how we all learn! <I have a Betta in a bowl,> How many gallons of water in the bowl? Hopefully it is at least 1 gal., as that is the very minimum size I would personally consider keeping a Betta in.  I keep two in separate 3 gal. Eclipse tanks, and I find this to be a perfect size. <...but about 3 days ago I noticed that his right eye is bulging out.> This is likely a disease called "Popeye" , which is caused almost exclusively by poor water conditions.  I would suggest changing around 75% of the water ASAP, making sure to match the temperature (Bettas like warm, tropical water around 80-82 degrees...get a little floating thermometer from the pet store to monitor the temp. if you don't already have one) as closely as possible. <I put a live plant in the bowl about 2-3 days before this and I have some fake floating fish in the bowl.> Curious as to why the live plant...this certainly isn't necessary.  I'm glad you are feeding the Betta (some BAD pet store owners tend to mis-inform their customers that Bettas will eat the roots of the live plant...this just isn't true, so I'm glad you aren't doing this!) Also, do be careful on how much you are feeing your little friend...his stomach is about the same size as his eye.  Most importantly, all food should be consumed within 2-3 minutes of being introduced into the bowl...don't let food sit around and rot, as that will just pollute the water, cause build up of toxins, and lead to poor water conditions and finally diseases such as "Popeye".  When you do your next water change, be sure to remove as much excess food as possible, if any has accumulated. <He just sits on the side of the bowl and today was the 1 st time he has eaten. I took the plant out, but I would think that both of his eyes would be bulging if this was some sort of reaction to the plant and I also removed the fake fishies. I bought a bottle of MelaFix today and added 1/2 teaspoon to the bowl, should I continue this treatment or go the Epsom salt route or nothing at all???> Again, you should do a large water change, and continue to change the water in his bowl frequently.  Without knowing how large the container is, I can't tell you exactly how frequently.  Personally, I do 50% water changes 1x per week on my Bettas' 3 gal. tanks.  If you don't have a test kit already, consider purchasing one to measure ammonia, nitrite and nitrate so that you can check these important parameters (all should ideally be at zero).  Also, I'd suggest you do a Google search on "nitrogen cycle" and "aquarium" to learn about these words that may be foreign to you. <Oh' he has these light colored stripes on his side too!?! I don't do any water testing, I just use Bowl Buddies when changing the water.> I'm not sure what Bowl Buddies are - is it a dechlorinator? If you are using just straight tap water for your Betta, you do indeed need to dechlorinate...I used to use a product called ChlorOut, but my suspicion is that Bowl Buddies may be the same.  Whatever product you buy, look for the word "dechlorinator". <HELP PLEASE!!! I don't want Alpha to die!!> Hopefully we've caught this in time...again, do a large water change ASAP, read up on basic Betta care (in fact, check out the message boards here on WWM, as there are many Betta fanatics who can gladly walk you through Betta care, step by step).  Chances are your Betta's health will improve just as soon as you clean up his environment. Do be sure to maintain this clean water, as well. Good luck. <Thank You, Brandi> You're welcome.  Jorie

Betta tank plant care I have several questions and couldn't find answers on your website so I'm bugging you in person!  I got my Betta (Akagi) in June and he is a great office-mate - he flirts with everyone and shows off all the time.   I have him in a one gallon tank with a filter (hose goes into a tube that's attached to a filtration plate at the bottom).  I only have the filter on for a couple of hours a day, but I leave the light on the whole time I'm here (Mon thru Fri), and I do notice that he really flares out and shows off when I turn the filter off.  I have a plastic plant and a "Roman ruins" wall in the tank which he likes to hide behind, I have 1-inch sized glossy black landscape rocks (they're clean) in the bottom because they look more Oriental (goes with the Roman ruins, don't you think  ;-) ?!) and contrast with his beautiful teal/dark blue and maroon coloring.   I have tried two different aquatic plants but both died on me within a week or so.  The last one was a lily-pad-looking thing and rotted all over the place.  I clean the tank once a week with hot tap water and I keep a gallon jug of tap water treated with aquarium salt and Aqua Safe sitting in my office during the week so that the temp will be right when I change it.  I feed him three pellets of Betta BioGold twice a day (he doesn't get anything on the weekends).  I tried freeze-dried brine shrimp but he just spat them out and they made a mess in the tank.  My questions are these: 1)  Should I remove the filtration plate?  Should I not use the filter at all? < Your undergravel filter plate works by pulling the fish waste through the gravel where bacteria living on the gravel break the ammonia down to nitrites and then nitrates. If you rinse the gravel in hot water then you are killing off any bacteria and your undergravel filter, so it is probably not doing too much but aerating the water.> 2)  What kind of plants can I put in the tank that will put up with being removed from the tank every week for cleaning?  Which ones are ok with low light?  I'd much rather have real than plastic and Akagi prefers them too! < You can try floating plants like Naja grass, hornwort or even duckweed. Just make sure that they don't get too thick at the surface to where your Betta can't find a spot at the surface to breath or he will die. You also could try an Anubias plant, java fern, java moss or  tied to the rock.> 3)  Should I try other foods or just stick with the BioGold since Akagi gobbles them up so happily?  should I feed less?  How many days can he go without food (I'm thinking about those long weekends) < A varied diet is always a good idea. Unfortunately some fish get imprinted on a certain food and it is hard to get them to switch. You fish could go as long as a week without being fed. This is much better than having an inexperienced friend come over and feed them while you are away.> 4)  Should I take out the big black rocks and use something smaller?  Is cleaned and tumbled beach glass an acceptable alternative? thank you SO much in advance for your help, I just love this little guy so much I want to make sure he's healthy and happy! < If he seems ok with the existing aquascaping then I see no need to change it.-Chuck> Delia

Orange discs in Betta tank Hello. I found your web site via a Google search. I have looked through all your questions pertaining to Betta's and cannot find the answer to my question. We have a Betta that we have had for over 6 months. He's in a 1.5 gallon tank with a filter. <Good, do you have a heater? Bettas should be kept in the high 70s> About 2 months ago there appeared to be these little orangish-yellow disc like things that appeared in a large pile on the bottom of the tank. <???!!!> I thought they might be eggs <Is this a female> and just left them for a few days to see if the fish would eat them or if they would just go away. Well they just started to dissolve and smells really bad. <I bet> I removed the fish from the tank, threw away the plants and gravel, and bought another tank. <OK> He has been in the new tank for over a month now, and again the orangish-yellow discs showed up again. Is this a fungus or something that comes from Betta fish?  I can find info on the bubble nests - which he does do. <So it's a male. I guess that rules out eggs> However, when I have tried to find info on tank fungus, nothing fits the description of my problem! <Try searching "Rotting fish crap"> I am going to just clean everything again in the tank, and use bleach this time. <Rinse well and soak in dechlorinator. Then empty and refill.> Is there anything I can do to prevent this? <Vacuum it out before it decays> Or does this fish have a problem? <Don bites tongue> Thank you, Shannon <I got to say I have never heard of this. It's my guess that it is just uneaten food and fish waste that is decaying. Are you feeding him any orange food/flake? Maybe shrimp? Is he alone in the tank? Do you have snails in there? Don>

Betta in Paradise All my chemical tests are good. <Great, but would like to see the numbers> I feed my Betta Hikari <Great brand> freeze-dried brine shrimp, Tubifex worms and daphnia in sort of a dry blend. <Great mix of foods! Maybe add a high quality Betta flake or pellet.> He eats small amounts twice a day, three times on weekends. <A little too much, IMO. Once, twice a day is fine. Skipping all feeding one day a week is not a bad thing.> The pH is being lowered gradually from 7.6 to 7.0 by switching from bottled to tap water. <Not too bad an adjustment. You should get this done in two, three days. Then you can go nuts with water changes.> Temp is a constant 80 and he resides in a Hex 5 filtered aquarium. <You are a Betta Goddess!> Problem? Last Thursday I gave him his mirror for his usual two minute session-it ended up being a half hour because I got totally sidetracked. <No need for this at all! But it is cool to watch.> Since then he still has his appetite but tends to rest more on his plants.  He is not as active. He doesn't appear to have any signs of disease. I always use aquarium salt and Bowl Buddies for a water conditioner- I did use Stress Coat <Glad that you stopped. I don't like this product at all.> but I age his water by the gallon and Bowl Buddies is a more exact measure. <I use only a dechlorinator. Nothing else. Works for me> Help! <Why, you're doing fine!> Is something wrong or is this just a phase. I think he might be a year old-he was kept terribly and I rescued him. <Many thanks!> Thank you Sue <Hi Sue, Don here. Have you done a water change since you totally PO'ed him last week? That may help. If you do not see any signs of illness then I think he's OK. Do a water change and keep an eye out for bloating, ragged fins, white spots etc..>    

A Siamese fighter- stress I've recently bought a Siamese fighter (male).. about 2 weeks ago I think. Up until now he has been perfect, no signs of stress, eating as much as I give him (about 2-3 blood worms per day, recommended by the pet shop people).. <A good treat food. Your Betta would be better off with a more varied diet. A lot of good Betta food on the market> I have done the mirror trick about 3 times in total to see what kind of temperament the little guy had, and also to show him to friends, etc. I realize that putting a mirror where he can see his reflection would cause stress, but am sure that this is not the cause of the problem, as this problem has started at least a week after the last time I did the mirror thing. The problem is that he seems to get really scared every time I put my hand or anything else near the bowl.. I'm pretty sure this started when I put a camera close to him to take his picture.. it is the first time I've observed this type of reaction. Note that it was not after I took the picture (with flash) that he got scared.. simply showing him the camera did this. I find this *extremely* odd..<I think it pretty normal for a fish to fear an object much larger than themselves suddenly shoved up to the tank> I'm pretty sure he's displaying fear because he begins thrashing about in the water when I put objects close to him. I have changed his water and used the correct amount of water conditioner <Only once in two weeks on a blood worm diet?>.. he's in a small tank on his own, not sure of the temperature, <Warm water fish. You need a small heater to keep the tank in the mid to upper 70's.> He's not in direct sunlight.. not sitting next to any loud speakers or anything.. I've got no idea what's going on. <First you need to start doing more water changes. Next improve his diet and add a heater. A very low flow filter would help a lot. But you want very little current in a small Betta tank. I think all those rich blood worms are fouling the water in a day or so. His thrashing could be the result.>   If you could get back to me with some questions or suggestions that would be great. Thanks a lot. Regards, Sam <Don>

Betta & 10 gal home Hi Chuck How's this tank scenario for my 1 male Betta? 10 gallon - all to himself (maybe a couple of ghost shrimps down the road) < When the ghost shrimp shed their exoskeleton as they grow they will be very soft and vulnerable to being eaten by the Betta. Be sure that they have a place to hide after they have shed.> I think I'll go with gravel rather than sand - as I'm interested in attractive easy main plant life What do you know of pea gravel? < I find pea gravel (Gravel the size if individual peas) is too coarse and food is often trapped in the wide pore spaces between the gravel grains making it unavailable to fish. It will decompose and cause problems.> Would it be beneficial to mix-in Fluorite red (thoroughly rinsed) for my seemingly low maint. plants such as: Anubias, Java fern, Java Moss or (hornwort- it require cooler waters?) and would my plants benefit with something additional in its gravel? < Only add the Fluorite if you were to add plants that were rooted. Hornwort is very adaptive and worth a try.> I did hear that any salt will start to dissolve the java ferns/moss. At the rate I'm using salt .5 teaspoon per gallon-will this start to harm the plants in any way and would my tank be considered as "brackish" < Anytime salt is added it is brackish. There are no salinity parameters for that term.> I've been using salt since: My Betta at one time had holes in his dorsal & the salt healed them in 1 day & a half. < Bettas do not come from areas normally associated with salt. AS the waters they occupy in the wild begin to evaporate , some salts and minerals may be concentrated with them but the concentration would still be very low.> What do you think of the Liberty 100GPH -which my pet shop has-includes 1 carbon cartridge and biological sponge. And lever to control water flow-for my Betta. From what I understand the sponge will prevent the tank from recycling when I change carbon cartridge. < Too much water flow. Get something smaller. Why get a filter that pumps so much water just to crank in down ? Eheim is a quality brand but I think it is still too much filter for what you need.> My pet shop has treated bogwood, which sinks readily-they say I don't need to soak it. Does this affect ph for my Betta. Is driftwood preferable? And do you know anything about "Swahala" driftwood. < If the wood is already water logged then it will have less of an impact that wood that is not. As wood decomposes it releases tannins like in tea that will slightly acidify the water but this is usually not a problem. Never heard of Swahala wood.> I came across a site that promotes "fishless" cycling...do you think its the way to go , if I follow directions carefully?. < With just one Betta I would place him in the tank and just monitor it. Change water when needed and don't feed too much and I think you will be fine.> The pet shop guy is recommending white clouds to cycle & he said I could return them to the shop after I'm through Should I put the plants in before I cycle? I still would like to keep with the .5 teaspoon of aquarium salt per gal & still maintain healthy plant growth if possible Eagerly awaiting your response Thanks again... < I would add the plants and when the water is warmed up I would add the Betta. Let the Betta cycle the tank. The plants will help. You could cycle the tank by adding an ammonia solution to the tank to feed the bacteria. I don't think it is needed.-Chuck> Diane
Betta & 10 gal home
Hi Chuck.. thanking you again for finding time for me & my Betta...but for now I need to set aside the aquarium dilemma. I have found on 2 occasions what looks like a black piece of hair, but it doesn't move. First time it was size of eyelash, 2nd time its nearly twice that size (very thin but tubular and perfectly straight) totally alien from his normal stool-if it is a part of his stool, doesn't look like his regular stool movement at all. I'm hoping its not a parasite since I'm planning to place him in an aquarium w/ plants by himself. I have fed him on occasion wild fruit flies I killed myself and brine shrimp. Could the fruit flies have had parasites, when I squashed them they had red blood to my surprise! I don't have a digital camera now - so I cant send a pix < I suspect that what you are finding is the exoskeleton of the fruit flies that are indigestible to your Betta and simply passing through. I would not worry about it.> And these past 2 days he spit out his Betta bite pellets & Hikari brand pellets, maybe his loss of appetite is coincidental. Maybe its his way of telling me he wants live food!--don't know--- < Could be fat and sassy and can wait for the good stuff. Wait a couple a days and see how he acts. If the water has cooled down then that would make a difference on his appetite too.> (A separate ques. How many brine shrimp would you feed him per serving he is an adult Betta?) < Only enough so that it can eat in a couple of minutes. No more!> Eagerly awaiting your response I writing to you from NYC its 4:15pm now if you cant respond by 6:30pm to this email address: XXXX@dot.nyc.gov can you then Email me at XXXX@hotmail.com, since for the next 3 days I wont have access to the 1st address, And thank you again *smile* Diane Ps just the other day I went to "Petland" - and was very saddened to see 6 tiny bowls with gorgeous Bettas sitting listlessly and dejectedly in their confines. It really upsets me how pet shops are marketing these poor little souls  - its very cruel. < Keep in mind that these are temporary setups and not designed for long term residence . It fact many Bettas are usually sold in the first week they arrive at the shop.> I cant help but to feel I'm doing a justice for my Betta at home - he has a 2 gal to himself - and he has quite a bit of energy. (even though I'm guessing parasites) They are lovely animals, they're very curious and love to inspect the newness of everything they come across < Welcome to the world of tropical fish keeping. You are truly a hobbyist because you watch your fish and not just look at them.-Chuck> Regards Diane

Betta system Hi Chuck Thanks to your recommendations I will house my 1 Betta splendens alone without Otocinclus I'm getting a 10 gallon aquarium a small Marineland (brand-if possible) outside power filter with the bio wheel sand for substrate a few plants that you've mentioned...You've mentioned to "tie" the java fern (attractive plant) to driftwood - if I want a plant that seems grounded-will the roots take hold on the wood being that they can't in sand? < Java ferns roots often rot in sand so many aquarists tie them on to rocks and driftwood fore awhile until the new roots take hold.> The plants you've mentioned: hornwort, Naja grass are all floaters? - do any of them have long reeds that grow down to bottom.  And sand is preferable to gravel for my Betta being more good bacteria can colonize.. <These floating plants eventually will send down runners that will root in the gravel. Probably not where you want then. A good choice for a plant that is anchored in the sand would be a Crypt wendtii. Not too particular about light or water. Grows best in a Fluorite substrate by SeaChem. I have one in a 50 gallon tank that gets to be the size of a basketball every year under ideal conditions. It won't grow that fast in a small 1o gallon> I'm glad you've mentioned these varieties of plants I'm not clear on the "Pothos plant" you mean to just have its roots in tank - the plant itself is not submerged in water? < You can get then at any nursery. Wash off the roots or break a stem off and place the lower end it in the aquarium in the corner out of the way were it will get some indirect light. Eventually it will start rooting and the plant will take off.> would I have to secure the plant tie it to something, <They do like to grow so a trellis of some sort would help support it.> you like the Pothos cause its roots suck up the nitrites very well. Just trying to picture the image - hope it wont be an eye sore. < This plant is not needed, but it is an option. It is just a suggestion to try something new. Other people have done this in those jars/vases with a Betta in the bottom and a plant growing out of the top. It is the same idea.> So I take it you recommend "sand" for substrate and the plants that go with it for my one Betta in 10 gal tank. Just noticing the plants seem to be mostly floaters  - I would like some long reed-like or plants which start from bottom-up-(rooty plants) if that's possible with sand. < The Val's or sag's produce long grass like leaves and many runners. The do well under bright light conditions, but may require occasional fertilization. You've also mentioned when I vacuum - to do 1/2 the tank 1st my Betta will move to other side. Do you mean I should vacuum only 1/2 the sand for a week then the other (side) 1/2 sand following week? < Just alternate from side to side every time you do a water change. This will keep the bacteria healthy and the sand clean.> I called my aquarium store they don't carry Bio-Spira by Marineland, they carry: "stress zyme", "cycle" and "Bactervital" which would you recommend? < The rest of these are all equal in their effectiveness.> this might seem like silly ques. - sand wont irritate his gills -do I need a certain grade of sand maybe medium? < Bettas are not sand sifters. Some species of fish do mouth sand and gravel for food but you don't have to worry about this with Bettas.> And is it better to use a starter solution for cycling along with my one Betta I'm buying the whole package any day now being that fall is setting in thanks again Diane < The starter solutions would definitely help.-Chuck>

A sick Betta environment Hi.  I hope you can help us.  We just got home from a 3 day trip and noticed our Betta (Zeta) was not acting normally.  He was laying on the bottom of his tank, quite unresponsive and lethargic.  Then he suddenly started darting around with his back sort of arched.  Almost as if he was having some sort of convulsions.  He keeps doing this in turn with just laying around...and sometimes laying sideways.  He also seems as if he is gasping for air.  Our house/pet sitter said he would not eat anything the past 2 days.  We immediately took him out of his tank and put him in one of his older tanks with de-chlorinated water.  This hasn't improved his behavior yet.  We've had him since last December so he's not very old.  I've looked at some sites on Betta illnesses, but none really have his same symptoms.  There is no fungus in the tank, no spots on him. in fact, he looks totally healthy except for the symptoms I've told you about.  Please help us to determine what is wrong with him and what we can do to help him. He is usually a very active, social fish and we don't want him to have any sort of pain or discomfort. Thank you, Pam < Chances are that the food that he wasn't eating was decomposing and causing an ammonia spike that has chemically burned his gills and has caused him some discomfort. It will take awhile for the gills to fully recuperate.  So be patient and keep the water clean. Feed only enough food so it will be all gone in a couple of minutes. I never have any body feed my fish unless I am gone longer than a week. Untrained help usually causes more problems than they solve.-Chuck>

Betta 14 Aug 2004 Hi, <Hi Natalie, MacL here with you> I bought my fighting fish about a month and a half ago. It lives in a small quarter gallon fishbowl without a plant or gravel and I change the water frequently (about half the tank, two times a week) and use a dechlorinator. <Good Job!> I also feed it daily with Nutrafin Max. The instructions on the back of the package said to feed the fish as much as it would eat in two minutes, two or three times daily. <They like to sell food. And I'm not saying its not a quality food, you just have to realize what they are in business to do.> However, the worker at the pet shop said to feed it two to three flakes, once a day.  The sizes of the flakes in the package vary dramatically (especially as they break down easily) and I felt that this was an inaccurate measurement of servings. <Very wise!> When I feed my fish, it never stops eating. I feed it about a pinch each day and it finishes it in significantly less than two minutes, but it is a lot more food than the recommended two to three flakes, and substantially more than the amount that my sister feeds her fish. <I'd definitely consider cutting back.> However, it has refused to eat anything in the last two days and I have had to clear the old food out of the bowl.  It has also changed from its initial dark red colour to a light brownish yellow. <My guess would be its experiences an ammonia rise and possibly a ph drop.  You should do a water change and it should help him immensely. Any time you see him stop eating or anything like that the first thing to do is a water change.> Its body is almost translucent because it is so lightly coloured and is yellowish.  It doesn't move much anymore.  I have heard that fish are more lively in warm water, and although I live in Canada, it is summer now, and the room temperature is around eighteen to twenty degrees Celsius.  When I first got my fish, it was always moving  rapidly around its bowl and very lively, now it barely moves and sometimes it looks dead. <They do sometimes just sit there like they are dead, very scary.> Should I be heating the tank? <He should be fine without, you might consider putting him under a light during the day to give him some additional heat if you are concerned but not in the window.> Have I been overfeeding my fish? <I think perhaps a tad, a flake is probably all necessary during a day.>  Is my fish constipated?   Should I move my fish into a proper tank with gravel and a plant?  <It would be great but not necessary. He will be fine in his bowl.>  Is it sick? <I think he's suffering from pollution in his tank, but you will fix that with a water change.> Will it die soon? <Hopefully he will have a long and healthy life. Good luck, MacL> Thanks.

Converting from bottled to tap water Dear Crew: My Betta Stewie (the Scooter) is doing fine. He is in a Hex 5 aquarium with aquarium salt and stress coat as the only additives. All chemical tests are on the mark. The Ph is between 7.2 and 7.6. My conditioned tap water with aquarium salt and bowl buddies (easier to treat one gallon size jugs) has a Ph of 6.8 to 7.0. How can I convert him gradually to the tap water? Thank you, Sue Kennedy < Every time you do a water change use the tap water. Start out doing small ones say 10 to 15 % and gradually increase it to 30% as part of your normal maintenance.-Chuck>

Betta needs safe filter 10gal home hi Chuck or whomever is on today Pls answer this as soon as you can---I'm very grateful just a few ques before I get my 10 gal tank today---for my adolescent Betta splendens I'm hoping its a good size for him ---that he won't get spooked by all the space. I'm purchasing a 10 gal tank for my Betta---you suggested 50 watt heater...should I get a submersible? < Not needed. Just make sure it is a good quality name brand heater like Ebo-Jager or Marineland. Make sure that you let the heater sit in the water for awhile to let the temperature of the heater and the water equilibrate.> is it best to get the long tank or is standard just fine...re: depth of tank .  don't want to tire him out when swimming from bottom to top < The tank preference is totally up to you. With a few floating plants your Betta will be happy in any tank.> mostly concerned about filter....went to pet shop they recommend hanging filter w/carbon cartridges...would this be best I've read horror stories online Betta splendens fins or Betta himself drawn into the intake tubes of filter...do I need to make adjustments to  the tube or do I need a sponge filter  I'm hoping these filters aren't noisy and if they are should I get whisper one.   if the hang on carbon filter is best...do I need to put a live java fern to quell water turbulence or to protect Betta from water forces...bottom line I'm looking for effective filter with minimum water turbulence/noise for my finny friend.--hope this sounds like ideal setup for him-- < I would recommend the Marineland penguin series filter. The BioWheel contain all the bacteria you need to keep the fish waste under control and are easy to service. Get the model that will pump like 30 to 50 gallons per hour. To protect your Betta I would get a dark colored prefilter sponge to cover the intake tube. Another idea would be to cover the intake tube with a larger clear tube and cut slots in the side to allow water in but not at such a great force so that it will suck up your Bettas fins. Your Betta will appreciate floating plants too. While providing cover they will keep the surface of the water nice and calm. With this set up you Betta should last for years.-Chuck> PLEASE RESPOND ASAP MUCH APPRECIATED  as I'm getting a lift to pet shop this afternoon to buy tank/filter etc...by the way I'm also getting fluorescent lighting so tank wont overheat thank you again---Diane

Bettas and Bass (sound) Hi, I would like to know how well Bettas can hear.  Are they bothered by loud noise or base?  Mine doesn't seem to be annoyed by the two, but I want to make sure I am not hurting him as I am enjoying my music! Thank you, Tadeja <<Hello. Fish can be adversely affected by the vibrations of loud music, too much bass can most likely damage the sensitive, tiny, ocular bones in small fishes. Loaches and tetras, for example, are quite sensitive to sound, their ocular bones are attached via nerves to their swim bladder. Fish that tend to swim in schools do so by vibration and can actually "hear" the fish swimming near them, and hence the direction they are going. Sight is secondary in many, many species of fish. They navigate by lateral line and sensitivity to the water pressure around them. If you have ever spent any time diving underwater, you will understand how well sound carries, and even the slightest noise is heard by all, heard by us, too, and our hearing is only half, if that, of what fish can hear. You should be careful with your sound system, I know it's not easy, and the sad part is, no one pays attention to stuff like this. People will play their TV's loud, their sound systems louder, and they think that because their fish are still swimming around like normal that it doesn't affect them. Tell me, can YOU tell a deaf person with hearing damage just by looking at them across the room? No, indeed. -Gwen>>

Betta Color Change Hi, I have a male Betta and have had him now for probably 3mos. He is in a tall vase with a plant in the top , the roots are in the water. Things have been great. I change the water once a week and let the tap water sit for 24hrs before I put him in it. Recently he is turning pale, silverish in color. Any ideas? Should I be using something in the water? Thanks, Geoff <<Hello. The color change could be normal, or it could be indicative of an illness. I have no idea: you need to give me more information. First, you will need to test your water and tell me the results. Do an ammonia test, and it should be lower than .25 ppm, or trouble will arise. Also any other info, such as does he still eat, does he do anything that he didn't before, such as hide a lot, or stay in one place? What is the temp of the water, and does the temp fluctuate? Keep a thermometer in there for a few days, and check the temp in the morning, afternoon, and evening. The temp must remain as stable as possible. Has your city recently started adding chloramines to the source water? Chloramine, unlike chlorine, does NOT gas out in 24 hours. You may need to use a good dechlorinator. Also, is there any sign of Finrot? -Gwen>>

Betta Fanatic Needs Advice Okay...I am a Betta fanatic!  It all started with my Dad's girlfriend, who is also a Betta lover (she has had her for three years!), told me about a purple and black Betta she saw.  Apparently the little bugger cost the owner $200.  I couldn't believe it so I did a little search on the Internet and the next thing I know is that I found myself wanting a just not a purple Betta but a half moon purple Betta.  Well, I found one and bought it and yes it was quite pricy. So now that I have invested in Mr. Purple Price, I must make sure he is happy in his new home or my investment will go down the toilet (literally). So my question is this...what is the best aquarium setup for a Betta?  I already have one in a tank.  He is Mr. Blue Buck.  I bought him for $3 at Wal-Mart.  He is a lovely little thing but quite shy. He hides when he see me coming; otherwise he is pretty healthy! Anyway, he is in a 2.5 MiniBow with a Penguin Mini Power filter.  The light keeps the temp around 80 degrees.  During the night when I turn it off it fall to about 75 degrees.  The filter seems to circulate the water too much so I turn it on for 30 minutes once a day to clean the water and exercise Mr. Blue Buck.   For Mr. Purple Price, I was thinking about buying another MiniBow but this time a 5 gallon.  But then I ran across Marineland's Eclipse systems with the built in power filters in the lid.  I was think about buying a 3 or a 6 gallon one.  But then I started to think about buying a 10 gallon tank and dividing it up into 5 gallons with a Plexi glass divider (with holes for water circulation, of course) and keeping both Bettas in the same tank.  So I did a little more internet research on the topic and now I don't know what to think. Can you give me advice on how to create the perfect environment for not only the Mr. Purple Price but also Mr. Blue Buck?  Am I at least on the right track?   Thanks for your help, Kathryn, Alaska USA <<Dear Kathryn, congrats on the new Betta addiction! Aren't they great little fish? I have always loved these, the way their little bodies move, the long, flowing fins...these are truly gorgeous fish. Anyway, you are on the right track with the small tanks. I have found that they prefer small quarters (not TOO small, though) since, in large tanks, they tend to hide due to the fact that most of these fish are being bred and raised in small tanks and are not at all used to large tanks, they seem to lose their confidence and hide all the time. I suppose they feel too vulnerable in large tanks. I would probably go no larger than a 20g, depends on the fish though. Some are bigger wusses than others...:) I am ambiguous on the whole two-Bettas-in-one-tank thing...they do flare and look pretty when kept together with a clear separator, but the constant presence of another male can be stressful to them, so excellent water quality and good foods must be given to make up for that stress. Too much stress from too many things will cause them to become ill more often. The trick to keeping any fish healthy is to minimize as much of the stress as possible. Hence, keeping them separate reduces their stress, keeping their water clean reduces their stress, etc. So, you may draw your own conclusions and act accordingly. Best of luck with your new pets! -Gwen>>

Betta, light hood in tank, trouble Dear Chuck (or whoever is on this evening): Yesterday, my toddler missed a step when climbing down the step stool she uses to watch the fish, and, in doing so, knocked the light fixture into the water when she instinctively tried to grab the first thing handy-which was the glass cover under the fixture. The glass canopy had a long shard that broke off, but as far as I can tell, that only happened when it hit the floor, and no glass when in the aquarium.  As to the light, obviously the first thing I did was unplug the light, then I pulled it out and checked to see if my Betta was okay.  (I house him in a 10 gallon tank by himself).  He appeared to be, but this evening, when I was observing him, I noticed what appears to be fin damage.  The odd thing is that there haven't been any pieces of it floating in the water, and my experience with a former Betta was that you would come across these when there was a problem of this nature.  I immediately took out the carbon filter and added Melafix to the water, and plan to do a water change in the morning, and keep this up for 6 more days or until I see improvement.  I saw no evidence of electrical shock at the time of the accident, but is it possible that he's had a delayed shock reaction to what happened?  Could his fin damage be due to emotional distress, or do you think that the lighting fixture possibly landed on his fins?  Again, my question still stands, wouldn't I have found pieces of the fin floating on top of the water or on the substrate?   Your thoughts? < I think he was startled when the roof caved in and may have tried to hide and duck and cover somewhere in the tank. In the process of finding somewhere safe to hide he probably caught the fin on a rock or something and tore it. He probably ate the piece of fin if he found it. Your procedures will definitely help the fin grow back but it may not be as straight or as long when it does.-Chuck> Cyndy Monarez/Thomas Nelson

Water For A Betta - 08/05/2004 What type of water should I use for a male Betta fish in a fish bowl with a plant? <Just conditioned tapwater will do fine.> Arrowhead type bottled water or distilled water? <If these are the ONLY options, do NOT use distilled water; at least use drinking water.  However, it would be better for the fish (more constant pH, etc.) if you simply use tapwater - just be sure to use a conditioner that removes chlorine and chloramine in the water before using it for the Betta.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina>

Betta system So, I have a 2.5 gallon tank on my desk at work that was previously home to one magnificent blue Betta (Albert) and pretty heavily planted.  I have a Whisper power filter.  I'm not sure the names of the plants, as I accidentally threw out the little care cards.  I have 2 Anubias, one I don't know what it is (But it's shrub like and has little round leaves.  Reminds me of clover) and one Banana plant.  I can't give you water specifics because I don't have my own kit yet (PAYDAY!) but the LFS says the water quality is great. Recently I have developed an algae situation.  Its green, it's on the plants, some of the gravel, the back glass and the petrified wood.  So, what do you do when you have algae?  You buy an Otocinclus, right?  Well, I did.  He's a really little one (not even an inch long), and wouldn't you know it, Albert now spends his day harassing this guy.  The poor little thing can't do his job!  He spends his day hanging out around the filter, trying to ignore the flaring idiot.  They way I see it, I have 2 options. 1) Take our new friend to the store and give him back, and handle the algae problem with more plants or 3) Get more Otos.  My thinking on that is Albert will not be able to go after all of them at once and ha may eventually ignore them if he has to deal with three of them.  I could be wrong. Thanks for any help you can give me. < Unfortunately Bettas are very territorial towards other fish and this includes your little Otocinclus. I would try more Otos for now. Your reasoning is sound and worth a try. Try vacuuming the gravel with a 50 % water change to remove the excess wastes that are creating the algae problem.-Chuck.> Rich Conroy

Cleaning gravel in Betta tank Hi there -- First, thank you so much for all the information on this site! I've been poking around the 'net looking for clues to help my Betta -- suddenly listing a bit and exhibiting a lot of gill activity. I think I found those clues here, but I also want to completely clean his tank -- there's usually green algae, but recently the algae on the gravel is looking darker, nearly black, and grows back really fast after a tank cleaning. I saw on another site a mention of using alcohol to clean the tank and the gravel; and a mention on your site of using chlorine bleach to clean decorations; and another about using vinegar for deposits. Before I do something that's going to hurt our Betta, can you chime in on what you consider the best way to clean his environment? < Pour everything into a 5 gallon plastic bucket. Take the tank out side and give it a good rinse with a high pressure garden hose. Wipe the algae down with your hand or a mildly abrasive cloth. Try it our in an area that is not easily seen. Plastic can scratch and you don't want that. Rinse off the ornaments too. Take the gravel in the bottom of the bucket and agitate it with the garden hose until the gravel is clean. Put everything back in the tank with fresh treated warm water. Now watch the food. Feed him only enough food so that everything will be eaten in two minutes! The live plant will help filter the fishes waste.-Chuck> He's in a plastic Betta tank with a small light for heat; the bottom is lined with the gravel that came with the tank; we added a clump of live grass, which he loves; and there's one decorative glass fish suspended by a plastic bubble. Thanks for your help, Terri

Alpha Betta Hi -  I've been searching online this morning for help with my new Betta, and just came across your great site - I hope you can help me! I'm very new to all this, so sorry in advance if this is a dumb question:-). I just got my first Betta from Petco last week, and he's living in a 1-gallon tank w/a bottom filter, a plastic plant, and a rock with a hole that he can swim through. The aquarium also came with an air filtration system, but I've kept that off because the bubbles seemed to scare him after a while (at first he was playing in them!). He'd only been in his new home for a day or so when I started getting a little worried - his color is still gorgeous (bright blue) and he doesn't have any spots/discoloration that I can see, but he's acting *crazy*! He'll swim to the top of the tank then 'dive-bomb' down to the rocks and just avoid smashing his head in...he wriggles around a lot near and through the rock (almost like he's scratching?!)...he'll rapidly 'pace' back and forth along the back of the aquarium . I know Bettas are supposed to have lots of personality, but is this normal?:-) At first I thought it was just him adjusting to the new environment, but it hasn't really gotten any better. Am I overreacting? I just want to be sure and catch anything that comes up rather than waiting too long. THANKS!  < Bettas come from slow moving shallow water in southeast Asia. They have a breathing organ that allows them to take oxygen straight from the air. They really don't like fast aerated water so it won't hurt to turn off the air. In doing so however it will disable the filtration system, so I would do away with the undergravel filter plate. If you ever decide to change to a different fish then you may need this system again. Without a filter the fishes waste will build up on the bottom so be prepared to change some water. Probably 1/2 a gallon a couple times a week should be fine. Bettas do like heat so make sure you keep the light on or at least get a small heater. I would also add some floating plants to give him a refuge. Live plants like hornwort would be worth a try. Even plastic plants would work. Your Betta should calm down with the plants. If not try moving the tank away to an area with not too much foot traffic and out of direct sunlight. Make sure not to over feed. Your Betta is not that active and only requires a small amount of food.-Chuck>

Safe store bought tank decor? (03/05/04) Hi and thank you for your wonderful web site. I just discovered it today! I hope you can help me with my question!      <Hi! Ananda here to try!> Until now I have always had my small 1 1/2 gallon tank set up with a few plastic plants and some rocks but,... since my Betta of 3+ years recently went the great fish bowl in the sky I decided to change things up a bit with a new Betta. New Fish new decor! <Yay! It's always fun to redecorate the tank.> Last night I went and purchased a new Betta and some tank architecture and when I got home I set up the tank. I soaked the architecture in treated water for about 2 hours and gave it a thorough scrubbing.  After I completed the tank set up I noticed the water faintly smells of ???? My best guess would be resin or some sort of compound the decoration is made from. <Or something that was sprayed on the decoration as a "fixative", or something similar.> Needless to say I am unsure if it's safe for the new Betta and so my new Betta is still sitting in the plastic container he can home from the store in. Help what do you think? <I would put the Betta in the tank with the old stuff, and keep the new stuff in a bucket -- dump the smelly water, refill the bucket, let sit several hours or overnight. Rinse and repeat until the water in the bucket does not stink. At that point, it should be safe for the fish. If you are uncomfortable with how long it may take to get to a non-smelly state, you might bring it back to the store and explain the issue to them and try for a refund. --Ananda>

Can a Betta live in a vase with a plant at the top? My wife just put our Betta in a big clear vase with some fancy clear marbles in the bottom and some kind of bare root plant at the top.  there's a cover over the top of the vase with a whole in it for the plant's roots to be in the water, and some more of the marbles around the edge of this cover...Can our beta live like this? <These vases are sold all over the place and I have seen Bettas live quite a long time in there provided you keep the water clean and he's fed well.? It looks like he wants to get to the top, but the roots are in the way. <make sure the Betta can get to the surface of the water!  If there is no airspace in the vase then your Betta will not be able to get the air it needs.  Bettas are one of those few fish that can "drown" in the water.  They are air breathers, and need to be able to get air from the surface.  So, make sure that you give it some room to get to the surface.> It's nice and artistic-looking, but I am concerned for the fish. <They can be very pretty, but I still like seeing my Bettas in tanks with filters.  Mine are all happy, and I worry much less. -Magnus>

Betta question I just bought a male Betta fish 5 days ago on the second day I put one of those plants that sit in the top of the fish bowls in his tank and now all he does is sit at the top of the tank and poke his head out of the water every now and then.  all he does is lay on the plant. what can I do? <<Hello there. Is he eating? Does he have tiny white spots on him anywhere? Firstly, you need to make sure you are doing regular water changes. What size is the bowl? A water change every other day should help. Also, make sure he is not too cold, as cold water will lead to bacterial infections like Columnaris. -Gwen>>

Betta Vase Hi. I have a Betta in a huge vase....large bottom with smaller top. It probably holds about 4 gallons of water. Anyway, my Betta shares his vase with a bamboo. Both have been doing fine. Today my boyfriend, trying to be nice, cleaned the vase for me. The Betta has been in that vase with the same water for a few months. I only add bottled water when I notice the water level is low. Going on, my boyfriend proceeded to put my Betta back in the water and it was extremely cold. I took him out and added some warm water, but he was exposed to that cold water for about 10 min. tops..........he is laying at the top on his side :(I did not know that the water should be treated or that my fish can eat other things than his flakes. I have many pets and feel like an irresponsible pet owner. Can you give me some advice how to help him?  Thank You Shelli Street >>Hello Shelli, sorry for the delay. How is Mr. Betta doing? There is not much you could do, but if he survives, you need to keep an eye open for any signs of ich. It will look like someone sprinkled him with salt. If he gets it, you need to treat him in a separate bowl, so as not to endanger your plants. Remove him, and enough water from the vase to fill the new bowl, and treat him there. Go to your Local Fish Store and buy an anti-parasitic medication, like Quick Cure, or Super Ich Cure. For future reference, you should always do your water changes at the exact same temp as the water he is already in...buy yourself a thermometer at the fish store, and make sure his clean water is the same temperature as the old water. -Gwen<<

Daughter housing show stock-wants wet/dry My daughter wants the ultimate filtration method for her two 30 gallon custom tanks that she has assembled next week. She wants them to share the system. She is really wants to purchase wet/dry as her method. She is also planning a blackwater "pond" for the Florida room. She wants perfect (as possible outside nature) water parameters kept without daily maintaining. The fish are anabantids, not picky.  Mostly Bettas in special divided tanks with a tube that moves the water current through. She is going to plant it heavily and doesn't plan to have more than a dozen fish sharing this environment  2 divided males a main area of 3-5 compatible females, cleaners (she wants SAE for cleaners), ghost shrimp and maybe a few cardinal tetras for flash and activity. She is not concerned with over filtration since she may convert this set  up to marine later. <Ah, a useful "clue"> She is working with more inbred and therefore delicate strains. The plants she has in the 20 gallon. The rest she has 2/10 gallons all over my house. Auuugh! Lucky dad is out of the states! And with fish costing 60-150 each...I'd leave nothing to chance either. Her theory is the unnatural delicacy  and the fact that more Bettas are being posted with ich, cotton mouth and parasites; is not simply inbreeding but the small space that they develop in with the constant stress of being right next to a competitor with no where to hide if you are the loser.>shrug< Maybe> My granddad's Betta splendens in the 70s were near bullet proof and he had a good dozen males in a planted 5 ft long tank that only postured and squabbled like Danios. They usually lived a good 5 years before being retired to his 3000 gal river pond in his back yard. <Wow, anything over three years is very good for a Betta lifespan> Though most think she is swatting a fly with a Buick and that Bettas are not "worth" the expense, she considers them her "wards". If she wants her 80 dollar fish to live happy..... who am I to say "go cheap" ? Anyway.... She wants to move the 60 gallons in a steady flow without being a rip tide, what size unit or brand model would suit her demand? <Something of a total gallonage of twenty or more... to function for the marine use later... and a diverting mechanism for the pump at this point> We have a predator tank and she would rather send her culls there than the "ignoble fate of the megastore fish" (^.^ sheesh,  I just had Barbie as a kid and helped clean tanks..Eeewww!).  The tanks are planned currently as 18 x 34 x 12. Custom builds. She has stock credit on hold till they are cycled for a minimum of 4 weeks. She is paranoid. Heh! But it is her nickel and they are her babies and I applaud responsible care. I just am trying to help her decide to get more bang for her buck, rather than get the first "perfect set-up advertised". I can get her to hold off till this weekend and then she will buy the system she decided (how I found your site. the search for info on a Pro Clear pro75 vs. the in tank Fluval BioLife55).  She wants to keep it under a 150 if possible and two units from companies that are known have been found at that price.   <Perhaps with a bit of shopping, bargaining> All your wet/dry info always has marine tanks involved and a suggestion to change to live rock; not good for freshwater I am afraid Thanks! JR King...mother to the future kingpin of the International Betta Society and who got some fish for Christmas. and has a good 100 Gourami fry survivors...Eeek!) <I would post your query re brands, makes, models on our Chatforum: http://wetwebfotos.com/talk/ for more up-to-date info. here. Bob Fenner>
Re: Daughter housing show stock-wants wet/dry
Thank you guys! For your brief and helpful comments! And stellar response time! It helped quite a bit!  She has decided to keep each one separate. She adjusted the dimensions a few inches for in-tank wet/dry. She bought 2 bio life 35's NIB for 70 bucks. The tank maker has made a " flow-break" to control current from the BioLife that runs through the dividers in a strategically perforated clear tube. and Ack! I have a headache! <You're "talking the talk"!> She decided that when she gets her tangs late next year she will just start from scratch and get a wet dry that sanitizes the water?   Geez, when I think of the primitive fishkeeping in the 60s and 70s! I wonder that they stayed alive! Come a looong way fishy!  Gratefully, JR King (future Mom of a fish keeper extraordinaire'') <Indeed. Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Temperature for a Betta Hi guys (and gals), <A gal for yah today!> First of all, I want to thank you and congratulate all of you for running such an informative site. <And thank you for the kind words!> I've been pouring over all the articles and FAQs for the last week or so before I buy a 29 gal tank soon. I've learned a lot so hopefully I'll be able to avoid a lot of beginner mistakes. <Ah, wonderful to hear!> I have two questions for you: 1) I recently, like 2 days ago, bought a male Betta and am currently keeping him in a 1-gallon glass fishbowl shaped like a, uh, fishbowl :-). <Hmm, sounds fishy....  Sorry, couldn't resist ;) > My problem is that since I live in Northern California, it gets pretty cold in my room this time of year during the day (when I'm at work). At night it's warm enough because I turn the heater on / build a fire. I know that a 1-gallon tank is too small for a heater, but do you have any suggestions as to keep the water temp up? It hovers around 64-65, and keeping my room warm throughout the day isn't really an option. I'd like to get it to mid 70s if I can. <Without using a heater, I'm not sure how to do this....> Is the temperature fluctuation even worse than a steady cold temp? <IMO, yes.  However, a steady cold temperature for too long could be quite bad, perhaps even fatal, for your tropical pal.> What is the smallest sized (read: cheapest) tank that I can have and still have a heater? <I'd try to aim for 3 gallons plus; you can find five-watt heaters at Wal-marts for small tanks, but I don't think I'd try to use a heater on a one-gallon bowl; the risk of overheating is just too great.> If I go with a slightly larger tank, i.e., 5 gallons, can I put some Japonica Shrimp in there to keep the algae down or would those just be appetizers for Hurley (the Betta)? <This sounds like a wonderful plan.  I'd like to comment - please be very cautious of incandescent lighting, if you choose to have a lit tank!  Incandescent bulbs produce a lot of heat, and can easily overheat a small tank, especially in the summer.  That's typically all that's available for smallish tanks (as far as tank kits go), unless you look at Eclipse/Regent type tanks.  Though, the Eclipse/Regent setups would be excellent for you and your finny friend, and his shrimpy roommates - complete with filtration and lighting, the 3-gallon and larger models of these tanks really are worth the extra cost, especially for beginners.  Worth looking into, at least.> I don't know how they are with crustaceans as tank mates, and I couldn't find it anywhere. <Heh, well, some Betta guys are wonderful with tankmates, and some are a terror - really, it could go either way.  For the most part, though, a few shrimp would likely be perfectly safe from him, even if he's quite aggressive.  Try to provide plenty of hiding spaces for them, and they should do quite well.> Oh, and like I said, I live in No. Cal. so the tap water (treated of course - told you I've been doing my homework *grin*) is pretty hard and has a high pH (mid 8s, according to test strips). <Heh, hailing from silicon valley myself, I hear yah on that!  mid-eights in the winter, mid-NINES in the summer.  Not fun.  Not at all.> Does the hardness and/or alkalinity of the water affect temperature retention? <Hmm.  My best answer, "no".  Or, at least, "not enough to say so".  I'm sure it does to some degree, but I'm also pretty sure it is insignificant.> 2) In the 29-gal tank I plan on acquiring soon, <Yay!  Sounds like fun!> I think I've finally decided what the inhabitants are going to be. I was going to cycle it with some (6ish) White Clouds <Consider a fishless cycle, if you can.  Otherwise, white clouds definitely are a tough fish!> and then slowly add 6-8 Green Tiger Barbs, 8 Harlequin (or Scissor Tail if I can find them) Rasboras and 2 Dwarf Gouramis. Do you see any problems with these fish? <I would skip the dwarf Gourami, for sure.  With the tiger barbs in the mix, they'd be nipped to shreds, I can assure you.> I know the Tiger Barbs are nippy, but everything I've read seems to say that they will be fine in a school that size. <Mm, to some extent, yes; but they *will* still nip anything in sight, especially slow-moving pretty Gourami fins.  The other fishes (Rasboras, white clouds) will be fine with the tigers.)> Also, do you have any recommendations for algae eating organisms? Shrimps? Otos? SAEs? <Personally, because I'm passionate about them, I'd go with shrimp.  For one, they are simply amazing, wonderful animals to watch, and some varieties that are now becoming available in the US are utterly gorgeous.  Shrimp also add very little to the bioload of a tank - er, that is to say, they don't poo a whole lot.  It is, of course, up to you/your tastes.> I plan on this a being lightly to medium planted tank. Are there any plants I should avoid? <Depends completely upon your setup.> I'd like to keep the plants as simple as possible, no laterite or CO2 injections or anything like that (for now...  :-) But hey, this is my first serious tank). <I'd stick with tough, low-light plants, like Anubias sp., Vallisneria sp., java fern (Microsorium pteropus), java moss (Vesicularia dubyana), Anacharis/elodea/Egeria....  for starters ;) > Like I said before, my tap water is high pH and pretty hard... <"Liquid rock".> I think I can lower it to mid 7s, which is OK, if at the upper limit, for my (soon to be) fish according to Fishbase. <Might try using peat moss to assist with this - I find it extremely effective in my tanks (down to 7-ish from 9-ish in the summer!).> Do you see any problems with my plans/stocking scheme? Any comments? <Just as above.> Any feedback is greatly appreciated. OK, I know this is more than two questions, but I got carried away. :-) <Heh, no problem, that's why we're here!> Thanks again, and keep up the good work!  -Tyler <Thanks much, we'll do our best.  -Sabrina>

Hexed Mini-Hex (1/20/04) I received a 2.5 gal hexagon tank for Christmas it came with water conditioner an undergravel filter and pump. I set it up and let it run without fish for 2 weeks. <Actually a good idea to put a pinch of food in there to generate nutrients for bacteria.> that's where everything I did right ended. I went to get a single male Betta <good plan> for the tank (because I thought they had to live alone) When the store attendant pointed out all the fish that would live with the Betta I wanted them all! <They just wanted your money...> On her recommendation I came home with 4 small zebra Danios 2 ghost shrimp the male Betta and a heater, they also recommended adding a small algae eater when algae started to develop. <...and they got it.> Through the 1st week everything was normal ( I found out through research) the water clouded then cleared on its own which I understand it part of the cycle process and the water tested ok for a cycling tank. <Yes, but not normal for a tank with fish in it.> Into week 2 the Betta became lethargic laying on the bottom with an occasional swim to the top for air and back down again. I suppose this is a good time to mention that I also way overfed these poor little guys (They always seemed hungry and I didn't want them to starve). 2 days ago a test of the water showed the ammonia and pH through the roof, searching the web for answers led me to believe a 50% water change with vacuuming would help the problem. <A temporary fix> things seemed better in the tank for a day, when I retested the water today the results were the same. So a trip to a different pet store <steer clear of the other one in the future> this morning sent me home with Amquel <helps a bit>, ph down <why?>, and an undergravel upgrade kit with a carbon insert. <Zeolite would be better for ammonia> I added the ph down and the Amquel, the carbon filter attachment is for a 1" lift tube which they assured me was standard but it seems my lift tube is only 1/2". so my 1st question: I have the top with the carbon insert sitting over the lift tube is this inhibiting the way the filter works or is it still working properly? <Should work some, but flow through it will not be ideal.> 2nd the water seems to be clouding again is this normal? <No. You need good bacteria. If you could get a hold of some Bio-Spira, this may help.> 3rd the Betta seems happy and active again, the ghost shrimp are more active then they ever were climbing the sides of the tank up and down and the Danios have all gone to top of the water. Is this normal behavior? <Danios love to swim actively in the upper tank. They are very active and do not belong in such a small tank. Also, they will stress your low-moving Betta out. Were I you, I would return them and stick with just the Betta in this tank. The "algae eater" you bought is likely the king that will suck the skin off of your Betta when it grow bigger. Otocinclus would be better.> Last should I be doing something else at this point or just wait and see what happens? <Patience is important. Consider doing what I mentioned above. Buy a good book about freshwater aquaria or a good book about Bettas.> Thank you for your help! Cathie

Betta light 24/7? (12/29/03) Hello <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I have recently bought a male Betta, and I have him in a 4 litre tank 8.5 inches tall by 6.5 inches wide.  The tank has a two piece lid, one which sits right on the tank, which has 2 air holes, and another hood which is attached at back of the tank, which can be left open ( I have it open almost all the way.  There is an incandescent bulb in the hood.  As he is a tropical fish I have been leaving the light on to make sure the water is warm enough ( I live in Ontario Canada).  Will leaving the light on 24 hr/day cause him any problems? <Bettas and other fish don't have eyelids, so keeping them in tanks that are always lit is going to make it difficult for them to get any sleep. I would suggest getting a small (25 watt) heater for the tank. I've seen some that are small enough for even tanks this small.> I found lots of information on your site, just not this particular subject. Thanks, Maryann   <You're welcome. --Ananda>

Betta's First Day Home To whom it may concern, <Hi, Peter,> Today we got a Betta fish. I rinsed the tank (about 1/8 gallon in size) with tap water and then filled the it with bottled water. I then put my fish in and after about one hour, I came to check on the critter. It was at the bottom of the tank (still alive) and almost never swimming around. I know this is the first day but is it normal for the fish to do this? <No, not at all.> Also I'm worried about the little amount of chlorine from the tap water. Will this harm the fish? <I sincerely doubt it.  I trust you did not use any tapwater to fill the tank, correct?  Just the bottled water?> It's a very small amount of chlorine. <If the tank was only rinsed in tapwater, agreed.> I also tried feeding it a little and it still wouldn't budge. I really need some advice from the experts. <It sounds perhaps that he didn't get a chance to acclimate to his new water.  Was there a temperature difference between the water he came home in and the water in the tank?  It could also be shock from differing pH, in which case, the best thing you can do is let him recover on his own, changing the pH again could cause more problems.  Of course, it is also possible that he may have been sick when you got him.  Is there anything visibly wrong with him, physically?> Thank you very much for your time! <Sure thing.  Hope all goes well,  -Sabrina> Thank you,  Peter

Bobbing for Bettas Hi there.   <Hello.> First of all I just want to say what an excellent site you folks have!  I love it, so MUCH information!  Keep up the great work! <Thank you for the kind words!> Ok, now for my problem.   <Ah, I KNEW there was a catch!> I have a goldfish (Bob) and a Betta (Bob Jr. no relation) <heh> in a 10 gallon tank and they have been getting along just fine (even though  my goldfish was a total jerk to the black moor that I have).   <Woah.  Um, so how many fish are there in there, and what?  A goldfish, a moor, and a Betta?  For starters, goldfish are super messy (they poop a lot), and really do need very large aquariums or ponds to thrive.> However, for the last couple days Bob Jr. seems to just be sitting on the bottom of the tank.  At first I thought he was just sleeping but now I'm getting concerned.  I know he's alive, he occasionally moves to a different part of the tank and he is still breathing.  Is there something I can do for him?  Like I said he's in a 10g tank and it has a filter mounted on the back and proper lighting etc.   <Well, some questions, first - what are your water parameters (ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH, temperature)?  How often do you do water changes, and how much do you change?  Do you vacuum the gravel when you do water changes?  What do you feed them? Do you see anything physically wrong with the Betta, e.g.., pale coloration, clamped fins, labored breathing, clouded eyes, or anything else amiss?  This information will help us figure out what might be wrong with your little Anabantoid.  It would be a good idea to do a hefty water change, being sure to match temperature and pH with the water in the tank, as I suspect this might be a water quality issue.  I'd also like to mention that Bettas and goldfish do not make the best of tankmates.  The goldfish tend to be very messy, and foul the water very quickly.  Also, Bettas are tropical fish, and really should be kept with other compatible tropical fish, rather than with coldwater goldfish.  You might want to consider a larger tank for your goldfishes, and perhaps get a few tropical tankmates for your Betta, once he's back to his old self.> Thanks in advance for any help you can offer. <Sure thing.  Wishing you well,  -Sabrina> Drew

Bettas don't like nitrites! <Hi! Ananda here tonight...> I have a 2 week old tank containing a Betta splendens (male), 2 zebra Danios, 2 platy and 2 black molly. <Ack! Your tank is far too new to be holding that many fish. You should have let it cycle first.> Everything was fine for the first week and a half until the nitrite level raised to about 5ppm. I carried out a 25% water change and then things started to go wrong with my Betta. He started to turn white, loosing his colour, his skin is rough and raised and he sits lifeless at the top of the tank refusing to eat. As the black mollies started to pick on him I put him in a large isolation net but it has made no difference. His fins appear thin and straggly. What can I do? It's my daughters fish and I can't let him die. <Your Betta can *not* survive in water with nitrites. You need to temporarily move him into his own tank, or, if you must, a bowl or something that can hold at least a half gallon of water. There is a nice little 1-gallon tank with a filtration system for under $10 that I've seen available at chain store pet stores and even Wal-Mart and Meijer's stores. Or if you can't do that, cut off the top of a milk jug! This guy really needs pristine water conditions, pronto, if he's going to survive. You will be doing *daily* partial water changes to keep his water quality good! I would change about half of it a day, or more if necessary. You need to keep the ammonia at zero, too, or his gills will get damaged. Mollies, platies, and Danios are hardier fish, but I would continue with daily partial water changes in the main tank so they are not stressed too much. --Ananda >

Betta bowls I recently bought a Betta. While surfing your site to find the answers to some questions about overeating, I saw some comments about Betta lily bowls. <I assume you mean the vase-type containers, with a plant (peace lily, usually) growing out?> Are they really bad for the fish? <Well, not directly....  But you'll need to provide as large a volume of water for the fish as you can, and be sure to change a little bit of water out for new dechlorinated water every few days.> If so why, and is there any way I can safely keep my lily and my Betta together? <Use only dechlorinated water for your Betta (a trip to the fish store will show you a wide array of things you can choose from - get something that treats tapwater for chlorine and chloramine), make sure when you do water changes to exactly match the water temperature, so as not to shock your fellah, change a third or so of the water every few days, and provide the largest possible container to keep him in.  I've seen some nicely done things like this that had more than a gallon of water volume for the fish.  If done properly, it could be a nice fishy home for your dude.  -Sabrina>

Wild Betta's living quarters I am confused on this subject.  Two pet store owners have told me that Bettas come from very small muddy pockets of water and may be kept in very confined containers. I just read on several different web sites that they need plenty of room to move around.  Who is right? <Mmm, actually both. The original Bettas (splendens) do hail from muddy bodies of water... and do possess an ancillary aerial breathing apparatus (the labyrinth organ) to "breath from the air". The recommended larger space is mainly for stability (larger bodies of water stay physically, chemically the same longer... given over-feeding, pollution from same, vacillating room temperature...). Though male Bettas (females are raised in tanks together) are grown out in less than liter volumes, they are best kept in larger quarters>   It does seem sad that Wal-Mart has them in those extremely small cups all of the time.  Is it cruel to keep them in such cramped quarters? <Not so much cruel (as the store temperature is kept warm, constant, and am sure that they have excellent programs for (temporary) maintenance... this is the prudent method of displaying, holding, selling these animals... and Betta's are toward the far end of "unawareness" as fishes go... not seemingly mal-affected. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Dianne All

Tank Building & Bettas Hi Found your web site looking for information about Tank Building and I wanted to pick your brain about building some myself. I am a squeaky new Betta owner/breeder and am presently running out of room for my growing Betta Fry spawn (60+) and the cool  "designer" Bettas that my local pet stores are now stocking. I want to build a "grow out" Betta tank and also what my Yahoo/MSN Betta Splendens newsgroup people call a "Betta Barracks" About the Grow out Tank: I was thinking to make a sectionable low height tank with lots of water flow that shared a UV filter with the Betta Barracks. I was thinking low because my silly Bettas from the Pet shops so far have been freaked by the increase in water space after so long in those Betta cups. And if I section it, I can give them the illusion of small space to start and slowly increase it. And I can separate the baby Males into them if I need to. (My water is pretty hard so I may have all females in this 10week old spawn) What thickness of acrylic do I need if I was going to make a 30-40 gal low and wide tank? <How low is low? For 12 inches or less I'd go with 3/16", much higher and 1/4" (could use less, but harder for human hands to manipulate... and not much real savings)> The tanks on your web side don't seem to have any binders to hold it together. What do you use to seal/mold it to shape? <They're welded together with solvents (we use Weld-On products, can get from acrylic suppliers)> About the Betta Barracks: I've seen pictures of them on various web sites and they seem to be "Beanie Baby" containers with slits on the top to drip water in and a slit on the side to let water out. They don't give dimensions on the containers and since my Bettas won't fit in the Betta Cups anymore, would a half gallon be too small? <About right> What sort of filtration does all this need? Where would I get that sort of information? Your web site lists protein skimmers but is that only for salt water? <No skimmers; do need mechanical and biological filtration... and frequent, partial water changes. Schemes either go with independent (bowl mentality), non-recirculation OR collectivizing the water OR a drip in/ overflow out "open" system> Also- you live in San Diego. Would you know of some local Betta Breeders, where I can go to talk to them and look at their set ups and purchase some females? I am in Orange County, Ca. <Please come out to the San Diego Tropical Fish Society (2d Sun. of the month, Balboa Park Casa Del Prado, rm. 101 about 7:30... If I'm not there, ask for Victor Tongco, tell him of our chatting, and ask him to introduce you to John Price who will in turn help you> Any help would be appreciated, Cyndi <Do you belong to the IBC? Other Betta groups? You would greatly enjoy and benefit from such associations. Bob Fenner>

Purified Water? (7/1/03) Hey, this might be a stupid question... but I'm a 16 year old with only the experience of cats, dogs, and snails. I searched for this in your FAQs but couldn't find anything that could confirm my question for sure. Didn't want to take risks. So, the question: is it harmful to my Betta's if I use purified drinking water? Like from Deep Rock? I was told from an unprofessional that it has chlorine in it.. but I think they might be wrong... <As long as its not distilled or has no chlorine your OK.  Cody>Thanks for the help!!

Betta in the Dark hello, my question is can you keep a Betta in the dark. Now what I mean by this, is I have a Betta living downstairs in my house. It is always warm enough for it, but rarely has any light, and that is only from that lamp I turn on when I am down there. So I would say 19-21 hours of the day it is in almost darkness. Other than when I am feeding it. I want to know if it will be able to live like this or not. thank you  john <Your fish certainly isnt going to be happy in conditions and its really not healthy for him either. So while he probably could live like this for a while, its not at all good for him and will probably adversely affect him eventually. Ronni>

Re: Additional questions about my first message - Bettas have almost constant fin and tail rot Hi everyone, I wrote a message Friday night; no, I'm not expecting an answer so soon! I just have been doing some more research on the internet this weekend and had some more questions. I asked about a Betta set-up with an Eheim system. Well, what I've found so far is that Eheim is for huge aquariums! T <wow... quite the contrary, my friend. Do look at their full product line... they have tiny internal canister/power filters, mini-externals, etc. Have you been to their home site?> that would be quite a lot of overkill for a Betta set-up!   <perhaps yes if the tank is really that small> Right now I'm leaning toward a 5 gallon tank with a heater (I already have the heater; a Visi Therm Deluxe, 25 watt) and partitions. (for my 2 Bettas). Would 2 partitions an inch or so away be better so there's no chance of them seeing each other? <may still be seen/stressful> Or will this just impede water flow, with or without a filter? <definitely will> The filter I'm leaning toward is a Duetto Multi Filter, with a flow rate of 14 GPH.   <somewhat weak> In my old Eclipse System 3, where I had the one Betta (who hated it) the flow rate was 35 GPH. I'm wondering if the flow rate of the Duetto is OK or will I end up taking it out?   <seems too small to me... what of just a good old-fashioned sponge filter (Tetra Brilliant series or Jungle dirt magnets)?> I know you can't really answer that; I just wanted your opinion on the Duetto filter. I just saw it online and not in person. Also, if I may ask Mr. Calfo a question: Do you know of any shops in the Pittsburgh area (I live in the northern suburbs) that are fish-only, with no dogs, cats, etc.,  for sale, or that come in for grooming or vet services? Are you permitted to recommend such a shop?   <sure... we have nothing to sell... no biases...a free-info/content site> My severe allergies to dogs, cats, birds, etc., do not permit me to visit pet shops. I live very close to a PetCo and PetSmart but just can't go. (Not that I'd really ask them anything!) <most shops do at least have birds or small animals. Hmmm... I'm wondering if Poseidon's in Greentree is animal free... they were last time I was there (a year ago!)> I do have on hand some BettaMax, Maracyn, and MarOxy, but I can't stock every med for " just in case" and I would hate it if I needed something fast. <agreed> I would put myself at risk of going to the ER if I went into these shops.  If something happens to the fish, hopefully the meds I have will hold them over until an online order comes. And I know that's not really in the best interest of the fish, so once these fish go to fish heaven maybe the best thing is not to get any more :-( unless I can find a fish-only shop. Thank you very much, once again, for listening! Deb <Deb... please also consider the fellowship and networking options (emergency phone calls to fellow aquarists) of the local aquarium society: pmas.org if you needed a medication or advice/support, you can e-mail the clubs mailing list as a member or find help fast otherwise. Do visit their website. Kind regards, Anthony>

Re: Bettas I have three Bettas, and you are right, they have truly unique personalities.   <Yep, they really do. Its amusing to watch the different reactions to something as simple as me approaching their tanks.> They are all housed separately, two are in 5 gal mini bows, and one is in a 1 1/2 gal. brandy snifter. <Im assuming the last is actually 1 ½ gallons. Even so, those are very nice tanks for Bettas. I have one of the 5g Minibows and have been considering getting another soon.> All are doing well, but I used distilled water and a little Tetra Easy Balance two days ago.  I haven't noticed any changes in my beta. You said not to use distilled water, please tell me if I should change the water now or wait until the next water change. <If this was only a partial water change you'll be fine. If it was a complete water change I would recommend doing a partial water change with non-distilled water.> I know we shouldn't be so nervous about our fish, but they are all unique pets, and I really don't want to lose them.  Thank you for your assistance. As always, Claudette <Many people cant understand it but sometimes a fish can be almost as much a part of the family as dogs and cats. The personalities are there, you just have to look more closely for them. Ronni>

Re: Aged Betta I have a Betta that is at least a year old.  For the past year he's spent his life in a half gallon vase (no plant, just the vase and weekly water changes).  I'd like to move him to a five gallon tank with proper heat, and filtration, but have been told that doing so at this stage is a bad idea and may send him into shock and kill him, even with appropriate acclimation. What are your thoughts on this? <<With slow and proper acclimation and if has given lots of cover (leafy type plants, a clay flower pot, etc) in the new tank he should be fine. I've moved my Bettas around and never had any problems, even with older ones.>> If I am able to move him, would it be possible to keep one or two tankmates with him in this size system, given that he's never been around other fish before?  Either way, I'm looking in the best way to keep this fish alive and healthy as long as I can. <<Id hesitate on this. Anything you could get that wouldn't pick on him would be prone to picking by him since has used to being on his own. Ronni>> Thanks much!

Fighting Fish I just bought a "vase" and a fighting fish. The neck of the vase provides a place for a plant, with the roots to be down in the vase so that the fish finds "privacy", etc..... <Have seen these about... very popular> I have no idea what type of a plant could be used because the upper portion of the plant would be out of the water....any suggestions would be appreciated.  <There's a bunch of choices... My fave are philodendrons, but I do have a long list of "bog plants" (often sold as true aquatics, submersed species) listed on our site here: http://wetwebmedia.com/hsepltsagb.htm though there are many other possibilities. Your local garden center should be able to identify appropriate selections.> Apparently this is some new thing, I found the "vase" and marbles at a local craft store. The fish was purchased at a "pet store" and the salespersons knew nothing about aquatic or regular house plants!! Why would that surprise me!! Thanks for your help. <Too much "to know" in this world, for sure... thank goodness for tools like the Internet for making what's known collectively easier and easier to find. Bob Fenner>

Siamese Fighting Fish Could you please tell me what temperature Siamese fighters live at and when introducing them to a tank with female fighters if any special measures should be taken. Thank you. <Hmm, as you note, these are "warm water fish"... tropicals. They appreciate water in the mid-70 degrees Fahrenheit to the low eighties... Hence the need for a thermostatic heater. As regards females, I would not keep these in with your males on a continuous basis... as there is too much aggression to be expected here, with the male likely keeping the female from swimming about or feeding. Bettas, Siamese Fighting Fish are best mixed male/female only during spawning.  Bob Fenner>

Betta splendens Bob, I just received a Betta as a gift from a neighbor. I really don't want to maintain this fish in its own tank if I can help it. Do you think it would survive in the fireplace tank with the Kissing Gourami and the Loaches? <Mmm, yes... most likely... or if push comes to proverbial shove you can arrange something like a glass cylinder (hurricane lamp covers work great here) to keep it separated... Two things to look/out for... that it's not getting too bugged by other fishes, and that it's getting enough to eat... In your care I think it will do fine. Bob Fenner> How about the small tank with three guppies and a butterfly Goby or Goby?. <Mmm, better in your main tank... Betta's go after male guppy tails... and for certain eat all young.> Thanks!

Bettas Bob, A friend of mine said they got a Betta that had a plant above it and they had a symbiotic relationship.  <Mmm, yes... these have been very popular sellers the last couple of years> Is that a mangrove or what kind is it?  <More likely something like a Spathiphyllum, Dracenas... there are many choices> Also, another friend of mine has a Betta and one of it's gills looks like it's extended out farther than the other. Would malachite help it? Is that normal? <Not probably "normal", but not treatable either... a congenital defect. Bob Fenner> Thanks, Allyson

Re: Bettas Is it healthier for the fish to have this? Should I recommend that my friend get this to improve water quality? I hear you don't need to change the water and it provides the fish with nutrients. <Please refer them here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/betta_splendens.htm Bob Fenner> Allyson

Re: Bettas Already did read that section. Did you have a section which referred to those plants and whether they make it unnecessary to change water? <No my friend... not directly... I have not so mixed feelings re this "designer Betta" movement... this fish is tropical... warm water... and the units improvised don't really meet its needs. I am opposed personally to their popularization. I am sure you understand. Bob Fenner>

Re: Bettas Bob, I'll forward the mail. It's easy to add a heater if that's all it is. So you think water quality is bad and the fish doesn't get enough to eat?  <Commonly, yes> I'm thinking of a friend of mine who is a surgeon who barely has time to sleep much less care for much. Yes, I know, a pet rock...but is there any compromise?  <Life is a series of these> The thing appeared to live a few years. <This is a good long time for this species. Bob Fenner> Allyson

Betta Vase Death Traps Hi, I had a question is there a certain kind of root or plant that a Betta fish can eat or can you put a plant in a vase and water and just put a beta fish in it?? <I know the setups that you are referring to and no they will not work. Bettas do not eat plants. You can read more about these gorgeous fish here http://www.wetwebmedia.com/betta_splendens.htm Thanks, Tidy

Tank Building & Bettas Hi Found your web site looking for information about Tank Building and I wanted to pick your brain about building some myself.  I am a squeaky new Betta owner/breeder and am presently running out of room for my growing Betta Fry spawn (60+) and the cool "designer" Bettas that my local pet stores are now stocking. <I understand. Worked for a couple of years (ostensibly washing bowls) at a Betta facility in Japan as a boy, and bred, raised a few batches in my time> I want to build a "grow out" Betta tank and also what my Yahoo/MSN Betta Splendens newsgroup people call a "Betta Barracks" <Old product name> About the Grow out Tank: I was thinking to make a section able low height tank with lots of water flow that shared a UV filter with the Betta Barracks. <Flow doesn't have to be "lots"> I was thinking low because my silly Bettas from the Pet shops so far have been freaked by the increase in water space after so long in those Betta cups. And if I section it, I can give them the illusion of small space to start and slowly increase it. And I can separate the baby Males into them if I need to. (My water is pretty hard so I may have all females in this 10week old spawn) What thickness of acrylic do I need if I was going to make a 30-40 gal low and wide tank? <Practical considerations, mainly ease of working on/with the material supersede structural need here. I would work with 3/16" thick material as a minimum> The tanks on your web side don't seem to have any binders to hold it together. What do you use to seal/mold it to shape? <Solvent... mainly Weld-On's products (specifically #40 usually) are utilized to melt the acrylic panels together. Pieces held gingerly in place with tape, clamps while assembling...> About the Betta Barracks: I've seen pictures of them on various web sites and they seem to be "Beanie Baby" containers with slits on the top to drip water in and a slit on the side to let water out. They don't give dimensions on the containers and since my Bettas won't fit in the Betta Cups anymore, would a half gallon be too small? <Not too small, generous actually> What sort of filtration does all this need? <Mechanical, biological, maybe chemical> Where would I get that sort of information? Your web site lists protein skimmers but is that only for salt water? <Please see the Freshwater Subweb there, perhaps the section on Bettas: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm > Also- you live in San Diego. Would you know of some local Betta Breeders, where I can go to talk to them and look at their set ups and purchase some females? I am in Orange County, Ca. <Dave Huie, John Pitcairn, a few others in the SDTFS will definitely know who is "into Bettas" now. Our meeting is the second Sunday night at the Casa Del Prado, rm. 101, every month... about 7:00 PM... there are "Betta Clubs", like the I.B.C. (International Betta Congress) you would greatly enjoy and benefit from being part of. Do use your search engine/s here.> Any help would be appreciated, Cyndi <Be chatting, Bob Fenner>

Siamese fighting fish Hi. I was given a Siamese fighting fish in a vase with rocks. This doesn't seem right to me. What are the needs of this fish? <Good for you for caring enough, seeking this information> doesn't it need a larger area to swim in?  <Actually Siamese Fighting Fish, Betta splendens, are "happy" enough in small volumes. What the real trouble is in these settings is mostly cool and vacillating temperature> is it a freshwater fish?  <Yes. Please see this short article on this species by me: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm and the FAQs, link there> how would I set up a small tank for him? does it need a filtration system? what food does it eat? I've been feeding him Betta Min and he loves it? <A small aquarium (with a top to prevent launching itself out), heater and a few options at filtration would be great. Please see the short article referred to for practical husbandry input. Bob Fenner> please help ASAP! thanks. Debra Solomon

Variegated Ivy in small fishbowl like tank (Betta) Hi, Hope you can help. We just set up a small aquarium at work (in our lab) using a 1-gallon glass chromatography tank. We placed a small variegated ivy <The terrestrial species, Hetera canariensis?> cutting in tank and added two small fish, a tiger <Tiger what? Not a Tiger Barb I hope> and Betta. Can we add more ivy plants to tank. The tank is narrow , about 4inches, and the plant cutting hangs very nicely from top. We want to be sure these plants are compatible with fish. <Me too> As we do not have a filter or air source we believe the roots of the plant will provide oxygen to environment. <If it's truly aquatic... but at night it may well cause the demise of the Tiger whatever... The Betta is able to breath atmospherically...> Thanks for your help. Elaine <A few important points: These fishes are tropical species... need relatively warm, constant water temperature... And the plant... need to check to see if it is an underwater species... We have "complete answer" type areas for these concerns on our sites... about Bettas: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm  About plants: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/PlantedTksSubWebIndex/groplts101.htm  Please read through these, the associated FAQs files for sufficient background... many folks lose their livestock, quit the hobby over simple lack of pertinent information... don't let this happen to you. Bob Fenner>

Leaping Bettas I have a brown Betta which has a little bit of blue on it's fin and I have it in a duel Betta hex next to a red one and the brown one jumps out of his Betta hex what should I do to stop him? e-mail me ASAP <well... my serious advice is to not use these duel Betta displays which stress and torture male Bettas into this sort of behavior. Betta are solitary fishes and best kept in separate aquariums. Floating plastic or live plants are also necessary. Of course, if that doesn't work... you could just stop feeding them wolf cookies and gorilla milk for breakfast. Best regards, Anthony>

Jumping Betta II Should I take him to a pet store and get a different one do you think? <No, I think you should put a lid on it. -Steven Pro>

Betta Hello. 1st and foremost,,,,,,, excellent site. I'll be setting up my first marine tank in a few weeks and I can honestly say that 75% of the knowledge that I have came from your site. But anyway...about my girlfriend's Betta.  She got one of the Bettas that come in the vase with the plant on top as a birthday gift. This was about 3 months ago. Honestly, I had never even seen these fish prior to her walking in the house with it. Needless to say she has done nothing for the fish in the 3 months. Your site has been a great help. I took it out of the vase after about a week and put it in a 2 1/2 gal tank. I felt bad for the little guy. He's been fine since I put him in there. I started off feeding him the pellets for about a month. I then picked up some bloodworms which he loved. By the way, I was using deer park water for his water changes (every two weeks). I hadn't been using any type of filter up until a week ago. Once again, I felt bad for the little guy, so I bought him a new 10gal home and a small power filter (made for 10gal). I just did the change last night. I only had 6 gallons of deer park so I decided to fill up the remainder of the tank with tap water. I put the fish in and started the filter which has a very small carbon cartridge. The fish was fine for about 2 hours, then I noticed his behavior changed. He started hanging out at the top of the tank in a corner. I tried to feed him but he just ignored the food. I then saw him drift underneath the return panel for the filter. I turned off the filter thinking that this was the problem. Still no luck. I decided to go to bed and just let him get used to his new home. It's now 7:00am and he's still hiding under the return panel. I think I made him sick by putting the tap water in there. Meanwhile my girlfriend is mad at me because she thinks I'm killing the fish THAT DOESN'T EVEN FEED!!!!!!. please help,,,,,,, any feedback would be greatly appreciated. thanks, Demetrius. <Hey Demetrius, sounds like you are doing your best to give this fish a better quality of life, nothing wrong with that.  Feeding and filtering water is not going to kill the fish.  If you did not treat the tap water with a chlorine/chloramine neutralizer, that could be what is causing the problem.  It could also just be stress from the move to a new tank.  I would add a heater to the tank as well, despite popular belief, these fish like warm water.  Check out the links below for more information, Best Regards, Gage http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/betta_splendens.htm http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/bettafaqs.htm>

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Betta Success
Doing what it takes to keep Bettas healthy long-term

by Robert (Bob) Fenner

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