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Betta tank suggestions?

Discussion in 'Not So Spineless Wonders' started by astraldisaster, Apr 27, 2012.

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    I just got a beautiful new super delta betta, and I want to set up a small tank for him. Right now, he's in a bowl, which I'm feeling a little guilty about. I know people that have had bettas live for years (and, apparently, thrive) housed this way, but I've been doing some research and it seems that they ideally need a five-gallon tank. I'm working on getting that going, or maybe something slightly smaller (it'll have a filter, and if it's less than five gallons I'll just do water changes more often). Anyhow, I was just curious -- what other animals (fish, inverts, etc) could I keep with him, if any? I was thinking perhaps a snail or a dwarf frog, or both. Another thing: he'll be okay without a heater provided room temperature stays at 70º+, correct? Thanks in advance!


    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  2. Frostbite

    Frostbite Arachnopeon Arachnosupporter

    That is a beautiful Betta! I have 11 Bettas, mostly smaller half moons. I have some of the smaller ones in half gallon cubes. The bigger ones are in individual 2 1/2 gallon tanks. Some of my tanks have filtration. I do partial water changes frequently and add water every couple of days between changes. A five gallon tank will be absolute luxury for your Betta! Good luck!
  3. Thanks! So they do okay in 2.5 gallons or less, eh? In that case, I'm considering this tank, this one (more expensive, but seems like better quality), or maybe even this one (smaller, but seems like a good deal).

    Do you add a heater for your bettas?
  4. Hayden

    Hayden Arachnosquire

    No, you do not need to heat your bettas. And while they can live in a smaller space, if you can offer him more, please do. As far as companions go remember that every betta is different. No match will ever be foolproof. That being said, your best chance is to go with smaller, dull fish with short fins. I'd say white cloud mountain minnows would be your best bet.
  5. Entomancer

    Entomancer Arachnobaron

    I have a 2.5 G planted tank for bettas.

    I had a dragonscale B. splendens that I kept in there with some Boraras brigittae rasboras. B. brigittae is a very small rasbora that comes from marshy aquatic habitats that also play host to species in the genus Betta.

    The plan for the tank was to have three of the rasboras and one dragonscale (the one in question was rather small).

    Then during an exam week the filter broke, and all the fish died. T^T

    I went out and bought a better filter, which is performing much better. There's one P. reticulata fancy guppy in there right now, but that was mainly just to help make sure my nitrogen cycle remained intact while I had no fish.

    The new plan is to get a few more of the rasbora and either pair them with other small fish from a similar biotope, or some Trichopsis pumila, or some other small Osphronemid/Nandid/Anabantid fish from a marshy biotope.

    Astraldisaster, if I recall, you live in Oregon. I do too, and there's a really great fish store in Portland called The Wet Spot; they have higher prices on things in general, but they have the largest selection of freshwater fish for miles and miles; I've never counted, but they've gotta have nearly 1000 species/varieties in stock at any given time.

    They have a wider selection of fish that might wind up being better suited for life with a betta and might be more interesting to boot; here's a link to their fish list:

    http://wetspottropicalfish.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=51&Itemid=64 (it's updated weekly on the weekend)

    Also, if I like something there, I usually go here to look it up:


    This is a fantastic and seemingly poorly known website that has a large and very well-kept encyclopedia of freshwater fish kept in aquaria; simply look up the sci. name of the species you wish to know more about and you'll find what you need.

    As for your fish, I would get a 5 gallon tank with a small filter (I usually look up reviews of the product to see if I can find anything about it before buying) and some floramax plant substrate for the bottom; then I would buy some Cryptocoryne undulata and a smallish piece of mopani wood, plus some Anubias barteri nana and some Microsorum pteropus. Plant the C. undulata in the substrate and use rubber bands to tie the other two plants onto the wood, relatively far from one another and reasonably deep so that they won't grow out of the water. The C. undulata should grow alright in the bottom and the two other plants are epiphytic and should attach to the wood in a few weeks to a month or so depending on light and nutrients. I use some seachem Flourish fertilizer, which seems to help them out a little. You might also want to use a compact flourescent bulb to provide light for the plants. Java moss would be another epiphyte that you could add to the tank, and frogbit or water lettuce would make for nice floating plants to help support the marsh fish's lower light preferences.
  6. argolupin

    argolupin Arachnopeon

    i think your best bet is going to be the fluval tank. i worked for petsmart for awhile and the first and the last tank you listed kept getting returned for being broken ir filters not working. if you are doing a 5 gallon tank i would put in a cory cat fish to eat any food that hits the bottom or some ghost shrimp which will help with food on the bottom and alge(or both) i have my betta in my 20 comminuty tank. just watch if you have any guppies in there or anything with fancy tails as bettas nip fancy tails. my one betta in a vase ( i am working on ideas for wedding centerpieces and i love bettas so they would always have a home) does great without a heeater but if the watter feels a little cold they make betta heaters now.
  7. Obelisk

    Obelisk Arachnobaron

    I don't think the fish will do well long-term at 70 F. Bettas come from a warm, tropical climate. I wouldn't keep them in anything less than the high 70's F (I have mine at 80-81 F).

    I guess people will give you different opinions on the what best size tank would be for a betta. I have one in a heated, filtered 10 gallon that I have for growing plants. He's pretty active, and uses the entire tank for swimming. Given that, I wouldn't use anything smaller than a 5 gallon.

    A filter isn't necessary, but using one will make it easier for you in the long run. Also, if you use a water heater, you'll need some kind of circulation going for the heater to work effectively.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Thanks for all the suggestion and input, guys! I actually found a really cool little aquarium on Craigslist that came with lights, a heater and a filter. I'm not sure how big it is...maybe two or three gallons. Not as ideal as five, I know, but hopefully he'll be happy enough in there. He already has more space than he did in his bowl, and the temperature is now around 78º.

    LordRaiden, I'm planning to take a trip to the Wet Spot in the next couple of weeks and look into getting some of the plants you mentioned. As for other fish, I'm thinking maybe just some type of Corydoras catfish and a couple of snails. I don't want to overcrowd such a small tank.

    New tank, with fake plants for now:


    Sir Fish looking pleased:

  9. beetleman

    beetleman Arachnoking Old Timer

    awesome betta! great setup too. i keep alot of bettas,kings giant kinghalfmoons,deltas,doubletails,crowntails,dragonscales etc,they are very addicting,i'm always seeing another cool type,and i get it,it's a sickness i tell ya:) enjoy yours........you'll be getting more.
  10. philge

    philge Arachnosquire

    Nice setup you've got there! I hate seeing people keep these fish without heat or filtration. I have my betta in a 10g community tank. I don't know why there is such a common myth that these cannot be kept with other fish. Since it's a small tank, I would not get any more than another 3-4 small fish tops. Corys are great, but they will outgrow the tank quickly. I think some small tetras like neons would be a good choice.
  11. Hmm, so a Cory would get too big for the tank even if it was the only other fish I got? I'm not a huge fan of neon tetras, so I was hoping to find something more interesting I could put in there.
  12. Made a couple of improvements! I added two live plants and another fish. I think that's all I'm going to put in there for now.


  13. Entomancer

    Entomancer Arachnobaron

    What kinds of plants? One of those looks like an Echinodorus sp.; they need a lot of light, and some species get really big.

    Also, I happen like Corydoras catfish a lot, but they really don't thrive unless they have others of their own species to congregate with. If you want some bottom dwelling fish that don't need to be in larger groups and can do well in smaller tanks, Otocinclus sp. catfish are small herbivorous catfish that don't need a very large tank.

    If you want some schooling fish that work, I'd still recommend some smaller barbs, such as Boraras brigittae and fish in the genera Microdevario and Danionella.

    You might need to modify the tank for those fish (mainly denser planting) but they should get along alright with the Betta.
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  14. I don't know what sort of plants they are...I'm a moron and went to PetSmart and listened to the clerk who told me I could put any of the plants in my tank. I figure, worse comes to worse they don't do well or I have to prune them or whatever.

    So you think that cory won't do well? :\ Would you advice returning it, or maybe getting another to keep it company? I'd consider some of the schooling fish you mentioned, but at this point I don't want to put too much more in there if I'm keeping the cory and possibly adding another...

    Geez, I'm one of those obnoxious people who didn't do enough research this time. Apologies for all the questions.
  15. EmilyK

    EmilyK Arachnopeon

  16. Entomancer

    Entomancer Arachnobaron

    Heh. It's okay, everybody makes mistakes sometimes.

    Yeah, cories are a somewhat uncommon example of a shoaling/schooling catfish. The other thing is that they really need sand as substrate (or very, very fine gravel) in order to do well long-term; gravel tends to abrade and damage their barbels (the little taste-sensing whiskers) and that stresses them out quite a bit. They also like to root around sand for food, which is quite amusing, and natural behavior for them.

    If the other live plant is the one on the right...that's a club moss (Selaginella sp.), a fern that looks and grows somewhat like moss does. Unfortunately, despite my attempts at planting it terrestrially and under water, it slowly wilted and died. Apparently, under certain conditions, it will grow submerged, but it gets huge; I saw a picture of it reaching all the way up to the top of a 36 gallon bowfront fishtank from the bottom.

    As for PetStupid...don't even get me started. I used to work there, and I was fired because I wasn't being manipulative enough with the customers (they used other reasons to fire me, but I knew that was why). They might have Anubias barteri; the ones near me have it. The only thing is that it won't grow in gravel or sand; it is an epiphtye (a plant that grows on a surface, not in soil), and does best attached to wood or stone. You usually buy it and then use rubber bands or string to tie it down to what you want it to attach to, and then just wait a about a two weeks to a month and clip off the string/rubber band; sometimes you also need to clip away the old roots to stimulate it to grow more of them, because the old roots usually won't attach to anything unless they're small and still have growing to do. Java fern (Microsorum sp., usually M. pteropus) is another easy plant to grow; it is usually sold as cuttings, and can be attached to wood or stone as well, in much the same manner as the Anubias; it also develops plantlets, which can be cut off and restarted to form new ferns (they form at the tips of each leaf).

    These two plants are very, very easy to care for, and actually prefer lower lighting. PetSmart sells some compact flourescent bulbs for smaller fishtanks that work for this; that's where I got the ones I have in my 5 gal and 2.5 gal tanks. Sometimes algae will occur if there isn't enough CO2 in the water; you can buy CO2 pumps for this, but I don't use those, and I don't have that much algae; if algae covers plant leaves it can be bad, because it makes it hard for them to photosynthesize, but algae is normal; if you have too much of it, it usually indicates overstocking of the tank with animals or overfeeding (because algae grows best in the presence of plenty of nitrogenous compounds and light). I just manually remove some algae a few times each month, and the tank looks good enough to me; so long as the algae isn't impeding the plants, fish, or support equipment, it won't negatively affect the aquarium functionally.

    As for right now...yeah, I'd return the Corydoras. I don't know how big that one is, but they usually get around 2 inches long, which is pushing it for a small tank; combine that with their preference of sand as a substrate and their social nature, and it really isn't suitable for anything less than 10-15 gallons.

    The plants should also be returned, and if I were you I'd grill the asshole who sold them to you for lying and being unhelpful. The plant on the left looks a lot like an Echinodorus sp., and some of those will grow 2 feet tall and taller, as they typically grow as emergent vegetation in riparian zones (they are native to the Amazon basin and central america).

    What I would do, though, is get a small piece of mopani wood and a different kind of gravel. The kind you're using is polished stones, and plants really don't do well in that stuff long-term. Some petsmarts have bags of stuff called "Flora-max" or "Floramax" near their plant section, and that stuff works well as a gravel bed for growing plants; without it, you'd need to be applying special fertilizer to the tank, or the plants will never really do that great and eventually rot. It would be necessary for the epiphytic plants too, since the micronutrients (mainly magnesium and iron) are still needed, and the floramax would release it into the water for them. The mopani wood will serve as a place for the plants to anchor themselves; it is also very dense, and usually sinks without needing to wait for it to become waterlogged. The one thing about it that you should know is that it will leach tannins into your water; tannins are the pigment compounds that make wood and dead leaves brown. Your water will look tea-colored after the first day, but it is not dirty, just colored by the pigments. You might need to do some larger water changes at this point to help the tannins come out of the wood faster, but this should only last a week or two, and then the water won't be as brown-looking (it's also important to note that this is the natural state of their natural habitat; peat and decaying plant matter turn the water brown, but the water remains clean due to microbial action breaking down harmful waste compounds).

    If you buy enough plants (I'd say one Anubias and a couple of Java Ferns; you could attach the anubias to a small stone and the Java Ferns to opposite ends of a piece of Mopani) you could also get rid of the plastic ones, which the Betta might like.

    In order, this is how I would do all of this (starting with an empty aquarium):

    1) Put in 1.5-2 inches of floramax

    2) Attach Anubias to rock and Java Fern to the Mopani wood (if the Mopani wood doesn't sink, which is rare, putting it in a bucket of water overnight usually does the trick, and then the ferns could be added to it the next day)

    3) Place the rocks/wood with the plants on them in the tank so that they do not get in the way of the filter uptake (or output).

    4) Replace the fish, which can usually be put into a small bucket or large jar while the above steps are performed.

    Another plant you could try is Cryptocoryne; this stuff does well in lower light settings, and the compact flourescent that you would need for plants in this kind of tank should do the trick. The crypt is soil-growing plant, and it should be planted so that the white part of the stem (juuuust a hair above where the roots start) is barely visible. The floramax has done quite nicely for me with Cryptocoryne without supplemental fertilizers, so if you want to give it a shot it should work.

    And again, for good tankmates you might need to go to Wet Spot. White Cloud Minnows might work, but Wet Spot has better choices; the Whiteclouds wouldn't like the increased acidity from the Mopani wood, although the betta and certain types of rasbora (the ones I mentioned previously) wouldn't mind or would even like it, and the rasbora I recommended stay very small. If your tank is 3-5 gallons you could get 4 or 5 of any of the small rasboras/barbs (most of them don't quite make it to an inch) and that would probably be about "full" as far as animals go. Otocinclus catfish (one or two, probably Otocinclus affinis, although Otocinclus cocama is quite attractive) would be another and potentially safer choice, as the small barbs/rasbora are sometimes harder to care for. The Otocinclus are herbivorous, and algae wafers would be the best choice for them as far as diet goes.

    ...Okay, I think that just about covers it. The steps and suggestions above should give you what you need to make a functional and visually pleasing tank for your Betta and a few small tankmates. If you have any other questions, please, feel free to ask them.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Thank you VERY much for the detailed info. I will get rid of the Cory, and replace the gravel and plants. Hoping to be able to get out to the Wet Spot sometime soon, as they're likely to have a much better plant selection than any store around where I am.

    Now, I have another issue on my hands, though...my betta died. :( One day it looked completely healthy, and the next...bam. I'm pretty bummed. The Cory, on the other hand, is fine. Could it be the water temperature? With the heater, it's around 82º in there. From what I read, Bettas do best between 75º and 78º, up to 80º being acceptable. I want to get another Betta, but should I ditch the heater first? I don't know if getting a different one would help, as I can't seem to find any mini heaters with positive reviews online. People are even saying the "Betta heater" made by ZooMed either overheats the water or stops working after a while.

    I just used my temp gun to test the temperature of some water that had been sitting out for a while in a glass, and it read around 76º. I'm thinking that might be better than 82º, and I just won't put any other tropical fish in there...