View Full Version : Total newb, help me out with my set up?

09-15-2009, 04:44 PM
Hi all!

So my best friend is totally new to fish, and she just got a crowntail betta. Right now, the betta is in a big fish bowl, but her birthday is in a week, so I want to get her a 5 gallon tank for the betta.

I have a few questions! Actually, a lot of questions...

Firstly, is a 5 gallon tank a good size? She absolutely can't have anything bigger, and anything smaller just seems cruel to me. Also, what can she put in the tank with the betta? Are there other fish that are compatible that can go in a 5 gallon without overcrowding, or is she better off leaving the betta alone?

I'll be buying her a 5 gallon starter tank, so it comes with a light, hood and filter. I'm also going to give her my old decor, which is a small hollow sunken ship half and some fake plants (real plants are a little beyond her experience, and she's already noticed that the betta has a habit of up-rooting things lol)

Thanks so much, and anything else you can tell me would be fantastic!!

09-15-2009, 05:06 PM
It is my understanding that Bettas like smaller spaces, so the 5 gallon should be absolutely golden!

It is also my understanding that Bettas don't like other fish very much - the males can be quite aggressive. If she wants other fish, I think some female Bettas would probably be the best option.

Of course, this is all hearsay to me - I've personally never kept Bettas...

What do the older*, more reputable members have to say?

*as in "been on the forum longer" not "been on the Earth longer" :lol:

09-15-2009, 05:08 PM
I wouldnt put anything else in a 5g personally.

09-15-2009, 05:11 PM
I was thinking nothing else, too--but she really wanted to give him tank mates, so I figured I'd ask. I thought Neon Tetra were compatible so I was going to tell her to get a few of those...but then I read that they weren't actually compatible, so I said nothing.

09-15-2009, 05:13 PM
I would tell her not to get anything. Neons tetras need to be in groups of 6+ at the minimum and a 5g is too small for them.

A 5g is only suitable for a betta OR shrimp IMO

Do your best to not let her get any more fish. Also, fish don't get "lonely" - some work better in schools (like tetras, corys, rasboras) but bettas are not really one of them

09-15-2009, 05:15 PM
A betta byu himself in that tank would be a very happy camper. They like to rule their own little kingdoms.

09-15-2009, 05:16 PM
Agree to only put the betta in the 5 gallon with nothing else. Does your starter tank include a heater?

09-15-2009, 05:17 PM
Okay, thank you! I'll tell her that.

How about cycling? Is it true she'd be okay not cycling the tank with a betta? Of course I'll tell her to use water conditioner, etc.. but I know lots of people keep their betta in bowls and they're just fine.

09-15-2009, 05:20 PM
Agree to only put the betta in the 5 gallon with nothing else. Does your starter tank include a heater?

No, but I have one from my old tank that I'm going to give to her. This is what it comes with:

Tank size: 5 gallons
Glass tank
Hood with light
Starter samples of food
Instructions on water care
Free enrollment in TetraCare program

She asked if the light would be harmful for the betta. Would she be better off with a tank and a glass top, rather than a lighted hood?

09-15-2009, 05:53 PM
I have a betta in a 5-gallon tank and he's very happy with that amount of space. He also seems perfectly content to be alone! I wouldn't try to add anything to the tank. He really uses all of the space -- swims at all levels and enjoys exploring.

I opted to do a fish-in cycle with my betta, and didn't have any problems with it. I did do daily water changes until the cycle was complete. If you still have fish you could give her some of your filter media to seed her cycle. Or, if you're concerned she won't do water changes during cycling, I've had success with Seachem Stability -- cycled my tank in a week, and the bottle only cost about $8.

The light shouldn't be harmful, I don't think. I have 15 watts on my 5-gallon tank. If she's not doing live plants, I *think* a light is optional, but it makes it easier to see your fish!

As far as the fake plants and decor, check carefully for any sharp edges that may snag fins. I've heard that a good test is to drag a piece of panyhose across anything you're worried about. Generally I think silk plants are preferable to plastic for that reason.

09-15-2009, 06:10 PM
=D Thank you!! You answred practically all of my questions!

I'd give her some of my media, but I'm in the process of starting a new tank and it hasn't started cycling yet.. plus she lives in MI and I live in MA, so I couldn't get it to here lol. I'm ordering her gift online.

But she's very responsible, so I fully trust her to do water changes! =D

Thanks so much! The sunken ship decor I have has silk plants attached to it, I'll check the actual ship piece to make sure there's nothing sharp on it, thank you for the advice!

My old heater came with a 10 gallon kit, but it's very small--will it be okay to use with a 5 gallon tank?

09-15-2009, 06:43 PM
As long as it is working it should do just fine.

09-15-2009, 06:45 PM
As long as it is working it should do just fine.

=D Okay great! Thank you!