View Full Version : Should I get a Betta?

07-21-2010, 10:21 PM
I'm thinking about getting a betta, I bought a 5 gal fish tank for a Shubunkin gf and a Butterfly Koi, did some research and definitely found out that is a terrible set up. The next day (i.e. today) I donated the fish to the LFS and now my 5 gal is empty. I've heard Bettas are great for a 5 gal tank, so I'd like to get some information on them! First and foremost, what's their temperament? Every one that I have seen doesn't swim around very much. My wife owned one and it wasn't very active at all (although I don't think she took very good care of it shhh don't tell her I said that :hmm3grin2orange: ). Also about how long do they live?

07-21-2010, 10:36 PM
From what I have learned they live 2-4 years max. Generally 2 years it seems is the norm. I have read some lived 4 years, but prob not common. I am debating myself whether or not to get one for my spare 5g. They are colorful, but generally the ones I see arent to active. Their tempermant is generally to be kept alone, but some people have success keeping with other fish. I guess it depends on the fish.

Lady Hobbs
07-21-2010, 10:41 PM
Good job on talking the goldies back. It's the best thing you could have done. Hope the wife didn't get upset over it.

I have an empty 10 and a 5 and can't seem to find what to stock in them, either. There really isn't a lot of choices other than a Betta or a shrimp tank. But if you are going to put more fish in the tank without cycling first, pick up some bacteria booster to help the fish once ammonia levels began to climb.

07-21-2010, 11:50 PM
Ditto for returning the goldfish and koi, a very good idea.

As for the betta, they are ideal for a 5g tank. In a tank that size you don't really need much (if any) filtration. Water changes will be monthly if he's alone, more often if he has tankmates like snails.

The real secret to keep bettas is to keep them warm. They like the water temp around 28°C (82°F). At that temperature they'll be more resistant to diseases and be much more active.

As for choosing a betta, the smaller the better, it's usually an indication that they're young. Some bettas are spent males that can already be a year or more old. Also try and find one that's vigorous, it's a good sign that he's healthy.

The only downside is that you're very limited in tank mates. Pretty snails are about the only real choice since a betta will likely attack most other fish and shrimps.

07-22-2010, 12:21 AM
Thank you all for the advice, I want goldfish but my wife doesn't really like fish (apparently they creep her out???). So she wasn't very upset about returning the fish, but are bettas very active? The goldfish I had were always swimming around the tank and the koi would always get very excited around feeding time. I am just wondering if bettas show the same enthusiasm or do they just "hang out"? The betta will probably be my project until I convince my wife to be okay with me getting a 30 gal tank and some fantails, but I'll keep the betta once I get the tank.

07-22-2010, 12:42 AM
Good job doing some research and taking the goldy and koi back. I have had plenty of bettas, and I have to say they do vary from fish to fish. Some are quite active at times, and some are almost always just kind of "there". Pretty much every betta I have had though does have a tendency toward having inactive periods.

07-22-2010, 02:27 AM
I've got a betta in a 10 gallon tank, with a heater and a filter (I disagree with Sasquatch about needing a filter or not. I would recommend a small filter for sure). He's not constantly doing laps like a goldfish, but he kind of patrols calmly, checking out all the little nooks and crannys of the tank.

As others have said, there's not a ton of good options for a 5g tank. A betta is one, shrimp is another.

07-22-2010, 03:14 AM
My two past bettas have been active, most of them seen in stores are in small cups..hard to be an active swimmer in a cup.

I suggest usign a filter, helps with water movement, and general filtratio.

Heaters due to them liking heated waters from 75-80's I keep mine at 82...but because he's the only fish in my 10g I don't really worry about him getting anything.

Putting either live, or silk (silk is better than plastic because the plastic can tear fins.) plants is nice for hiding spots as bettas like to be hidden, or at least have places to rest.

07-22-2010, 03:35 AM
My brother had a betta years ago that lived for about 3 or 4 years. He was an a bowl about 1-2 gallons. I have 2 bettas. One is about a year old and the other is about 4-6 months old. The older betta has plastic plants in the tank and he's never had a tears on his fins. In fact, he's never been wounded. Both of my bettas are in unheated and unfiltered water. They are in a 2.5 and a 3 gallon tank. Heated and filtered will be better for the fish though. My older betta likes to be alone- no people watching him. He's lazy. The younger one loves attention and will even let me pet him. He's fairly active.

07-22-2010, 06:19 AM
I said they can tear fins not that they do. When I had plastic plants they never did either, but always better to be safe just in case :)

07-22-2010, 06:27 AM
I said they can tear fins not that they do. When I had plastic plants they never did either, but always better to be safe just in case :)
I agree with you.

07-22-2010, 01:52 PM
go for the betta :) I have seen a betta live five years without proper care ( three gallon no filter or heater) PLEASE dont do that I was just saying they have the potential to live a decent life span. Just please cycle the tank before adding the betta.

They can be active not overly but you could also throw in some nice amazon sword and anacharis to make the tank look nice. Bettas will wiggle into anything so be careful when choosing decorations.

A small low flow filter is best. overall they are very elegant fish :)

when you buy them look for an active one :)( i got the one attacking his own reflection lol) since he will be alone it will be ok :) and if you want to have it for a longer time get a baby its so fun watching them grow :)

Lady Hobbs
07-22-2010, 02:47 PM
Betta's come from shallow rice paddies in China in very warm water. I can not understand why people think they would not do better with heaters and filters. Just because they can live without heaters doesn't mean the fish would not be happier with one. I guess I'm missing something here but if a goldfish does best in cold water, why would you add a heater? Same thing with reverse thinking, isn't it?

With a filter, you would have a cycled tank and be able to do small water changes each week instead of tearing apart their bowl 3 times a week, cleaning all the gravel and using tons of dechlorinator to keep them safe.

The whole thing is lost on me when heaters and filters for small tanks are so cheap but necessary, IMO.

07-22-2010, 05:22 PM
Well looks like I might not be getting a fish at all, my wife has now told me she doesn't want any fish. :(

07-22-2010, 05:57 PM
where can you get a cheap heater? everything here is at least 20 dollars

Lady Hobbs
07-22-2010, 09:56 PM
Tetra makes a submersible heater for 2-30 gallons for $8. Hydro has several heaters for small tanks for around $10-12.

07-22-2010, 11:35 PM
Worked it out with my wife and bought a beautiful Betta at the LFS. Guy at the LFS said I should put the beta in tonight and then come back and get some daino, good or bad idea?

07-22-2010, 11:40 PM
I would not keep bettas and danios together. You need to cyce the tank.

07-23-2010, 01:23 AM
thanks :) I'll look into the heaters right now :) cant get it til i get paid but I gotta get one if i want Bettas again :)

07-23-2010, 02:29 AM
The guy at the LFS didn't even bother to ask if you had a cycled tank or filtration or heating or anything?

-1 for the store.

+1 on what Rich said.

07-23-2010, 05:13 PM
No, he asked a little. I had talked to him about my shubunkin and koi problem and then I donated those two fish to his store. So he knew my tank wasn't cycled and said that my filter would work and that I didn't need a heater. I was confused when he said the danio since I've read over and over that a 5 gallon tank is good for a single male betta by itself. He said something about the danio helping it cycle? He said it somewhat quietly, the store was pretty busy and they were close to closing, so I don't know exactly what he said.

07-23-2010, 06:51 PM
So here's what could be going on. A lot of people use danios to cycle with fish. So maybe the guy at the store thinks they're some kind of miracle fish that cycles tanks on its own... Anyway, I wouldn't put danios with a betta, especially not in a five. Danio's are very active and will stress the betta out. The tank will cycle with just the betta in it. You are going to have to do waterchanges, the more large/mid even small ones the better, as much as you feel you can do. Basically you're trying to keep the ammonia at as minimal level as possible while still having a small amount that feeds your bacteria until it builds a colony that is able to handle the ammonia produced by the betta. You may not need a heater if the temp in your house stays consistant, bettas are pretty tolerant of less than ideal conditions ( I mean, look at how long they live in those stupid little cups:banghead: ), but honestly I would get one anyway, it's much better to be able to keep a stable warm temperature than having it fluctuate, and I also doubt your house stays around 80 degrees all the time, most people probably wouldn't find that comfortable. Whatever you do, don't listen to him and try and put danios in there, all they will help is a pretty fast ammonia spike, and danios aren't really great for a 5 gallon, they'll just swim spastically back and forth like a lunatic in a padded room.

One good tankmate I like for a betta in a 5 gallon tank would be a bamboo shrimp, theyre really cool, and after a while they will come out and not hide all the time. One of mine that is in with a betta sits on top of a piece of driftwood all day fanning the current from the filter for food. The betta doesn't bother it, and it couldn't hurt the betta if it wanted to...
You could probably also get a small school of oto's, but really in a five I don't like keeping much more than a betta, and a five will also not harbor enough algae for a school of otos most likely, or maybe more accurately hopefully, that'd be a pretty algae'd up 5 gal. So they would have to be fed fresh veggies fairly often if you chose to get them.

07-23-2010, 09:08 PM
Well I bought some java fern since I heard that will help out during the cycling process, plus he seems to enjoy it. :) I'll probably do a 25% waterchange tomorrow, does that sound about right? I went to the LFS and watched the danios, they're very hyper little fish at least from when I was watching. They didn't seem to fit the Betta's style. I'm thinking I'm just going to take care of my Betta and let him get to know his tank before I start adding more fish. Plants seem like they're good to add, so maybe I'll just add more later.