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Thread: Current in tank

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  1. #1

    Default Current in tank

    0 Not allowed!
    Question for the experienced betta owners. I just set up a 16 gallon with a mixture of silk and live plants.....which over time will become completely planted.

    I noticed the betta is hanging around the surface a lot. My experience is with goldfish tells me that a fish at the surface is lacking oxygen at the lower levels. I added more surface agitation but I'm worried its too much for the betta. What's the proper way to handle this?

    Thanks so much

  2. #2

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    0 Not allowed!
    May I ask what are you currently using for surface agitation?, an air stone should be sufficient if you're worried about oxygenation.

  3. #3

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    0 Not allowed!
    Bettas are quite different from other fish, which can be difficult if you're used to typical gill breathers. Since bettas have a labyrinth organ (which you can google if you'd like), they actually mix oxygen from the air with water...they need to come to the surface to breathe. They don't need water with a high oxygen content to survive, and low-oxygen water won't really alter thier behavior other than increasing the frequency they have to come to the surface. So if your fish is hanging around the top of the tank and this seems abnormal to you, maybe look at some other factors, such as water quality, possible illness, etc. But bettas hang out all over the tank IME, preferably in the top third, but whever they want really.

    Is the tank filtered? What does your intake/outflow look like? Bettas with long fins do not like strong current...they can't swim well in it. Any airstone you use has to use a control valve to limit the bubbles, and many say not to use one at all. With a 16 gallon tank, the fish probably would just swim into a quiet zone if the flow got to be too much.

    Well, I hope that helps. If you're used to taking care of "regular" fish, bettas can be confusing (ask me how i know). Good luck,and please tell us anything you can about your tank.

  4. #4


    0 Not allowed!
    I have a whisper hob rated for 20 gallons. I added a very small pond pump to move the surface as the hob wasn't doing much of anything. I know for goldfish you need to double the it the same for bettas?

    Any input?

    Thanks for your help. I don't want to toss around mr betta.

  5. #5


    0 Not allowed!
    Thank you bethy....that's so cool how they breath. This hobby has so many interesting facets to learn.

    The tank is cycling. I took a cycled sponge from my goldfish tank and put it in the hob. Ammonia is slightly under .25. I know my Goldie's tolerated up to the .25 ammonia. Are bettas the same? Or are they more sensitive? I'm hoping the cycled sponge will move things along.


  6. #6

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    0 Not allowed!
    Sorry its' taken so long to reply.

    You don't need to worry about surface movement at all. If you have a male (which I assume you do), they're gonna hate it....they can't swim in it and it messes up thier bubble nests. They like it calm. I'd say take that pond pump out. If your filter is moving the water a bit, that'll be fine.

    Bettas could use twice the filtration, heck, you can never be over filtered really. Will this fish have tankmates? Remember that these fish need warmer temps even than most tropicals - 80 to 82F is best. A betta in lower temps than that will be lethargic and is more likely to get sick. Make sure you are feeding specific betta food...not tropical formula. Bettas are carnivores. Also, high quality food is worth it.

    Bettas are not particularly sensitive to ammonia, but I'd keep the levels as low as you can (.25 - .50 is maximum, thier gills will burn just like any fish). Nitrites are just as toxic as with other fish.

    It is very nice, although not necessary, to add live plants to the betta tank. It's a good way to oxygenate the water a little without adding any current.

    I'd say, in general, bettas have a few special needs, but really need to treated the same way as any other fish...good tank size, good filtration and water changes, sufficient tank decor/dover. I guess what I'm saying is that you can't slack with a betta, even though thier reputation says otherwise.

  7. #7


    0 Not allowed!
    Thank you again for taking the time to answer my questions. I appreciate it.

    That's great....I'll remove the pond pump.

    Mr betta is going to be the lone fish. I have the temp at 82 and have lots of silk plants in the tank. It's going be full planted and I already got some live plants in the tank. I just added water lettuce and I noticed he really like hanging out in the roots.

    I set up the 16 gallon as I could have plants that my Goldie's would eat for dinner. Plus keeping the temp high allows for a different environment. A nice change from a cold water tank.

    I will plan to upgrade the filter. I've been changing the water when ammonia gets .25 so I will keep that up.

    I learned the hard way with Goldie's that a proper environment is deserved by our lucky goldie crew will be moving into 125 gallon tank in the spring. its really important to me that mr betta gets a great home and a healthy environment.

    Though I have to say bettas don't poop half as much as Goldie's....thank god.

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