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Old 11-23-2004, 05:17 PM   #1
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5 gal. Betta tank

Hello everyone...

I was reading recently about a gentleman who was asking about a betta and adding more fish to a 2.5 gal. I kind of have the same question, but in a 5 gallon. My setup at work is a Mini-Bow 5 with a Whisper filter, a 10watt fluorescent bulb, and a 10 inch water curtain that I run every so often to "clean up and oxygenate the water". If I run it for too long I see my betta get thrown around by the current it starts creating. I am going to be getting a gang valve for it soon. I also have a small 25 watt heater I got from the LFS that keeps the tank around 74 degrees. My betta is kind of small compared to other bettas I see around town. (I got mine from a LFS, but Walmart bettas seem much larger..) The tank is currently not cycled, but my boss has a 28 gal that is cycled and I am going to see if I can get a bio-wheel from them and see if I can float it in mine, or see if my LFS will be willing to sell me a used biowheel or filter.

That was the history and run down of the situation, now for the real question. Tank mates!? I know 5 gal is pretty small, and my betta really seems to like this tank a lot better than the 1 gal I had him in. (I gave the one gallon to my wife's boss who had his betta in a "betta bowl"..) I have seen a tetra that I like (at Wal-Mart... I won't buy trust me..) but I forget the name of them. They are almost neon orange, and a little taller than neon tetras. I looked at my LFS and the only thing close to them were red-eye tetras... (Which I like as well). How would these do with my betta. Don't tetra's like to be in schools? So to keep from getting overstocked I should only get 1 or 2 but then they wouldn't be happy. So what do I do? Suggestions? Are there any other fish types that you guys/gals would suggest?

Thank You
Rich
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Old 11-23-2004, 05:39 PM   #2
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Hi Rich . I don't really want to burst your bubble but a schooling fish by itself is a sorry sight. Perhaps 2 small cories or a pair of guppies is all that would be comfortable in that tank.
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Old 11-23-2004, 08:10 PM   #3
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We have two cory cats and a snail in my sons 5gal Betta tank.
Hope this helps.
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Old 11-23-2004, 10:22 PM   #4
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I keep two otos and a ghost shrimp with my female betta in a 5 gallon. They seem to be doing fine, haven' been up and running too long though.
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Old 11-24-2004, 12:57 AM   #5
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Hi Rich and welcome to Aquarium Advice!
I have two bettas, each in their own 5.5 gallon tank, with no tankmates. Your betta will be very happy in this tank, rather than a bowl!

I don't really think the water curtain is necessary in a tank of this small size. Bettas don't like current, as you have seen, and the betta could become stressed and/or ill. As long as the top of the water is moving a little (mine just ripples a bit), the water will be oxygenated enough. Remember also that bettas have a labyrinth organ that they use to draw oxygen from the air. The labyrinth and the gills work together. Your Whisper filter is not air-driven, is it? So a gang valve wouldn't work with this filter. (I have seen them in the stores but never used one.) I have a sponge filter (an Azoo brand, rated for 10 gallons) in each tank, run by one air pump through a gang valve. The top of the water ripples, if I look at it from the side, but overall the water doesn't really move.

A 25-watt heater is the right size for this tank, but your temperature should be at 80-82 degrees. In my experience, a low or fluctuating temperature is very bad for bettas, causing stress and disease. It's a good idea to get some filter media from an established tank. Make sure the tank is disease-free. Do you have test kits for ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate to get through the cycling process?

As far as tankmates, I don't think guppies would be a good choice. The guppies' fins are fairly long and colorful, and the betta may think it's another betta, and attack the guppy. Also in a small tank, there would be no room for either fish to have a territory, so the fighting would probably be escalated. I wouldn't try tetras either. I've seen a group of tetras ganging up on and attacking a betta. (this was at the hatchery I go to, and the owner promptly moved the betta.) I would agree with the suggestion for cory cats. Otos might not be your best bet either -- otos seem to do better in a more established tank, with low nitrates, and more algae to eat, since they need to be constantly grazing. I also agree with the suggestions for a ghost shrimp or a snail with the betta. I did have a ghost shrimp for awhile with my bettas. The bettas ignored the shrimp. Other posts I've read said that a betta ate a ghost shrimp! It just depends on the betta.

Another thing I have been reading here is that bettas will either seem to ignore or attack tankmates. I think you have a good chance at pairing the betta up with the cories, ghost shrimp, or snail, but be prepared to move them out of the betta tank if necessary.
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Old 11-24-2004, 04:04 PM   #6
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Right now I have two oto's with my betta in a 5.5 gal. Everything is good, so long as I make sure there is enough algae in the tank (or other food, though the betta will gorge to the point of ridiculousness on pretty much everything expect for spinach, which the oto's like). I'm sure this set up is far from perfect for the oto's, but a good opportunity. came my way for the pair. The oto's have been in the tank for about 3 months, and the tank was quite stable before hand (as long as I take care of it). There's definitely a lot of worry about buying oto's, and the general concensus is to only get them for an established tank.

The betta and oto's get along just fine (though I have a fairly calm betta), but the betta is curious about seeing the oto's move about, and they always flee/stop when he come near.

Cory's are usually really good companions for bettas, though they should be in a school (which is tough in a 5 gal). And they don't have quite the same fragileness that oto's do, so they might be a better choice in your situation. I'd love to get a couple pygmy cory's in my tank right now, but don't have the room for them, so I wait.

Good luck.
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Old 11-24-2004, 04:54 PM   #7
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Thank you for all your responses. I really appreciate all the advice. The whisper filter is not air driven, the only thing that I bought the air pump for was the bubble curtain. I was going to put a gang valve on the bubble curtain to slow it down and not create such a current. After your hearing your advice, I'll just take it out of the tank since it is not needed.

I'll definatly slowly raise the tank temp to around 80 degrees. I do have a test kit at home that I keep forgetting to bring in to work with me (where the tank is). It is a freshwater master kit. Ammonia, Nitrite, Nitrate, and PH.

As for tankmates... I guess I'll just leave it the way it is. If I get really adventerous maybe I'll get a snail. But for now I guess I'll be his only company...

Again thank you to everyone who responded...
Rich
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Old 11-25-2004, 12:50 AM   #8
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Hi Rich,
I think you're off to a good start! Your betta will be very happy in this tank. Raise the temperature one degree every 12 hours. If the tank is at work, though, turn the heater up one degree first thing in the morning, and then another degree right before you leave in the evening. This way it should take three days to get up to 80 degrees. Put a thermometer in the tank to monitor the temp, especially in a work environment. Does the room heat go down a lot overnight? Your betta will like some silk plants to hide in and rest on. Plastic plants are too hard on a betta's delicate fins.

I also think it's best in this size tank to keep tankmates to a minimum, if at all. A snail or a ghost shrimp will be fine to try. Some members have said that their betta ate the shrimp. My betta ignored the shrimp, but the shrimp died after about a week. I think my water may have been too soft for his shell, but I didn't want to alter the water hardness since the betta was doing so well. Cories and bettas may get along, but since cories like to be in a school, probably at least four cories, the tank will be at its stocking limit. Since you have this tank at work, and won't be around to monitor it as much as if it were in your house, I'm hesitant to recommend this. Oscarbreeder has had success with two cories -- but each group of fish has their own personalities, so sometimes it's good to have an alternate plan if something doesn't work out. I think your plan sounds good though!
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Old 11-26-2004, 01:36 PM   #9
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Just keep her alone or maybe with a cories or two. should be fine.

Dan
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