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Old 12-31-2005, 03:08 AM   #1
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Community Female Betta tank

Hey everybody! I'm a brand new member to this forum but I have done some general reading about FW/SW aquariums and have kept individual bettas in the past (2.5g filtered aquariums).

I'm considering the purchase of a ~29g tank to house a group of betta females. In the past I did try keeping two females together but they were endlessly fighting so I'm hoping that a larger tank with more females would help with the pecking-order and spread out any aggressions. I have looked through many of the past threads about betta community tanks and it looks like at least a small number of people here have been able to maintain 3-5 females without any problems.

Along with the tank, stand, and lighted canopy I would like to have dual HOB filters and dual heaters for failsafe reasons. At the same time, I've read that bettas aren't particularly fond of surface current so I might have to re-evaluate my filter plan. In the past I used small internal filters but with the water level such that the output was about even and not much current was generated. This should be feasible with HOB filters as well, correct? Plants would be silk artificial and I would have some other natural-looking decorations as well. I prefer the look of gravel to sand and will probably use pea-size colored aquarium gravel from Walmart/Petsmart.

So if all of that sounds good I have some questions:

1) If I go the dual-filter and dual-heater route, should I buy them with half of the necessary tank capacity, or should I get models that are independently designed for a 29 gallon tank? I know for full backup they should each be able to handle the full tank but I was wondering what others have done.

2) The LFS's here do not seem to carry female bettas and when they do, it's usually only 1 or 2 at a time. I think the introductory group would need to be at least 3 females if not more so I'm looking at online livestock dealers that offer overnight delivery. Are there any really great ones, or any to specifically avoid? Also how much initial biological load do you think a properly cycled 29g aquarium could handle, 5 individuals or should I keep it less than that? Ideally I would order all of the fish I wanted to have so that I only pay shipping once, but obviously it's not a good idea to introduce a bunch of fish at one time to the tank.

3) I presume that airstones would be a moot point with bettas, correct? I like the look of them but bettas aren't reliant on dissolved O2 and it seems like it would just stir up the water which they don't like anyway.

4) What is a good place to buy a long 29 gal tank? I know that Wal-Mart carries an AquaCulture brand 29g tank kit and matching stand but it's a tall design rather than long.

There are still more things I'm curious about but this is still the extended planning phase so I'm not going to make this post any longer.

TIA,
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Old 01-01-2006, 03:49 AM   #2
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1) 2 gentle filters might be ok as long as some part(s) of the surface has no movement since they will most likely go to those parts for easy access to air. The 2 heaters sounds like a good idea. If you don't mind the spending for two 100 or 150 watt heaters, that would be more than enough.
2) not sure
3) pretty much useless and I don't think they'd like the extra movement much
4) I would go with a '20 gallon long' or '36" long 30 gallon' over a 29 for bettas. The only difference between a 20 gallon long and 29 gallon is that the 29 adds a couple inches to the height. Bettas would prefer the shallower water and the extra height doesn't really add anything "better" for them. I don't buy aquarium kits because I don't think they come with quality stuff. IMO, it's better to just buy the tank, stand, and fish (if they have what you want) at the store. I would get the equipment, food, and whatnot online.
www.bigalsonline.com is a good place for that stuff.
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Old 01-01-2006, 01:34 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply.

I spent a number of hours yesterday going through the older posts on this forum, getting some information about different betta setups. I'm planning to get two small filters and put both at the same end of the tank such that the other end will be relatively low current. I think that two of the Pengiun 100Bs from Big Al's would be a decent choice--between the two they should move 6X. When I get some fake plants I will try to find something to disperse the filter output.

As far as heaters go the Visi-therm models seem very popular around here so two of the Stealth 150 looks like a good choice.

When I get back home from holiday break I will check Petsmart and see if they have a long 30 gallon tank. I remember seeing lots of kits last time I was there but I didn't spend much time on the individual tanks. At this point I'm definitely considering buying everything separately so that I can pick the exact model accessories that I want.

I did some more research about online live stock dealers and liveaquaria.com and petsolutions.com are two that keep popping up as recommended. Maybe I'll get lucky and a local store will have females, otherwise I will have them shipped.
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Old 01-01-2006, 08:05 PM   #4
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Just make sure the heaters keep the tank at about 77-80 and not TOO high. Do this by setting the heaters to the temp and keeping an eye on the thermometer every day (once or twice) for at least 3 days. Also, I hope you plan on doing a fishless cycle? Using pure ammonia is probably the fastest and easiest way. HTH
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Old 01-01-2006, 09:11 PM   #5
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I plan to keep the tank heated at 80 degrees. Room temperature in our house can get up to 82 in the summer so the water shouldn't get hotter than 80 during any part of the year. When I get everything set up I will do a fishless cycle with ammonia to get it ready for live fish.
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Old 01-04-2006, 05:53 PM   #6
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Update:

I got the tank, stand, and light canopy today at a local store. 30 gallon long tank (14Hx12Wx36L). I also removed the wall outlet next to the tank and installed a GFCI protected one as recommended in case of electrical short circuit.

I got some tank decorations, silk plants, and 50 lbs of aquarium gravel at Wal-Mart and they are drying out after being rinsed off. I also rinsed out the tank with water and wiped it down. My box of stuff from Big Al's should be here Friday or Monday so I can get the tank filled with water and set up the filters and heaters.

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Old 01-04-2006, 11:13 PM   #7
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Awesome tank. I've been wanting one that size and I love the oak. Heck, I also like female bettas. Good luck! :P
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Old 01-05-2006, 03:06 AM   #8
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I think a single penguin 100B should be plenty of filtration/circulation for a few bettas. I had a single Penguin 170 the end of my 20 long, and I think that was a bit much without some serious structure to block the current from the other side of the tank.
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Old 02-02-2006, 11:54 PM   #9
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Here's an update on the tank:

I'm not going to do the community female betta tank after some consideration. It's impossible to find them locally and I don't want to risk the live Internet ordering. I decided to get a separate 5 gal tank for a single male betta and will put some community freshwater fish in the 30 gal tank.

Tank filled and set up with two Penguin 150 filters, two 150w visi-stealth heaters, and air stone:


I'm trying to get a fishless cycle started. I put in some ammonia (from Ace hardware) about 3 weeks ago to bring the ppm up to around 4.0 and it hasn't gone down by a measureable amount yet. I didn't have any existing filter media to seed the tank but I have been taking the "used" water from my 5 gallon tank with the betta and putting some in the 30 gal tank. I've started to see some stuff growing on the air tube and some of the fake plant leaves but I guess the ammonia-consuming bacteria isn't growing very fast. Tank temp is 86-88 degrees to speed things along and Ph is 7.2. Test kit is the Aquarium Pharmaceuticals one.

Hopefully within a couple weeks the ammonia level will have decreased. If not I will wait until the 5 gal tank is cycled and then move the Whisper filter over to the big tank to disseminate the bacteria.
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Old 02-03-2006, 12:55 AM   #10
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I'm glad you didn't go with the female betta community plans. For future reference I'll go ahead and say why. Remember this is all one of those IMO type deals...YMMV

1. Bettas, both male and female are solitary animals. They do not appreciate other animals as neighbors in an enclosed environment. Females can, will, and do fight amongst themselves, just not with the gusto and publicity that males do. That being said, they don't seem to mind small cories as much as other fish that swim higher in the water column. But I don't think they enjoy that much either..

2. Bettas are most at home in water that is 4-8 inches deep. A tank that's too deep is bad for their health, as they need to spend too much time racing to the surface to breathe. Pretty funny looking for that beautiful tank you purchased to only be 1/4 filled with water if you ask me. Using it to it's full potential was a good decision! It will look lovely when cycled and stocked I'm sure.

3. Bettas dislike, despise, hate, can't tolerate water movement. Did I mention they don't like moving water :P They are much happier in a small container of warm still water than they would be even with a sponge filter in your 30 gallon. Divide your 5 gallon in half, remove the filter and place a male on one side, female on the other. Toss a few stems of anachris on each side, free floating for top cover. You'll get to enjoy watching the males antics trying to impress the female he sees through the glass divider and they will be happier than they could ever have imagined.
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Old 02-03-2006, 01:09 AM   #11
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Yes those were factors I considered before deciding against the bettas. I wasn't as concerned with the water depth as I was the water movement. My male betta in the 5 gallon seems to enjoy the slow current from the Whisper filter (water level matches the output of the filter so there's no churning or bubbles) but he spends most of his time swimming a few inches below the surface. He will dive lower when chasing food or exploring but most of the time it's shallow water cruising (as expected).

When I got the Penguin filters set up (even one of them running by itself) I knew bettas would be really ticked off with that much water movement. I've read that females are usually more tolerant than males due to the shorter/smaller fins but even they would have had problems I think. Fortunately there's lots of other fish that enjoy moving water and turbulence.
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Old 02-03-2006, 01:09 AM   #12
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Also, I think the optimal temp for bacteria growth is 80? Might want to kick it down a notch or 2. Too high and they don't grow as fast also. Also, moving water between tanks won't help speed things up, but if you place a little substrate from the small tank in a new sock and place it in the filter, you will kick-start the filter a bit. And if you have enough to do 2 socks, could do both filters at the same time.
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Old 02-03-2006, 01:17 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lonewolfblue
Also, I think the optimal temp for bacteria growth is 80? Might want to kick it down a notch or 2. Too high and they don't grow as fast also. Also, moving water between tanks won't help speed things up, but if you place a little substrate from the small tank in a new sock and place it in the filter, you will kick-start the filter a bit. And if you have enough to do 2 socks, could do both filters at the same time.
I've read various numbers for ideal temperature, usually it's between 77 and 86 degrees. The page below claimed increased rates of nitrifying bacteria production all the way up to 95 degrees. With two heaters I could easily reach that temp but better to be safe and not risk killing any bacteria:
http://www.skepticalaquarist.com/doc...t/nitcyc.shtml
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Old 02-05-2006, 09:11 PM   #14
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Well it looks like the 1st stage of the cycle finally started. Today I tested the water and my ammonia ppm is down to about 1.5 and the nitrite ppm is up to 2.0. Sweet.
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