View Full Version : My first betta - general advice please!

08-08-2003, 06:11 PM
My fish experience is based on years and years of goldfish ownership, as I have left home now my 2 goldfish have stayed with my Mum so I was fishless. For ages I have been on about getting a betta (or siamese fighting fish as we call them here) but they are not that easy to find, today I went to an aquatics centre who had one so I bought him.

I did ask some questions when I bought him based on my goldfish experience but the lady looked at me like I was mad so I hope you can help me out, she told me she keeps her betta in a large vase with a plant.

Kevin is red and his body is about an inch long :)

What is best to keep him in? Right now he is in a large vase (which has 6 pints of water in) they didn't have any small tanks in
the store. Tomorrow I am getting him a real tank! Should I get him a tank or a bowl? And what size?

How often should I feed him? I bought him 2 types of food, the one I was recommended and the one they had been feeding him (they were surprised I bought these because each tub was twice the price of Kevin). I was planning on feeding him each type once a day.

Does he need a live plant in there? If so what type? Or would a fake one be ok for him to hide in?

Water - should I treat the water in his tank? I use stress coat and stress zyme for the goldies. Also he was in a tropical tank in the store but the woman told me he would be ok in cold water as it is hot right now. Should I get him a heater to keep the water warm? Does he need an air pump and a filter? How often should I change the water? Should I put aquarium gravel at the bottom of the tank?

Finally Kevin is a lone fishy, could/should I get him a girlfriend (a female betta, if you can get such things!)? I don't want any reproduction but just want to do what is best for him.

I know I should have done this research BEFORE getting Kevin home but thought I would be ok with my goldie knowledge, it was the woman in the store who has confused me, telling me they are "hardy" and dismissing many things I asked about. I would have got him a tank today but I got him after work and when I got to the other store it was shut. Kevin seems ok and has eaten some food and is swimming about :)

Aspen and Misty
08-08-2003, 06:32 PM
Kevin will kill his mate, so no no friends for Kevin!

Yes you will need chemicles to take teh cholrine out of his wate. My Betta, Bella, is in a 10 gallon tank and I would recomend this as any betta's home, bella just LOVES hers! Yes Betta's, like any other type of fish, need filters, Bella does not have an air pump on her tank however. Stones on the bottom of the tank are a good idea, I think they keep the good bacteria in. bella does not have a plant in her tank and she is fine. The plants that they sell in the pet store will acctually cut a betta's tail. bella does not have a heater but I keep her temperture about 78 degrees F. I change bella's water normally when it looks dirty or the water is getting low.


08-08-2003, 07:04 PM
Congrats on the new betta! Tanks and bowls are both fine, but make sure the bowl is big enough for him to have plenty of room to swim around. A tank would be great as well. I would recommend 5 gallon tank (a 10 is good too but for one fish a 5-gallon is fine). I have 4 bettas living nicely in a 10-gallon tank, divided with the same divider I use for the gerbils.

I feed my bettas three or four flakes a day. They do fine, but I've heard of people who give them more. If they don't eat it, I scoop it out. What you are planning to feed him should be fine for him.

I use fake plants for my bettas, and they like them. I think there are some real plants that can do damage to the fish if eaten. :confused: I'm not sure though..

The water question.. I'll have to ask my dad about that. I'll get him to post here when he gets up for work.

No tank/bowl-mates whatsoever. They will fight and kill each other. But if you want another one you can divide up the tank with a clear tank divider. I like this idea because the bettas can see and interact with each other, but they cannot harm each other. And if that is your decision, make sure that there is no way the bettas can get through to the other side. I had an accident where Ocean escaped from his section and into Bubbles' and he bit Bubbles' tail off (Bubbles is still alive today, and his tail has grown back nicely). Luckily I noticed before there was any further damage done.

Mr. Coral
08-08-2003, 08:53 PM
I would like to add some more information:

No, you do not need a heater and you do not need a filter. I would put gravel or stones on the bottom. Change the water once a month, but do not change with tap water. I would let it sit overnight and put in chlorene remover. Letting the water sit overnight would let the temperature of the water get to room temperature. If you must use tap water, only use cold water, never hot water. If possible when changing, use bottled water from the store. That is your best bet, because it has no harmful chemicals at all.


08-08-2003, 10:57 PM
Just a little more advice...if you don't mind.

Bettas will eat flaked food, but there is Betta food and it much better for him. Just a small amount, judge it this way, If you where to just put the tip of you finger in the food....what covers you tip is all the food they need. Once a day this way.

Bowl or tank if fine....if it's a tank, use a air stone, in a bowl it's not nessary. Remember Bettas in their natural state live in puddles of water. So you don't have to get a large tank if you don't want too. Just nothing less then 1 or 2 gal. though.

Stay away for the live plant, if your not sure what is a good plant.

Make sure your PH is not high or low. A good Ph for a Betta is 7.0....a little off is ok. But stay close to that.

If you do want to get him a buddy....don't get another Betta...one will die from the fighting. Reason for their name. They can live with other fish though....mine always have. A good fish is like a neon, guppy (plain tailed), terta. but even then watch them, make sure the other fish have a hiding place to go to if nessary.
Never get a fish with a fancy tail/fins!!!

Never put a Betta with a goldfish, they put off to much acid in their wast.

Also, just in case you don't know. Male Betta's will make a bubble nest at the top of the water sometimes. So If you see a part of your tank/bowl with a group of bubbles floting on top that doesn't mean your water gone bad or anything else you might think. It just means he getting ready for the hope of a female coming along and perparing for babies. If you wanted to this would be the time to get a female...ONLY for mating reasons. Once the mating is over the female has to be removed and the male will care for the eggs. Then of course once the babies are born they have to be seperated. So really not worth it, inless you want to have a LOT of Betta bowls around. ;)

08-09-2003, 08:21 AM
Thanks guys for your help, Kevin is now installed in his proper home :) and looks much happier :) I did read this thread before I went out this morning but didn't have time to reply..

I got him an 11 litre tank, a fake plant (it's soft so shouldn't hurt his tail) a ceramic treasure chest to hide in and gravel for the bottom. They did have a really nice looking bowl but I know that bowls are not recommended for goldies so didn't think Kevin would want one either!

In the UK tap water is suitable for drinking, I used aged tap water for him both times - it stood in a bucket for 24 hours and was room temp.

For feeding I haven't been able to find betta food. When I bought him I was told he was being fed "tetra prima" and the tub says for mid-level or bottom feeders and that it helps promote bright colour. I crush this into smaller pieces for him and it sinks to the bottom (he eats it on the way down!). I have looked in 2 more stores today for some betta food.

I really didn't know he couldn't live with a female :eek: and I won't bother getting any other fish to live with him, one is enough!

08-09-2003, 01:48 PM
Originally posted by shellonabeach
Finally Kevin is a lone fishy, could/should I get him a girlfriend (a female betta, if you can get such things!)? I don't want any reproduction but just want to do what is best for him.

well if u get a female, he might bully her. but he also might mate with her sooo...if u don't want that just keep him as a lone fishy. :) but it is ok for 2 or more female bettas to live together. most likely they will get along.

just 2 males will fight (to the death) to see who is more dominate. :rolleyes:

08-09-2003, 02:04 PM
my betta Rogue (who ironically is red, white and blue) is in a little tank with stones at the bottom and fake plant. he is getting really big, so pretty soon i'll have to get a bigger tank for him! :rolleyes:

08-09-2003, 04:04 PM
Congratulations on getting Kevin, :) I really like that name!

We have a beta fish too, named Windows (computer guy, hubby, named him :rolleyes: ). We have him in a 15 gallon tank with other community fish that he seems to get along well with. :)

08-10-2003, 05:45 PM
My favorite website for Betta information is http://bettatalk.com/
This site covers pretty much any questions you might have concerning the care, environment and health of your Betta.
I hope you find it helpful!