Betta Build - Care Tips Confusing

Random-storykeeper

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The forums are a confusing place to learn about fish care for bettas. I've looked at three different betta care posts/articles here and all of them sort of give opposing views as to how to care for these fish. Like, one source says to only give frozen, never freeze dried foods, others say only give freeze dried, never frozen foods. Some people here say the minimum betta tank size (for a single male betta) is 5 gallons, others say 2.5 gallons, others say 10 and I've seen a user here say one betta should never go in anything less than a 30 gallon? And the temperature ranges people give for these fish are like, 70 - 80, some say like 78 to 80 F and it's all just like who's right?

I also made a thread in the freshwater beginners forum relating to old fish food and I have a lot more questions about tank cycling and I don't know if I'm supposed to be posting in that same thread or if I should start an entirely new thread. :nailbiting:

Don't get me wrong; I really enjoy just reading a bunch of threads and articles here and many of the users here seem friendly. It's just when I try to take it as research and a good number of information is inconsistent, I really start to question which piece of information I'm supposed to listen to. :sorry:
 

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I totally get where you're coming from. When I did research (after impulse deciding to save a betta) it was a NIGHTMARE to figure it all out.
2.5 is the minimum... BUT I can say from personal experience, to have a happy betta at least a 5 gallon. It's like saying they *can* live a bowl with no filter or heater, but they'll actually thrive in a proper aquarium. I have also kept a male betta in a 20 and he swam every inch. In my opinion it should be 5 gallons and up is *best* but not minimum.
When it comes to foods, I feed both freeze dried and frozen. Specs, my current betta, also really loves flakes and refuses pellets. But sometimes that's up to preference to the betta. But I've had bettas who hated bloodworms but loved crushed up freeze dried shrimp.
Bettas can take a very wide range (70ish-85ish) BUT they are happiest in the 78-82 range. Kind of like I'm from Florida, for instance, I *can* live in Alaska but I'm happiest in Florida where I'm warm as I hate the cold.
Hopefully I explained that decently...

What questions do you have about cycling? I'll be happy to answer them here
 

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Welcome!

First off, tank size is completely arbitrary (within reason). I always recommend a general minimum of 5 gallons for bettas, but often, some are more active, so they potentially require more space.

70-80F is an exceptionally broad range. No betta should live below upper-tropical temps (78-81F) on a regular basis. They're tropical fish after all.

Whoever said to feed only frozen foods should research more. Frozen foods are high in fibre & will destroy the fish's digestive tract if fed too regularly. Freeze dried foods are known to cause bloat, so one should always feed formulated betta pellets with a frozen snack every week or so.
 
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Bry said:
I totally get where you're coming from. When I did research (after impulse deciding to save a betta) it was a NIGHTMARE to figure it all out.
2.5 is the minimum... BUT I can say from personal experience, to have a happy betta at least a 5 gallon. It's like saying they *can* live a bowl with no filter or heater, but they'll actually thrive in a proper aquarium. I have also kept a male betta in a 20 and he swam every inch. In my opinion it should be 5 gallons and up is *best* but not minimum.
When it comes to foods, I feed both freeze dried and frozen. Specs, my current betta, also really loves flakes and refuses pellets. But sometimes that's up to preference to the betta. But I've had bettas who hated bloodworms but loved crushed up freeze dried shrimp.
Bettas can take a very wide range (70ish-85ish) BUT they are happiest in the 78-82 range. Kind of like I'm from Florida, for instance, I *can* live in Alaska but I'm happiest in Florida where I'm warm as I hate the cold.
Hopefully I explained that decently...

What questions do you have about cycling? I'll be happy to answer them here
Hmm I see...

My question is (well, actually I have a couple ): I've been cycling my 5 gallon since Saturday using old tropical fish flakes. I've been testing ammonia levels each day, but I'm pretty sure they're still sitting at 0. I've read that it can take up to 6 weeks to cycle a tank using this method. I don't really mind waiting, but I am wondering how long I should expect to start seeing ammonia levels rise? Should I be testing the water each day using this method, or should I wait until the end of this week, etc.? Would it make a difference if I upped the amount of fish food I was ghost feeding the tank each day?

I've also been noticing that my tank has been having some rapid temperature fluctuations. A couple days ago, the temperature was at about 77 F at night, but ever since I pushed my heater down (it was kind of sitting at the top at first), the temperature has starting to rise steadily. It's late at night and the temperature is now 81.5 F, went up to 81.7 F just a few moments ago. Is this concerning at all for the betta I'm planning to put in it, or is it normal for the temperature to rise like this when tank cycling?
 

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BringKermitBack said:
Welcome!

First off, tank size is completely arbitrary (within reason). I always recommend a general minimum of 5 gallons for bettas, but often, some are more active, so they potentially require more space.

70-80F is an exceptionally broad range. No betta should live below upper-tropical temps (78-81F) on a regular basis. They're tropical fish after all.

Whoever said to feed only frozen foods should research more. Frozen foods are high in fibre & will destroy the fish's digestive tract if fed too regularly. Freeze dried foods are known to cause bloat, so one should always feed formulated betta pellets with a frozen snack every week or so.
I miss you! Good answer.

Random-storykeeper said:
Hmm I see...

My question is (well, actually I have a couple ): I've been cycling my 5 gallon since Saturday using old tropical fish flakes. I've been testing ammonia levels each day, but I'm pretty sure they're still sitting at 0. I've read that it can take up to 6 weeks to cycle a tank using this method. I don't really mind waiting, but I am wondering how long I should expect to start seeing ammonia levels rise? Should I be testing the water each day using this method, or should I wait until the end of this week, etc.? Would it make a difference if I upped the amount of fish food I was ghost feeding the tank each day?

I've also been noticing that my tank has been having some rapid temperature fluctuations. A couple days ago, the temperature was at about 77 F at night, but ever since I pushed my heater down (it was kind of sitting at the top at first), the temperature has starting to rise steadily. It's late at night and the temperature is now 81.5 F, went up to 81.7 F just a few moments ago. Is this concerning at all for the betta I'm planning to put in it, or is it normal for the temperature to rise like this when tank cycling?
Personally I wouldn’t test every day. Waste of chemicals. Every 4 or 5 days should be often enough for you to see progress without getting too antsy. Is your heater adjustable? If not, you’ll want to get one that is. In any case, you want one that will hold the temp steady. After 24 hours, check the temp again. If it’s not what it is now, you may want to get a new one.
Aren’t you excited? I am. For you.
 

lilabug4545

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Here's my advice when it comes to keeping bettas. Since they are so tolerant, everyone will have different opinions on how to keep them. Here's what I say.
Tank: 2.5g minimum, with 5+ recommended. A 10 gallon would be perfect for a male, imo. Well decorated, no matter the size, as they will get bored and tail-bite otherwise.
Heat: Bettas need to be kept in 75-82F. 75-79 if you aren't breeding, 80-82 if you are. Many people tend to keep them in the higher side, even if they aren't breeding, but keeping them in breeding mode for most, if not all, of their life can lead to a shorter life span. If you aren't going to breed, then I'd recommend staying on the 75-77 side.
Food: Bettas can live off of many different types of food. I've found, however, that it's best to have a mix of three or four different foods (I use Aqueon pellets for flavor, HikarI Bio-Gold for color, and NLS Betta Pellets for nutrition). I've only had issues with one fish with using freeze-dried/pelleted foods. With him, however, he was prone to constipation and swim bladder issues even outside of food-related issues.
I feed my mix, supplemented with freeze-dried bloodworms, frozen/thawed bloodworms and brine shrimp, and live baby brine shrimp. I find that with bettas, a lot of commercial foods don't have the right nutrition, so a mix is best.

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask! We love answering questions. Otherwise, we wouldn't be here.
 

FergusDaFish

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Random-storykeeper said:
The forums are a confusing place to learn about fish care for bettas. I've looked at three different betta care posts/articles here and all of them sort of give opposing views as to how to care for these fish.
Boy do I hear ya! I just got my first betta since college last payday (haven't even had him a month) and have been scouring blogs and websites and forums trying to get the best set up. Here's what I did to sort through it all:

  • I will ready a whole bunch of sources for care recommendations and then chart a course down the "average" recommendation given.
    • Temperatures from 70-80 degrees vs 78-82 vs 75-80 vs ... the common thread seemed to be "high 70s"
    • Tank sizes 2.5 gallons, 5 gallons, 10 gallons... 5 gallons seemed the most often recommended and sounded like a good started size so I went with that.
  • It seemed like the most important thing with water was that parameters stay pretty steady (temperature, pH...) so I've not really been stressing over that too much, just watching for cycling spikes and doing WC as needed.
  • Food recommendations seemed to be in the arena of "they're carnivores" and "vary their food" so Fergus gets pellets and FD bloodworms on no set schedule, just whatever I feel like feeding that day. Thinking of investigating live food options for variety and enrichment but he'll be fine on pellets for a while so I'm not stressing.
  • Tank decor recommendations were "no plastic plants, either silk or live" so I didn't include plastic plants, and when one found its way in it damaged Ferg's fins proving the recommendation was warranted.

Various YouTube channels
Fishlore's Betta subforum

My general recommendation would be: Don't stress too much. If he's in less-than-satisfactory conditions now (with the exceptions of really really really bad water conditions or presence of disease) the chances that he'll die in the next 24 hours is pretty low so you can improve living conditions over time.
 

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Greetings and welcome to Fishlore

The best thing I can say when it comes to a new member trying to decide what information to follow would be this> is the person giving the advice new themselves? (not that new members do not bring valuable insight) How long have they been in the hobby (check the profile page, if there is little information be skeptical) Have they posted a long term series of photos of the same fish or a bunch of different fish giving rise to the thought that maybe they have a high turn over rate.

Just something to consider.
 

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There are many ways to keep fish and so many different descriptions of facts and experiences. I do know that cycling a tank (if that is what someone wants to do) requires ammonia. That comes usually from the food decay, and also the waste of fish after they eat. It's really the same except that fish waste has been pre-digested. One tiny betta fish in a 75-gallon tank would take forever to cycle, but it would eventually.

A tank under 10 gallons will become dirty faster and toxic nitrite and nitrate will build up, potentially harming the fish. If a person is fastidious about keeping their tank clean, a 5-gallon tank is okay. The problem is that real people forget, and a fish can't talk so they can't tell you their water is toxic. In many cases, you do not know if anything is wrong with the fish until it starts to die on you.

So I am one of those people who believe you need a larger tank, between 10 and 20 gallons. I also believe the fish should have some non-aggressive tank mates to keep it occupied and interested in life. You know, like what they call environmental enrichment, or stimulation. I feel a betta needs a filter, a heater, a light, plants, and a few other creatures in the tank. Not just a sterile box or bowl.

Since care is personalized, I do not think there is a "rule book" that is totally right 100%of the time.

The real truth about tank size is that bettas are "pond hoppers." In Asia the wild ones (spledens), from which all of the "fancy" bettas are bred, move from area to area, usually, or often in rice paddies. They find ways to move from one rice paddy to another. In areas without rice paddies, the same goes but they move from puddle to puddle (Killie fish also act like this), often in the rainy season. Watch this video and you will see the behavior of betta fish. This is not even a "wild" betta, it is just a regular box-store type betta. This is why they can both live in a small tank and a big tank.

 

FergusDaFish

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Thunder_o_b said:
The best thing I can say when it comes to a new member trying to decide what information to follow would be this> is the person giving the advice new themselves? (not that new members do not bring valuable insight)
I'm a new(er) member so keep in mind that my advice should be taken with a grain of aquarium salt but I'm also very close in time to the OP's conundrum so I felt like I had something to contribute in terms of how I sort through conflicting information.

To be clear, I'm not insinuating Thunder_o_b is calling me out specifically and I'm not taking offense to their post, I actually agree with it.

Kalyke said:
Watch this video and you will see the behavior of betta fish. This is not even a "wild" betta, it is just a regular box-store type betta. This is why they can both live in a small tank and a big tank.

That's really cool! I wonder if they have video of the betta getting back up the levels or only going down... off to google...

EDIT: In the comments of the video the poster says they restart the fish at the top of the pond/falls via a net so it doesn't jump back up the tank. I am disappoint.
 
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Thanks for all the responses, everyone! Prior to making this thread, I bought three different types of freeze dried foods. I might consider getting new pellets though; my betta pellets are like five years old now haha. Question when feeding: would pre-soaking freeze dried food help prevent constipation that people say these foods can cause? I've seen a couple threads mention that feeding a little bit of a pea once a week can also help. But is this okay for the betta if we're not supposed to give them "human" foods and not to mention the fact that they are also carnivores?

Actually, I did look at a couple of websites outside of Fishlore, and I saw one that mentioned bettas were omnivores that eat insects and algae. I never heard that before outside of that one site so I can probably assume this isn't true. :hilarious:

Gypsy13 said:
Is your heater adjustable? If not, you’ll want to get one that is. In any case, you want one that will hold the temp steady. After 24 hours, check the temp again. If it’s not what it is now, you may want to get a new one.
The heater I currently have is not adjustable. I don't think I've seen those before, at least in the pet stores I've checked out. I'm surprised the temperature was climbing up so much, considering it was just a 10 W heater. The only reason I got it was because the higher watt heaters have only one suction cup and they didn't stick to the side of the tank very well (I had a 15-20 W for a 3 gallon aquarium I owned quite a few years ago and it probably got thrown away).

Well I unplugged the heater last night as the temperature was getting close to 82 degrees F. It went back down to about 75. I plugged it back in and now it's climbing up again. I guess this is a sign that I need a new heater? What is the best kind of heater for a 5 gallon?

Kalyke said:
The real truth about tank size is that bettas are "pond hoppers." In Asia the wild ones (spledens), from which all of the "fancy" bettas are bred, move from area to area, usually, or often in rice paddies. They find ways to move from one rice paddy to another. In areas without rice paddies, the same goes but they move from puddle to puddle (Killie fish also act like this), often in the rainy season. Watch this video and you will see the behavior of betta fish. This is not even a "wild" betta, it is just a regular box-store type betta. This is why they can both live in a small tank and a big tank.
Oh yeah, I remember when I was much younger, one of my sisters had a betta that was a frequent jumper. One time, he jumped into the sink while I was cleaning out the water (fortunately, I always plug the drain and pour in a bit of the old water whenever I cleaned it and the drain was designed such that it could hold water and the betta easily and I just had to pour it back into the container I kept it in while cleaning). We had to cover his tank because he was easily the most jumpy one. But looking back, it was probably because the tank was quite small (think the small betta plastic tanks they sell at the pet stores, maybe even a bit smaller). This betta had multiple problems, like swimming quite frequently on his side and hitting his head against the rocks and corners.

This was many odd years ago, back when the only research I'd ever done on these pets was taking advice from the pet store. (sorry to all the previous bettas I've ever owned :sorry: ). I'm hoping the current setup I have for a single betta is going to be fine. My family already thinks I'm crazy for getting a 5 gallon tank for just one fish.
 

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At least you’re on the right track. You’re researching the stew out of bettas! Good for you. A lot of it is confusing, contradictory and frustrating. But, if you look at what is known about them, common sense fills in the gaps. You’ll be able to look at something and say yes this is true or no I don’t think so.
Peas are a good way to keep their systems flowing properly. Some bettas refuse to eat them. Even soaked in garlic. Daphnia, if you can find it, does the same thing. Feeding a good quality food and giving occasional treats is the best course. Five year old food probably isn’t a great idea.
The heater I’d replace. I’ve had to buy mine online in order to get adjustable ones. I think all of mine are aqueon pros.
 

Kalyke

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That's really cool! I wonder if they have video of the betta getting back up the levels or only going down... off to google...

EDIT: In the comments of the video the poster says they restart the fish at the top of the pond/falls via a net so it doesn't jump back up the tank. I am disappoint.[/QUOTE]

I think when they jump out of a pond, they never really expect to go back. It's not like they have a house and car waiting for them there!

I just put up some "shelves" for my betta to sit on. I also just went "black water." Sort of a light tea color right now. They like that.
 

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The great part of FishLore is all the different opinions, but it also makes things confusing.

I'll try to answer your questions with some backup so you can make your opinion. I just setup an 8 gallon betta tank last Sunday so this is everything I'm doing.

Tank size: I'd absolutely go no smaller than 5 gallons. Think about it. Bettas don't just sit in one place, they swim and explore just like any other fish. They do rest a lot, but they definitely swim around and need room to do so. When setting up my new tank, I set it up, filled with dechlorinated water, then put the fish in. I had no decorations yet so I put those in the next day. As soon as I put the dragonstone and plants in, he explored every hole in the dragonstone and looked at all the plants. To me, this shows why they need bigger than 5 gallons.

Temperature: I keep the tank at 79 degrees. I read online 77-80 so I kept it right around there. I think that's something most people agree on.

Diet: Bettas are prone to bloating and constipation. This is why most people disagree about freeze dried foods vs frozen food. Both will work, but freeze dried have no water so they will absorb a bunch of water. So if a betta eats it before it absorbs water, it will expend in there stomach and can cause bloating.

Obviously clean water and a stable temp/ph are important. Bettas will be more tolerant of fish in cycles because they can breathe air if necessary but 0 ammonia and nitrite are very important.
 

imba

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Some great information and views here. One consideration is also the type of betta you get. For the past few years, I've been exclusively only keeping plakats, which presents so much less issues compared their longer finned cousins. They are very active and strong swimmers which allow them to be ok in higher flow. They also won't have tail biting / nipping issues. Because they don't have huge tails dragging them around their entire lives, they seem healthier, more active and less lethargic even as they get older.

This if course is purely my own opinion and experience
 
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Random-storykeeper

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I went and returned my 10 W heater in exchange for an adjustable one yesterday. The adjustable heater seems to work much better so far, and I have it set at 80 degrees F. The thermometer reads 81.1 F, though it does stay pretty constant around that temperature, only waning between 0.1 F every now and then.

While I was there, I also decided to pick up some aquarium bacteria and I put it in my tank. Today, I went to test the water and saw the following:
  • pH is at 7.6
  • Ammonia is at 0
  • Nitrite is at 0
  • Nitrate is at ~10-20 ppm
Does this mean that my tank is cycled? I would find it odd that I see nitrates appearing before I ever saw the spike in ammonia and nitrite. Not to mention the other worrying factor about my pH. I guess because I put in the bacteria right away, that established it?

I'll put some pictures of the test results, just in case I'm misreading them:

image1.jpg

image3.jpg

image2.jpg

image0.jpg
 

FergusDaFish

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What's wrong with the pH? My understanding was that as long as it stays consistent it should be fine.

The last time I tested my tank (a few days ago) I was 0/0/0 and 6.6 pH. I did get ammonia and nitrite spikes a few weeks ago but they didn't last long so I assume my tank is cycled and the plants are taking care of the nitrates?

I'm testing again in the morning since I just did a PWC and my tap water tests 0.25ppm ammonia so I'm letting it sit overnight.

How long has your tank been set up? It might be cycled, I don't know.
 

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Thunder_o_b said:
Greetings and welcome to Fishlore

The best thing I can say when it comes to a new member trying to decide what information to follow would be this> is the person giving the advice new themselves? (not that new members do not bring valuable insight) How long have they been in the hobby (check the profile page, if there is little information be skeptical) Have they posted a long term series of photos of the same fish or a bunch of different fish giving rise to the thought that maybe they have a high turn over rate.

Just something to consider.
And that is why I listen and don’t comment I’m still learning every day ( haven’t killed him yet )
 
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FergusDaFish said:
What's wrong with the pH? My understanding was that as long as it stays consistent it should be fine.
I read on the betta profile of this site that the preferred pH is 6.0 to 7.5. Before I added in the supplement bacteria, the pH was at about 7.0. Hopefully this is okay, but I guess I should wait a few more days to see if any of these values, including the pH changes.

FergusDaFish said:
How long has your tank been set up? It might be cycled, I don't know.
My tank has been cycling for a little over a week now. I've been ghost feeding the aquarium up until I put in the aquarium bacteria on Saturday. I did test the water throughout the week and the ammonia had always stayed at 0. So even though there are nitrates present, I'm not sure if this means I have cycled when I never saw the ammonia or nitrite spike at all.
 

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Random-storykeeper said:
I read on the betta profile of this site that the preferred pH is 6.0 to 7.5. Before I added in the supplement bacteria, the pH was at about 7.0. Hopefully this is okay, but I guess I should wait a few more days to see if any of these values, including the pH changes.



My tank has been cycling for a little over a week now. I've been ghost feeding the aquarium up until I put in the aquarium bacteria on Saturday. I did test the water throughout the week and the ammonia had always stayed at 0. So even though there are nitrates present, I'm not sure if this means I have cycled when I never saw the ammonia or nitrite spike at all.
May I say I just went through the exact same thing but it has started to cycle in the last three days I am finally show ammonia and nitrites .025 I have always had nitrates so I checked my water and it is high in nitrates 8.0 I hope this helps you at all sorry I wasn't going to say anything but is was so what I am going through as well it just started and I have had him in since 9/11
 

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