Betta Community Tank - Help Needed


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cwforums

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Hi, I'm wanting to setup a small betta community tank. I bought a 4 gallon baby BioOrb and have it cycled. It has some live plants and I have 2 Serpae Tetras in there. They helped to cycle it, since the store said they are hardy eventhough I wanted to go with Neon Tetras.

I've heard that Serpae may nip fins and therefore may not be a good tankmate for a Betta. I wondered if a 3rd Serpae would help them school and therefore leave a betta alone. Also, I wondered what good tankmates would be for a betta in the aquarium I have setup.

I'm wanting to get a black halfmoon betta to put into the tank. I'm also intending to get some floating plants as extra cover.
 

0morrokh

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Serpaes need to be kept in groups of 6 or more. They are shoalers and need the company. However no matter how many you have you can NOT keep them with a Betta or you will soon have a finless Betta.
I'm afraid your tank is too small for serpaes though. THey will not be happy in a group of 2 or 3 which is all the fish a tank that size can support, and anyway they are far too active for a tank that size. I suggest getting a bigger (15 or 20 gal) tank for the Serpaes, and then you can have your Betta in the 4.
Please cycle any new tanks you have fishless. Under the "Beginners" section of the forum there is a stickied post called "Fishlore Articles for Beginners". I recommend reading those, and there is an article which explains how to cycle fishless. It is a much more humane method.
Also before getting your Betta read the stickied post about Betta Care. THat will hopefully answer a lot of your questions.
In a tank of that size I would recommend keeping the Betta alone. It is hard to maintain good and stable water quality, especially when you are starting out in the hobby, and so it would be best to keep the fish to a minimum.

I just have a few q's about your tank:
What are the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate readings?
What is the temp?
How often do you do water changes and how much do you change?
What are you planning on feeding the Betta?

Well, have tons of fun with your betta, and yell if you have any more questions. And Welcome to Fishlore!!!!! We have a great bunch of people here.
 

cwforums

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0morrokh said:
Serpaes need to be kept in groups of 6 or more. They are shoalers and need the company. However no matter how many you have you can NOT keep them with a Betta or you will soon have a finless Betta.
I'm afraid your tank is too small for serpaes though. THey will not be happy in a group of 2 or 3 which is all the fish a tank that size can support, and anyway they are far too active for a tank that size. I suggest getting a bigger (15 or 20 gal) tank for the Serpaes, and then you can have your Betta in the 4.
Please cycle any new tanks you have fishless. Under the "Beginners" section of the forum there is a stickied post called "Fishlore Articles for Beginners". I recommend reading those, and there is an article which explains how to cycle fishless. It is a much more humane method.
Also before getting your Betta read the stickied post about Betta Care. THat will hopefully answer a lot of your questions.
In a tank of that size I would recommend keeping the Betta alone. It is hard to maintain good and stable water quality, especially when you are starting out in the hobby, and so it would be best to keep the fish to a minimum.

I just have a few q's about your tank:
What are the ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate readings?
What is the temp?
How often do you do water changes and how much do you change?
What are you planning on feeding the Betta?

Well, have tons of fun with your betta, and yell if you have any more questions. And Welcome to Fishlore!!!!! We have a great bunch of people here.
I'm on my way to bed and can't answer all your questions right now but I have another to toss out. I'm unable to fit a larger tank. How can I make this tank work without tossing the fish I have? And, if the only solution is to give the Serpae to someone else do you have suggestions or recommendations for animal rescue leagues that would help with the Serpaes? I have a friend who is a long time aquarist but his tanks are full, as far as I know, or I'd see if he could house them.

The temp is 76 degrees F, I do 25% water changes, and the Betta will be fed dried bloodworms plus betta pellets. That's what I've fed my other Bettas and they enjoyed them. Not too much though or they'll get fat and blocked.

I've used Betta Water treated with stress coat and Cycle plus live plants to assist the cycle. Oh yeah, I also want to put in some Spanish Moss and a red ramshorn snail. A friend is getting some, recommended one for me and if it'd fit okay with everything I'd like to use him. If not, it isn't a problem.
 

0morrokh

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Your tank is a bit too cool...Bettas prefer a temp around 80. Otherwise from what you've told me so far it sounds good for a Betta.
Oh I'm not sure what the Betta Water it is you're using but generally the best water to use for fish is just tap water...
As far as the Serpaes I'm afraid for their well being they really shouldn't be kept in a 4 gal. If you can find no other option I guess you could just take the Serpaes back to the store. Sorry you can't fit another tank. We all seem to have that problem around here. ;D
Also make sure to read the intro to Betta Care post.
Oops almost forgot...don't waste your money on Cycle. idk what miracles store employees said it would work but most find Cycle does virtually nothing to aid in the cycle. Just fyi.
 

chickadee

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I am happy to welcome you to the Betta Board and the Fishlore.com site. It is always nice to meet a new betta owner and it does sound like you need a bit of help.

First, the Bio-orbs do not have heaters, do they? I did not know that there was one for the Baby Bio-orb but know that the Mega can be fit for Tropical fish. You see, Bettas are, in spite of the common fallacy, really Tropical Fish. They need heated, filtered water in a cycled tank to have a full and healthy life. They are also surface dwelling fish and need a surface to be able to go to as they also breathe air as well as using their gills to breathe. This is going to be a bigger problem in something like an orb as the surface is limited. I would not plan on floating plants as the fish needs a good clean surface since the surface in an orb is smaller to begin with. Your betta will drown without a good surface to get to. I would also not consider the snail in that aquarium, they are great waste producers and that will increase the maintenance of the orb by a LOT.

I love the orbs to look at but it is hard to have much in them because of the shape. The ideal thing is to get some mid level fish as that is where the widest area of the tank is. A top or bottom dweller will have a much smaller world to play in.

Serpaes and Neons are both fin nippers and I am like Omorrokh, I do not believe that you should crowd the tank. Bettas become more aggressive the more cramped they feel and just the little guy by himself is going to be a tank I believe.

Yes, Cycle is a product that hooks one into using it but basically does nothing.

Rose
 

cwforums

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chickadee said:
I am happy to welcome you to the Betta Board and the Fishlore.com site. It is always nice to meet a new betta owner and it does sound like you need a bit of help.

First, the Bio-orbs do not have heaters, do they? I did not know that there was one for the Baby Bio-orb but know that the Mega can be fit for Tropical fish. You see, Bettas are, in spite of the common fallacy, really Tropical Fish. They need heated, filtered water in a cycled tank to have a full and healthy life. They are also surface dwelling fish and need a surface to be able to go to as they also breathe air as well as using their gills to breathe. This is going to be a bigger problem in something like an orb as the surface is limited. I would not plan on floating plants as the fish needs a good clean surface since the surface in an orb is smaller to begin with. Your betta will drown without a good surface to get to. I would also not consider the snail in that aquarium, they are great waste producers and that will increase the maintenance of the orb by a LOT.

I love the orbs to look at but it is hard to have much in them because of the shape. The ideal thing is to get some mid level fish as that is where the widest area of the tank is. A top or bottom dweller will have a much smaller world to play in.

Serpaes and Neons are both fin nippers and I am like Omorrokh, I do not believe that you should crowd the tank. Bettas become more aggressive the more cramped they feel and just the little guy by himself is going to be a tank I believe.

Yes, Cycle is a product that hooks one into using it but basically does nothing.

Rose
Thanks for the posting. I previously had a 1.5 gallon tank for my bettas but wanted to upgrade to a larger tank now that my previous betta is in a better place. The Bio Orb, as you said, does not come with a heater but I do have a heater in it. I took the one I used in my 1.5 gallon and it works nicely for the time being.

The floating plant idea stemmed from wanting to give the betta some top level cover but I am by no means wed to it. I am, however, wed to putting a betta in this tank. The problem at hand is the two Serpaes currently residing within. How would you recommend resolving that? Tossing them down a drain and returning them to the store both being not options for me.

I realize that Bettas gulp air from the surface and unless the new betta will be different from my prior, they tend to stay mid-level a lot and then bottom to rest. At first I briefly considered making the tank a 1 fish setup. However, it seemed a shame to not maximize potential. That by no means putting dozens of fish inside. I thought of a Betta and 1-2 other fish.

Your information on the snail is much appreciated. I was not entirely sold on the idea of its inclusion, although it seemed nice and the snail is aesthetically pleasing, and I won't be heartbroken to not include it.

As to Cycle, I don't have a response besides saying it was one small part of the cycle process I used, which would not significantly sway the results of the other methods I employed. That said, your collective opinion on that product is much appreciated.

So, what's next?
 

0morrokh

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I'm glad to hear you put a heater in, I did not realize they don't come with heaters. You'll just need to turn it up a bit for a Betta.

Certainly we would never advise tossing fish down a drain!!! That is cruel and inhumane and I'm glad you would not consider it. (we've seen a few people who think that's an ok thing to do with a fish they don't want....) Whatever you do decide to do, the Serpaes can't stay in a 4 gallon tank, mainly simply for their well being. I would never even consider keeping tetras in anyhting less than 15 gallons. they are cramped in a small tank and they are lonely because they can't be kept with enough friends. I am very sorry but they really need to be moved to a bigger tank, however you can manage to do that.

As for tankmates, whether you take our advise or not is of course your own decision, but I do not recommend having any more than one Betta. 4 gallons is extremely small, and though a Betta can live well enough in there, it will be very difficult for you to maintain good water quality in such a small volume of water. Anyway, technically even adding 2 more fish would overstock the tank and put too much bio load, which is really bad in a smaller tank. There are no fish you could keep with a Betta in a small tank that you can get just one of.

Well, keep us updated on what you are doing and I hope you can find a solution to the Serpae problem. Just holler if you have any questions.
 

chickadee

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WELLLLLL.....I will say something here that will probably start a storm of public opinion, but I know it works and is okay, just not the most desirable. 

You will need to have an answer to algae no matter what...and I am FULLY AWARE of the fact that Otos are schooling fish and they get to about 1 1/2" and the Betta is going to get to about 2 1/2".   I have had just one oto in a tank for a long time now and he is just fine and not even unhappy as he plays with Blaze and is active and healthy.  He is my oldest fish so I know that it is not something that is going to  be hazardous to his life.  I am going to say that you can have 1 oto in with your betta and it will not be overloaded and he will take care of the brown algae in the tank, even if you do not have it now, it will rear its ugly little head eventually, if you do not overfeed him.

I really expect to have some disagreement here but it is the ONLY answer to the problem of not having too heavy a bio-load in the orb and having another compatible fish in with the betta.  It goes without saying though that you must be prepared to remove the fish if you find that you have one of those bettas who simply WILL NOT tolerated any other fish in the same tank with them, and there are those Bettas out there.  When you deal with a fish that has as much personality as the Betta, there is just no way of knowing ahead of time if you will get a lion or a lamb.  I will say that if the color reference I saw at one time is true and so far with the bettas I have owned, it seems to run fairly true; Bettas of certain colors seem to be the most likely to be super touchy in temperment.  (Reds the most tempermental and Black following closely)  Wish I could remember where I read it...any Betta with the word Cambodian in the name is going to be more touchy also...I have had two Cambodians - one Crowntail (Marty) and the other halfmoon (Emma - female) and they have both been very hard on tankmates.  While Marty never actually killed any of his, Emma did.  (She was a very RED RED)

Good luck and I hope some of this was helpful.  Let the debate begin.

Rose
 

nmwierman1977

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Rose- Are all crowntails cambodians? How do you knw they are cambodian besides being labeled. Is there a way to tell? All the ones I see at petsmart are just labeled by the type of tail they have. Natalie
 

0morrokh

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Well sorry Rose but I guess I get to be the first to say I respectfully disagree. You don't NEED an Oto to not have an algae problem. You can also have more than one Oto and still have a huge algae problem (heh heh ). Otos are shoaling fish and should be kept as such. At least they should have a friend. Rose I know you have an Oto alone but that was a sort of accident how that happened and I don't think that should be recommended. besides, can you really be sure he is as happy as he would have been had he been raised with a friend?
It is not necessary to have more fish in there, and so I don't think he/she (sorry...) should get more fish for the tank unless it is in the fish's best interest. I do not believe having an Oto alone is in their best interest.
A tank that small would not be ideal for an Oto anyway...we all know how difficult it can be to maintain good water quality in a small tank. Remember when my Otos got finrot? That was in a 10 gal and I was doing 50% weekly water changes and the nitrates were at or a little above 20, and that was still too high for them. Especially for newer fishkeepers smaller tanks can be a little harder to manage and in such a small body of water problems build up quickly. Anything in the water can be really harmful to Otos.

Well, there's my opinion and please feel free to disagree with me
 

chickadee

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They have a different body shape. They are more like little floating blimps in the body shape than the slim little fish with fins that we all think of as the standard betta. I had more than one Crowntail and I lost a lot of my pictures but Noel was NOT Cambodian and had the mild and sweet personality of a lamb; Marty on the other hand was a darling and pretty but he had a naughty streak and did not care much for company in his tank. I will go back and see if I can find pictures on the site of both of them.






(Marty's demo photo and Noel's best pictures)

You can see the body shape difference in the pictures of them both in their tanks/vase (oh my, I did have a lot to learn ~ A VASE ~ even with being heated and filtered and holding a lot of water I should still be ashamed. The only good thing is he was not in there for long. :-[)

Rose
 

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OK, Thanks Rose. I was just curious. I'm getting a couple Otto cats in a few days once I know my tank is back in order and then once I know the Otto cat's are adjusted well to the tank I'm going to get another Betta. Anyway, I didn't mean to interrupt this thread. Back to business. Natalie
 

AesSedai

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Natalie

I was considering getting an Oto or two as tankmates for Zen. After reading up on them, I was nervous that I couldn't care for them as I'd want to, namely that I couldn't sustain enough algae for them. I wish you much luck with these wonderful, albeit sensitive, lil ones.

I wanted to mention that in my readings, I read that the Drip Acclimation method is recommended for Oto's in case you wanted to check that out.

I also read (hmm, wonder if I read that here, heh) that if they survive a month after you get them, they will probably live out their life ok.

Enjoy them They're soo cute.
 

nmwierman1977

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Thanks Aesadie. I'm excited. If you don't have algae build up in your tank, right away they have algae wafer's you can feed them. That is probably what I will be feeding them. Once again, I'm sorry for hijacking this thread again. Back to the subject on hand. natalie
 

chickadee

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There are a variety of foods that they do well with:

Hikari Algae Wafers
Omega One Veggie Rounds
Hikari Sinking Wafers

Mine eat carrots and spinach and occasionally a bit of pea that I had left over from the Pea Treat of the Bettas. Be prepared for a mess and feed them at the back of the tank as they really PLAY with their food. I do not recommend them with dark colored gravel or else be sure to keep the food to the back or you will be having a mess on the floor of the tank every day. Also, the food they eat needs to be left in the tank for a longer period than just a day or so. They (at least none of mine) do not eat fresh foods the first day here...they have to start to get kind of softened and yukkie...they do not get them often as I just get impatient with them letting the stuff just about go to pieces in the tank. An attempt at zucchini here was disterous, the bettas were angry and the water was really bad, but maybe with a tiny piece they would be okay.

I do not believe you will regret the purchase of the Otos. I love all of mine and they are surprisingly hardy little fish to own, all my oldest fish are Otos! They will have algae to eat but with the choice of food that they will eat it is probably better to plan on giving them a piece of wafer about every third day just to keep them nourished. For 2 or 3 otos in a tank, I put about 1/2 wafer in twice a week at least. If you give them a lot more they just get lazy. The Hikari Sinking Wafers are small and perfect for a couple of otos so I give a whole one when I feed them, the other wafers are larger and need to be broken unless you have Cory cats or something else to help them eat them. I have had the bettas try the food and sometimes will actively eat it so you may want to watch to see that the otos are the ones actually getting to eat it....

Have fun and let us know how you enjoy them. Do remember that they are mostly nocturnal and are good hiders so if one disappears, do not despair unless you actually find a body.

Rose
 

0morrokh

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Also Otos love zucchini. Cut a little piece and you can just nuke it until it sinks if you don't want to try to anchor it to something.

AesSedai...I don't think you need to be worried about Otos. They can sometimes be sensitive when you first buy them but mine turned out to be my hardiest fish. You just have to make sure to keep you nitrates down and they'll be as happy as can be. ;D
 

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For the veggies since they like them soft and kind yukkie is it ok to give them canned since those will automatically sink or should I give them the frozen ones? I don't bjuy frozen vegetables usually. I buy canned except for the peas for when I had Mr. Red. Natalie
 

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When you can anything you lose a lot of the nutritional value. Fresh and frozen are the best. Fish are better off with the packaged flakes or algea wafers then they would be with canned vegies.

CherryRose
 

chickadee

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I have used the canned green beans, but I get the ones not salted. The only problem that I have with canned veggies actually is the amount of salt they use on them. We can ours without salt so I do not have to worry about it, but try to get some low salt ones if you use the canned.

Rose
 
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