Heat Loving Betta?

freckspecks

Active Member
Member
Messages
65
Reaction score
45
Experience
2 years
HI All,

I recently bought my betta, Sugar, a small low wattage heater for her 2.5 gallon tank. Even though the heater was advertised as a "betta heater"--claiming to keep the water temp within the "happy betta zone"--I bought a separate thermometer, too.

After a day, I was alarmed to find that the water temperature had climbed to 86+ degrees F. So, of course, I unplugged the heater and added a couple cups of cool RO water to Sugar's tank.

This did not sit well with Sugar.

I really think I ticked her off. She very quickly swam back over to the heater and perched--as she likes to do--on top of the adjacent filter. She then swam right up to the heater and seemed to rub herself all over it like she was cold. (And the water had only dropped to just 83-85.)

I guess my question is, would it hurt her to keep her water temp a touch warmer than traditionally advised? Say, around 85-86 degrees F?

Thank you in advance for your replies.
 

TexasDomer

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
33,051
Reaction score
9,024
Location
Texas
Experience
2 years
That would a little too warm, in my opinion. She may have been reacting to the cool water being dumped in. I would keep it at 82 F at the highest for a permanent temp.
 

Fishpuns

Active Member
Member
Messages
225
Reaction score
131
Experience
1 year
I think the large influx of cold water is probably what made her run to her heater. Try to keep it 80 and see how she does for a couple days. If she still isn't happy go to 81. I wouldn't go over 83 permanently though, it causes other problems and could shorten her lifespan
 

Caitlin86

Well Known
Member
Messages
776
Reaction score
350
Location
Canada
Experience
Just started
Just be sure to gradually reduce temp as u don't wanna cause shock to ur fish and beneficial bacteria. You also have to keep in mind warmer water has lower oxygen saturation...aerating with an air stone will solve that ( I keep my bettas tank at 80 and always have aeration).If u r going from 86 to 80 I recommend taking ur time and doing it 1 degree over 8 hours.
 

Jen86

Active Member
Member
Messages
332
Reaction score
231
Location
Las Vegas
Experience
More than 10 years
I agree that it's a touch too warm, and it's the general consensus that higher temperatures raise their metabolism, thus shortening their lifespans.

But there is always an exception to every single rule. For example, I had a pair of females live happily together in a 5.5 gallon for their entire lives. Not a single torn or bitten fin. This is not normal, and it's not recommended to keep them together like that. They were sisters, and the exception to the rule.

We know that 85-86 doesn't harm them because that's one of the things recommended to treat velvet and (I think) ich. And it's recommended to keep the tank that warm for weeks. I'm treating my rescue for velvet now and I've been reading up on it, and many sites say to keep the temp at 85 for 4-6 weeks.

So it's not harmful. And maybe she actually prefers the warmer temps. And if she does, I don't see any harm in obliging her.

The thing to remember is that, as Caitlyn86 said, warmer water has lower oxygen. This isn't a big deal, betta fish can't get enough oxygen through their gills any way, but making sure she has access to the surface while she's sleeping or resting is doubly important in warmer water. Or having an air stone to offset it (or both).

I've got a betta hammock in my rescue's tank for him to sleep on, and I've also got a cave for him to hide in. The inside is hollow so I put it in straight down so there's a good bubble of oxygen trapped inside. This is his favorite place to sleep. You just have to remember to replace the oxygen every couple of days.

I'd keep an eye on her and see how she reacts to 80-ish degrees, as opposed to 85. It was probably just the reaction to the cold water. Or maybe she honestly does want warmer temperatures. There are exceptions to every rule. And this is just my opinion, I'm not a vet, but I don't personally see the harm in indulging her.
 

Caitlin86

Well Known
Member
Messages
776
Reaction score
350
Location
Canada
Experience
Just started
Jen86 said:
I agree that it's a touch too warm, and it's the general consensus that higher temperatures raise their metabolism, thus shortening their lifespans.

But there is always an exception to every single rule. For example, I had a pair of females live happily together in a 5.5 gallon for their entire lives. Not a single torn or bitten fin. This is not normal, and it's not recommended to keep them together like that. They were sisters, and the exception to the rule.

We know that 85-86 doesn't harm them because that's one of the things recommended to treat velvet and (I think) ich. And it's recommended to keep the tank that warm for weeks. I'm treating my rescue for velvet now and I've been reading up on it, and many sites say to keep the temp at 85 for 4-6 weeks.

So it's not harmful. And maybe she actually prefers the warmer temps. And if she does, I don't see any harm in obliging her.

The thing to remember is that, as Caitlyn86 said, warmer water has lower oxygen. This isn't a big deal, betta fish can't get enough oxygen through their gills any way, but making sure she has access to the surface while she's sleeping or resting is doubly important in warmer water. Or having an air stone to offset it (or both).

I've got a betta hammock in my rescue's tank for him to sleep on, and I've also got a cave for him to hide in. The inside is hollow so I put it in straight down so there's a good bubble of oxygen trapped inside. This is his favorite place to sleep. You just have to remember to replace the oxygen every couple of days.

I'd keep an eye on her and see how she reacts to 80-ish degrees, as opposed to 85. It was probably just the reaction to the cold water. Or maybe she honestly does want warmer temperatures. There are exceptions to every rule. And this is just my opinion, I'm not a vet, but I don't personally see the harm in indulging her.
The betta was only in those high temps for 1 day so imo its a little extreme to come to a conclusion whether the betta likes 86 degree vs 80 degree water. Yes a lot of treatment plans instruct to raise temp...but to raise it 2 86 degrees permanently is a bit much. The betta only reacted badly after being shocked by the cold water....if the temp had been dropped very gradually I believe the outcome would of been different. I also like to spend as much time with my fish as possible...so if I can keep them thriving at 80 vs 86 I will do that.
 

NavigatorBlack

Fishlore VIP
Member
Messages
4,139
Reaction score
5,006
Location
Canada
Experience
More than 10 years
Garbage heaters that don't work - I bought three preset to 76f heaters in a bankruptcy sale, all in the package, unopened and sealed.
None are close to what the advertise.
Try to never drop temps more than 3 degrees in a day. Remember, fish like these are cold blooded.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #8
OP
freckspecks

freckspecks

Active Member
Member
Messages
65
Reaction score
45
Experience
2 years
My attempts to cooling her off weren't extreme. Just about 2 cups of room temp water. (It just lowered her tank temp by a degree or two.)

I've now got her little heater on a timer. Her tank has dropped to about 81...and she seems displeased. (Her tank is in my office and I swear I can feel her glaring at me.)

Since discovering her overheating issue, I've been manually plugging in her heater for a couple of hours, then unplugging. Now that it's on the timer and it's "off", she just swimming round and round it. (I swear she knows what that little red light means...and what it means when it's not on. Haha!)

Jen86, thanks for your advice. I'll keep an eye on her. It does seem a simple thing if it makes her days happier. (Like your fish, she has a hammock and a cave...and lots of plants to play in as well.)

. . .

Just peeked at her over my shoulder. She is glaring! :nailbiting:
 

Jen86

Active Member
Member
Messages
332
Reaction score
231
Location
Las Vegas
Experience
More than 10 years
Caitlin86 said:
The betta was only in those high temps for 1 day so imo its a little extreme to come to a conclusion whether the betta likes 86 degree vs 80 degree water. Yes a lot of treatment plans instruct to raise temp...but to raise it 2 86 degrees permanently is a bit much. The betta only reacted badly after being shocked by the cold water....if the temp had been dropped very gradually I believe the outcome would of been different. I also like to spend as much time with my fish as possible...so if I can keep them thriving at 80 vs 86 I will do that.
Understandable. However, all evidence saying that warmer temperatures = shorter lifespan is anecdotal, due to the fact that it raises their metabolism. The amount that such a small change would speed up the metabolism in a tropical fish would constitute a difference in lifespan of a few months, at most.

But it's not your thing. That's fine. It's your opinion. Freckspecks is the one who knows the fish and her behavior, and what she prefers. I was simply offering an option, as I don't like mindlessly going with what everyone else says without regard to the individual fish. Everyone else says 85 is too high. I agree (which I said, in my original comment.... more than once). But just sitting there repeating over and over again that it's too high for the individual fish without knowing the individual fish or her personality or temperament seems to me, a little extreme.

I've spent time with my fish. I've trained two of them how to count, how to identify and sort colors, how to play a form of soccer, etc. There are no 100% hard and fast rules with these animals. They're too complex for that. Immediately discounting any sort of possibility because it's not the norm, without knowing the individual animal in question, seems very narrow-minded, as if one cares more about the accepted rules than about the animal itself.

The accepted rules say two females cannot live peacefully together in a 5.5 gallon tank. Mine did. Accepted rules say that a male and female cannot cohabitate for any period of time, and even supervised breeding by an experienced professional usually ends in torn fins and injuries. My male and female siblings (the male is my avatar) share a divided tank that she used to sneak through, and would spend hours on his side of the tank before I would come home and see her and put her back. Multiple times a week. She never had torn fins or showed any signs of stress, except for when I finally figured out how she was getting through and fixed it. She was highly stressed about that for almost a week afterward.

Accepted rules say 85 is too warm. And again, I agree. But I'm not about to tell someone that they absolutely should not even consider it when it appears that the animal in question just might prefer it. That's why I suggested to keep an eye on her, and watch her, and see how she reacts to changes in temperature.

For those who choose to get to know their animals as individuals, very distinct preferences and routines become known. My female hates being woken up early. My dragonscale male throws a fit and uproots his plants if I wait too long in turning off his light at night. My rescue loves listening to Unintended by Muse. These are complex animals with likes and dislikes. They are not robots. Discounting their preferences in favor of accepted rules seems just as cruel as putting them in those glass vases and sitting them on someone's desk. They're not an individual at that point, they're a breathing piece of scenery.

I believe there's a possibility that the fish in question prefers warmer temperatures. I believe that the only one who can judge that with any degree of accuracy is the OP. Which is why I suggested watching the fish over a period of time, so that the OP may make that judgement accurately.

I also believe in quality of life over quantity, so if I have to say goodbye to my fish 6 months earlier, but she was more comfortable throughout her whole life, I'm okay with that. I think it's selfish to prolong an animal's life by keeping it uncomfortable. But that's just me.
 

Caitlin86

Well Known
Member
Messages
776
Reaction score
350
Location
Canada
Experience
Just started
I also believe in quality of life as I stated "If I can keep my betta thriving at 80 degrees vs 86 degrees I'm gonna go that route" ...thriving is the key word. Not once did I say I would prefer my fish to suffer/survive so I can have more time with him/her.
 
  • Thread starter
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
OP
freckspecks

freckspecks

Active Member
Member
Messages
65
Reaction score
45
Experience
2 years
I think I'm just going to try and strike (and hold) at a fence-sitting ~82-83 degrees. The big thing this time of year at our house is helping our warmer tropical tanks battle the AC. :)

I appreciate everyone's input!
 

Jen86

Active Member
Member
Messages
332
Reaction score
231
Location
Las Vegas
Experience
More than 10 years
Caitlin86 said:
I also believe in quality of life as I stated "If I can keep my betta thriving at 80 degrees vs 86 degrees I'm gonna go that route" ...thriving is the key word. Not once did I say I would prefer my fish to suffer/survive so I can have more time with him/her.
Cool. That's your fish. Your fish probably hasn't shown preferences one way or the other. Or maybe you just haven't noticed.

But just immediately discounting the possibility of a fish having a personality and being and individual, and THEN being all condescending to someone for suggesting that the OP watch for a possibility of a preference seems to me like a person who doesn't see their animal as an individual.

But a bunch of people agree with you so maybe I'm the weird one for actually watching and learning about my fish's personalities. I've been accused of being too passionate about them before.

Then again, maybe that's why mine can count.

But I'm done hijacking this thread. That sounds like a good plan, OP. If she does prefer the warmer temps, that should keep her content. And yeah, you're right, it's tough to battle the AC. My husband turns the thermostat down to 69 every night. Ugh!
 

TexasDomer

Fishlore Legend
Member
Messages
33,051
Reaction score
9,024
Location
Texas
Experience
2 years
A fish's personality doesn't really have much bearing on their species's natural temp ranges (that they've been adapting to for ages). 86 F is a little to high for a permanent temp, based on their range temps.

82 F seems like a good temp!
 

Fishpuns

Active Member
Member
Messages
225
Reaction score
131
Experience
1 year
Humans like alcohol. A lot. So why don't we drink it all the time, every meal of the day? Because our bodies cannot do that, and it will kill us. Yes, even if we like it. It will still kill us.

The betta might like it hot, she might like it very hot, but it will still kill her. As the temp increases the oxygen in the water goes down. As the temp increases biological systems will start to shut down. As the temp increases the lifespan decreases. Even if she likes it hot this not change the science of it.

The betta listening to Muse is freaking awesome. But she'll be just fine at 82-83, this is very warm for a betta. Anything higher is just dangerous. So in this situation, fish life>fish preference
 

New Threads

Similar Threads

Follow FishLore!

FishLore on Social Media

Online statistics

Members online
291
Guests online
3,399
Total visitors
3,690

Aquarium Photo Contests

Aquarium Calculator

Top Bottom