How would I continue to travel with my fish with a larger tank?

  • #1
To start off, I'm new here. I've had my betta, Dory, since summer '06, when he was given to me as a present (probably purchased from walmart). I got all my care advice from my grandmother, and since my betta's always been healthy I never thought much to question it. So until last week, I fed my betta only Mon, Wed, and FrI some mysterious pellets I was given in a prescription bottle (he seems to like them), and did 100% water changes only about monthly. Last Thursday he got sick after a water change (which I hadn't dechlorinized because I never knew to) so I started doing a LOT of research about betta care. Since then I've learned heck of a lot, and Dory's feeling much better. Now I am starting to think it is a much better idea to switch to a larger tank, but I have a problem and I could use some advice.

I'm a college student, and as such I bring Dory with me whenever I go home for long vacations. This means Dory takes long car rides a LOT, probably once every two months at least. Because of this, I've kept him in a vase I've measured at about 2-3 Quarts, which I can easily sit in my lap on such a trip. However, after reading a lot more I know I should probably have a much bigger space for him. I was thinking upwards of two gallons, so I could add a small heater since water temperature tends to be 70-71 degrees currently and that's lower than Dory would probably like. My problem is this: how would I continue to travel with my fish with a larger tank? Dory doesn't seem to mind these long trips currently, but I don't know what moving a larger tank so often would entail. Would the stress of moving between environments whenever I took a trip be worse for Dory than being in a somewhat small space all the time and moving easily?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, and thanks in advance!
  • #2
First,welcome to fishlore to you and Dory.

Second, I wouldn't suggest putting him in a 2 gallon tank. That is still too small of a space for them. They like to explore and play a lot in their tanks and need the space to do so, plus it's a lot healthier for them. I would suggest trying to get him into a 5 gallon. It needs to be flitered and heated and also needs to go through the nitrogen cycle before you put him in there. You can read up on that here:

You also need to a master test kit so you know where his water parameter's are every week. It will especially be needed when you do the nitrogen cycle. I recommend getting the test tube ones with the liquid, rather then the test strips. They are more accurate.

Thrid, When you go back home how long do you stay for the visit. If it's only a few days then you really shouldn't have totake him with you. Do you have a friend that could watch while you go away onthese trips. A roommate or someone that could watch over him? If not and you prefer to take him, here is another thread to read that someone had been asking about the same thing.

This might be better to explain to you then I am. I hope I helped.

  • #3
These are big enough to heat with a 25 watt heater and have lights and sponge filters that will go in them and can be used as cheap tanks for them until you can get to a permanent home for him. They do just fine for a home in a dorm room. I use one for a quarantine tank in a pinch when my other one is busy. It is also portable if you lower the water level by a couple of inches.

Here is the light:


The heater is not the cheapest but it carries a lifetime warranty and can save you money over the long run as some heaters wll quit after 1 year and $7 to $10 every year adds up.

Hope this helps.

  • Thread Starter
  • #4
Thank you so much! That seems like pretty much exactly what I need, at least until Fall when I'll be in the same place long enough to keep a bigger tank.

Just two more questions: One, what is a sponge filter? Two, is that sort of tank small enough that I should perform regular full water changes like a bowl, or should I go through the nitrogen cycle? Still learning about the nitrogen cycle, so sorry if that's a dumb question.

Oh, and here's who you're helping out:

He may be a Walmart fish, but he's totally my best friend.

Thanks again,


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  • #5
You should still go through the nitrogen cycle. If he's going to be in a heated and filtered tank it needs to go though that.
A sponge filter is a filter that is used for the biological filtration. There is different kinds for different tanks and sizes. I hope that answered your question.

PS. This is a sample picture of A Sponge filter. Again the come in f=different shapes and sizes. It all depends on the kind of filter the tank has.\

PPS. Your little guy is very handsome. It's no wonder why he has stolen your heart.

  • #6
get a good 4-5gal kritter keeper and you will find that your fish is much more interesting to watch.

if you are a broke college student like myself I reccomend and your local thrift store. I found a 5gal with all the accessories for $16 before then I got a 10gal for $12 You just gotta look
  • #7
Sorry that link didn't work for some reason. Here it is again:

Hope this worked. Natalie
  • #8
Yes you will still need to go through the nitrogen cycle but he can do it and not be too much worse for wear since he has been in an uncycled area already.  It just takes time and lots of water changes   but if he is your best friend you won't mind I know

Here are the sponge filters and I am giving you a few choices.  You will need a small air pump and some airtubing and a check valve to keep the water from backing into the line in case of power failure. and a control valve.  Sounds like a lot but not so much expense really.

You may be able to get tubing cheaper at the local fish store

this is an example of control valve (green one for $1.49) that does a good job controlling air flow so the air is not too strong

(very quiet) this is a very good price for a good one.

safety measure, you can get one cheaper at the fish store.

Your fish is quite handsome and I can see why you love him so much. It makes no difference whether he came from Walmart or where. He is still lovely and you have every right to be proud. We want to welcome Dory to the Betta Community and my Alexander, Blaze and JT are wildly waving all their fins to welcome him. He is gorgeous.

  • #9
Very pretty Betta. We love all our Bettas, it doesn't matter where they came from.

Make sure you read Rose's stickied welcome and betta care post if you haven't done so already. Oh and also, you're not still feeding only 3 times a week right?
  • #10
Yeah, the 3 times a week feeding worried me too. He needs to be fed 3 pellets, twice a day EVERY day and some small piece of frozen green pea defrosted with skin removed maybe once or twice a week to prevent constipation. HikarI Betta Bio-gold pellets or Attisons Betta food are the best brands.
I wouldn't travel with him so often. Getting him into a larger cycled tank and having someone come and feed him while you're away is best.
  • Thread Starter
  • #11
I'm definitely feeding him regularly now and I've already added peas to his diet. In only a few days it's made such a difference! What would we do without the internet?

Also, I really would prefer not to move him around so much. Unfortunately I am actually literally moving three times this summer, so I won't have anywhere I could leave my fish for months! Thus the problems I'm facing. These portable tanks will work great though, and by the fall I'll have a place where I can set up a bigger, permanent tank for him.

Thanks yet again for everyone's help!
  • #12
I have done two different things with my fish while traveling. This depends on how far you travel, though. I only travel about 45 minutes to go home from college, but it should be fine for a few hours even (just drive CAREFULLY!!!).

My first step is to fill my travel jars partway with old tank water... no more than 25% of total water volume. I used to use the kind of cups that bettas come in from the store, but now I use gallon jars and don't worry so much about how long it takes me to unpack and set the tank back up after I arrive. (I have a ten gallon tank that is seperated out so that I can house five bettas in it). I place all of my jars into a box with a towel for insulation. I leave this box on a shelf until it is time to leave. I remove the filter from my tank and place it in a bag. Do not throw away old filter media, who wants to re-cycle your tank when you'll be moving again in a month!? I disassemble the air pump, heater, and so on, and put them aside. I keep them in my tank while traveling, so I don't box them up. I then vacuum out as much water as I possibly can from the tank (they sell mini-vacuums for really cheap). three or four gallons go into jugs to take home with me - again, who wants to re-cycle a tank!? the rest goes down the drain. The remaining couple of inches of water are dumped outside, then the tank and equipment go into my car. My dechlor, any fish meds I might need, and fish food go in the box with the fish. The VERY last thing I do is take my fish out, after my car is completely loaded with my stuff. My fish box sits either on the front passenger's seat, seatbelted in, or between the seats, with me holding on to it. If you only have the one fish, you could keep it in your lap, but I feel that the safest method is to seatbelt it into the passenger's seat. That way, if you have to swerve or slam on the breaks, you don't have to worry about what to do with the fish. Oh yeah, and put a lid on, tight. Don't fill the jar all the way up, just about 1/2 to 2/3. If your trip is long, you should stop every couple of hours and open the lid to make sure the fish have lots of oxygen. The last thing I do before putting my car in gear is open the jars (which were closed while I walked downstairs and to my car with them) and then reclose them, tightly.

When I get home, I take a hose to the tank. JUST THE TANK!!! Hose water is chlorinated, so be sure to finish with a few drops of dechlor. Then take the tank into the house and set it up!!!

If you need, you can also use a cooler to keep the fish at a constant temperature. I have seen this method posted online but I can't remember where.

Another thing that I do if I am going to be gone for only a week or so is put my bettas in gallon jars ($2 or $3 at wal mart), box them up, take food, dechlor, and water; and just do water changes every day. It isn't ideal, but nobody has died yet and it saves me having to take down and reassemble my tank for just those few days; none of my fish have died yet (make certain you have a lid, though, bettas jump); and they don't seem too upset about being forced into smaller quarters for a few days. If you are going to be gone for a weekend, you don't have to take your boy with you, he'll do just fine by himself.

Your Dory looks just like my Indra, so of course I think he's gorgeous. All my boys say hi... Trey is still trying to get her bearings so we'll give her a break on her rudeness.

good luck with your moves!!! and remember that everyone here is thrilled to help anytime you have questions.

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