Is My Entire Tank Setup Ok?

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by GoldenWitch, May 22, 2019.

  1. GoldenWitch New Member Member

    I've read a lot of things online about how to take care of bettas, and it seems like every website has something different to say, so I wanted to know if my current setup for my tank is alright.

    I have a 2.5 gallon tank. It has one betta and three tetras. There is a filter and a heater. The man who sold me the tank and fish said that bettas like to be alone, but tetras can be good fish to put into the tank as long as I keep an eye on them and make sure they don't nip at each other, and they all seem to be getting along just fine. He told me that I've hit the fish limit in my tank, and to not add anymore fish to my tank. My male betta and three tetras never nip at each other. The only time I had been concerned was when they were first put into the tank together and the betta would kinda nip a little when the tetras got too close, but now they chase each other and play around a little. Overall, I've had the tank for a little over a week now and I haven't changed the water yet because I've been told that I need to let the tank set up more. I had a dwarf bristlenose pleco and it died very quickly and my best guess from looking online is that maybe my tank was in a mini cycle, but I'm not quite sure because the tank is only a little over a week old

    I've just read how 2.5 gallons is the absolute minimum for a tank with just one betta, and a lot of people debate on the number of fish you can have in a tank. I've already decided that, in the near future, I want to get a 10 gallon tank to give my current fish more space and to put just a few more fish in it. I know that I can't currently afford a 10 gallon right this minute, and I've seen a lot of debate on what's right and wrong. I also would like to know if I need change 10% of the tank water weekly or 1/3 of the water monthly, I've seen a lot of debate on that too. My fish all seem very happy and content with each other and the tank, and I just really want feedback and advice.

  2. Morpheus1967 Well Known Member Member

    I would not put anything with a betta in a 2.5 gallon tank. And not taking into account the lack of space, bettas and neons have different temperature requirements. Bettas like it much warmer than neons.

    Depending on your filter, I would be doing multiple water changes each week.

    Do you have a water test kit?

  3. GoldenWitch New Member Member

    I do not have a test kit, but I plan to get one. I was told to get one after the dwarf pleco died, plus I don't plan to get another one until I get a larger tank anyways. They also aren't neon tetras, they're redeye tetras. I was informed that they have different, but similar enough, temperature requirements. I don't know what signs I should look for to tell if my tetras aren't happy with the current temperature, which is 78 degrees.

    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  4. TheBettaSushi Well Known Member Member

    Hi and welcome to fishlore!

    I’m sorry to say that the man who sold you the tank and the fish is absolutely incorrect.

    A minimum tank size for a betta is 5 gallons. Some Bettas prefer to be alone and some can live in a community tank given that the tank is somewhat large... 20+ gallons. Some people have had success with keeping them in a community (betta, shrimp, snails, etc) of 10 gallons but I don’t recommend that at all as that would be best served to those who are more advanced at fish keeping.

    Tetras are schooling fish and the more of their kind, the better. The minimum is 5 per schooling fish but that number is up to debate. A handful of tetras are better than 3 to prevent aggression. Schooling fish need to be kept in groups to feel safe from predators (fish that are not their kind).

    The chasing you see isn’t always playful and can end up aggressively especially in a tank that small where it barely fits the requirements of a betta. Male Bettas are territorial fish and like to have their own space.

    A tank that is newly setup like yours has not gone through the nitrogen cycle. The cycle takes a month or more depending on what you used to start the cycle.

    Because you’re doing a fish in cycle, you must change the water daily or every other day. Using seachem prime will detoxify any ammonia and nitrite spikes in the process. Ammonia and nitrite are extremely toxic to fish. I’d also suggest purchasing the api freshwater master test kit ($24 on amazon) to check your water parameters every day until you see 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite and some nitrates (which will take about a month or more). I’d also suggest reading up on the nitrogen cycle since that is what is the most important aspect of keeping a healthy tank.

    Once your tank is cycled, you need to change at least 25% of the water once a week to remove left over food, fish waste (poo and pee), and to put back lost mineral content that has been dissolved or evaporated (tank water becomes stale so you need to replenish with water changes).

    If it were me, I would give the tetras back and focus on the health and well being of the betta until you upgrade your tank to a bigger one as you will need to anyway because as mentioned before, a 2.5 gallon tank isn’t suitable for a betta. A small tank like that would be suitable for shrimp though.

    I am currently housing a betta and a snail in a 6 gallon tank and in my opinion, have reached max capacity in gallon volume. However, my filter is 100gph in a 6 gallon to accommodate and keep my water parameters in check. I also use a lot of bio media to house more beneficial bacteria to break down ammonia/nitrites and convert to nitrates which is not as toxic to fish. I keep my nitrates below 20ppm and remove it with weekly water changes.
    Last edited: May 22, 2019
  5. GoldenWitch New Member Member

    I appreciate your information. I have a question though, I've seen that a LOT of stores sell mini fish tanks that are made specifically for one betta. I've heard great things about those aquariums. Would that be a suitable option to look into if I'm only caring for the one betta?
  6. TheBettaSushi Well Known Member Member

    You’re welcome. I would not purchase those as most of the time, they’re smaller than the 2.5 gallon you have now. I would stick with the 2.5 for now until you purchase a bigger tank and give the tetras back as soon as possible. If you can’t give it back to the person you got them from, call around local pet stores in your area to see if you can donate them. You can also post it on this forum in the buy/sell/trade section.

    Here is an article to guide you through a fish in cycle. It will tell you when and how much water to change during the process and some other helpful information for beginners.

  7. DIYhack Valued Member Member

    If it’s 5 gallons sure.

    Under 5 gallons is like a person living in a closet and they have to poop/pee in a bucket.

    They have drastic temp changes/water parameters swings as well.

    Ck theses ones out.

  8. TheBettaSushi Well Known Member Member

    More like a prison cell.

    Great link!! However I 100000% disagree with the Fluval edge... I have that tank and am housing a betta in it... have been for years and I hate it!!!! It defeats the purpose of a top view because you need to keep at least a 1/2 inch below the glass top and the water column for the betta to breathe. The filter is also too strong and causes too much current and it needs to be baffled. It’s a hassle and it’s frustrating when housing a betta. I can somewhat customize it (getting rid of the hob and using a canister) but I’m extremely limited due to the fact that you cannot move the filter to another location because of the permanent glass top. No matter what filter you use, you’re stuck with putting the intake and outflow in the back middle. The worst part is dead spots!!!! Dead zones in all front corners and the front middle of the tank. It’s something I've struggled with for years and can’t wait to get rid of it. Just say NO to the Fluval edge!!!
  9. SarahBear1009 Valued Member Member

    In my short experience keeping Bettas, personally a 10 gallon is the way to go. You'd be surprised how active these guys are. But it really is dependent on your Betta and their personality. I have ONE Betta in a 5 gallon, and that's only because he has trouble swimming in a bigger tank due to his fins being so long. He actually swims around much more in this 5 gallon than he did in the 10 gallon I had him in. But my other 2 males are in 10 gallons and cover every square inch of the tank. I wish I could actually put them in my 55 gallon, but I have my 5 females in that one lol as others have stated, a 2.5 gallon is too small. 5 gallons are better, and 10 gallons are even better.
  10. HAYGEE New Member Member

    Definitely agree with the above posts! Tetras can be housed with Betts (if your particular Betta is friendly lol) but they would preferably need a 10gal for any fish friends. I’m currently looking into some nano fish for my Betta who currently lives in a planted, 9gal (Fluval Flex) and I’ll be pushing my luck. Something to remember as well is smaller nano tanks can work but would be better long than tall! I personally wouldn’t keep a Betta in anything smaller than a 5gal, but if the tank was longer than it is wide, you could keep the Betta by himself comfortably while you wait to get a larger tank :). In the future, I’ve had AMAZING results with Amano shrimp and my Betta! They also keep the tank nice and clean regarding algae and any other “fuzz” lol! Also, when you look into your new 10gal, definitely remember the longer the tank the better. This would allow you to possibly keep a better shoal of the tetras (think 6 plus) or other nano fish because the footprint of the tank would better suit their needs! Wish I knew that in hindsight seeing as my 9gal is only 14” in length lol!
  11. grumpyandrex New Member Member

    I wouldn't wait to do water changes especially because it's so newly established. Do a water change every day or every other day until that beneficial bacteria builds in your filter media. I don't necessarily see the problem with a 2.5 gallon for a betta, but I also agree that upgrading the size of your tank(if possible) is better. I would also not out the tetras with the betta in such a small tank. I have a 10 gallon tank with a betta, 3 snails and an albino pleco. If your looking into getting a pleco then I recommend getting an albino pleco as they only grow to about 5 inches. I will most likely have to upgrade my tank size as my pleco grows so probably get a 15-20 gallon if you want a pleco. Also, having a bigger tank allows you to have more time in-between water changes. When there is plants, snails, fish and a filter in your tank, it turns it into almost a mini ecosystem where everything thrives off of each other. At the moment I do a water about every week 1/2- 2 weeks. A great 10 gallon tank on a budget is the great choice aqaurium at petsmart

  12. GoldenWitch New Member Member

    Today, I bought a vacuum and plan to start changing 10% of the water way more often. The bristlenose pleco was a dwarf pleco, which would be as small as the albino pleco. I read about how large regular plecos can get, and I knew my small tank wouldn't be good for that. The pleco died because there isn't any algae yet and I hadn't given my tank enough time to get the chemistry right. I don't plan on getting real plants just yet. This is my first tank and I wish to take my time with it. I don't want to get plants without understanding the basic steps first, because I don't want to accidentally kill the plant or get one that my fish don't agree with.
  13. grumpyandrex New Member Member

    That's how I started with my tanks as well. I didn't start out with plants at first until I established my knowledge with my fish and plants. If you want to get into plants later I recommend Java fern and Anubias plants. They're the most easy to care for, essentially you just have to root them in the gravel and then they grow nicely.
  14. HAYGEE New Member Member

    +1 for the java fern! Friendly suggestion to not plant the java fern however, since if you plant the java fern and cover it’s rhizomes it will die. I like to tuck mine in between rocks to keep it from floating and I also have a couple tucked nicely into some driftwood as a centre piece :). So when you do get that itch for live plants, deff try it! Also, marimo balls are great too! Just pop that sucker in, make sure the lighting isn’t too harsh and that’s it!
  15. Elkwatcher Valued Member Member

    The dwarf pleco's still need a bigger tank. I wouldn't keep one in less than 20 gallon. My tanks don't have algae and I supplement feed the pleco's with zucchini, blanched peas, broccoli, bottom feeder tablets and algae wafers. Research before you believe everything a fish store will tell you! Good luck! :)