New hobbyist, new tank questions

Discussion in 'Freshwater Beginners' started by kujoe, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. kujoe New Member Member

    Hello Everyone,

    I kind of got into the tropical fish thing by accident. My Mother-in-law bought our son a Betta a while back, for bringing home a good report card.

    Anyhow, since then I've become obsessed. I didn't like that he was in a 1 gallon bowl, and have since moved him into a 10 gallon tank with a power filter. He seems to be really enjoying that much more. He is WAY more active than he was in the 1 gallon bowl.

    While we had the 1 gallon going for a while, I've only been running this new 10 gallon tank for 3 days now. The water heater is keeping the temps at 77-80 degrees, which I read is perfect for tropical fish. I did a water test kit and everything was perfect minus the ph level which seems kind of high. The ph level is 8.4 and to be honest I'm not sure how important that is as I've read conflicting info all over the internet about having the ph anywhere from between 7.0 to 8.6 for a tropical freshwater aquarium.

    Unfortunately, I wasn't aware of the nitrogen cycle until after I put in my fish, however I do think I may have prevented a cycle because I brought everything over from his 1 gallon bowl (water, gravel, props, etc..) though I still plan on using some Tetra SafeStart to help make sure things are under control. I have been testing the water daily just to keep an eye on it and I'm already seeing nitrate at about 15ppm which I read is really good. Today I plan on buying some ammonia tests to keep an eye on that as well, as I'd hate for my fish to succumb to death.

    Anyhow, the reason for posting is, I got the 10 gallon with the hope of adding more fish. Perhaps tetras or something? Is there any other considerations I am possibly overlooking before I can add more fish? If so, what are they?

    And lastly, what types of fish could I safely pair up with my betta?

    Thanks, and sorry if I seem too clueless, I'm eager to learn and find that this is a VERY fun (and dare I say theraputic) hobby so far, and please feel free to tell me that my plans are stupid...I just want to learn. :)

  2. Shawnie Fishlore Legend Member

    welcome to fishlore!!!
    I dont think the tank is cycled yet as its just not enough time...even with the stuff from the might not be seeing anything yet as the tank is much larger and bettas dont make a ton of waste......about the only thing that might work with your betta is maybe some pygmy cories on the bottom? especially where your guy has been alone for so long I dont think he would play nice with other can read this link tho and maybe divide your tank for another betta or 2 after it cycles you and your son can make a bunch of different themes and what a great way to get another great report card out of him? LOL also heres a link that you will need as soon as you start to see ammonia/nitrites to keep your betta boy safe goodluck and share some pics when you can :)

  3. xxSTEPHENSxx Valued Member Member

    Welcome to Fishlore!

    The betta fish will need to be alone. He is pretty agressive. Maybe divide the tank and put two bettas?

  4. Disc61 Well Known Member Member

  5. Charlemagne Valued Member Member

    Hi, and welcome to Fish Lore! I've read different things about putting other fish in with bettas. My first betta was fine in a community tank with platties, mollies, a red-tailed shark, a catfish, and a few others. However, my tiger barbs did chew his fins off once. Keep the 1 gal. tank in case a fish gets sick or two fish don't get along. (I didn't know that bettas and dwarf gouramis DON'T get along, so I got both of them. I was very glad to have another tank to put my betta in when they started fighting) Um, I don't think I'd add goldfish . . .maybe some platies or mollies? I think it kind of depends on the betta, some do fine in community tanks, and some prefer to be alone. A bristlenose plecostamus would probably get along with the betta, but your tank might not have enough for him to eat since it's so new . . . . I'll let someone who knows more about plecos answer that. That's about all I can think of right now. Good luck with your tank, whatever you decide to put in it! :)
  6. shadow2 Valued Member Member

    I tried 2 different bettas in 2 different tanks with my cory cats. The one betta was ok except stole all the food and would not let the cories have it. The other betta harrassed the cories constantly so back to the store he went.

    I think everyone is correct in saying 95% of the time the betta is very territorial.
  7. kujoe New Member Member

    Wow. So many fast responses. Awesome! Anyhow, this tank is definitely intended to be a community tank so not getting any other fish is just not an option for me. However if I do see that the Betta is being moody, I'll just have to move him into another tank by himself. He's a happy little Betta, blowing lots of bubbles and swimming around all over. He seems to be intentionally swimming into the current of the power filter and letting it move him around because he keeps repeating it. Sometimes he sees his reflection and puffs up too. So I'm pretty sure he's happy already in his new home.

    I've been reading around on cycling with fish, and was wondering how much stress that's going to put on my betta? Will using something like that Tetra SafeStart or other products recommended above reduce or even eliminate the cycling stress? Also, I thought that once you were already seeing nitrate levels near 20 that the cycle was over? Is that not true?
  8. xxSTEPHENSxx Valued Member Member

    You can buy another 10gal tank from Walmart for $34 and it comes with filter and everything you need minus decor and gravel. Then you can get two bettas for one 10gal and make the other 10gal a community tank. Just a thought.

    If you are seeing signs of nitATes then you should be finishing it up. It should read something like this.
    Amonnia - 0ppm
    Nitites - 0ppm
    Nitates - Less than 40ppm and more like 20ppm

    Someone please feel free to correct me.
  9. Shawnie Fishlore Legend Member

    what test kit are you using? if you have nitrates already, id recommend either testing your tap water or retesting and really banging the number 2 bottle of nitrates on a hard surface(if using an api liquid kit)...those crystals are very hard to mix up.....if he is puffing at his own reflection, its almost a guarantee he isnt going to tolerate another fish ever..
    that sounds like a perfect idea instead of a community tank with a betta..especailly one thats been alone for so long! great suggestion!!
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2010
  10. kujoe New Member Member

    The fish kit I'm using is the Quick Dip 5-N-1 Test Kit made by Jungle. I know it's paper test strips with tabs, and I know they're never super accurate, but it does give a good idea of where you're at.

    I just got home and tested my water straight from the tap and it does indeed register that it has nitrAtes in it. Is that a problem for cycling the tank, or is that good as it'll help speed it up?
  11. jdhef Moderator Moderator Member

    Having nitrates in your tap water doesn't help or hurt with cycling. The biggest problem with having nitrates in your tap water is keeping the nitrates below 20ppm once you are finished cycling.

    You will need to keep on eye on how fast nitrates build up and schedule your water changes accordingly. Also be on the lookout for what I call "nitrate creep". If you nitrates were at 20ppm and you did a 50% waterchange with tap water that had 0ppm nitrates your nitrate level would be 10ppm. But if your tap water has 10ppm nitrates your tank water would end up with 15ppm.

    Also, a 10 gallon tank is great for a lone Betta. Take a little friendly advice, get a much bigger tank for a community. With a general guideline of 1" of adult size fish per gallon, a ten gallon can't hold too many fish. And since you said you are obessed, believe me when I say it will save you money in the long run. (Although can a guy with only 3 posts really be considered obessed?:;laughing:;laughing)
  12. Shawnie Fishlore Legend Member

    the 5 n 1 are not reliable a bit and can give you false hope that things are ok :( and maybe they are but to not know for sure for our babies, wouldnt be something id far as it being in your tap, jon gave you great info above :) so back to your op, your tank probably isnt cycled yet and you could see an ammonia/nitrite rise so having a proper kit before adding more fish, would benefit you and the betta boy :) good luck in whatever you decide
  13. click Well Known Member Member

    Seems like the other members have you covered. I just wanted to wish you a warm welcome on the forums.:sign0016:
  14. Beeker Well Known Member Member

    Hi and welcome to Fishlore!

    It is only in very rare cases that bettas do well with other fish. If you want a community tank, you will have to get another tank. The only fish that do somewhat ok with bettas are cory cats.

    If you want a community tank, consider a 20 gallon long tank. You will have more options of what fish you can get.

    Also, the best test kit, and the one that most of us here on Fishlore use, is the API Master Test Kit. It is inexpensive, and has everything you need. Here is a link:

    The test strips are extremely unreliable.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2010
  15. kujoe New Member Member

    Thanks. Ya I went to petsmart earlier today and bought 4 red von trios. According to the folks their, they should have gotten along just fine. I re-arranged the tank to make it a new environment and as I acclimated them closely watched the betta. He was trying to get at them through the bag and was still going at it after 30 minutes.

    Obviously that wasn't going to work, so I removed the Betta and bought a 5 gallon tank for the Betta. My 4 von trios will now live in the 10 gallon. I might add a couple more fish later, but for now it'll be my 'training tank'. I want to get used to the 10 gallon before I move up to a 20 or 50 gallon.

    I'm definitely hooked now. And much thanks to everyone for all the advice.
  16. bolivianbaby Fishlore Legend Member

    Welcome to Fishlore!
  17. kujoe New Member Member

    So I cracked and bought the betta a ten gallon tank i have two, ten gallon tanks. Ha!
  18. LyndaB Fishlore Legend Member

    See if there is a LFS that specializes in fish. For example, I go to a place where all they sell are fish or fish-related items. They are completely reliable and know their stuff.

    At a store like Petsmart, Petco, Walmart or other "chain" stores that sell for every animal imaginable, you just don't receive the same kind of feedback. These clerks probably moved from the cat dept to the fish dept last week. They are not reliable and quite often steer you wrong. There are, of course, exceptions. There's one young man who works at our local Petsmart and he definitely knows his fish. Of course, it's only because I'm already going in there with the knowledge that I can tell that.

    People like in this forum are such a great resource when you're just starting out. Learn from our mistakes so that you have the happiest, healthiest fish possible.

    And most of all, welcome to the forum! May you become a true addict like the rest of us. :;hug2

    P.S. What is a red von trios? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? :confused:
  19. kujoe New Member Member

    So I actually got a 10 gallon tank for the Betta instead of a 5. I got home and the 5 gallon tank was broken, so I had to exchange for the 10 gallon since they didn't have another 5 in stock. I figured the Betta would be happier anyhow. However his water is now 84 degrees with a mini heater. Should I unplug it? The mini heater has no way to adjust it in fact the box advertised that it was "fully automatic". I'm kind of surprised that a mini-heater has a 10 gallon tank up to 84 degrees. Any advice?

    I actually mis-typed it. The fish are Red Von Rio Tetras. AKA: Orange Von Rio or Flame Von Rio.
  20. kujoe New Member Member