Starting a Betta Tank

Discussion in 'Betta Fish' started by Genavelle, Aug 3, 2015.

  1. GenavelleValued MemberMember

    Hey everyone! I'm new here so I hope this thread is in the right place and okay.

    So I'm planning to start a tank for a Betta later this month, and I've been doing a little research and trying to figure out details but I'm still not sure if what I want will work or just what's best in general.

    I want to get one male Betta, but I was thinking it might be nice to have some other creatures in there too- so I was looking at things like snails and such. Right now what I'm thinking about is having the Betta, a snail, and maybe a ghost shrimp. As for the tank, I've been looking to get a 5-10 gallon tank, because I don't want anything too big (or expensive) in my little apartment. However, my dad pointed out that a 10 gallon tank would be really heavy and that might be a problem, so he suggested this 6.5 gallon tank at walmart ). I kind of like this tank, but I really just want to make sure that 6.5 gallons will be enough space for having 3 organisms- if anyone can help with that?

    So far I've read that having a snail with a betta and a ghost shrimp with a betta can be okay (some people have success adding the ghost shrimp, and others don't so I figure I can atleast try it out)- but again, I want to ask if this really is okay, and also if having the 3 of them together is okay. I think I was looking into Nerite snails because I read they need brackish water to breed, also. So as far as this "community" composition goes- does it sound okay?

    Another thing I'm really stuck on is that I would like to get a live plant for my tank, but I really don't know what are good plants to get. I would like something that can work in the size tank I'm looking for, will be good for the fish I want, and isn't too obnoxiously difficult to take care of. So if anyone has any good knowledge of aquatic plants and can help me out with this, that would be awesome!

    I think those are all my big questions/concerns right now, so I'd really love it if some more experienced people could help me out a little. I haven't bought anything yet (and can't for a couple weeks), so I'm still very open to suggestions and whatnot. Thanks!
  2. BornThisWayBettasFishlore VIPMember

    Again, welcome to Fish Lore haha!!!!

    Okay, that tank looks good shape-wise for a betta, I don't have any experience with the tank though. Also, I think it'll be plenty of room for a snail and some shrimp, imo.

    No one can really tell you for sure whether or not the whole tankmates thing will work out with your betta, it all depends on him. Some people have had bettas that can live with fish like guppies (I had one that lived with guppies) and others have had bettas that will kill anything. So it largely depends on the individual you end up with. But I think it sounds fine, imo.

    I don't know much about plants, but I've heard that some bettas LOVE moss balls, so you might to look into that? :)

    Here's a checklist for some more things might you need/want:
    Heater (adjustable is best, but I love my preset Tetra 50w heater that's in my 3g betta tank)
    API Freshwater Master Test Kit (a liquid test kit, no strips, those are inaccurate)
    Tetra Safe Start (or something else to help your cycle get going quickly)
    Décor and a hiding place for the betta (remember to rinse everything off really well before adding it to the tank, and run your fingers over everything to make sure the betta can't rip his fins on anything)
    Water conditioner (Most people on here recommend Prime)

    Hope I answered some of your questions! :D

  3. GenavelleValued MemberMember

    Thanks! Although I also did just see someone mention a $1/gallon sale Petco has on 10 gallon and up tanks...So that's pretty tempting...

    I was thinking since I already know I'd like to have tankmates, that maybe I could try to pick out a betta that doesn't seem TOO aggressive..But at the same time, I don't want to pick out a betta that's just sick or something so I don't know if there's a good way to do that. I was also thinking if I could have some plants growing in like a corner or something, that might provide a good hiding place for him? And I've read that little terracotta pots work well as shelters for ghost shrimp.

    I'm just not sure what kinds of plants are good to have growing in the tank that can provide shelter without growing TOO tall/big for a small tank, and would match with the warmer temperature, etc.

    Luckily I have a lot of time to figure everything out- I'm just so excited to get started with my tank! >.<

  4. BornThisWayBettasFishlore VIPMember

    Yes, I think the dollar per gallon sale at Petco is still going.

    I don't know anything hardly about plants, I must say! But I do think any extra hiding places you can give to the tankmates better increases the chance of success with keeping them with the betta.

    As for choosing a nonaggressive betta, I guess just one that isn't flaring at everything in sight, but I really don't know how to choose a nonaggressive one. But yeah, you definitely don't want to pick a sick one.

  5. fbnWell Known MemberMember

    With stock lighting, your selection of plants can be a bit limited. I've heard of some excellent fishkeepers simply adding a CFL bulb to help supplement their lighting, versus buying expensive light fixtures. Even in stock lighting, though, you should probably be able to keep java moss. The shrimp would love it, and in my opinion, would look very nicely with the terra cotta pots. Additionally, I've kept Amazon Swords in stock lighting, but they can grow rather large. They would need pruned every once in awhile in a small tank. Additionally, you could look into water lettuce or giant duckweed if you would like some floating plants.

    Also, if possible, you may want to try and purchase mature, large ghost shrimp. It's less likely that the betta will eat them.

    As for the tank, what do you plan on using for a stand? That's the important factor when deciding on the size of the tank.
  6. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Hi, welcome to fishlore :;hi1

    Looks like a perfect tank for a betta. but be warned, acrylic scratches ridiculously easy, I prefer glass personally. I would recommend sand for substrate as its soft and sometimes my betta will rest on the bottom of the tank.

    Heater, I'm personally a fan of the aqueon heaters or aqueon pro. I agree 50 watt is perfect and they're adjustable temperature wise. Don't let anyone at the store talk you into the 5w heaters, they just don't put out enough heat and the temperature can fluctuate wildly. Make sure you get an independent thermometer also.

    I have a moss ball and also three java fern plants in my 5.5 gallon rectangle betta tank. My betta pretty much spends all his time on or in those ferns. They are soft and you can move them around. I super glue gel mine to small flat rocks as you should not plant the rhizome in substrate. This makes it easy to move the plants when you do water changes.

    Water weights about 8pounds a gallon, so even a 10g wouldn't be THAT heavy but I think a 5 or 6g is perfect.

    I have a nerite and ghost shrimp with my betta. They live peaceably. Try and get the biggest ghost shrimp they have though. They do grow up to about an inch and a half but the betta may think its food if you bring it home too small. I love my shrimp almost as much as my fish. They are fascinating to watch. I tried cherry shrimp but my betta ate them as they were just too small. Each betta is different...and I always thought mine was pretty docile........
  7. GenavelleValued MemberMember

    Thanks for the plant information!

    Well the tank stand is kind of a problem right now, for any tank. I think I'm probably going to have to buy one regardless of what size tank I get because I don't have a lot of furniture. I've just now been trying to find anything I could get to use as a stand that isn't a ton of money, cause I really can't afford to be spending tons of money.
  8. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    I have my 10g on a filing cabinet so it serves two purposes and was pretty cheap to buy :)

    Even a book case as long as its wide enough and sturdy will work for these small tanks. A night stand too.
  9. fbnWell Known MemberMember

    Have you happened to check craigslist? As CindiL said, other pieces of furniture can become a "tank stand." It just needs to be sturdy. Additionally, people frequently get rid of the metal aquarium stands. You may be able to pick one up cheaply and re-paint if it needs it.
  10. FilomaliValued MemberMember

    You can't really pick a docile looking betta, you won't know your betta's aggressiveness until you try it out with other species.
    You can try putting the snail and ghost shrimps first, and the betta last, so he/she wouldn't think the shrimps are food.
    I have bettas that do well with mystery snail and ghost shrimps. Although I have to say that the shrimps die eventually.

    Anubias plants are great and easy to care for, I also have a moss ball for one of the betta tanks. And some dwarf swords, and java moss.
  11. plemj2224New MemberMember

    Get the biggest tank you can possibly afford/ make room for. The bigger the tank the fewer water quality issues you'll run on to and the easier it is to keep clean. Learn about cycling your tank (this is where the api test kit comes into play). Seachums Prime & Seachums Stability is highly recommended. DO NOT OVERFEED. Easist mistake to make ever. Overfeeding will create water quality issues and make your tank dirty. Bettas have a bad rep but they can get along with such fish as cory cat fish and platies. Stay away from anything with "tetra" in the name and gourmies, as they may nip at your bettas fins. Other than a moss ball I'd stay away from plants until your more experienced. Plants require special lighting and contribute to water quality issues if you're not careful. A heater is a must, along with regular water changes and a filter/ air stone for oxygenation. Use either a turkey baster or a water siphoner from the pet store ($10-$15) to clean rocks once a week. Also check out simple site with helpful FAQ. Tells you exactly what percent to change each week in your tank and other helpful tips about fish compatibility.
  12. GenavelleValued MemberMember

    Yeah I think right now all I can really afford is the 6.5 gallon tank. I'd love a bigger one, but they're so expensive. I'm really only looking at getting a betta, a snail, and trying the ghost shrimp- because I know the tank is really small. I would really love to get maybe like one tallish plant to put in a back corner to provide hiding area, and maybe one of those moss balls. I've been trying to do research on hardy plants that I could try, I just also am a little worried about getting a plant that will grow too large for the tank. I have to wait until I move in about 3 weeks to start getting my tank together anyway, so I mean I still have a lot of time to figure out details. And I do have a tiny bit of experience with fishkeeping- in high school I took a marine science class where we (in pairs) cared for saltwater tanks for a year. It was several years ago, but I do remember doing all the water changes and testing the water and all that.

    Also I did manage to find a nice little shelf thing on sale for $15 that I think will work to hold the tank! (It says it can hold up to 230 lbs, so that seems more than sturdy enough).

    Do you guys think it would be better to put the snail and ghost shrimp in the tank first, so the Betta is less likely to see them as food? I thought about it before, but then I was thinking since the snail and ghost shrimp kinda feed off of algae and waste and stuff, would it be better to put them in the tank after the Betta? I mean I guess it doesn't REALLY matter because I can just directly feed them with algae wafers or whatever.
  13. GenavelleValued MemberMember

    I just really don't think I can afford a 10 gallon tank. Like I was really thinking about that sale petco has, but that tank doesn't come with a lid, light, filter, etc. So I'd have to buy all that stuff (and figure out how to set it all up), plus I still have to buy the water conditioner, test kit, and everything that actually goes inside the tank. It just all adds up to a lot of money. It's not that I don't want to get a bigger tank, just I don't think I can afford it, unless you guys can tell me how to get a 10 gallon with a lid, light, and filter for under $50
  14. GenavelleValued MemberMember

    I think I might have one of those clamp-lights somewhere. Could I possibly use that to provide light for the aquarium, if I don't put it too close (or even see if I can put a fluorescent bulb in it)?
  15. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    I think your 6.5 will be perfect. You can add them in all at the same time if you want (the betta, snail and ghost shrimp, 2 or 3 ghost shrimp would be fine, virtually zero bio-load and they are a great clean up crew.

    Anubias and java ferns are super SLOW growers. I have them in my 5.5 with is down about 1/3 and the water covers them and they don't get tall to begin with. They are low light plants and will grow with any type of light really. Sub-par lighting will just cause them to grow slower.
  16. fbnWell Known MemberMember

    Yes, an overhead light should work fine. Depending on how close you have to put it to the tank, you may want to get an LED bulb.

    Though it probably doesn't matter too much, it may be best to introduce the shrimp first so they can figure out the hiding spots.
  17. plemj2224New MemberMember

    The Petsmart Top FIn 10 Gallon Aquarium Starter Kit is currently $51.99 and has free shipping. (Item Number: 36-5003268)

    If you went with a 10 gallon setup, the following items are available for free shipping at when you spend $49 and above.

    Aqueon Glass Aquarium

    Tetra® Whisper In Tank Power Aquarium Filters

    All Glass Aquarium Incandescent Hood
    $ 9.99

    Tetra Submersible Aquarium Heater, 50-Watts (Go to Walmart for this one)


    As for the bulbs, you can choose either the cheap ones for around $3 for a two pack, or you can choose something like the Marineland Natural Daylight Fluorescent for $13.99. The more expensive bulbs are better for plants, as they need different UV lighting than the cheap bulbs (or the expensive LED) can provide. Since you are on a budget, you could also start with the cheap bulbs and upgrade later.
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2015
  18. Et tuValued MemberMember

    I really like the look of that 6.5 tank. The top looks like it will be good for a betta (they jump). You'll need a heater, and in the future you can upgrade the filter(we all do). Petco has a better selection of silk or faux silk plants.

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