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*Amanda*

Coworker wants to take up fishkeeping

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I have a coworker who wants to get a pet for his kids (ages six and eight). He wants to get what he thinks would be a good starter fish - either a betta or a goldfish. I think a betta would be a better option for him, because they require little space and I'm sure a lot less money than goldfish. (I've found out that goldfish are quite expensive to keep ...)

The problem is that I know very little about betta care, besides the fact that they need a heater and shouldn't be kept in a cup lol. My fishkeeping experience has been exclusively with goldfish. Is there a good source you could recommend for info, as well as perhaps a list of the basic requirements (things he'll need to buy for the fish and suggested tank and filter size, as well as a water change schedule)?

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Edited by *Amanda*

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We have a tropical section with lots of info and threads about bettas.

But basics is recommended at least a 5 gal tank, heater, small filter, a substrate, and ornaments. I think anubias is a great easy plant for a betta tank. Thet can have tank mates but id say something like a snail if he does a 5 gal. With a 10 gal there would be more options. There is lots of people that know way more than me about them so maybe they will chime in.

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We have a tropical section with lots of info and threads about bettas.

But basics is recommended at least a 5 gal tank, heater, small filter, a substrate, and ornaments. I think anubias is a great easy plant for a betta tank. Thet can have tank mates but id say something like a snail if he does a 5 gal. With a 10 gal there would be more options. There is lots of people that know way more than me about them so maybe they will chime in.

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Wow, that sounds like it would be a really pretty tank! I might have to get a betta for myself ... my mom doesn't want a goldfish tank in the condo we just moved into, but I don't see how she could be opposed to a 5 gallon betta tank with a snail, especially if it's kept in my room. I'll also check out the tropical section, thank you.

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Edited by *Amanda*

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Some betas are even fine with other fish like neon tetras. The best way to get a more "community friendly" betta is to choose one at an LFS that has bettas in their tanks vs cups. Our here does it because it shows people that you can have a pretty tank setup with multiple fish and a betta, just not two bettas lol, unless it's a big sorority tank ;)

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Yes they make good tank mates with several fish. My 10 gal had a betta Harlequin Rasbora (I think thats the name) and 2 cory catfish.

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Also I recommend the smallest marineland filter for 5-10 gal with the betta. Ive had nothing but success with mine :) there is also plenty of room to make it a modified filter if you want.

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Some betas are even fine with other fish like neon tetras. The best way to get a more "community friendly" betta is to choose one at an LFS that has bettas in their tanks vs cups. Our here does it because it shows people that you can have a pretty tank setup with multiple fish and a betta, just not two bettas lol, unless it's a big sorority tank ;)

Good idea! I do have an LFS that keeps a pretty male betta in a community tank. My boyfriend was incredulous that the betta had not ripped everyone else to shreds, lol.

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I have two bettas at the moment. I've successfully kept males with snails and cories, but with a female betta, there are more options. Of course it always depends on your betta, but I kept my girl with guppies, zebra danios, and cories... Although, not all at the same time. :P Bettas are truly lovely creatures, and watching them swim is quite the reward! Best of luck to you and your coworker!

EDIT: I use home-made sponge filters in both of my betta tanks, as I find that even with the 5-10 gallon model of the filter, the boys still get pushed around a lot with their long fins and have difficulty swimming. Also, they love plants, so I highly recommend those for your coworkers tank.

Edited by Morgan'sMiracles

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I have two bettas at the moment. I've successfully kept males with snails and cories, but with a female betta, there are more options. Of course it always depends on your betta, but I kept my girl with guppies, zebra danios, and cories... Although, not all at the same time. :P Bettas are truly lovely creatures, and watching them swim is quite the reward! Best of luck to you and your coworker!

EDIT: I use home-made sponge filters in both of my betta tanks, as I find that even with the 5-10 gallon model of the filter, the boys still get pushed around a lot with their long fins and have difficulty swimming. Also, they love plants, so I highly recommend those for your coworkers tank.

See, that's what I'm thinking. I realized that I have only very rarely actually seen a betta swim, since so many people and stores don't keep them in big enough tanks for them to do so. My only experience with bettas was when my boyfriend's brother abandoned his new betta at my boyfriend's house without warning, leaving only a few freeze-dried bloodworms for food. He was in a TINY bowl and just looked so sad. His fins were drooping every time I saw him, until he died a couple of weeks later. I don't recall even seeing him eat the food we put in. This was very early on in our relationship, back before I found Koko's and moved the 5 goldfish out of the 10 gallon they had been living in.

The problem is that people take cues from pet stores, so when they see bettas in cups, etc., they assume that is the proper standard of living and many never even question it. This is exacerbated when the fish inevitably dies and family members say, "oh, well, fish don't live very long anyway," and the cycle continues.

By the way, can bettas be fed Soilent Green? Just curious, since I already have this food and that betta responded so poorly to the "betta food."

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I have two bettas at the moment. I've successfully kept males with snails and cories, but with a female betta, there are more options. Of course it always depends on your betta, but I kept my girl with guppies, zebra danios, and cories... Although, not all at the same time. :P Bettas are truly lovely creatures, and watching them swim is quite the reward! Best of luck to you and your coworker!

EDIT: I use home-made sponge filters in both of my betta tanks, as I find that even with the 5-10 gallon model of the filter, the boys still get pushed around a lot with their long fins and have difficulty swimming. Also, they love plants, so I highly recommend those for your coworkers tank.

See, that's what I'm thinking. I realized that I have only very rarely actually seen a betta swim, since so many people and stores don't keep them in big enough tanks for them to do so. My only experience with bettas was when my boyfriend's brother abandoned his new betta at my boyfriend's house without warning, leaving only a few freeze-dried bloodworms for food. He was in a TINY bowl and just looked so sad. His fins were drooping every time I saw him, until he died a couple of weeks later. I don't recall even seeing him eat the food we put in. This was very early on in our relationship, back before I found Koko's and moved the 5 goldfish out of the 10 gallon they had been living in.

The problem is that people take cues from pet stores, so when they see bettas in cups, etc., they assume that is the proper standard of living and many never even question it. This is exacerbated when the fish inevitably dies and family members say, "oh, well, fish don't live very long anyway," and the cycle continues.

By the way, can bettas be fed Soilent Green? Just curious, since I already have this food and that betta responded so poorly to the "betta food."

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I don't know about soilent green, but I feed my bettas bloodworms, freeze dried krill, and high quality betta pellets. Also occasionally, I feed them frozen brine shrimp from my brothers stash. imagejpg1.jpg

That's my boy Russell. I've had him for over a year! Sorry the picture is so big, I don't know how to resize it.

I have some vines of him swimming here... https://vine.co/u/1065011069891821568

Edited by Morgan'sMiracles

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In my experience they will eat soilent green but the repashy meat pie is a much more appropriate choice for a betta since they are more meat eaters (although the little buggers seem to attempt to eat anything I put in the tank for the snails)

Appropriate sized tank (5+ gallons), a heater, small filter, and lots of hiding spots (plants or fake plants) are the essentials for a betta really. I tend to change my water weekly. They do not create nearly as much waste as a goldfish so you can get away with smaller water changes overall, but I still tend to do about a 50% change weekly and then once in awhile a larger 80-90% change to keep the water 'fresh'.

Ph is less of a concern with bettas as compared to goldfish. They actually tend to prefer lower ph and soft water, but really are pretty adaptable in terms of ph (meaning unless ph was really high I wouldn't bother trying to lower it)

I really like the zoo med 500 mini canisters for betta tanks because you get all the benefits of a canister but the flow is low enough for a betta. They come with a spray bar too which is nice and are very quiet. My other choice for filtration is the smallest sized aqua clear (I think it's the 20?)

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Also I recommend the smallest marineland filter for 5-10 gal with the betta. Ive had nothing but success with mine :) there is also plenty of room to make it a modified filter if you want.

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Very true, Marineland is great for modifications.

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The only suggestion I would offer is to get a 10 gallon. The small bioload will make it much easier to maintain for a first time fishkeeper. Plus, his daughter will have more room to "decorate". lol

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