Feb 8, 2008

Small tanks

Ok... so I figure it's time I tackle this issue. Small tanks are acceptable to a point - and they require a lot more care to keep up without your fishie getting sick. Stores and companies will often try to sell you a smaller tank, saying that it's perfectly fine to keep them in that small area because it mimics their natural habitat... at the same time as saying that you only have to do a water change somewhere between once a week and never. All my half gallons came with instructions, and they all said to change the water once a week - when with a half gallon you should be doing water changes every second day or every day.

Frequent water changes can also be stressful for the fish, because they're being taken in and out of the water all the time. A solution to this is to use a small scoop rather than a net. I found mine at PetSmart, though I'm sure they can be easily made (tell me if you figure out how, and I'll post a how-to giving you credit). It pretty much looks like a clear plastic pipe, so you can scoop out the fish along with a bit of water. Still stressful, but not as stressful.

Another solution taking a large tank (like 20gallons) and putting in dividers (cheapest are made out of plastic craft canvas), then you have to take into account the fact that there are more fish but you can also filter. Or you could set up betta barracks - though this is only practical if you have lots and lots of fish. However, both of these methods involve sharing water. So make sure you keep an eye out for diseases and whatnot - because if one gets it, they're all likely to get it, and fifty bettas with ich is not fun.

Some fish will get so stressed that they start losing fins after water changes... these are the ones you don't want in a little tank. If possible, keep him/her in a larger, cycled tank.

Next step up is a 1 gallon or a 2.5 gallon. Still too small to bother filtering, in my opinion, and water changes should happen once a week. If you're looking to filter, I think 5 gallons and up is what you need (though the only filtered tank I have is a 12 gallon). You can get kits that have a tank, filter and light included, for about $20-30 depending on the size, and they tend to come with free samples of food and purifier too (though don't count on it).

Now, on to the worst of them all. Betta in a vase.

Pretty, right?

This is a fairly big craze these days... and I'm not saying you should totally discard the idea, just that you should use some sense. Most people buying these set ups are being told that it's the perfect, hassle-free live centerpiece. These vases are typically a half gallon or less, and the companies making money off this craze are saying that you don't need to do water changes or even feed the betta - the plant will take care of it. This is completely wrong. For one, bettas are carnivores, so you will need to feed them pellets. They may eat the roots, as the companies are saying, but they can't survive off of them and will still end up starving to death - as well as killing the plant. For two, water changes are still necessary, the plant may even pollute the water more depending on what it is. Also, the vase is too small to share between a betta and a plant. If you're going to do this, I suggest at least a 1 gallon vase (that's four liters), and a fake plant... or one that's made to live in water. Otherwise it's likely to start rotting because it's not made to live in that much water, and then you'll have a nice deadly tank.

And lastly, make sure your tanks have lids, or the water level is kept a few inches from the top. Bettas can and will jump, and you don't want your fish to be flopping around on the floor. Any questions, comments? Everyone going to run off and do a water change now?


twocatsandafish said...

That does the scoop thing look like? Do you have a picture? I've used a net, but Alpha freaked and scraped his head. Now I use a plastic holding cup and he swims right in. I've also used a ladle but he didn't like that much.

I've just caught up on your blog (lots of time on my hands, apparently), and I want to see a picture of your set-up! :) I like seeing how other people display their tanks especially when they have multiple fish!

Ocean said...

Well, there are pictures of my old set up on here somewhere... I won't post new ones until I have fish in my sorority tank, even if I've completely reorganized since then.

As for the scoop... if he didn't like a ladle, he won't like the scoop much I wouldn't think *goes to search the PetSmart site*

here ya go: http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2752410&cp=2767036.2769129&fbx=0&fbn=Type+1%7CNets&f=PAD%2FType+1%2FNets&fbc=1&parentPage=family&keepsr=1

Ocean said...

oops, here: