1. Why does the Betta need a heater?
A: Because Betta Fish are tropical. That means a steady higher temperature (78-80 Fahrenheit) is an absolute must in order to keep your fish healthy.
2. Why do they need bigger tanks?
A: The bigger the tank the better. 1.5 is NOT that big in comparison to 5, 10, or even a 20 gallon tank. If you are not willing to clean your half gallon bowl twice a day, or a gallon bowl every day then don’t force your fish to suffer your lack of husbandry. You can also cycle 5+ gallon tanks, making cleaning easier on you… And the fish.
3. Where do you buy Indian Almond Leaves?
A: I get mine on Ebay. I prefer buying in bulk, and only grades C through A.
Banana worms are half the size of microworms. Good for newborn fry.
Oddly enough I cannot find where adding an actual banana to the culture helps them in any way. Actually, all you need is the same thing for microworms.
- Traditional Yeast
- Instant (or not) Oatmeal
Add 1/4″ of oatmeal to a larger container. Trust me – if you use the smaller containers like you can with the microworms, you will need to move them anyways – just check out the pictures! ;) I used two smaller containers and a larger one, and I really should have used the larger one for all of them. Add in the yeast – just a sprinkle. When adding the water add a little at a time until it is a nice paste. If it is too watery, add more oatmeal.
All you really need is a scoop (I use a teaspoon) of old culture to get the new one started. Remember that they need to breathe. Add pin prick holes, or if you are using a jar, use the rim of the lid and paper towel underneath it. If you don’t have the rim, or still want to use the paper towel method just use an elastic. Make sure to check the elastic to make sure it is not worn down, or brittle.
If done right this live food culture can be used over and over again, and never die on you. If you remember to care for them, they could last years!
1. The culture. Whether you get an already-started culture or a small package in the mail, you will want to get them started right.
2. The medium: I use Instant Oatmeal, Traditional Yeast, and water. Some people like to cook their oatmeal, but I find it a waste of time unless you want to eat some of the plain oatmeal. I add in the oatmeal, about 1/4″ or a tad more, then add a sprinkle of yeast. When adding the water I add a small amount at a time and mix it with a tooth pick (doesn’t pick up as much of the medium as a spoon would) until it is a nice paste… If it is too watery, add some more oatmeal.
3. Back to the culture: If you have a larger culture that you were given, you don’t need the whole thing for re-starting. I like to use a teaspoon scoop of the old media and worms from the side of the container (if there is any). Even if your old culture was deemed dead, there is possibly still two or more worms hiding out that will repopulate when you redo the culture medium. I recommend using a plastic container as I found my worms had a harder time climbing up the side of glass jars, than a plastic container. One important thing to remember, is that they still need air. They need to breathe. So, add pin prick holes in the lid, or if using a jar use the rim of the lid with paper towel underneath.
4. Where to keep them: I have heard of keeping them in cool and dry places, but I always found them to populate so slowly… So instead, I had them in my warm room. Now they have been extremely active, and there’s a ton in the 12 jars I got from two initial cultures!
5. when to move the culture to new medium: I tend to move them when they become darker in color, or begin to smell awfully vinegary.
Female sorority tanks are by far one of the hardest tanks to keep. You need 4+ females to be safe, and even then there will be the odd few who are just not cut out for sorority life. Pictured is Melusine, Delilah and Kira… The Three Murderers. Or, they would be if I did not remove them!
Usually I let them deck it out, but they were grabbing on with their little piranha mouths, cornering, and just plain mean. THES big ladies are the prime example of “solitary confinement” for Betta fish at it’s best. None of them will be able to be in community or sorority tanks. I may divide a 10 gallon for the three of them, making sure they cannot get through, under or over the dividers.
So, you may want to start a sorority but as you can tell it is not all that easy. These 7 gals were in a 30 gallon with live and fake plants, driftwood, hiding holes, a bubbler, filter, and adjustable heater. And they still decided to try to murder each other. This may actually prove that plakats can be a lot more aggressive than most other tail types… Or so I have found every time I have a plakat. Or I could just have rotten luck :)
On a good note, Janey the DT geno and the three crowntails Hera (dark red), Peaches and Lilith (cambodian crowntails) have been doing great. Some nipping, some chasing, tail slapping and flaring… Then tah dah! Now they have agreed to disagree and even shared some supper without an argument. Hera is the lowest, Lilith is third, and I believe Janey beat Peaches at being alpha.
Many people have asked, what ornaments and fake plants are best for their Betta. Keep in mind those lovely flowing fins are very delicate… Much like fine silk. The most common method is using panty hose… A piece of panty hose brought across the plant will show if the panty hose will run/rip or not. If it does, your Betta’s fins will take damage. If not, it is safe.
Though with ornaments such as ships, barrels, etc. you want to check inside for the possible sharp or rough edges. With a simple nail file, get rid of those spots and rinse the object very well. If the holes are extremely small, your Betta will still try to figure out whether or not he/she fits through said hole… Which I have learned first hand what damages can be done when you have a curious Betta… It can lead to severe injury, and death.
Plants that are best to look for: Silk, silicone, and fabric.
So, more and more I have seen people attempting to keep Bettas together, which can be seen as incorrect or dangerous. I feel we need to be able to educate everyone, on the pros and cons of keeping Bettas together.
Each Betta is different. Some can be kept in a passive community tank, or in a sorority, however, there are some who are most happy being in their own tank without tank mates. Know your Betta, know THEIR needs.
Male Betta and Male Betta:
Though it has been done, it is not for everyone.
It is most recommended to keep all males separated, to avoid injuries and death. Injuries can lead to infections, which is not what you want to deal with. If you feel the urge to get another Betta (as we all have), make sure to be ready. Either have a tank on hand already, or buy a tank while buying the fish. Remember these fellas need heaters!
I have heard of some people having males together – often siblings – however they have larger tanks, often long VS regular or tall, and those tanks are cycled, planted, and have natural sight dividers such as driftwood, or taller plants. These tanks are set up much like a larger sorority tank, but can be more difficult.
If you are keeping males together undivided, expect fighting, showing off, torn fins, and in extreme cases severe injury, lethargy, and death. When the immune system crashes problems such as Ich and Columnaris can hit. Then that means you need to medicate TWO fish. Is it worth it?
Male Betta and Male Betta DIVIDED:
This is a pretty common way of using one tank for more than one Betta. Dividing a tank is the safe route, as long as you still provide enough cover for them. Some males will still become stressed, which can be seen in their behaviour, or even physically. Example: Tail biting, or lethargy.
At first the males will flare a lot at each other, then eventually flare to communicate, or completely ignore each other. Make sure to keep up with your weekly water changes!
Make sure to also keep the water level lower (3 inches or so) to avoid one of them jumping over the divider. This can become more dangerous since it is now half the space, and they will probably be right up in each other’s face. Expect torn fins, or even injury. Worst case scenario: Death.
Female Betta and Male Betta:
This is another method most unrecommended, especially to new hobbyists. Betta fish emit a scent, as if to say “Hello! This is me!”. Males and females both have different scents, due to gender, which makes their presence known.
Keeping them together in an undivided tank can cause some problems. They may breed, they may not. This can cause stress on one or the other, or both.
The female may become: lethargic, sick, egg bound. She may also clamp up and hide, or become the dominant one and harass your male.
The male may become: Stressed, frustrated, lethargic. He may also show these signs through tail biting, clamping up, or become more violent than you have ever seen your seemingly passive male.
Such cases can cause illness and death.
If this method is attempted, a large tank is recommended – once again preferably long VS regular or tall. Stuffing the tank full of live and silk/fabric plants, and tons of hiding spots would be recommended. A heated cycled tank, plus proper husbandry, can make it possible for the fish to live in peace. Please remember every Betta is different. Not all will accept this odd change.
Also let it be known, if they breed… The male will keep his nest safe by fending off the female. This may include KILLING her.
Female Betta and Male Betta DIVIDED:
Dividing a tank ensures the safety of both your fish. Though the scent of both genders is still present, they are at least safe. If you can, have the tank cycled (filter required) to help. Proper husbandry will also be a must. Have enough coverage and hiding spots, so that they do not see each other all the time.
The female can still become stressed, and the male as well. Not all Bettas are okay with this particular set up. Know your Betta!
Also remember to keep the water 3 or so inches below the divider line.
Female Betta and Female Betta:
Keeping two females together is not okay. For females, they need to establish a hierarchy. If there is only two, there leaves one as alpha and the other as the weaker female. To even out aggression and avoid illness, injury or death, it is recommended to have 4+ females together in a tank that is stuffed with live, silk and fabric plants plus hiding spots. 10 gallon is the smallest tank recommended, plus having the tank cycled can help you out a lot. Proper husbandry is still needed (as it is with any fish, any set up). Some females will be very very aggressive… And may not be able to live in a sorority. If that happens, make sure to have a back up ready.
Make sure to quarantine all new fish for 2 weeks. If you introduce a seemingly healthy female, who has for example… Columnaris… Now your whole tank has it, everyone has to be quarantined, and you run the risk of losing your whole sorority.
If you have a pretty barren tank with females, you run the risk of lethargy, illness, injuries and death. I’ve seen female Bettas gang up on another female. Having enough cover, ensures your tank can remain peaceful, and healthy.
Male Betta and Female Sorority:
I have noticed that recently this has been another common set up. It is still not recommended especially for new hobbyists.
The tank must be big enough to support the male with the females. The more room, the better. The tank should already be set up for a sorority (very dense, cycled, heated, etc). If adding the females after the male or vice versa, removing the fish rearranging decor and doing a partial water change is recommended. This way there is no “territory” that has been claimed. You could also try leaving the fish in, rearranging decor and doing a water change. However, better safe than sorry!
Problems that can occur: The females gang up on the male, the male kills or severely injures the females, they become lethargic, stressed, clamped, and more prone to illness. Not all males can be in this set up.
I have noticed it is recommended to keep older male giants in a sorority, to keep them active since they are more prone to illnesses as they are lazy when they are older. Just remember: MORE space is BETTER.
All in all, males prefer isolation while females can be together if the tank is set up properly. I personally will never recommended most risky set ups, but I know that it can be done. RESEARCH. RESEARCH. RESEARCH. I cannot stress enough how dangerous it is to toss two Bettas together and “think” they care for each other. The male does NOT need a “girlfriend”.
Do not, under any circumstance, put your wants and feelings before the fish’s needs. NEED overpowers WANT. They need you. It is up to you to care for them properly.