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Needing a Fish Expert...

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
I've got a few dumb questions about my fish Betta. I've never had a fish before I got him & I have had him for about 3 or 4 months now. He's quite entertaining...much more than what I thought a fish could be. Since he's a male Betta, I've read that I can not put another male Betta in the tank with him because they will try to kill each other. I'd love to get more fish, but I don't know what kind I should get. I really don't want to go all out & get a huge tank or anything. Just a standard sized tank & get a few more fishies. Since Betta's don't need a heater in their tanks, does that limit me to fish that do not need heaters? I've found some really neat fish (I have no idea what they're called though...maybe Upside down Cats???) but they need a heater. Plus, will he try to kill them? He's a pretty fisty little bugger so I don't know how well other fish will go over with him.

Any ideas or suggestions? Also, does anyone know how long they usually live? I've tried searching the internet, but haven't come up with much info. Thanks in advance for everything!
post #2 of 22
Thread Starter 
Here's some pictures of Betta:
post #3 of 22
I have had fish before, even though I am scared to death of them (thats another story) but I am pretty sure that your are supposed to keep all bettas seperate, and never put other fish in. They are a one fish only kind of fish. Thats all I know, I am not quite a fish expert, but let me tell you this...goldfish have a mind of their own. When my cat Brutus was still around we had a gold fish in a bowl and Brutus would drink the water and lick the fish every now and then. That fish was so weird it would lay at the top of the water upside down, and no he was never dead when he did that. That was just how he slept!!!
post #4 of 22
Hey, this looks like my younger sister fish, Friðrik (who used to have the name Jóhannes, since her other Jóhannes died, but that was to confusing, so he got a new name )

She has been reading a lot about fish. I´ll ask her if this is the same kind of fish, and if she can answer your questions
post #5 of 22
I have let other ' small tetras' live with the bettas and nothing terrible has ever happened, definitely don't put a male with other male, it is cruel to them and unhumane but if you put a female with another female, they should be fine. As for his aggressiveness, it's weird, but I've found that Bettas in fish, are most like cats in a weird sort of way. Each betta seems to have a bit of a different personality. Some tend to be very laid back, some passive and some tend to be more agressive and some female bettas and some male bettas tend to be a small bit territorial, but if you have a 10 gallon or more...chances are them attacking the other fish, I don't think you have to worrry about him attacking them as long as you make sure he is fed decently. Good luck!
P.S. Have you noticed it sitting very still at night? I thought at first that mine had died, but then it moved...I think Bettas actually do rest/sleep, lol....only since no eyelids=no shut eye! Just dont' think it's dead, until it's upside down aand somewhat floating
post #6 of 22
Well I have fish. Can't say I'm an expert though.

Okay male bettas can be part of a larger tank in a community as long as it has enough area to call it's own territory. You can put a male betta in a specially designed tank which looks like what you've done and it won't tire itself out by defending the whole tank.

A lone male betta in a standard size tank will tire itself out patrolling the ENTIRE tank and die.

How to guage how much fish to put in a tank is quite easy. The length of all the fish you put in a tank cannot exceed the length of a tank and the fish are able to swim freely.

Another thing about bettas, once they get separated, they become very territorial. It's not the same as with cats. There is no reasoning with it and really it's not a good idea to introduce it to a community tank full of other fishies. Female bettas are less aggressive. They will still flare up and chase other fish so make sure there are hiding places available, more than one just in case your female betta decides to use one as her territory.

Each betta will have its own distinct personaility. The first one I had loved to show off and tease the cats. The one I have now is much the same though much more reserved and lets his colour and finnage do the act of taking away your breath. and the female one I have had to be separated from the community tank because she went out and attacked fish and ate two of them.

And the fish you place with your betta should be of similiar size if not larger.

You're not limited to fish with no heating requirements. Bettas actually prefer a warmer temperature than those of goldfish. So a heater wouldn't worry them. The best thing to do is to find fish that would live happily in the same temperature range and pH.
post #7 of 22
Shell, being a freshwater fish owner for about 8 years, I can tell you, you should not put another male. you are right on that. as for the heater thing, it is a myth that they dont need a heater. they may do ok without one, but it will be better for the fish in the long run if you do have one. They are a tropical fish hailing from the rice paddies of Thailand. 76 degrees is the optimal temperature for tropicals.

As for companions, it kind of depends on the size of your tank. the biggest you can afford is the general rule. the reason is this: the smaller the tank the more maintenance you have to do (i.e. water changes, cleaning algae from the glass, filter cleaning). If you have a ten gallon you have to maintenance it on a weekly basis. the bigger the tank the more time you can spend enjoying your aquatic theater rather than cleaning it.

But no matter what size you end up deciding on, I would say to get a couple corydoras for sure, commonly called cory's. The best site I can recommend on catfish (cory's are catfish) is Some can grow into huge beasts, and some stay as small as your thumb. The smaller ones you can find at any pet store and are pretty darn hard to kill. They make excellent beginner fish and are kind of cute in a wierd sort of way. is a good site to start with concerning general fishkeeping info. is a site that tells you what kind of fish are good to keep with bettas.

good luck!

p.s. is good too.
post #8 of 22
Actually, betta's should have heaters, the tanks should be kept at a constant temperature. Male bettas can not be with other male bettas, but are not as territorial with other species. The think you have to watch out for most is how aggressive the other fish are. Danio's for instance, are fast, often stressing out the betta because they are constantly, and quickly, on the go. Some tetras (serpae maybe?), can be nippers, and tiger barbs ARE nippers (bettas are slow moving fish compared to alot of others, and their fins are too tempting for some fish NOT to nip). I don't know how dwarf gourami's will act, but they are one of my favorite fish. Blue gourami's can be aggressive. Paradise fish are aggressive. Neon's are pretty easy to get along with, very nice fish. As are cory cats. Absolute no's go to cichlids (can be extremely aggressive) and goldfish (temp requirements and food are too different). Live bearers (guppies, platies, etc) are almost never aggressive, and can provide a constant supply of food (i.e. baby fish) for the betta. My sister has cherry barbs and cory cats with her betta, they have gotten along nicely for a couple years now. I know they're not fish, but I personally love snails . A couple of nice mystery snails, or giant ramshorns are great.
post #9 of 22
I heard bettas only live 3 years, but I could be wrong. Try a pet store book or worker or yahoo search. I've heard though to keep them seperate in a tank. If you take a mirror and hold it up and the fish see's it's reflection it's fins will rise up and it gets kinda mad. That's proof enough how they'll act. Alot of people just get a large tank with glass/plastic dividers so they can have several, but where they cant get in the tank and hurt each other.

Myself I've got 4 goldfish I've had for over a year. They are simple to take care of. I dont know about if they are combined with bettas. If you just want a tank of fish and dont care about the betta combined, here's some stuff about my goldfish:
The more you feed them the more they grow. Trust me they can get big if overfed. I feed them a nice pinch of tetramin tropical flakes daily. They can go 2 weeks without food no problem, but I think it's cruel so I dont do that. They also like colder water. Room temperature is ok. Mine are in a small tank room temperature. I keep the tank clean with a syphon. It's a hose attached to this plastic tube that suctions all the poo and debri out of the gravel and then the gravel can stay in the bottom. The whole tank never has to be changed, but the water does. I Siphon the water out to a certain level then add chlorine remover drops to the water I'm adding to the tank. Also, I have a air bubbler in the tank, but it's not nessacery with goldfish. This is the main things I've learnt with mine and sofar I've not lost one yet and they are healthy. Other than the food and the siphoning they are simple fish and very active. Also 29 cents at walmart. Just be sure to pick out the ones that are the most active and hardest to catch. Those are more healthy. Anyway Good luck with your betta and whatever you choose for fish.
post #10 of 22
Hi Shell

I have a 3 ft tropical tank. I used to have a male and a female Betta (we call them Siamese Fighting Fish here!). The tank was a community tank, so I also had some angels, neons, gouramis (i think they were dwarf gouramis), some guppies and a plecostamus.

I moved and had to give away the tank and have only recently started keeping fish again.

I also agree about the heater though. They have a fish tank at work with a little fish bowl next to it which houses the simaese fighting fish. I feel very sad for it.

post #11 of 22
Hey Shell that is a really good-looking Betta you have there. You do need to get a heater for your tank. I would suggest getting more than one female betta since the male will chase after one lone female until she is dead,Since love is in the air....I mean water. If he has more than one to chase after then one want be so tired from running and hiding from him.

Neons are really pretty and flashy colored fishes and would go well with him also. I have had one Coroy cat in my tank for 4 years now and he/she isn't much bigger than when I bought it.
post #12 of 22
Ask at the pet store what kind of fish can go in with them. I think tetra's should be alright. And they should be able to tolerate no heater too. But please ask! Many do need the heater, like the Molly's and Platty's. Whatever you do, don't get neons. They're very small and sensitive. I'd be a little nervous to put them in with a Beta. And they do better in schools. Zebra fish are very hardy too. Ask at the pet store if they can tolerate room temperature water. You might be able to put a small heater in with your beta and keep the temperature at about 74 degrees. That would give you more variety in choice.
post #13 of 22
Here is a link for Betta's with suggested tank mates.

Suggested tankmates. Platies, mollies, some of the slower tetras (neons, cardinals, rummy nose), cherry barbs and cory cats are likely tankmates, as are angelfish in larger aquariums.

Hope this helps you some.
post #14 of 22
When I had my big aquarium, I had a male beta in it. He grew to be huge. He ws in there with mollies and several other varieties of small fish, and he never bothered them. They guy at the pet store told me that as long as you do not put other fish with flowing fins with bettas, the will not be threatened by them, and will leave them alone. I had them for several years, and the only thing that the betta did not get along with was a catfish. The catfish did not get along with anything, and killed several of my fish before being removed from the big tank.
post #15 of 22
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for the excellent advice! I'll check out those links right now!!

Thanks again!!
post #16 of 22
I don't hav any advice for you Shell but I just wanted to say CUTE FISHIE!!
post #17 of 22
Is it to late to put in my 2 cents? I have 5 tanks(well brad does) and I've owned numerous different fish, so here's my reply on your Betta..
I had two bettas(both male not at the same time) and I put them in a 55 gln tank with ALL sorts of other fish. I have Discus, cherry barbs, weather loaches, Zipper loaches, flying foxes, Albino cory cats, Turquois chiclid babies, and a Black knife fish,(passed sadly away a few months ago, My Betta was king of the tank and lived for I think 2 years each. They were well fed and happy and never really picked on anyone in the tank. They were just larger then most of the inhabitants so they didn't mess with him. I have several fin nippers in my tanks with the Bettas and never saw any of their fins being chewed on. So I think that they can put with most fish but make sure that the current is kept to a minimum, the don't enjoy trying to take a breath through the waves on the filters and any air bubble wands you might want to get. So I say, go and get your fish and enjoy whatever you get, just make sure that you don't mix agressive and non agressive together. it's not a good combination.
post #18 of 22
Just get peaceful fish for the betta ... dont get fish that will go after his tail. We used to have a 600g.
post #19 of 22
I'm not a fish expert but here it goes anyway. I've had bettas in my slightly heated tank with my guppies, glowlight, neon, and platys. He died. My daughter has a cute non- heated tank with a bubbler and a few snails. He is still swimming. He loooks a little like yours, but darker colors. Yours is a bright colored blue one, sure is pretty. In my experience with bettas, they seem to like it solo. well hope this helps, hootiecat
post #20 of 22
I've had fish and tanks for 30 years, and salt water tanks for over 20, and currently have several set up. Unless your house gets awfully cold you really don't need a heater - the need for one is a common misconception. Typically, all tropical fish do better with a fairly constant temp in the tank, but will tolerate somewhat colder than ideal temps for short periods of time. High temps, on the other hand, can be quickly fatal and most inexpensive heaters have a rather nasty tendancy to lock in the on position and cook your fish. (The temp control unit on my salt tank cost over $300 and is mostly intended to keep the tank from getting to hot.) If the people at the fish store are insisting you need a heater RUN. Fish at chain stores tend to be cared for by inexperienced people and have a very high probability of introducing disease into your tank. Get all your fish from the same store, and make sure the person taking care of the fish has some experience. (Fish care has a real art to it, and experience is absolutely the most valuable tool.)

The least expensive tank to set up is usually a 10 gal. An under gravel filter powered by a air pump and an outside filter (hanging on the back) are both needed for best filtration. The under gravel can be made for almost nothing, but those available at the fish store are pretty inexpensive. An outside filter such as a Penguine Bio-Wheel (Marineland) or Whisper (Tetra) are inexpensive, easy to maintain, and very effective. At roughly 10 days to two weeks the tank may look cloudy. You should do regular water changes (10-20% - NO MORE - every week for the first two months. After that it should be every two weeks for the next two months. Then once a month after that. I'll be glad to explain this if you wish.

Add fish only a very few at a time, and wait at least a week between adding fish (two weeks is better.) Fresh water fish can be classed in just a few groups:

Highly agressive: Oscars, Ciclids, Arowana
Moderately agressive: Barbs, some Gouramis, freshwater sharks
Passive: Most tetras, most Gouramis, most catfish, angelfish (do not place with very small fish), Platies
Carp variants: Goldfish, Coy
Brackinsh water fish: Mollies, Archers

Except for catfish you should try to stay within the group (most catfish can go with pretty much anything.) You should avoid placing any fish with another one that is a lot smaller or larger or is not in the same group.

To go with your particular fish: Most tetras are a good bet, as are kissing gouramis, Cory or Plecostomus cat fish, Angels (not a large one), Platies. These should also be rather inexpensive. Also, placing a small mirror on the side of the tank (facing inward) will keep the Beta active and his colors bright. He'll suddenly "discover" this other fish every now and then and this will actually keep him healthier.

Sorry for such a long post. If you want more info let me know.

post #21 of 22
OK, one more thing. Add the catfish first. They are generally the hardiest and can best endure the tank conditions in a new tank.

Stay away from the more expensive fish for now. There are some nice ones, but usually require a more healthy, stable, and established tank.

post #22 of 22
Shell, I just wanted to check in, since I said I´d ask my sister for advise. I didn´t forget, I just see you allready have a lot of great advises, and I doubt my sister could add anything to this, that isn´t there allready
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