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Let's Have A Debate On Betta Tank Size.

What size tank do you recommend for a Betta splendens?

  • 6-8 ounces

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • 2-3 gallons

    Votes: 4 13.3%
  • 5-6 gallons

    Votes: 17 56.7%
  • 10+ gallons

    Votes: 9 30.0%

  • Total voters
    30

ShamefulCrayon

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I voted 5-6 gallons. Smaller than that seems cruel. At the LFS they sell those twin betta tanks which are 4 gallons with a divider between. I can't fathom actually having two bettas in one of those and it annoys me a little that the staff there (who apparently are "fish experts") would be fine advising someone that 2 gallons a piece is more than enough space.

As far as health is concerned, I'm sure you can keep a betta alive in a small tank if you're careful with the water conditions, but being alive doesn't mean the fish is happy. Those tiny 2L tanks next to each other with clear dividers in the shop where the bettas can see each other make me sad too.

I wouldn't want to live in a box only 5-6 times the size of me, so I can't see how a betta would be fine with it either.
 

Far_King

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I actually thought they were supposed to no longer keep them in tanks next to each other with clear dividers as this is known to stress the fish.
My LFS certainly abandoned this practice a few months back.
 
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Chad

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ShamefulCrayon said:
I voted 5-6 gallons. Smaller than that seems cruel. At the LFS they sell those twin betta tanks which are 4 gallons with a divider between. I can't fathom actually having two bettas in one of those and it annoys me a little that the staff there (who apparently are "fish experts") would be fine advising someone that 2 gallons a piece is more than enough space.

As far as health is concerned, I'm sure you can keep a betta alive in a small tank if you're careful with the water conditions, but being alive doesn't mean the fish is happy. Those tiny 2L tanks next to each other with clear dividers in the shop where the bettas can see each other make me sad too.

I wouldn't want to live in a box only 5-6 times the size of me, so I can't see how a betta would be fine with it either.
I think that's where the video in the article goes wrong, as does the author. It shows fish in small spaces, but it's clear they didn't originate there but rather got stuck there. 
 

ShamefulCrayon

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Far_King said:
I actually thought they were supposed to no longer keep them in tanks next to each other with clear dividers as this is known to stress the fish.
My LFS certainly abandoned this practice a few months back.
My LFS is Pets at Home... 'nuff said, methinks!

This is the same place who, when I bought my 22l tank told me to fill it with tap water (no mention of conditioner) and come back in three days where I could stock it with 12 neon tetras! Thankfully I know how to Google!
 

Far_King

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I was told they were the one's who got turned over for it, but practice there hasn't changed. :(
 
If they paid me twice my current salary I'd gladly help them sort their aquariums out :D
 

ShamefulCrayon

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They were featured for bad practice on Watchdog last year, specifically for their aquatics section and the bad advice given. Sadly, doesn't seem to have made any difference at all.
 

Paradise3

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Trying to keep it slightly scientific I am going to use some personal observations as well as my personal feelings.

I, personally, think that for a betta to have a minimum tank size it varies greatly on the betta's and their different personalities.

For example, my current boy is in a 15 gallon tank and he couldn't be more active. He seems to love the space to roam. I can only say I see a difference in behaviour because I had him in a 5.5 gallon tank for a while after getting him. After moving him up to the 15 gallon I felt cruel for ever doing that to him even though 5-6 gallons is the usual "recommended" size.
On the other hand I rescued a male who had been in a 2ft tank, though admittedly with some strange inhabitants, and had apparently seemed depressed the entire time they had him. I put him in a 5.5 gallon tank and he perked up. Whether that was because of the change of inhabitants or the change in tank size- I don't know. Possibly a bit of both since he actually lived with the same inhabitants for so long.

In the past I have had other boys who have varied a lot.
One boy who hated being in an 8 gallon tank, but absolutely loved being in a 3ft tank!
And once again, another who hated the 8 gallon tank but loved his section in the divided tank that was just under 5 gallons.

As for my personal preference, I really can't say without knowing the betta. I used to say "5 gallons, no less. And not too big or they hate it." - But having observed the behaviour of a number of my males past and present, I can't particularly give an answer. If I was to though, I would have said a minimum of 5 gallons. Just as a general rule. 

*UK gallons btw, I'm UK :) 
 
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Paradise3 said:
Trying to keep it slightly scientific I am going to use some personal observations as well as my personal feelings.

I, personally, think that for a betta to have a minimum tank size it varies greatly on the betta's and their different personalities.

For example, my current boy is in a 15 gallon tank and he couldn't be more active. He seems to love the space to roam. I can only say I see a difference in behaviour because I had him in a 5.5 gallon tank for a while after getting him. After moving him up to the 15 gallon I felt cruel for ever doing that to him even though 5-6 gallons is the usual "recommended" size.
On the other hand I rescued a male who had been in a 2ft tank, though admittedly with some strange inhabitants, and had apparently seemed depressed the entire time they had him. I put him in a 5.5 gallon tank and he perked up. Whether that was because of the change of inhabitants or the change in tank size- I don't know. Possibly a bit of both since he actually lived with the same inhabitants for so long.

In the past I have had other boys who have varied a lot.
One boy who hated being in an 8 gallon tank, but absolutely loved being in a 3ft tank!
And once again, another who hated the 8 gallon tank but loved his section in the divided tank that was just under 5 gallons.

As for my personal preference, I really can't say without knowing the betta. I used to say "5 gallons, no less. And not too big or they hate it." - But having observed the behaviour of a number of my males past and present, I can't particularly give an answer. If I was to though, I would have said a minimum of 5 gallons. Just as a general rule. 

*UK gallons btw, I'm UK
 
Your post reminded me of a couple of things I hadn't thought of in relation to this topic, 1. tank mates (I assumed a solitary betta) and 2. aquascape. Plants and other areas that provide territory will often keep a betta put even in a larger tank. 
 

Paradise3

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Far_King said:
What's all that in litres? 
 
15 Gallons- 68.19 Litres.
5.5 Gallons- 25 Litres.
8 Gallons- 36.36 Litres.
4.8 Gallons(the one that was just under 5 gallons)- 21.82 Litres.
 
tcamos said:
 
 
Your post reminded me of a couple of things I hadn't thought of in relation to this topic, 1. tank mates (I assumed a solitary betta) and 2. aquascape. Plants and other areas that provide territory will often keep a betta put even in a larger tank. 
 
 
I have kept betta's solitary and with tank mates, always in planted tanks
 

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ShamefulCrayon said:
I voted 5-6 gallons. Smaller than that seems cruel. At the LFS they sell those twin betta tanks which are 4 gallons with a divider between. I can't fathom actually having two bettas in one of those and it annoys me a little that the staff there (who apparently are "fish experts") would be fine advising someone that 2 gallons a piece is more than enough space.

As far as health is concerned, I'm sure you can keep a betta alive in a small tank if you're careful with the water conditions, but being alive doesn't mean the fish is happy. Those tiny 2L tanks next to each other with clear dividers in the shop where the bettas can see each other make me sad too.

I wouldn't want to live in a box only 5-6 times the size of me, so I can't see how a betta would be fine with it either.
 
While I understand where you are going with this, it is difficult to know what truly makes a betta 'happy' or 'unhappy'.  Anthropomorphizing a betta doesn't tell us the reality of the situation.  
 
We need to stick to 'observable' evidence to determine what's best.  The question then becomes about quantity of life - how long they survive, and quality of life - this is far less clearly defined, but I'd suggest the overall health of the fish (torn fins, disease, etc.) is a primary indicator.  Activity level as an indicator of 'quality of life' can be a bit of a sticky wicket.  The next question that is led to is... why is the fish more active?  Is more activity actually an indicator of health?
 

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That was something else I forgot to mention earlier the longevity of fighters living in tanks over 20 L, also with keeping fighters in larger tanks I have never witnessed or experienced tail biting mutilation that I would liken to feather plucking in birds. In birds it is a clear sign of stress and boredom, and is an incredibly hard habit to break. How may times do we hear of a fighter having yet another dose of finrot? Finrot which could be starting from tail biting and or bad water conditions, but I am willing to bet the real underlying cause is stress weakening the immune system because the fighter is stressed being in too small a container.
A person I know has often tried keeping fighters in vases and other such low volume water holders with limited surface area, and kept having problems with fighters leaping out of the small confines only to end up dying on the floor, because the leaps happened at night or while the person was at work.
Where as in a tank even only 20 L and opened topped I have never had a fighter make such leaps, they have always been content in the tank. There was only one plakat male who sticks in my mind who spent most of his time seeming to dream about getting into the much larger neighbouring tank he could see into. There where no other males or females in the other tank next to his, only guppys, Bristle noses and khuli loaches, but still he was fascinated in the other tank. I never put him in the other tank, because he was I knew a particularly feisty and had the size to throw his weight around.
 
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I wonder how much surface area plays a role for a labyrinth fish. Would a shallower shape work better than the classic bowl as long as it had more surface area? Could you keep a beta in a casserole dish?

 

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IMHO I do not think there is one single answer that answers this question of what sized tank suits a male Betta Splenden.
 
I have read many varied stories over the years about bettas being kept in 1 gallon jars up to 20 gallon tanks with varying degrees of success.
 
Have heard of betta being kept in 2 gallon unheated and unfiltered tanks and water changes were every 2 weeks and survived fine, and yet on the other hand have heard of bettas kept in a heated and filtered 10 gallon tank with good weekly water changes ruotine but betta succumbing to velvet, fin rot etc. Is this down to water conditions or solely down tank size? hard to say as whatever tank set up may suit one betta may not suit a different betta.
 
Personally I would vote, if the option was there 5 to 10 gallon tanks, but I have voted 5 - 6 gallon as most bettas are long-finned they should be in a big enough tank that will accommodate that as if not in a big enough tank betta will probably get fin curling.
 
With the right set up with a heater, good water change routine, many hiding spots, calm waters, nice environment for a betta fish with suitable plants, betta will, more likely than not, thrive and be long lived in any tank ranging from 5 to 10 gallons.
 
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