This is a fairly long story here but I feel it is very important. Please bear with me.
I am fairly new at this betta obsession. I have been at it a little over a month now. It was not something I decided to do on my own. I, in fact, am one of the people who received a betta in a bowl gift. Not having a clue on how to care for the little guy, I started researching. It did not take me long to find this lily vase thing was a doomed existence for this beautiful little fish. I read of what they eat, how to treat the water, all the knowledge that I could absorb in a very short time. So, off to the store I went. I purchased a 2 gallon tank, decorations, food, all things that I could gather. I transferred the little guy from his chamber of doom into his new 2 gallon world. He loved it.
I was instantly taken in by the personality and charm of this little fish. I thought all was well, except for the fact that his water was continually clouding up. (I now know that this was due to my overfeeding him) I was constantly changing his water by at least 20% to 50% everyday! Still, it would not clear and I had read that dirty water will eventually cause sickness. The idea of a larger tank with a filter came to mind as a way to help me keep his water clean. I had learned that Betta’s like calm water but I thought water movement would be the lesser of the two evils.
I started looking for information from people that had actually used a filtered tank with a betta to learn of what the results were. I found where people had used the filter but no information on how the fish responded. Well, I thought, it must be ok! A 5 gallon tank with a filter was the plan!
The very morning that I was going off to make my purchase, one week to the day that I received my little finned gift, I found my little guy lying on the bottom of his tank not feeling well at all! He was sick. Oh what to do now!!?? Research on beta illness!! I found the appropriate diagnosis and it was off to the store. I purchased medication, and a 5 gallon filtered tank (AquaTank V Plus).
I first treated my fish by a 100% water change and medication in his 2 gallon world. He started coming around by that evening. Two days later he was back to his energetic happy little self. I thought now is the time to move him into his 5 gallon filtered kingdom. I made two mistakes here, one was moving him too soon while still in treatment. The other of course, was putting him into this current filled world that I could truly see was a struggle for him. He did not seem to like it at all. I thought he would adjust. The next morning, my little guy was sick again, and without going into too much sad detail, that evening, I lost him. It truly broke my heart. I was beside myself. I boxed everything up and thought never again! Within a few days I changed my mind. I had been bitten by the betta love bug! I decided I would give it another go.
I thought perhaps the cause of my betta’s death was that I just moved him too soon. I spent a week reading all the information that I could find on caring for betta fish. This time I was going to go into this with more knowledge beforehand instead of learning as I go. I looked again for betta and filter information. I still could not find any information on how the fish actually “respond” to the filter.
I got my tank back out, sanitized it, set it up with pretreated water, and finally, it was time to go find myself another little betta buddy. I brought him home and spent 3 hours acclimating him to his new home. Once set free, I once again was able to see that he was really struggling with the current.
I bought a large plastic aquarium plant to block some of the top current. That worked fine but there was still the problem of watching him struggle with the suction of the filter tube. He finally resorted to hiding in his rock tunnel. I thought ok, this is not good, he is not able to enjoy his 5 gallon world this way. I decided to leave it off during the day so that he could swim, and run it at night to help keep the water clean. Each night I would plug in the filter, he would swim quickly to his “tunnel of calm” and only come out for air. Morning three, my new little beta had lost his appetite and had become very lethargic. I immediately transferred him from the 5 gallon to the 2 gallon “hospital tank” I noticed small holes forming in his fins and realized I was dealing with the beginning stages of fin rot, began the appropriate treatment and am happy to report that he is healing beautifully and is living happily in a new “standard” 5 gallon unfiltered world. He’s doing so well in fact, that I purchased another “standard” 5 gallon tank along with another betta!!
They sit side by side and enjoy having “flaring sessions” with each other. I feed Betta Bio Gold once in the morning, and treat them to two freeze dried blood worm treats in the evening. Their water is crystal clear with twice a week water changes, (50% and 100%). They are healthy and appear to be very happy. Which of course, makes me very happy. No more filter’s for my betta’s!
This is my own personal experience of course. It is of my own personal opinion that the filtered world for a betta causes the betta stress, which I have now come to understand as stress = immune system break down. Perhaps there are those that have great luck with filtered tanks and betta’s! There are just not enough personal experience “betta’s in filtered tank” stories to compare. This has been mine. I hope it to be a help to someone out there.