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Fish/Male King Betta


"Hi, First of all I want to thank you for your time in reading and (possibly)answering my question. I got a Male King Betta fish three weeks ago as a gift. He came in a very small container with a lid and a hole punch sized hole in the top. As a second part of the gift I received a 1/2 gallon sized tank with lid betta kit. It contained the tank, Rocks, fake plant, Nutrafin Betta Plus and Aqueon Betta Food All Natural .96oz

So here (Finally) is my issue:

My fish seems to be unhappy - Or looks unhappy. He stays near the top of the water, and is always looking for food. His bowl is dirty and needs cleaned every day or it is very cloudy. I told the pet store where he was purchased and they said I needed the following to make him happy:
Buy him a 1 to 5 gallon with slow moving water filter
Buy him a light water heater for that size
Buy him a live plant
Buy Betta Vitamins
Buy a female companion fish

For a grand total of $109.46

I have no problems spending this on "Spike" if it is really needed. I am not experienced in fish and I am not sure I want to get a female for him as I don't want a bunch of babies. I love watching him and his first few days he was quite a swimmer and would even take the flaked food right off my finger if I stuck it in his tank but now he just seems so down and sad. Any ideas? Thanks So Much!"

Hi Starla,
  The fish store advice is mostly good.  He needs a larger tank with some sort of very gentle filter -- a sponge filter will probably work very well. He needs a water heater -- his water temp needs to be up near 80oF, or he will sit still -- he comes from the tropics.

A live plant is nice though not necessary.  The Vitamins are not necessary; just feed him proper fish food. Flake food is fine, though bettas often prefer little pellets.

He absolutely does not NEED a female companion.  He would probably like one, but keep in mind that after the male and female breed, the male will actively drive the female away and in a small tank, he could easily kill her.  

-- Ron Coleman
  Cichlid Research Home Page <>


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Ron Coleman


I am an expert on cichlid fishes, particularly New World cichlids. My broader expertise includes the behavior, ecology and reproduction of fishes in general. (I am NOT an expert on Goldfish). Please do not use abbreviations, such as "my GT has a swollen eye" because I don't know what a "GT" is. The more clearly you can explain your question, the better chance I have of understanding what it is that you seek. I keep fishes both as a scientist and as a hobbyist and I currently maintain about 140 aquariums.


I am an Associate Professor at the California State University, Sacramento in the Department of Biological Sciences, and I run a website, called the Cichlid Research Home Page . I also write for many popular aquarist magazines, and I was editor of Cichlid News magazine for several years. I am a scientist and I spend my time teaching fish biology, ecology, behavior and evolution and doing research on the reproductive biology of fishes, particularly cichlids. I do research in the laboratory and in Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Mexico. My main interest is understanding the evolution of parental care in fishes. I am interested in encouraging greater public awareness, understanding and participation in science.

Cichlid News, Tropical Fish Hobbyist, Freshwater and Marine Aquarium, Science, Behavioural Ecology and Sociobiology, Copeia, Canadian Journal of Zoology, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, AUK, Environmental Biology of Fishes

PhD (Toronto, 1993) MSc (Simon Fraser, 1986) BSc (British Columbia, 1983)

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