I kind of want a fish in my office.....I think. Do I?

I thought that it would be neat to have a little betta (or something else!) that could hang out on my desk. I don’t want fish at home (no room, many cats :yes: ) but my desk is a relatively safe place, and it’d be nice to take a break from the the computer to watch the little guy swim around. I asked my boss if this was allowed, and she’s looking into it for me.

I have never owned a fish. At first I was super excited about it: small fish, small tank, low maintenance, yay fishies!!! Then I searched for other threads on bettas, and saw words like filters and heaters and bubble machines and sick fish and room temperature and I panicked. Awful idea, why do I want fish?!

Now that the panic has subsided, help me think this through logically. Maintenance is ok, in the sense that I don’t mind it. I can rinse, fill, scrub, whatever else I am educated to do. What I am concerned about is the possible disruption or mess at work. Am I going to have to take a cartload of crap to the bathroom every day and spread all this stuff out and make a commotion and just be an inconvenience? Or are there aquariums setups that are affordable that I can pretty much “set it and forget it”? What about the weekends? Are they ok with being in solitude for 2 days at a time? What about at night when the lights are out? I know that’s such a dumb question because if the fish were at my house I would still turn the lights out. I’m just nervous, this sounds like a lot of fun but I don’t know what I’m doing and I want to do this correctly.

If you all tell me it’s not a good idea, then I won’t do it. But if it’s nobigdeal, then I would really like to pursue it! What do you fishy COTHers think?

This would be a good option for a Beta:
http://www.petco.com/product/123643/Marineland-Contour-Glass-LED-Aquarium-Kit.aspx

I cannot imagine going less than three gallons. (Similar set ups come in 4 and 5 gallon models.) It is absolutely unacceptable to have them in a bowl or in one of those stupid vases with the plant roots hanging down.

It has the built-in filter. Whether or not you’ll need a heater depends slightly on your office conditions. It is not going to really be “set it and forget it”, the water will still need refreshing and you may need to vacuum here and there, but it will be relatively low maintenance.

It is okay to leave them for the two days…it’s not okay to leave them for any longer than that. Be prepared to beg a coworker to feed them if you go on vacation or something.

Properly-kept fish are honestly, I think, harder than cats. :lol:

I like the aquarium recommended above :slight_smile:

There are many nice desktop options now, I would go 3-5 gallons (preferably 5-6) and remember the bigger the space, the easier it is to maintain. People tend to start small and with bowls thinking it’s easier but it’s not.

So, assuming you have a 4 or 5 gallon tank with proper filter, things to think about with bettas:

  • warm water. You want the water around 75-78 degrees, in most offices that means a heater.
  • water changes - with that volume you will want to vacuum the gravel and do a partial water change weekly, I do about 30%
  • feeding - a few betta pellets daily during the work week, 2 days without over weekends is fine
  • a lid. Bettas can and will jump out, make sure whatever setup you have is mostly covered
  • water conditioner - you will need something to treat new water with when you top it off, to remove chlorine and chloramine

If you cover those bases it’s actually pretty easy :slight_smile:

They do sell supposed “no clean” tiny tanks for bettas now - don’t do it. Bettas can live in low oxygen water and survive poor care better than many other fish, that doesn’t mean they should.

If you’re interested, another really attractive desktop setup is this one:

http://www.petco.com/product/121503/Fluval-Spec-V-Aquarium-Kit-in-Black.aspx

Expensive, but the dimensions are fun to work with and there is more horizontal swimming space than the average 5 gallon tank. :slight_smile: We have one on our kitchen pass through.

Bettas are low maintainence but not maintainence free. The basics needed for a happy fishy are a 2.5 gal or larger tank, an appropriate sized heater, silk plants (never plastic), a betta safe cave, water conditioner, betta food, a water testing lot, a gravel vacuum, and a bucket. Substrate (gravel or sand) is optional, but will look nicer and help keep your plants in place.
For smaller tanks, you actually don’t want a filter because bettas do not like water current, for the same reason I wouldn’t recommend a bubbler. For a 2.5 gal tank I would recommend doing partial water changes 3x a week. This is easy to do. Take a cup or a mug, take out ? of the water carefully (making sure not to disturb your betta, dump it, and using the same cup or mug, carefully put more water in. The new water must have a water conditioner to make it fish safe. 1-2x a week use your gravel vacuum to get rid of any fishy waste. Depending on your water params (found out by testing using your nifty test kit!) you may have to do a full water change every 1-2 weeks. This is simple if you don’t have substrate, more involved if you do, but basically the only difference is pouring your water through a colander to catch the rocks. Simply take ? of water out to make the tank lighter, remove fishy and keep in cup (cover with something so he doesn’t jump) and dump out water. Wipe the tank down with a sponge (no soap or other harsh cleaners) and refill with conditioned water. Wait for tank water to heat up, and acclimate fishy.

Bettas a tropical fish, so the tank needs to be between 78-80. They are jumpers, so your tank needs a lid, and really don’t like water currents, so no filter unless you’re going with a tank big enough to cycle (5+ gallons). Bettas don’t eat much and can fast for long periods of time so being away for a long weekend isn’t going to hurt him. Their fins are fragile, which is why you don’t want to buy plastic plants or put sharp objects in the tank. They’re smart fish, will swim up to the glass to “greet” their owner, and you can even train some to do tricks. They can live a few years, so don’t expect to have your fish for only a year, think 2-5. :slight_smile:

They come in all colors and fin types, but be warned, the ones with huge fins are more prone to having fin related issues and self mutilating. As they get older they can have trouble swimming.

Bettas also need to be in a “single pet household” so to speak. Tank mates usually get eaten, especially in smaller tanks. NEVER put two male bettas together.

Hope this helps! They’re tons of fun and about as low maintainence as a fish can get.

Very helpful, thank you so much! I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be smarter for me to have him at home first…short term I could lock up a room that is cat-free…so I can get used to his routine, and then bring him to work. Or would that stress him out more?

When I’m putting fresh water in the tank, don’t I have to keep fishy in the holding cell for a while, as the water will be too cold? Do I just use regular water from the sink?

You can TRAIN them?!?!

I love the idea :slight_smile: Watching fish is suppose to have good effect to help one relax & also lower blood pressure. My friend has a Beta & she says they are easily maintained. I guess they are JUMPERS so be sure to always have the top closed.
If not a fish ~ how about a hermit crab ? He could hang out all day @ liberty on your desk. :smiley: Lol. Perhaps a Seahorse ? I’ve been wanting a salt water tank & am considering a pair of sea horses. I guess they need to b in pairs - for companionship? Not all fish like companionship I learned. I have a friend who has a gold fish in a 10 gallon tank. Gold fish are suppose to be passive. We named this fish “Dexter” he’s a psycho & has killed any other fish she tried to put w/him.:grief: That’s an oddity but they all have their personalities.
One thing that was stressed to me in the beginning was that I get a big enuff tank. I guess that’s the first place where people go wrong (tank too small or too many fish in tank). I’ve had fish, hermit crabs, turtles in the past & my tank was 100 gallon. You prolly won’t need bigger than 10 gal. Fish are not hard to take care of. The setup & maintenance is not that difficult or demanding. You kinda learn as you go, but don’t stress it ( its more fun than work).- :slight_smile:

oh, it’s not that hard. Just don’t buy a tiny little tank. For one betta, try a nice 5 or 10-gallon tank kit- most pet stores sell everything in a box and you just add water and the fish. Put a timer on the lights, make sure to get a heater (bettas prefer warm water), and then you just spend 10 minutes once a week doing maintenance.

The problems come when people buy ridiculously tiny tanks- there is no fish that can thrive in a cup, or a 2 gallon tank, and anyone who tries to keep goldfish in a bowl is doomed to disappointment. Sorry. One betta in a 5 gallon tank is about as small as you can go before it stops working. Bigger tanks are far easier to maintain- a 100 gallon tank practically takes care of itself.

Totally do it!!!

I breed bettas and I have a 5 gallon tank on my desk right this very moment. It has a light and a filter and a heater and it’s not hard at all. I have the simple set-up, old fashioned hood (no jumping, less evaporation) and a box filter - old fashioned but still wonderful for small, low-stocked tanks.

Bettas don’t ask for much. They want not a lot of current in the tank, warm water, an open corner for swimming and a broad-leafed plant to rest on. Do not, I repeat do NOT go on any betta forums for advice. It will make your head spin and it will take you days of reading to figure out that all the breeders have them in old soda bottles with the tops cut off and such, they are really not that hard.

In a nice little tank like that you have other options besides a single male betta as well. You could have a small school of Endlers livebearers or common guppies or 2 pair of fancy guppies. There are even fancy snails - I have pink ramshorn and mystery snails. You could keep a couple of crystal red shrimp in there too (no other kind, they are nowhere near as hardy). Or you could have a trio of female betta, they get along just fine most of the time, but are hard to find in petstores. But breeders will mail you some. Yes, mail them. In bags, in insulated boxes, they do just fine.

Maintenance is weekly, one gallon water changes. It is easy to siphon along the bottom of a tank into an old milk jug and water the office plants with it. That water is wonderful for plants. You can replace it with spring or drinking water from the store (locally, 89 cents a gallon) or do that once, put some water conditioner in the jug and use water from the tap. If the only tap water is icy, prepare it the day before so it’s at least room temperature.
Once a month, change the filter medium.
Once a year or so, break down the tank, give everything a good rinse and set it back up.
That’s it.

I really love my desk tank. It is so relaxing. I highly recommend it.

I have this tank and this tank on my desk right now. The first one has a blue dwarf gourami and two tiny endler’s guppies. The second tank had three guppies, but I lost two recently. I’d say I spend maybe 20 minutes per week on tank maintenance.

My gourami is a great fish with lots of personality. He hangs out at the front of the tank tank and will spit and hit my finger if I put it up for him. Sometimes he’ll also jump and touch my finger. He’s overfed, because he gets a bloodworm when he does a trick. He’s fine over the weekends without being fed.

I have heaters on both tanks and keep the temp about 78 degrees.

StG

Don’t do a hermit crab!!! My friend has two for her kids. Huge mistake! They do require a level of care outside of what most people think. I hear about the hermit exploits and am highly entertained, but was shocked to find they can live up to 30 years. She is not a fan of them but she also can’t not care for them the way they need to be cared for. She is always telling me how she will now have crabs for the rest of her life…

Thanks for all of the advice! I’m honestly at the point where I would want to get one at gone even of the Boss Man says no…ponytales, I love sea horses! What a neat idea!

http://www.monsterfishkeepers.com/forums/activity.php

If I may sidestep the thread for just a moment -

If you are interested in seeing some really beautiful, really large tanks, go to MonsterFishkeepers.com and take a look. These guys really know their stuff.

The site seems to be undergoing a forum upgrade right now, but when they are back up, it would be worthwhile to take a look.

In the meantime, here is their YouTube place.

https://www.youtube.com/user/monsterfishkeepers

and some more:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRjc6KhZ7ms

a man and his fish:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mF4YwI1WNGA

Our dentist office is in a large medical mall, only Drs offices there.
They have an 4’ long, beautiful aquarium tank by the door in the waiting room.

A local pet store does all the upkeep for them, I asked.

It is really very beautiful, even people walking down the mall at times come in the room just to stand there and admire it.

See if you may find one such store that handles office aquariums and if they have something that would work for you.

Edited to correct the size of the aquarium, down from 8’, what was I thinking, wow.

[QUOTE=talkofthetown;7893766]Very helpful, thank you so much! I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be smarter for me to have him at home first…short term I could lock up a room that is cat-free…so I can get used to his routine, and then bring him to work. Or would that stress him out more?

When I’m putting fresh water in the tank, don’t I have to keep fishy in the holding cell for a while, as the water will be too cold? Do I just use regular water from the sink?

You can TRAIN them?!?![/QUOTE]

I had cats and fish in the same household for years. Never a problem (birds and cats, however … totally different). I think the cat fishing in the goldfish bowl is something of an urban myth, but maybe others have had different experiences.

We lost our last fish last year and now have an aquatic turtle in the 55-gal aquarium, so I thought I was done with fish, but this thread is inspiring me to get one of these smaller aquariums and a couple of pretty fish.

Great thread! I have been thinking of setting up a small tank in my classroom and keeping a beta as a classroom pet. I have a lot more information now!

Thanks!
Sheilah

Years ago I got a bag of feeder fish for a pond. Well, they were so happy about being liberated! They would come over to eat when I called them, and they all grew beautiful long silvery tails and fins. We decided it was from relief at no longer waiting to feed someone. :slight_smile:

I got a tank and bits from CL and brought them indoors for the winters. The cats did try fishing…unsuccessfully, fortunately.

A question about betas: I see them at the pet stores in TINY bowls, like, smaller than a teacup. Isn’t that cruel? My fish loved to blast around the pond…

[QUOTE=Romany;7896209]
A question about betas: I see them at the pet stores in TINY bowls, like, smaller than a teacup. Isn’t that cruel? My fish loved to blast around the pond…[/QUOTE]

Yes, it is cruel. While they don’t need a huge amount of space, they certainly need a good bit more than that. That tiny amount of water builds up in nitrates so fast that they are basically swimming in pee. :frowning:
When it is time to separate young males I have a collection of half-gallon containers and that is the minimum, and you have to do water changes once a week at bare minimum and 2x a week is far better.

Now, interestingly, some bettas are kind of agoraphobic and people will say “See?! They are not meant for more water than that!” and that isn’t true at all. A rice paddy and their native ponds are acres upon acres of water 6 to 20 inches deep - that’s a lot of water and that’s where those fish are happiest. But it’s not all open - it is full of plants. It’s more like the way deer are happy in the woods and uncomfortable in wide, open fields with no cover.
For a blissfully happy betta, go on and give him lots of water. Just put plants in it.

[QUOTE=Romany;7896209]Years ago I got a bag of feeder fish for a pond. Well, they were so happy about being liberated! They would come over to eat when I called them, and they all grew beautiful long silvery tails and fins. We decided it was from relief at no longer waiting to feed someone. :slight_smile:

I got a tank and bits from CL and brought them indoors for the winters. The cats did try fishing…unsuccessfully, fortunately.

A question about betas: I see them at the pet stores in TINY bowls, like, smaller than a teacup. Isn’t that cruel? My fish loved to blast around the pond….[/QUOTE]

In my past life, for a time, I worked for a tropical fish importer. Those little cups are not the best, but most certainly much better than what happens to them in the shipping process from Asia. Each little guy is shipped in a little tiny bag where, if he tries, he might be able to turn around. They are packed pretty close due to shipping costs for over the pacific. Mostly they make it, some don’t. Bettas are Anabantoids, a labyrinth fish, meaning they have an organ called the labyrinth as well as gills that they use to breath. You will see them sucking air from the surface, hold it in the labyrinth for a bit and let go. This way, they are able to survive in water conditions that would surely kill a lesser being.

A few years ago, I remember talking the manager of a PetCo to lower the price of a guy I felt sorry for because he had no tail. When I took him home and turned him loose in my 50 gal. he seemed stunned at first, then spent the next 5 minutes going full tilt from one end of the tank to the other! They love live black worms and will gladly scarf down frozen if that’s all you can get. They are slow swimmers, so don’t make them share the home with folks who might chew their fins. My little guy grew a lovely tail out in a relatively short time and I hope I gave him a good life…

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What a sweet story, Sparrowette! A fellow fish-saver. :slight_smile:

We haven’t had fish for years (those ones stayed with the house when we sold it, but all this talk about fish…might need to go save one of those egg-cup bettas myself, I think.

I’m getting so excited about this! A few more questions…

I know that males cannot live together as they will fight. Can a male live with other fish of different breeds? I mentioned The Plan To Get A Fish to my husband and he said “let’s not get a beta, let’s get an aquarium with lots of fish”. I’m still leaning towards one beta, but if we wanted to expand later on and introduce new fish, could we? Are there certain rules, like when you bring a new horse into an already established pasture herd?

Also, are there certain places that I should avoid buying fish from? I was always taught growing up to never buy puppies from those little mall pet stores as they aren’t treated well, don’t always come from reputable breeders, etc…(this might just be my odd parents, Idk from personal experience). Should I avoid a box store and find a breeder? Am I ok from buying from a box store? If they are basically swimming in pee :frowning: what if the little guy I bring home is already sick and he doesn’t make it? How long do they typically sit on a shelf before they are purchased?