Let’s Talk About the Marine Betta.

Zionas

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 6, 2020
Messages
807
Reaction score
316
Location
Winnieland (AKA “People’s” Republic of China)
Everywhere I’ve seen, the minimum recommended tank size is only 55 gallons for a fish that grows to 8 inches. I think it’s an absolutely stunning fish and I would love to have one in my tank. However, the fact that my tank will only be 3 foot long, and that in the foreseeable future I can’t see myself upgrading to anything more than 4 foot, makes me worried that this fish will feel suffocated. A lot of people who’ve kept this fish say it’s hard to get it to start feeding as it’ll only take live foods at first, but then the general consensus seems to be that once it starts eating a variety of foods it’s one of the most bulletproof fish out there. Since it’s a grouper I’ve also heard it can live for a really long time. It’s quite peculiar to me as normally a fish of this size would need a tank least a 5 foot tank (150+ gallons), but why do many sites say 55 is enough?

What I am worried about when it comes to this fish is that despite its slow and reclusive behavior it is a predatory species. Many articles say that it will eat small fish and crustaceans, which makes me uneasy. If I do get one of these, I’ll try to get it as small as possible.

I’m trying to carefully plan my stocking list to possibly accommodate one of these. Here’s what I have in mind so far:

x2 Ocellaris Clownfish (captive bred)-I might even consider a pair of Tomato, Fire, or Cinnamon as they grow a bit larger than the Ocellaris (I can find them captive bred in China)

x1 Flame / Falco / Coral / Blood Red Hawkfish

x1 Royal Gramma / YWG+Pistol Shrimp

x1 Yellow Assessor / dwarf angel (most likely one of the Pygmies)

x1 Comet


I’d love to hear suggestions and experiences related to this fish. I am thinking of as the first fish I’ll introduce to my tank, as the only fish or maybe I’ll introduce it along with my pair of clowns.


Will I be overstocked? My tank is 36”x24”x24”.

The rest of my fish will be no more than 5”.


For those of you who have one and who had trouble getting them to accept non-live foods, what did you do? Would even freshwater shrimp / krill / small fish work?
 
Last edited:

Wolf89

Valuable Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 4, 2018
Messages
1,397
Reaction score
2,107
i can answer your concerns about tank size.
They do very little swimming. They just hover in the water column in wait for food for come right on by there mouth. I once heard a story of someone not seeing their 7" marine betta for over 3 years in their 300gallon tank until they broke the tank down.
 
OP
Z

Zionas

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 6, 2020
Messages
807
Reaction score
316
Location
Winnieland (AKA “People’s” Republic of China)
That’s good to know. I guess I’ll be set if I can find one that’s eating prepared foods. Heard they’re very resilient fish. I just want to make sure my tank is enough for them to live a full and healthy life considering they get to 8” tops.

Will they be safe with my smaller fish though? Are they aggressive? Will a Flame Angel (or maybe even a pair if you think my tank size is OK for a mated pair) be too aggressive for a MB?

I plan to stock no more than six fish for the first year or so. Maybe add a 7th (no more than 4”) or 8th depending on how things go (again, no more than 4”).

My plan is to add a Comet and my clownfish pair as my first fish once my tank finishes cycling. My other fish will be a Royal Gramma, some sort of hawkfish (Flame, Coral, or Falco) and a Flame Angel. The 7th or 8th fish will be a Halichoeres wrasse and a Yellow Watchman Goby, or maybe the 7th fish will be another Flame Angel (in that case it will be a bonded pair and they’ll go in as my 6th and 7th fish, or maybe 7th and 8th).

I’d like to put my Betta with the clowns but part of me is really nervous.
 
Last edited:

Lucyintheseawithdiamonds

Member
View Badges
Joined
Dec 16, 2019
Messages
12
Reaction score
3
Are you going to be planning on upgrading the tank at all or are you trying to keep all the fish in this system for the foreseeable future? I personally believe that bigger is always better so you can build a bunch of little rock homes for the fish. I don't think you'll be overstocked it's just a thought because sometimes semi aggressive fish pick at each other. I have a diamond watchmen goby in with two tomato clownfish and they don't really interact much at all. I would add the angelfish last basically just wait as long as possible they need a mature system for sure. Also captive bred fish in my mind are always much more successful. I would add the clownfish and watchman then the betta and royal gamma then the hawkfish/wrasse and then the flame angels. But with that said I personally think 75 gallons would be much better suited. I've learned that lesson the hard way. Also make sure to have a lid on it if your going to have hawkfish and wrasses. Hope it all goes well it sounds like an interesting list. I myself have toyed with the idea of getting a marine betta.
 

Crustaceon

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Feb 15, 2019
Messages
864
Reaction score
1,349
I had a marine betta. It barely moved and spent most of the time hidden. It never ate my other fish even though some of them were tiny damsels. It was also one of the most disappointing fish I’ve owned.
 
Aquarium Specialty - dry goods & marine livestock

Jaebster

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
453
Reaction score
967
I never owned a marine beta but have observed them while scuba diving. Dive masters told me that's finding one is quite rare because they are so reclusive. They are non-social fish. They are very shy. In the wild they cone out at dawn and dusk to do their hunting. They dont stray far from their "home". Their home is typically a dark cave or crevice that doesnt get direct light from above. They also live under overhangs and are found deeper depths closer to recreational scuba limits... about 50-60 ft. That probably why other marine beta keepers never saw theirs.
 
OP
Z

Zionas

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 6, 2020
Messages
807
Reaction score
316
Location
Winnieland (AKA “People’s” Republic of China)
What happened to it? Did it die?


Sorry for not making this clear. I was referring to the minimum tank size that most sites think is enough for a Marine Betta (55 gallons). My own system will be 105 gallons and 48”x24”x22”.

I’ve decided to get two basslets by the way instead of the Watchman Goby and I’m getting an acrylic top for my tank.


My new stocking plan will be:

x2 Black and White Ocellaris pair

x1 Marine Betta

x1 Royal Gramma / Blackcap Basslet

x1 Swissguard Basslet

x2 Flame Hawkfish

x1 dwarf angel (Flame, Pygmy-one of the species, Multicolor, or Joculator)



If I can find a mated pair of one of the species of dwarf angels I will keep only one Basslet or one Hawkfish. My LFS gets their Yellow Watchman Gobies from Indonesia which makes me worried about cyanide. All of the other fish on the list except for the Marine Betta (the only Indonesian sourced fish of theirs I am willing to take a chance with) won’t be sourced from Indonesia and my Clowns will be captive bred. I can find captive bred clowns in China.

Flame Hawks (Fiji or Marshall Islands)

Royal Gramma / Blackcap Basslet (Caribbean, processed through the US)

Swissguard Basslet (Caribbean, processed through the US)

Flame Angel (Christmas Island or Marshall Islands, processed through the US), Joculator (Cocos-Keelings, processed through Australia and sold in Hong Kong, my LFS in Guangzhou can pre-order for me), Multicolor (Marshall Islands or Fiji), Atlantic Cherub (Caribbean, processed through US), African Flameback (East Africa), Brazilian Flameback (Caribbean, processed through US).



I plan to add my fish in the following order:

First group will be Marine Betta and the Clownfish pair once my tank finishes cycling.

Second group will be added 3 weeks after (will that be too short of a gap?), and will be the Royal Gramma / Blackcap Basslet and the Swissguard Basslet.

Third group will be added about a month after, and will be the pair of Flame Hawks.


Then, 5-6 months after I start my tank (3-4 months after the Flame Hawks), I will add an angel or two. I want to wait for my tank to have more stable parameters and more algae.
 
Last edited:

Jaebster

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
453
Reaction score
967
I never owned a marine beta but have observed them while scuba diving. Dive masters told me that's finding one is quite rare because they are so reclusive. They are non-social fish. They are very shy. In the wild they cone out at dawn and dusk to do their hunting. They dont stray far from their "home". Their home is typically a dark cave or crevice that doesnt get direct light from above. They also live under overhangs and are found deeper depths closer to recreational scuba limits... about 50-60 ft. That probably why other marine beta keepers never saw theirs.
Oh. And I dont think they will do well with super active fish. The above reasons why they can probably kept in a 55 gallon.
 
OP
Z

Zionas

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 6, 2020
Messages
807
Reaction score
316
Location
Winnieland (AKA “People’s” Republic of China)
I don’t think any of the fish on my list except the dwarf angel can be considered super active. Correct me if I’m wrong.

The clowns are OK but not particularly good swimmers.

The basslets are somewhat reclusive.

The Hawkfish don’t have a swim bladder.
 

Jaebster

Active Member
View Badges
Joined
Nov 19, 2019
Messages
453
Reaction score
967
I don’t think any of the fish on my list except the dwarf angel can be considered super active. Correct me if I’m wrong.

The clowns are OK but not particularly good swimmers.

The basslets are somewhat reclusive.

The Hawkfish don’t have a swim bladder.
Your list seems fine.
 
https://www.omegasea.net/

Cl0wnfish

Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 9, 2020
Messages
15
Reaction score
39
It sounds like your dead set on the marine betta, I would pass if I was you. With you having a bigger tank (55g is the min tank size referenced because they don’t need a lot of oxygen due to them being very non active and won’t leave their home in the tank, tank size is recommended based on swim style) you won’t get to see it very often and run the risk of having a killer in hiding. Other than that I love your ideas for stocking, if you are doing coral hawk fish perch on everything and it always frustrates me because my zoas and what not would be closed because he would land on them a lot. How long are you running your tank before you add the first batch of fish? I think your spacing is fine time wise but is too generous so if you want cut your spacing between batches in half.
 

Indytraveler83

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Apr 21, 2019
Messages
741
Reaction score
980
Location
South Bend, Indiana
If you can, go captive bred for your marine betta.

Mine is tiny, maybe 3 inches with fins, but adjusted quickly and had no problem accepting mysis or chopped up table shrimp. It is also much more visible than this species is known for, drifting in and out of caves. It is generally a curious animal, and has recently started accepting direct feedings from feeding tongs.

I keep mine in a 90 gallon with about 100 lbs of rockwork and caves.

From what I researched, the captive bred ones are far more likely to eat and be visible as I described.
 
OP
Z

Zionas

Well-Known Member
View Badges
Joined
Mar 6, 2020
Messages
807
Reaction score
316
Location
Winnieland (AKA “People’s” Republic of China)
I am getting the Flame Hawk instead because my LFS gets other hawkfish from Indonesia either through direct collection or through a wholesaler. I try to avoid Indonesian fish (if I get the Marine Betta it’ll be the only Indonesian fish I’m willing to take a risk with) as well as fish from Southeast Asia in general because of the use of cyanide. My LFS gets their Flame Hawks from Fiji or the Marshall Islands, and they’re processed through the US.


Is there a significant chance a Marine Betta will kill or stalk smaller fish? Which kinds of smaller fish are must prone to being eaten? Have you had any die of any reason including cyanide poisoning?

If only I could get a captive bred Marine Betta. I know ORA does them but I don’t think they ship to any stores in China. Mine will certainly be wild caught, but I’ll make sure it’s taking prepared foods that aren’t live foods at the LFS before buying one.

I will be cycling my tank for 3-4 weeks before adding my first batch of fish. My tank will be Berlin system, fish and some easy low maintenance soft corals.

I will make sure ammonia and nitrites zero, nitrates 5-10ppm (heard that is an acceptable level for a softies only tank) before I add my first fish.
 
Last edited:

SkinnyMcGinny

Member
View Badges
Joined
Oct 12, 2018
Messages
16
Reaction score
39
I have one. Cool looking fish, but "dumb".. Certainly on the shy side. I have a big (300 gallon) tank, with lots of fast, aggressive eaters. My comet spooks eas. But I've noticed his shyness dissipates as his hunger grows. I feed mysis twice a day, he doesn't get nearly as much as other fish, maybe one or two pieces per feeding, but that seems to be enough. Striking fish.
 
Corals.com

The worst paradigm to hit the hobby is getting your nutrient levels as low as possible?

  • Yes

    Votes: 261 53.0%
  • No

    Votes: 92 18.7%
  • Other (please explain)

    Votes: 15 3.0%
  • Not Sure

    Votes: 124 25.2%

Online statistics

Members online
1,264
Guests online
3,430
Total visitors
4,694
Top