Surface Movement Bad for Bettas? Mine Hates It

Topic: Ok,  I have a crown tail betta…I used to have him in a less than gallon tank. He is now in a five gallon tank. He is so happy and healthy. He has a bubble nest..if it gets messed up during water change, he makes a new one. He does not like filters. He is not happy at all with water movement. He hides inside this little barrel and stays there. So I don’t have a filter..and he is very happy.


The water is nice and clear. I use tap water with conditioner (can’t remember what kind). I have gravel, some big rocks, and some silk plants. I would like to get a moss ball like you have but can’t find one..we only have petco and petsmart where I live.Here is my concern…if it is one…I change 25% water every week. I use a gravel/siphon (not sure what you call it)’s a small one and I got it from walmart. It is a siphon with a large barrell type thing at the end (the vaccuum).

The water comes out very quickly, and the water that comes out is dirty (much more effective than using a cup cuz the water comes out clean with a cup) I know it’s working.
However… because I’m only doing 25% water change, and the water comes out so quickly, I don’t get to thoroughly clean all the gravel. Is this okay? Should I change more than 25%? After I do the water change the tank is all dirty and then it settles to the bottom..I can see debris on the bottom…basically looks like’s on the bottom and also settles on the leaves. It’s not terribly thick, but it is visible. So what should I do?? and just an FYI, I do have a heater..I think it’s suppose to automatically set at 78, but it’s usually 77, but I guess that is okay.

betta hiding

Response from Chris:
I’ve been preaching this for a long time to people that Betta fish really do hate filters. All I seem to get is aggression from people when doing so.. “BUT CHRIS, the fish needs clean water or it will die.” What a lot of beginner aquarists or fishkeepers don’t understand is the fact of having clean water with no water filter. I do one gravel cleaning every couple of days and have no filters on lots of my tanks. I believe these fish hate current because they are a Thailand native ‘water hole’ dwelling fish.

To fix your problem of “pouring” the water out of the tank and putting stress on your fish, what you should do is get a gravel siphon. Make sure NEVER TO SUCK UP YOUR FISH with the siphon tube though. Once you get to be good at using a gravel vacuum, you will never look back! They work amazing for cleaning the bottom of the tank. The bottom of the tank is where 90% of the nasty and dirty substance sits on and creates bad things for your water parameters. What you do is insert the siphon tube and suck water off the bottom of the tank and it works amazing. Your fish will almost get use to seeing them like all of mine do.

Also a huge water parameter saver is watching how much food you feed your fish!


If you have a bucket that is at a lower level of elevation, once the siphon has started.. it just runs on its own. After you removed 30% of the water in the tank along with the dirtiest of elements sitting on the bottom of your tank… your good to dump that water down the toilet. Now add new water to your bucket and add it to your tank. Your fish will learn to love that new incoming water because it’s fresh and full of oxygen. DONT FORGET TO ADD WATER CONDITIONER BEFORE ADDING NEW WATER TO YOUR TANK.

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