Back in my “young and dumb” years (okay, I may still be a little of both), I embarked on a fish self-education quest. Like many before me, I starting by buying a betta. I didn’t know much about them at the time. Everyone told me they could be kept in very small containers and required little care. Well heck, who doesn’t want something easy? So I decided that one of these beautiful fish would do. I’d had fish in the family tank before, but this was the first fish that would be entirely in my care for life.
Based on the advice I’d received, I bought a male veiltail betta and bought this kit to go with him. Sure, it’s supposed to house two fish, but what’s the harm in giving him some extra space? Or so I thought. Turns out that each side of this dual hex “tank” holds about eight ounces, giving the lucky loner a whole whopping sixteen ounces in which to live. Note to all well-meaning fish advice givers out there – make sure that you know what you’re talking about before opening your mouth. Thousands of fish die because people have bad advice and don’t realize it.
This little container that holds less than a quart – and has the audacity to call itself a tank – is made of sturdy clear plastic. The plastic divider theoretically allows you to house two of these territorial fish. Some of the containers I’ve seen on the market have a little plug in the bottom to make water changes easy, but this one doesn’t have one of those. The kit includes a small amount of gravel, a little plastic plant, and a water conditioner sample. Obviously, the idea is to be able to pull it out of the box and instantly have a semi-scenic little setup that you can plop your unsuspecting fish into.
At first, I didn’t like my fish very much. He hung out around the bottom of his little cup and his colors were rather dull. I just couldn’t figure out why. In fact, he looked about like death warmed over – if such a thing is possible for a fish, being not particularly warm themselves. Not wishing to lose him, I did some research on my own. That’s when I discovered that I was doing practically EVERYTHING wrong.
First of all, his living conditions – the size really is the biggest problem with the tank, it is just plain too small for even one fish. Yes, it is true these creatures can survive in such small quarters, even survive for quite a while if their water is changed daily. A human can survive in a medieval dungeon too, but that doesn’t make it a life worth living. I immediately bought larger quarters for my betta, expanding to a little 2-gallon hex (recommended minimum from most sources is one gallon) and he instantly perked up. He started dashing all over the place inspecting his new home, then lived for nearly three years afterward happily exploring and flaring at anything that moved.
The fish referred to here is long dead of old age, but he lived a long and full life thanks to NOT continuing to use this dual hex. Now I raise crowntail bettas, and each adult fish has no less than 1.5 gallons each with twice weekly partial water changes.
What became of my “betta tank”? Well, it actually made a very nice culture cup for hatching out baby brine shrimp to feed my various finned friends. When my fish load became too much to grow enough shrimp in that, I turned it into a grow tank for newly dropped guppy fry. They go in there from free-swimming until about 1/8 inch long, when they’re big enough not to be in immediate danger from the larger fry in the ten-gallon grow tank.
My biggest problem with this little dual hex betta tank is that it is marketed for a fish that cannot thrive in it. The thing is well-made and works great for itty-bitty creatures that simply need a place to stay for a week or two until they’re not so itty-bitty (or, in the case of the shrimp, until they’re eaten). It might also work for very temporary housing during a thorough tank cleaning. The plastic does tend to scratch fairly easy, so after a while it won’t be the prettiest thing you have.
The dual hex runs about $5.00 in most large stores, and one could easily find something cheaper than that to grow brine shrimp or isolate three-day-old fry. I suppose it could also work well for transporting a betta from one place to the next as long as they’re not confined in it too long.
To conclude, there is nothing inherently wrong with this product, it’s just marketed for use on the wrong animal. Please make sure to do your own research online and use the knowledge of experienced fishkeepers before you get a fish. Remember that the advice of pet store employees and the people that work in the pet section of a discount store may not be the most reliable information – they’re just there for a paycheck, and may or may not know anything about fish. Be sure to research proper cycling methods before purchasing your fish as well.
This dual tank kit is in no way fit for a permanent residence for any fish, and it does scratch fairly easily. In my opinion, this product is a complete waste of money because I ended up using it in an application for which a plastic sandwich container or soda pop bottle would have worked just as well.
Disclosure statement: I have no affiliation with the manufacturer or any other representative of this product. Its marketers or other affiliated individuals have not offered compensation for my review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.