Betta Bowl Size; Yahoo Answers, Boring Sponge, Catx
I have not bothered much with the misinformation and the use of subjective opinion as fact in Yahoo Answers of late.
However a very subjective Yahoo Answers thread masquerading as fact was brought to my attention where several Yahoo members grossly confuse opinions with facts and then make "straw man" arguments (attacking a person personally instead of the facts) rather than deal with the facts as presented or admit to these being subjective opinions that MANY expert Betta keepers even then do not agree with.
One of the members is Boring Sponge, the other is a top contributor who has made many misstatements of facts in the past; Catx
Here is the thread:
Boring Sponge does not want to address the facts, rather he acts like his opinions are facts while insulting Devon, and makes "Straw Man" attacks on the author of the articles (me) with comments such as this; "Where on earth did these "articles" come from? A 5 year old?"
Sadly, in checking tracking software, he never read the articles provided nor the cited references before he made such a statement.
This only showed that he is also a liar!!!
One of the statements made was that the sources provided were not reliable because they were a .com and written by someone trying to sell something. He then proceeded to provide .org sources.
Sorry pal, a .org can be just as incorrect as a .com, in fact I have found many errors in Wikipedia.org. Many others know this as an unreliable source as well.
The Flat Earth Society is a .org, so with his reasoning I guess the earth really is flat???? See: http://theflatearthsociety.org/
Facts are facts pal, regardless of whether they are on a .com or .org.
"This problem of denying facts while often making "straw man" attacks such as stating articles like these are "based on selling a product" is still unfortunately quite common and happen often in anecdotal "cut & paste information" forums.
Such "straw man" attacks are the same as stating a person with considerable experience with MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) machines is not a credible author of an article extolling an MRI for detecting certain diseases in humans!"
The above quote referenced from: UV Sterilization
As for Catx, she has a tendency to answer these types of subjective Yahoo Answers questions where by she treats her opinions as facts.
Here is a related thread where a long time "top contributor", Magic Man is also incorrectly called out by Catx.
The answer is highly subjective and his experience does not seem to count for anything per her extremist world views.
Magic Man makes this excellent point that many other aquarium professionals could attest to:
I agree with everything CatX has to say and the link, except that a bowl will kill a fish. Bowls do not kill fish, poor fish keeping kills fish. Many, many successful Betta breeders keep huge numbers of bettas in 1/2 gallon bowls for their entire adult lives with no problems at all. I know, I have done it for decades. This does however require careful and diligent maintenance.
Of course this is Magic Man's opinion, but his decades of experience and observations DO COUNT, as so does Devon's and my own experiences/observations.
Sadly, as per Catx and Boring Sponge, they seem to think only their "cup hugger" opinions are worthy (They are entitled to their opinion, but it is just an opinion).
It is also noteworthy that Catx has also gotten many objective questions wrong such as:
Sorry this has been discredited many years ago and proven to be a way to introduce Saprolegnia into an aquarium.
Reference: Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle; Raw Shrimp Cycling
*She has also claimed salt will make a fish fill with water more when they have pop eye or similar.
From this thread: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110411235038AAwfJgg
The facts are the opposite is true as salt will draw water out of fish tissues. This is bio chemistry 101!!
Freshwater Aquarium Salt Use
NOW LET'S LOOK AT SEVERAL COMMENTS MADE IN THIS YAHOO ANSWERS THREAD & EXAMINE THE FACTS OR IF A FACTUAL ANSWER IS EVEN POSSIBLE!
- "Sadly a 1.5 gallon is unsuitable for fish. Any fish put in there won't live for very long, or a very good quality of life. I don't even know why they make containers that small intended for animals.
No fish can live a healthy life in there, and it won't be any fun for you"
Here "Book Shelf" who is awarded the best answer, makes a statement of fact that is NOT fact but is part opinion and part simply WRONG!
YET HE WINS BEST ANSWER???
Controlled scientific studies by me and observations by many long time Bette keepers have found many Betta living just as long a life in a well cared for bowl as with a 10 gallon aquarium, sorry Book Shelf this is simply WRONG.
As for quality of life, and "fun" this is simply his opinion, DO NOT confuse opinions with facts. My Opinions here are different.
I have had MANY observations such as many Bettas I kept in community fish tanks over 50 gallons at the Bahooka Restaurant (one of my largest aquarium maintenance service customers with over 100 tanks), where by the Betta simply hid in a corner and only came out to eat. I should note that the Betta was not harassed and in fact was generally the dominant fish in the aquarium.
While at the same time many of my Bowl Bettas were much more active and interactive.
So much for quality of life and fun!!
- "Bettas come from tropical regions. You know what that means? They need a heater. And do you know what often happens to heaters in tanks less than 3 gallons? They parboil the fish. You know what else? They have a significantly high chance of catching on FIRE, and even EXPLODING if the water level evaporates too low, which in a bowl, can happen in a few hours. Without a heater the fish cannot metabolize correctly. Bowl and heaters less than 15W are dangerous. They are not adjustable, and not submersible either which leads to damaging the heating element. Bettas need their water at a constant 78F."
Totally factually incorrect! Hydor makes a heater that keeps an aquarium/bowl at 5F above the ambient temperature. It CANNOT over heat your aquarium unless it is 90F in the room (which it should not be).
I have also used infrared reptile lights in desk lamps and achieved very stable temperatures. Even in cold rooms in the cool climates (Oregon).
*Hydor Under gravel Betta Bowl Heater *Aquarium Heater Types
And NO, both professional observations and one of the websites Devon sourced show that Bettas can and do thrive in varying tropical temperatures.
In fact many freshwater fish come from water that vary considerably and adapt just fine to reasonable extremes.
Does this mean the Betta should be kept at 60F, No.
As another example, even though goldfish can handle many extremes, their health declines greatly at temperatures such as 85F
- "Furthermore, the tropics are actually very stable. Fish in tropical regions cannot be aged by otoliths, because there are no temperature variations to cause growth rings. Also, bettas come from swamps and rice paddies, which while shallow, hold thousands of gallons. Water holds heat for a long time, and in thousands of gallons the change will be incredibly slow, only a few degrees difference. In a bowl, the constant swings from drafts will stress the fish and kill it."
This point is correct AND not correct.
Yes the tropic are very stable as per the over all climate, however monsoon flows and drainage from higher elevations effect temperatures greatly, so actual water temperatures are not as stable as he would have the reader think.
I will also agree that the swamps & rice patties do hold heat for some time, however actual observed temperatures range from 15°C (59 F) in December to 40°C (104 F) in April except in high altitude locations.
From; Betta Habitat
As for bowls and drafts, I do not know where he kept his, but even with the many I and others have kept without undergravel heaters, all of these were kept in homes and offices which were kept at generally a constant 75-78F
- "Nutrients BUILDS UP too quickly in small spaces, which rots and forms toxic ammonia. In a small space, the ammonia will build up quickly, and ammonia damage is cumulative by week, So even with regular cleanings, it will eventually succumb before its time. Constant cleaning will also stress the fish, and stress is cumulative for long term. The fact that you think "nutrients" is the substance and that it depletes shows how little knowledge you actually possess on Betta care.
Where on earth did these "articles" come from? A 5 year old?
Seriously, do some more research. Aquariums are a science and a balance. The animal's habitat is supposed to be ideal for it."
Hmmm, this is where Boring Sponge really shows his lack of respect for others and science.
FACT; I have conducted dozens of controlled experiments with small tanks, bowls, aquariums, etc whereby using a sponge filter or even a medicine bottle with SeaChem Matrix was able to maintain just as stable of a nitrogen cycle as much larger aquariums.
*Aquarium Sponge Filters
He seems to think the pure ammonia cycling method is all there is, well it is not.
In fact, the most effective and used method as least by other aquarium maintenance professionals is the aged filter media method.
Boring Sponge needs to do his homework before he attacks others. He also needs to learn science himself because he doesn't use any in his claims, rather again he seems to confuse his opinions with science.
Aquarium Nitrogen Cycle
Nitrogen Cycle Basics
I will agree though that constant cleanings, especially of 100%, CAN stress the fish. In part, due to possible pH changes, this is why I recommend no more than 50% for a smaller container (under 5 gallons). 50% is the most I would do. If keeping the bowl right, a 25% water change, once a week, would work great. Of course, different factors can effect this.
However I know of a Betta breeder (among others) who keeps a large container of conditioned water set to exacting parameters that the Betta container is also kept at who uses this water for very regular 100% water changes of non filtered bowls, this is basically what is called the flow-thru cleaning method used by many larger fish keeping operations.
Back to nutrients; Devon noted that he meant to say minerals. This where Boring Sponge and SO MANY others who keep freshwater fish really misunderstand aquarium chemistry. I believe the point Devon was trying to say was that without a constant supply of positive mineral ions, which are more readily depleted in small aquariums or bowls, the fish will slowly suffer.
This is where the VERY in depth Aquarium Chemistry article Devon cited goes into very great detail with excellent researched resources and analogies to back it up. As well he likely does not understand how these ions act on fish regulation and aquarium Redox Balance
Referenced Articles Cited:
*Aquarium Redox Balance
Also reference: Aquarium Chemistry Basics Here is where I give a plug for a product that works for this, because it WORKS (in the before mentioned controlled studies I might add); Wonder Shells
While Boring Sponge did finally supply resources to supposedly support his argument, all be this one were generic and provided no new information.
Even this, this above article makes this statement: "These fish are known to be intelligent and curious, and small bowls do not meet the fish’s behavioral or physiological needs." without backing up this OPINION!
While one of the articles Devon backed up his point with actual experience and observations, which also is backed up by Magic Mans's experience as well.
I know this guy seems to think that having a .org suddenly makes this site only answer to God, but I am sorry this is just an opinion with no basis in provable fact.
Just as importantly, I consulted another expert who is a member of the IBC (as well as a breeder), she did not think well of the thread nor this website cited by Boring Sponge as it came off as what she calls: "Cup Huggers".
Again we simply have opinions posing as facts, quite typical in Yahoo Answers in so many many fish related questions.
- "You're taking this way too seriously."
REALLY??? Boring Sponge personally attacked this guy, what is he supposed to do.
As well, while I certainly cannot judge Boring Sponges intentions as far as helping the person asking the question about keeping a Betta in a 1.5 gallon bowl, he did not need to attack Devon either.
Boring Sponge should have explained his position better, which his points about keeping any fish in a smaller aquarium or bowl is certainly with merit as I have seen first hand how problems can be amplified quickly.
He should have stated that while it is certainly possible as per MANY experienced fish keepers, he should suggest starting with a larger aquarium for a beginner (which I have done myself many of times over my 35 year professional career).
- "While a confined space, and lack of heat and filtration is considered cruel and fish bowls are actually banned in some parts of the world."
Devon NEVER stated to keep a bowl without filtration or heat, NOR would I!!!
- "As for Devon's waffle, you can do something for 30 years but still be doing it wrong"
He presented both his opinion and facts.
It is not a waffle to admit he made a mistake (as per nutrients), that is called humility Catx. Give it a try some time.
Boring Sponge made a mistake and went back on it, is he waffling?
While Catx might be correct as per being wrong after 30 years, he still backed up the more factual parts of his statements with science based resources.
As well, his view that Betta can be housed perfectly well is backed up by many others, including myself, Magic Man, and other experts. However, in the end Catx can certainly disagree, but since she is not Dr. Doolittle, she cannot claim she is correct and he is wrong as if this were a fact.
- "I don't give two hoots how many people may have done it, a lot of people keep Goldfish in unfiltered bowls, dogs tied out in yards, rabbits in tiny wire-floored cages, a lot of people do a lot of things wrong."
This is simply Catx' self righteous opinion, which does not make her correct.
From the article which Catx apparently could not trouble herself to read (actually I know she did not read it based on tracking software): "What is more subjective is the size of the container you keep your Betta in assuming all the above objective/factual qualifications are met.
The argument is often made that a Betta is more happy in a larger aquarium, unfortunately unless you can speak to your Betta, this is simply an opinion.
From my observations with Bettas in 10 gallon or larger tanks versus Bettas I have kept in bowls, I have noticed often much more lively Bettas in the Bowls than in the larger aquariums where by they often hide in just one corner and not utilize all the "extra space", especially when other fish are present. But then others may have different observations, which then makes this only anecdotal evidence.
Back to facts, since I have performed so many controlled tests utilizing many of my large multi aquarium clients (both large and small aquarium), literally in the 100s going back to 1978, I can state categorically that lifespan and disease resistance were NOT any more lengthened by the Bettas kept in containers over 10 gallons versus those that were in aquariums under 5 gallons.
WHAT WAS A FACTOR in lifespan & disease resistance was the environment these fish were kept in as per water parameters and feeding, not the size of the tank."
Reference: Betta Habitat
In Summary; and speaking for myself.
I certainly do not claim to have all the answers. In the many articles I have researched and written (or co-written), I often avoid subjective questions such as this one or another is the best way to use euthanasia a fish. I just stay away from them for this reason I'm writing this article.
HOWEVER I have spent copious amount of hours literally 10s of 1000s in controlled tests, observations, listening to many mentors (such as Dr. Herzog).
As well, I have changed my opinion many times when actual facts presented themselves as different from what I thought to be correct (or even good evidence had showed at the time to be correct). Examples include Aquarium Redox and the actual effectiveness of Bio Wheels.
Many of the people who answer at Yahoo Answers and others who have "truther" mentalities might claim that I am not credible due to the fact I also sell products.
However I had to sell products that worked as this was part of my guarantee for my maintenance customers (which landed me some VERY large clients such as the Bahooka restaurant with over 100 aquariums).
It made poor business sense to sell something that would not work or break quickly, as it meant a "free" trip out to a customer at my expense and then cancelling other appointments due to time wasted fixing problems that should not have been problems in the first place.
I also liked to learn why things worked that I could not at the time explain, hence my research into Redox and UV Sterilization.
Back to this Yahoo Answers question and answers thread:
The bottom line is this was a subjective question and these "holier than thou" persons at Yahoo Answers have no business treating their opinions as facts and ignoring what facts that could be interjected into this thread.
Book Shelf, Catx, and Boring Sponge should all get jobs with the news media such as ABC, as they are excellent at confusing fact from opinion and certainly do not have any scientific method understanding based on their answers.
In the end this is further proof of why Yahoo Answers should NEVER be used for aquarium keeping information!!
The First Resource is one I admittedly co-written on, however it also has the input of many other EXPERTS including the Texas Betta Society
*BETTAS; General Information and Veiltail, Plakat, Crowntail, Halfmoon)
This second resource is written by another who has kept and bred Bettas extensively. It is noteworthy that in her opinion she does not recommend under a 2.5 gallon tank/bowl. This is again simply her opinion based on her experience, just as many who co-wrote the previous resource have found no problem with a 1.5 gallon )& less in consulting with one of the authors prior to writing this article.
*Caring for a Betta at Home or Office
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