I'm not keeping a betta in this.
February 19, 2012 10:06 AM   Subscribe

I have been given a tiny "fish tank". This one. What can I humanely keep in there? How much work would it be to keep it livable? I love the idea of having a creature or two at my desk, but realize there are some limits.

The tank holds just under a quart...
posted by the christopher hundreds to Pets & Animals (25 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
A beta. They like tiny spaces, and don't need so much oxygen in the water
posted by Toekneesan at 10:09 AM on February 19, 2012

Wait, I just saw your title. Why not?
posted by Toekneesan at 10:10 AM on February 19, 2012

Best answer: How about an apple snail or two? I don't know much about them at all but it doesn't seem as if a small space would bother them much. And they eat lettuce and carrots! You could have lunch with them every day.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:12 AM on February 19, 2012 [6 favorites]

Wow, that's tiny. 2nding Apple snail, ghost shrimp, or some Sea Monkeys.
posted by apparently at 10:20 AM on February 19, 2012

This is a terrible product that I don't think you should even plug in.
posted by tapesonthefloor at 10:20 AM on February 19, 2012 [12 favorites]

Freshwater shrimp? Come in gorgeous colours depending on the species, and they're pretty interesting to watch. Apple snails are adorable (really), but they can dirty up the water quite quickly, so you'd need to make sure the filter was up to the task if you went that route.
posted by Catseye at 10:22 AM on February 19, 2012

I wouldn't keep anything that's supposed to stay alive in there. You might do better making it a little desert tank or something rather than one with water in it. Maybe even a mini garden. Just no fish or animals. Too small, that light probably isn't good for the well-being of the water, etc.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 10:23 AM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

If you want to get crazy, you could do a pico reef aquarium. Yes, they can be done in that size tank, though you have to be diligent with maintenance and topping off water from evaporation.

I wouldn't keep any fish in it, but a couple of low light corals and a pair of sexy shrimp and you're good to go.

If you seriously consider this path, read all you can. Its not easy, but that's half the fun.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 10:33 AM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Many sea monkeys. Or how about making it a mini terrarium? You can get lots of teeny plants and decorations and you can make them quite fanciful looking.
posted by wwax at 10:33 AM on February 19, 2012

>The tank holds just under a quart...

The page says that it holds 1 1/2 quarts, which still is very small but not as small as under a quart.

I'm always very concerned about humane living conditions for fish. Some people in the reviews suggest guppies, but it's too small for them! Guppies like to move around. I'm not sure about other aquatic animals like snails (not familiar), but if I had this tank I would try aquatic plants and no fish.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 10:46 AM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Couple of ghost shrimp.
posted by infinitywaltz at 11:04 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

There is also a 2-gallon one.
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 11:07 AM on February 19, 2012

Is this for your home or your office? You could definitely keep a siamese fighting fish in there. Small tanks are so much more difficult to keep well though. If your office tap water is copper free, then shrimp is a good suggestion, and cherry shrimp are beautiful and relatively hardy. Don't even think about a marine tank.
posted by roofus at 11:26 AM on February 19, 2012

Dead things. Just keep dead things. That pump is going to fail pretty damn quick. God only knows what horrible adhesives and plasticizers they've used to put that thing together as cheaply as possible. I'd put in some gravel, a plastic plant, and a drop of dish soap to keep it from growing algae. Then I'd let it run for a few weeks and quietly throw it out, claiming it had failed even if it hadn't.
posted by chairface at 12:02 PM on February 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

Marimo Balls. They're cool looking and require very little care. Also supposed to be good luck!
posted by fshgrl at 12:39 PM on February 19, 2012

Pico reefs are hard to keep going--that's a pretty small tank for that. I've kept betas in tanks with a circulatory pump and hardy live plants, and they've lived a long time.

I'd vote on a fake tank just because the water running would be soothing. Water, nice rock, live water plants and a colorful background would make for a pretty setup. You might even be able to anchor a fake plastic fish on a thin piece of line that would bob in the water, although just the plants would satisfy me. Salt water shrimp are tough, but a lot of work--it's hard to regulate the salinity, the white deposits get icky quick, and the salt would probably corrode the works.

I vote for a water terrarium or just some pretty little land plants.

Talk to a pet shop owner if you want something live--perhaps you could do a tiny gecko, but again, that would be more work than you may want to put in.
posted by BlueHorse at 12:54 PM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'd vote on a fake tank just because the water running would be soothing

Depending on how the tank's pump is positioned, maybe you could make it into one of those water-trickling-over-interesting-rocks fountains.
posted by hattifattener at 1:00 PM on February 19, 2012

Agreeing with the snail - they don't require much care and they are so relaxing to watch.
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 1:35 PM on February 19, 2012

You could get maybe a couple of cherry shrimp or the like.
posted by smoke at 1:37 PM on February 19, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions. I knew better than to put something vertebrate in there. I think I'm going to get a snail.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 2:11 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Oh, and thanks for the pointers on pico reefs, clever name. Fascinating.
posted by the christopher hundreds at 2:13 PM on February 19, 2012

I have a tank about that size that I keep Utricularia vulgaris, which is a carnivorous aquatic plant notable for being one of the fastest movers in the plant kingdom. I also keep small crustaceans called daphnia in there because a plants gotta eat.

Keep a magnifying glass nearby and you can watch the mini mayhem.
posted by jamaro at 4:27 PM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

Just for future reference, when it comes to marine tanks, smaller does not equal easier. It is much harder to keep water perameters stable on a pico tank than it is with a 6 foot one. It is for advanced hobbyists only. I have two tanks and the small one requires much more upkeep. The poster who mentioned the amount of work required was right. I basically read and studied everything I could get my hands on for 6 months straight before I even bought my first tank, otherwise you just end up killing out of ignorance.

TL:DR: I vote for turning it into a terrarium. Some stones and tiny plants, beautiful.
posted by Jubey at 6:55 PM on February 19, 2012

Everything Jubey says about marine tanks applies to freshwater as well.
posted by Area Control at 6:51 AM on February 20, 2012

A small tarantula? I can't think immediately of a ground-dwelling (as opposed to tree dwelling) one that would fit when fully grown, but a juvenile of a slow growing species could be content in there for years before needing a bigger house.
posted by K.P. at 7:15 AM on February 20, 2012

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