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Old 06-20-2012, 07:41 PM   #1 
Nuts4Mutts
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Question Brand New Betta Owner

Hi! This is my very first fish ever [I have owned 3 dogs, countless cats, and a couple rats before though (currently have 3 dogs & 4 cats) so I know enough about basic pet care]. I'm just looking for helpful tips, must-do's, never-even-think-about-doing's, and anything else that will get little TinTin on his road to happiness. =)

Right now I've got him in about a 1.5-2gal bowl (My room is small, there is nowhere to keep anything bigger, sorry ) and he has gravel, 3 live bamboo stalks, a live leafy green plant, some larger pebbles, and a pink snail named Gary.

I bought him from a little reptile store, the owner is a very kind person & takes excellent care of all her critters, so I genuinely trust her if I ever get another betta [kinda bummer, she only had 6 bettas for sale. ] She recommended all of Tintins belongings to me.

Okay I'll stop rambling about him, I'll just show him off a little

BTW what colors would he 'technically' be? He changes from aqua-turquoise to pinkish. [he's a Halfmoon]
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Old 06-20-2012, 07:45 PM   #2 
teeneythebetta
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He is a very pretty Betta!

I understand you don't have much room, but the ideal home for him would be a 2.5 gallon TANk (at minimum) with a heater. Bettas are tropical fish and need a constant temperature between 78-82 degrees to thrive.

Happy Betta keeping! :D
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Old 06-21-2012, 12:14 AM   #3 
Nuts4Mutts
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Thanks for the advice! I can't find an affordable tank at the moment or a heater, but I check the temp of it, it is always at about 80*

Another thing that the store owner told me is that keeping a little snail in there will keep the bowl clean so you don't have to clean it. She showed me her betta [his bowl was slightly smaller than mine] and she said she has never cleaned his bowl, just kept the snail in there. So she gave me a lil pink snail for free. Is cleaning it thoroughly still recommended? I was thinking like once every couple months I'll take Tintin out & clean it out with hot water. More...less?...
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Old 06-21-2012, 12:28 AM   #4 
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I'm sure that lady was very nice -- but she doesn't know a lot about keeping bettas..

- the bamboo you have is fine for now, since it isnt wholly underwater, but if it starts yellowing in the leaves, take it out and give it a nice pot of dirt in a tray of water.

- a snail in that size tank is not a good idea, as they poop a lot and make a lot of ammonia, making life less comfortable for your fish.

- you will need to do TWO water changes per WEEK (daily, if you keep the snail..) one 50% of the water, one 100% of the water. This is to prevent ammonia (which comes from fish pee and poo) building up and making your fish sick.

- if your temp is high and steady right now, then that'll be okay for a while. But you'll need a heater as the season changes, or there's cooler nights. Temp fluctuations mess with your fish. It's best to keep a steady temperature with an adjustable heater (so you can control it, in case of ich..).

There's a bunch of betta care sticky threads at the top of the care forum -- read them. :)

If you can't afford a bigger tank right now, look at saving up for a $10 Kritter Keeper, you can get 3 or 4 gallons.. small heater is maybe $15.

-
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Old 06-21-2012, 12:41 AM   #5 
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Thank you for that info, all advice directly from other fish-owners is great! =D One pretty pathetic betta [poor guy... he was about 3 when he died I think] had his bowl go for a couple months without cleaning, it was pretty smelly... so I knew absolutely nothing about bettas & my helper [a 10yr old] claimed to, but didn't. So turns out we did EVERYTHING we shouldn't... used dish soap to clean the decorations, and tap water without any conditioner.... surprisingly he lived pretty happily for another many months.

He's also got a small leafy plant in his bowl [right now it has 2 leaves big enough for him to hide under] and I'm thinking about going back to get a different plant [it's sort-of thick & mossy, a little clump floats on top], do you think Tintin would enjoy that?
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:25 AM   #6 
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Honestly I would take out the bamboo, remove all the gravel and add in some java moss.

Your gravel is further decreasing your limited water volume and is going to make it more time-consuming to clean. I'd only ever have barebottom in uncycled tanks such as yours as it is just so much more convenient.

I would definitely invest in a bigger tank if you have the funds, but a heater is much more important. Water temperature fluctuations in such a small volume can cause diseases such as velvet and ich as well as make your betta seem more lethargic or 'lazy'.

An adjustable heater with an automatic shut-off is so much better and more consistent than one of those ones that just heats 5 degrees above ambient room temperature. With tropical fish such as bettas, not only do you want the right temperature, you want a consistent temperature as well.

I would personally do 2-3 100% water changes a week as I prefer to err on the side of caution if you don't have a test kit to monitor parameters. Better you overdo the water changes than expose your betta to harmful traces of ammonia. If you invest in a test kit this will give you more flexibility as you will be able to see how often you need to do water changes and what percentage needs changing.

It's good you took the time to post here. Your betta will appreciate it.
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:41 AM   #7 
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It's amazing what poor conditions bettas will tolerate, sometimes, some of them are pretty tough fish. But some of them (especially the half moons..) are not able to tolerate filthy water or temp swings and will rapidly get diseases like fin rot or ich. And luckily, not all tap water is chlorinated to the degree where it will kill fish in minutes. My tap water has so much chlorine, I can smell it when they top it up, like swimming pool water - my fish would last an hour in that without conditioner.

Yes, bettas love plants to hide in. The plant you describe sounds like java moss - my fish all love theirs.

Think about returning the snail when you go. If you're doing proper water changes and cleaning the gravel once a week, you won't need a 'tank cleaner' who is actually making your water very poopy.
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Old 06-21-2012, 02:06 AM   #8 
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He's a very cute guy, and I love his color! I'm with everyone else, my first thought was to take out most if not all of the gravel. Fish don't care if they have gravel, and you can almost double his water area in his small bowl by taking out the unneccessary gravel. :) You might consider getting him a medium-sized shell or some other "hidey hole" to swim into as well. Some of mine have loved to swim into big conch-type shells, others have completely ignored them, so it varies from fish to fish. I know at my local pet stores I can get clean hermit crab replacement shells for 2 or 3 dollars, and they make great hide-outs for bettas. :)
I know you are working on a budget, I am *very* familiar with that sentiment, and here are some places I've found deals:
- You can get a 10 gallon tank, just a glass terrarium, for $12-13 at Petco or Walmart (and for the cover, I just take a peice of glass from an old picture frame and put it across the top, works great and is much cheaper than a proper hood, plus I like being able to have the clear top) They’re not as big as you might think. Only about a 9 inches high, 7 inches wide, and 14 inches long, about the size of a TV tray.
- Live plants are best, silk plants are good, and plastic plants are acceptable…but I’ve always used plastic and never had a problem, and you can usually get a pack of four or six for between $3-6 at Walmart. I like having plenty of plants in my tanks, but that’s just personal preference. J (I can’t seem to keep the live plants alive…one of these days I’ll try again.)
- My betta’s favorite hiding spot is a “log” ornament with some silk plants attached to it I’ve found at walmart as well. It’s about $6, but well worth it. They love to swim through and hide in there.
- You can get a filter for $10 at walmart and the heaters are $15, also at walmart. I have read on here from a few different people that you don’t need to change the filter nearly as often as the filter companies say you do, and I know you can purchase the carbon and put it into a mesh sack that works just as well and is so much cheaper when you *do* need to change the filter.
- I like the big glass “beads” or “marbles” for the tank bottom instead of gravel just because it’s easier to clean, and I think it looks better. You can find a pack of these in the silk plant section of walmart for about $2 each. (You’ll need 1-2 for a 10 gallon tank, I don’t pile them deep, rather sparse.)
- So, all in all, you can spend under $55 and have a really nice big tank all set up. J I realized down here that I could purchase the bigger tank for $12 since it was just the tank…all the smaller ones had other “accessories” I didn’t need (like food and water conditioner or a hood, or fancy colored lights…I’ve got plenty of food and conditioner, and I don’t like hoods and I hate those colored lights) for upwards of $30 or $50, just because you’re buying the “kit”. Which is how I ended up with a big tank…and a tiny betta…which I frequently have to go searching for in there. ;)

Good luck to you though with your new guy! He’s a really lovely color! J
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Old 06-21-2012, 06:40 AM   #9 
teeneythebetta
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Originally Posted by Nuts4Mutts View Post
Thanks for the advice! I can't find an affordable tank at the moment or a heater, but I check the temp of it, it is always at about 80*

Another thing that the store owner told me is that keeping a little snail in there will keep the bowl clean so you don't have to clean it. She showed me her betta [his bowl was slightly smaller than mine] and she said she has never cleaned his bowl, just kept the snail in there. So she gave me a lil pink snail for free. Is cleaning it thoroughly still recommended? I was thinking like once every couple months I'll take Tintin out & clean it out with hot water. More...less?...
WHAT?!?!? NO This is why you never listen to pet store people! Depending on the snail you have, they will clean up fish food/algae and stuff but your fish does create ammonia, which CAN and WILL severely injure your fish or kill it. Especially in such a small bowl, your water needs changed probably once every 3-4 days. Also think about how your water is never moving- it will be stagnant in no time.

If you eventually do get a tank, I got a heater for my 10 gallon similar to this one (but it is in a higher wattage) it's on sale at amazon for $10.76. It works great and is a great price for the quality. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ce-full-site=1

If you have any more questions or would like to verify any care info you were given, feel free to let me know id be glad to help!
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Old 06-21-2012, 08:41 AM   #10 
BETTACHKALOVE
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Someone already wrote to take out bamboo. I would concern about that roots. I think
betta can decide swim through them and stuck. I don't know may be i am paranoid.

I think that bowl looks like mine it can be even 1 gall.

Nuts4Mutts it good that you left that space between the water and the top of the tank. Bettas can jump out.

If your tempe between 76*-80* you don't need a heater. Not sure where you live but the place i live like 90* now , i am afraid my bettas too hot lol
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