Originally Posted by babystarz
Haven't seen anyone mention this (or I missed it), but definitely get an adjustable heater and tank thermometer - bettas prefer to live at temps of around 80 degrees.
I agree that the air pump is unnecessary for a betta, since they are surface breathers it's just not something you have to bother with. To make sure they have enough oxygen at the surface of the tank, always get tank hoods with air holes and leave at least 1 inch of space between the water line and the tank cover.
I was pleasantly surprised at how well my anubias plants from Petco did in my new 3 gal :) I also ordered some Java fern and it looks good so far too. Try to find the healthiest looking plants you can, and if you don't have a nutrient rich substrate in the tank your plants will need fertilizer and/or root tabs. I like Flourish by Seachem as a fertilizer. Since the plant clippings from Petco are small, you may need to use a zip tie or some other tie mechanism to anchor them to the bottom of the tank, so be prepared to get a little creative with that.
Proper temperature is a big role in proper betta care. Often times warm water will make their color brighter. :D
Heres my girl, before (when i first got her in april) and after (a few weeks ago)
its really important that the heater says it is adjustable and has a thermostat. I use via aqua heaters available on amazon because theyre very affordable.. http://www.amazon.com/ViaAqua-50-Wat.../dp/B005440HLO
Your tank should have a 25 watt heater, but no more than 50 watts. 50 watts would work too.
ALSO.. forgot to mention fish food! pellets are better than flakes because flakes are messy and you cant easily portion them. Some of the best brands are new life spectrum betta formula pellets (#1) and omega one betta buffet pellets (#2)