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Old 01-27-2013, 03:13 PM   #1 
KCalNeon
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Smile Betta Questions

Hey everyone!

I don't mean to spam but I have decided to make another topic for certain questions. My old topic just died and I figured it would be better to make a new one than to keep bumping an old one.

My knowledge so far:
I think I know a pretty good amount of stuff for only joining this month! I read and looked through all the care boards and I made sure to write down any and all questions I have before I forget them. Then, I'll search for the most recent topic that should answer my question. I think a couple more months of research and I should be good. :) of course, you learn the most when you actually have you're Betta fish and over the years things change as you find out more. But I like to give my first animal the best life I possibly can then continue on the chain. :)

Questions:

I just want a single Betta fish with silk plants, hides, heater, filter etc. No live plants or tank mates. Can you add live plants later on... Or do you have to add them when you first setup the tank?
I think if I keep up with water changes and everything else... It'll be fine? Also, my tank will have 2 silk plants and 2 hideouts (bridge and something else) I'll make sure to get atleast one plant thats close to the surface and wash all decor before using them. is that a good setup for a 5G?

What type of light, heater, thermometer, and filter is best for a 5G?

What is everything you need to keep in mind about cleaning? I keep hearing different things around the forum about cleaning tanks. I've heard you'll have to reach inside the tank and clean corners, clean the sponge in dirty water, etc. What's everything I'll have to do? Even if it's just once a month?

I've seen a lot of topics that say when something changes (like you add something new to you're tank) you'll have to do more frequent water changes. In what cases do we do the more frequent water changes and why do we do them?

Can you change you're fishes decor (the fake decor) to make it look nice? I heard it might stress out the fish. How often do you change out your decor and what precautions do you take?

Am I right in saying once the sponge in your filter falls apart, simply replacing and putting in another one is fine? There's already enough BB, or do you have to do something else?

Is it really bad if you do a water change too early or too late? What's the worst that can happen? I know some things might come up and I might have to do a water change a day later or earlier.

How would you disinfect and reuse a 5 gallon tank if you're Betta passes away and you want another one? What about a Pet store Betta that passes away suddenly... How would you prepare the tank for a new Betta? and do you have to cycle again?

Where do you get you're Bettas from? Are Pet store Bettas unhealthy?

The light cycle... Well I'm kind of confused. I go to school from 8:00am-3pm should I leave the light on while I'm at school and when it gets a little dark (at around 6pm) turn it off? Do they go to sleep once the light is off? If they do, That means I can spend about 1 hour of time with him (after school at 4-5 ish) because of homework and other stuff in the afternoon. So is it ok if I turn the light on all day while I'm at school then a couple hours after coming home, I spend some time with him and then turn it off to let him sleep? Do I have to turn the light on at the same time everyday or is it ok as long as he gets 8-12 hours? On the weekends I wake up later so I won't always turn it on at the same time.

The only concern I have is that my lamp is on my chest
(which will be right next to the tank on my dresser)
Would a small piece of wood in between the two be good? Because after I turn the light off to let him sleep, I'll have to turn on my lamp a couple times which might bug him. My lamp lights up my whole room because my room is small so won't the light still bug him even with a divider? But then again, I've heard some indirect light is good so you're Betta won't see their reflection in the tank.

How do you exercise you're Bettas and how much time do you spend with them? I've heard of chopsticks, you're fingers, etc. what other fun things do you/ can you do?

I've heard you're not supposed to tap the glass tank is this true?

Do tank backgrounds have to be a certain color? And can I just buy/ make any background or does the background have to be made of something non toxic?

Since fish are so sensitive to toxic things, does everything around them have to be non-toxic? Like if I sprayed cologne in my room (where the fish is) it could harm him? And even the toxic glue stuff used to hold together furniture, could that be an issue if it too close? Lol I think I'm just being paranoid now. :P

What do you guys think of this? What it be a good option if you're tap water is unsuitable?
http://www.petco.com/product/103784/...er-Tanks.aspx?

Last edited by KCalNeon; 01-27-2013 at 03:20 PM.
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Old 01-27-2013, 03:47 PM   #2 
Caii
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Hey there! Though I'm new like you, I've had a really good crash course on Bettas and Betta care once I rescued my fish Bo ^_^
These are the questions I can definitively give solid advice on- to give you an idea of my set up, I have a 2.5 gallon tank, a live plant, gravel, some decor and a thermometer with a heater!

What type of light, heater, thermometer, and filter is best for a 5G?
Though I don't have any experience with lights and filters, I believe the thermometer and heater running in my tank are good choices. For the thermometer, I highly recommend Top Fin's Floating Thermometer from PetSmart. It can float or stick to your tank as desired, is very accurate and even has a zone to show you what temperatures are acceptable for tropical fish in green. The best feature, I believe, is it's durability and price: $2.99! Avoid temperature strips as those are known for being unreliable. As for the heater, I recommend an Aqueon submersible heater- the one I have is good for up to a 20 gal tank, and has an automatic shut-off to protect the fish from water that's too hot. I got mine on craigslist for $10, but new in store starts at about ~$20. I love it and so does Bo!

Can you change you're fishes decor (the fake decor) to make it look nice? I heard it might stress out the fish. How often do you change out your decor and what precautions do you take?

YES! As they say, "Variety is the Spice of Life", and I find that my fish Bo enjoys it when I change his scenery a bit: it gives him new places to explore and new surroundings in an otherwise boring tank... XD
I think the fish may be a little overwhelmed depending on the degree of change, but this can be minimized. For instance, instead of switching the decor AND the layout, just switch the layout but keep the decor the same. This should help!
I change Bo's layout and decor once every week- with his full water change- so that then I can readjust the layout and decor that I want without stressing him out inside the tank. Precautions-wise, I make sure that the decor has no metal in it (rust is really bad for the fish!) and thoroughly rinse it in hot water. NO SOAP! EVER!

How do you exercise your Bettas and how much time do you spend with them? I've heard of chopsticks, you're fingers, etc. what other fun things do you/ can you do?

Every fish and their personality is different, so what may work for one fish may not work for yours. However, one thing that gets Bo excited is a glass bead on a string- I trail it carefully through the water and he darts around trying to get it! XD
I love seeing him have a good time!
Another thing you could do is buy a Betta Log or a play set for fish. Many of my friends here recommend the Betta Log, but be sure that it'll fit in your tank!

I hope that this answers a few of your questions, and if I find more information, I'll edit it with links and more fun stuff.

Good luck! ^^
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:30 PM   #3 
sainthogan
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response part 1

I just want a single Betta fish with silk plants, hides, heater, filter etc. No live plants or tank mates. Can you add live plants later on... Or do you have to add them when you first setup the tank? Yes, you can add live plants later. The bulb plants are easiest to do this with. Just go to a pet store or wal-mart, buy an aquarium plant bulb, and drop it in, it does everything else. You can buy plants that are already grown, I personally haven't had much luck with those. You'll need to drain the water a little and stick your hand in to bury them into the substrate.
I think if I keep up with water changes and everything else... It'll be fine? Also, my tank will have 2 silk plants and 2 hideouts (bridge and something else) I'll make sure to get atleast one plant thats close to the surface and wash all decor before using them. is that a good setup for a 5G? That sounds like a good set up. They do like things near the surface so that they can lounge on them and be close to get air. I have live Lillys in my tanks (grown from bulbs) that reach the surface and my fish love the large leaves and love to lounge on them. You can get betta hammocks (beware of the metal in them, you may need to remove the metal so it doesn't rust) on a suction cup and put it close to the surface for him to lay on.
What type of light, heater, thermometer, and filter is best for a 5G? I bought a marineland crescent 5 for both my fish. They come with an led light for the top, and a tetra whisper micro filter - these filters are better than the regular tetra whisper filters because they have an adjustable flow and if you fill the water directly under the lip of the outflow, the surface water will be perfectly still and won't disrupt his swimming much. There are several great heaters out there, you'll want to get an adjustable one though so you can keep the temperature at a constant level between 76 and 82.
What is everything you need to keep in mind about cleaning? I keep hearing different things around the forum about cleaning tanks. I've heard you'll have to reach inside the tank and clean corners, clean the sponge in dirty water, etc. What's everything I'll have to do? Even if it's just once a month? For a 5 gallon tank, you'll need to clean it at least once a week. A good gravel vacuum will help siphon the water out of the tank and clean the gravel. The tank I have doesn't have a lot of corners, so I don't need to worry that, but you won't need to put your hands in the tank unless you are removing and cleaning decorations. That is usually not needed in a 5 gallon tank though because the decorations will grow beneficial bacteria and removing them to clean them will destroy the bacteria and it will have to reestablish itself (if you go for something smaller than that, and don't have a filter or live plants, you will need to remove them and clean them). You will need to remove the sponge, or whatever media your filter has and swish it in old tank water once a month, just to loosen yucky debris, but doing it in old tank water allows the beneficial bacteria to stay established on the sponge. There is a very helpful sticky at the top of this forum on water changes by oldfishlady -check it out, it will answer any other questions you may have about this process.
I've seen a lot of topics that say when something changes (like you add something new to you're tank) you'll have to do more frequent water changes. In what cases do we do the more frequent water changes and why do we do them?. You would need to do extra changes if you add new tank mates (you would only be able to add a snail or a few shrimp in a 5 gallon tank) to remove the toxins. You might also need to do one extra change if you add a new decoration that seems to be clouding the water at first. You would want to do extra water changes in order to remove toxins that may have built up as a result of what ever you have added.
Can you change you're fishes decor (the fake decor) to make it look nice? I heard it might stress out the fish. How often do you change out your decor and what precautions do you take? Yes, you can change or rearrange your fish's decor. But this can include things on the outside of the tank. My female loves it when I add things for her to look at outside her tank, she also loves new things in her tank and things moved around, she's very curious and loves change. My male on the other hand, freaks if things are different, so his decor always stays the same. So, the precaution you would need to take would be to judge your fish's personality, if he seems to do well with change, by all means, change things around, if not, don't do it. Also, make sure any and all things you put in your tank have passed the pantyhose test. Take a pair of pantyhose and rub it all over the decoration or fake plant, if it snags or tears at all - it's too rough for your Betta and it will tear and rip his fins.
Am I right in saying once the sponge in your filter falls apart, simply replacing and putting in another one is fine? There's already enough BB, or do you have to do something else? This question I'm unsure about, oldfishlady would know the answer to this one.
Is it really bad if you do a water change too early or too late? What's the worst that can happen? I know some things might come up and I might have to do a water change a day later or earlier. I don't see a problem with doing a change too early. But with doing one too late, you risk poisoning your fish with ammonia or other toxins that build up naturally from their waste. This can compromise his immune system, and then you may end up with a nasty illness to deal with which could require you to do daily water changes. However, 1 or 2 days at the most late, probably isn't going to hurt in a filtered 5 gallon tank. But if you feel that you might not be able to change the tank on time, do it earlier.
How would you disinfect and reuse a 5 gallon tank if you're Betta passes away and you want another one? What about a Pet store Betta that passes away suddenly... How would you prepare the tank for a new Betta? and do you have to cycle again? A 5 gallon tank will cycle itself over time with a fish in it, so you wouldn't have to worry about starting the cycle all over again. It can take a month or more to cycle a tank with or without a fish, so unless you want to wait to cycle it without a fish, you don't have to. Depending on what it died from will determine whether or not you need to empty it completely to disinfect it (contagious illness vs old age, or etc). But, to disinfect, many people do different things. Some use bleach water - spray it out and let it dry many, many days in direct sunlight before filling it again. Others use vinegar water and spray it out, let it dry then refill. Others use boiling water to disinfect everything - they pour it into the tank, let it cool, then pour it out and refill. Remember to disinfect everything that was in your tank including the filter and heater.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:31 PM   #4 
sainthogan
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response part 2

Where do you get you're Bettas from? Are Pet store Bettas unhealthy? I bought my first female from petsmart - she was in relatively good health, but because I was naive, she ended up with velvet, I learned how to care for her properly (kudos to you for researching proper care first) and she made a full recovery. I got my second fish from a fish breeder on this forum who was giving away fish for free that he didn't want in his breeding stock. Depending on the pet store, some are healthy, some are not. If you go into the store and see lots of dead or unhealthy fish, you may not want to buy from there unless you want to try to "rescue" one and nurse it back to health.
The light cycle... Well I'm kind of confused. I go to school from 8:00am-3pm should I leave the light on while I'm at school and when it gets a little dark (at around 6pm) turn it off? Do they go to sleep once the light is off? You can leave the light on from the time you leave until the time you go to bed, I do. 10-12 hours of light is perfectly acceptable. I also keep my fish in my bedroom so some days their lights are turned on later than others and turned off earlier than others (my son shares the room with my husband and I and on school nights, he's in bed by 8). My fish don't go to sleep as soon as the light is off, at least my female doesn't, especially if the room lights are still on. If I turn their lights off, and leave the room lights on, they are still watching what we are doing and swimming around actively.
Would a small piece of wood in between the two be good? Because after I turn the light off to let him sleep, I'll have to turn on my lamp a couple times which might bug him. My lamp lights up my whole room because my room is small so won't the light still bug him even with a divider? But then again, I've heard some indirect light is good so you're Betta won't see their reflection in the tank. Your lamp light won't bother him if his tank light is still on, and shouldn't bother him if his light is off. The only thing that you might consider is that if his tank light is on, and the room lights are off, or there isn't any sunlight coming in through a window, there's a good chance he will see his reflection and it will stress him. So when you leave his light on, and you are not home, make sure there is some other light source in the room, a window with sunlight coming in is fine.
How do you exercise you're Bettas and how much time do you spend with them? I've heard of chopsticks, you're fingers, etc. what other fun things do you/can you do? There are lots of things you can do to entertain and exercise your fish. Some people put ping pong balls in the tank for the fish to bob around. Moss balls are fun for them to push around, some but a water bottle cap filled with a special treat such as freeze dried or frozen blood worms in it for their fish to try to get out. Putting a mirror in front of him for a few minutes a day for him to flare at will also exercise him. Get creative, get to know your fish's personality, and I'm sure you'll find something fun you and your fish can do together.
I've heard you're not supposed to tap the glass tank is this true? They say this because it can frighten the fish with the vibrations. I tap the glass for my male because he is an extremely deep sleeper and won't always realize it's feeding time unless I tap the glass. As soon as I do tap the glass, he stretches, then swims excitedly to the top for food.
Do tank backgrounds have to be a certain color? And can I just buy/ make any background or does the background have to be made of something non toxic? I don't have a tank background, but all the ones I have ever seen stick on to the outside of the tank, so you don't have to worry about it being toxic or not. Instead of a background, I just put fun things behind their tanks for them to look at. My female gets VERY excited when I put new things and rearrange things behind her tank. She'll spend hours looking at the new things from as many angles as possible!
Since fish are so sensitive to toxic things, does everything around them have to be non-toxic? Like if I sprayed cologne in my room (where the fish is) it could harm him? And even the toxic glue stuff used to hold together furniture, could that be an issue if it too close? As long as you aren't spraying it right next to the tank, it should be ok. I spray a body spray in my room every now and as an air freshener. I spray it in the opposite direction of the tanks. If you are using a lot of toxic things in your room, open your window or blow a fan out your door, and cover your tanks with a sheet.
What do you guys think of this? What it be a good option if you're tap water is unsuitable? It could get expensive. You would need to have at least 13 of these a month to keep up with the amount of water changes you need to do with a 5 gallon tank. With a good water conditioner, your tap water should be fine. Get a good conditioner that removes more than just chlorine and even the worst of tap water can be made suitable for your fish. Tap water is preferred over bottled or distilled water because tap water still has the nutrients and minerals your fish needs to stay healthy.
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Old 02-03-2013, 11:12 PM   #5 
KCalNeon
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Thank you SOO much for you're time and long answers sainthogan. I really appreciate it. :)

A couple follow up questions:

Do the tank backgrounds have to be a certain color? I heard black scare fish

If its completely dark (at night) would the fish see his reflection and get stressed
out? I have a L.E.D nightlight and I open the window a little which lets some light in so I imagine it won't be a problem?

By changing around decor do you mean keeping the same decorations and changing the order? Or can you actually put in new decorations? could you explain a little more. :) Also, do you have to vacuum/ do an extra water change when switching around decor?

And people always say to never wash betta stuff with soap.. but won't putting you're washed hand in mess up the tank water? Same with food, and things like left over blood worms won't they upset the balance? or is that why you remove them with a turkey baster?

When/ how often do you test your water? Like at what time?

I read a thread about PH and if it goes up too much, will it be a problem? Why does PH fluctuate and what can you do?

This might be obvious.. but I thought plastic would be much more dangerous to put in a tank. It seems like plastic isn't a problem as some people use it to quarantine fish and such. Bettas don't like clear cups but won't red/colored cups leach into the water? We once had those red cups in a ice chest and after a couple days the water was all red.

If you're fish gets ill would it be easier to treat them in a smaller bowl in.. Like a 1 gallon sense you're changing all the water. When you do a 100 percent water change in say a bowl, do you wipe down the bowl too or do you just dump out the water, condition and put in the new water? Does the quarantine tank have to be inside the larger tank? Do you put plastic wrap over the quarantine bowl?

What do people mean by 'dilute AQ salt'? How much water do you dilute it with?

How long would you let you're freeze dried treats soak in a shallow bowl filled with water? does it matter if you soak it with cold or hot water? And is soaking it in regular tap water fine?

Last edited by KCalNeon; 02-03-2013 at 11:30 PM.
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