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Old 02-02-2013, 01:21 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Feb 2013
New aquarium setup questions

I am in the process of re-setting up my Betta's aquarium. I have a White Halfmoon Plakat Betta that I ordered/received from Thailand (might as well go to the source! - besides I used to live in Bangkok and just looking at 'Mai Khao ' [White Silk - his name] reminds me of my time there). Made some mistakes the first go around which got my baby a little sick, but he is isolated now and is recovering.

My 'aquarium':

3 gallon, 7.5" diameter x 30" high cylinder vase (I don't have room/space for anything larger)
Lee's Round Undergravel Bowl Filter (2 gallon)
Penn-Plax Smallworld Filter (SWF-1)

I have lengthened the uptube on the undergravel filter so that the air bubbles (powering the filter) are closer to the top so as to not create too much current in the entire tank. Of course the tubes available were too big in diameter but I was able to make them stay in place (both at the base and at the top where the carbon cartridge attaches) but cutting small pieces of activated carbon 'sponge' and wrapping the 'male' parts prior to inserting them into the longer uptube.

I am looking at getting the Hydro 7.5 Watt Slim Heater for Bettas & Bowls (designed for 2-5 gallon) to raise the temp a bit.

Also am in the process of finding a small piece of Malaysian driftwood that I can attach some Java Fern to (made the mistake already of buying 'Lucky Bamboo' from PetSmart [never buying local/big box store again] but it just rotted - learned my lesson).

I am wondering if I could/should add some bio rings underneath the undergravel filter to aid the bio filter (as the Smallworld replacement filtration units' are disposable and each time I replace them, all the good stuff goes out with the old unit. Feedback?

Also, what kind of gravel should I use? Currently I am using some beach glass (not sure how wise that is but I like the look and my Betta seems to be okay with it and enjoys it). They are large, smooth pieces that do not effect his fins.

Finally - Mai Khao is very picky when it comes to his food. Since he is white (not albino) I have found it very difficult to find food that isn't 'color enhancing' - and irregardless he just won't eat it. All he will eat is frozen glassworms (mosquito larve) but not sure he is getting enough protein (though that I know is their primary diet in the wild).

Any input/comments are appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 02-02-2013, 02:11 PM   #2 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Welcome to the forum....

Lots of different ways to keep this species successfully IMO

The 3gal is fine to keep a Long fin male long term-with or without a filter IMO/E-provided that you maintain water quality.

Using the UGF-you will need to have the right type of substrate that is neither too large or too small-otherwise it won't function proper-as well as vacuum weekly to keep the plates free of debris and not use items that are too large or rooted plants that could impede water flow through the plates.

IMO/E-filters are optional for this species anyway-due to sometimes the water movement can be the cause of stress and fin damage with the Long fin males-especially in the smaller tanks. With that said, you can establish the nitrogen cycle in smaller filtered tanks, however, unless you provide more items for beneficial bacteria to colonize (like your idea of the bio-rings) the cycle might not be stable and you will still need to make at least twice weekly partial water changes-unless you have active growing live plants to assist with water quality.

You may or may not need a heater, however, its a good idea to have one-your goal is to maintain a somewhat stable temp in the 76-80F range. Usually with a healthy Betta-they can tolerate the normal gradual varied temps you can see normally within the tank at different levels, day/night and light on/off. Its those sudden extreme temp swing that can be stressful.

You will need a thermometer to monitor both the tank temp and the temp of the replacement water used for water changes to avoid those sudden extreme temp swings.

Nutrition-good quality varied diet fed in small frequent meals is best

Look forward to seeing pic....
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:19 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Feb 2013

I spoke too soon...Thought Mai Khao was recovering (no longer had clamped fins, was swimming, eating) but Monday when I came home knew instantly he wouldn't make it through the night. His swim bladder was messed up and he was swimming upside down (he couldn't right himself). He only made it about another hour.

Still not sure what happened to him, but I blame PetCo for selling 'lucky bamboo' as a submerged plant. Well I have since learned that the leaves of that plant need to be above water or it will rot. So he probably got a fungal infection and none of the medications I tired worked...Sorry no pictures. I don't have a decent camera and once he died I 'buried him at sea'...So eerie in my room with no noise from the pumps and filters.

The best I can describe his infection was a reddish tint along the underneath side of him, from head to tail, and the same tinting on part of his tail fin...Easy to spot on an all white Betta.

Wrong forum I know for diagnosis, but just throwing that out there.

I have totally emptied the tank now and will restart with a new Betta once I am able to find a small (and I mean small) piece of driftwood (about 4"x4") but not having much luck finding one that small...I want that for the Java Fern and Moss I wanna add to the tank.

Sad thing is, medications have continued to arrive in the mail ever since he died - at least I'll have them all on hand should I need them again, as local stores here didn't have much to pick from.
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Old 02-07-2013, 03:00 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Originally Posted by exPat67 View Post

Sad thing is, medications have continued to arrive in the mail ever since he died - at least I'll have them all on hand should I need them again, as local stores here didn't have much to pick from.
Yes, i understand how you feel. my amazon orders are still coming and Fred passed away earlier this week...

it's a weird feeling getting mail orders that was supposed to be for a dead friend/fish....
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Old 03-08-2013, 03:33 AM   #5 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: NC
I'm so sorry for your loss (both of you)

I know how u feel, my ferrets died last winter, & I just got a vet reminder card for my girl :( Sad
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:34 AM   #6 
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Georgia
I'm sorry he didn't make it - he sounds like he was gorgeous! I love the white bettas, I about have to slap my hand whenever I see a white halfmoon in the store.

I had round tanks with a similar setup and I eventually just gave up on the filters. Water changes will keep it safe for the fish.
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Old 03-08-2013, 11:55 AM   #7 
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: south central PA
Im so sorry for your loss!!! :( We just lost our betta from a bad batch of novaqua plus. After a week.the bottle smelled like rotten eggs. Went to return the dead betta (without a receipt but on a rewards card) and the novaqua. The gave me a gift card for the fish and said yeah we have had that problem with novaqua. Go back an the bottles on the shelf smelled the same. Not happy at all with petco!!!!
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