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Old 02-09-2013, 02:36 PM   #1 
Madi92
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Wanting to get a betta

Hi, we'll I have really been looking into betta fish, researching them for the last month and a half. I want to make sure I am giving my betta the best possible life. But I was wondering what all do you need for a betta to live a successful life, also what is an estimate cost. I just can't seem to find the answers to these questions. Also I know getting from a breeder is better but is getting from a pet store really that bad . This will be my first fish experience and I want it to go well but I really don't have all the money for a breeder.
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:32 PM   #2 
Otterfun
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Madi92 View Post
Hi, we'll I have really been looking into betta fish, researching them for the last month and a half. I want to make sure I am giving my betta the best possible life. But I was wondering what all do you need for a betta to live a successful life, also what is an estimate cost. I just can't seem to find the answers to these questions. Also I know getting from a breeder is better but is getting from a pet store really that bad . This will be my first fish experience and I want it to go well but I really don't have all the money for a breeder.
whatever fish you decide, start getting a tank (10g to give more options) and start cycling fish-less (see the sticky on cycling on this board). In about another month and a half if you made a decision, then the tank is ready for whatever fish you choose.

It's up to you on choosing the fish vendor, I'd say start with a not so expensive one and see how you fare as a fish owner. It takes a lot of work to raise a fish IME (WC, Water testing, cleaning, etc.) We have seen great care by those who post Betta Rescue photos here, so PetSmart and Petco are not "condemned". Ask the shop when they restock so you can get the newly arrived betta.

Depending on the tank size:
you will need decor e.g. plants if you want live plants or fake plants for the betta to hide.

you can go bottomless (no gravel, which I like in my QT tank) or with gravel, glass marbles, sand, potting soil, etc at 1Lb/1g tank.

for 2.5g or bigger tanks, you will need siphon or turkey baster to vacuum.
for 5g or bigger, you, and most likely not the betta, will feel bad that the betta is "so lonely" that you might consider other fish, shrimps, or snails as "friends". At that time goto aqadvisor.com to figure our your bioload, livestock compatability, and WC recommendations. Roughly 1"/1g according to the max. fish length e.g. mature fish length is 5", you will need at least 5g even though you are looking at a cute 1" fish.

AQ light and filter are optional but usually comes with an AQ kit.

Get some supplies for disease treatment handy e.g. AQ Salt, Epsom Salt, freeze dried daphnia (to help its #2 to be regular)

Also, dechlorinatar to condition the water e.g. Prime, and liquid water test kit. If you live close to a PetSmart, they offer free testing.

Food : NLS or Omega One pellets plus snacks e.g. brine shrimps if ou feel that the betta needs snacks for whatever reasons.

All this you can find online for good prices and total according to your needs. I suggest Amazon which has the best price.

Last edited by Otterfun; 02-09-2013 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:32 PM   #3 
LoriKeet
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If you went with the bare minimum (1 gallon tank and all that pertains to it's upkeep) you're looking at a general cost break down that looks like this:

1 Gallon Tank (with or without light): $8 t0 $16 dollars.
Bag of substrate (gravel or sand): $4 - $5
Heater: $15-$22
Food (the good stuff): $4 - $8
Leaf Hammock (remove metal piece): $5
Betta (petstore): $2 - $12
Water Conditioner: $3-$12

Total Cost: $40-$60 (Remember, this is a bare minimum estimation)

I recommend making the bare minimum a temporary situation, definitely upgrade to a 2.5-5 gallon or more tank. Remember that no matter how big the tank, try to keep it's depth at about a foot; Betta's aren't deep water fish. They love space to swim, floating plants and places to hide. A filter is a bit too strong on a 1 to 2.5 gallon tank, but as soon as you go above that look into a quality filter.

Last edited by LoriKeet; 02-09-2013 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:35 PM   #4 
BettaGIRL5
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I prob spent about $50 for my betta fish. I got everything off craigslist though so it was pretty cheap. One of my bettas, i named him firework, is close to 5 years old (since i have i had him) and his tank set up is
5 gallon tank,lightly planted with live plants, and gravel
Heater for 10 gallon tank, keeps the water super warm, at about 85 degrees
Filter for 10 gallon tank, keeps the water crystal clear
2 mystery snails, keeps the algea away
Floating mirror(i bought this at petsmart for $7) so he doesnt get lonely(and yes bettas can get depressed if they dont have another fish to chase or a mirror to flair at
Small bubble stone
And i do 25% water changes every month
Hope this helps :D
P.S. i got Firework at Petsmart, they sell double tails, deltas (sometimes), crown tails, dragon scale, and veil tail bettas (if you don't know where to get a cheap betta)
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:45 PM   #5 
LittleBlueFishlets
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I think that everyone will have a slightly different opinion as to the minimum needed.

In my opinion, the absolute minimum required is:
  • Tank - 2.5 gal minimum. The larger the tank, the fewer the water changes you'll need to make. Anything smaller than a 2 gal will build up toxins and ammonia very quickly.
  • Heater - Bettas are tropical fish, and require a heater. Adjustable ones are better. If you have a small tank though, you can get by with a preset one.
  • Water conditioner - must neutralize/remove chlorine, chloramines, heavy metals.
  • Quality pellet food - New Life Spectrum (NLS) or Omega One Betta Buffet pellets.
  • Silk plants and hiding places.
  • Turkey baster or siphon to remove 'stuff' at the bottom of the tank.

Here is a sample setup, using the 'absolute minimum' requirements:
  • 3 gal 'critter keeper' at Petsmart/Petco - $16
  • Preset 10W heater - $13 (Again, adjustable is better though.)
  • Store brand water conditioner - $4-12 depending on bottle size
  • Quality pellet food - New Life Spectrum (NLS) or Omega One Betta Buffet pellets - about $4.
  • Small silk plants start at about $4. Hiding places can be purchased for about $7+, or you can just use something like a ceramic coffee mug, or a clay pot (with the back removed or bottom-hole plugged up).
  • Turkey baster - $1 at Dollar Tree

From there, you can add things like:
  • Adjustable heater (better than preset)
  • Larger tank
  • Live plants (help maintain good water quality)
  • Nicer decorations
  • Gravel (not a 'requirement' especially if you plan on having a smaller tank and doing frequent water changes, but it does make the tank look prettier!)
  • Etc, etc.....

Last edited by LittleBlueFishlets; 02-09-2013 at 03:51 PM.
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:47 PM   #6 
trilobite
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A small tank, a heater, some fish food and some time is basically all you need.
To make them extra happy you could get some peat moss or indian almond leaf to soften the water, lower the pH and make the water brown. Chuck in some plants, some driftwood and a little light and then thats a pretty cosy home for a Betta.
Id use around 10 - 20 litres and you could probably fit in a small, weak filter like a sponge filter.
The cost varies depending on where you live and what you get but here that would all roughly cost around $80-150.
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:50 PM   #7 
LoriKeet
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Here's a cost assessment of my current set up that I'm working towards, basically includes everything you need with a more realistic idea of the cost:

5 Gallon Tank w/Filter & light hood (On sale): $ 36
50 Watt heater: $26
Gravel: $4 - $8
Floating Log - $6
Plants (Guesstimation): $8 - $16
New Life Spectrum Food: $7
Luna (My Betta): $9
Hiding Place Accessory: $9 - $17
Water Cost per week (I buy my water to support my local mom-pop petstore): $1.50 a week.

Total Cost: $105 - $125

Edit: Oh yeah, forgot to include the testing kit. Kwomais' post below is a terrific break down. :)

Last edited by LoriKeet; 02-09-2013 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 02-09-2013, 03:55 PM   #8 
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Well...

Well, the minimum tank/bowl size that is acceptable is 1gal, but a more ideal size is 5 or 10 gals. Depending on where you get your tank, this could cost anywhere between $10 and $30 or more (apparently Petco, in the United States, frequently has a $1/gal sale on their tanks, or you can purchase a kit that includes a hood, filter, etc for a little more).

You're going to need a nice quality adjustable heater, which will run you anywhere between $20 and $40, depending on the modle, however, I suggest not skimping and buying a cheap-o heater as this will be the product that is most likely to cause a fishy fatality if is malfunctions. My tank came with a heater,so I can't really offer suggestions as per the best model, but I'm sure another member will pipe up for you! Also, I suggest checking Amazon.com or Ebay for heaters as they are cheap to ship and are often *much* cheaper on the internet than in stores. You will also need a thermometer. I suggest a glass thermometer that suction cups to the inside of your tank, they are about $3.

You can get a filter if you want, but that is optional. there are many different types that filter with different methods. A word of caution about filters: if the current that your filter puts out is too strong, you will have to baffle it, which reduces the current. A step-by-step filter baffling instructions can be found in this thread http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=30139 . A filter will also allow you to cycle your tank. More information on cycling can be found in this thread: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=107771 . If you plan on cycling your tank (which makes it much easier to maintain water quality) You will need to set up the tank and begin cycling about a month before you plan on adding the fish.

You will need some sort of substrate and decor. Personally, I have an NPT, or Naturally Planted Tank which means that I have a layer of organic potting soil covered in a layer of substrate (gravel in my case but many people prefer sand) with tonnes of live plants. There are many benefits to this system and it looks great, is fairly easy to maintain and I sell my plant clippings on craigslist, so I've already made back what I spent on plants by selling my overgrowth! This system seems really daunting to set up, but once is gets going, it's really simple. Alternatively, many members like to use silk plants as hiding places. You'll also want some sort of cave or hidey-hole. For this, if you're trying to save money, you can use a simple terracotta pot or mug (that has never been used, or had soap used on it) turned on its side and slightly submerged in your substrate. Or, you could do what I did and make a cave using boiled (to sterilize them) rocks and aquarium grade silicon. There are also MANY other decoration type available online and in store that are designed specifically for aquariums.

A few tips when purchasing decor for your tank:
1) no metal: metal will rust in the water, polluting your ecosystem and potentially harming your betta
2) Check for cracks, chips or flakes in paint: this is a good indicator of workmanship and quality.
3) No rough edges: bettas have very delicate fins that can be damaged or torn very easily. A generally safe test if the pantyhose test: you drag a pair of ladies pantyhose over every conceivable angle of the decoration and if they snag, it will likely damage the betta's fins.

All the decor can cost anywhere from a few dollars to hundreds, depending on what you want.

You will also want a good water conditioner. I suggest Sechem Prime as you need only 0.1ml/gallon of water and it's about $10 for a 100ml bottle that will last you a *very* long time. Other members also really like the API Stress Coat as well. This will remove any chlorine or chloramine from your tap water, making it safe to use in your aquarium.

The final thing that you will need is a water testing kit. A liquid test kit is the most accurate and over time, is the cheapest as they last longer. It will cost you $30-$40 up front, but costs less than $0.50 per test and will provide you with valuable information about your water parameters. The gold standard on this forum is the API Master Test Kit (freshwater). It provides you with tests for nitrate, nitrite, ammonia, pH, and more.

Realistically, you are looking at about $100 to get your tank fully set up and running. But it could be more or it could be less depending on how hard you look and how much you want to spend :) I hope I was able to provide you with some useful information and answer your questions :)

Edit: you'll also want a good quality pellet food, like Omega One Betta pellets or New Life Spectrum Betta formula, about $10. And a siphon or gravel vacuum, about $5.

Last edited by Kwomais; 02-09-2013 at 03:58 PM. Reason: Fogot food and siphon!
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:02 PM   #9 
Kwomais
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Originally Posted by BettaGIRL5 View Post
Heater for 10 gallon tank, keeps the water super warm, at about 85 degrees
Hey, BettaGIRL, 85 is a bit tooo toasty for your betta, you might want to turn it down to a more reasonable 79-80* :) Their ideal range is 76-78* when adults and not breeding.
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:13 PM   #10 
Kiyi
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Since LoriKeet showed you a cost estimate for the bare minimum, I'll show you the general cost of the opposite direction. I spent almost $300 on my Betta.

These prices are what I paid, from assorted online stores, walmart, and my local pet store. So you might find these items for less, or for more, depending on where you live.

10 Gallon tank: $50 (Kit that came with a filter + net.)
15 lbs of gravel: $12
Heater: $22
Food: $18 (I bought multiple kinds.)
Decorations: $60 (An estimate. I bought ten silk plants, and five pieces of decor for a little over $60.)
API Freshwater Test Kit: $22
Air Pump + Stones: $15
Turkey Blaster: $2
Water Conditioner: $14
Kanaplex Medication: $9
Aquarium Salt: $7
Background + Mounting Liquid: $9
Filter Cartridges (Sponge + Carbon): $11
Fluorescent Bulbs: $30
Thermometer: $2
Gravel Vacuum: $10
Water Change Buckets: $14

For a grand total of $307 (Canadian.)

Of course, most of this is not required for a Betta! I only spent this much because I had the money to spare.
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