I need just some advice on equipment, and an answer to a question about my new betta's behavior. I got him as a present on my birthday, which was the 1st of october, so 2 weeks ago today. Silly me, I was under the impression that they sit in a bowl like I've seen them do in the fish store. My girlfriend got him for me because we're tight on money, and he was cheap along with the little bowl kit she got with him. That, in itself, is part of the problem. I really don't have enough money to go buy some pro kit with a tank and some plants and this and that all right away, but I'm already quite deeply attached to Mooky, and also don't want to make my girlfriend (and myself) sad by having to take him back to the store. So, my two issues are:
1) What is a bare minimum kind of neccessity kit I can get away with here? It came with food, and some bowl conditioner, and a tiny bit of gravel (blue if that matters.) I added the conditioner when I changed the water (twice now, second change was yesterday.) After reading posts on this forum and the general care guide I regret having done the change the way I did, keeping him off to the side in a little bowl while I did a 100% change. I won't be doing that anymore. Here's what I'd imagine I'm going to need, and would appreciate greatly any input on anything that's wrong/missing: -Bigger tank (this one's I think about 3/4 gallon) -A test kit -a thermometer (as mine is apparently useless under 90 degrees. Handy.) -a plant and more gravel.
2) Now, the pressing issue, which caused me to do this entire day's worth of reading to begin with, is that most of today, Mooky has been acting extremely distressed. He's darting around sporadically, with equally long periods of sitting and staring, either at the top or bottom of the tank. What's worse, he also seems to be trying as hard as he can to jump into the air by swimming up to the corners of the tank at full speed and launching himself at them. It's making me a little panicky, because I'd hate to think that I drove him crazy by jostling him around during the water change. Is there anything I can do to save this situation? I work very early mornings, so rest assured that Mooky will have his new setup by noon tomorrow, as I will charge straight over to the store after my shift, provided he hasn't committed seppuku by then. Thanks in advance for any advice.
1) The minimum tank size that I would recommend would be a 2.5 gallon. A 5 gal would be better and probably wouldn't cost much more. I don't know what is available to you as far as specific models go, but I can recommend a few things. I have heard good things about the Eclipse systems, but have not tried them myself. My setup which I find to work really well is a 5.5 gal tank ($6) an azoo palm filter ($8) and any 25-50 watt heater ($10). Here are some pointers if you want to make your own setup.
-Heater: 5 watts per gallon as a general rule
-Filter: Bettas are not good swimmers, you want a filter that does not make a lot of current, that is why I recommended the azoo, although there are others which fit this description.
-Plants: Do not get plastic, they rip betta's delicate fins. Soft silk ones are much safer.
-Gravel: It does not matter what you use, but make sure it is smooth, and the color does not flake off.
-Cover: Bettas can and will jump. A cover is a must, but it doesn't matter what you use. You could opt for the pricier hood/light combo, get a simple glass top and a small shop light, or if your budget is really tight, put some plastic wrap with holes in it over the tank. If you do not get a light source, putting the tank in a bright enough room, but out of the direct sunlight will work as well. You don't need a ton of light, just enough to give your fish a normal day/night cycle.
2) Have you read about cycling a tank? If not, I suggest reading the sticky at the top of the "Freshwater Aquariums" page. Since you will be putting your betta in the tank right away, a test kit is a must to make sure that no harmful substances build up in the water. The API liquid test kit is one I recommend. I would not recommend test strips as they are inaccurate and can give false readings.
3) For water changes I would recommend getting a small gravel vacuum.
4) What are you feeding him? A good diet would be a staple of betta flakes or pellets, supplemented with freeze-dried/frozen blood worms several times a week that would take the place of one feeding. Freeze-dried/frozen brine shrimp are also a good occasional treat.
5) As for the odd behavior, did you use a water conditioner when you changed the water? Chlorine & chloramine are harmful to fish, and a good water conditioner will remove them. Did you do anything different other than changing the water such as moving his location, using a different water source, different food, etc.?
6) For tonight, I would put some plastic wrap with holes in it over the top of the tank to prevent him from committing fishie suicide.
I am glad that you want to do right by your new fishie friend. If I can be of any further assistance, feel free to ask.
Thanks a lot for the help, the specifics will be really useful when I go to pickup the things I'll need.
Food: I'm feeding him the flakes that came with the tank. They're supposed to be specifically for betta's, but as far as that goes, I might just want to just pick up some new stuff anyway, since the food is probably the least of my expenses.
Conditioner: Yes, I used the conditoner that came with the tank, called Betta Plus, probaby some noname kind of thing they throw in there. Maybe it didn't work... It said a capful treats a gallon, so I put in 3/4 of a cap, since I'm pretty sure that's how big the tank is. Also, yes, I did move him around a bit yesterday, trying to find a more suitable place for him. Right now he's over in the corner, because he was near my computer, but I kind of figured that the clicky noises and keystrokes might bother him.
Luckily the little tank has a cover-type thing that comes in around the edge of the bowl an inch or so all the way around, so he's not going to have any luck actually getting out. It's just breaking my heart that he wants to get out so badly, which means he's obviously not diggin' it in there. Though you said they jump, so it might be normal, maybe he's just being rambunctious? I hadn't seen that bit while rummaging through some of the basic care info, so I was/am worried.
It's good to know that I will be able to afford this setup. The time to care for him isn't the issue, certainly, but just money. I should be able to provide for him, though, judging by the general price range you were talking about for each bit.
Thanks a lot again for the help, especially since it was fast enough that I could read it before I had to go to bed! I'll update to let you know how Mooky takes to his new home. :D