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Old 12-03-2008, 10:14 PM   #1 
kistagrrl89
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Wanting Betta. Have a few ?'s

hello everyone.
so I've been reading, through the forum and on the web alike.
and I have a few questions.
Cycling the tank? the bacteria thing, do they just grow? Or do you have to get them special. And when/if i do it how should i introduce my betta into the tank?
I heard silk plants are better than plastic.
As far as structures go, are there any special parameters I should follow or can I just get anyone that would suit the tank?
For floor coverage, What may be better for keeping it maintained, gravel or sand, or is it all to preference cause you would have to change the sand instead of sifting gravel, huh?
What would be the best diet for a betta? I've read a few different things, what are some of you using?
I know I need: tester kit, a heater, light, thermometer, [not needed but would help] a filter. Is there anything else that could be suggested to keep a betta happy and healthy?
I also heard that bottled water is a bad thing for betta's and ro/di water or something like that is better, can someone shine some light on this matter?
Is there anything that a betta would not like in a tank like any flashy colours, or any odd plants or decor?
So when/if I get the betta [depends on my funds, 19 yr old with no job yet gonna use my xmas money], there's been a few readings Ive found about tankmates for a betta such as ghost shrip, corie cats, pygmy cories and plecos. I know it all depends on the temperment of the betta. How would I check his temperment? Are there any other kind of fish that wouldn't overwhelm the betta into agressive action? It's a ten gal. tank by the way.
And about the tank. I have an old tank thats been in the garage for a while. It was used for hermit crabs that have passed on [may they RIP], what would be the proper way to clean the tank of dust, garage debri, and hermit crab germies so its safe? and after the cleaning would it be safe for fish habitation? I know I'd have to get a hood and everything for it cause now only has a mesh screen topper and we've got kitties.

Ill appreciate any help and answers to my questions, or anything i didn't ask about. Thanks,
---K---
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Old 12-04-2008, 04:17 PM   #2 
aquadude
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when i got my betta i just went to the fish store and got the de-chlorinated water he was in at the fish store and dumped the water and mr.betta into the the empty washed-out vase.Try to put you hand over the bag opening so that half the water in the bag gets dumped out into the vase before your betta does and he won't land with a slap on the bottom of the vase.Before you add the betta to the vase put well washed marbles or large pebbles on the bottom and a small stick of bamboo just over the height of the vase.for feeding,feed him/her any type of betta flake food.Keeping the vase and betta out of the sun and windows is a good idea since sun light causes algae.NEVER PUT TWO BETTAS IN ONE TANK OR VASE OR ANYTHING.i don't have a heater or light in my healthy bettas vase.he is on a 12 hour schedule with the light in my room.Also change the water every month or so.;)

Last edited by aquadude; 12-04-2008 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 12-04-2008, 04:33 PM   #3 
aquadude
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From the last time i posted(1 minute ago)i lost connection.sorry.i was gonna say you could also add some neon tetras if you wan't thought the betta might eat them.;)

Last edited by aquadude; 12-04-2008 at 04:36 PM.
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Old 12-04-2008, 04:40 PM   #4 
dramaqueen
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A 2 1/2 gallon or larger tank is what is reccommended. You can use those glass gems or gravel for the bottom. Tap water treated with dechlorinator should be used. Yes, silk plants are better than plastic. Bettas should be fed pellet or tropical flake food as their staple diet. I use Hikari Betta Bio Gold. Freeze dried or frozen bloodworms can be fed as a once or twice a week treat. I don't know much about cycling so someone else will have to advise you on that. As far as tankmates are concerned, it depends on the size of your tank whether or not you should have any. Hope this info helps.
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Old 12-04-2008, 05:09 PM   #5 
aunt kymmie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kistagrrl89 View Post
hello everyone.
so I've been reading, through the forum and on the web alike.
and I have a few questions.
Cycling the tank? the bacteria thing, do they just grow? Or do you have to get them special. And when/if i do it how should i introduce my betta into the tank?
I heard silk plants are better than plastic.
As far as structures go, are there any special parameters I should follow or can I just get anyone that would suit the tank?
For floor coverage, What may be better for keeping it maintained, gravel or sand, or is it all to preference cause you would have to change the sand instead of sifting gravel, huh?
What would be the best diet for a betta? I've read a few different things, what are some of you using?
I know I need: tester kit, a heater, light, thermometer, [not needed but would help] a filter. Is there anything else that could be suggested to keep a betta happy and healthy?
I also heard that bottled water is a bad thing for betta's and ro/di water or something like that is better, can someone shine some light on this matter?
Is there anything that a betta would not like in a tank like any flashy colours, or any odd plants or decor?
So when/if I get the betta [depends on my funds, 19 yr old with no job yet gonna use my xmas money], there's been a few readings Ive found about tankmates for a betta such as ghost shrip, corie cats, pygmy cories and plecos. I know it all depends on the temperment of the betta. How would I check his temperment? Are there any other kind of fish that wouldn't overwhelm the betta into agressive action? It's a ten gal. tank by the way.
And about the tank. I have an old tank thats been in the garage for a while. It was used for hermit crabs that have passed on [may they RIP], what would be the proper way to clean the tank of dust, garage debri, and hermit crab germies so its safe? and after the cleaning would it be safe for fish habitation? I know I'd have to get a hood and everything for it cause now only has a mesh screen topper and we've got kitties.

Ill appreciate any help and answers to my questions, or anything i didn't ask about. Thanks,
---K---
Wow, I think you just asked about every question that is important to know in keeping a betta! Good for you! You're going to give a betta a great home!

I'll just answer the questions that I know the answers to and I'll let others add the rest. I've done a copy & paste at the end of this as far as cycling info.

Silk is better than plastic as a betta won't shred his fins on plastic. I use live plants in my betta's tank and I know he appreciates them. If you don't want to mess around with live plants silk is fine.

I would say you would need a thermometer as you want to keep the tank at 78. I'm not sure how you'd know if the tank was at that temp. unless you had one. I have a submersible heater that is set at 82 to keep the tank at 78. For me a thermometer is indispensable.

I'd clean the tank with a rinse of vinegar & water, and some old fashioned elbow grease. When you are finished with your scrubbing be sure to rinse the tank very well.

RO/DI water does not have the minerals in it that fish require. Bottled water such as spring water is fine. You can use regular tap water provided it is treated with a dechlorinater before putting it into the tank. I use Prime for my water conditioner.

As far as "structures": Bettas like to have hiding spots, caves, etc. so I'd plan a tank with that in mind. I use plants & driftwood for mine. There are many other options.

Substrate: You can use gravel, sand or whatever you prefer. I have sand in my 6 gal tank and once a week I vacuum it (hover the gravel vac directly above the sand) and stir the sand around with my fingers so it does not develop anaerobic gas pockets.

I feed my guy three pellets in the am, three in the pm (Hikari Betta Bio Gold). Twice a week he gets one or two bloodworms, and also some freeze dried daphnia. They are little piggies and will overeat and overfeeding is not good for them.

I keep my betta with five otos. The otos were in the tank first and the betta was added about four weeks later. They all get along just fine. If for some reason I didn't have the otos I'd go with a group of 6 pygmy cories.

A little long winded, I think I'll give someone else a turn!

As far as cycling: (posted prior by iamntbatman)
Quote:
"cycling" a tank is the process of culturing colonies of beneficial bacteria in your tank. Fish waste (urine and feces), decaying plant and animal tissue and decaying fish food all create ammonia in your tank. Ammonia is highly toxic to fish and can kill them even at low concentrations. In order for your fish to survive in a fish tank, they can't be exposed to ammonia. Luckily, there is a type of bacteria that converts the harmful ammonia into another chemical called nitrite. As ammonia is introduced to your tank (either by adding fish or another ammonia source) these bacteria multiply. Eventually, there are enough of them to completely convert any ammonia that is introduced to the tank into nitrite. Unfortunately, nitrite is just as toxic to your fish as ammonia, if not moreso. However, there is a second type of bacteria that converts this nitrite into nitrate, a chemical that is only harmful to fish in very large concentrations. As the first type of bacteria convert ammonia to nitrite, the second type of bacteria begins to grow in number. After more time, there are enough of these bacteria present to convert all of your nitrite into nitrate. After both types of bacteria are established, your tank is "cycled." At this point, you should never have detectable levels of ammonia or nitrite in your tank and you only need to do water changes to keep the nitrate levels in check.

There are two ways to cycle a tank, fishless and with fish. When cycling with fish, the fish you add act as the ammonia source during the cycle. However, because the ammonia and nitrite that are produced during the cycle are toxic, you need to do water changes frequently when cycling with fish to keep them alive. The second way is to cycle without fish and use some other ammonia source, such as pure ammonia, fish food or even an uncooked shrimp. This is the preferred method as it allows you to stock the tank as you please (instead of with the fish you cycled with) and also doesn't subject any fish to ammonia or nitrite poisoning.

The best way to monitor the progress of the cycle is to get a good liquid test kit like the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. It contains tests for pH as well as ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Testing the water lets you know exactly how far along the cycle is and when it's over, and therefore when it's safe to add fish.

Since the bacteria that you grow during the cycle aren't waterborne (they live on surfaces in the aquarium like the gravel, decor and especially the filter media) you can transfer some of these items over to a cycling aquarium from an established tank to help speed up your cycle.

Last edited by aunt kymmie; 12-04-2008 at 05:10 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 12-04-2008, 06:22 PM   #6 
iamntbatman
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Cycling the tank? the bacteria thing, do they just grow? Or do you have to get them special. And when/if i do it how should i introduce my betta into the tank?

Aunt Kymmie already posted the standard copy/paste job I do. Bettas are hardy fish and can withstand the rigors of cycling the tank, but they also often come already really stressed out which lowers their immune systems considerably. I strongly suggest doing a fishless cycle on the tank and adding your fish once the cycle is complete.

I heard silk plants are better than plastic.

True. Plastic plants can tear the long, delicate fins of a betta. Silk is the way to go. Also, you can try some live plants like java fern and java moss. If you're willing to spend some more money, you could get a stronger lighting fixture which would allow you to add a variety of live plants to the tank. Live plants look great, but they also help oxygenate the water and use up waste chemicals produced by your fish so they help maintain water quality. Floating plants are especially nice for bettas because they like to cruise around in the shade.

As far as structures go, are there any special parameters I should follow or can I just get anyone that would suit the tank?

Again, avoid anything sharp. Bettas like to have hiding places, so any smooth cave (or cave-like ornament) for sale at a pet store should work fine. You could also buy stone like slate or shale from a landscaping store and use it to make your own caves. Driftwood is also available at most fish stores and provides hiding places as well as a great natural look to your tank.

For floor coverage, What may be better for keeping it maintained, gravel or sand, or is it all to preference cause you would have to change the sand instead of sifting gravel, huh?

It's really a matter of preference, if you're just keeping the betta. However, if you do decide to get a school of corydoras catfish (which I can't recommend enough - they're really funny little guys and ideal tankmates for bettas) then sand is definitely the way to go. It's easier on their barbels and it's funny to watch them sift it through their gills while they eat. You can buy a big bag of play sand from Home Depot for about $4. Just rinse it really well before adding it. Also, you'll need to keep the sand stirred up somehow. You can do this yourself with a plastic fork or a chopstick during water changes, or you can get some Malaysian trumpet snails to do it for you. A lot of times you can get them for free from pet stores.

What would be the best diet for a betta? I've read a few different things, what are some of you using?

I use Hikari Bio-Gold betta pellets. Some bettas will eat flake foods, but I've found that most prefer the pellets. 2-3 pellets should be given twice daily. You can also buy some frozen bloodworms and feed your betta a couple of worms twice a week in place of the pellets. You can also fast your betta one day a week to help keep his digestive system clear.

I know I need: tester kit, a heater, light, thermometer, [not needed but would help] a filter. Is there anything else that could be suggested to keep a betta happy and healthy?

It looks live you've got the main bases covered. I recommend a liquid testing kit like the API Freshwater Master Test Kit. It's a lot more accurate than the strips and will last you longer. If you're going to buy all of the stuff at once, definitely do it at an online store like aquariumguys or Drs. Foster and Smith since they have *much* better prices than stores like Petsmart. Definitely get a low-flow filter. The Tetra Whisper In-Tank filters with an adjustable flow rate would be a good choice.

I also heard that bottled water is a bad thing for betta's and ro/di water or something like that is better, can someone shine some light on this matter?

Bottled water should be fine, but as was said you really only need to use tap water with a good water conditioner. RO/DI isn't good for your fish. Also, tap water is great because you can adjust the temperature of the water to the same temperature as the tank to avoid temperature shock.

Is there anything that a betta would not like in a tank like any flashy colours, or any odd plants or decor?

None that I can think of, although sometimes if a betta can see his reflection in the glass he will relentlessly attack it and might become stressed. A solid black aquarium background can help with this problem and looks great.

So when/if I get the betta [depends on my funds, 19 yr old with no job yet gonna use my xmas money], there's been a few readings Ive found about tankmates for a betta such as ghost shrip, corie cats, pygmy cories and plecos. I know it all depends on the temperment of the betta. How would I check his temperment? Are there any other kind of fish that wouldn't overwhelm the betta into agressive action? It's a ten gal. tank by the way.

Much depends on the individual fish. In most cases, bettas will attack ghost shrimp and try to eat them. The shrimp are sold as feeders and can be purchased for about $0.10 a piece, so it might be worth trying because if he doesn't eat them, they make cool aquarium residents. If he does eat them...well, he had a good gourmet meal. You could do a big school of say 12-15 pygmy cories or 6-8 regular sized cories in a 10g tank. These make ideal tankmates as usually bettas leave them alone and they stay near the bottom of the tank so that no particular level of the tank is too crowded. Other good options include non-nippy tetras and rasboras too big to be eaten, like bloodfin tetras or harlequin rasboras. However, these fish will actively swim around the middle areas of the tank, so I think the bottom-dwelling cories are a better option. Skip out on the pleco for a 10g tank - a bristlenose or clown pleco might be an option but they produce a lot of waste. They do eat algae, but they put a lot of stress on your biological filtration so they shouldn't be counted on as "tank janitors."

And about the tank. I have an old tank thats been in the garage for a while. It was used for hermit crabs that have passed on [may they RIP], what would be the proper way to clean the tank of dust, garage debri, and hermit crab germies so its safe? and after the cleaning would it be safe for fish habitation? I know I'd have to get a hood and everything for it cause now only has a mesh screen topper and we've got kitties.

Give it a good rinse, scrub off any sort of debris (use a razorblade if you need to), then wash it down with a diluted bleach solution. Then rinse the heck out of it. Don't use soap! And definitely get some sort of hood (regular glass canopies work fine) as bettas are known to jump.


Hope that answered your questions, but feel free to ask if you've got any more!
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Old 12-04-2008, 10:55 PM   #7 
kistagrrl89
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Thank you all so much for your replies it really helped answer some of my questions a lot.
thanks again.
Ill keep this updated with what I do/what I get for the betta i get.
--K--
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Old 12-05-2008, 12:13 AM   #8 
dramaqueen
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Good luck with your new betta!
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