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Old 06-25-2013, 01:11 AM   #1 
MichelleA
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Surprise Betta, HELP

So I came home tonight from work to find a betta fish in a teeny tiny tank on my counter. He was apparently left as some sort of present from a family member. I was a little upset at first as I do not want the responsibility of another pet and Ive never had a fish before nor do i know anything about caring for them. But he has grown on me in the last 30 minutes and I want to make sure I get the right stuff for him.

I read a little already about general care and sexing. Ive determined hes a male and has to live alone so I plan on buying a 3 gallon tank with some kind of low flow filter? Any brand recommendations? Also, I will be using tap water for his tank, Do I need a water conditioner? If so, what brand? I dont want to spend alot of money but i want to ensure he is well taken care of.

What about lights? Do they need constant light? Can I have a colored light? Do I need a timer? Can i just shut it off at night? How important is the day night routine for this fish? Does it matter if its LED or florescent?

I read the water needs to be between 76 and 84 or something like that, Can I use one of those temperature gauges that stick to the inside of his tank? And can you guys recommend a brand of heater to use if its needed please.

And how do you change a fish's water? Do I need to dump him into another container? Do I use a net? His Water is filthy and I cant help but think hes probably very unhappy in it.

Last but not least, what in the heck do I feed this thing? And how often do i feed him? I know they have betta food that comes in a can but ive read snails, worms, freeze dried shrimp!? Hes all but 2 inches long, how can he eat those things?

Sorry for all of the questions but I do not want to go to the pet store and ask these questions, I know most of them are not very knowledgeable of the animals they keep and there is just so much conflicting information on the internet. Thank you in advance!!


I forgot to ask what this testing kit is all about? Please recommend a kit to buy and how often do I test?

Last edited by MichelleA; 06-25-2013 at 01:15 AM. Reason: forgot a questions
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Old 06-25-2013, 01:23 AM   #2 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelleA View Post
So I came home tonight from work to find a betta fish in a teeny tiny tank on my counter. He was apparently left as some sort of present from a family member. I was a little upset at first as I do not want the responsibility of another pet and Ive never had a fish before nor do i know anything about caring for them. But he has grown on me in the last 30 minutes and I want to make sure I get the right stuff for him.

I read a little already about general care and sexing. Ive determined hes a male and has to live alone so I plan on buying a 3 gallon tank with some kind of low flow filter? Any brand recommendations? Also, I will be using tap water for his tank, Do I need a water conditioner? If so, what brand? I dont want to spend alot of money but i want to ensure he is well taken care of.

What about lights? Do they need constant light? Can I have a colored light? Do I need a timer? Can i just shut it off at night? How important is the day night routine for this fish? Does it matter if its LED or florescent?

I read the water needs to be between 76 and 84 or something like that, Can I use one of those temperature gauges that stick to the inside of his tank? And can you guys recommend a brand of heater to use if its needed please.

And how do you change a fish's water? Do I need to dump him into another container? Do I use a net? His Water is filthy and I cant help but think hes probably very unhappy in it.

Last but not least, what in the heck do I feed this thing? And how often do i feed him? I know they have betta food that comes in a can but ive read snails, worms, freeze dried shrimp!? Hes all but 2 inches long, how can he eat those things?

Sorry for all of the questions but I do not want to go to the pet store and ask these questions, I know most of them are not very knowledgeable of the animals they keep and there is just so much conflicting information on the internet. Thank you in advance!!


I forgot to ask what this testing kit is all about? Please recommend a kit to buy and how often do I test?
Really happy to hear about how much you care, especially since it was pushed onto you!

1. If you're going with a 3 gallon, that's perfectly fine. But he'd be super happy if you just add 2 more gallons to that and give him a 5. He really will appreciate it and show you his true personality.

2. Prime is a great water conditioner.

3. For lights, they don't really need them if you put them in a room with nondirect sunlight. Tanks do come with them though. Just switch it on in the morning, and turn it off when it's getting dark.

4. I am not that great with recommending heaters, but this one has worked pretty nicely for me.

5. If you're keeping him in a 5 gallon, just do a 50% change every week. Leave him in the water. You can either use a gravel vacuum, or just scoop it out with a bucket. But for the tiny tank he's currently in, just do a 100% change every 2 days, and put him into a temporary cup while you're changing the water.
Make sure to add similar temperatured water into his tank.

6. Feed him OmegaOne flakes, or HBH pellets, betta specified. You can buy frozen or freeze dried brine shrimp/bloodworm/daphnia, etc for him to eat. Just pick up some with tweezers and let him come to you.

7. the testing kit, just tests you water parameters. I'd recommend API Freshwater Master Kit.

Adding tank suggestions, sec

2 gallon

2.5 gallon

My favourite, Fluval Chi 5 gallon

There are cheaper 10 gallons though, like these. your fish will thank you in the long run.

x

all of these come with filters, so all you have to buy are heaters and gravel/decorations

Last edited by Mar; 06-25-2013 at 01:28 AM.
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Old 06-25-2013, 01:24 AM   #3 
RussellTheShihTzu
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1. Read all the stickies on tank cycling so you'll know what to expect.

2. You definitely need water conditioner. I use Prime.

3. Feed pellets, not flakes. Bloodworms, etc., are more treats than a staple. I use Atison's and New Life Spectrum.

4. They don't need lights on 24/7. LED are fine.

5. There are some nice 3-5 gallon aquarium kits for under $25.00 at Wal-Mart. All you would need is a heater and thermometer. Some of them come with your initial dose of conditioner.

6. You can buy water test strips but they're not as accurate as the liquid kits. Ammonia testing is a must so you can go for less with ammonia test strips.

7. A live plant will help keep down the ammonia.

I'm sure I'll think of more but this is

Last edited by RussellTheShihTzu; 06-25-2013 at 01:28 AM.
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Old 06-25-2013, 09:26 AM   #4 
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Looks like everything has been covered pretty well.
I'd just like to add that if you're going to have live plants, you have to have a specific type of lighting. Compact fluorescent bulb at 6500K or higher. There are a number of low-light plants you can have.
I know that adds a whole other level of care to the tank, so fake plants are fine. Bettas sometimes get nervous in open spaces, so it's good do have some plants with big leaves and some kind of tank decoration that has some kind of structure like a cave that he can rest in. I use one of those tiny clay pots as a cave. Some people use coffee mugs.
Make sure the fake plants are silk and not plastic. If you want to use plastic, you will have to test it by rubbing pantyhose over it. If it snags on the pantyhose, it will damage your betta's fins- don't use it.
Share a picture of your betta with us!
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Old 06-25-2013, 09:47 AM   #5 
lilnaugrim
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I just want to add that he will be perfectly fine in 3 gallons, there isn't really a "minimum" tank requirement except for what we set ourselves. Of course if you get a 1 gallon tank in order for him to be happy and healthy you do need to do at least 3 water changes a week. However the bigger the tank, the less water changes a week you have to do. All tanks need at least one change a week but smaller tanks like anything below a 5 would need twice or three times weekly changes. Make sense?

But he will be perfectly fine in a 3! For myself I've personally set a 3 gallon minimum for my fish. So all my fish live in no less than 3 gallons (except the two babies who are in a split 5.5 so they each get 2.75 gallons), so whatever you can a) afford b) looks good c) can fit on a flat surface, then it will be good!

For a 3 gallon with a filter (I suggest a Tetra Whisper 3i, not a very quite pump but it runs on air and works well enough) you do two water changes a week, I do one 50% and one 80% with a siphon and a bucket. Fairly easy enough to do, just have to make sure the bucket is lower than the tank because the siphon won't start if it's higher or at the same level of the tank

And as for Conditioner, yes Prime is great, I also use API Tap Water Conditioner, each works great. Just need to add one drop per gallon in the bucket BEFORE it goes into the tank, that way it's safe for your fish. And it also works instantly so no waiting on your part which I find fantastic, I'd probably throw a hissyfit if I had to wait an hour for it to work XD

For foods, pellets are probably going to be your best choice. In all foods what you are looking for are the first three ingredients. You don't want fillers, fillers are things that Betta's can't digest such as Wheat, Corns and other Soybean products. So you look at the first three ingredients to see what it has the most of. I recommend Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets as the first three ingredients are all actual meat products and no fillers, NLS has one filler but otherwise is a great food for them! So just keep an eye out for those sneaky fillers, they aren't yummy to eat, I can assure you! (not that I tried any!) lol

As for heaters, I recommend finding a small 25W one that is adjustable. If you can buy from online I suggest going here: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...8&pcatid=11368 to get the 25W one, it small and compact which is great for small tanks! The thing though is you need to put it to the lowest setting first and work your way up to 78-80 degree's on the THERMOMETER, not what the heater says. Especially if it's a 3 gallon because the heater will overcompensate and sometimes it heats more than what it's telling you, so that's why it's important to get a thermometer. It will also tell you if your heater is just plain malfunctioning as well.

The reason I suggest an adjustable heater is that sometimes you might run into diseases or illnesses that need a higher temp to help kill off so in those instances you'll be able to turn up the heat without buying another heater!

And yes live plants are very beneficial to your Betta, if you get some Java Fern and Anubias they are great low light plants that need hardly any care from you! Just don't bury the rhizome (that's the part where roots come out of on bottom and leaves from the top) however the roots can go under, that's fine. Or you can tie it to rocks/driftwood/ornaments, what have you ^_^ and they will grow! You can mix fake silk plants with those two live plants so that you don't have to care for all live plants but helps out the water quality and also gives more cover for your Betta to swim through happily.

So as an overview here are the things you want to look for:
Prime by SeaChem or API Tap Water Conditioner
New Life Spectrum Betta Pellets or Omega One Betta Buffet
3 gallon or whatever suits your fancy!
Small Siphon (I use an 8inch one)
Bucket for water changes (can be found at walmart if you don't have one, don't use one that has held soap or other chemicals!!!!)
25W adjustable heater
Tetra Whisper 3i Filter (if the tank doesn't come with it, Wal-mart usually has them in the kits)
Plants/Silk plants/Ornaments
Gravel/Marbles/rocks

and I think that's about it, I hope we all help you here! I'm glad you took the initiative to take care of him though
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Old 06-25-2013, 02:13 PM   #6 
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Depending on where you buy your tank, you can get a 5 or 10 gallon at Wal-Mart for about 25.00/27.00. It comes with a very nice filter, hood with a light on it. 3 gallons is plenty big enough but might be cheaper to get bigger. I did read that Petco or Petsmart (i forogt) is currently have the 2.00 per gallon sale on all tanks with a hood so you might actually find one cheaper there right now, until the end of July anyway.

If you want to eventually grow real plants in the tank I'd go with a hood that doesn't have LED lights, get flourescent. You can change the flourescent to a plant light and have a super beautiful tank pretty quickly if you stay away from LED.

New Life Spectrum betta food (in my opinion) I like better because it is smaller and floats better than Omega One, O1 is so big that I don't like giving it to my smaller bettas. They also seem to enjoy the New Life Spectrum much better. My boys and girls go crazy over frozen brine shrimp and blood worms. It comes in a small baggy and is in a freezer in the pet stores, you store it in the freezer and it lasts a really long time. Alternatively, the freeze dried bloodworms they also love.
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Old 06-25-2013, 02:15 PM   #7 
MichelleA
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Thank you guys so much for the advice! I went out this morning and bought a 5 gallon tank but when i got home it was cracked.... So i will be taking it back. I was thinking maybe a 10 gallon instead because I want to put something else with it. Could I put an algea eater and a snail or two along with a live plant? Will there be enough room and can they live in the same climate?

Also, I got API betta water conditioner, I didnt see any tap water conditioner. My local stores have no other name brands mentioned. Hope this is ok.

Due to them not having many options I bought cheap tetra betta pellets and freeze dried bloodworms. Not sure if its the brand I chose, looking at the ingredients now i see this is not the food for him. But I put three pellets in there but he only ate one and had a hell of a time swallowing it, spit it out probably 5 times before he got it down. I got the mini ones, Does this mean that they are too big for him or is this normal? Should I try flakes instead? I will probably have to order a brand online that you guys have recommended.

Other than the eating issue and the cracked tank, I changed his water and added the conditioner to it, warmed it up and put a thermometer in, its at 80 degrees and he seems to be alot more active and there are alot of bubbles at the top of the tank. I read this is normal?

His fins are very spiny like, not long and billowy like the ones i see in other posts, and the tips are very light colored, as well as his face area but the rest of him is blue and red. Im assuming he was bought at walmart or meijer which makes me concerned about illness. He has no growths or white spots though. Is his coloring and spiny like fins a sign of something bad?

Once I get everything set up properly in the next few days I will post a few pictures.
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Old 06-25-2013, 02:21 PM   #8 
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Any water conditioner is fine so long as it removes the chlorine and metals from the tap water. Those are harmful to fish.

Snails would be fine in the tank with him, if you really want to have options of something else to go into the tank I would go with a 10 gallon. Not all bettas are friendly to other fish but some of them are and snails can pretty much (mostly) protect themselves.

If you are talking about a pleco, Make sure you read what kind it is and how big it gets. Most of the normal plecos they sell at wal-mart get to 18 to 24 inches long. Bristlenose Plecos get 3 to 4 inches long max so are ok for tanks, especially when they are babies and growing up - you can re-home him in a few years if he gets to big. Pleocs poop a lot but if you are planning for live plants, then that isn't exactly a bad thing and bristlenose baby plecos do a fantastic job of keeping a tank clean, just buy the smallest one you can find.

The spikiness may just be a cross crowntail breeding or you might have a girl crowntail. Post pictures and we can tell you what kind he is.

The tetra pellets are big, you can put them into a ziploc bag and smash them into smaller bits so he can eat them easier. i really prefer the new life spectrum because they are so small, the bettas don't spit them out and have to try to eat them multiple times first.

Last edited by peachii; 06-25-2013 at 02:23 PM.
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Old 06-25-2013, 03:39 PM   #9 
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He might be a Crowntail or CT, try looking that up to see if that's what he looks like! And that's perfectly normal

I still don't suggest getting any pleco for a 10, even if it will grow out. See the thing with algae eaters as well as Platy's they are Poop-Machines!!! Like, crazy poop! So it just makes it a little harder to clean the tank out. Same with snails/plecos/some catfish, they just poop all the time.

If you want to get a snail and you can find one, I suggest getting one Nerite Snail, they poop the least amount and do a fantastic job with the algae! You can sub in a blanched cucumber for added nutrition when you run out of algae and algae wafers can be used as well. But just be warned, Betta's a pigs and will eat practically anything (except the cucumber lol) so they will eat wafers before your snail gets to them haha. So you can just cup your boy in a cup while your snail eats or put it in after the lights are out. Bettas have a harder time seeing but they will eventually find it, snails are most active during the night.

Or you can get a trio of small catfish like Julii's or pandas would be okay. They are bottom dwellers so your betta really won't pay any mind to them. They don't eat algae much so they'll eat sunken pellets/flakes and wafers. They will also munch on cucumbers too.

But yeah if you were to get a 5 I highly suggest just leaving him to himself, he will be just as happy and will be delighted when you come in to play with him. They love human interaction and get attached to us as we do to them so give him lots of love!
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Old 06-25-2013, 03:57 PM   #10 
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LOL! You sound like you live like me, family members just come in your house. My mom comes over and unplugs my heaters when I'm not home.

A 10 g is a great home, it'll save you time on water changes. You only need one 50% once a week (as opposed to two weekly water changes in a 3 g). As lilnaugrim pointed out a Nerite is a good snail to keep in a 10 g. I have Mystery Snails, and they are messy, messy, messy. They are beautiful, and get the size of ping pong balls, but they are dirty little buggers.

Flakes can contribute to water quality problems. I'd stick with pellets. If you can get Omega One, New Life Spectrum or Aqueon. Only feed the bloodworms as a rare treat in in very moderate amounts. Too many, too often can cause health problems. Frozen bloodworms are a better option in the future (if you can get them/want to feed them).

As peachii mentioned, pretty much all water conditioners are fine to use. Prime is good if you have ammonia, but if not.. then it's not worth the price and I've heard it can make fish sick. I do have some, just in case my water comes back with ammonia, but it's always tested at 0 from the tap. I use Stress Coat + as a conditioner because it has added therapeutic benefits for sick fish. It's good thing to have on hand in case you ever have fin rot, fin biting, or another external problem.

Welcome to the wonderful world of bettas. If you get a 10 g, you could also split it an get another..
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