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Old 08-07-2013, 08:05 PM   #1 
kalliburr
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Talking Betta Newbie

Hello, fellow betta fish peoples! :P I'm VERY new to betta fish and actually just ordered my very first betta fish from a breeder. He is gorgeous and has an over half moon tail. I'm expecting him to arrive soon, and I want to have my tank set up and ready for him when he arrives. I have a 5 gallon Fluval Chi tank, and I have figured out how to lessen the flow of the water so the water at the top of the tank stays very calm. I also already know that I should invest in a heater and thermometer to maintain the right temperature for the water, as well as a lid for the tank so he won't try to jump out. I also know that the Fluval Chi has a little space in the back that they can get stuck in, so I'm going to find a way to stop that up so he won't get stuck.

I would very much like to have some live plants and either gravel or sand for the bottom of the tank. What would you guys recommend? For the plants, the only preference I really have is maybe one plant with broad leaves that I can put in the corner to reach up close to the top of the tank so that my fish buddy can have a little rest place up near the top of the tank, because I've heard they like that.

I'm also considering adding a snail or two for algae eating and company (company that has a nice hard shell to protect it in case my betta gets any ideas), so any advice there would also be really helpful.

Oh, and my water has already been cycled some by the fish I previously had in this tank. So, that's a thing. Just trying to give as much info as possible so I can get as much help and insight as possible.

Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:55 PM   #2 
Greylady
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Hi kallibur, I would recommend a Zebra Snail, I have one in each of my betta tanks (I have 3 tanks) they do an amazing job at keeping the tank spotless! And they don't eat plants, which is a big plus when you have live plants. I also have Malaysian Trumpet snails that are good if you go with a sand substrate as I have, because they burrow in the sand and keep it from getting toxic air/gas pockets.These don't eat the plants either, although I do see them on the bigger leafed plants sometimes, but they don't eat them. I've heard some people say that the MTS' s will multiply and take over the tank. While I can tell they have multiplied (I've had mine almost 2 years) I wouldn't say they've taken over. I don't mind seeing them but it's a matter of preferrence I guess. If you dont want MTS, and go with sand substrate you can always just poke the sand with something to release any pockets. Anyway, thats my 2 cents! Lol welcome to betta keeping! And the forum. :)
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Old 08-07-2013, 11:38 PM   #3 
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Oh, that sounds awesome! How many of the MTS would you say would be good for a 10" x 10" bottom sand space for them to properly burrow and keep it from getting toxic? And how much sand is good for the bottom of the tank? Also, if I got all males or all females, would it help with the multiplying thing? I was thinking maybe 2 or 3 of the MTS and one zebra snail. I had read about the zebra snails, but I wasn't sure how to feed them if there is no algae in the tank.
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Old 08-08-2013, 12:21 AM   #4 
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Well, as far as the MTS I don't think there is any way to tell if they are male or female. Some say its the law of nature, the more food available the more things will breed, multiply, so if you don't overfeed your tank you shouldn't have a problem. I started with 6 I think and have quite a lot, but like I said, they don't bother me or my bettas so I don't sweat it. If you end up with more than you want you can always give them away, sell them or just ditch them. As far as aquiring them, ask your LFS, if they have any they will most likely just give you some for free. If not, there are plenty of people that are willing to send you some for the cost of postage, or you can buy them on ebay but I wouldn't pay much for them if anything.

I bought my Zebra snail from Petco but you can also get them on ebay. I'd only get one because they are cleaning machines! If you get two and end up with a male and female, they will "mate" and the female will lay these very hard tiny white eggs all over everything, including the rocks, plants, heater and glass and they are very hard to remove. The thing is the eggs will never hatch because they need brackish water to hatch and even then I've read the babies rarely live. So I'd just get one. I was worried about them not getting enough to eat also, so I bought some Algae waffers from Petco but they didn't want anything to do with them, however the MTS loved them! Lol. So I guess even though I never see any algae in the tank, they must be finding enough to eat because I've had them for over a year. One tip I read is the next time you make an egg, rinse the shell really well, then crush it up in little tiny pieces and put them in your filter. When it disolves it will release calcium into the water and help strengthen their shells.

For my substrate I just bought the regular white petco sand, no special sand with "live bacteria" etc, just regular old aquarium sand. I think it was just under 5 bucks per 5lb bag. My tank is 24" long and 9" front to back and I used 2 bags per tank which gave me about 2 inches of sand. Our tanks are about the same depth but mine in twice as long, so you could probably get away with one bag. It's really a matter of what you like, you could start with one and add more if you want more depth. Or buy two and if you don't need the second one they will refund you with the receit if you haven't opened it. It is easier to get your plants to stay planted until the roots take hold with a little deeper substrate, but you don't want to go too deep either because I don't know how deep the MTS will burrow. Anyway, that's what I've learned so far! :)

Last edited by Greylady; 08-08-2013 at 12:29 AM.
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Old 08-08-2013, 12:47 AM   #5 
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I think by zebra snail greylady means nerite snails. They come in three different patterns olive, tiger blood and zebra.

They can lay eggs in freshwater but they will not hatch so what you buy is what you'll have.
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Old 08-08-2013, 02:03 AM   #6 
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So much awesome information! Yays! Yeah, I think I meant to ask how deep do I want my sand. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you do math or anything. That's a really good tip about the egg shells, though! I never would have thought of that. I'm so excited to buy all these things this weekend!

How often do you clean your sand? Or do the MTS do that? I was reading about them, and apparently you can tell the males from females. According to my research, the females have green gonads, and the males have red gonads. I doubt if people bother to search for their gonads, but apparently it can be done. I don't know how one would even go about figuring that out, but hey, the more you know!
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Old 08-08-2013, 02:04 AM   #7 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LizbethDawn View Post
I think by zebra snail greylady means nerite snails. They come in three different patterns olive, tiger blood and zebra.

They can lay eggs in freshwater but they will not hatch so what you buy is what you'll have.
Yay! I'll only need one, but it'll be a tough choice with such cool options!
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Old 08-08-2013, 02:34 AM   #8 
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Hmmm... according to wikkipedia, unless you can figure out how to identify and aquire only male MTS they'll probably multiply.

Contrary to common opinion, Malaysian Trumpet snails are NOT hermaphrodite (where each individual has both male and female organs). Malaysian Trumpet snails are gonochoric (either male or female). They cannot change sex, either.However, they are also apomictic parthenogenetic (females can produce young female clones without a male to fertilise the eggs). Usually a large proportion of the snails are female clones, commonly the entire population in some areas.[1
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Old 08-08-2013, 02:45 AM   #9 
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Yup! Just an interesting tidbit worth consideration. People who might not otherwise use them might consider it with the option of being able to have them unable to breed in their tank. ^_^ They can't take over if they can't multiply.
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:06 AM   #10 
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Originally Posted by kalliburr View Post
Oh, and my water has already been cycled some by the fish I previously had in this tank. So, that's a thing. Just trying to give as much info as possible so I can get as much help and insight as possible.
How long since you've had fish in that tank providing ammonia for your bacteria. The bacteria can go a week or more, but need regular "feeding" with ammonia to stay strong and healthy.

Make sure you're using the right color temperature light-bulbs for your plants (6500K) and the right wattage (2-3 watts/gallon) for a tall tank like the Chi.
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