Hi! I've gotten severely attached to my betta Haru over the month and a half that I've had him! He's such a little sweetheart, and I've been trying as hard as I can to keep him comfortable in my dorm room! I got a heater about a week after getting him - a hydro slim 7.5 watt heater. I knew the heater was working well because there was a nice amount of condensation on the glass above the water line, and Haru had been swimming around as animatedly as always the entire time! However this week, I was finally able to get a thermometer in there to see what the temperature was really at. Today, after being in there for about a day, the thermometer read at around 82-84. I'm kind of concerned, because online I've been reading about how that's just over the top of the recommended water temp for bettas. He's been swimming around really happily and eating fine for the past month with the heater, though - he's on the smaller side, so I was thinking that maybe he's not as hot as some other, bigger fish might be in the same environment?
Anyways, I was wondering if it would be a good idea to get a appliance timer and maybe have the heater switch on and off every 15 or so minutes? Or should I just leave it be? Colder weather is coming up fast here in New England too - if I do get a timer, should I bother with buying one now or just wait until the warm months come up again so the water temp won't fluctuate too drastically?
Also, while I'm here, I've seen a lot about water testing, and that's going to be the next thing I'm going to look into. I put in conditioner each time I add new water, but I want to make sure everything's okay! Do you have any recommended brands? I'm terrible with science so the idea of "testing strips" sounds a little daunting. Is it easy to do? (Also I would prefer the cheapest I could go without the product being ineffective.)
Thanks so much if you've already read this far! Although getting Haru was a quick decision, I made it knowing that I wanted to give whatever fish I got as happy and rewarding a life as possible! This site has helped so much in getting his new life set up, and I can tell that he's really thriving because of the information here! Thanks so much!