Hello! I just pseudo-impulse-bought my betta, Andrew (actually his nickname) yesterday, along with a 5 gal. tank, etc. etc. etc.. I say "pseudo" because I spent an hour online reading these forums and other betta care guides and then another hour at the pet store looking at each and every product that was on the shelf. This is my second-ever betta; my first, Leviathan, was unfortunate, in having been left in the care of my then-boyfriend while I was away for 6 weeks (he thought it was OK to bring Levi to work - he worked in a skating rink); I was also not aware of the proper care for a betta and had him in a plain glass bowl. Anyhow, as much time as I spent trying to read up on the proper care and set up of a tank for a betta, I still feel like I am doing it wrong. But I digress. I just wanted to clear up some questions:
1. I know it is not necessary to have a filter, but I have one. I understand that it should be removed if it makes bubbles? Does that mean bubbles on top of the water, or bubbles that are stuck to the bottom of the filter?
2. I have never heard of bubblenests before. I hope that Andrew will be happy enough to start making them, but if he does not, I want to know what I can do to make him happy! How long does it usually take bettas to become comfy in their new home? He's been in there a couple of hours, and he seems OK. He's swimming around and checking things out. He really likes one particular corner, which has more silk plants in it than any other (I read that they like lots of hiding places, and was at first scared that I put too many plants in my tank).
3. I have currently filled my tank with conditioned tap water (I used Top Fin Betta Water Conditioner that I bought at Petsmart), but I was wondering if, when I do my water changes, I could just use bottled spring water, or do I have to treat that as well because I have used conditioned tap water to begin with?
I do not want my Andrew to die off because of a silly mistake I made. Any suggestions/reassurances/criticisms would be fantastic, as my now-boyfriend thought a small bowl would be enough for little Andrew. I've included some pictures of Andrew and his home. I'll post better pictures of him as soon as I can get Andrew to come out of his hidey-hole in the corner. Thanks ahead of time for any help!