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Old 04-05-2010, 05:30 PM   #1 
lastbook87
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Bleeding Heart (aka Walmart Betta adoption)

Hello, all!

Like so many people on this forum seem to be, I'm a newcomer to this whole betta thing, and got into it a few days ago only by accident. I was with a friend at Walmart (I try, oh so very hard, not to go there myself) and ended up in the fish section, where there were five female bettas, two in pretty bad shape, in their little cups with no more than two inches of water in any of them. I'm a sucker for any animal, so I ended up grabbing what I thought was the ugliest of the three healthy ones because I figured the two pretty ones had a better chance of getting purchased by someone else. I also bought the cheapest tank set I could (1/2 gallon) because, well, I'm a dead-broke grad student and I figured that anything was better than her dying in two inches of dirty water. Plus I've always been told, like most people, I guess, that bettas don't need much room. I expected that she would serve as a desk ornament next to my stuffed dragon.

However, as I've gotten to know this girl (as of yet unnamed), I've become kind of fascinated by her. Her colors have gotten darker and richer since I brought her home, and she really seems to be enjoying actually having room, however little it may be, to move around in. I'm currently planning on forgoing my traditional twice-weekly fast food splurge so that I can save up and buy a bigger tank, as per the general guide here (awesome thread without a ton of over-complicated stuff for beginners, btw), but I have some questions until then.

1. How long is it acceptable for her to stay in the smaller tank? I've know that you have to change out the water more frequently as tanks get smaller, so I've changed out half the water every other day. This is a relatively painless process for both me and her so far. The tank has a little plug on the bottom that I just let drain into the sink, and after that's done, I refill the tank with treated water that's back at room temperature. She also stays right behind my computer screen, which is acting as a very, very rudimentary sort of heater. I've noticed she likes to hang out on the side of the tank closest to the computer.

2. When I do get a bigger tank, is a 2 gallon really enough, or should I save up a little more and get a 5 gallon? I was thinking it might be nice to give her a few tank mates later on, maybe after I move home for the summer, so I'm assuming at least a 5 gallon would be a no-brainer.

3. I keep hearing/seeing talk about a "sorority tank"--if I wanted to do that, I would need at least a ten-gallon, right? I keep thinking about the moving I'm going to be doing over the course of the next several years thanks to school, so I'd rather start out small. I know that, ideally, that means one fish, but I'm really enjoying this girl's personality and would love to have a few more both to keep her company and for my own entertainment. But at the same time, I also don't want to move up in "steps" (2 gallon now, 5 gallon for her and some shrimp later, 10 gallon for her and some buddies after that) and end up with more tanks than I have time to tank care of.

4. Live worms -- are they necessary, strongly suggested, or just optional?

5. Based on the picture below, what would you say is wrong with her dorsal fin? Tail rot? Someone took a chunk out of it for an afternoon snack? This is from the night I got her; her color's more vibrant now, and all the air bubbles on the side of the tank are long gone. I don't know what causes that besides my city's water supply being weird, but I did treat the water and let it sit for a while before transferring her over.



I'm sorry for all the basic questions, and I know that my puny tank will elicit at least mild disapproval, but I still feel as though she's much better off here than in the Tiny Walmart Fish Cups of Certain Doom. She's not clamping down her fins at all any more--or at least I don't think she is--so I guess she's enjoying herself at least a little. I'm certainly enjoying having her.
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Old 04-05-2010, 06:03 PM   #2 
kingb
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well, congratulations on saving that little ones life and taking it home with you, im really no betta expert although ive had mine for a little over 9 months or more. to answer some of your questions 1) i think the sooner you move your betta out of the .5 gal bowl the better although it wont kill it, so can save a bit more cash and get it a bigger tank 2) alot of people say that the minimum tank space for a betta should be a 3 gallon tank, i personally have mine in a 2.5 gallon one and he seems fine and happy. 3) on feeding habits, you should probably start your fish out slow and begin with betta pellets, just make sure you dont overfeed her, people give some of their bettas bloodworms but just as treats maybe once a week, i feed mine bloodworms every 2 weeks though. hope this info helps you! ohh almost forgot, if you get a bigger tank get a heater also.
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Old 04-05-2010, 06:17 PM   #3 
xxabc
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1. How long is it acceptable for her to stay in the smaller tank? I've know that you have to change out the water more frequently as tanks get smaller, so I've changed out half the water every other day. This is a relatively painless process for both me and her so far. The tank has a little plug on the bottom that I just let drain into the sink, and after that's done, I refill the tank with treated water that's back at room temperature. She also stays right behind my computer screen, which is acting as a very, very rudimentary sort of heater. I've noticed she likes to hang out on the side of the tank closest to the computer.

As short as possible! However, if you really want to make it safer, in a 1/2 gallon, you really should be doing water changes every day, or rather...twice a day. I would say 100% as well, however 90% twice a day would be okay if you don't have an extra space to put her in. 1/2 gallons are very unstable in terms of...well, everything. Good that it's painless, hopefully every day (or 2x a day) won't be a pain on you either! And how hot is the computer screen? Bettas are tropical (77-80F is optimum for me) but it's possible for them to be too hot as well. Investing in a cheap little $1 thermometer would work, and you don't even have to keep it in 24/7. You can save ethat for when you upgrade. It's just to be safe ;) But with her hanging by the heated side, I would guess it's okay? But that's a blind guess, as I'm not there.

2. When I do get a bigger tank, is a 2 gallon really enough, or should I save up a little more and get a 5 gallon? I was thinking it might be nice to give her a few tank mates later on, maybe after I move home for the summer, so I'm assuming at least a 5 gallon would be a no-brainer.

2 gallons is...hardly enough, but that's in my own opinion. I always prefer 5 gallons, however 2 gallons is still acceptable, and is easier to keep stable, with a heater, filter, etc compared to the half gallon. I would honestly save up to a 5 gallon. If you do water changes, she will be fine.


3. I keep hearing/seeing talk about a "sorority tank"--if I wanted to do that, I would need at least a ten-gallon, right? I keep thinking about the moving I'm going to be doing over the course of the next several years thanks to school, so I'd rather start out small. I know that, ideally, that means one fish, but I'm really enjoying this girl's personality and would love to have a few more both to keep her company and for my own entertainment. But at the same time, I also don't want to move up in "steps" (2 gallon now, 5 gallon for her and some shrimp later, 10 gallon for her and some buddies after that) and end up with more tanks than I have time to tank care of.

Sorority tanks can catch you by surprise! I would advice you wait until you've owned bettas for about a year, knowing about the diseases, ammonia, the difference between fin rot / fin nipping / tailbiting, the smallest signs before illnesses, having money on the side for them, etc. (I'm being really picky though, haha.) Sorority tanks are beautiful...however, at the same time, can be risky. Females are just as aggressive as males. They CAN kill each other, especially in a sorority. There are details though, but just for now, I would say to "wait on it." :) (Also be careful on shrimp. There have been cases of betta eating shrimp, shrimp nipping betta, but also success)

4. Live worms -- are they necessary, strongly suggested, or just optional?

This would be a treat. Freezedried bloodworms or brineshrimp, frozen bloodworms/brineship, live worms, are all treats. I want to say variety (between pellets and the treats) are necessary. So, they would be strongly suggested. However, they can be frozen or freezedried as well. Be sure to SOAK FREEZE DRIED in water first! They're very very very dry. Same with pellets, pre soak in water first! for 30secs - 2min.

5. Based on the picture below, what would you say is wrong with her dorsal fin? Tail rot? Someone took a chunk out of it for an afternoon snack? This is from the night I got her; her color's more vibrant now, and all the air bubbles on the side of the tank are long gone. I don't know what causes that besides my city's water supply being weird, but I did treat the water and let it sit for a while before transferring her over.

It honestly looks okay, I don't think it's fin rot. It may just be how her fin is shaped. Another picture would also help too :)

(The air bubbles are highly normal, don't worry about it. If your water doesn't do that at first, I would really be concerned lol).

Last edited by xxabc; 04-05-2010 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 04-05-2010, 06:29 PM   #4 
kelly528
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lastbook87 View Post
Hello, all!

Like so many people on this forum seem to be, I'm a newcomer to this whole betta thing, and got into it a few days ago only by accident. I was with a friend at Walmart (I try, oh so very hard, not to go there myself) and ended up in the fish section, where there were five female bettas, two in pretty bad shape, in their little cups with no more than two inches of water in any of them. I'm a sucker for any animal, so I ended up grabbing what I thought was the ugliest of the three healthy ones because I figured the two pretty ones had a better chance of getting purchased by someone else. I also bought the cheapest tank set I could (1/2 gallon) because, well, I'm a dead-broke grad student and I figured that anything was better than her dying in two inches of dirty water. Plus I've always been told, like most people, I guess, that bettas don't need much room. I expected that she would serve as a desk ornament next to my stuffed dragon.

However, as I've gotten to know this girl (as of yet unnamed), I've become kind of fascinated by her. Her colors have gotten darker and richer since I brought her home, and she really seems to be enjoying actually having room, however little it may be, to move around in. I'm currently planning on forgoing my traditional twice-weekly fast food splurge so that I can save up and buy a bigger tank, as per the general guide here (awesome thread without a ton of over-complicated stuff for beginners, btw), but I have some questions until then.

1. How long is it acceptable for her to stay in the smaller tank? I've know that you have to change out the water more frequently as tanks get smaller, so I've changed out half the water every other day. This is a relatively painless process for both me and her so far. The tank has a little plug on the bottom that I just let drain into the sink, and after that's done, I refill the tank with treated water that's back at room temperature.
Do 100% water changes... they aren't stressful when temperarute and pH are the same in old & new water and if your betta produces more ammonia than what you remove daily it will slowly build up to dangerous levels.

Quote:
She also stays right behind my computer screen, which is acting as a very, very rudimentary sort of heater. I've noticed she likes to hang out on the side of the tank closest to the computer.
I ouwld put her somewhere else fo rthe time being... heat is good but everytime you turn the comp off the temperature in the bowl will plummet, and likewise bounce up when you turn the computer back on. No heat is bette rthan yo-yo-ing heat!

[/quote]2. When I do get a bigger tank, is a 2 gallon really enough, or should I save up a little more and get a 5 gallon? I was thinking it might be nice to give her a few tank mates later on, maybe after I move home for the summer, so I'm assuming at least a 5 gallon would be a no-brainer.[/quote]

Well I'm not sure how convenient it is for you to clean it... from your post I'm assuming you're in an office? A 5g tank is a very 'worth it' size in my opinion because you can 'cycle' it (establish a colony of nitrifying bacteria in the filter) so that you will only need to change the water 25% weekly. Generally cycling is more trouble than its worth in a smaller tank because in a smaller volume of water factors like temperature and pH change more rapidly, potentially killing the bacteria and royally screwing you over.

Furthermore a 5g is usually the same price or cheaper than a 2g.

Quote:
3. I keep hearing/seeing talk about a "sorority tank"--if I wanted to do that, I would need at least a ten-gallon, right? I keep thinking about the moving I'm going to be doing over the course of the next several years thanks to school, so I'd rather start out small. I know that, ideally, that means one fish, but I'm really enjoying this girl's personality and would love to have a few more both to keep her company and for my own entertainment.
Yep a small sorority (your 6 female minimum) is fully possible in a 10g

Quote:
But at the same time, I also don't want to move up in "steps" (2 gallon now, 5 gallon for her and some shrimp later, 10 gallon for her and some buddies after that) and end up with more tanks than I have time to tank care of.
Personally I would forget the 2g and buy a 5g. When/if you decide on a 10g you can keep the 5g for a quarantine tank. Quarantines are pretty much indispensable when you start putting more than one fish in the same tank.

Quote:
4. Live worms -- are they necessary, strongly suggested, or just optional?
Not technically necessary, but very good. Think of betta pellets as soup or cereal... they have everything needed to survive with relative success but offer little variety and don't stand well on their own. Most betta enthusiasts would agree that a staple diet of 2-3 decent brands of pelleted foods supplemented by a few live feedings every week makes a very well-balanced diet for any fish you can think of. Barring live you can also easily obtain frozen foods of many types. They are just as nutritious as live, if not better sterilized and often injected with vitamins.

Quote:
5. Based on the picture below, what would you say is wrong with her dorsal fin? Tail rot? Someone took a chunk out of it for an afternoon snack? This is from the night I got her; her color's more vibrant now, and all the air bubbles on the side of the tank are long gone. I don't know what causes that besides my city's water supply being weird, but I did treat the water and let it sit for a while before transferring her over.
It looks like her fin was ripped in a scuffle... a passerby could dumped two bettas in together or it could just be a deformity. Don't worry about rot unless you are seeing a cottony substance or brown/black, 'melted' edges.

Every city had those bubbles in the water, thats just the nitogen outgassing. It's usually gone in 24 hours and will be less of an issue in a bigger tank.



I'm sorry for all the basic questions, and I know that my puny tank will elicit at least mild disapproval, but I still feel as though she's much better off here than in the Tiny Walmart Fish Cups of Certain Doom. She's not clamping down her fins at all any more--or at least I don't think she is--so I guess she's enjoying herself at least a little. I'm certainly enjoying having her.[/quote]
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Old 04-05-2010, 11:14 PM   #5 
lastbook87
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Ah, thank you all so much for your thorough (and fast!) responses. I think I'm going to whip out the credit card, much as I hate it, and go get a 5 gallon tank set with a heater and everything on Wednesday. I won't even think about thinking about a ten gallon until school starts up in the fall. And I'm not in an office; I'm just in a room at a house with a bunch of fellow college students. I don't know what the setup in my house will be next year, but I'll still have a room to myself, so a 5 gallon shouldn't be a problem then, either.

As far as the computer goes, it's on 24/7 (I always have programs of some sort running, as energy inefficient as that is), so there shouldn't be any big variations in temperature. It's an iMac, so there's also not a lot of variation in how hot it runs, either. And the shrimp weren't so much an actual plan as just something I saw mentioned somewhere... I guess I should've said "a 5 gallon for her and one or two appropriately-sized non-betta tank buddies" or something of the sort. Sorry!

I keep on trying to get better pictures, but I'm taking them on my phone, and she's a bit camera shy... Always turns away right as I'm taking the picture. I'll definitely take some pictures once I put her in a new set-up, though! I might be going crazy, but I think she's looking prettier and prettier, and she's already getting social. She follows me around when I move around in front of the tank. Nothing to make you feel loved like a fishie who acknowledges your presence! And yes, sadly, I've taken to calling her "Fishie." I'll blame the lack of creativity on my current grad-school-induced exhaustion.
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Old 04-05-2010, 11:28 PM   #6 
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If you want some tank mates, let's wait a bit and get the whole set up and be settled first, haha. I love snails, adorable little things.

In your new setup, I would recommend crowding as much as possible, bettas need sense of territory to claim (I know this holds pretty true for males, but I don't own females, so...).

It WILL get pricey... so save up some money, and spend a little by a little. You'll find it enjoyable, it's like shopping for yourself. Except not for yourself. Or I don't know, that may be me, as I despise shopping and only go as a hangout with friends. Haha, so I find myself burning money for my bettas instead ;)

Last edited by xxabc; 04-05-2010 at 11:33 PM.
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Old 04-05-2010, 11:43 PM   #7 
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I would love to do the cash thing (I used to do it in high school), but I never have it on me now... I just save by using my debit card less than my weekly budget allows for. But I'd rather go ahead and get her moved now, especially considering I'm about to hit that point in the semester where I might not have time to do 100% water changes every single day.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xxabc View Post
If you want some tank mates, let's wait a bit and get the whole set up and be settled first, haha. I love snails, adorable little things.
Yup yup, definitely going to wait until I get her settled... I'll probably end up waiting until I get home for the summer, just because it'll be that much less stress. Plus I'll have access to a lot more fish stores (there's only 1 non-Petsmart/Wal-mart store within a two hour drive of me now).

Quote:
In your new setup, I would recommend crowding as much as possible, bettas need sense of territory to claim (I know this holds pretty true for males, but I don't own females, so...).
Lots of silk plants, right? I'd love to add some live ones in eventually, but I'd rather just get her moved out of her tiny tank now and spruce up the big one with buddies and real plants later. And thanks again for the advice! It's so nice to get answers from people who have experience and know what they're talking about.
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Old 04-05-2010, 11:49 PM   #8 
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She's gorgeous. :) You should feel good knowing that you've probably saved her life. It's great to see people doing research and trying to make their fish as comfortable as possible.
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Old 04-06-2010, 12:45 AM   #9 
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Lots of silk plants, yup :) Go ahead with plastic, but make sure you run them down with a pantyhose. If it snags at all, your betta's tails will snag as well if it brushes up against it. But, since this is a female, she may be much less sensitive than a male betta. It's still possible to snag, but thinking about it, the "risk" goes down...by a lot? Let's wait and see someone with females and see what they say.

I'm on my way to adding live ones, pretty excited haha.

And no problemo!
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Old 04-06-2010, 08:01 PM   #10 
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you know i found if you have a walmart closeby the cheapest tank you can buy new is an empty 10 gal @ walmart $14-15 ya it dont come with a top but u can make one outa cheap mesh from micheals/craft stores much cheaper then those smaller petstore tanks and you can keep more fish =) and decorate it better
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