As was stated in my first post I am super new at this aquarium/fish thing as a matter of fact the only fish that I have ever had I won at the fair and it didn't last long enough to do anything with. So when Santa agreed to bring my daughter a fish this year a Betta was my first choice because aren't they really the "set it and forget it" fish. I went to Petco to buy one of those small clear box things with a nice pink background, to match her room,and found the Aqueon 2.5 Betta bow on sale for $5 more so I bought it. I did a search looking for a compatible live plant and that is when it started. I had about 5 pages of notes and felt comfortable and well informed. Now I have been in the hospital for 3 days, mom had surgery, and have been on the net too much and visited a nice aquarium & fish supply store while in the area and WOW back to confused.
While here I figured I would do a search on what heater I should buy. Easy enough right? Not so much. Hanging, submersible, under substrate, a pad the whole aquarium sits on, adjustable settings, fixed settings. Thermostat, indicator lights, location within the aquarium. Then I moved onto lighting- incandescent, fluorescent, wattage, 6?00k,time, this light best mimics sunlight, danger don't expose your aquarium to sunlight. Next was foods-flake, pellet, beef protein and soy, frozen, freeze dried, thawed, rehydrate, live, amount, time, and even peas. Then aquariums-size, shape, material,covers, cycle or not, backgrounds, filters and pumps. Somehow for everything mentioned above plus more you could find a horror story, a not the best but effective, and a this is the best thing ever post, review.
For the water you should get water primer which makes tap water safe for fish, and a thermometer to keep the water at the proper temp.
Your going to want a submersiable heater, lighting doesnt matter too much just dont put him in direct sunlight, mixture of frozen blood worms and pellets, a half of crushed pea once a week to keep him from getting bloated.
Now tanks are compleatly up to you. I recommend at least a 2.5 because they are the easiest to heat how ever a 5 gal would be better. Bettas do not like current so just a filter that doesnt move the water around to fast would be great, shape doesnt matter, background doesnt matter.
If your just starting off i think you shouldwait awhile before trying a planted tank, just to see how you do with just the betta. IMO planted tanks take a lot of time and effort for the upkeep.
Fish stores are only trying to get your money. keep that in mind when you go asking them questions. They will sell you what ever they can to make money even if it doesnt have anything to do with a bettas well being. So asking questions here or another well informed betta forum is a lot more trustworthy and helpful then going into a FS. Honestly what would we have to gain by telling you everything you would need? lol
Don't worry, eventually this will all make sense, I promise XD. And soon all the work will be worth it.
Food: easiest feeding is pellets. The first ingredient should be some sort of meat. (fish, shrimp, fish meal, shrimp meal, etc). Pre-soak before feeding. Feed 2-3 twice a day. Freeze dried foods can be given as treats only. I like giving frozen foods occasionally for variety. Fast him for a day once a week to prevent bloating. Peas are okay, but not as effective as fasting.
Heating: Go for an adjustable heater, not the pads. wattage would have to be about 10 watts. They're easy as pie to use. Just stick the suction cups on them, suction cup them in your aquarium at the proper level (level depends on if it is submersible or not), move the dial to the right temp (76-80*F) and plug in :) . - All you need is a thermometer to keep an eye on the temps just in case.
Lighting: Keep your tank away from direct sunlight. I'd go with fluorecent because while a bit expensive they don't make as much heat, they're brighter and last longer. What wattage just depends. with your tank, honestly you don't need less than 4 watts and you don't need more than like 10 watts for your small tank. As for other stuff, unless you plan on doing an super planted tank, you really don't have to worry.
Easy Plants: Java moss (unless you're trying to kill it, it's almost indestructable), small anubias (once again, hard to kill), java ferns (they start out small, are hard to kill, and grow slowly. You won't have to worry about it out growing your tank too soon). * Don't buy plants from LFS (local fish stores) unless you specifically know what you are buying. Most plants are mislabeled as "aquatic".* If you want to get plants, ask around on the forum, someone might have extra java moss or an anubias and be willing to sell/give and ship it to you.
tank: Don't worry about a cycle, your tank is good. Just do 50% water changes every 3-4 days.
- for your water conditioner, I advise the use of Prime (the company that makes it is called Sea Chem). You only use two drops per gallon, so it's very economical.
- for your water changes, you'll want to buy something like airline tubing for a siphon to make water changes quick and easy.
Fish: Pick a betta, any betta. crowntails, halfmoons, veiltails, plakats, etc. They can come in all the colors of the rainbow (and then some). Eventually, you might just start calling bettas "children", lol, they're amazing fish, pretty forgiving of mistakes, and they have great personalities. When properly cared for they're the perfect little fish. I'm sure your daughter will love her christmas gift. :)
The forum: We are always here to help, we love pictures and hearing about how your bettas are doing.
For a heater, like Astro said you want submersible, indicator lights are a preference thing. You said you have a 2.5 gallon tank, for that you'll want a 10w. Most will tell you that you want it to be adjustable, I agree but it can be hard to find these days. Shop around and see what you can find. You'll also want an in-tank thermometer.
Living plants can add a degree of challenge for a beginning hobbyist but if you are up for the challenge go for it, just be warned you'll need to look into substrates, more lighting, fertilizing etc.
Tank lighting isn't a big thing if you don't have plants, any source of light is good. The reason for lighting is to simulate daylight (on) and night time (off). Direct sunlight causes problems because it heats the tank too much and causes algae to grow.
Food is a bit bigger, Bettas are carnivores so when you buy food check the ingredients, you want to see things that suggest a meaty conent such as krill, brine shrimp, fish meal etc. Flakes or pellets will depend on the fish, Betta can be picky sometimes but flakes or pellets will be your primary source of food. Most pet stores have Betta Flakes or Betta Pellets (it'll say on the container) which makes chosing easier. Freeze dried foods are okay and your fish will love them but they can cause digestive problems so they are considered a "Treat" food. Just like you can't only eat ice cream the betta can't only eat bloodworms or brine shrimp.
You already mentioned a tank and it's usually considered a good one for Bettas. It probably came with a hood and light so you should be good there. If not get the tank measurements and go to the local pet store. Anything will work on top as long as you can provide lighting.
Filters aren't required but can help keep the water a little cleaner. Like Astro mentioned a strong current is bad but there are ways to reduce current if you have the filter. Personally I like the Tetra Whisper 1-3 gallon. It is small, cheap, filters and aerates.
Cycling is not really required either, it makes it so you don't need to do water changes as often but can be difficult to start and maintain. It is really good for larger tanks and tanks with real plants.
Thanks once again! I am a really research, factual, and extremely process oriented person. So I guess I am looking for a manual or instructions. But Betta's are living creatures and I know that each one will probably react and or adjust to a given situation differently.
Astro- I agree with you about the fs it is a business so they need to $ell you something. This place was really set up more for saltwater anyway but they were helpful. He recommended a heater and a fluorescent bulb that they were currently out of and I live 2 1/2 hours away so I wasn't coming back for it. They did have a huge selection of food though. The only thing that I wanted to buy there was a plant. Their's just looked so much better than anything I have scene at those large pet stores. But I didn't because I am not sure how long I will be up here.
JKFish- Is the fluorescent lights to much for the plants that you mentioned? I am favoring the small anubias.
Malvolti- I am not sure why but I am determined to have a live plant.
Fluorescent lights will be fine, just go for small bulb/wattage size and you will be fine. (also, here's a place where you can look at or buy high quality lowlight plants http://www.shop.plantedaquariumscent...Plants_c17.htm -I've heard great things about that site ) A great small anubias species is the anubias nana, or the anubias nana petite. (btw, anubias, java moss, and java fern don't need to be buried, they can be attached to decor and eventually they'll grow on it :)
I also forgot to tell you about water lettuce. It's an awesome floating plant that'll do well wherever you put it, and it's great at keeping water cleaner than most plants. You can buy a whole bunch from a homedepot near you, though the ones they sell can be pretty big, so it's good to grab the smaller ones :)
Also be care if you do decide to go with a planted tank that you dont get any snail hitch-hikers. They are darn near impossiable to get rid of.
IMO i really think you should hold off on that planted tank until you get a better feel of takeing care of the betta and tank its self. but its totally up to you. I just think as a newbe it is a lot easier to learn one new thing then 2 difficult things at once
Astro, I'd have to disagree. Plants help with water quality, and there are some types that don't need any sort of fertilizer or even gravel (java fern, java moss, anubias, water lettuce, etc.) There is actually a member here (I forgot his name) who has his bettas in heated 2 gallon cookie jars full of java moss and other plants, and he rarely has to do water changes because the plants use the fish waste up before it needs be be converted to anything else.
If you choose the right few plants that suit your aquarium and don't expect anything too fancy from them other than a natural place for your betta to hide, sleep on, or swim near and a way to help keep your water cleaner, you shouldn't be dissappointed
I agree. The plants were a lot less bother than I thought they'd be as long as you stick with low-maintenance species. Plus, with the plants I have, the water is crystal clear and sparkling clean for my betta even if I don't have time to do one of my weekly water changes. :)
Malvolti- I am not sure why but I am determined to have a live plant.
Haha, don't worry, so am I. I just need to wait till I have the money for plants. Not that they are expensive, just that I'm a university student so I don't have a lot of spare money.
The main reason I want live plants are the same as stated above, keep the water cleaner between changes and bettas love them.
The only reason I suggested against them is once you get into plants you also need to learn about types of lighting and kelvins, substrates (soil vs sand vs gravel), whether you need to fertilize or not and I'm sure I'm leaving some things out. For a beginner this can seem like information overload and makes the task of keeping a fish seem daunting. If you think you want it then as they say "There's no time like the present".