I've been reading several of the guides on this website and feel lucky to have found it!
I need some advice/suggestions on the care of my new aquarium. I purchased a 3.5 gallon filtered led light aquarium yesterday along with a beautiful blue and red crowntail male betta (no name picked out yet). My husband and I have six dogs and while we're pretty well educated as to the ways of the canine world it's been a long, long while since either of us have kept fish. We purchased a 5 pound bag of a natural looking black gravel as well as a live plant for the habitat just to get started. PetSmart was dead wrong about the water temp. though so I'm back tomorrow after work to pick up a heater as well as a water testing kit. So anything I need to know about picking out an appropriately sized/powered heater?
Also, the Pet Smart aquarium we purchased had a filter that proved to be much too strong. That's actually how I found this website I was looking for advice regarding filters. I found the thread/post on making a baffler for the filter and it worked like a charm (and in under 5 minutes too) so I can't say thanks enough for that!
A few questions..... I've seen a lot of posts on changing on water on small unfiltered tanks and I've seen quite a few posts for 5 gal. aquariums. How and how often and how much water should I change out? Also, I plan on purchasing a suction vacuum for cleaning before time for the first one to be done so will this impact the changing of the water?
Another question, I have the tank placed in an area that receives only indirect sunlight. The led lights in the hood can be set to change color. I am not overly fond of that and I prefer the setting that mixes all of the colors together which produces a clear look - the fish seems to like that one better too. Is LED ok for the betta or would another light source be better? Also, I prefer and would rather have live plants so any advice there regarding light source and how live aquatic plants do with LED lighting? And how long should I leave the lights on? I'm opting for leaving them off in the day while we're away at work (there is plenty of ambient, indirect sunlight) and then cutting them on when we get home. Should I leave them on at night as well (we usually leave a small table lamp - night light on in the room anyway)? Also, floating plants - any that would be ideal for the betta but that wouldn't be too easy for me to kill with my non-green thumb?
Also I saw where someone posted a question regarding green tea in the tank? Sounds interesting. She was asking about placing a tea bag in some water and then pouring the water in the tank or placing the bag directing in the tank. I have some fresh loose green tea (yerba mate) that I purchased from an herbal store online and green tea is not all created equal. So would a few leaves of this tea brewed and then added to the water be a good idea or a few leaves scattered in the tank and if so how much????
Also, any ideas/suggestions regarding salt, other preventative care, etc....? I saw where someone recommended using salt and others say that it can harm their kidneys. Also, what's the deal with the epsom salt? Is this used just to treat a sick fish or can it also be used preventatively.
Also, I have purchased a pellet all around food to use as his staple diet and I plan on buying a tub of the dried bloodworms as well for a treat. I saw on this site something about brine shrimp, etc... being used as food as well. What would be best? I've missed having an aquarium for several, several years now so I want to turn this poor little fish from the plastic cup into a real beauty. He has the tank to himself and I'm planning on keeping it this way but would a few shrimp or whatever in the bottom be beneficial in helping to remove waste material and keep his new pad healthy or can I just skip that???? Any help is much appreciated!