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Old 05-02-2012, 12:26 PM   #1 
CaseyA
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URGENT=>New betta, need info re: housing

Hi Everyone--

I've tried searching for answers but apparently my search terms aren't sufficiently specific.

Question 1:

My dear daughter purchased a betta for her mom (yes, I'm touched, she's 20 so it's a big deal) and last night I washed out the largest container I currently have to house the fish until I can get out and find something more suitable. I put a large vase in the dishwasher, then rinsed it under running water for about two minutes.

I have one of those octagonal, very small plastic containers of unknown origin. It looks like this.



The container was very dirty so I washed it thoroughly in hot soapy water and rinsed it thoroughly.

While reading the forum today I've learned that I can't use either container because both have been washed with soap.

Is there any way I can make the glass vase suitable for a short-term betta container? I hate to keep the little guy in the tiny little cup and I'm guessing the plastic container can't be adequately cleaned of all soap traces.

Question 2:

I am physically limited and can't maintain a large aquarium. I've seen some small (2-5 gallon) outfits but they have questionable reviews.

I am home all day and can change water as needed, so do I require a full aquarium setup with pumps and all? Or can I find a large (2-3 gallon) container and change the water as required to keep the fish healthy? I can draft my younger kids to help with a complete cleaning once a week but if I can avoid that, I'd like to. I thought that frequently changing water was bad for fish but based on what I've read I think I am wrong.

Can you recommend a setup suitable for a single betta and an ambulatory but physically limited owner?

Thanks in advance for all your assistance!
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:38 PM   #2 
BeckyFish97
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I'm not sure about the first one, I personally would say give it a really good scrub using warm water, or even put boiling water over it and let it soak in that for a while, the second one, you can get a lot of good 2-3gal fish tanks on the internet, which have built in filteration and some come with the additional option of a heater, I would say one of these would be best. Check reviews first because I just bought a fish tank that comes without instructions (I complained and amazon now have a technician working on some instructions for constructing the filteration system thank god!) make sure that it is a good quality tank that will last a long time and do the job properly!!!Good Luck!!!
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:16 PM   #3 
Olympia
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I would run the container under hot water for a long time. Then wash with vinegar and rinse again.

This is going to sound odd, but your best bet is actually a 5-10 gallon tank for easiest care.
I have a 2.5 gallon, and every week I have to carry it to the sink and rinse out all the gravel.
In a 5-10 gallon tank you could complete the nitrogen cycle, which would mean never having to empty more than 40% of the water inside. To me it sounds much easier, since you don't have to lift the tank. In a 5 gallon that's cycled you're only changing out about 2 gallons a week.
I'd look into these kits at walmart. A lot of people on here have the hawkeye, it's acrylic and light weight. The other one is glass so a bit heavier, but doesn't scratch as easy. Just remember you need a heater since these don't come with one.
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tetra-Aqua...ndingMethod=rr
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Hawkeye-5-...-Pets/14660258
The cycle takes about a month, I'd do it without the fish inside, he can stay in the vase a bit longer, maybe buy one of those small bowl heaters.
:)
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:43 PM   #4 
Oldfishlady
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Welcome to the forum and to the wonderful world of Betta keeping.....This is a great hobby and the Betta is a great species to keep-especially if you have physical limitation.....I too am physically limited...so I understand....

Depending on how deep you want to dive into Betta keeping-you have several options. This is a pretty easy species to keep and pretty forgiving as well.

With the two container you have-Both will work fine-just give them a good vinegar rinse to cut any soap residue-then tepid running water rinse.

As Olympia post-going the larger tank route is also an option and will work fine-Lots and lots of different ways to successfully keep this species-its finding what works for you.

IMO/E the long fin male can be kept in 1-2 gal unfiltered tank long term-provided that you maintain water quality.

You may or may not need a heater, however, its a good idea to have one on hand-your goal is to maintain a somewhat stable water temp in the 75-80F range. The gradual temp changes from day and night are generally tolerated by a healthy Betta.

You do need a thermometer to monitor both the tank temp and the temp of the replacement water used for water changes.

The only chemical additive needed is a good dechlorinator if you are on city water supply to neutralize chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals.

IMO/E- filters are optional for this species especially when kept in small containers. Often the water movement in the smaller tanks can be the cause of fin damage and stress with the long heavy fin males.

In 1-4gal unfiltered containers-water changes of twice weekly...1-50% water only and 1-100% to maintain water quality-provided that the Betta isn't overfed and uneaten food is removed within a reasonable time.

No need to carry the tank to clean-use a 1gal bucket and a plastic cup for the stir and dip method.

Also adding live plants can help with water quality-even in small tanks-and depending on number, species and growth state-plants can change water change needs as well.

Betta don't produce as much ammonia/byproducts as most think-most water quality issues are related to overfeeding and/or poor quality fish food that are the source of contamination/water quality issues.

Nutrition-good quality varied diet fed in small frequent meals are best.

Most important.....Enjoy.....
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:57 PM   #5 
Tikibirds
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Quote:
I am physically limited and can't maintain a large aquarium. I've seen some small (2-5 gallon) outfits but they have questionable reviews.

I am home all day and can change water as needed, so do I require a full aquarium setup with pumps and all? Or can I find a large (2-3 gallon) container and change the water as required to keep the fish healthy? I can draft my younger kids to help with a complete cleaning once a week but if I can avoid that, I'd like to. I thought that frequently changing water was bad for fish but based on what I've read I think I am wrong.

Can you recommend a setup suitable for a single betta and an ambulatory but physically limited owner?
How much can you lift? In the long run, a 5 gallon tank that has completed the nitrogen cycle would be less work for you as you only need to remove 50% of the water each week. However, before the cycle is completed you need to have an ammonia, nitrIte and nitrAte test kit. If you do a fish in cycle, you need to carefully monitor each one to make sure the levels stay low enough that it won't kill the fish and you would have to do a water change every time the levels get too high. it should take about a month for the cycle to complete. I did it this way for a divided 10 gallon with 3 bettas and a snail. You need a filter for the cycle to work.

If its under 5 gallons, you don't really need a filter as the cycle isn't stable enough to be established. You would then need to be doing 2 water changes a week - one 100% with gravel cleaning and one 50%.

For smaller tanks, I like the Petco kritter Keepers in the large size. Its about 3 gallons - plenty of room for decor and a heater. Lee's creiiter keepers are very similar.

or you can go with a complete set up like one of these:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Hawkeye-5-...ndingMethod=rr

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Aqua-Cultu...allon/17248151

the one above is good for ONE betta
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Old 05-03-2012, 08:56 AM   #6 
CaseyA
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Thank you so much Beckyfish97, Olympia, and Tikibirds! I thought there had to be a way to make the vase suitable despite being in the dishwasher. I used a half vinegar, half hot water rinse to clean it out well. I'm going to reply to Oldfishlady below with details of how it shook out and a couple of photos, but I wanted all of you to know how much I appreciate your help.
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:56 AM   #7 
CaseyA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
Welcome to the forum and to the wonderful world of Betta keeping.....This is a great hobby and the Betta is a great species to keep-especially if you have physical limitation.....I too am physically limited...so I understand....
Thank you for the welcome! I'm rapidly learning why these little critters become addictive. I've been watching mine all morning!

It's hard to explain the logistical problems associated with day to day activities to someone who doesn't have to deal with it. It's great to know there's someone here who gets it.

Quote:
Depending on how deep you want to dive into Betta keeping-you have several options. This is a pretty easy species to keep and pretty forgiving as well.
Yesterday I'd have said I just want to keep the fish my daughter purchased for me alive but now. . ..hmmmmmmm. . .. ;)

Quote:
With the two container you have-Both will work fine-just give them a good vinegar rinse to cut any soap residue-then tepid running water rinse.
I used the tiny little plastic for last night while the water was settling after using a vinegar rinse and it seems to have done the trick. Thank you so much everyone who suggested vinegar!

Quote:
As Olympia post-going the larger tank route is also an option and will work fine-Lots and lots of different ways to successfully keep this species-its finding what works for you.

IMO/E the long fin male can be kept in 1-2 gal unfiltered tank long term-provided that you maintain water quality.
I am really hesitant to get anything larger than two gallons. My lifting limit is a gallon of milk--anything much more than that and I'm eating pain medication like sweet tarts--so I have major reservations about the larger tanks.

I thought I recalled an old tank used for hamsters many years ago and I did find it. It's a ten gallon tank and I pulled it out to ponder its future use, but being brutally honest (and I hate having to do that when it comes to my limits!) I don't think I can handle anything that large. I'm still pondering however.

My daughter brought the fish last night, along with a one gallon mini setup. It is almost identical to this one but not exactly, it's a different brand.



I have some complaints about this tank, particularly that it doesn't provide a very good viewing experience but since my daughter took the time to find and purchase it, I'm going to use it, at least for a while.

The fish, whom I've named Jack (as in Bauer, chosen after he flared at my fingers all morning), seems to really like the tank. This morning Jack was trying to do some serious swimming in that tiny octagonal plastic container and since the water temperatures were equalized I decided to go ahead and put him in. So far so good!

I have a list of items to purchase, including a silk plant for the tank. I don't want to overdo it since square inches available for swimming seem more important than silk plants and similar decoration. Because the air pump produces a slight current, and I've read here that they like to have a nook to rest in, I cleaned (properly!) a small unused fake terra cotta pot about two inches in diameter and put it at the bottom of the tank. He was suspicious of it for a few hours, then gradually explored it while flaring for a while, then went inside. He hasn't stayed in it for any length of time but at least it's there for him.

I had to modify the air pump. It was pushing out a LOT of air and given the consensus that bettas prefer still water, I decided the flow was too high. The pump can't be adjusted to lower the output so I crimped the hose and used a twist tie to keep it crimped. It's now putting out a gentle flow of small bubbles that Jack appears to thoroughly enjoy.

Is this normal betta behavior? He goes into the bubbles and seems to swallow some, then floats to the top of the water while flexing his gills. He goes off to swim and explore, then returns to the bubbles.

He's also doing a lot of flaring at his reflection, at me, and sometimes at nothing at all. It's not constant but frequent. I'm guessing that indicates a happy betta?

I'm posting pictures. Forgive the photo quality, it's not easy getting a shot of him while not moving! He has a few hundred dollars of orchids to look at, BTW. ;) Orchids are my passion.

Quote:
You may or may not need a heater, however, its a good idea to have one on hand-your goal is to maintain a somewhat stable water temp in the 75-80F range. The gradual temp changes from day and night are generally tolerated by a healthy Betta.

You do need a thermometer to monitor both the tank temp and the temp of the replacement water used for water changes.

The only chemical additive needed is a good dechlorinator if you are on city water supply to neutralize chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals.
I'm getting a heater and thermometer this weekend. I checked water temperature using my cooking thermometer--I know, not terrible accurate--and it says the water temperature is about 75. I'm going to check it again after having the light on for a while. The light makes the aquarium lid quite warm so it ought to have some warming effect on the water over a time.

I am on well water so I don't have chlorine issues. Should I purchase a water conditioner anyway? My orchids do well on the well water, which is used about half the time. I did add a quarter teaspoon of Epsom salts to the aquarium water last night to give Jack a better shot. So far it seems to be helping.

When my daughter brought him to me last night, he was in three inches of water in a lidded cup maybe four inches in diameter. He was pretty lethargic so I added a half a cup of my aquarium water to the cup, let him adjust for an hour, and then moved him to the octagonal container for the night. As I said earlier, he was very active this morning so I guess he liked the water addition.

Quote:
IMO/E- filters are optional for this species especially when kept in small containers. Often the water movement in the smaller tanks can be the cause of fin damage and stress with the long heavy fin males.
Jack is, according to the container he came in, a Crowntail Betta. When I had the air pump going full bore his tail was being pushed around pretty good--that was my cue to reduce the air output. He definitely wasn't happy and when I crimped the air tube he immediately resumed swimming about.

Question: if the small tanks can't support the bacteria required for a nitrogen cycle, what's the point of having the filters? Do they just extend the time required between water changes? Are the really beneficial for the bettas in small tanks?

Another question: why should I keep the tank out of direct sun? I ask because right now the tank is getting an hour or so of filtered morning sun among the orchids and I'd like to keep it there. I'm guessing it's due to the risk of the water overheating but I can't see an hour or so of morning dappled sun causing that. What am I missing?

Quote:
In 1-4gal unfiltered containers-water changes of twice weekly...1-50% water only and 1-100% to maintain water quality-provided that the Betta isn't overfed and uneaten food is removed within a reasonable time.
Dumb noob question: how does one remove uneaten food and what is considered a reasonable time? I'm guessing removing it means cleaning the tank but I confess to a heap of ignorance in this arena.

Also, is changing smaller quantities of water more often the equivalent of a 50% change? Would changing a portion of water every other day be too hard on the fish? I thought changing water was hard on fish but after reading here I know I was wrong.

Quote:
No need to carry the tank to clean-use a 1gal bucket and a plastic cup for the stir and dip method.

Also adding live plants can help with water quality-even in small tanks-and depending on number, species and growth state-plants can change water change needs as well.
Can you recommend a small live plant species that would do well in this scenario? Also, how does having a live plant in the tank impact weekly 100% cleaning? Should the plant be kept in a net pot so it can be removed from the tank without damaging the roots?

Quote:
Betta don't produce as much ammonia/byproducts as most think-most water quality issues are related to overfeeding and/or poor quality fish food that are the source of contamination/water quality issues.

Nutrition-good quality varied diet fed in small frequent meals are best.
What do you feed yours? My daughter left the food she purchased in her car last night so I have no idea what she got. Also, are there any other foods good for them? For example, my dog loves citrus fruits and that's good for her in moderation. Are there similar non-processed foods good for the bettas?

Quote:
Most important.....Enjoy.....
Thank you! I've really enjoyed watching Jack this morning. Of course I'm watching closely for signs of illness or injury but also just because he's neat to watch. I wish I could capture the color on my camera. He's dark overall but has both red and blue iridescent hues under the lights. He's very active and curious and I'm really getting a kick out of him.

Thank you, Oldfishlady and everyone else who are so generous with your experience and expertise!
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Last edited by CaseyA; 05-03-2012 at 11:00 AM.
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:09 AM   #8 
CaseyA
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I just checked the water temperature with my cooling thermometer and it's up to 79. I'm going to keep an eye on it throughout the afternoon and if it goes up much farther I'll have to turn off the light.
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:20 AM   #9 
SweetNightmare
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My mom has that same tank. For a better viewing experience turn it so the flat front part is facing out. Hers was in a corner. It's actually a pretty good little tank, and it was on sale when she got it too. As far as the lamp heating up the water, she keeps her room cold, so overheating was never a problem. If it's really a problem you might want to look into propping it up off the tank and covering the tank with seran wrap or something to keep him inside.
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Old 05-03-2012, 11:30 AM   #10 
CaseyA
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Originally Posted by SweetNightmare View Post
My mom has that same tank. For a better viewing experience turn it so the flat front part is facing out. Hers was in a corner. It's actually a pretty good little tank, and it was on sale when she got it too. As far as the lamp heating up the water, she keeps her room cold, so overheating was never a problem. If it's really a problem you might want to look into propping it up off the tank and covering the tank with seran wrap or something to keep him inside.
Great idea, thanks! I turned it so that one of the flat sides is facing where I sit, and the long side of the triangle is skewed to the left and that's better than it was with the 90 degree point facing.

I have the tank among my orchids. The orchids I grow don't like it too cold, so I keep it around 75-78 in this part of the house during the day, and 73 at night (spring/summer temps). I might have to limit use of the light if it causes the water to heat too much.

How long did your mom's tank last?
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