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Old 05-03-2012, 12:40 PM   #11 
underdebate
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I can't answer everything but I can answer two of your questions! :)

Re: filters-- basically my rule of thumb is that if you have a tank that's 5 gallons or more, you'll want a filter, and if not, don't bother. Filters are used to help establish the nitrogen cycle in your tank (you can't really maintain one in a tank under 5 gallons), but in a less-than-5-gallon tank all they really do is remove the little bits of food and poop that might be floating around, and due to the size of the tank the filter current is often too strong for the betta and they'll get stressed. TL;DR, if the tank is under 5 gallons, filters usually do more harm than good.

Re: uneaten food-- go to the dollar store and buy a turkey baster. No, really. :) Let's say you've just changed your boy's water and he's decided to give you a present in the form of a huge poop-- just grab the turkey baster and suck it up. A reasonable amount of time to remove uneaten food would probably be about half an hour-- usually your boy will eat absolutely everything he's given, but sometimes he might miss one and it'll float to the bottom of the tank. Just suck 'er up.

Also, additionally: if you have an uncycled less-than-5-gallon, as mentioned, you'll want to do 1-50% and 1-100% water change a week. Personally, on my 50% water change day, I'll just scour the bottom of the tank looking for little poops and suck them up with the turkey baster. It's really great for keeping water quality up.

(I feed mine Hikari Betta Bio Gold pellets, which I know a lot of people recommend, and once or twice a week they'll get a treat of freeze-dried bloodworms, mysis, or daphnia.)

Also: your boy is beautiful, and welcome to the slightly crazy world of betta keeping!
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:41 PM   #12 
SpookyTooth
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I just wanted to stop by this topic and say hello :) I also have physical limitations and understand how frustrating it can be when trying to maintain yourself daily without over-doing it. I hope Jack proves to be a good move - and a theraputic one for you! I know my bettas have certainly been that. It's absolutely wonderful watching them explore their home and learn to associate you as their food source (I can't wait for him to start dancing for you!).

You have a beautiful fish and it was very thoughtful of your daughter to pick him out for you :) I wish you all the luck in the world with him!

Both of my aquariums are planted with low-light low-maintenance species. Some are easier to care for than others, though I do highly recommend anubias - anubias is not a plant that is buried in the substrate of your tank but can be attached to objects like driftwood or lava rock. It's great because this means you can simply lift the object out of the tank when cleaning. Bettas have also been known to rest on the leaves!

I don't think you would have too many problems keeping easy to grow species of stem plants in plant pots (stem plants feed from the water column and some are great for sucking up ammonia), though I'm not entirely sure. Oldfishlady is fantastic when it comes to anything natural and planted so I'm sure she can help you! :D

Good luck!
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:09 PM   #13 
SweetNightmare
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Originally Posted by CaseyA View Post
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?
It's still going, she just doesn't have a betta right now. (I might give her one for mother's day or something.) The air pump was a little loud, but I sure liked it, and my mom was glad she could get a larger betta tank for her budget, as it was on sale when we got it.
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:38 PM   #14 
CaseyA
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It's still going, she just doesn't have a betta right now. (I might give her one for mother's day or something.) The air pump was a little loud, but I sure liked it, and my mom was glad she could get a larger betta tank for her budget, as it was on sale when we got it.
My daughter didn't specify that Jack is a Mother's Day gift but I would've been happy with it. Like I said I'm learning the joys of bettas today, had I thought about it yesterday I might have said otherwise. ;)

I screwed the air pump tight where it separates in the middle and that settled the vibration noise a lot. I think the noise has been exacerbated by my crimping the hose, though.

Thanks again!
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Old 05-03-2012, 02:45 PM   #15 
CaseyA
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Originally Posted by underdebate View Post
I can't answer everything but I can answer two of your questions! :)
Thank you underdebate!

Quote:
Re: filters-- basically my rule of thumb is that if you have a tank that's 5 gallons or more, you'll want a filter, and if not, don't bother. Filters are used to help establish the nitrogen cycle in your tank (you can't really maintain one in a tank under 5 gallons), but in a less-than-5-gallon tank all they really do is remove the little bits of food and poop that might be floating around, and due to the size of the tank the filter current is often too strong for the betta and they'll get stressed. TL;DR, if the tank is under 5 gallons, filters usually do more harm than good.
That's what I was thinking after my reading but most of the better quality small tank kits have filters of one sort or another. I suppose I could just not use it if I were to get one of those kits but I hate to purchase something I know I'm not going to use.

Quote:
Re: uneaten food-- go to the dollar store and buy a turkey baster. No, really. :) Let's say you've just changed your boy's water and he's decided to give you a present in the form of a huge poop-- just grab the turkey baster and suck it up. A reasonable amount of time to remove uneaten food would probably be about half an hour-- usually your boy will eat absolutely everything he's given, but sometimes he might miss one and it'll float to the bottom of the tank. Just suck 'er up.
LOL That's a great idea! I never would've thought of that use for a turkey baster. I'll give it a try, thank you!

Quote:
Also, additionally: if you have an uncycled less-than-5-gallon, as mentioned, you'll want to do 1-50% and 1-100% water change a week. Personally, on my 50% water change day, I'll just scour the bottom of the tank looking for little poops and suck them up with the turkey baster. It's really great for keeping water quality up.
Every fish tank I've ever seen had tons of stuff on the bottom in the gravel. Are the bettas cleaner? Or is it just a matter of one fish in one gallon changed completely once a week?

Quote:
(I feed mine Hikari Betta Bio Gold pellets, which I know a lot of people recommend, and once or twice a week they'll get a treat of freeze-dried bloodworms, mysis, or daphnia.)
I saw those on the website of the store I purchase dog food and supplies at so at least I know where to go!

Quote:
Also: your boy is beautiful, and welcome to the slightly crazy world of betta keeping!
Thank you. :D I'm really, really enjoying him! I may be getting a bit paranoid though. Ph problems perhaps? Is that a first sign of illness? I gotta stop freaking and just chill!
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Old 05-03-2012, 03:02 PM   #16 
CaseyA
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Originally Posted by SpookyTooth View Post
I just wanted to stop by this topic and say hello :)
Hi SpookyTooth!

Quote:
I also have physical limitations and understand how frustrating it can be when trying to maintain yourself daily without over-doing it. I hope Jack proves to be a good move - and a theraputic one for you!
I'm sorry you have to deal with it as well, SpookyTooth, but it's nice knowing there are others out there who understand.

That old hamster tank I mentioned earlier? It's sitting there tempting me! "Oh it isn't that big, you could get the kids' help, so what if it takes all morning to move five gallons of water out of the tank?" LOL I'm sure you've heard that voice too. ;) Gotta resist!

Quote:
I know my bettas have certainly been that. It's absolutely wonderful watching them explore their home and learn to associate you as their food source (I can't wait for him to start dancing for you!).
Dancing? Really? Oh wow, that'll be cool! So far all Jack has done is flare at my hands like I'm coming to get him.

Quote:
You have a beautiful fish and it was very thoughtful of your daughter to pick him out for you :) I wish you all the luck in the world with him!
Thank you. I thought it was very sweet too, even when I was a bit ambivalent. She and I had some problems after she turned 18, and just recently she's decided I might not be so bad after all. ;) Jack is sort of a peace offering I think, or something along those lines. She's a sweet kid, no question, but you know how the 18-21 years are.

She called a little while ago to see how the fish is doing. Given how lethargic he was when she brought him to me last night I think she was worried he wouldn't make it. She got him at Walmart, she said they must've had a new shipment and he looked good at the store, but even she knows Walmart isn't a good source for animals.

I can't let him die. Other than I really like the little guy, his death would surely bring an unneeded angst in our newly resumed relationship.

Don't fear--if I have a question or concern about Jack I'll be posting posthaste!

Quote:
Both of my aquariums are planted with low-light low-maintenance species. Some are easier to care for than others, though I do highly recommend anubias - anubias is not a plant that is buried in the substrate of your tank but can be attached to objects like driftwood or lava rock. It's great because this means you can simply lift the object out of the tank when cleaning. Bettas have also been known to rest on the leaves!
Can I find that plant at a place like Petsmart? Or would I need to find an aquarium store?

Quote:
I don't think you would have too many problems keeping easy to grow species of stem plants in plant pots (stem plants feed from the water column and some are great for sucking up ammonia), though I'm not entirely sure. Oldfishlady is fantastic when it comes to anything natural and planted so I'm sure she can help you! :D

Good luck!
Thanks again SpookyTooth, for the welcome, understanding and the advice.
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Old 05-03-2012, 03:19 PM   #17 
Oldfishlady
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Food-I feed a lot of mosquito larva I collect on a daily basis using a brine shrimp net-rinse and feed-I do feed some processed foods-but not a lot on a regular basis-generally only when I am weaning young Betta off my homemade and live food before they go to market.

I don't buy Betta specific foods-I am a fan of Ocean Nutrition flake food and Hikari micro wafers/pellets to wean and sometimes supplement.

Other member can give you better ideas on Betta specific foods.

Sunlight-the limited diffused light along with the plants should be fine-just monitor the temp and excessive algae. I keep several of my smaller tank near windows without any issues.

Since I am more on the naturalist side of keeping-my view on some algae species in the tank is that....Its a good thing.....its normal and expected to have some algae and it can even be a sign of a healthy system, it can help make the tank look more natural by softening edges and it a place for microorganism to colonize and feed-this in turn will give the Betta extra nutrition as they enjoy grazing on this, however, since this is a closed system we have to keep it controlled by manual removal on a regular basis along with our water changes.

You thermometer you used should be fine and provide accurate temps-one of thermometer I like to use is a digital thermometer I found in the housewares dept intended for cooking....It works great for quick checks and I often will place it in a zip lock bag so that I can check temps at different depths-I do a lot of experiments and so I monitor at different levels-not something you have to do or anything.....

Plants-with rooted plants you don't want to disrupt the roots and plus active growing plants can function as filtration and help keep water safe as they use ammonia for food. Good rooted plants for small tank are naja grass and water wisteria both of these can be used rooted or floating-long list a good plants to use but these two are great in lower light tank, however, along with the diffused light you may not need any added light with a hood-don't remember if the tank you have has a hood with a light or not.....

If you add live plants you won't need to make any 100% water changes-provided that the plants are thriving.

I use well water too....I don't use any additives since I don't have chlorine/chloramine issues-I do have heavy metals but they have never caused any issue with any of the species of fish, inverts or plants I keep/reproduce-My water is really hard-I call it liquid rock....lol.....I don't have any issues keeping the long fin Betta, however, I do have a bit of trouble keeping CT-the rays tend to erode in my hard water and I can't afford an R/O unit and I can't rely on rainwater since we have frequent droughts.....so I don't keep them....

Betta will adjust to your pH and hardness and its not recommend to add chemical product to change it-Other than fin erosion with CT and Betta that are more sensitive-but with these issue it is more of a hard water issue and you would want to cut the well water with R/O, DI, rainwater-but I wouldn't so anything unless you start to see problems with fin erosion-then check the KH/GH-the sudden extreme chemistry changes can be deadly.

Filter or airstone are really not needed in the small tanks-often in the small tank it can cause fin damage...Kinda like the flag in the wind effect.....same thing can happen in too much space and the long heavy fin males......the more they use the fins the more tattered they can become....Not with all long fin Betta-but some are more delicate than others-genetics has a lot to do with it and overall health, nutrition, age etc...can all be factors.....
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Old 05-03-2012, 09:50 PM   #18 
Rosso1011
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Just wanted to add something to the betta specific foods. In addition to Hikari, two other good brands are New Life Spectrum (easily found at Petco), and Omega One Betta Buffet (found at Petco, Petsmart, and sometimes local pet stores).

It is optimal to try to feed a variety of food from time to time, whether alternating between pellet brands or feeding live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods. I personally give my boys a pellet staple and give them frozen brine shrimp from time to time. Poseidon also gets treats of freeze-dried bloodworms from time to time (a very small amount). Hopefully, someone can explain it better, but keep in mind that certain foods should be used more occasionally (especially freeze-dried treats, which can cause bloating in large amounts - so I've heard).

When getting the pellet of choice, also take the time to look at the labels. Learn a little bit about the food. Look for fish ingredients at the beginning of the label (bettas are insectivores and prefer "meatier" foods) and also look for protein content. Higher protein content is good.

Hope this helps out a little and good luck on your journey to betta keeping!
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:05 PM   #19 
CaseyA
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Originally Posted by Oldfishlady View Post
Food-I feed a lot of mosquito larva I collect on a daily basis using a brine shrimp net-rinse and feed-I do feed some processed foods-but not a lot on a regular basis-generally only when I am weaning young Betta off my homemade and live food before they go to market.

I don't buy Betta specific foods-I am a fan of Ocean Nutrition flake food and Hikari micro wafers/pellets to wean and sometimes supplement.

Other member can give you better ideas on Betta specific foods.

Sunlight-the limited diffused light along with the plants should be fine-just monitor the temp and excessive algae. I keep several of my smaller tank near windows without any issues.

Since I am more on the naturalist side of keeping-my view on some algae species in the tank is that....Its a good thing.....its normal and expected to have some algae and it can even be a sign of a healthy system, it can help make the tank look more natural by softening edges and it a place for microorganism to colonize and feed-this in turn will give the Betta extra nutrition as they enjoy grazing on this, however, since this is a closed system we have to keep it controlled by manual removal on a regular basis along with our water changes.

You thermometer you used should be fine and provide accurate temps-one of thermometer I like to use is a digital thermometer I found in the housewares dept intended for cooking....It works great for quick checks and I often will place it in a zip lock bag so that I can check temps at different depths-I do a lot of experiments and so I monitor at different levels-not something you have to do or anything.....

Plants-with rooted plants you don't want to disrupt the roots and plus active growing plants can function as filtration and help keep water safe as they use ammonia for food. Good rooted plants for small tank are naja grass and water wisteria both of these can be used rooted or floating-long list a good plants to use but these two are great in lower light tank, however, along with the diffused light you may not need any added light with a hood-don't remember if the tank you have has a hood with a light or not.....

If you add live plants you won't need to make any 100% water changes-provided that the plants are thriving.

I use well water too....I don't use any additives since I don't have chlorine/chloramine issues-I do have heavy metals but they have never caused any issue with any of the species of fish, inverts or plants I keep/reproduce-My water is really hard-I call it liquid rock....lol.....I don't have any issues keeping the long fin Betta, however, I do have a bit of trouble keeping CT-the rays tend to erode in my hard water and I can't afford an R/O unit and I can't rely on rainwater since we have frequent droughts.....so I don't keep them....

Betta will adjust to your pH and hardness and its not recommend to add chemical product to change it-Other than fin erosion with CT and Betta that are more sensitive-but with these issue it is more of a hard water issue and you would want to cut the well water with R/O, DI, rainwater-but I wouldn't so anything unless you start to see problems with fin erosion-then check the KH/GH-the sudden extreme chemistry changes can be deadly.

Filter or airstone are really not needed in the small tanks-often in the small tank it can cause fin damage...Kinda like the flag in the wind effect.....same thing can happen in too much space and the long heavy fin males......the more they use the fins the more tattered they can become....Not with all long fin Betta-but some are more delicate than others-genetics has a lot to do with it and overall health, nutrition, age etc...can all be factors.....
Thank you so much OldFishLady! Though I have to admit if I start farming mosquitos my husband will have me committed. ;) In the spirit of larvae, though, we always have gnats in the house in the summer--the darn things grow straight out of the soil and every time the door opens a hundred come in--and they like to fall into liquids. Perhaps Jack will get a few gnats as a treat?

Are naja grass and water wisteria standard in any pet store? The tank has a 7.5W standard bulb, so between that and the filtered morning light there should be enough to support one of those plants? Given that the tank isn't huge I'm going to have to select one. Which do you think would be best in this particular situation?

I found some small river rock to replace the large glass pieces I had to use last night when I had nothing else to work. They're soaking now.

Question
: since I'm going to be moving Jack out of his 1 gallon tank tomorrow to change substrate and figure out how to set the air line (and I am considering removing it altogether, but he sure seems to enjoy it and I hate to take it from him), should I use the low-dose Epsom salts again? I used 0.25 tsp in a gallon of water last night, and have set out more water with the same dosage. I've read some conflicting information about using aquarium versus Epsom salts, and whether to use salts at all, so any advice you can give on that front would be very much appreciated.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience and wisdom so freely with a rank amateur. Jack and I can't thank you enough.

Last edited by CaseyA; 05-03-2012 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 05-03-2012, 10:08 PM   #20 
CaseyA
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Originally Posted by Rosso1011 View Post
Just wanted to add something to the betta specific foods. In addition to Hikari, two other good brands are New Life Spectrum (easily found at Petco), and Omega One Betta Buffet (found at Petco, Petsmart, and sometimes local pet stores).

It is optimal to try to feed a variety of food from time to time, whether alternating between pellet brands or feeding live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods. I personally give my boys a pellet staple and give them frozen brine shrimp from time to time. Poseidon also gets treats of freeze-dried bloodworms from time to time (a very small amount). Hopefully, someone can explain it better, but keep in mind that certain foods should be used more occasionally (especially freeze-dried treats, which can cause bloating in large amounts - so I've heard).

When getting the pellet of choice, also take the time to look at the labels. Learn a little bit about the food. Look for fish ingredients at the beginning of the label (bettas are insectivores and prefer "meatier" foods) and also look for protein content. Higher protein content is good.

Hope this helps out a little and good luck on your journey to betta keeping!
Thank you Rosso! I started looking at betta nutritional requirements and then the ingredient labels on foods. Yikes! So many have wheat and gluten and soy (?!?!) as second or third ingredients. My dog is sensitive to wheat, corn and soy so I'm used to watching for those ingredients in her feed. I never would have guessed I'd have to watch for the same in fish food. Thanks again!
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