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Old 06-18-2012, 12:18 AM   #1 
Bivrington
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New to fishy friends

Family and I recently went to the fish store to get my 4 year old her first fish. We were told a goldfish is the perfect first pet, and were sold this http://www.amazon.com/Marina-Style-G.../dp/B0035HBFWM 5 gallon kit, and told this was all we needed.

Next day, dead fish, crushed daughter.

After doing some research (shoulda done that first), I've come to the conclusion that a Betta fish, while still requiring some care, are much more forgiving than goldfish (who seem to keel over if looked at funny).

Onto the question- Is the kit I have linked above acceptable for a single Betta fish, or should I toss everything except the tank itself and get a different filter setup? I will of course be doing a full cleaning of the tank, rocks, and filtration system, as well as getting new filters. I will also be adding a heater and some live plants to keep him happy.

TYIA!
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Old 06-18-2012, 12:43 AM   #2 
bahamut285
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I am sorry for your loss, goldfish are very misunderstood fish. A 5 gallon is hardly an appropriate tank size for them as they excrete waste almost constantly. Most goldfish require large ponds or large tanks with incredible amounts of filtration. Even the small ones are just little poop machines.

5 gallons is perfect for a single betta fish with no other fishmates. I have the exact same tank and my fish love it. Turn the filter setting down to the lowest flow (when hanging on the tank I believe it's turning the knob to the left) for maximum comfort for your betta.

Bettas enjoy tall plants as they like to rest on the top of them for easy access to the surface.

Again I'm sorry for your loss and I hope your daughter feels better. On a lighter note: welcome to the forum, I hope you enjoy your stay and I am happy to help whenever I can.
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Old 06-18-2012, 01:00 AM   #3 
Bivrington
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Thanks! Should I go through the very involved cycling process, or will using the additives suffice? Also, what is the proper way to use the additives, the directions simply say "add x for x gallons."

Also, is it best to just buy 5 gallons of spring water ("spring" not "drinking" or "distilled", correct?) from the store for our new friend instead of using the dechlorination liquid?
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Old 06-18-2012, 01:37 AM   #4 
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I would recommend checking out the stickies available regarding cycling:

http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=47838
The one in my signature: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=98795

Regarding the additives vs properly cycling your tank, it's not known whether or not the chemicals work or they just fake the readings so it appears that your tank is completely cycled. Unless you mean dechlorinator, which is a MUST.

I recommend using your TAP WATER + DECHLORINATOR for everytime you change your water. While spring water is generally fine, distilled and drinking is a definite NO. Spring water should only be used as an emergency (i.e. your tap water is awful beyond repair or the water company does maintenance and it's all brown and yucky).
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Old 06-18-2012, 11:36 AM   #5 
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5 gallons is great for a betta! I hope you have much better luck with your pick. Make sure to pick a lively and healthy looking one when you bring one home. Give yourself and your daughter the best chance for a fish that stays with you a good long while!

Things you'll need:

*Tank - check! Hopefully its a covered tank - bettas can jump!
*Sounds like it has a filter, so lowest flow setting if adjustable and you might want to cover the intake with a aquarium sponge or something like pantyhose to allow water flow but help keep your betta from getting stuck. Those long fins make them ... less than strong swimmers, especially the big halfmoons.
***Heater - must have! 25-50 watt fully submersible with temp control is the best, but most of the preset ones in that wattage range will work and are less costly.
*Food. Usually a couple of different kinds to give them a variety - but that's not a neccessity.
*Water conditioner. Seachem Prime and API Stresscoat are the most common it seems (I use the API one)
*Decor will make your betta feel at home. A nice fluffy big leaved silk or real plant will probably give him a good place to lounge, and a "cave" which can be anything from a nice decoration with smooth edges to a cheapy craft mini-flowerpot to...well, I've seen people with coffee mugs

You can really go wild if you want I let my two kids pick out gravel and decorations. For instance, my daughter's betta has glow in the dark gravel, a purple dragon, a pink princess carriage, and lots of pretty glass and acrylic gems keeping him company.
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Old 06-19-2012, 02:58 PM   #6 
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Just got home with the kiddo's new friend! She chose a female crown-fin, and named it Dory.

Picked out a purple silk plant that almost matches Dory perfectly to add to the tank, as well as a basic heater and in-tank thermometer.

Fingers crossed that Dory doesnt have to "go back to the ocean with her fish friends because she is sick".....

We considered getting a leaf hammock, do Betta's really use and enjoy these?
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Old 06-19-2012, 03:15 PM   #7 
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Don't get it as they use metal in the leaf to keep it stiff, which will rust and cause problems. What is the temperature you have the tank at? I keep mine at 76 as I have shrimp, but 78-80 is perfect for bettas.

As your tank has not been cycled I would recommend doing 2 50% water changes a week. Make sure to unplug the heater and filter before doing a partial water change, then after taking out the water try to fill the bucket up with the same temperature of water, dechlorinate it, and slowly pour it back in.

Make sure you are feeding a specific betta pellet, normal fish flakes are more greens, while bettas need more meats. New Life Spectrum or Omega One pellets are best followed closely by Hikari. Good food and water changes are the most important things when keeping fish. A helpful hint is don't leave the tank light on for over 10 hours, it will cause algae.
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Old 06-19-2012, 03:30 PM   #8 
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We did get specific betta food, Aqueon is the brand we got (she seems to like them, also small pellet size since she is little). Is it better to use pellets, or should I get the freeze-dried worms?

We got a Betta water conditioner made by API to dechlorinate and give a good water environment. The girl at the pet store said to do 100% water changes once a week, is 2 50% changes a week better? And will I be doing 50% changes twice a week for the life of the fish?

Current tank temperature is 74 and rising, the heater we got is designed to keep the tank at a steady 78 degrees, only concern there is we have no water circulation in the tank (not using the filter), so I will have to monitor it and ensure the tank is staying warm. Would it be a good idea to use the filter system to simply circulate the water near the heater, or will the entire tank slowly heat up due to the automatic heater? Currently have the thermometer on the opposite end of the tank (length wise) from the heater so I do not get improper readings.

Could a 5 gallon tank support 2 females that get along?

Last edited by Bivrington; 06-19-2012 at 03:39 PM.
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Old 06-19-2012, 03:39 PM   #9 
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http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=104223
this is a link to make your own betta hammock, i made them for mine and all 6 use it, its a good deal, and its cheap! i wish you luck with your betta, Dory, and im sorry about your goldfish. but anyways, welcome to the forum, and i hope all goes great!
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Old 06-19-2012, 06:05 PM   #10 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bivrington View Post
We did get specific betta food, Aqueon is the brand we got (she seems to like them, also small pellet size since she is little). Is it better to use pellets, or should I get the freeze-dried worms?
Freeze dried worms should generally be given as treats rather than a staple diet

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bivrington View Post
We got a Betta water conditioner made by API to dechlorinate and give a good water environment. The girl at the pet store said to do 100% water changes once a week, is 2 50% changes a week better? And will I be doing 50% changes twice a week for the life of the fish?
It depends on if you decide to leave the filter in or not (as you stated below). If you put in the filter, you will initially have to cycle it which will take just about a month. After it is completely cycled, you will only have to do around 50% one to two times a week. If you DO NOT use your filter and don't cycle the tank, you will have to do 100% water changes (quite laborious in a 5 gallon).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bivrington View Post
Current tank temperature is 74 and rising, the heater we got is designed to keep the tank at a steady 78 degrees, only concern there is we have no water circulation in the tank (not using the filter), so I will have to monitor it and ensure the tank is staying warm. Would it be a good idea to use the filter system to simply circulate the water near the heater, or will the entire tank slowly heat up due to the automatic heater? Currently have the thermometer on the opposite end of the tank (length wise) from the heater so I do not get improper readings.
The tank will eventually even out the temperature with or without the filter. If you have a heater that is adjustable, usually they will have a light telling you whether it is currently heating the tank or off because the tank is heated to the set temperature.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bivrington View Post
Could a 5 gallon tank support 2 females that get along?
No. The minimum size for a sorority is 10 gallon with a minimum of 5 females, and is generally not recommended for beginner keepers. This is mainly because if there is too much aggression between the females, they MUST be separated.

I had a divided 5 gallon for two females and one of them jumped the divider at an unknown time of the day while I was at school. I returned home and they seemed to get along fine at first (no visible aggression or fin damage), but after a few minutes upon my return they started displaying aggression and nipping.
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