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Old 08-15-2012, 11:17 PM   #1 
meia pipa
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Join Date: Aug 2012
New Betta keeper : How am I doing?

So I'm very new here, and after reading up on a few threads, I now feel like I'm torturing my poor little Betta.

For my birthday, my friends decided I needed a pet and gave me a Betta in a 2L (1/2g) bowl, a Marina Betta Kit 2L cube. Unfortunately, he didn't last long. Granted, it was a combination of stressful moving (one friend thought it was a good idea to take him home on a half hour bus ride, then keep him in the cup the store gave them for two or three days until they gave it to me...), being new to Bettas, and maybe a prophetic name. My friends named him Sushi.

But now I have another Betta who's stuck around for a few months now, despite me naming him Teriyaki. I believe he is a half-moon (I forgot to really look into that and ended up paying for it. Literally, I paid for it. I was aiming to get the $10 fish and ended up with a $20 fish)

He's got one plant in the tank, which I occasionally switch out for another one for variety. I was told at the pet store (Big Al's Aquarium Services) that Bettas like variety. And I give him some time with the mirror for a few minutes every day. I do half-water changes once a week and condition the water as stated both in the instructions and on the bottle.

I don't have a heater. I got the bowl in spring and it's summer now, so it's not like it gets that cold. Plus we live in Canada, so it really doesn't get ridiculously warm.

Reading other threads, most people seem to keep their Bettas in bigger tanks with all sorts of fancy heaters and whatnot... While I'm no fish expert, I still don't want my little guy to suffer. So I'm wondering from the Betta-savvy whether or not you would think my fish is being tortured or not. Be honest. And if so, what can I do to help him? I like this little guy and want what's best for him. I felt so bad after the last one died I couldn't even flush him myself (instead, my sister dumped him and laughed maniacally as she flushed the toilet. Yeah, I know, talk about insensitive.)

Although, I must say, he seems happy enough. He swims around and makes bubbles along the edges (which I have read to be a good thing).

Sorry for the long post, but reading all the threads have made me feel bad for the little guy and doubt my fish-keeping abilities. Do I really need a bigger tank and better equipment?

Thanks for reading all of this!
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Old 08-15-2012, 11:28 PM   #2 
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Location: Australia!
Heaters aren't really "fancy". They're pretty standard hardware for tropical fish - and don't cost a lot.

I keep my bettas in a variety of tanks, from 1.5 gallon up to somewhere around 25-30 gallons. In my experience, a healthy betta does best in over 2.5 gallons, having at least a little room to swim like a normal fish. It's also less work - daily water changes can be hard to keep up if you're busy.

Some will say "omg, you MUST have 10 gallons!" - my big aggressive plakat would clearly suffer in less, and some fish DO need that much water to be happy in.

Others are happy enough in smaller containers. I do think your tank is really too small for any fish, however. It's just a very small amount of water. It also doesn't leave you much room to skip the necessary daily or every-other-day water changes needed for a tank that size, in order to avoid ammonia poisoning.

A 2 - 2.5 gallon tank and heater will probably set you back around $20-25 if you shop around. It's not a lot of money. I get that sometimes $ is tight, though, so if you cannot upgrade at all, at least consider changing your water more often? Fish is swimming in his own pee, at once a week change in 2L.

Last edited by Aus; 08-15-2012 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 08-15-2012, 11:30 PM   #3 
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Join Date: May 2012
Welcome to the forum!

I am not going to say you are doing anything wrong, but here are the basics:

-Bettas need at least a 2.5 or 5 gallon tank, preferably filtered.

-Bettas NEED a heater, this is a must-must! Bettas come from Thailand, where their water is kept at a constant 80 degrees Fahrenheit. In cooler water (70-76 degrees) bettas can become lethargic, unhappy, and their immune systems can weaken, causing them to be more subccebtible to diseae.

-they need a carnivourus diet, preferably one that does not contain wheat, gluten or any other fillers. Pellets, IMO are best.

-In a 5 gallon tank, the water needs to be changed twice a week, one time 50%, the other 100% with a gravel vacuum.

-Bubblenests, which bettas blow when they are ready for breeding, are not usually a sign of happiness or healthiness, jut that they are ready to spawn.

-Bettas need ALOT of foliage to feel safe. Without it, they will feel exposed and become stressed.

Hope i helped at least a little!

Good Luck!
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Old 08-15-2012, 11:32 PM   #4 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Virginia
Needs meaty food, surface access, at least 2.5 gallon tank heater, temp will change too much, hiding places, if you get a 2.5 gallon tank get a floating Betta log my Betta in his 10 gallon loves it add some live food like daphnia flightless fruit flies.
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Old 08-15-2012, 11:39 PM   #5 
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Location: MD
Yes, a .5 gallon is PRETTY small for Bettas. IMO they should be in at LEAST 1 gallon tank. They produce ammonia which can kill them so you need to do water changes. 1 100% and 1 50% per week is ideal for the changes.

The man at the pet store meant food for the variety, not the decor.
What are you feeding him exactly?

A heater is HIGHLY recommended as Bettas are tropical fish and THRIVE in warm temperatures such as 78F-80F. Bettas get cold and easily vulnerable to sickness in low temperatures such as 72F. I recommend a Hydor THEO heater as it's adjustable, works, and me and Lebron are happy customers. :) We don't really have "Fancy" heaters, none of them are exactly.

The bubblenest doesn't mean he's happy, it's a total myth, sorry. It just means the Betta is ready to breed and is protecting territory.
Sorry about your past Betta, and I'm sorry I'm mad at your sister. >:( Could you at least bury it?

IMO, yes. You need to take better care if it. If money is an issue, you can get a "Kritter Keeper" XL from Petsmart. It's cheap, big, and sturdy. :)
Don't feel bad, you have good intentions to care more about your fish. Welcome to the forum BTW.
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Old 08-15-2012, 11:45 PM   #6 
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Location: Fremont, CA
First off, a 5 gallon only requires one water change a week if it is indeed filtered, 50%... A 100% means it will never cycle.

2.5 is preferable, though if you keep up on water changes a 1 gallon can be used, but again a 2.5 is preferable, plus a 2.5 gallon takes up very little space.

A heater is a must, preset heaters are easy to use, but some don't keep the temperature where I want it, any temperature from 76-86 is fine, but not in rapid swings, 78 is usually best (Most preset heaters heat around 78) I keep my sorority, 15 gallons, at 76-78 I have not had one betta have a disease, they are all happy.

For food pellets are the easiest. I prefer New Life Spectrum Betta Pellets or Omega One Pellets, the first ingredient should be some type of meat or fish, like fish meal or something.

These are just the basics, there is much more when it comes to bettas, but these should ensure proper health.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:08 AM   #7 
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Location: Austin, TX
hello and welcome to the forum! first off i want to say, that you are not torturing or abusing your betta. i do not believe that you could do such a thing without knowing it. your tank that you have him in is pretty small, and you should invest in a heater as soon as you can get one, a 2.5 gallon bowl from walmart would cost about 10 dollars, and a small heater would cost about 15. Not too expensive but it would make your betta much happier :) dont feel bad about keeping him in a small unheated container. i promise no one could do worse than what i did to mine when i had my first one..

I got him as a present from one of my friends, a simple red veiltail. I remember i kept him in in a plastic cup. a cup about the same size he was in at the petstore, it had gravel, and somehow i managed to put a plastic plant in it. i kept him in the basement, and i lived in upstate new york where the temperature gets crazy in the winter. sometimes i would go downstairs and there would be a layer of ice on the surface of his water, i dont recall ever doing a single water change, i dont even really remember feeding him, and when i did, it was goldfish flakes. the guy lived for 2 years, and honestly, i wish i never had gotten him in the first place. i was about 5 when this happened and i didnt know any better.
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Old 08-16-2012, 12:16 AM   #8 
meia pipa
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Thanks to all of you for your advice! I guess I'll be going to the nearby pet stores to look at new tanks for my little guy. As happy as he's seemed, I guess he does need some extra wiggle room.

For food, I have the packet that came with the box that I'm still using. Nutrafin max with freeze dried bloodworms. Once that's done, I have a little can (that likes to explode whenever I open it) of Tetra BettaMin.

Bonus question: So I've seen mixed suggestions on how much and how often one should feed a Betta. I've been feeding him a few flakes and the occasional bloodworm (If it comes out when I grab the flakes) once a day. I heard that 3 times a day was too much, but on the packet it says to feed it two-three times daily.

But other than that, thanks again for all your advice! Maybe I'll even post a picture or two of Teriyaki sometime :)
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Old 08-16-2012, 01:17 AM   #9 
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I have Freddy in a 3 gal bowl with a bubble filter I try to change the water one a week about 50% shake out the filter to clean any crud off It is a planted tank and he love it the heater I have gets the tank too hot so it's off for the summer. I don't know what you budget is but you can be up and running for under $50 tank filter chemicals and such. this one seem popular and he will never grow out of it.

Petco Bookshelf Freshwater Fish Aquarium
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Old 08-16-2012, 02:36 AM   #10 
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Depends on how much you feed, really - I feed twice a day, 2-4 pellets depending on the fish.. I have a range of sizes and some wilds that get a lot of live food as well as smaller pellets as they're still pretty young.. If yours is an average little betta, probably two 2x a day is fine. Moving a pellet to lunchtime won't kill him, however. Small, frequent meals are best for most living things anyway.
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