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Old 08-26-2012, 11:37 PM   #1 
Ramla's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: North Dakota
Question Newbie needs some tips

Alrighty so I am a bit of newbie in the fish world....I have had a few fish in the past when I was younger, but had a horrible knack in killing them without meaning to, so gave up to spare their lives. But now I am off at college and sadly was not able to bring my turtle with me and the only thing allowed in the dorms are fish.

Needless to say I am a little desperate for a pet since sadly all of mine are back at home

So I need tips and any wisdom all you devoted experts have in caring for a betta. I have already bought a tank, it is a 3 gallon tetra tank I got at walmart. It includes a small filter, a light that changes colors, as well as an air pump.
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I am looking for guidance on set up and preparing this tank for my new friend, there is a local petco here and walmart, but there is also a pretty good local pet shop in my hometown that I can go to when I go home every so often if need be.

I am also looking for tips on live plants...if you would advise this for a newbie or not? I was hoping to at least be able to get at least one to stick in there.

So any and all advice would be appreciated... Thanks
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:14 AM   #2 
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Welcome to Betta Keeping! These little guys are such awesome fish to have, and they are hardy!

• Starting the tank:
- Because you have a new tank, I wouldn't recommend getting fish RIGHT away, to set up your tank you are going to need:
• A strainer
• Hot water.
Now, open your gravel package and pour the gravel into a strainer, start the water and make sure it's hot, and start washing it, move it around using your hands. Or just let the water run for 5 - 10 minutes on the gravel. Make sure all the dust is out of the gravel. If you have any decorations do that with the decorations as well but only for a minute or two.

Once all the dust was removed from the decorations and gravel, simply rinse out the small tank and then put the gravel in.

• A safe home.
- When getting a betta, and a fish you are going to want to know that you need to remove the chlorine and other things from tap water to make it safe. What you need:
• A conditioner to make the water safe, I recommend "Aqua-Plus" it has a stress coat forumla in it, and it treats the water to keep your fish safe, also it tells you in the back about "protecting scales/fins" and much more depending on the amount you add.
Add 5mL from the cup it comes with from the bottle [the bottle clear lid is a measuring cup.] and pour 5mL in it.

• Letting the filter run:
- After cleaning the gravel, treating the water, cleaning the decorations you are going to want to let the new filter it comes with run for 24 hours. Make sure you run it for 24 hours. What you need:
• A filter.
• Patience.

• Cycling A Tank:
- I am not good at explaining this so here are two articles on how to cycle:
• Article 1 - [Go to the cycling section]
• Article 2 -

Do not add any fish when your tank is cycling, unless you are doing a fish cycle. Do not add fish when your tank hasn't been cycled, I have a 3 gallon tank and I didn't bother to cycle my tank since it was under 5 gallons and members here told me not to bother. But to keep YOUR aquarium safer, you can cycle. If you don't cycle you will need to be changing 50% or so of the water for 3 - 6 weeks. Things you will need:
• Testing kit
• Betta food if you are not doing a fish cycle, but a fishless cycle.

• Adding your first fish to an aquarium:
- When adding a betta to an aquarium you have to make sure you have the correct levels using the testing kit, or high PH and other things can kill your fish! What you need:
• A zip-lock bag if your fish came in a cup.
• A net
• A bowl
• Testing Kit
To add your fish to an aquarium, if he came in a cup get a smaller zip-lock bag put the cup in the corner and then slowly pour him in the corner, lock the bag and let him float, if he's in the corner he will have enough water. Or float the cup, watch they are good jumpers! Allow your betta to float 10 minutes in the water in ether a cup, or bag. After 10 minutes get a cup and pour some of the tank water in the bag after 15 minutes get a bowl, then put the bag in the bowl, then net your fish out the bag, or pour the cup into a net so your fish falls in, quickly yet gently put your fish in the tank! MAKE SURE YOU HAVE NO TANK LIGHTS ON WHEN DOING THIS!

• After Adding Him To Your Aquarium
- After adding your betta to the aquarium you can now put the lights on after 5 minutes of swimming around with the lights off. Look at his tummy if it's big, and round and sticks out do NOT feed him if he has a big tummy sticking out, just wait a day then feed him. If he isn't bloated, feed him 2 pellets, or whatever type of food you have. Remember there stomach is the size of there eye. What you need:
• Betta food, I recommend using "Nutrafin Betta Food"

Do not overfed your betta, if your betta is bloated do NOT feed (s)he, bettas will always be hungry so if this ever comes up "My betta looks hungry" don't let (s)he win, they will eat everything!

• Starting a community tank
- If you ever do this, remember bettas are nice fish but they can be aggressive here is a list you do NOT want your betta to live with.

• Goldfish - They like cold water! Bettas are tropical, they like WARM water.

• African Claw Frog - Most mistaken as an African Dwarf Frog, they have long claws in the front, and African Dwarf Frogs have webbing's in the front!

• Guppies - They CAN sometimes live with bettas, but they wont survive bettas will think they are another betta because they have LONG-FLOWING fins, and bright colors.

• And there are others.

• African Dwarf Frogs - 2 of them.
• Neon tetras 6 or MORE, they will fin-nip if you have less, they are schooling fish the more you have the better they ARE!
• Cories, they are catfish, Cory Catfish, 2 or more would be better.
• Apple Snails
• Ghost Shrimp
• Red Cherry Shrimp
• And much more, do not put bettas together if: You are breeding a male and female, DO THIS IF YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE. Only put females together if you have 4 or more, and doing a sorority tank! Do not put male bettas with other males! And do not put other fish if they can hurt your betta, not tropical, have bright colors and not long-flowing fins.

My little starter guide, hoped that helped you out :)

• A heater, maybe under 10 watts.
• A thermonter - to keep the correct temperature, I recommend digital.
• SILK plants, if you are not using real plants, do not BUY PLASTIC spikey plants, they will tear your bettas fins and hurt there body!
• At least one hiding spot, like a small broken smooth out edges pot, you can sometimes find these in Pet Stores.
• Betta food, pellets!, Sometimes flakes, and BLOODWORMS are ONLY for treats not everyday food.

Last edited by Jully; 08-27-2012 at 12:18 AM. Reason: :)
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:14 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: North Dakota
Yes this helps so much ^^
I've been gathering varies info from places but never really stumbled across any good info on the set up of a new tank.

And no I haven't gotten the fish yet and don't plan it for at least another week, figured I'd take the time to get the tank all set up first and then let the filter and conditioners work through the water before I put any fish in there.

And Patience shall be my ally this time! I don't want another dead fish on my hands

Also tips for live plants? The petco here has a few and personally if I can get one I would like to, though I am not sure how easy it is to establish them in a tank, what is required to establish a live plant in the tank and if there are issues when it comes to transporting the live plants, since I will need to move the whole tank come x-mas break.
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Old 08-27-2012, 01:59 PM   #4 
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Location: Haverhill, MA
For live plants, I love Amazon Sword, they have big leaves that bettas love to rest and sleep in, and play around in, some like Java fern, and Wisteria..I just recently added wisteria..not liking it yet..but love the Amazon..they root well, and last long..:)
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Old 08-27-2012, 02:08 PM   #5 
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Glad I helped, I haven't had plants for a long time so I can't give information for those :P But I do know they will make your tank look beautiful!
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Old 08-28-2012, 11:38 AM   #6 
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Location: Australia!
Can't beat java moss and java fern - they do okay without special lights, a tiny bit of natural light will do (but they won't grow very fast at all..).

Great beginner's guide up there. However, I wouldn't consider putting tankmates other than maybe some small shrimp in a 3 gallon.. I have a female betta and a few shrimp in a tank just over that size, and IMO that's about the limit of bioload the tank can handle.
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Old 08-28-2012, 02:10 PM   #7 
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Yeah I was figuring I'd just go with the betta for now..and then if I am able to get the right kind of live plants consider maybe some ghost shrimp or something, those would be fun ^^

But another question I guess..with this tank set up it includes an air pump, and in the set up guide it suggests buying a check valve to add to the air pump to avoid siphoning of water. Was curious if this is something I really should buy or if it is more of a ploy by the company to get you to buy more of their stuff?
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Old 08-28-2012, 02:15 PM   #8 
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Location: Florida
Originally Posted by Ramla View Post
Yeah I was figuring I'd just go with the betta for now..and then if I am able to get the right kind of live plants consider maybe some ghost shrimp or something, those would be fun ^^

But another question I guess..with this tank set up it includes an air pump, and in the set up guide it suggests buying a check valve to add to the air pump to avoid siphoning of water. Was curious if this is something I really should buy or if it is more of a ploy by the company to get you to buy more of their stuff?
To be honest I wouldn't use the air pump. Bettas prefer breathing at the surface anyways. (:
I have never heard of having to run a filter for 24 hours, if anything that sounds like useless pet store employee advice. You can add him right away as long as he is adjusted to the temperature and the gravel is rinsed well & not making the water cloudy.
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Old 08-28-2012, 02:38 PM   #9 
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Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Haven't seen anyone mention this (or I missed it), but definitely get an adjustable heater and tank thermometer - bettas prefer to live at temps of around 80 degrees.

I agree that the air pump is unnecessary for a betta, since they are surface breathers it's just not something you have to bother with. To make sure they have enough oxygen at the surface of the tank, always get tank hoods with air holes and leave at least 1 inch of space between the water line and the tank cover.

I was pleasantly surprised at how well my anubias plants from Petco did in my new 3 gal :) I also ordered some Java fern and it looks good so far too. Try to find the healthiest looking plants you can, and if you don't have a nutrient rich substrate in the tank your plants will need fertilizer and/or root tabs. I like Flourish by Seachem as a fertilizer. Since the plant clippings from Petco are small, you may need to use a zip tie or some other tie mechanism to anchor them to the bottom of the tank, so be prepared to get a little creative with that.
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Old 08-28-2012, 02:40 PM   #10 
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Knoxville, Tennessee
Yeah you do not add the air pump unless you just like it but your Betta doesn not need it, I would save it though you can use it along with some decorations that bubble and the check valve makes sure no water leaks out of the tube I believe.

About live plants I have and love Hornwort and Anacharis, both are plants for begginers and you can leave both floating. My Hornwort floats at the top of the water surface and my Betta loves to sleep in it and swim and rest in it. The Anacharis floats at the bottom as it is a stem plant but you can put just the tip of the end of stem in the gravel if you want to. You will need to QT them in some tank water you have saved from water changes for a week or more and check for snails or anything that might be hiding on them, I did and found pond snails on mine so I didnt want to just get rid on them and had and extra little half a gallon tank and put them in it using conditioned water and feed them algae wafers and fish food. I thought I had got all the snails off my plants but after a month and half a few are starting to pop up and Perseus ate a very small one but he is fine I suppose it okay for Betta to eat snails but you have to be careful and not feed them to much of everything as they are easy to bloat.

I feed Perseus New Life Spectrum Betta pellets he loves those and one of the best foods on the market for Bettas, he gets 3 in the morning and 3 at night. Good luck picking out your Betta they are awesome little guys I love mine so much ! Also Prime water conditioner is a great one to use !

Yes glad someone said need a heater with the correct wattage for your size tank which is 25 watts I believe and a something to check the temp of the water as well. Anywhere from 76 to 80 degrees is what your Bettas water temp should be. Also and these dont cost to much around 6 or 7 dollars is a gravel vac, they come in so handy and also you can use them for water changes.

Last edited by Perseusmom; 08-28-2012 at 02:44 PM.
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