We got a male betta for my 8-year old daughterís first Ďmy own petí just over a week ago and Iíve become strangely betta obsessed. I've read perhaps too many forum posts and gotten myself confused. Thanks so much in advance for your comments and advice! !
--He's in a 5.5 gallon filtered tank with plastic/fabric plants (we did the make-your-own filter baffle
--We did add the bacterial supplement drops when we started up the tank
--We had the water tested (Petsmart) day 6 after fish in, and it looked good, no nitrites or ammonia (or nitrates, interestingly)
--feeding the Hikari betta pellets, 5/day once in the morning
--My primary concern with this guy is **life span**. Iíd like a 3 good years of caretaking the same pet for my daughter.
Qís (Maybe I should put these questions in separate postsÖ)
1. Water changes:
Frequency-> our filtered 5.5 gallon tank, I see 50% once a week
, but most people tell me 50% every two weeks. Think impatient 8 year old kid in busy multi-kid and multi-pet household-> in a 5.5g filtered tank with only one (small) betta, is 50% every two weeks sufficient?
--Start off-> Iíve read not to change the water for the first month so the N cycle can establish. Iíve read to do it every couple days for the first month while the N cycle establishes. When should we start changes?
--Gravel vacuum with cleaning-> Iíve read to not vacuum the gravel except monthly as it disrupts N cycle bacteria. Iíve ready to vacuum the substrate with every water change so debris doesnít interfere w N cycle bacteria/increase ammonia levels. Should we vacuum every two weeks?
--Filter cartridge changes. Wait until falling apart
and just swish it in the removed-for-cleaning aquarium water monthly? Or every 6-8 weeks? Doesnít it matter for his life span if the carbon stops Ďworkingí and cleaning the water?
2. Glass surfing. I was expecting a somewhat mellow fish. NOT. This guy has no interest in plants, hiding, resting, hanging out. He glass surfs constantly since day 1 (weíre on day 9). Could he be perfectly happy and just constantly doing that???
--I thought perhaps he was seeing his reflection, so I have experimented with the LED aquarium light to see if surfing changes with his light and/or the room light on/off. Nope.
-- I thought perhaps he needed a bushier plant environment so we bought an additional (third, fabric) plant. Zero interest.
--I thought perhaps it was water quality, so took the water to be tested. Looked great. If he needs more than 5.5 gallon tank, I just donít have the room. Could he need a smaller tank?
--He does voluntarily go near where the filtered water comes out of the filter baffle, and swims fine, so I donít think the current is too strong.
3. Bubble nest. Iíd love for my daughter to experience this behavior. Is it even possible for him to make/sustain one in a filtered tank? What can I float on top thatís safe
to encourage it?
4. Whatís a decent, not-too-expensive heater for a 5.5 gallon tank? Iíve seen 25 watts and 50 watts recommended.