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Old 10-08-2012, 10:43 PM   #1 
IndigoSpazz
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Dorm Fish Newbie

I hope this is the right section!


I am a college student who lives in the dorms. The rooms are tiny and donít have a lot of color, so my family decided that my room could use some brightening in the form of a fish. I ended up with a betta fish because the pet store employee said they are hardy, easy to care for, and do well by themselves in tanks. I ended up getting a Ďsuper delta dumbo bettaí according to the receipt.



As I have never owned a betta fish before, we followed the advice of the pet supply plus employee. Supplies that I was told was needed/okay for betta care:

-The Marina Betta Aquarium kit. (A 2 liter clear cube that is open on the top and has a Ďcupí portion in the middle for gravel. Came with gravel, decorative background, Nutrafin betta plus tap water conditioner, and nutrafin max betta color enhancing flakes)
-Marina 4Ē/10 cm mesh fish net
-Wardley betta food pellets
-Pro balance 7 day betta blocks with high quality pro-balance fish food
-distilled water ( the walmart Ďgreat valueí brand that is $0.99 per gallon)
-Marina betta 8w submersible heater for 2-5 liter aquariums



She told me that the water needed to be kept at room temperature (65*F-75*F), I needed to feed him two pellets every other day, and clean the whole tank every week (remove the fish, keep some of the old water for the bacteria, rinse the gravel, and wipe out the cube with a clean cloth). She told me I don't need to worry about live food since I don't have access to it.





I got him Saturday (10/6) evening, and he stayed in his little plastic cup until Sunday evening when I brought him to the dorm (the employee said this would cause less stress). The water where the dorm is has a lot of chlorine and I donít even drink the water. I used the distilled water, as advised to replace tap, to rinse off the gravel and wipe out the inside of the tank. I filled the cube with distilled water and added the gravel and the nutrafin conditioner. Since the water was warmer than his cup, I floated the cup in the cube until they were the same temperature, then poured him in with all the water from his cup. Then I fed him the two pellets. I hope I havenít made too many mistakes yet. . .



As it is a very tiny dorm room, I donít have a lot of space. After learning more online, I feel bad about the tank being small, but I donít have the room for a large tank.

I would really appreciate advice and some clarification on some questions I have.

-He always looks hungry. Is it better to stick to two pellets every other day or one pellet every day?
And what is fasting?
-I donít quite understand water cycling and the half water change suggestions. Since it is a small cube, should I just move him to separate container, keep 1/3 of the old water, wipe out the tank and rinse the gravel, add the conditioner, and then add him back in once every week? I don't have enough money to get him water bottle water since they are $2.50 a liter and I need two liters for his cube, and I am even grossed out by the tap water.

-I donít have a thermometer besides a window one I stuck on the outside of the tank, and the heater doesnít have a temperature gauge either. I donít want him to freeze, but I donít want to accidentally boil him either. The package says it will increase temperature by 5-14*F depending on size and temperature of the room. The thermometer reads 71*F now. Will he be freaked out if I only turn it on during the night or when I am in the room (might cause temperature fluctuations)? Or will the heater make it too hot for him since it is a small cube?

-I have heard they like to jump out of their bowls. He hasnít paid much attention to the top of his cube unless there is food. Since that is his air source and it is decent size, do I need to cover it so he doesnít jump out? What material can I use? I think it is about 2-by-2 inches.

-He likes to hide under the gravel and move it around. There is a little Ďcupí in the center for gravel and he has removed almost 80% of it and spread it around the cube. He also grabs his food pellets and shakes them before eating. He always has his fins spread out. Is this normal?

-How do the 7 day betta blocks work and how do I go back to his normal feeding after I use one?

-I know direct sunlight on him isn't good, so he is on the other side of the room away from the window. Does being in 'shade' a lot affect bettas?

Thank you!

(sorry for typing so much and any possible typos! Also, random note-I got a fish for Ďcolorí, and I ended up getting a white fish!)

Here are (hopefully) some pictures of the supplies, the tank, and him in the tank for further reference:

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Old 10-08-2012, 10:49 PM   #2 
Luimeril
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he's a beautiful boy. and they were almost right. :B

for one, that tank is too small. x: i'm not good with liters, but bettas need at least a gallon to be happiest. with your boy looking to be a delta or halfmoon, anything too small, in my own personal experience, will lead to tail biting. i don't keep my longer finned boys in anything smaller than my 1.5 gallon tetra brand cube tank.

2 pellets every other day.... nnnng. nah. i'd say 4 pellets daily, with at least one day of fasting. if he suffered from bloating issues(like one of mine did), every other day would be good, but if he doesn't, 4 daily is great.

also, your tank is bare. x: that WILL lead to tail biting. soft, silk plants will be great, and will keep him happy and busy.

i don't use blocks of any kind. i've heard they just cloud up the water. x:

and, he MAY jump. i'd not risk it and get some kind of cover for his tank. i have a tank that has no lid, and use one of those clear dividers you can buy at pet stores, cut to fit the top of the tank perfectly, as a lid.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:56 PM   #3 
Hassled
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Originally Posted by Luimeril View Post
and, he MAY jump. i'd not risk it and get some kind of cover for his tank. i have a tank that has no lid, and use one of those clear dividers you can buy at pet stores, cut to fit the top of the tank perfectly, as a lid.
I had my first experience with jumping today, one of my girls got too excited at feeding time and flew out of the tank trying to get the food. Luckily she is fine, just amazes me how they jump so easily.
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:24 PM   #4 
LizzyP
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+1 to Luimeril

Tank is too small, true. Something that small will need to be cleaned out every day. Ammonia builds up fast and can kill or permanently damage your little buddy. Petco (and I'm sure Petsmart, haven't really looked) have small 2.5 gallon tanks. Even a Kritter Keeper would work, they aren't that big.

Kritter Keeper: http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...ductId=2752730

I think the largest one is a little over 5 gallons and the medium sized one is about 3 gallons. Both of these are available from Petsmart online from $15.99 to $11.99. These come with a lid so you don't have to worry about your boy jumping out :)

You will want to use tap water, as gross as it may seem. Tap water has essential minerals that bottled water does not. Prime conditioner is a water conditioner that many members here use. The dosage is 1 drop per gallon, but you might want to add 2-3 drops per gallon since the water is high in chlorine. Hopefully someone else will come to back me up on this. You can never add too much conditioner so adding a little more won't hurt your betta.

I'm glad to see you did get a heater, but unfortunately those preset ones are not reliable :( They have been known to not heat at all, or fry your fish. A good heater is one that is adjustable so you can set the temperature. I have a Marineland heater in my 5.5 gallon and a Top Fin heater in my 3. Some people don't like the Top Fin heaters, but mine has never given me any problems. My Marineland heater I absolutely love. It's just about spot on, 1 degree +/-. I just suggest when you first buy a new heater you test it for about 24 hours so you know it won't malfunction or anything like that. You will also want a thermometer to monitor the temperature. Not a stick on one, but something you actually put inside of the tank. Those are pretty easy to find and pretty cheap.

Decorations. Decorations. Decorations. These are not just for the aesthetics of your tank. Your betta will want some privacy now and again. A log or pot to hide in, some plants (silk plants or live, not plastic!) to rest on or hide in, something for your betta to go when he gets stressed or whats to take a little snooze :)

Oh, and food. You will want to feed a betta food that is high in protein. At least something with the first 3 ingredients actual fish. Omega One Betta Buffet and New Life Spectrum are popular brands here on the forum. Freeze dried or frozen bloodworms or brine shrimp as TREATS (no more than 3 times per week) are also popular here.

I think I covered the basics, lol. Your boy is beautiful. I'm sure under the right conditions he will prove to be an absolute gem.
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:31 PM   #5 
sainthogan
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You need at least one gallon of water for every inch of fish. If you don't keep the water perfectly clean in a tank that size, your fish can get sick very easily. For something that size, you really need to clean the water out every other day to every 3 days, otherwise, he will get sick. I kept my first Betta in a one gallon tank after having him in a community tank. He had previously been in a larger community tank, and didn't appear happy in the small one, but I had to move him because he kept attacking my other tropical fish. He only lived about a year.
My Betta now started out in a half gallon tank, and I've upgraded her to a 5 gallon. She is prone to jumping, so I had to cover and tape every single hole. She jumped out of her tank through a half inch opening and spent about a 1/2 an hour out of water before I found her covered in dust and cobwebs. She is fine amazingly.
I think that since yours started out in something so small, a one gallon tank would be fine for yours. No decorations or plants also will lead to boredom and unhappiness. They also like places to hide, plants will help with that, or you can get a small cave like thing for the bottom of the tank. But please, please get him a bigger tank, you both will be happier in the long run, and make sure it has a lid, if there are any holes, cover them. Just because he hasn't jumped yet, doesn't mean he won't. Most often they jump in search of food or trying to get out of water conditions (which may happen quite often in the small tank you have now.)
In addition to the supplies you have already, I would purchase medication such as quick cure for ick and velvet. It's better to be safe and have the medication on hand in case of an illness, instead of waiting until he gets sick and possibly not being able to help him in time. Trust me, I know, I almost lost my girl on account of my naivety.
Good luck.

Last edited by sainthogan; 10-08-2012 at 11:33 PM. Reason: misspelling, and grammar mistakes
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:41 PM   #6 
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Another thing, distilled water lacks the minerals and nutrients your fish needs. Use the regular tap water and your conditioner to remove the chlorine (that's what it's for). If you still feel uncomfortable about the water, leave it uncovered for one day with the conditioner in it. This will allow the chlorine to also evaporate into the air and it will allow the water to stabilize at room temperature so the water temperature change isn't too drastic for your fish.
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:44 PM   #7 
ao
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I really recommend a 1 gallon tank..being a college student I know what small spaces are like... and trust me, there are certainly ways to fit a 1 gallon tank in. even a 2.5 isnt really that big.

if you really must use the .5 gallon container, you need daily 100% water changes...
you need a heater such as the hagen elite 25w which you can find on amazon.
it should fit diagonally in that tank. make sure it remains submerged below the minimum water line.

Cover the top of your container...if not for the sake of jumping, for the sake of humidity. betta fish do not like to take in a breath of chilly dry air
you will not suffocate him. the plastic box he lives in has holes on the sides that will allow oxygen in.

Wardley is a terrible brand of betta food. feed him two pellets daily. cut each pellet in half to aid in consumption..

with your daily water changes, you are going to run out of nutrafin aqua plus very soon. you need to get a water conditioner (such as prime) which uses 2 drops/ gallon rather than a capful....

The above guidelines have little room for error. daily water changes *must* be petformed....
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Old 10-09-2012, 08:38 AM   #8 
OrangeAugust
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wow, that is some really bad advice from the pet store.
It was probably all covered, but you definitely need a heater! Normal room temperature is too cold for a betta! They need temps of 76-82 degrees. And yeah, cover your tank! My female betta jumped out of her tank (a really small space in the hood where the heater goes) when I wasn't home, so I wasn't able to save her. She had never shown jumping behavior before, so I learned how important it is to always keep your tank covered.
I use one of those Marina preset heaters for my 1 gallon tank. So far it works fine, but make sure you get a thermometer so that you will know right away if the heater malfunctions.

Last edited by OrangeAugust; 10-09-2012 at 08:43 AM.
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:30 AM   #9 
IndigoSpazz
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One of my friends gave me their ~2 gallon kritter keeper with glass bead gravel yesterday (it has a lid, and is about 8 inches long, 5 inches high, and 4.5 inches wide). The only problem is she had a bad case of ‘Argulus’ wipe out all of the fish she had in it about 2 weeks ago. Since then it has been sitting empty in her dorm room. I was told that soap and disinfectants shouldn’t be used on fish stuff, so how should I clean it out? Would using boiling or ice water with table salt clean it?


The nearest store that carries pet supplies is a 45 minute drive from the dorm (It’s a walmart), and I don’t have a car. The soonest I can get to the walmart would be this Saturday.


So I need to get. . .
-Decorations (Soft plants/something to hide in)
-Tap water conditioner
-Thermometer for inside the tank
-ick medicine

Are there any preferable walmart brands of this stuff that aren’t crazy expensive and that work?


I thought 100% changes were bad because they got rid of the bacteria and useful stuff in the tank? I am planning on cleaning out the tank tonight and I was going to keep about 1/3 of the cube's original water. . .



I also have a school event in which I won't be in the room for about 4 days. I was going to clean the tank and drop in one of those 7 day food tablet things before I left, but I won't be able to monitor the water temperature and I don't want him to fry, so I was going to leave the heater out. Will he be okay for those 4 days? I don't have anybody who would be able to check on him for me during that weekend. . .
Thanks for the betta help!
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Old 10-09-2012, 10:36 AM   #10 
OrangeAugust
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Originally Posted by IndigoSpazz View Post

I thought 100% changes were bad because they got rid of the bacteria and useful stuff in the tank? I am planning on cleaning out the tank tonight and I was going to keep about 1/3 of the cube's original water. . .
That's only if you have a filter and cycle your tank. If you don't cycle your tank there will be no beneficial bacteria to eat up the ammonia and it will build up.

Quote:
I also have a school event in which I won't be in the room for about 4 days. I was going to clean the tank and drop in one of those 7 day food tablet things before I left, but I won't be able to monitor the water temperature and I don't want him to fry, so I was going to leave the heater out. Will he be okay for those 4 days? I don't have anybody who would be able to check on him for me during that weekend. . .
Thanks for the betta help!
I don't think the food tablet thing is a good idea. It will add a lot of ammonia to the water and you won't be there to change it.
Betta fish can go without food for up to a week. I went on vacation once for 4 days and didn't feed my fish and he was fine.
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