Newbie Betta owner here. After some consideration, I sort of spontaneously bought a betta from Petsmart today. I have a LOT of questions.
Since I did this kind of spontaneously, I don't have all the stuff I need. Is it ok if I don't have some stuff yet? I don't have a heater or thermometer, but I live in Texas, and as long as I keep my apartment fairly warm, I won't have to worry about temperature for a bit. I bought some plant seeds, but they haven't grown yet, so the little guy is a bit exposed. Will he be okay temporarily? I was thinking I'd get him a zoo med leaf hammock, but I heard that that was bad?
Finally, I filled his tank up half with betta water and half with tap water, then treated the whole thing with "Kordon Betta Tabs." Is that good, or am I going to kill him? Do I have to treat my own water, or can I just keep buying betta water. They have gallons of the stuff on sale, and my little buddy is in a gallon tank.
Am I doing wrong? Am I abusing my little buddy? I just want Henry to be happy!
Attached are some pics of his setup and of the little guy.
Congrats on your new buddy and welcome to the forum.
1. I would get a thermometer you want to keep his water temperature between 74 - 80 degrees.
2. Until the plants grow you can always but some silk plants to add to his tank so he has something to hide behind for privacy and help him adapt to his new surroundings. ALWAYS do the silk test and check all decorations for sharp edges. Rub any tank objects up against a piece of silk or nylon if it pulls or tears do not add it into your tank. If it pulls it could damage Henry's fins. I had the hammock its ok some use it some don't. If you get one make sure its all plastic with no metal parts that will rust.
3. The betta tablets and betta water are ok but will get very costly. I recommend getting Prime. You will only need to add 2 drops per gallon so it will last forever. Plus it breaks down ammonia and helps keep your ph levels under control quickly. I also recommend keeping an empty 1 gallon water container and premix it 24 hours before you do your water changes so the water is room temperature.
4. Always acclimate your fish after doing water changes. Let Henry float in his cup in the new tank water for about 45 minutes. This will help him adapt to the new water temperature without going into shock.
5. If you don't have a filter you should be prepared to do water changes at 100% at least 3 times a week. This will help prevent Henry from getting ammonia poisoning.
If you have further questions just ask. The people on this site are always ready to offer advice.
Hey there bettabayley, welcome to the forum and fabulous world of betta keeping!
Kenny G covered most of the basics, definitely a +1 to their advice.
Don't worry too too much about not having absolutely everything you need at this exact moment.....with all the myths and misconceptions surrounding bettas and their proper care, it is a very common and understandable mistake for a newbie to come home with the bare bare minimum(that is, a fish and a place to fill with water to put it xD). But thats what this forum is for; to help debunk the myths and educate new keepers so that they can have a great betta-keeping experience with a healthy little guy for years to come. :)
So, with that said, there are some things you are going to want to pick up on your next run to the petstore....
You do really want a thermometer to keep an eye on the temperature. The issue with not having a heater, even if you live in a warm place, is not always so much getting the temp in the proper range but KEEPING it in that range and preventing fluctuations seeing as room temp usually fluctuates throughout the day and drops at night. Unless you have a room that you can keep at a stable 82-86 degrees F(water temp is generally a few degrees cooler then room temp) 24-7 without any fluctuations its best to invest in an heater. Look for something adjustable with a thermostat and fully submersible, something around 25 watts should work just fine.
As Kenny G said, those betta tabs and betta water just get spendy over time.....your tap water treated with a couple drops of Prime water conditioner is all you really need. ;)
Those 'seeds' look like those plant bulbs they sell at the pet store correct? What you'll want to do with them is remove them and place them in a separate container with some water(possibly a little gravel, can't remember)and place them in a sunny spot by a window or something. Some will sprout and some won't. Once you've sorted out which ones are growing and have a couple sprouting and growing, you can re-add them into your tank. ;)
In the meantime, I highly suggest picking up a few silk plants(one should at least be tall enough to nearly reach the top of the water)and a little cave of some sort for your guy. Bettas come from a naturally very heavily planted environment, they feel much more secure with things to hide in and swim around. Bettas are also very intelligent and curious creatures, much more so then many give them credit for or expect, and the plants/cave will give them something to swim around and keep them entertained.
For a 1 gallon tank, you'll need to make water changes a minimum of 2 50%(with a gravel vacuum sucking up all the poo and whatnot) and 1 100%(that is, taking out your fish and ALL the water)per week in order to maintain proper water quality and keep the harmful chemical Ammonia your fish naturally secretes from building up and harming your little guy.
After your 100% change, as Kenny G said, you'll ALWAYS want to acclimate your fish just like you did when you first brought him home...float this cup/container for about half an hour, pour out some of the old water, add in a little of the fresh water, let him sit for another 15 minutes or so, repeat, and then gently pour him into the tank.
Now, though this isn't something you need RIGHT away provided you can heat the tank you have and are prepared to preform the necessary water changes, I personally would suggest that you plan an upgrade of 2.5+ gallons at some point in the future. While a 1 gallon tank is alright provided it is kept up with, bettas are active little fish and really do do better in slightly larger environments with more swimming room.
Lets see.....I think thats about it. xD Best of luck with your new companion, and feel free to ask any other questions that might come to mind!
As one Texan to another you need a heater. It gets cold at night I know because my tank before I got my new heater dropped bellow 74 degrees at night which can be fatal to your fish. Unless you keep your heat on all night or make sure your house is constantly at least 80+ degrees you need a heater. Room temp even in Texas just isn't good enough and I would know because I live here myself and this is what I have experienced.
I also recommend a bigger tank. The one you have was my first tank, but now it is exclusively used as a hospital tank for when my fish get sick. It's hard to sustain temperatures in a tank that small and bettas like quite a bit of space.
I highly recommend these tank kits, all you need in addition to one of these is a heater, Prime, sand/gravel, a hiding spot (you can use tiny terra cotta pots, actual fish decorations, coffee mugs, rocks, whatever), and a plant or two. They come with a filter and LED light (and the LED is bright enough to support live plants if you want to go that route):
The upfront cost might seem like a lot on these, but for what you get they're a good deal, and they will provide your fish with plenty of room to swim around in. Plus with their clear hoods and LED lights, they look really nice in your house :)
Also, I highly recommend feeding your fish either New Life Spectrum pellets (available at Petco) or Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets (available at Petco and Petsmart). 4-6 pellets per day is a good amount to feed.
The Zoo Med Leaf Hammock is ok, but the wire in the leaf stem could rust. It's pretty easy to remove it, or there are a bunch of options for DIY hammocks too :)