I am new to this forum, but have had my betta fish DaBaDee since last christmas. I got him because he's Blue (I'm blue, Da ba dee, da ba die lol) and I had one in elementary for over a year who was killed by my cat because I left him in my parents care when I was at camp..
Anyways, he's in a small 1 gallon tank at room temperature and has been for his whole life probably. I got him at walmart, so he's a pretty hardy guy, having survived walmart and myself, a totally clueless betta owner.
Today I bought a 5 gallon tank for him and I have an unadjustable water heater that's been sitting in my basement for a few years now. My question is, how do I go about setting up and moving him to his new, larger tank and changing the water temperature?
Also, is it possible it could do any harm since he's been in a small room temp container or tank his entire life? I bought this new tank wanting to make his life better for him and do not want to accidently do the opposite.
And one last thing, how do I sanitize the water heater I have? It was used in an old 5gal tank and was never cleaned, and is covered in white crusty gunk. Or should I just toss it and purchase a new one? Thanks!
First off....Hello there and welcome to the forum! :)
Ahh, we were all new once, we all made our mistakes....thankfully these little guys are quite hardy for the most part! And better late then never on the research and upgrade! Your little guy sounds like hes in wonderful, caring hands and I'm sure he'll really enjoy his new five gallon home. ;)
Now! On to business....
About the heater....personally, I'd say trash it and get a new one. Not necessarily because its old....but because I noticed you said it was unadjustable. Present/unadjustable heaters tend to be very unreliable and can often under/over heat the tank. And because its old, and depending on the brand(Tetra, perhaps?)its highly likely it may not even work....most present heaters, from what I've seen, tend to be rather cheap....and with an aquarium heater, often what you pay for is what you get.
When looking for a new heater, get something fully submersible and adjustable with a thermostat. About 25-50 watts should work just fine in a 5 gallon. Hydor, Elite, Aqueon, and the Petco brand are all good brands. Amazon I believe has some good prices on the Elite(they say they are present heaters, but I do believe they are in fact adjustable)and Hydor brands if you don't mind ordering online.
Now, for transitioning him into the tank....
First of all, one thing that I personally find to be very important and often over-looked is the amount of cover provided when upgrading into a larger tank. Bettas like plants and caves, places to hide and swim around in....they feel more secure with a good amount of cover. When putting a betta into a larger aquarium with little cover, the betta will often become rather stressed and pale, leading to the belief that they prefer less space when it reality its just that the larger space just doesn't have enough places for them to hide and feel secure. No tank is too large, and no upgrade is too drastic provided the tank is decorated properly IMO.
So, one way to help eliminate some stress on your little guy would be to make sure you have a few nice big fluffy silk/live plants(at least one tall enough to reach the top of the waterline) and a good cave.
As far as the actual acclimation process goes....probably best to do this a little more slowly since he has been living for so long at room temp. Once you have everything set up how you want it and the temp stabilized within the proper range(78-81 degrees F), catch him in a small container(or the cup he came in if you happen to still have it) and float him in the tank. Let him slowly warm up, about 30-45 minutes, then pour just a bit of the water out of his container and add a little of the fresh water back in. Wait about 20 minutes, then repeat the process. Wait another 20 minutes or so, then repeat.....you get the idea. xD After a few times of that, you should be alright to tip the container and let him swim into his new home.
Also, a couple of questions......did you buy a 5 gallon kit or just a plain ol' bare 5 gallon? Do you have a hood or a filter? Do you plan on filtering/possibly cycling?
The tank I bought has an adjustable filter and a lid, and I set it to low flow because I know my fish hates lots of water movement. He has very large fins and although he is a beaut, it makes it difficult for him to swim in a straight line with water movement :( He also has a tank decoration (Squidwards house from Spongebob) and I also bought a pineapple house from spongebob for his new tank today, haha. His other tank was too small for both, and I have a large fake plant decoration that was also too large for his old tank that will fit in the new one and should reach the water surface. Should that be enough for him? I can take a picture of it once I get it all set up tomorrow if needed.
The walmart here in town is small so it has a small variety of tank heaters, all at least $20, and none that I saw were adjustable, so I probably will order online unless I take an hour trip up to the nearest fish store.
Also, would it be okay to put him in his new tank at room temperature and then add and slowly adjust a water heater? His old tank needs cleaned as an uncle was staying here for a few weeks and decided to (over)feed my fish without me knowing, and his tank has quickly taken a turn for the worse. His current tank needs a 100% water change quite badly. There's a lot of food that sunk to the rocks at the bottom. I had actually went to walmart specifically for a net because the uncle also lost the last one I had somehow and I need to get him out of the filthy water he's in. Poor guy :(
I think it would be easier just to move him to the new tank, the old one needs a lot of attention. And do I need to do anything special moving him from his old tank to the new one if the water temperature is the same in both? And also, should I let the new tank sit for awhile running the filter? I'm not sure how long I should wait after setting up the new tank before I move my fish.
Ahh yes, most bettas generally dislike the flow of the filter....there are a few strange ones that love it, but I personally have never even had a short-finned plakat that liked the water movement. xD
Sometimes even on he lower settings they can still be a little on the strong side. Fortuitously, that is a very easily fixable issue if you do come across it. If after you add him in and you notice he is still bothered, you can very easily just attach a bit of filter sponge or the foot of some pantyhose with a rubber band to the outflow.
Also, it may not hurt to possibly do the same to the filter intake, especially if your guy has particularly long fins. Not always, but fins do sometimes get caught and shredded in the intakes. Just a little extra warning from experience.
Ahh yes, a picture of the setup would be much appreciated when you can. :) It does sound a tad bit on the bare side, however. Is the plant you have plastic or silk?
Oh I can totally understand those restrictions....I got into the hobby when I lived quite a ways out in the country. The closest place was a Independent Pet store that while thankfully had a rather amazing fish department was still rather expensive and lacking a bit as far as products went.
Personally, I love ordering from Petco online. I've found their prices to be fair and they usually ship fairly quickly.....plus I'm just totally in love with their silk plant selection. But I'm strange like that.
You could certainly move him over before you get your heater if you like. Since it sounds like hes in some not so great water quality at the moment, best still to acclimate him as I described above....but since he is going into water more around the temp he is used to, you probably won't need to take quite as long with the process.
When you add in the new heater, just very slowly increase the temperature over the course of the day.
Oh, and don't forget the thermometer(I always seem to, so I always like to offer a reminder about it...)! The thermostats on heaters generally aren't too accurate, so its always best to have a thermometer(one of those little glass ones that goes inside the tank....those outside sick on ones are terrible)to monitor the temp. ;)
And now, onto some fun extra information!
In that size of a tank, I would highly recommend you cycle. A little more upkeep at first, but very much so worth it in the long term as it will cut down on the amount of frequency of your necessary water changes.
Here is a great little guide to cycling with Bettas: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=107771
The plant is plastic- again, walmarts selection is slightly less than adequate. :/ And I have a thermometer now that is not specifically meant for fish tanks, but it works and actually has a suction cup so I could attach it to the inside of the tank, but it's attached to a flat plastic back thing, and it's difficult to read if you don't look at it at the right angle (meaning I have to take it out of the tank to read it), so I think I'll just use it until I get a different one. I just have it right now to make sure the new water is at the same temperature as his current water.
Also, I didn't know that about the filters. Thanks for telling me! And again, thanks for the reply. I'll try to post a picture tomorrow when I can. :)
Ahh yes, Walmart.....they did used to have silk plants if I recall. They've definitely cut back though, I only even see a very small selection of plastic plants from them now. ;P
But hey, if you're willing to order online.....Petco. ;) Awesome silk plants. Nice in size and fullness for the price, IMO.
Haha, again, happy to be of help! :)
And don't hesitate to ask about anything else that may come to mind, either here or in a separate thread in the future. We have a wonderful, friendly, and very helpful community here always ready to answer any questions you might have. ;)
I moved him to his new tank and he seems very happy in it. He's moving around a lot more than he was in his old tank. At first he was in his squidward house poking his head out of one of the holes, but now he seems to be exploring the whole tank. He doesn't seem to mind the filter, which is good, because the last time he had a bubbled system, he stayed in the corner as far away from the movement of the water as he could. He also wasn't eating anything at first, but now he is. He's moving quicker now than I've ever seen him move before!
I'll be posting a picture of him and the new tank when I get out of school today. I'm very glad that he's warming up so quickly and will be getting a heater for him as soon as I can :) I was a little worried earlier that he would get stressed out.
Ahh, fantastic! Glad to hear the upgrade went well! :)
It really is quite amazing, the difference of a betta in a properly-sized aquarium and those tiny little containers the pet stores market to bettas. Once you get that heater and you see how much more active and colorful he gets, you'll never look back!
The last one I thought was cute :) He loves his squidward house.
He seems to be kind of a brownish color right now, but he's starting to become more metallic blue again. He also has a strange reddish mark on his face? Should I be concerned about his color? He's swimming around a lot, even though his water is just below 70 degrees.
Oh, lovely! I really like the mix of marbles and river rocks! And AMAZING photography by the way! ;)
Besides being a little pale, which is likely due to the cold temperature, your little guy looks just fine to me. Very handsome. ;) Once you get a heater in there and get the tank up into the proper range, his color will start to darken considerably and he'll probably become even more active.....right now hes probably just super curious about all this new space hes got!