Here's some background on my experience so far with Kitkat:
I got my little Kitkat a week ago after we were done with an experiment with ecosystems (my partner didn't want to take him home). My teacher gave me some trial fish food and water conditioners for me to use and some instructions she printed out from the Petco website. She told me that bettas can live in a small area and only need to be fed every other day. She also said to leave the fish in the container for 24 hours to prevent shock since she transferred it from our experiment container to a smaller container so I can take it home easier. When I got home after the horribly shakey bus ride (I felt bad), I cleaned out the old fishbowl that I had back when I was little (my cousin gave me a goldfish to keep). The fishbowl was about 1 gallon big, I put the water conditioner in after I finished cleaning. The next day I transferred Kitkat to his new home. It was kind of hard to see through the bowl, some parts look distorted. At night, he slept on the bottom of the bowl. It seemed kind of sad actually... I decided to do some research and found this site. I went out to buy a 2.5 gallon tank that came with a filter and a light, I bought some smooth, green marble rock, a thermometer, and a silk plant for the tank, some bloodworms and a bottle of water conditioner. I transferred Kitkat after I got everything set up and turned the filter on. It was late at night and I didn't realise what was happening until the next morning. Poor Kitkat was being pushed around by the current the filter makes, I quickly turned it off. When I came home from school, he was sleeping under the leaves of the silk plant, it made me happy.
It's ok if you didn't read the whole back story, but I have so many questions and I'm just not sure where to look for the answers, so I decided to sign up and make a thread myself.
The questions are:
Should I get a new filter or just do the water changes? How often should I do the water changes?
I think I used warm water in the tank, now there's bubbles all on the edges of the tank, is that ok to leave the bubbles there?
Should I get a heater? The light the tank has gives off heat, so I'm not sure if that will fluctuate the temperature. If I should get a heater, what kind should I buy? The temperature in the tank is about 64-65 degrees Fahrenheit, which I don't think is that good for my fish.
Glad to hear you've started to do your research and got him into a larger home already! That extra gallon and a half really does make a difference in my opinion. You're definitely on the right track and clearly looking to improve the life if your new little finned companion. Kudos to you! ;)
Now, on to your questions.....
1. I'd suggest just removing the filer all together. As you noticed, bettas have a hard time with filter currents, especially in smaller tanks, and since bettas have a special Labyrinth organ that allows them to take most of their Oxygen from the surface, something like a filter or an air stone to oxygenate the water isn't necessary. The only real use for a filter with a betta is if you are trying to establish a Nitrogen Cycle.....but that is more for tanks 5+ gallons as smaller tanks tend to have a difficult time holding a stable cycle, making it a little more complicated to get one going. So, as you are a beginner just starting out.....best to just remove the filter.
Now, without a filter, you will want to make water changes at least twice per week; 1 50% and 1 100%. Personally, based on my own experience, I think adding an extra 50% per week as well for slightly cleaner water makes a bit of a difference.
2. The bubbles are fine, you'll likely see them whenever you do a water change. They're not harmful to anything, though if the look of them bothers you you can just stick your hand in and brush them away if you like. ;)
3. Oh goodness.....no wonder your little guy isn't moving around that much, thats COLD! Thats a good 14-15 degrees UNDER the necessary temperature! Oh wow....
Yes, you most certainly need a heater as soon as you can pick one up, thats for sure. You'll want to look for one that is around 25 watts, fully submersible, and adjustable with a thermostat. STAY AWAY from the present/pad-like heaters that you can't adjust, for the most part those are crap.
As far as brands go, most they you're going to find at Petco and Petsmart that are fully submersible and adjustable are going to do the job about the same. Personally I'm a fan of Aqueon and Petcos own brand, and I've heard wonderful things about Hydor and Elite. If you are able to order online, I believe the 25-50 watt Elite heaters(they say they're present heaters, but I've read that they are in fact adjustable)are a little cheaper on Amazon.
And I think that about covers your immediate questions....xD If you have any more, please, feel free to ask!
I saw some 25-watt heaters in Petco the other day, I will go back to get it tomorrow, thank you for telling me!
I was thinking of baffling the filter, I saw some posts on here that some people that have the same tank as me and they used a bottle technique or a sponge technique, sadly the pictures were deleted, do you have any idea how to do that?
I wanted to baffle the filter because I read somewhere that their betta fish like to play with the output, and I thought that would be nice for my Kitkat (:
The only brand I know of that Walmart carries is the Tetra present heaters, which have absolutely horrible reviews and are notorious for under heating and just plain not working at all. They're cheap heaters and work like cheap heaters.
Its definitely worth it to spend that extra few bucks and get a nice, good adjustable heater that you know you can rely on for several years to come.
IMO/E, not very many bettas like the filter flow. I suppose it really depends on the personality of the betta, I have heard stories of a few who did, but out of ALL of the bettas that I have had over the years, every single one hated any more then a very minor water disturbance, and some had issues with even that.
So based on that, I would still suggest just removing the filter rather then trying to go through the process of baffling it. Its really quite useless anyway, like I mentioned, and in that size of a tank it really just takes up swimming space anyway IMO.
If you are absolutely completely dead set on trying to baffle it though, use some filter sponge and rubber band it over the outflow. But personally, I don't think there is much point to trying.
Thank you for helping, but I'm going to go with my guts and go to Petco to buy a heater, plus it's the closest pet store where I live. There isn't really a close by Wal-mart for me to go to anyways, but thank you for the suggestion a123andpoof