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Old 11-27-2012, 11:59 PM   #1 
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kinbari's Avatar
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Location: Ames, Iowa
New Betta- Doing it right this time!

Hello! I just bought this beautiful guy (picture below) today at Wal-Mart and introduced him to his 3 gal. half moon bubbling LED tank with a whisper filter (pic below). So far so good- he seems to be adapting well. My first betta (RIP Scrambles) died on the 11th. I had him for about 11 months. I'm convinced that I can do better and am determined to provide the best environment for my betta! So, I joined this forum today so that I have the support and advice I need to properly care for my betta!

I have a lot of questions, although I have read the FAQ and a decent amount of posts before making this thread. I am missing a few things that are suggested for betta care- a heater (planning on getting one tomorrow), a test kit, and aquarium salt.

1. I have been using the glass pebbles- are small rocks better? I ask because I want to know which is easier for doing two 50% water changes a week.
2. On that same note, I do not have a vacuum. Should I consider that a high priority for purchase?
3.Are all plastic plants bad, and if so does anyone have a recommended brand for silk/cloth fake plants? (currently have one plastic one cloth and one dragon figure in the tank)
4. I do not have a fish net. With my previous betta I used the container he came in to remove him. >o> is that ok?
5. I have not fed my new betta yet- figured I'd let him adjust for the first 12 hours. When I do, I'm planning on using blood worms/ betta biogold pellets. Should I mix them, do one then the other, does it even matter?

And finally, I'm concerned about when I buy a heater tomorrow. The tank is currently 68F. I've looked into three different heaters and am not sure which to get... the cheapest (hydor slim) is also the highest rated it seems but I'm worried about the temp. not being constant. My thermometer will only read up to 86F.

Sorry this is so long-winded! ANY advice will be highly appreciated! :)
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:13 AM   #2 
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I'm fairly new too, but I'm picking up on everything quickly.
1. I don't believe it matters much there.
2. A vacuum is not necessary for a 3 gallon tank. That's what I have and I just lug it over to the sink to clean it out.
3. are okay. All that matters is that there are no sharp ends that can snag your betta's fins.
4. I just use a cup to fish Algernon out of his tank. Works fine.
5. Worms are supposed to be fed as a treat, but I feed them to my betta every morning and pellets at night. I've had him for a month and it seems to be working just fine.
As far as a heater, just make sure that it is made for your size tank. I'm going out and buying one tomorrow. I'm looking for a 25 watt adjustable one. You don't want to fry your fish! Also, the thermometer doesn't need to go higher than that. 80 is on the higher end of the temperature for a betta's water.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:16 AM   #3 
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1. I don't think it matters, at least that's the vibe I see around here a lot. I find it easier to use marbles or river rocks rather than the gravel... But maybe that's because the gravel at first seems to have some floating pieces in it and they move around a lot when pouring in new water. I have two tanks, one with a mixture of marbles and river rocks, and one with gravel.
2. I actually bought a gravel vacuum today for about $6. There are other ways of cleaning out the rocks if you are not planning on doing 100% water changes (and cycling your tank), like the stir&dip method, but that, for me at least, is slightly difficult.
3. Plastic plants are not necessarily bad, but they do cause greater risk of harming your fish. I have one plastic plant for my tank, which has never hurt my betta, but have ordered all silk plants and will be replacing it.
4. The cup will be fine as long as you do not accidentally clip your bettas fins while trying to scoop him up. Some members here use cups or their hands because they've had experiences with nets damaging their fish's fins.
5. Blood worms should be fed as treats. I do not see anything wrong with feeding maybe one pellet, just to see if he will eat. Since you are probably unsure of the last time he was fed, I'd start a regular feeding schedule starting tomorrow. Make sure you don't overfeed him, though!

As for the heater, get an adjustable one with a thermostat. Some preset ones can over/under heat your tank. Your water should not be warmer than 86 degrees. 78-80 is about right.

Most of these are either personal experience or what I've learned from others on this site. A lot of people may say things slightly different depending on personal preferences/experiences, and also each individual fish :)

BTW, he is a beauty! Is he blue or more greenish? The two pictures look a little different colored. He looks very bright and healthy.

Last edited by AyalaCookiejar; 11-28-2012 at 12:19 AM.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:18 AM   #4 
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Glass pebbles work well only if you're planning on doing frequent water changes to keep up with the ammonia. There's nowhere on the glass for beneficial bacteria to colonize.

A vacuum isn't absolutely necessary, but it is a big help. It pulls all the gunk that build up in the bottom of the tank out. I'd recommend getting one, though it doesn't need to be an immediate purchase. With a 3 gallon tank, you'll want the smallest diameter tube that the store sells, otherwise you'll pull the water out too quickly and you won't be able to get the entire bottom of the tank clean.

Plastic plants are debatable. You'll have some people that will tell you that all plastic plants are bad, and some that will tell you to just be picky. I'm of the picky variety. If I can run it back and forth through my hands and it doesn't feel rough/prickly/sharp/etc. then I'm willing to use it for my fish.

With bettas, cupping them is usually better for them than using a net. Any time you catch a fish in a net, you damage their slime coat and can cause fin damage. Cupping causes no damage if done right. Catch the fish in the middle of the water, not against the side of the tank. If he'll come to the surface for you, you can use the vacuum of the cup going under to water to pull him into it.

Blood worms are more of a treat than a food. Use the pellets as the main part of his diet to keep him healthy. Pellets are made up of a variety of ingredients to create a balanced meal.

The one problem I have with the Hydor is that it isn't adjustable. So long as the ambient temperature in your house doesn't fluctuate, it shouldn't cause you any issues.

You'll probably want to get at least one plant that reaches near/to the surface of the water. Bettas like to hang out near the top. My female bettas have fake lily pads in their tank and they actually sleep on top of them, half in/half out of the water!
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:31 AM   #5 
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I have that same tank for Leo (who is going back in once I bleach and clean it..)

1. Not sure, I'm not much help here lol.

2. Petco has great silk plants. One plastic plant I have found that is not too rough on their fins is, shockingly, one from Walmart. It is the Aqua Culture Anubis plastic plant (it is about $4). It is nice because it has big leave that my betta loved to lay on sometimes.

3. If you do have to use a net, Petco sells one that are labeled for brine shrimp but also say bettas (they are maybe $1.50?) I have one, mostly for my cories but if my bettas are being very stubborn I will use it. It is softer and will be less likely to harm their fins. Cupping is great though.

4. Think this has been covered lol. I have a dwarf gourami who loves the Sun Dried Baby Shrimp and one day I took a small one and gave it to Leo and he loved it! It kept him busy for a while and it was a good little treat (he has only ever had 2 in his life lol). But if you already have some or have some bigger fish you could feed them to they are a nice change from the blood worms lol. Just a suggestion!

5. This is what I was mostly getting at lol. Like I said, I have the same tank as you. At Petsmart there are the Top Fin adjustable heaters. Get the smallest wattage available (25 I think?) and it will heat it just fine. I've had mine for about 2 weeks and so far no problems (it is even heating his hospital tank well). Just be sure to experiment with it in an empty tank first. I accidentally thought I was cranking it up to 86...turns out it was at 90 degrees!! But if you catch these heaters on sale it is definitely worth the buy! (:

And your betta is beautiful! I wish you luck with him!
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:22 AM   #6 
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you can fill the tank up more if you would like
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:44 AM   #7 
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Hi and welcome!

To answer your questions,
1. Glass pebbles are harder to swish around to get all the gunk out of. Poop and uneaten food will fall deeper in the cracks rather than stay close to the surface like it would with gravel or sand.
2. It's not necessary to get a vacuum, but I recommend it. I have a glass 2.5 gallon tank, and it's hard for me to carry it over to the sink without it sloshing all over the place, so I use a gravel vac and do two 75% water changes per week with my fish in it. Once a month I'll do a 100% change and vacuum all or most of the water out then bring the tank to the sink and fully clean it out. Though yours has a filter, so you might want to cycle it (I cycled my 5 gallon with my fish in it, doing 50% water changes every other day). Get a test kit to make sure there are no ammonia spikes between changes, and also so you can tell when the tank is cycled. Then you'll only have to do 50% changes once a week.
3. I found some plastic plants at Petsmart (I think) that aren't rough on the edges at all. Most people say you should do the pantyhose test, which means that if you run pantyhose over it and it rips, it will also rip your fish's fins.
4. Yes, it's ok, as long as you don't accidentally trap him or his fins between the cup and the side of the tank... actually you could do that with a net, so I don't really know how a net is better than a cup.
5. Bloodworms should only be fed as a treat once or twice a week.

I got the Hydor Theo heater, which works great. It's adjustable (I'm not sure if the Hydor Slim you're looking at is). I'm even using it in my one gallon because the non-adjustable heater I got for it made it go up to 90 degrees so I put that one in my 2.5 gallon and it keeps it at 76, and the hydor is in my 1 gallon.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:13 AM   #8 
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Fgradowski: Thanks for the advice! I know that bettas donít thrive in that high of a temp, itíd just be nice to know the temp if it gets over that amount in case I get a buggy heater.

AyalaCookieJar: I didnít know that about the blood worms! I just fed him 4 little pellets and a small pinch of blood worms and he ate all the pellets but turned away the blood worm pieces. Thank you for the advice! In the first pic he is being hit by a blue LED light so it makes him look darker blue. He has a black face with a darkish blue body that gradually becomes more teal. :D

Guardianfyre: Ahhh, that makes sense. So glass pebbles are for frequent water changers and gravel is for vacuum users. Iíll probably switch to gravel once Iím ready, then. Thanks for the advice! Iíll consider getting lilly pads!

Sunstar93: Tank buddies! Is bleach safe to use to clean a tank? I read that youíre not supposed to use soap, so isnít bleach worse? Hm I will look into that walmart plant! Thank you so much!

Iím not sure if Iím going to call him Virgil or Soleus yet. Decisions, decisions. Anyway, I just fed him 4 pellets and he seemed to like them fine. Should I feed him this amount every day? Also when I install the heater and the tank is at the desired temp, do I acclimatize him by slowly adding the new temp water to his container?
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:21 AM   #9 
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nothingness: haha yeah I got lazy. I will fill it up today when I add the heater. :)

orangeaugust: Hello! How exactly does one cycle a tank? Thanks for the advice! I'm excited to get a heater for him today, hopefully I find one of the suggested ones.
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Old 11-28-2012, 09:35 AM   #10 
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If you don't want to purchase a vacuum, you can use a turkey baster - that's what I use. I siphon out 50% of the water with a small tube, then use the turkey baster to suck up the gunk at the bottom - this makes it easier for me not to dislocate the plants and decorations. As far as plastic, as long as it passes the panthose test - it will be fine - take a pair of pantyhose and rub it all over the plant, if it snags or tears at all - it's too sharp for your Betta. If not, it's just fine.
The only concern I see with the bubbler is that the current may be too strong for him to make bubble nests. Bettas are surface breathers and don't need actually need a lot of oxygen in the water, so a bubbler is unnecessary. The filter is plenty sufficient for this. However, if you don't want the surface of the water covered in bubble nests (which will go away every time you clean it anyway), then you can keep the bubbler.

Oh and another quick thing, the filter needs to have the water level just below the lip on filter (per filter directions). I've also found that this reduces the surface flow which my fish love. My female gets very pale and stressed if the surface is moving around too much and she has to chase her food. My male just won't swim at all if the surface is moving a lot, he'll stick himself in the corner on top of his thermometer and stay there, even during feeding time unless the surface water is calm.

Last edited by sainthogan; 11-28-2012 at 09:40 AM. Reason: added info
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