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Old 12-23-2012, 04:28 PM   #1 
catnapt
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just considering betta fish, may be a bad idea?

Hi everyone! Years ago I had some tropical fish in an 20 gallon long tank, and it was a lot of fun.
However I no longer have the space nor the money to maintain a tank that size, but would still like to have a couple of fish.

But I am concerned that my home environment may be all wrong for fish, any of the cold water fish.
I keep my apt temp at 59 degress most of the time. Occasionally I'll bump it up to 60 or 62 if I'm not feeling well, and quite often I'll shut the heat off at night, allowing it to dip down to 55 or so.

When I had tropical fish I lived on the third floor and keeping the apt and the tank warm was never an issue.

Now I live on the 1st floor and keeping anything warm is hard in the winter LOL

am I dreaming thinking that I might be able to keep fish here?
I like having anilmals to care for but my budget is limited so I was looking for something relatively inexpensive.

I have a cat, and recently had pet rats. Rats are awesome pets but are often sick and have high vet expenses.

My place is most likely too cold for a bird, and I can't have dogs here.

Like most people I've seen bettas in a bowl and while I always figured they'd be happier with more room, I didn't realize they need warmth.

Do you think my environment would be too cold for a betta?
also I have hard water. Not sure of the pH but I think it's average to slightly alkaline.

thanks for any feedback or even suggestions for some other type of pet that would be better suited to a chilly apt.

I may not always keep it this cold, I'm just concerned about the heating bills, as this is my first winter here. Once I see what it's costing to keep the place at under 60 I may be able to bump it up but it will likely never go over 65

thanks!
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:49 PM   #2 
MSG
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Betta is you only option. Goldfish require a HUGE tank.

  • What type of heating system do you have?
  • What type of thermostat is controlig the system?
  • How old is the building/house?
  • New or old windows?
That's the easiest way to tell how much you bills would be.

I could tell you in about 10 minutes what your costs would be if I saw the answers to those questions in person.

Anyway...... As long as you have a heater, your fish will be okay.

Depending on the size of your tank, that will determine the size heater you will need.

If you're keeping the temperature that low, you may want to stick with a 5G tank. Get a heater that's 50W-75W

The thing that will cost you the most amount of money is the electricity the heater uses.
  • Filters use about 4W-10W
  • Lights 7W-25W

Another option is a dwarf shrimp, but they don't pay attention to you, just run, hide & graze all day.
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:50 PM   #3 
ravenwinds
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Yes, your apartment would too cold for any tropical fish Unless you get, say a 2.5 or 5gallon tank with a heater! They are fairly inexpensive as a set and a betta OR a few, say guppies should be quite content...and the fish will be safer from your cat who might decide to go fishing!

Yes, your tank does need a heater! They are called tropical fish for a reason.

Please keep in mind a couple of things:
1: any pet is expensive to some degree or another...fish, the cost is usually up front with $....and then there are the weekly and biweekly water changes :)

2: bettas seem to have a very high rate of addictiveness....sometimes its just really hard to not buy more!
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Old 12-23-2012, 04:53 PM   #4 
sainthogan
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A small aquarium heater would be fine in a 2.5 gallon tank. That way, you don't have to worry about keeping the apartment warm. At night, you can also wrap the tank in towels to help keep the heat in the tank and keep the heater from staying on all night.
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Old 12-23-2012, 05:03 PM   #5 
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Hey there, and welcome to the forum! :)
Its great to hear that you're doing a little research and reading up before going on ahead and purchasing, it'll definitely make things a little easier for you in the long run. ;)

Anyway....
That really IS cold! My goodness, I don't even think I could live in something that cold! xD definitely much much too cold for a tropical fish like a betta as water temp often even colder then room temp....however, thankfully there are aquarium heaters! A good, reliable, adjustable heater(stay AWAY from present/none adjustable types, especially with your room temp being so cold these won't do you any good) should do just fine at keeping your tank a nice cozy 78-81 degrees for your betta, even if your apartment is a little on the cold side. You may need to bump up the wattage a little, but if you get something around 5-10 gallons that won't be too much of a problem.

So there is hope! Don't fret! ;)

I would suggest starting out with at least a 5(but if you can manage to go bigger, go for it!)gallon tank because you're apartment is so cool and its going to be a little easier to heat and keep heated then something smaller, plus you can bump your wattage up to about 50 watts with a heater safely.

Now, of course keeping any pet is never cheap, bu compared to other animals a nice 5-10 gallon setup for one betta isn't all too bad if you ask me.....but it is, all together, going to likely run you close to/over $100 so that is something to keep in mind. But if you're willing to be patient and piece you aquarium together bit by bit, it can work on just about any budget I'd say.

I wouldn't worry about the PH....bettas are a hardy species and can adapt to a wide rage of PH's. ;)

Good luck!

Edit: Geez, I must be slow today....I need to start typing faster. xD

Last edited by DragonFish; 12-23-2012 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 12-23-2012, 05:49 PM   #6 
catnapt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSG View Post
  • What type of heating system do you have?
  • What type of thermostat is controlig the system?
  • How old is the building/house?
  • New or old windows?
That's the easiest way to tell how much you bills would be.

I could tell you in about 10 minutes what your costs would be if I saw the answers to those questions in person.

Anyway...... As long as you have a heater, your fish will be okay.

Depending on the size of your tank, that will determine the size heater you will need.

If you're keeping the temperature that low, you may want to stick with a 5G tank. Get a heater that's 50W-75W

The thing that will cost you the most amount of money is the electricity the heater uses.
  • Filters use about 4W-10W
  • Lights 7W-25W

Another option is a dwarf shrimp, but they don't pay attention to you, just run, hide & graze all day.

OK it's forced hot air, by gas.
two bedroom apt, 1st floor, new windows but NO insulation in the walls nor basement. House is old, pre 1900s,
it's a programmable thermostat that I've set at 59 but I do bump it up once in awhile when I'm really shivering.

it can be set to four different temps (wake, leave, return and sleep)

no pilot lights on the gas stove/oven nor the furnace. Usually that would make me happy but I miss that extra bit of heat that the pilot lights gave off LOL
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Old 12-23-2012, 06:54 PM   #7 
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Like you, I try to keep it cool in my apartment. It's on the top floor though, so it rarely dips below 65 even without the heat on. I also prefer lower electric bills - and I'm more comfortable with it cool.

I started out with a 5 gallon kit from Walmart (it's the Aqua Culture starter kit). It was less than $30 and comes with a filter and LED lighted lid. However, PLEASE do not put a betta in the aquarium with that filter without covering it with pantyhose or altering the intake (which is on the bottom). Even at the lowest setting it can suck up your little guy's fins. That's what happened to my first fish and I was heartbroken. So no matter what you choose, if you have a filter, be careful with the intake.

You will definitely need to purchase a heater. The preset 50w heater works fine with the 5 gallon I mentioned above and keeps it at a constant 78 even when it gets cold in here, but with larger tanks or temps lower than 65 that might not work.

I will warn you, once you get a betta, you will begin wanting to rescue them all! I started with the one, which unfortunately died, but I got another from Walmart and now have two 10g tanks divided with three males each who are spoiled rotten. It's a serious addiction!
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Old 12-23-2012, 08:23 PM   #8 
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As long as you have a heater you will be fine. For a small tank, a small heater runs at about $10-15 so it doesnt add too much of an expense to keeping your fish. (and really wouldnt add much to your electricity bill) I have 8 tanks and heaters of different sizes for all of them, and my parentls havent mentioned anything about there having been a price increase for any of them. so I'm sure for a heater in a 2.5-10 gallon wouldn't raise your costs up.
If you dont want to invest in a heater, then goldfish are really going to be your only option. But they require a ton more room than a betta would.
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Old 12-23-2012, 08:33 PM   #9 
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Amazing how many ways to say the same thing :)

At Petco, they have aqueon 2.5g and 5g...this time of year, these sets are usually on sale. I have a 2.5g and 2 5g...even the 2.5g is spacious compared to the cup they live in now and the vase they might end up in!

(at least I am not the only one who finds them addictive!)
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Old 12-24-2012, 07:50 AM   #10 
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Forced hot air v-system with no insulation is probably the worst option for heat.

But I'm sure you know that.

Don't know the square footage of your 2bdrm & not sure if the rooms have doors that can FULLY close.

Keeping doors closed, helps keep the heat inside the rooms you occupy the most.

The age & how efficient the heating system you have also comes into play.

You should go to the basement to take a look at these systems. Take a picture of it & send it to one of your "knowledgeable" friends.

You want to make sure your part of the house are running on different systems so you don't pay for your neighbor's heat.



2BDRM about $120-$150/month is what I would estimate, with your extreme measures maybe $100 month.
  • Electric space heaters use 700W-3000W of electricity, so NOT a good option to replace the built in heating system with E-heat in a house with OLD wiring.

More power you use, the HOTTER the wires run = electrical fires.
  • If your hair dryer/microwave doesn't blow a fuse, your wiring should be okay. H-dryers use about 700-1200 & 1500 watts.


I know of a guy that didn't pay attention to his heat bills & had windows left open, heating system left on constantly. 4 bdrm 2 bath, 2000 sq ft, oil heat, $5000 for the winter season.

For me I think that same season totaled up to $1200, Natural gas. H/W enclosed system. My place is larger too.

Note... This guy with the outrageous bill has NO common sense, but does have 6 figure salary to cover his stupidity, so he doesn't care.



Ultimately, you have to ask yourself is it worth $50/month to live in a IGLOO till April?

***Next season do yourself a favor & find a rental that has HEAT included & located inside a BRICK/STONE building.


Keeping a little betta in a tank isn't going to use much electricity if you keep a 5G glass tank. 50-75W heater should be sufficient to compensate for the low temperature you keep your apt at.
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