I'm new to the forum but I want to thank everyone as I've learned a lot here already. Found a rescue betta at Walmart for my daughter a week ago (she is very young so I am the one managing it right now.). Started with an impulse one gallon hexagon with underwater LED lighting n filtration. (Impulse because a really weird guy came up in the middle of my tank considerations and drove me to escape the store quickly with my daughter and her new fish!) Switched to 2.5 Aqueon mini bow three days later. (It's the biggest I can handle in her room right now.) Doing our first water change today and set up a drip system to keep water temp constant. (Homemade, but still proud of myself.)
So, after studying this forum for a couple of weeks now, here's what I've learned as a betta newby:
1. Buy the bigger tank to begin with. But keep the little one you already bought lol. The parts are handy and you've got a safe backup tank when you clean. I'm glad I sucked it up and just went for the larger tank instead of trying to make the little one work just because I'd just bought it.
2. I've read so much about water cycle, water type, and water variety. It's overwhelming. I decide to have gentle filtration, do weekly partial water changes, and make it doable for me. I haven't killed him yet. In fact, he looks pretty happy.
3. Avoid melafix debates.
4. Petsmart price matches Petco. (I'm in a town with not a lot of options.)
5. The jury is out on under gravel Zoo Med heaters. I ended up with that on recommendation from the local pet shop and paid ten more dollars for it there than what I encountered it for two days later at Petsmart. But it's doing a nice job for me at present.
6. The jury is still apparently out on the betta hammock suction cup leaf as well.
7. Yes, we started with two small soft plastic plants instead of silk. And no, I didn't kill him with those yet either.
8. The in gravel led light works really well, especially if you drill tiny holes through the mini castle ornament windows and then set it on top of the light. Voile! Somebody's home!
9. Buy the small gravel vac. It's worth it.
10. You've read up on all this and spent more money than you thought trying to be a responsible owner or teaching your kid to do so. Remember to enjoy it, too. At the end of the day, I'm not a fish vet. But I still want my daughter to enjoy her fish.
Our boy moves a lot and seems very happy. He seems to be a slow eater though; he takes a while to do just three bits of the obligatory yellow canister betta food (tetramin, if I remember right.). Any suggestions? I am not over feeding for sure. He just doesn't seem to like it all that much. But he appears to be fine in all other respects. I read about the hikari gold food, etc. I don't want to get him started on treats until I find a real food he likes. Should I stick with what I've got to see if he will come around?
I hope this is encouragement for all the newbies who are reading so much that they are overwhelmed! Thanks to everyone who posts for all that I've learned so far.