A friend brought me a Beta 2 days ago, as I had a 3 gal tank that was running & empty. (I also have a 10 and 5 gallon tank) No previous fish were in it & had been running for a couple weeks. Has a small pump.(sm bubbles come up thru a tube in gravel) Friend wasn't wise enough to ask Q's about Beta's, & is one of few fish i have NEVER owned. Need help. Have been reading ur forum & have some Q's: Does it matter if there is reg. fish gravel in there? Also plastic plants? Didn't have a heater in it till I read ur article & realized the tank needs to b around 78'., so I put on of my heaters on it 2 warm it up. It's a 25 watt, but I have it on WAY LOW until it reaches proper temp. I only have flake food & shrimp brine right now. Is blood worms what they eat? Whats this about scooping uneaten food? (Tank has a underground filter) And what's this about frogs & snails? Haven't named him yet, but he has conflicting behavior. Sometimes he stays on bottom, wedged under plant, or hangs, unmoving on top. These two behaviors happen when I turn off pump. When I have it on, he swam around & "seemed" 2 b enjoying it. Right now, it's off & he's swimming around fine. Am I supposed to leave pump on or off? Do I still need to change water every couple days if I have a pump & filter? Is a PH test kit absolutely necessary? What r the maiin signs of stress? Forum seems to say he needs a couple days to adjust, but I want 2 do it right. I hate it when they expire. Any & all advice for these conditions are WAY welcomed. Thanks![/b]
The 3gal. that you had up and running, was it cycled using a fishless cycle?
Ref. the fish gravel, this is fine and necessary because of the under ground filter, as long as its gravel for fresh water fish.
Ref. plants, not only fine but recommended for bettas, they some times like to rest or hide and the plants help them to feel secure. Just check the plants to make sure they wont tear your bettas fins.
If possible,a cave or the like often makes a nice addition for a betta.
Ref. food, some bettas can be very picky eaters, he may eat the flakes you have, you may have to try others, brine shrimp very good, bloodworms yes most bettas love them and they are good for the betta, but only feed the blood worms 1 or 2x a week aprox. 4-6 bloodworms.
Whats most important is to vary his/her diet with flakes or pellets made for bettas usually preferred, brine shrimp, bloodworms, daphnia,mosquito larva,ect.
and see if about once a week if you can get the betta to eat part of a pea with the skin removed.
Yes even with the under gravel filter, removing uneaten food is a good practice.
Ref. frogs and snails, they are some times used as tank mates for a lone betta, some times this works out fine and some times it doesn't, depends on the personality of your betta.
Ref. the pump, as long as its not causing to much disturbance to the water leave it on. Bettas prefer calm water.
His behavior could be his just needing time to adjust to his new surrounds and to the pump.
Its not just a ph test kit that is necessary, you will also need ones to monitor ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.
If the tank has not gone thru a proper cycle you will need to monitor these parameters and will have to do more frequent water changes.
After the tank has cycled, monitoring these parameters weekly will help you to know how often this tank will need to have water changes.
Some signs of stress, paling of color, clamped fins, hiding allot, not eating for several days. these are all I could think of right now,sorry i'm not usually up this late.
Any chance you might think about setting up the 5 or 10gal. for him? :D
Thanks still water~ My gravel is not fine, just small rocks made for tanks. I will make him a bridge/cave in there, What is a "proper tank cycle"? I set it up, de-clorinated the water & let it run for a few weeks..... He seems to like the small bubbles, but since he's supposed to like 'calm' waters, I have been turning it off for hours at a time & just let it run from time to time to oxygenate it. Last night I put a heater in it for awhile to bring the temp. up & he seemed to like that BUT apparently he can see himself in the clear glass covering because he would get close to it & flare his little gills on his head. (Is this why he was doing that?) So, after the water temo got right, I took it out when I went to bed. Dang, after all that info you gave me, Beta's are not exactly "easy" to care 4 r they?!!! Can't give him the 10 gallon, I have 2 ballon mollies in there & a red-tail shark & algae eater. As far as the 5 gallon goes, I HAD the Mollies in there until one of the new one had babies & I had to remove them from my fry. So, 15 teny tiny babies occupy that tank, along w/ an algae eater..... Will the gravel still be ok?
Fish info, the gravel is fine. Leave the filter running all the time. The undergravel filter will eventually get some bacteria established in the gravel that make it easier to control the ammonia in the water, that is what you will see called a cycled tank. Right now, if you have not had fish in the tank, the water will get worse by the day because it is not cycled. Every few days you should change at least half the water for fresh water that you have dechlorinated.
Ref. the gravel, sorry for my confusing choice of wording, I meant that your gravel sounds fine as in OK, not as in texture. Your gravel is OK to use.
Ref. Cycling I will do my best to explain, and hope not to confuse you.
Cycling is the process of building up good bacteria in your tank.
This good bacteria, breaks down toxins( things that are toxic to fish), in the tank. Ammonia is first on the list. Fish and other aquatic animals, along with uneaten food, produce ammonia, wich if not gotten rid of, will build up and harm and even kill the tank occupants. Cycling can only begin when ammonia is introduced into the tank. These good bacteria need ammonia and oxygen to live, and it takes time for the ammonia eating colony of bacteria to build up in sufficient numbers to handle the amount of ammonia that is being produced in the tank. These good ammonia eating bacteria break down the ammonia into a less, but still toxic Nitrite, then over time a colony of good Nitrite eating bacteria forms and breaks down the Nitrite into an even less toxic Nitrate, Nitrate is removed from the tank thru water changes, other wise over time it too will build up to a level that is too toxic to the tank inhabitants. Some Nitrate is almost always present in the tank, the key here is to keep it low enough that it does not harm the fish.
With out the good bacteria that a cycled tank provide, many and frequent water changes would be needed to even try to keep the water healthy for your fish.
This cycling is not just for a bettas tank but applies to most fish tanks.
Ref. the pump, leave the pump on as long as it is not producing to much disturbance to the water, some is OK. Also the pump is needed for the good bacteria to live in your undergravel filter.
Ref. The Flaring/posturing/displaying = extending his gills and fins, yes most bettas do this, some more that others, when they see there reflection, or another betta, some times at other types of fish. Too much Flaring as I have read on this forum, can cause stress to a betta. Not that i'm saying that yours is doing it too much.
Some of my bettas will occasionally play in the bubbles.
Bettas are a great fish in my opinion, I never thought of them as being any higher maintenance than many other types of fish. For me there personalities make up for any extras they need.
I hope some of this helps, if not let me know, I will try.
You have come to the right place for help, there are many experts and very informed people on this forum, I have been learning so much here. And also many very helpful people.
Thanks~ Made "Napolean" a bridge/cave, he's checked it out, but not really going under it. He's seems really fine & happy, ate some flake food & brine shrimp today. Will get blood worms tom. I had a friend over today & HER beta is over a yr old & she's NEVER given him peas........?????Anyway, thanks for the advice. I'm such a newbie at this. He's really pretty. I'll give ya an up date next week. Thanks 4 the help. Yes, I really like this site =D