One of my betta like that. I trying to scoop him out behind him . Sometimes i end up even couch him with my hands.
You can try to do 90% of the water change and take all debriefs out with turkey baster. But i really can't imaging how you will pour all 2.5 gall of the water back in to the tank with betta in it. So you can try 90%, and every other week 100% until you know you way coughing him.
You can try to put dried blood worms on the surface and try to scoop him with a cup behind him. Or you can try to lure him in the cup with blood worm already in the cup.
Also make sure you cover cup/net with your hand every time you take him out so he don't jump out. I think you will learn your way to do it.
But you don't need to use filter though, because you don't cycle your tank.
It is a myth that small tanks cannot be cycled. It comes from the small amount of surface area available for the nitrifying bacteria to colonize..Your particular filter media/foam, along with substrate and decor can support a large enough colony. Many keepers on here are successfully running stable cycles in 2.5g and 3g tanks Adding live plants also helps.
Read the cycling stickies at the top of the “Bowls and Habitats” section of this forum.
A safe (for the fish) cycle requires that you use a kit to test your water parameters. This is the one most of us use: [ame="http://www.amazon.com/API-Freshwater-Master-Test-Kit/dp/B000255NCI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358119197&sr=8-1&keywords=API+test"]Amazon.com: API Freshwater Master Test Kit: Pet Supplies[/ame]
Buy a bottle of Prime or something to qualify for free shipping. You'll need one of these anyway, as long as you practice the hobby.
A bonus is only having to change 50% of the water weekly. Although running a cycled tank is not for the convenience of the keeper, but for the health and safety of the fish.
If you have further questions about cycling, you’ll get quicker answers in the “Bowls and Habitats” section.
Thank you for the responses! I did a full water change yesterday and it was really hard trying to catch Sparkie, and I felt bad for putting him through that stress. I will stick to smaller, more frequent changes from now on. I have read up all about cycling and I have a water-test kit, and a filter which (I think) should support enough bio-media. I guess my plan is just to continue what I'm doing while keeping a close eye on the water quality, and maybe eventually I will have a stable cycle, or maybe not. I have read so much conflicting stuff over whether or not it is possible or practical in a 2.5g tank. So I guess I will see how it works for me.
As an aside, you know what would be a cool product? If there was a "ammonia gauge" or a "water quality gauge" which you could stick in your tank and get continuous, instantaneous feedback. Like a thermometer. That way you could keep an eye on things easily and be sure to do water changes when necessary! Does anyone know of any such thing? I guess it doesn't exist or everyone would be recommending it.
Hmmm, yes, just found it, here: [ame=http://www.amazon.com/Seachem-10-Ammonia-Alert/dp/B000255R5G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358196902&sr=8-1&keywords=seachem+ammonia+alert]Amazon.com: Seachem Ammonia Alert: Pet Supplies[/ame]
Read Oldfishlady instructions for cycling and water changes. Also i think you can find instructions on the filter media care in those links. You will need to swish/rinse the filter regularly. Rinse in the old water WITH a water change. Also make sure that filter is not too strong for him or you will need to buffle it up, i think you can find all instruction in those two links. I have a few more links where you can learn about how to take care of the filter media so let me know if you need help.
But definitely check those links because i think you will need to do a few 50% water changes a week since your tank is small.
If you decide to swap to a larger tank, I'd suggest a Marineland 5-gal hex tank - which is what I use for my solitary male betta. It has a small footprint but ample space for free swimming.
The tank includes a built-in hood with light and a biowheel filter, which you would need to baffle for a betta, as it can produce quite a strong current.
I've had no trouble establishing a cycle in this tank and I'm a fan of giving the fish more room than they really need. It has plenty of side wall real-estate, so mounting a heater is easy as pie.
They're available on Amazon for around 35 bucks, or 60(!) at your local Petsmart/Petco or similar.
You've done everything right, thus far. If you don't like the thought of 100% water changes, though, I'd seriously consider moving up to a somewhat larger tank - I found the hex to be well-constructed and affordable.
Edit: Oh yhea, if you do go the Hex route and it's an older version with the 15W incandescent light bulb, do yourself a favor and swap it for a 10W fluorescent bulb. I replaced mine with a daylight/blue 10k bulb that I got from the LFS and the live plants in my tank have really exploded.
Thanks. I would like to upgrade to a bigger tank. However, since I just bought this one I guess I will have to stick it out a while longer. Hubby is kind of freaking out about how much I have spent on this "free and easy" pet.
I can ask for a 5 gallon for my birthday. :) The Marineland looks nice, and on Amazon it's cheaper than the 2.5g I bought for $35!