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Old 01-11-2013, 12:46 AM   #1 
KCalNeon
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LOTS of Betta Questions

LOTS Fish questions:

Hello Everyone! I have a lot of questions about my future Betta fish. I have read almost all of the sticky's in the Beta care and the habitat forum but I couldn't find the answers to my questions. I apologize if I repeat some stuff that was already mentioned in the stickys.

I plan to get a male Betta in a couple months after I've researched, cycled the tank, etc. I plan to get a 5 or a 10 gallon tank with only one Betta. I don't want to use live plants or add any other fish, or snails yet because i'm a newbie and I'd like to keep it simple. :)

Questions:

I already have a hamster in my room and I've heard that Betta fish like it dark at night and bright in the morning? I'm not sure about when and when not to turn on the light or why a Betta would need a light?? Do I need a separate tank light?
My hamster wakes up at around 10pm and I take him out in my room for about 30 minutes. Plus I'm walking back and forth turning the light on and off at night to get things like homework, get hamster supplies.. etc. Will this stress out my Betta? My room lamp will be right next to the tank (tank will be on my dresser) and lamp on my chest. About 20 inches above it, but right next to it. I can't really move it otherwise the lighting is all messed up.


What's the best diet? I can't find a thread about diet anywhere :( What brand of Betta pellets is the best and how often and how much should you feed your Betta? Does it matter? What other treats as foods can you give? How much and how often?

I heard your not supposed to feed your Betta fish the first day home to let their system clear out.. Is that true? And what else do you usually do with a new fish? They are coming from a totally different environment so how can you reduce that stress?

Our sticky says if you clean under the decor, you might need to follow up with a second change later in the week but will it be ok if I just siphon that spot a couple extra times? I'll have silk plants and bridges. No live plants. How often should I clean under accessories with a siphon?

Do you use 2 separate buckets for cleaning? One for the dirty water and another one for the clean water that'll go in the tank after you do the weekly water changes?

Weekly you'll also need to squeeze out your sponge in the dirty water so you don't loose the beneficial bacteria... Do you ever need to replace that sponge and get a new one?

Do you ever need to fully change the gravel in a tank? Do you Wash the gravel before setting up a new tank? Also, are those magnetic algae scrubber recommended for weekly 'cleanings'

I'm also kind of confused about rinsing your decor with hot water. Some people say it'll ruin the beneficial bacteria and others say it won't.

How long do you let your tap water and added conditioner sit in your bucket before putting it into your tank? Also, are you supposed to add the water into the tank slowly to let it mix in, or does it matter? :P

When you Siphon the gravel/ take out the water with the clear tube, Do you just go over all of the gravel very quickly like for a couple seconds, or do you actually thoroughly clean it and clean each section and go around the tank a couple times?

I've seen some topics about Bubble nests, flaring, and playing with your Betta. How often do they do these behaviors and what do they mean? Any other behaviors they do? Do you guys 'play' with your Bettas and how often? Any other ideas for mental stimulation?

Here are the supplies I am planning on getting not including food...

-plain square 5 gallon tank with black border

- Heater

Conditioner

Thermometer

Filter

Liquid test kit

Aquarium Salt

API general cure

Tube/Siphon

Algae cleaner

I'll also get some nice looking silk plants, 1 bridge, and 1 hide. I'll make sure they're not too pointy. :)

I'm also not able to find epsom salt. :(

Am I missing any stuff? Do I need a fish net? I've seen these products around the forum And all of these all seem like good products. Any suggestions?


What do you do for your weekly water changes? Please be specific. :)
Any suggestions?

This may be totally wrong but I'm guessing :P Feel free to add anything on. Are the components of Betta care:

-Tank and decor
-Understanding how the water cycle works like Ph, Nitrate, etc
- Care, like weekly changes, feeding, other stuff you do regularly
-Diet- what to feed
-And Mental stimulation like playing with your Betta, feeding them, and so on...

Last edited by KCalNeon; 01-11-2013 at 12:49 AM.
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Old 01-11-2013, 01:30 AM   #2 
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I'm not sure about when and when not to turn on the light or why a Betta would need a light?? Do I need a separate tank light? Usually, people will recommend a 10-12 hour light cycle. This mimics the natural light cycle in the wild. It is debatable on whether or not it is needed when there are no plants needing the light, but most people provide a light. The easiest way to do so is to get an aquarium light or put a desk lamp next to the tank and put it on a timer. If your main light is going to be right next to the tank and cannot be accurately timed every day, I'd suggest either moving the tank or putting something between the light and the tank to block some of the light. Too much light can be stressful. In my house, if the main light to the room is on, the tanks still stay relatively dark compared to the aquarium lights that are on during the day.

What's the best diet? I can't find a thread about diet anywhere :( What brand of Betta pellets is the best and how often and how much should you feed your Betta? Does it matter? What other treats as foods can you give? How much and how often? A lot of people on here will reccomend either Omega One betta pellets or New Life Spectrum (betta). Both of these are made with quality ingredients and provide a complete nutrient balance for bettas. I feed ~5 pellets once a day, 6x a week. Yes, it does matter for quality and quantity. Inferior foods will not allow your betta to thrive as much as it could, and over/under feeding will contribute to health issues and water quality in the tank. You can give frozen/freeze dried bloodworms or daphnia as treats. These can be given maybe 1x a week.

I heard your not supposed to feed your Betta fish the first day home to let their system clear out.. Is that true? And what else do you usually do with a new fish? They are coming from a totally different environment so how can you reduce that stress? Yes, most people decide to omit food on the first day home. Usually it is to let the betta settle down after having a very stressful day. Most bettas will refuse to eat the first night anyway, so the food is not wasted/polluting the tank. When you bring your new fish home, it can go in the tank if it will be living by itself, otherwise it is suggested to quarantine a new fish for ~1-2 weeks to make sure there is no disease that will be put in a tank. It is also easier to treat medical problems if the fish is by itself in a smaller tank. To reduce stress, gradually acclimate the fish to his new home by floating him (in the bag/container) in the new water to adjust to the temperature difference. Slowly start to add new tank water to the bag/container to let him adjust to the new water quality. WHen the water temp is the same between both areas, and he is fully acclimated, net him and release into the new tank. Try to keep the tank dark for the first night to let him relax and get used to his surroundings.

Our sticky says if you clean under the decor, you might need to follow up with a second change later in the week but will it be ok if I just siphon that spot a couple extra times? I'll have silk plants and bridges. No live plants. How often should I clean under accessories with a siphon? Yes. This sticky provides a very detailed description of water changes. The 2 back-to-back water changes are only necessary if moving decor stirs debris into the water column, which would require a second water change to pull out the newly fouled water with fresh water. I'd say every other to every 2 water changes to clean under the decor.

Do you use 2 separate buckets for cleaning? One for the dirty water and another one for the clean water that'll go in the tank after you do the weekly water changes? I do. I actually use 1 gallon milk/water jugs instead of buckets, but it is the same theory.

Weekly you'll also need to squeeze out your sponge in the dirty water so you don't loose the beneficial bacteria... Do you ever need to replace that sponge and get a new one? Filter media only needs a swish/rinse in old tank water a couple of times a month. If you do it too frequently you risk losing your beneficial bacteria. I've never replaced my sponge, but I have planted tanks.

Do you ever need to fully change the gravel in a tank? Do you Wash the gravel before setting up a new tank? Also, are those magnetic algae scrubber recommended for weekly 'cleanings' No. Not unless you are completely stripping the tank down and redecorating. If you fully change gravel, you will kill off any beneficial bacteria that live in the gravel. If it is just regular gravel, yes, I'd recommend rinsing (water only) new gravel before putting it in the tank. This will remove unnecessary dirt/debris before it goes in the tank. I don't use the magnetic cleaners, so I won't recommend them. I don't believe they are needed unless you are fighting algae.

I'm also kind of confused about rinsing your decor with hot water. Some people say it'll ruin the beneficial bacteria and others say it won't. Unless you are doing a 100% water change or stripping the tank, there is no major reason to need to rinse decor that has been established in the tank. Definitely rinse new decor before putting it in the tank though.

How long do you let your tap water and added conditioner sit in your bucket before putting it into your tank? Also, are you supposed to add the water into the tank slowly to let it mix in, or does it matter? :P I use it immediately. It sits for maybe 1-2 minutes before it gets used. If the fish is still in the tank, definitely add new conditioned water slowly. Adding it slowly also reduces disturbance to the gravel, but other than that I don't think it matters too much.

When you Siphon the gravel/ take out the water with the clear tube, Do you just go over all of the gravel very quickly like for a couple seconds, or do you actually thoroughly clean it and clean each section and go around the tank a couple times? Read this sticky on how to vacuum the gravel.

I've seen some topics about Bubble nests, flaring, and playing with your Betta. How often do they do these behaviors and what do they mean? Any other behaviors they do? Do you guys 'play' with your Bettas and how often? Any other ideas for mental stimulation? It all depends on the fish. Bubble nests are indicators of territory and a male's readiness to breed. It is by no means an indicator of happiness, and not all bettas will make a bubble nest. Same goes for flaring, bettas will show off to make themselves look bigger and to defend their territory. It is good stimulation and exercise to encourage your betta to flare. Putting a mirror by the tank for a couple minutes a few times a week will encourage flaring. Some bettas can be trained to follow fingers, jump through hoops on the surface, and generally be their goofy, fishy, selves.

As far as products go, I'd suggest the Hydor THEO adjustable heater. I personally have never had good luck with the aqueon brand. Hydor THEOs are one of the best adjustable heaters on the market. For water conditioner, I like prime, but people here use stress coat and it works for them.

Most drugstores sell epsom salt. Pet stores (at least those around me) do not carry it.

Personally I don't use nets, but if you are going to be doing 100% water changes, I'd suggest one. You can also use a small cup and just catch the betta in the tank as well.

As far as water changes go, this article again is going to be one of your best resources. I think every one will have a slightly different way of doing it, so you just have to find what works best for you.




I hope this helps a little bit, it is just off the top of my head. If I am mistaken somewhere, I apologize. Good luck with your betta!

Last edited by Gryphon; 01-11-2013 at 01:41 AM.
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Old 01-11-2013, 01:47 AM   #3 
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So, I think most of your questions were just answered excellently. The only comment I have is that some pet store betta are so super bred and distanced from their wild origins that they can have weird quirks.

Both my tanks have their own lights but the one my VT is in has multiple settings and he hates total darkness, I know this because the only time he has ever nipped at his own tail was when I turned his light ALL the way off, so I leave his tank on the super lowlight setting which is supposed to mimic moonlight. My CT has a 12 on and 12 off cycle that seems to be working so far but he's new so I'm still learning his likes and dislikes.
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Old 01-11-2013, 01:59 AM   #4 
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1. As long as your betta has a day and night cycle he'll be fine, it doesnt matter the time of day, just as long as he can recognise when its supposed to be light, and when its supposed to be dark. Its just to keep them on a regular cycle. you dont necessarily need a seperate tank light, as long as the tank is lit up well enough with another light source. They aren't real fans of natural light though, I'd do something artificial.

2. Best diet: NLS is the best food out there thats readily available. 5-6 pellets a day...you can split that up into 2-3 feedings. you can supplement with bloodworms or other frozen/live food 1x/week, and give them a fast day each week as well.

3. If your betta will eat then let him eat on his first day home. Some wont eat because they are so stressed from the travel, or being in such a tiny cup for so long, or the adjustment from a cup to a tank, (or a plethora of other reasons) I myself always offer food the first day though because I feel like if they were in a cup they probably didnt eat that day anyways, or if they were shipped they havent ate since the day before they were boxed up.

4. I myself would only clean it maybe like every other change, just because If theres a decoration there, I'm not sure how much would get under it?

5. Nope, no seperate buckets. I'm sure it would probably be a good idea, but I just rinse out the bucket after I'm done emptying the tank and before I add clean water to it.

6. Squeeze out the sponge in DIRTY tank water after every change, but dont replace it unless its falling apart. When you do replace the old cartridge with a new one, leave the old one next to the new one for a few days before you remove it just so you can seed the new sponge. You'll more than likely end up with a bacterial bloom any time you replace the filter media so you want to avoid it as much as possible, just for the fact that bacterial blooms are ugly. (IMO)

7. Dont replace the gravel unless the paint is chipping or you want a different gravel. Some benificial bacteria grows on the gravel as well as filter media which is why you never want to perform a 100% change on a cycled tank.
I only use the algea scrubber when I start to see a lot of algea on the walls. A little algea here and there is to be expected. I'm not sure how often they are recommended for.

8. It probably would ruin the BB, but there will be enough of it in your tank that you really dont need to worry about rinsing it off of a couple decorations every now and again.

9. I put my conditioner in a few minutes before adding the water to the tank and just swirl it around really well before I dump it. You do want to add your water slowly but not because of conditioner, its so that if your fish is in the tank he wont get thrown around by the current, and so that decorations and gravel arent stirred up too badly.

10. Thoroughly clean. Food and waste slips in through the cracks and makes its way through gravel really well, so you want to make sure you clean thoroughly and get everything you can to avoid ammonia spikes.

11. bubble nests mean they are ready to breed. Flaring is them defending their territory. Thats really it that's out of the ordinary. My playing is showing them a mirror for about 10 minutes a day each, trying to get them to follow my finger, and when its blood worm day I try to get them to follow the worm through the water.

You can find epsom salts at your local pharmacy. get the plain nonscented kind.

Am I missing any stuff? Do I need a fish net? I've seen these products around the forum And all of these all seem like good products. Any suggestions?

You'll definitely want a fish net, and some extra filter floss and pantyhose just in case you need to baffle your filter.

my water changes:: I get my vaccuum out, start siphoning from the left and work slowly over to the right getting what spots look dirtiest the best. It's really simple, you'll know what to do when you do it. Make sure you dig in deep and work through it well. my tank gets to be a nightmare when I slack on vaccuuming.

hopefully this is helpful to you :)
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Old 01-11-2013, 02:16 AM   #5 
KCalNeon
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Thank you both so so much! You guys have been so helpful and in just a few days I've learned so much!

A couple follow up questions:

what is filter floss?

why do we make our Bettas flare?

and about how many blood worms/ shrimp a week? I also heard of brine shrimp (?) but not sure on what other meaty foods can be given.

Does fish food expire? where should it be stored?

can I use just frozen bloodworms/ other treats? Mom is really freaked out by live things.. but if its important I'll try to convince her ;)

Last edited by KCalNeon; 01-11-2013 at 02:36 AM.
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Old 01-11-2013, 02:42 AM   #6 
Gryphon
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The petco near me carries both Omega One and New Life Spectrum (betta), and petsmart carries Omega One. I think they print a 'best by' date on the containers, but I've never had a container expire. The only reason I can really think of food going bad is if it gets wet and starts to mold or something. I keep my food on a shelf below one of my tanks.

Usually a betta can take ~3-5 bloodworms before his belly starts to get pudgy. Just make sure to rehydrate freeze dried foods before feeding. I've never fed daphnia or brine shrimp, so I'm not sure there.

Mental stimulation and exercise are reasons that we encourage bettas to flare. It allows them to stretch their muscles and fully extend out their fins.

Filter floss is used in in conjunction with carbon, usually in hob (hang on back) filters. It provides a place for beneficial bacteria to grow and water flows through it as the filter works. It is essentially just polyester batting (like for quilt making), so getting a bag from a craft store is a cheap alternative compared to specialty fish 'filter floss'.
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Old 01-11-2013, 02:58 AM   #7 
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what is filter floss? --the spongey stuff that encircles the carbon in a filter packet...they sell it just by itself as filter floss

why do we make our Bettas flare? to give them excersize. keeps them in shape and healthy.

and about how many blood worms/ shrimp a week? I also heard of brine shrimp (?) but not sure on what other meaty foods can be given. Brine shrimp is also good, there are a lot of different frozen foods, most are okay, the only ones I would stay away from is beef heart and other warm blooded animals just because it's hard for them to digest the different tissues.
I feed about 3 max one time a week.

Does fish food expire? where should it be stored?
It doesnt have an expiration date but it's best to replace every 6 months. a dry space -- I keep mine in a cabinet under my tank -- as long as moisture doesnt get into it it'll be okay.

can I use just frozen bloodworms/ other treats? Mom is really freaked out by live things.. but if its important I'll try to convince her ;)
You dont need to use live. Frozen is just as good. She might freak out by finding a frozen block of bloody worms in her freezer though lol. I dont feed anything besides babies live food, its not necessary. If you cant get live then you could get freeze-dried, but that's last resort, and you want to pre-soak so it'll swell up before it gets in your bettas belly so they dont bloat up.

You want as much variety as you can get into your betta's diet to keep them healthy and active, so the more options you have the better.
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:50 AM   #8 
KCalNeon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aemaki09 View Post
what is filter floss? --the spongey stuff that encircles the carbon in a filter packet...they sell it just by itself as filter floss

why do we make our Bettas flare? to give them excersize. keeps them in shape and healthy.

and about how many blood worms/ shrimp a week? I also heard of brine shrimp (?) but not sure on what other meaty foods can be given. Brine shrimp is also good, there are a lot of different frozen foods, most are okay, the only ones I would stay away from is beef heart and other warm blooded animals just because it's hard for them to digest the different tissues.
I feed about 3 max one time a week.

Does fish food expire? where should it be stored?
It doesnt have an expiration date but it's best to replace every 6 months. a dry space -- I keep mine in a cabinet under my tank -- as long as moisture doesnt get into it it'll be okay.

can I use just frozen bloodworms/ other treats? Mom is really freaked out by live things.. but if its important I'll try to convince her ;)
You dont need to use live. Frozen is just as good. She might freak out by finding a frozen block of bloody worms in her freezer though lol. I dont feed anything besides babies live food, its not necessary. If you cant get live then you could get freeze-dried, but that's last resort, and you want to pre-soak so it'll swell up before it gets in your bettas belly so they dont bloat up.

You want as much variety as you can get into your betta's diet to keep them healthy and active, so the more options you have the better.
Thank you both! Oh lol I completley forgot that your probably gonna have to freeze 'frozen' worms 0_0 I know for a fact that she won't let me put any insect in any fridge in the house. She gives me a hard about putting some of my hamsters seeds in the fridge.

I might have to go with freeze dried worms and shrimp. Why is freeze dried bad? Omega one freeze dried seem fine. And how would you thaw it out?

Last edited by KCalNeon; 01-11-2013 at 04:01 AM.
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Old 01-11-2013, 03:52 AM   #9 
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Lots of questions is a good thing! I'm sure others have answered, but I will go ahead and throw my hat in too. Btw, I'm on my cell, so this will take a few posts to answer

1. Fish need 8 hours of direct light and 8 hours of complete darkness every day. It helps their sleep cycle and other things. What to do with the other 8 hours is up to you. The cool thing about a schedule is that their eyes will begen to adjust to the time which they know that that you are turning their lights on/off so they don't go through that confused/blinded phase.

2. Omega One Betta Bufet is a great pellet. Feed 1-3 pellets 1-2 times per day. Feed only what he gulps up and scoop out the rest. Bloodworms work as a once a week treat. Feed 6x per week and fast on the 7th

3. Fasting on the 1st day is up to you, but from what I've seen, they are usually too stressed to eat that 1st day anyway. And a day without food doesn't hurt them unless they are starving (look at his belly)
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Old 01-11-2013, 04:12 AM   #10 
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A couple follow up questions:

what is filter floss? It's a mechanical filter media that kind of looks like the stuff you put in a quilt

why do we make our Bettas flare? We don't unless we are trying to check out their tail type. Other times, they do it on their own to look macho

About how many blood worms/ shrimp a week? 3 or less

Does fish food expire? Yes, in about 6 months to a yesr depending. where should it be stored? A cool dry place out of direct sunlight.

can I use just frozen bloodworms/ other treats? Mom is really freaked out by live things.. but if its important I'll try to convince her. While they do attack the live stuff, I'm not about to keep it in my house myself, so my boy gets freeze dried and gulps them down just fine
Also, rather fresh, frozen, or freezedried, do NOT handle them directly. You could have alergies, so either shake them in, use tweezers, or wear a glove just to be safe.
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