Alright, the people at the pet store have helped absolutely 0 up to this point. I received a Betta fish as a gift, and honestly was not prepared. I went to the pet store, bought a 2.5 gallon tank, a fake plant, a Chinese style pot for him to hide in, food, water conditioner, and a thermometer.
Now, I washed everything off with boiling water before I even put him in. I scrubbed it all off with a toothbrush as well, just to make sure (I was told not to use soap or chemicals because that could kill him). I conditioned some water, and dropped him in. For 3 days he was perfectly happy, and swam a lot. He still eats fine, and responds to stimulus (follows your finger along the tank), but he just sits there a lot now. He goes up to the top of the pot, and lays himself down on the lip of it. I know they are "laid back" fish, but could this be due to a lack of proper temperature (it is only about 70 degrees now). Also, the water has become cloudy, and I can see little clearish whiteish flakes in the water. I did a half water change, to no avail, there is less, but it is still cloudy (not sure what I was really expecting). Should I get a filter, or is this just something natural with a new tank?
I have read a few answers to most of the questions, but they either don't make sense, or just plain contradict one another, so I figured I would ask someone who is actually knowledgeable instead of the morons working at the pet store.
EDIT: I forgot to mention that I have glass beads on the bottom (fairly large).
Could you tell us your water parameters? That would really help a lot. Most LFS will test your water for free, but make sure to get the exact numbers, not just "it's fine".
In a tank that small you should really be changing the water 50% every other day. A filter would definitely help. Also, your betta needs a heater! The water should be at least 78° for him to stay happy and healthy.
The cloudiness is ammonia buildup and the tank is probably trying to cycle. Even a sponge filter would help but you'd still need frequent water changes to keep the ammonia from killing the fish, they become less frequent when the tank is cycled and there's a filter installed. I'd prefer 25% changes once a day (less stressful and shock to the fish) but that's just me, and get a liquid testing kit. You also need a heater for the tank, those mini-ones do nicely for a 2.5 gallon(look for Hydor or Marineland).
Alright, well I did a complete water change, and put in a heater (set to 78 Degrees) as well as an in tank filter (Whisper In Tank i3). So I should do daily water changes for how long until the filter gets established? Also, the tank seems a little crowded with all of the stuff in there now, is that going to bother the fish? I can't get him a bigger tank unfortunately, as a 2.5 gallon is the largest I am allowed to have in my dorm room.
And, I was told to make sure that the current is not too strong. I put him in there, and he seems to like chasing the food across the top, and he even sits near the top and swims around his pot, and is still normal colored. I kinked the hose anyway, to lessen the current. Is there any definitive way for me to tell if the current is to strong?