I normaly wouldn't do something like this but seeing as I'm absolutely new to fishkeeping I figure this could be a great way to reference for others that may be able to assist in case of issues.
So not too long ago a friend started up a pond in her back yard with some gold fish and koi. She let my daughter and another of our friends kids each pick the fish and name them before stocking them. I've always admired fish from afar I suppose but never actually had one as a "pet".
I tried doing the fishing thing while I was stationed in Alaska for a few yrs. while in the Air Force. Long story short, I happened to snag a little guy in the stream and reeled him in. I could not for the life of me grab a hold and release it. An older Asian woman came over who had been fishing for dinner and took care of it for me. I was embarrassed and furthermore felt a good deal of guilt. I felt I had no business messing with fish !!
Fast foward to a couple weeks back putting the fish in that small pond with all kinds of plants and I started wanting a Betta. I've always felt terrible seeing them in their little cups at your typical big box pet store. So off I went to research Betta's as my daughter was also interested after name and putting a goldfish in the pond. She's 5 and we've had two dogs since before she was born so she has never gone through the process of choosing a pet, learning about them and their care, and getting to select a name ! Exciting stuff for a 5 yr. old.
I ended up finding this site many times through Google searches so I figured I may as well join as I was confused on cycling and needed to learn the ropes.
After much mulling we went ahead and bought this http://www.petsmart.com/supplies/aqu...t=pfm%3Dsearch
tank kit. The few reviews were favorable and I did find a member here on the forum who gave it a thumbs up. To me it is like a poor man's Fluval Spec V.
Having never had a tank before I can't say I'm dissappointed with it.
It has one of the carbon/charcoal cartridges that slides in the compartment at the end on the backside of the intake area. I had read that this cartridge doesn't really help much or provice much good surface for the BB to colonize so I found a sponge that goes with one of the Fluval filters that looked like a pretty good fit. I slid it down in the side where the original cartridge was closest to the little intake slots. I put the original cartridge on the other side of where the pump sits since it's still all in the same compartment. The adjustable filter is able to be set quite low which I'm grateful for. Only when he goes directly into the output does it really push him much. I've seen him get in the stream a couple times and I think he is enjoying it.
Oh yeah ! There's an un-named betta in this tank too. He did very well going in. I acclimated him by using syringes to draw water out of his cup, followed by using another to put tank water in his cup. I did this numerous times over the course of about 75 minutes. Finally I dumped the rest of his mixed water that was temp matched at that time into a bowl and netted him and he was in the tank within a couple seconds.
Our tap water tests at .50ppm for ammonia. Ph was at 7.5 I was second guessing doing a fish-in cycle since I'd be starting at .50 but I know I'll be monitoring this like crazy and ready to do water changes. There is (almost) always someone here at home to test and/or change water. Tank was Primed and he appeared quite content.
I knew from the get go that I wanted plants so I had got an anubius, a java fern, and a lutea crypt. Nothing crazy, just something to try. My daughter loved picking out some kind of ornament for him and we decided the biggest thing would be a little bridge. Edges were all smooth so that checked out. The only other things we added were some shells and glass rocks packaged from the store. I really didn't want to deal with taking a chance on using anything we'd found just yet. Let's stick to the basics and keep it simple.
The first night I didn't bother trying to feed him. He was fairly active mostly staying up top near the surface and exploring there. He'd look at us like he wanted to eat... or maybe I'm just imagining things but I knew to just start in the morning. I had grabbed some New Life Spectrum as I've seen it suggested so many times here but the LFS said the pellets were too large. They showed me some Hikari Betta bio-gold. First ingrediant was fish meal so I decided to go with it. I wanted to be prepared should I need it that day.
The following day he seemed the same, exploring a bit more of his tank. We offered him food and he knew the deal ! I gave him three pellets since I had not fed him the night prior early in the day. He gobbled them right up and hung around hoping for more. Later that evening he was ready for two more and knew exactly where to go. He's so very aware of us. Unfortunately the crypt has started to melt... but from what I read this is not at all uncommon.
Today he's exploring more. Very interactive with us. Came right over for food and ate up his 2 pellets. He's now playing peek-a-boo in the java fern with us or just relaxing there. He's gone under his bridge and just hung out in there. He's also taking a liking to one of the shells that's leaning up against the back up the tank. Swims around the heater, swims between the thermometer and the glass.
He's also playing games with me I believe. I went over to test his water today and he's flat up against the little intake slots... so naturally I'm a bit freaked. I grab the net and go in to give an assist if that's what he needs. He kinda swam off when I got near him. He did this probably 4 times with me during a 20 minute period ! Little snot. He appears to be able to swim right away from it but I still worry about those little fins getting damaged.
So back to the water testing. As I said straight from the tap my ammonia reading is .50 ppm. Yesterday I test the tank at .25 ppm. Today was the same, probably even a more solid .25 ppm by color. I did dose Prime again yesterday... 10 drops for the 5 gallons. No water change yet. Nitrites and Nitrates reading 0. My tap ammonia reading today still holds at .50 ppm. Not sure if this is any effects of the plants but I thought that I had more fast growing plants that these three varieties wouldn't do much with the ammonia.
My crypt has continued to melt further. I'll likely cut off where needed and hopefully we get some new growth over time. Oh yeah, substrate is Caribsea Flora Max. The anubius and java fern don't look quite as fresh as they did when I first put them in but they appear to be much more stable than the crypt at this point.
So on to our little guy. I really need to put up a couple pictures here for feedback. He was labelled as a twin tail halfmoon. I believe he is a marble. He has a fairly pale colored face in general with some specs of mostly a maroon red. Going back on his body front to back he gets more blue/green/purple splotched shades based on lighting and the angle you are looking at him. His tails do have some purple-ish blue streaks in them and a light blue at the ends circumfrence but not a thick bold line. His beard, upper and lower fins (sorry I don't know all the correct names yet) are a deep red though some of the blue/green/purple from his body show strongly at the base of the top.
Hopefully we have a name for him soon and I can post a couple pictures for feedback on his colors/tail etc. He's been a character so far and we've really enjoyed the short time we've had with him so far. I did try to get him to flare so I could get a good look at those fins but he just took a look in the mirror and didn't seem to care.
That's it for now. I'm logging all my tests, feeding, water changes (once I start actually doing some-would think ammonia will rise soon) behaviour, and plant conditions.