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Old 08-29-2008, 07:27 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Really new at this and really confused(long post)

I kind of feel like I have been seriously mislead by petsmart. About 2 1/2 weeks ago, I bought two male bettas for my daughter. I was told they were super easy to care for and needed very little maintenence. I didn't want to have to get a huge set up with a filter and all that or else I wouldn't have gotten any fish in the first place. Ok, so here is what they told me all I would need:
1 tank, it's pretty small, not even a gallon, with a divider. Came with gravel and some plastic plants.
water conditioner

and that's it!! I was told to feed 3-4 pellets to each of them twice a day, change the water out weekly and that's about it. Nothing about a heater or anything else I'm reading here on this forum.
So, 10 days later, one dies. I go back to the store for another one (Petsmart will replace or refund within 14 days and I need to go find another purple "replacement" fish, my daughter is 2 so we are not ready to get into the explanation of death and all that!) Double check everything I'm doing with the lady at petsmart to make sure I've got it all right, get another fish, clean the tank and wash the gravel out, put the water conditioner in and back in business! Wrong! 4 days later, the "replacement" fish dies! And on the other side the other one is still looking just fine swimming around happy as ever.
I did buy (when I got the second fish) some plant bulbs that grow real plants in the tank because they told me they could nibble on those and it would be nice to have instead of fake plants. I don't know if that makes any difference or not.
Now I'm reading that a heater is necessary and the water temp must be around 78 degrees and I really don't think that water is that warm.
But why is the other fish doing just fine?
Also when I went back to petsmart the second time I noticed they had maybe a dozen or so male bettas in those tiny tiny little tanks and about 3 or 4 of them were already dead! Were they unhealthy to begin with?
I'm so confused and annoyed at myself for thinking it could be so simple.
Does anyone have any insight as to why I can't keep one fish alive on one side but the other one is ok?
Thanks and sorry for my ignorance
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Old 08-29-2008, 08:23 AM   #2 
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i don't actually keep betta's but i do know a little bit about them. firstly they do need a bit of space so i think the tank you have may be a bit small espeacially for 2.

i would never keep a fish without a filter, don't know if people do but i wouldn't. you can get really small filters that are quite cheap as well. you also need to cycle your tank. i think there is a bit on here about the cycling process.

bettas are also called siamese fighting fish. reason being that the males and sometimes the females as well will fight to the death. they flare their fins at each other as a threat, which yes looks very pretty but it actually stresses the fish by a huge amount.

if you definately want the 2 with a devider then do the fish a favour and buy a divider that isn't see through and isn't reflective. or use decorations to block the view.

like i said i don't keep them so anyone who wants to correct me feel free

best of luck
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Old 08-29-2008, 08:25 AM   #3 
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IMHO both fish could have been sick. It's also possible that a container that small can MAYBE support one fish but not two. In such a small container water changes every other day MAYBE two days would be necessary. Were it me I would only offer one pellet per fish daily. This would go a long way in preserving water quality. Always use dechlorinator and add it to the new water BEFORE you put it in. I am not a fan of keeping bettas in small containers but many insist on doing so. Depending on where you live and considering it is still summer, room temp should work for bettas but winter months could require the use of small heater.
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Old 08-29-2008, 10:28 AM   #4 
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here is a link to betta care you should read.

when you are dealing with fish dont go to the pet store staff for adivce. 90% of the time the dont know what they're talking about or they're trying to sell you somthing. im sorry you had to learn the hard way. :(
unlike most fish, bettas can survive in a tiny tank, but they wont be happy so they wont thrive so they wont live long, which you already experienced.

i would reccomend geting at least 2.5 gallon tank per fish OR a divided 5 gallon with heater (5 watts per gallon) and small filter. the bigger the tank, the more stable the water quality is so you dont have to keep doing water changes. and bettas are tropical fish and do requirer 78 degree water and will become very lethargic and prone to illnesses if they are too cold.

but about only one of the fish surviving, perhaps you just bought a weak fish. then the other one was quiet stronger. but ya read up on that link i showed you. it helped me and proby the same for you.

hope this helped
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Old 08-29-2008, 11:47 AM   #5 
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yes several of the fish at petstores are already sickly especially bettas from filthy water and lack of space. I have a couple smaller tanks (2-2.5 gallons) that i dont use filters in but my bigger 30 gallon tank has one. if you dont want to get the fancy setup with filter and suck have you seen those huge bowls with 2 flat sides? they are like 3 gallons or something i have never checked but thats what they looked like to me. you can get them for like $9 or $10 at my petsmart or even those $6 1 gallon bowls could be used though i would reccomend something bigger. my healthiest betta is a female from walmart, never shown any signs of being sick even slightly, but you might go there and see bettas that wont make it through the night so it really varies... (i have 6, 4 from petstores and walmart, 2 from a breeder) bettas like live or silk plants also, plastic ones can tear their fins. you dont need gravel with them its your choice, and your feeding amount seems good (give them 1 day a week to fast, it will clear them out and prevent bloating and constipation) and if you could get some frozen bloodworms or something to feed like once a week as a tasty snack though it is not something you HAVE to do, which brings us to our topic for heaters, bettas are tropical fish and stay healthiest and happiest in warm temperatures, it even makes most become a more vibrant color or even a different color once they hit that warm clean water, they have micro heaters that are no more than 10 watt which are great for smaller tanks and they are about $10 i believe. if you dont want to have to get 2 you could go get one of those plane glass tanks that dont come with anything and just get something no smaller than 5 gallons, put a divider in it (for something that small you can get the divider for like $6 and the tank for like $11 or $12 and then you would have more space for a cheaper price eliminating a second bowl and a second heater) plus i think glass tanks look nicer and clearer :)
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