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Old 04-11-2009, 09:51 PM   #1 
Join Date: Apr 2009
First time owner (to be)

Hey guys. Sorry, these are just some standard, basic questions that you get all the time. I wouldn't ask at all since most of the answers are available all over the net, but it is always good to get person responses because forum frequenters usually have such great tips and recommendations.

So here is the story. I have a five gallon tank with the gravel tray... and HOPEFULLY i still have the top piece for the lamp/bulb somewhere. I know the plastic lid thingy is gone... and I'll have to somehow make a replacement for that because the condensation has, in the past, destroyed the lamp. Any recommendations? Maybe I could somehow just use standard plastic wrap with a couple large holes in it?

Anyway, I've never had a betta before and budget is going to be a huge factor in this pet owning endeavor.
I need to find a heater. I think the one I have/had broke. Or it's lost. Can anybody reccomend a cheap, functional, and small heater that would be suitable for a five gallon tank?

And filter. I just had one of those air pump things that blows bubbles up the tube. It didn't really seem to do anything at all, but I guess the theory is that it creates a current up the tube which in turn pulls water downwards into the gravel/tray thing. But yeah. Seemed to do nothing.
I would prefer not to use a filter just because my room is short on outlets and I'd have to deal with extension cords and stuff, which my dog likes to trip over. Not to mention the pump thing was kind of loud and vibratey. But if using that bubble thing will make my fish healthier, I guess I can go for it.
Or is there some other (cheap) filter that would be a good idea.

Also, decorations. I keep seeing that it should have decorations. I LOVE decorations, so this shouldn't be a problem. Any DIY decoration ideas? And plants. What do I need to know about having a plant or two in my tank. Is five gallons too small for htat? do I need any other special things?

Lastly: Gravel. I have always just used those tacky little blue rocks/gravel. but I would really like to use some river rocks that are a bit smaller (but very clean from years spent in a little indoor fountain.) Would anything be wrong with using these pebbles?

Also, any money saving tips that oyu have in general would be good.

Oh wait. I have one more questions. I know that with most animals, you don't want to buy from some standart petshop or petco or walmart or something. Is it the same with Bettas? Should I go to a local aquarium shop? Or is it ok to get the walmart/petco bettas?
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Old 04-12-2009, 08:22 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Kentucky
First thing, 5 gallon is a good size for a lone betta. I wouldn't use plastice wrap as it will stretch real easily and possibly melt from the lampand become a hassle more than a help. I would suggest getting some plexi-glass cut at your local hardware store, try Lowe's I think they'll even cut it for you.

as for heaters i would try something like this:

or this:

wich is what I use. make sure you have a thermometer though so you can always monitor the temperature.

If you don't want to use a filter, you don't really have to, just do partial water changed one or twice a week, and to a total clean sweep once a month or every 2 months, depending on the dirtyness, you want to get a water test kit to keep an eye on the ammonia and ph level, and also Nitrates and nitrites. but if your cleaning regulary it shouldn't be much of an issue.

As for decorations, plants are great , and hides/caves are really good too, make sure there is plenty of surface area though for them to come up and get air. try to switch them around or change different ones to keep them interesting to your betta. They like color and motion.

the pebbles would be pretty just make sure they're clean, i's put them in bloiling water for a few minutes then rinse in cold.

as for money saving tips, i try to buy things on amazon, rather than petstores, the retail markups on tank deco is rediculous! haha i saw a pot/cave thingy at my local pet store for 27.99 i was like what the!

as for where to purchase your betta, in my opinion its completely up to you, some people won't buy from wal-mart beacuse they're poorly taken care of, Lots of people have gotten bettas in bad shappe and really saved them. I got my Elton at a pet shop I used to work at, I always give them all my business :-p

I think i answered everything lol good luck in finding everything you need, if you have any questions just ask :-p we're all more than happy to help ;)

EDIT: if you've never owned a betta before, you're in for a pleasant surprise! Lots of them are super smart and have different personalities! Just keep them warm, clean and happy and I'm sure it'll have a long happy healthy life for you both to enjoy!

EDIT #2: haha you didn't ask, but I forgot to mention diet. Bettas are carnivorous so make sure you give them as much good quality, and as much variety of foods as you can. It keeps them healthy, brightly colored and keeps them from getting bored. Brine shrimp and bloodworms are great for them. a lot of people here feed Hikari brant Betta Bio-Gold pellets. They're good too. It just depends on your betta too. Just keep trying different things, but don't overfeed :D

Last edited by Nighthawk; 04-12-2009 at 08:27 PM.
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Old 04-13-2009, 05:12 PM   #3 
Join Date: Apr 2009

Thank you so much for all your info! You've been really helpful.

I ended up just buying a aquarium kit from the pet store because I realized it wasn't going to be much more expensive than getting all the pieces I am missing for my tank.
Also, when I dug mine out from the garage, I realized it was NOT five gallons like I remembered it, it was more like three. I'm sure he'll be happier with the five gallon.

I just have one more major concern. I just set the tank up (I haven't bought a fish yet) and the flow from the filter seems fairly strong. Do you think my fish can just avoid that or am I going to be best off getting rid of the filter (and maybe buying a better one once I have more money.

And thanks once again. You've been really helpful. All of you, I've been browsing through all the posts for a few days now and I have learned so much! I'm so excited!
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Old 04-13-2009, 06:11 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Betta fish are really not the greatest swimmers out there in the fish world, their fins are pretty, but are way too big to be very useful or functional in the way of swimming. Bettas can and will get sucked into a filter if the pull is too strong, and likewise, if the output back into the tank is too strong, it can knock the betta around and they will end up rather stressed and beaten up. If you can, see if you can adjust the flow of the filter down so it is not as strong, or consider building a buffer for it. If neither one of these are good for you, then indeed, either go without a filter or go to the store and find one that has an adjustable rate that can be slowed way down.
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