After stopping by PetSmart yesterday with my DD, I suddenly find myself a new mom to one purple Betta named George. I already had an old 2 gal aquarium (it's like this one but an older model without a light, Marineland Eclipse Explorer
), so we only picked up some food pellets, water conditioner, some gravel, and 2 plastic plants... and of course George. I like to think we "rescued" him from the pet store. There were a dozen or so Bettas to choose from, most looking bored or unhappy in their plastic pint-sized container. I even saw one dead(!) female Betta, it was so sad. And they were all swimming in this unnatural blue colored water. DD chose George because he was purple, her favorite color.
Anyhow, we set up George in his new home and he seems happier to have more space to swim about. I started reading up on Betta care and I have lots of beginner questions. I now see that a 2.5 gal tank is prefered, but I'll have to make do with mi 2 gal and I will be diligent about frequent water changes.
FILTER & BIOWHEEL
The little aquarium I have has a filter. Should I use it or just leave it unplugged?
If I use it, I'll have to figure out what replacement filter to get for it. I should be able to take the old one to the store and try to match it up, right? (hoping)
The filtering unit comes with a "biowheel" which if I understand correctly does not need to be replaced. However given that this hasn't been used in years
, should I try to find a replacement or just use the old one?
BETTA FOOD PELLETS
I picked up a small bottle of Top Fin Color Enhancing Betta Bits (pellets) -- is this a good brand or should I pick up a different one? I randomly chose one from among the 4 or 5 different ones they had. This bottle looks like it will last forever, and I'm thinking that perhaps I should have picked up a smaller package.
The label says to feed 3-4 pellets, 2 times a day. The guy at PetSmart told me that once a day should be fine. I'm curious to know how much and how frequently Betta owners actually feed these pellets.
We brought George home yesterday afternoon and set him up in his new home. We fed him 4 pellets in the evening which he just ignored. Those pellets floated around for a long time! We sat there watching and watching and watching. George showed no interest. I thought maybe he was blind and couldn't SEE the pellets because they are so tiny. Anyhow, I didn't see the pellets later that night ... either George ate them or they dissolved into the water.
This morning we gave George 1 pellet, also ignored. Should I be worried about him not eating? Will he starve? Is he just taking his time acclimating to his new environment?
OTHER BETTA FOOD
I've been reading about other foods ... brine shrimp, blood worms, etc. I would like to add this to George's diet later on. I vaguely recall seeing a freezer unit at the store which sold frozen foods but can't remember specifics (except for the small frozen mice, which I assume are for reptiles). I do recall seeing something that might look like possible Betta food, it came frozen in 1" cubes. But I wonder, do you plop the whole thing into the tank? That seems like too much food.
I picked up a 2 oz bottle of Top Fin Betta Water Conditioner, the label says there is enough in the bottle to condition 12 gallons of water. I'm gonna go through this little bottle in no time with the frequent water changes in my 2g tank. I only saw 2 different bottles, both ~2 oz size. Surely these things must come in larger bottles that are more cost effective? Which water conditioner do you use? Any particular brand I should look for?
I read on somewhere (another website) that you can set aside some tap water and leave it sitting for at least 24 hours before using it for fish. Is this ok or bad practice?
CHANGING THE WATER
Ok, I understand that George will need frequent water changes. And I understand that it's ok to change 25 to 50% of the water. I know this is going to sound like a stupid question but ... how
do you go about changing the water?
I'm thinking of using a cup to scoop out the water, then replace it with pre-conditioned water. I'll probably get a small measuring cup to do this so that it'll be easy to hold with the handle and it will have a pour spout; it'll be a cup dedicated to water changes so it won't ever get washed with soap as I understand soap residue can be bad for fish.
Do I change the water with George in the tank? Or do I take him out first? Which would be less stressful for him?
I've read mention of using a gravel vacuum to clean the gunk at the bottom of the tank but I'm not exactly sure how it works. It looks like a tube of some sort, but I can't figure out how the "vacuum" part works. I saw instructions on one website and it mentioned connecting it to a faucet. How does this work if the tank is nowhere near a faucet? Confused. Is this something I really need?
Wondering if there is an easier way to clean the bottom...
I understand that Bettas like warmer waters. This won't be a problem right now as it's quite warm where I live, however I will need one when winter comes. So this gives me some months to get one. Is there a particular heater you could recommend for a 2 gallon tank?
Is there such a thing as too many plants? Right now I have one plant in there. I bought 2 but have not put the 2nd one in yet because it turned out to be taller than I thought. If I put it in the tank, the top of the plant will stick out of the water. However I'm thinking about placing this in the tank anyway, placing it under where the filter/aeration(?) water output "pours" water back into the tank. I'm thinking this taller plant placed underneath the water output would help minimize water movement in the tank (as I now understand that Bettas like calmer waters). Do you think this would be a good idea? Or should I just leave this taller plant out?
Would George find it too "crowded" if I added too many decorative things in the tank? It looks pretty sparse right now with the gravel and one plant. I could add the 2nd taller plant in and it would look better. However I was also thinking of going back to the store to see if I could get something like a "cave" where George could hide in when he wanted a little privacy.
TYPE OF BETTA
I found a website showing photos of different types of Bettas and have determined that George is a Veil Tail. The site mentioned that this type is considered a "mutt" and that they are not desirable for breeding or for show. No biggie to me, DD really loves her new fish and we both think he's pretty. Anyhow, I was wondering, is there a way to find out what type of Veil Tail George is?
Hope I haven't overwhelmed you guys with all my questions.