ok so bettas have been recently new to me and I realize that most people recommend a 2+ gallon tank for their betta.
However, I have to admit that I am pleased and my betta seems very happy and eats well. I would like to share my shoplist and current process with you all so if any new betta owners would like to give it a shot. This setup cost me less then $100.
DAY 1 - SHOPLIST (PETSMART):
TOPFIN AQUASCENE 1-GALLON AQUARIUM KIT ($15-20)
TOPFIN AQUARIUM GRAVEL ($3-5)
GLASS BEADS ($2-3)
PLANTS - 3 PACK ($7-10)
KORDON AMQUEL+ & NOVAQUA+ 4oz. COMBO ($5)
WATER TEST PACK 5-IN-1 ($5-10)
AQUAFINA PURIFIED DRINKING WATER - 1 GALLON ($2-3)
DO NOT BUY YOUR FISH YET!!!
DAY 1 - WHAT TO DO!!!
STEP 1 - RINSE AND ASSEMBLE THE TANK PROPERLY
READ THE DIRECTIONS!!!
note: I did not use the air-stone included as it creates too many bubbles, I simply ran the line empty-ended.
STEP 2 - RINSE and place the 2 smaller plants at the bottom of the tank around the filter tube with enough space for the fish to swim around everything, save the largest (usually a bush-like seaweed looking plant) for later.
STEP 3 - RINSE gravel and SLOWLY add to tank in layers until the anchors of the two plants are covered entirely (about 2 inches). Layer the glass beads over the gravel to provide a nice smooth surface for your betta to rest on.
STEP 4 - Add water as directed in tank instruction (1/2" over air-tube) and add 1/2 filled cap of AmQuel+ and NovAqua+ to water. Place your larger bushy plant on its side on the surface of the water with spaces for your betta to reach the surface.
note: placing the 3rd plant on the surface will regulate the bubbles formed by the filter to a certain degree and will also give your betta less direct light from the aquarium's 7.5w bulb.
STEP 5 - after 1 hour, test water with 5-in-1 kit. Your PH should be slightly low and all other levels should be ideal.
IMPORTANT - place your tank somewhere that direct light will not shine on it as you will be using the tank's bulb at night to keep the surface temp warmer. Your betta will be "sleeping" during the day.
DAY 2 - WHAT TO DO!!!
STEP 1 - Do a 15-20% water change. Make sure you continue to use the purified drinking water. The tap water is terrible in my town.
STEP 2 - Test water - should have same results as previous day with slight changes to nitrate level. Do not worry if nitrate level is slightly higher, your tank is cycling and your filter is building up neccesary organisms to keep your tank in proper working order for the long run.
STEP 3 - Add a few drops of Amquel+ to water.
DAY 3 - SHOPLIST (PETSMART):
A BETTA!!! PICK A WINNER!!! ($5-10)
AQUEON BETTA PELLETS ($3)
TOPFIN DRIED BLOOD WORMS ($3)
SHOT GLASS or PIXIE CUPS
DAY 3 - WHAT TO DO!!!
STEP 1 - Test water before adding your betta, your levels should not have changed much from day 2. If a drastic change has happened you will need to rinse the tank, gravel, plants and add new water along with the treatment of Amquel+ and NovAqua+.
note: if your water is slightly tinted yellow do not worry, that is normal!
STEP 2 - If everything is ok with your water test then remove 15-20% of the water from your tank and place your betta in the tank along with the water they were sold with. This water that your betta was sold with will help the cycling process in your tank in its final steps. Fill up your tank as needed with purified drinking water up to the instructed level (1/2" above the air-tube).
STEP 3 - Add 1/2 cap full of NovAqua+ to water. Try not to pour directly on your betta.
STEP 4 - Your betta might not have much of an appetite at first, as they are stressed in an unfamiliar environment. However, if you do decide to feed them soon after adding them to the tank, make sure you use a shot glass or pixie cup to soften the pellets before attempting to feed them to your fish. Otherwise, you can just try to feed them some of the blood worms which require no softening.
IMPORTANT!!! - Make sure you remember to turn on your light at night when the temps get lower. Also remember to turn it off in the morning so your betta has proper cycle of light and darkness.
DAY 4 and 5 - WHAT TO DO!!!
STEP 1 - Check your betta for signs of disease. White spotting, velvet-looking scales, gold-tint to scale, etc. If you run into any of these please ask on these forums for help based on the betta's condition.
STEP 2 - Check your water conditions with the test kit, you may need to purchase more strips at this time based on the kit you originally purchased. Your PH should be rising slightly, but not quickly. And your nitrate level should still be slightly higher then normal.
STEP 3 - Do a 15-20% water change and add a few drops of AmQuel+ to your water.
DAY 6 and 7 - WHAT TO DO!!!
Days 6 and 7 should be as days 4 and 5, however you should notice the water will clear up in this timeframe. Don't bother watching your tank for it to clear up, it will happen once your tank has properly cycled.
After about 7 days your betta should be more familiar with their environment and their appetite will be normal. Make sure you do 15-20% water changes every 3-4 days.
Prepare and feed pellets to your betta every day (3-4 pellets a day is fine) except on days you feed them blood worms (every 4 days to a week).
It is also recommended to "fast" your betta 1 day a week (not feed them at all) to keep their appetite regular and healthy and allow their digestive system a rest. Usually this is done after a day you have fed them blood worms or some other betta-friendly treat like brine shrimp or daphnia.
Good luck and happy betta-ing!