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Old 10-28-2013, 09:43 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Oct 2013
New to Bettas- am I doing it right?

Okay, just for some background, I'm a college student in a dormitory that allows us to keep fish. I had bettas when I was younger, but that was when I believed that they could be kept in small vases without a heater. After reading these forums for the past few months, I decided to become an informed betta owner. I just want to make sure I'm starting off right.

I've got my boy in a 2.5 gallon tank with smooth stones, a log decoration that he can hide in, and a moss ball. I'm using an Aqueon mini heater, which sadly doesn't have a dial to adjust the temperature, but it's doing a pretty nice job keeping my tank warm as of now. When I can get back to petsmart I'm going to buy some silk plants for him to lay on and hide in.

My main question is if it's okay to use the smooth stones instead of gravel.

Also, he won't eat his pellets. Is he just adjusting to his new home, or is it possible that he's a picky eater?

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Old 10-28-2013, 09:55 AM   #2 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Yes stones are fine. The only bad thing about stones in my opinion is when you do water changes it makes it harder to gravel vac the bottom of the tank and get up any
Left over food and waste, as for pellets have you tried different types or just the one, you can also crush them and then they will some times eat them, does he even attempt to eat them and spits them out?? Also if he isn't eating them try some brine shrimp or blood worms, but try to get him to eat pellets first, try a different pellet brand and see how you get on, also don't forget to remove uneaten food or it will cause a build up of waste
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:59 AM   #3 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Michigan, US
For removing waste in a tank with stones, I use a turkey baster to get in between the stones and suck everything up. It's not perfect, and it takes some patience, but it works pretty well
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:36 AM   #4 
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Location: Tulsa, OK
I use stones in my tanks because I personally despise gravel. That being said, you can use a turkey baster to suck up goo and grime, like srf312 said, or take them out and rinse them off, wiping the tank with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. You have a 2.5 tank anyway, so a 100% water change should be tossed in at the end of every month.

And, yes, I am serious about the Magic Eraser. Completely harmless for the fish and useable more than once :)

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Old 10-28-2013, 10:54 PM   #5 
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Location: Northfield Minnesota
I was in the same boat like you. I bought a betta and looked online to see if I was doing everything right. then.. I found this site and it helped me A LOT!

I have a Aqueon mini heater. it works for the most part as you said. at least it gets the water warm. ^^

Have you tried smashing the pellets up? I had to do that with my boys once. then I switched to Omega one flakes and they they LOVE the stuff. <3
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Old 10-29-2013, 01:07 AM   #6 
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Location: West Virginia
Stones are fine. I don't use a vac, I clean everything when I do my 100% water changes. It's easier (IMO) that way. He could be a picky eater, I have a couple who will only eat pellets and a couple who would not touch them. Maybe try a different brand. I bought these (link below) and all my fish love them, even the picky eaters. They are a little pricey to just "try" them to see if he likes them. If you message me your address I would be more than happy to send you a small sample so you can try them out without buying a whole bottle. :)

I have the same heater in my hospital tank and I haven't had an issue with it at all. I've had it since June and my temp always stays at 78*.
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Old 11-02-2013, 01:39 AM   #7 
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Okay, just as an update, I think I may have just bought a sick fish. I've had him for a little less than a week now, and he never ended up touching the pellets. I don't think it was an issue of being a picky eater because he wouldn't even go near them or show any interest. The tank has been holding steady around 78-79 degrees and I've done two 50% water changes, along with removing all the stones, rinsing them, and putting them back both times.

Other than not eating, he hasn't shown any real signs of being sick until yesterday. He was a little less active than I would like, but he didn't appear to be struggling to get to the top for air or anything. Today his fins were a little clamped up and he looked a little bloated so I started him on short epsom salt baths in a hospital tank. I actually had a chance to get to my pet store today, and I bought some freeze-dried bloodworms, daphnia, and mysis, hoping that he would be interested in new food. I put a few bloodworms in his tank and he snapped at them but didn't eat them. I scooped them out and tried again later with the daphnia. Same result. I don't know what to try now, he hasn't eaten in a week and possibly longer since I have no clue how his eating habits were at the pet store.

Sorry this was kind of long, I'm just worried about my new boy :(
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Old 11-02-2013, 11:43 PM   #8 
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Try crushing some garlic and soaking a few pellets in the juice and then feeding him the pellets. It sounds like stomach issues. Try to keep the water clean while he's sick, do 50% water changes every day until he does better. Poor guy!
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Old 11-03-2013, 12:05 AM   #9 
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Location: Cape May, NJ
Most issues early on are just the fish adjusting. I got my fiance's family a betta and he refused to eat his pellets for the entire first month they had him, which confused me because I never had trouble getting my guy to eat anything. A couple of days ago he suddenly decided to start eating. Both my guy and my fiance's get Omega One betta pellets. They're smaller than some of the other brands and healthier than a lot of the kinds the petstores put right next to the bettas.

Whatever ailments he may have will most likely be cured with TLC and warm, clean water. Be patient, he just needs time to adjust. It sounds like you're doing a good job so far :)
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Old 11-03-2013, 12:19 AM   #10 
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So, good news, this morning he decided to start eating the mysis! He's already more active and a lot happier, and he's been hamming it up and begging all day! The bloat has gone down considerably, so I think it's crisis averted!
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