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Old 02-18-2010, 09:07 AM   #1 
Balthasar
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My First Beta

Alright, I just got a beta as a gift. I have fascination with fish, so this was the best gift ever. It's strange I've not bought one sooner... ?

Well, The very next day I was out all day looking for a large bowl or something of the like. I finally found a large glass bowl that holds around 2.5 Gallons. Throughout the day I also obtained a great wood stump thing, stones, a couple plastic/cloth plants. Well I wasnt thinking forward enough apparently, as I was not pleased with what I had.
First off, the stones I bought (bagged) were painted white, and even after I washed the stones there was white material floating on the surface once the water was poured. I skimmed and skimmed and cleaned it all up... but was still dissatisfied. Why did I choose white? Looks so sterile.
One of the fake plants is awesome, It matches my buddy and well... just seems right. But the other fake plant I bought should have never left the shelf.
Well I found this site and read up alittle. I went looking for java fern but the store I ended up at had poor quality ones. I ended up getting something that looks like Sagittaria, Im not sure what it is but she insisted its safe for my beta. Bought a pack of Aponogeton bulbs, but Im concerned about overall space. I have the bamboo that he came in, and placed that in the tank as well. I bought some natural looking stones, took some of the old ones out and placed the new ones on top, and planted my live plants. And I also bought a snail.

Well the next day (yesterday) my snail died. I equalized his water but I didnt know what else I should have done. That is why I am finally posting... Ill be spending the next hours reading all the information I can find. But I post here so anyone can help speed my info finding process.

I'll post pics if necessary, but wanted to get this post up first.
This is where I'm at. Im around the DC area so it's kinda cold right now. My room (betas room) doesnt have the best heat, while the rest of the house is toasty, Im setting alittle cold. I forgot to get a thermometer but I'm going to pick one up today. But he is swimming around and has bubbles at the top, so I think hees ok at the moment. I have a desk lamp next to him but Im looking for a great replacement. He has both flakes and pellets.

Yesterday I noticed the water looks murky. No I havent changed the water, changing 30% today. I first bought TetraAqua AquaSafe, but bought Aqueon Betta Bowl Plus. If someone could confirm the ladder is a good purchase, that would be much appreciated. I was thinking the water turned slightly tannish rather quickly, I thought it might be the wood thingy. Its something I bought from the original pet store the day after receiving my Beta. I'll post a pic (in bowl) if necessary, but has anyone 2 cents on that?
Today I read up alittle, and seems the general consensus is tanks. That way you can filter the water... over the obvious more; room to put amazing habitats in. I'm sticking with what I have for the moment, as a tank might be just outside the budget ATM. But reading here, I gather 50% water change a week, does this still apply to bowls? If so I already did the math, I figure Ill change every other day at set amounts and treat each new batch with my new conditioner.
About my snail. My mind is flooded with alot of questions. I'm sooo new to this, I'm sure there are factors I didnt even consider.
Today, I have noticed a film growing on the bamboo, but not on anything else. The bamboo was from his "cup" he was delivered in a large glass cylinder, with this bamboo sticking out. I had washed & rinsed the outside of the cup real well and placed it in the bowl to equalize. after a few hours I let the top tip under the surface so he could find his way out on his own. I at first thought Id pour the water from the cup in the bowl but decided not to and disposed of it, leaving the rocks inside. Boy am I glad I decided to do that because when I took a whiff of the cup it smelled like hell!!! That poor poor guy... Well Im wondering if the film on the bamboo is from its previous build up in his cup. Did my conditioner turn it to goo? is this what a snail would eat? Is this good or bad? Should I remove it or leave it...

Ahh, I didn't use these... I bought some Bacteria Supplement... Will I even need this? And if so, guidelines.

Of course... I'll be reading through various threads here, and general searches too. But any advice is much appreciated.

P.S. Sorry this post is so big, I have so much to consider.
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Old 02-18-2010, 11:45 AM   #2 
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First off.. a 2.5 gallon bowl is fine for your fish but too small for any other tank mates (even if it was cycled and filtered). Snails need to be in aerated water (whether from a filter or air pump) and cannot live solely in a bowl. The snail you got was probably sick or dieing bc even in the bowl he should have lasted longer than a day. (BTW are you sure he is dead? They can hole up in their shells from time to time for days, the only way to know really is to smell them.. they really STINK).

If the wood stump is actually wood (as opposed to fake resin) it is probably releasing tannins. These are actually really beneficial to the fish. Eventually all the tannins in the wood will leech out and your water will be clear again.

Make sure you sprout the bulbs in a separate bowl of water until they start to sprout.. in case some of them die so it won't hurt your fish. Once you start to see sprouts you can place the bulb in the tank but don't bury it (or the bulb will rot). Apons probably won't do well in a bowl.. the need lots of light and like flowing water better than still water. The other plants you got I'm not as familiar with but I'll say in an uncycled bowl having live plants is hard because you need to be doing 100% water changes which is hard on the plants. Make sure if you have bamboo that the leaves are not submerged or they will rot as well.

You really need to get a heater.. desk light is not enough to heat a bowl plus it will get cold when you turn the light off. Bettas need a normal photoperiod just like people. A betta's bowl should be around 76-82*F.

On an uncycled 2.5 gallon you should do at least 3 water changes a week. Two of those can be partial 50% water changes but at least one needs to be a full 100% change where you rinse the gravel and remove all the waste.

I would wipe all the slime off.. if the leaves were submerged they're probably beginning to rot.. keep a close eye on the bamboo.

Just throw the bacteria supplement out.. those are for cycling tanks and don't work anyways.

The aqueon is perfectly fine for a water conditioner. I've heard the tetra can cloud your water so look out for that. Only use one conditioner.
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Old 02-18-2010, 12:03 PM   #3 
Balthasar
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Hmmm. Thats alot of gravel cleaning. I was afraid of that. Im not complaining in the least, I was unaware of such extremes. I guess that is why the gravel in the cup smelled like hell.

No the bamboo leaves are not submerged, yes the wood thing is real wood.

I got a bowl going off my pre-conceptions. It's pretty sweet so far in there... But I need to understand more before I start making more decisions. Getting a filter and rigging it up to the bowl seems... awkward. I might have to get a tank and skip the unnecessary stress on my beta.

I'm about to head out to a couple of places right now. I'm going to look at tanks while I'm there too.

I appreciate the comment, And I'll check back for more.
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Old 02-18-2010, 12:12 PM   #4 
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I used the Tetra brand conditioner and it made the water very cloudy after only about 6 hours after a water change. Terrible stuff. I recommend Prime water conditioner.

I might be worth going to Walmart and getting a 5 gallon tank kit they have. It comes with a filter and light, in addition to the tank. It is only $29 which is quite cheap considering all that comes with it. If you bought another tank (let's say a plastic Kritter Keeper) after buying the filter, kritter keeper, and a light it would be over $29. And with the light and filter you could keep a few low-maintenance live plants in there.

I share your fascination with fish! I used to sit on the dock at my uncle's camp in the summers and stare at the sunfish (and, yes, try to catch them with a net!). Now I get to sit and stare at the fish next to me (and no, not try to catch them!! :) .

Welcome and you're doing a great job trying to do the right thing for your guy!!
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Old 02-18-2010, 12:17 PM   #5 
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Thats the problem with an uncycled bowl.. water changes. Eventually you get into a routine and it doesn't seem so bad.. cycled tanks are WAY easier though. Check craigslist, goodwill, and any other thrift stores in your area.. you may find a good tank really cheap. Yard sales are another good place to find tanks. Also plastic storage bins can easily be made into tanks.. if you get a clear one it actually looks pretty nice and you can cut the top to make room for the filter/heater cords and even get really inventive and make a feeding "door".

I'm not too familiar with them and I've heard good and bad things but possibly if you got an undergravel filter it wouldn't look so bad and could be a temporary fix until you can get an actual tank.

If you have a gravel vacuum you MAY be able to get away with weekly 99% changes (meaning suck as much water as you can out (while vacuuming the gravel) but not actually remove the gravel/plants. But if your going to try that I would highly suggest you get a liquid test kit and test your ammonia weekly.


As long as your up for the water changes at 2.5 gall uncycled is a great tank. The only problems I see are with your plants. Plus you can't have tank mates in a tank that small. For a snail and a betta (I'm assuming you mean a mystery snail.. I haven't seen any others available at local petstores).. you need at least a 5 gallon tank.. you may be able to squeeze a 3 or 4 gallon but it would mean more frequent pwcs (partial water changes).
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Old 02-18-2010, 05:57 PM   #6 
Balthasar
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Alright, I know I said it was outside my budget... but I was deflating the issue. I decided I had to do what I thought was right. Although my buddy has a massive bubble nest... I'm sure he'll love the new setup much more.

I went ahead... and bought a 10 Gallon TopFin starter set; Lid, bulbs, filter. I also bought a heater and somemore decor. Aaaand some larger pebbles, so I have both small and medium pebbles. I bought 10 gallon jugs of distilled water... and wouldnt you know it, Prime conditioner. The girl at the Petsmart suggested it, said it was the top. Im glad were on the same page here.

They almost leered when they heard what the 10 gallon was for, but now I have a habitat that can have some "friends" for my beta. But not until I have everything squared away and set. I had the bowl in the center of my room, but this significantly larger tank is much heavier and I have to move him to the wall. Too bad, as It was my centerpiece for a couple of days. I still intend on setting up fake flour arrangements and pearls and do-dads outside the tank. Gives him more to look at. I'll combine this with the generic underwater laminate for the side that boarders the wall.

I keep calling him "my Beta" as I haven't come up with a name. It'll come to me.

Yea I don't know how to explain my fascination with fish, but everyone here should understand. Its fascinating how curious they are, and magical how they move about with such grace and subtlety. They swim as easy as we breathe air. They swim better than most of us walk.

Weird thing is, I didn't know I had such a fascination until I played "Darius Gaiden" on the Sega Saturn. ; It was a shooter game where all the boss and sub-boss enemies were giant robotic space traveling fish.
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Old 02-18-2010, 05:59 PM   #7 
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Oh, and thanks for the feedback!
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Old 02-18-2010, 07:17 PM   #8 
Balthasar
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Sorry about the double, and now triple post... but whats a guy to do.

I've rinsed the large and small pebbles, and placed them in that order. A thin layer of small pebbles so there is various texture throughout. Placed the new decor (once rinsed thoroughly) and added 8 gallons of distilled water. Got the heater and filter going and added the appropriate amount of Prime, plus an extra drop. I also bought a strip thermometer and placed it on the side to monitor the temp.

Alright... The kit came with packets of Stress Coat and Stress Zyme. Are these even necessary? I treated it with Prime already, but this Stress Zyme says "Biological Filtration Booster" ; "speeds the development of the biological filter to keep your aquarium clean" What exactly are they referring to?

I'm waiting for the perfect timing... to scoop him up and place him in a bag. I nabbed an extra one when I had bought the snail. Ill fill it with his water and equalize him.

Right now is a waiting game. It's currently 7:19pm est. If anyone has any extra information I should consider while I wait, please please let me know. Thanks for previous replies, and any more in advance.
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Old 02-18-2010, 07:49 PM   #9 
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A 10 gallon is great! Now you need to research cycling.. that is your next process.. once thats over your tank will be great.

Throw out the stress coat and zyme... they don't do anything. The Zyme is supposed to have bacteria to help get your cycle started but 99.9 times out of 100 the bacteria is already dead. (Again.. search the forum for cycling.. your really going to want to do that).

You don't need the distilled water.. just plain old tap water will do :) Prime is a great de-chlor.

Make sure you put a little water in his bag over time so he gets used to the new water.
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Old 02-18-2010, 08:06 PM   #10 
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You should float his bag in the tank and definitely add some of the new tank water to his bag while pouring out the water from the bag (into a container, not the new tank) until you think he's in all new water. Then move him into his home.

The next step, as said, is to read up on cycling. Get yourself a liquid test kit for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate and ph. API makes a good master kit. Strips are NOT accurate. You'll feel like a mad chemist but you'll get used to it. Though I still burn my fingertips sometimes. :D

You'll want to be testing, testing, testing daily after you introduce him. And read, read, read about cycling.

Don't rush on tank mates. You want a good month or two to pass for your tank to be stable and cycled. Patience is the way to go. I can't stress that enough. We've all seen the stories of people who add 10 fish to a 10 gallon tank in just a few days and they all expire of ammonia poisoning, or we've done it ourselves (I totally have).

I hope you have fun! It's fun and addictive keeping fish. You no sooner get the tank set up and your fish settled and you're thinking about other tanks, other set ups, and other fish. :D
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