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Old 03-20-2010, 12:41 PM   #1 
soleilvie
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New to Bettas, new to fish; I would like some advice!

I went into this whole thing wanting a turtle. I saw someone with a tortoise which made me want a turtle and after doing some turtle research and product searching, I decided housing a turtle would take up too much room and is a bit too expensive for me at the moment. So, I'm going to get a male Betta instead! I have done quite a bit of research and have read through some posts on these forums so I am well aware of everything I need. Some things are still a bit unclear so I was hoping I could get some tips/advice before getting the fish.

First of all, I looked around online for a couple of days trying to find an aquarium I like. After seeing this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpsZLNrOeKI as a review for this aquarium: http://www.petco.com/product/12788/M...t=FishFC_Tanks I decided to go ahead and buy it. It looks beautiful!

So, onto the first issue. I went ahead with the Hydor Mini Heater (http://www.petco.com/Shop/Product.aspx?sku=997528) and I will be getting a thermometer so I can check the water temperature and turn the heater on/off as needed. The reviews say that this heater keeps the water around 78F but do you think I would be better off getting a heater that has an adjustable temperature? Any heater recommendations? I can return the Hydor if I find a better one.

Now, food. Pretty much every post I have read on here says their Betta is getting pellets. Are flakes not okay? I got the Tetra BettaMin Tropical Medley (http://www.petco.com/product/3333/Te...%20Medley-3333) and the San Francisco Bay Brand Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp (http://www.petco.com/product/7955/Sa...hSupplies_Food). How do these sound? Should I get pellets instead? If so, which ones? Are frozen brine shrimp or frozen bloodworms better?

Next, water changes. I have seen different reports for this. With my 5 gallon tank + filter, how many water changes should I be doing every week? Is 25% every week or 50% every two weeks good? Also, how often should I do a 100% water change and cleaning of the tank? Do I clean the rocks, gravel, and plants every time I do a 100% water change or every time I do a partial water change?

Lastly, I am a bit confused with this cycling business. I bought a water conditioner and a pH test kit and plan to let the filter run for a couple of days before I bring a Betta home. Is cycling just letting the conditioner and filter do its thing before putting a fish in? Does this need to be done every time I do a partial or full water change? Should I also get an ammonia/nitrite/nitrate test kit?

Also, I was thinking of maybe adding another fish to the tank. I've read conflicting reports on tetras and guppies. If I were to add a fish, should it be the same time as when I add a Betta for the first time? If I don't add a fish, can I get a snail or something or should I just have one male Betta in this 5 gallon tank?

Sorry this is a bit lengthy. Any input is appreciated.
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Old 03-20-2010, 02:18 PM   #2 
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Welcome to the forum! I actually got into bettas when i wanted to get an Axolotl. xD

A 5 gallon tank will be great for your betta. He'll love it.

A Hydor Mini heater definitely won't work in a tank of that size. They're okay for heating smaller tanks, like 1 or 2 gallons, but only raise the room tempurature a few degrees. For a 5 gallon, you'll need a heater that's 25 watts. A lot of people use Marineland heater, though I forgot what it's called.

Flakes are okay, but people prefer pellets because most bettas prefer them, and they're not as messy. The ones you got are from tropical fish, though, so it's not suitable for a betta. You can get betta-specific flakes, though. Brineshrimp is a great treat! You can feed it to them one or twice a week. Either brine shrimp or bloodworms are fine.

If you're going to cycle your tank, I think you'd only need to do about a 50% change per week. Maybe someone can put up a link to the cycling topic.

5 gallons would be too small for another fish. You can get an ADF (african Dwarf Frog), s few ghost shrimp, or a snail in a tank of that size. They're all pretty peaceful, as long as your betta gets along with them.

Hope that helped!
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Old 03-20-2010, 02:23 PM   #3 
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I went into this whole thing wanting a turtle. I saw someone with a tortoise which made me want a turtle and after doing some turtle research and product searching, I decided housing a turtle would take up too much room and is a bit too expensive for me at the moment. So, I'm going to get a male Betta instead! I have done quite a bit of research and have read through some posts on these forums so I am well aware of everything I need. Some things are still a bit unclear so I was hoping I could get some tips/advice before getting the fish.

Good for you :D Not all the time someone does research before getting a betta

First of all, I looked around online for a couple of days trying to find an aquarium I like. After seeing this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpsZLNrOeKI as a review for this aquarium: http://www.petco.com/product/12788/M...t=FishFC_Tanks I decided to go ahead and buy it. It looks beautiful!

I've never used a hex tank before, since I prefer rectangular. I've heard people had trouble properly cleaning it, but I'm sure it'll work out. Good that it's pretty :) Get lots of plants! Fill it up as much as possible. More plants = more hiding places for the betta, more "territorial feeling", less stress, they love hiding in them, etc ...
So, onto the first issue. I went ahead with the Hydor Mini Heater (http://www.petco.com/Shop/Product.aspx?sku=997528) and I will be getting a thermometer so I can check the water temperature and turn the heater on/off as needed. The reviews say that this heater keeps the water around 78F but do you think I would be better off getting a heater that has an adjustable temperature? Any heater recommendations? I can return the Hydor if I find a better one.

The problem with the Hydor is that it only keeps the temperature about 4 degrees higher than room temperature. Not sure how high/low you keep yours, but I would go return it. Bettas should get 77-80*F as they're tropical. You SHOULD get one with an adjustable temp., but those run a little pricey unless you can get one online. I personally don't have one (budget), so I got a preset. It works kinda well, but Adjustable > Preset, always.

Now, food. Pretty much every post I have read on here says their Betta is getting pellets. Are flakes not okay? I got the Tetra BettaMin Tropical Medley (http://www.petco.com/product/3333/Te...%20Medley-3333) and the San Francisco Bay Brand Freeze Dried Brine Shrimp (http://www.petco.com/product/7955/Sa...hSupplies_Food). How do these sound? Should I get pellets instead? If so, which ones? Are frozen brine shrimp or frozen bloodworms better?

Flakes don't really fit into the betta's mouth nicely. When I fed my bettas flakes, they had issues eating it. They just ended up breaking it into smaller pieces and not really getting it. Plus they're a little messy. Not sure on nutritional value though. The brine shrimp sounds nice, it's a good treat. Make sure you pre-soak the freezedried to prevent constipation issues!

Next, water changes. I have seen different reports for this. With my 5 gallon tank + filter, how many water changes should I be doing every week? Is 25% every week or 50% every two weeks good? Also, how often should I do a 100% water change and cleaning of the tank? Do I clean the rocks, gravel, and plants every time I do a 100% water change or every time I do a partial water change?

I can never find the cycling thread onthis website, I have no idea why. I really need to bookmark it, haha.
Google up and study cycling as much as you can. It WILL be confusing for a week or so, but it's crucial. I'm horrible at explaining it, so you don't want me telling you, haha. But basically, (this will make sense after you've read up "Nitrogen Cycle") until your tank cycles, you'll be doing every other day partial water changes. It's only until AFTER your tank cycles you do weekly changes. I do 50% weekly, but that's a little overboard. No harm in doing big changes, though, unless the pH goes crazy. I think after it cycles, 25% weekly is fine. But I never do every two weeks - it's always weekly. I personally never, ever do 100% changes. Others may disagree, but I'm not sure how a tank could cycle with 100% changes? (I would love an explanation to this, actually).

Lastly, I am a bit confused with this cycling business. I bought a water conditioner and a pH test kit and plan to let the filter run for a couple of days before I bring a Betta home. Is cycling just letting the conditioner and filter do its thing before putting a fish in? Does this need to be done every time I do a partial or full water change? Should I also get an ammonia/nitrite/nitrate test kit?

(Cycling mentioned above). Yes, definitely get a test kit if you can afford it. Get liquid kits, not strips. Strips are really unrealiable / misleading. And no, that's not what cycling is.

Also, I was thinking of maybe adding another fish to the tank. I've read conflicting reports on tetras and guppies. If I were to add a fish, should it be the same time as when I add a Betta for the first time? If I don't add a fish, can I get a snail or something or should I just have one male Betta in this 5 gallon tank?

I've never put in a tankmate, so I'm not sure on that! It REALLY depends on your betta's personality - and yes, they really do have personalities. I'm thinking of putting in a snail very soon, though. For EVERY betta owner with tankmates, there will always be "For me it worked, for him it didn't." Or vice versa. There are some tankmates more suitable than others, though. However, in a 5 gallon, you really don't have much of a choice since most smaller fish are schooling fish!.
Sorry this is a bit lengthy. Any input is appreciated.

Last edited by xxabc; 03-20-2010 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 03-20-2010, 03:45 PM   #4 
soleilvie
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Jupiter: The Hydor Mini Heater says it works for 2-5 gallon aquariums. I will look into 25 watt though. I would prefer one that is automatic/adjustable to 78-80F anyway. Also, the flake food says BettaMin so I assumed it was formulated for Bettas... I think I might return it and get the pellets just because they seem more popular.

xxabc: I found this http://www.tropicalfish.site5.com/tf...ad.php?t=60022 regarding cycling. I'm still confused because I don't understand why it's necessary and how often I'm supposed to do it. It says to let the tank cycle then empty 80% of the water, refill the tank, and add the fish. What's the point of cycling then?

Is cycling the tank absolutely necessary? I really can't imagine everyone with a Betta doing that.
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Old 03-20-2010, 03:46 PM   #5 
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http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...m-cycle-38617/ Here is a very informative sticky on cycling.
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Old 03-20-2010, 04:30 PM   #6 
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I would personally say it's necessary. A betta is a pretty hardy fish, so it can survive through some harsh aspects of the ammonia. Some fish can't survive in an uncycled tank. Read the sticky, it'll help (dramaqueen posted). You should choose between fish-in cycling, and fish-less cycling :) Cycling isn't extremely complicated, just getting to understand it is.

It's usually only the less-informed people (I.E. All info came from the LFS, no where else - and it's not always their fault either) that don't cycle a tank because they don' tknow how // the LFS never explained 'cycling a tank'. Really, IMO, Cycling is one of the base things in any kind of fishkeeping.

Last edited by xxabc; 03-20-2010 at 04:37 PM.
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Old 03-20-2010, 09:44 PM   #7 
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I looked into some better heaters and have narrowed it down to three:
Marineland Stealth Visi-Therm (http://www.petco.com/product/13811/M...m-Heaters.aspx)
Fluval Submersible Glass Aquarium Heater (http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...79693#prodTab1)
Hydor Theo (http://www.petsmart.com/product/inde...ductId=2753018)

All of these are 50 watt. Which one do you think is best? Any other recommendations?

So basically I'm learning that just letting the filter in my tank run for a couple of days isn't enough. Doing this "cycling" thing will make beneficial bacteria. Without this bacteria, ammonia levels will be too high and could kill the fish. So cycling converts ammonia (which is expelled from the gills of the fish) to nitrite which is also toxic and then to nitrate which is more tolerable. What I don't understand is how often I'm supposed to be doing this. Is it just a once off thing, before I get the fish?
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Old 03-20-2010, 09:48 PM   #8 
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Cycling is a one time thing that takes about anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks. After you cycle your tank, you just need to check your water parameters (nitrites, nitrates and ammonia) once a week. You do your water changes according to what your nitrate reading is. So if you are getting a reading of 40 ppm of nitrates, you would do a 50% change to get it to 20 ppm.
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Old 03-20-2010, 10:06 PM   #9 
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Defiantly get the Visitherm. Those are the best. Absolutely, hands down! 50W is fine for a 5g tank! It'll work great. But if your on a budget, you can get a Tetra Preset heater @ walmart for 12-14 bucks! I have one in my 5g and it gets the job done, it's not my favorite heater, but it works!
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Old 03-20-2010, 10:10 PM   #10 
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dramaqueen: Thank you for clearing that up. It makes much more sense now. Would you recommend this kit: http://www.petco.com/product/103685/...stingEquipment? I mean, does it have everything I need?
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