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Old 04-04-2010, 09:02 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Shopping list - Thoughts/Opinions/Suggestions appreciated

Hey betta lovers,

I'm new to having an aquarium. Actually, I've had a betta before when I was five years old, but back then, my parents and I had no idea how to take care of him.

Now that I am in college, I want to provide the best possible house for Mr. Darcy (my as-of-yet-nonexistent fish).

So I've done research since last fall, which makes it...around 7 months of research. I came up with a list of things to buy once I come around to it this summer after this semester is over. I thought I would run my list by you so that I know what I'm missing, or if there are cheaper alternatives out there. I want to cap my spending at $150 - I cannot afford anything more than that.

The List:
- aquarium -10 gallons- - $10
- hood - $40
- gravel - $15
- sponge filter - heater - 50W - $25
- dechlorinator - AmQuel - $7
- ammonia/nitrite/nitrate testing kit

- food (hikari bio-gold pellets) - $3 + bloodworms
- fish net - $0.50

- thermometer - $6
- siphon - $5
- 2 buckets - $5-$10
- AquaChef auto feeder - $20

- pretty (live) plants - $20
java fern
- decor - $10

Last, but not least:
- betta - $6

Good list? Yes/No?

- nacho
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Old 04-04-2010, 09:25 AM   #2 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Central Texas
Hello and welcome to the forum. I think your list looks pretty good. You don't necessarily have to have the auto feeder. I would recommend a Marineland stealth visitherm heater and the API freshwater master test kit.
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Old 04-04-2010, 09:42 AM   #3 
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Location: Canada Ontario!
Your list is a good one,but there are places you can save. There is a website called Basically people post what they are getting rid of/want and arrange to have it picked up/given. They have groups stationed all over and even I have had luck with it.Try there for a lot of your fish stuff like tanks and gravel. Thermometer is maybe 5$ with tax.Ive heard of people making hoods,if you cant get one with a tank. Decor can get pricey,so try making some things like caves out of terra cotta pots
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Old 04-04-2010, 09:45 AM   #4 
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There are some issues with buying a used tank, but I would still recommend looking around before buying one new. Tanks are a type of items that people often have to get rid of quickly at as loss or even free. Also, if you get a good price on a whole setup, you could but a new aqarium itself and still come out ahead. Good hoods/lights and stands are pretty expensive new. Check Craigslist/newspapers in your area, you might find some great deals.

Also, unless space/care is the biggest concern, look for the largest tank you can afford. If you stay with the hobby, you will want one soon anyway.

One other moneysaver, don't buy buckets at the store! Many fast food, donut and other restaurants get pickles, icing or condiments in 7 gal plastic "painter's" buckets, they will usually give or sell you some if you ask. They come with lids, very handy when moving fish/water or gravel. Get a couple, they stack inside each other plus you can store your siphons or other items in them when you are not using them.

Do not use used buckets that had non-food items in them, or are of unknown origin.

Good luck and have fun! :)
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Old 04-04-2010, 11:17 AM   #5 
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Location: Vancouver, Canada
Wise guy!!! You actually expected to spend $150 on a betta before you bought :D What can I say its not a cheap hobby!!!

I too would nix the autofeeder, bettas only need to be fed once or twice a day and there is no guarantee that the autofeeder won't dispense way more food than needed into the tank (unless you're filling it every day in which case you might as well just put the food in the tank instead of in the autofeeder.

And I have to agree with Herbwin, the world is full of noobs who buy a spankin new tank, kill all the fish in it in 3 weeks and raffle off the nearly new tank for a fraction of the price. Browse craigslist for a week and I guarantee that you will find a nice, almost new setup $20 for everything... hood, lights, net, filter, heater, gravel, some fake plants (good for quarantine tanks), dachlorinator and maybe some test kits. Also, fast food buckets are very handy as they hold more water than a regular bucket and often are taller, meaning that when you're carrying it full of water it makes for less splashing.

Also you will want to do a fishless cycle on this tank before buying your fish... for that you will need a master test kit. They run for $40 here, probably more like $30 in the US. API is avery good brand and at a great price too.
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Old 04-04-2010, 11:25 AM   #6 
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Location: Savannah, GA
I third nixing the auto feeder.. they are bad news.

If you go to walmart you can get a new 10 gallon w/ hood, light, and a great filter for about $40, change the incandescent light out for a compact fluourescent for like $10, get a 50watt adjustable heater, and buffer the filter and your golden.

I also suggest doing a fishless cycle.. it will be a lot faster than a fish in cycle and a lot safer. Get the API freshwater master test kit, it runs about $30 but its definitely worth it.

Also at Walmart (and petsmart) you can get a glass thermometer for less than $3 with tax.
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Old 04-04-2010, 11:28 AM   #7 
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Location: Georgia
looks Good!
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Old 04-04-2010, 11:32 AM   #8 
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Awesome, thanks everyone!

The fast food bucket was something I would never have thought of. Definitely getting some of those!

The autofeeder is only for those times when I'm away for the weekend or gone for two weeks for break during the winter. I thought it might be nice to have just in case I have to go somewhere quickly. Still no good?

So with the space, I am going to stick with 10 gallons. Considering my dorm room is small as it is, I used to think 10 gallons was pushing it, but I know that it's better for the fish. If I expand and go bigger, I hope I can do it once I get out of college and find a larger space :)

I have registered with my area's freecycle a few days ago, but no response from the Yahoo group moderator yet. But - if I can find a really nice hood for cheaper on craigslist, I think I will stick to a new $10 tank from Walmart and use the hood.

Definitely adding the API water test kit to the list. I am going to do a fishless cycle (as long as it takes me!! I am determined.) and buy Mr. Darcy last :)

Thank you all!! Keep the suggestions comin' <3
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Old 04-04-2010, 12:45 PM   #9 
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The API Freshwater Master Test Kit runs at $30+ at Petco and Petsmart. At Walmart it is less than $20 (the one online has a different picture but it is exactly the same).

I'm not quite sure if you have allotted enough money for plants and decor. It could take quite a lot to fill a 10g with plants and everything.

Last edited by soleilvie; 04-04-2010 at 12:51 PM.
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Old 04-04-2010, 06:38 PM   #10 
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Location: Seattle, WA
Even if you travel for weekends, or up to a week, the auto-feeder is still unnecessary. Bettas can go quite a while without food and you wouldn't be doing them any harm by not feeding them (though I'm not sure how often these fasts would occur). If anything, you'd probably be doing him a favor; when you're not feeding him there's no poop or leftover waste to be produced which would keep your ammonia level low.
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