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Old 04-09-2010, 03:09 PM   #1 
NewFishMama
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Question HELP! I need an idiot's guide to fish!

Hubby and I have agree to let our 4 & 6 yo daughters get a pet Betta fish. Problem is, we know NOTHING about caring for fish. I've been reading the forums all afternoon, and this is my shopping list so far:

2.5 gal Tank w/ filter & 1 cartridge $ 34.97 http://www.petco.com/Shop/Product.aspx?sku=1261207Replacement Filter Cartridges $ 6.97 http://www.petco.com/Shop/Product.aspx?sku=1257480Heater $ 12.97 http://www.petco.com/Shop/Product.aspx?sku=997528Thermometer $ 3.37 http://www.petco.com/Shop/Product.aspx?sku=1191381Water Test Strips $ 9.97 http://www.petco.com/Shop/Product.aspx?sku=898678Betta Food Pellets $ 1.97 http://www.petco.com/Shop/Product.aspx?sku=547859

I know I also need gravel, some plants, and some kind of cave/hiding spot.

What else do I need?

Also, can someone please give me a fish idiot's guide to transitioning a fish from the store to a home tank? And also...a step-by-step (in GRAPHIC detail) how to change the water and/or clean the tank?

And...what is cycling? I keep seeing that word, but the only kind of cycling I know of is a person riding on two wheels and pedaling really fast.

Seriously....HEEEELP!!!!
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Old 04-09-2010, 03:26 PM   #2 
soleilvie
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Is there a reason you went for the 2.5 gallon tank? I only ask because you could get a 5 gallon for about the same price. It would need to be cycled though because 50% and 100% water changes in a 5 gallon once a week could become a pain. Cycling is basically a process to get colonies of good bacteria established in the tank so that the ammonia that the fish produces does not get high enough to kill the fish. Here is some more information about it: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...m-cycle-38617/

If you do go with the 2.5 gallon, there really isn't a point to cycling it just as long as you do frequent water changes. I would say two 25-50% and one 100% water change a week is good. Someone else with more experience will give you more advice on that though! A gravel vacuum will come in handy with the water changes.

I don't see a water conditioner on your list. Every time you do a water change you will want to add conditioner to dechlorinate the water. SeaChem Prime is highly recommended and you only need two drops per gallon so the smallest bottle will be fine.

I have heard pretty much everyone on the forum say that the water test trips are not accurate enough and that you will want a liquid test kit instead. The downside is that they are in some cases double the price of the strips, but they are more reliable. The API Freshwater Master Test Kit is a good one and Walmart is the cheapest place to get it.

Other than those things, you look like you are well on your way. Good luck!
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Old 04-09-2010, 03:30 PM   #3 
BerkB33
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What they said...

And, first make sure the plants you get are real or silk/fabric plants. The plastic plants will rip and tear betta's fins.

For transitioning and cycling there are excellent articles on this site...and fishlore.com...aquahobby.com...beings as those articles are already written...and written WAY better than I could explain, I'll refer you there and call it good!

That's a start...and when the articles have confused you further...you can come back here and the knowledgable bettafish.commer's can "fine tune" you.

Last edited by BerkB33; 04-09-2010 at 03:34 PM.
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Old 04-09-2010, 04:31 PM   #4 
NewFishMama
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Originally Posted by soleilvie View Post
Is there a reason you went for the 2.5 gallon tank? I only ask because you could get a 5 gallon for about the same price. It would need to be cycled though because 50% and 100% water changes in a 5 gallon once a week could become a pain. Cycling is basically a process to get colonies of good bacteria established in the tank so that the ammonia that the fish produces does not get high enough to kill the fish. Here is some more information about it: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/f...m-cycle-38617/

If you do go with the 2.5 gallon, there really isn't a point to cycling it just as long as you do frequent water changes. I would say two 25-50% and one 100% water change a week is good. Someone else with more experience will give you more advice on that though! A gravel vacuum will come in handy with the water changes.

I don't see a water conditioner on your list. Every time you do a water change you will want to add conditioner to dechlorinate the water. SeaChem Prime is highly recommended and you only need two drops per gallon so the smallest bottle will be fine.

I have heard pretty much everyone on the forum say that the water test trips are not accurate enough and that you will want a liquid test kit instead. The downside is that they are in some cases double the price of the strips, but they are more reliable. The API Freshwater Master Test Kit is a good one and Walmart is the cheapest place to get it.

Other than those things, you look like you are well on your way. Good luck!
We're only doing a 2.5 gal tank becuase it's going on our kitchen counter for now, and a 5 gallon would overwhelm our kitchen. If my girls prove they can be responsible in caring for the fish, they can save up for a 5+ gallon tank. We'd have to find someplace to keep it, other than our kitchen, though.

I've switched out the test strips for the liquid test kit recommended, and I also added the water conditioner as well.
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Old 04-09-2010, 04:42 PM   #5 
Mitsufishi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewFishMama View Post
We're only doing a 2.5 gal tank becuase it's going on our kitchen counter for now, and a 5 gallon would overwhelm our kitchen. If my girls prove they can be responsible in caring for the fish, they can save up for a 5+ gallon tank. We'd have to find someplace to keep it, other than our kitchen, though.

I've switched out the test strips for the liquid test kit recommended, and I also added the water conditioner as well.
1 tank with 1 betta right?

I have the 2.5 gallon I paid 19 for them at walmart.

I do a 50% once a week and 100% one a week. So sundays i do 50% and Thursdays I do 100%.
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:47 PM   #6 
dramaqueen
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Hello and welcome to the forum. You don't need to cycle a 2.5 gallon tank. You can either change the water twice a week 100% or do like Mitsufishi does and do 100% once a week and 50% once a week.
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Old 04-09-2010, 08:53 PM   #7 
doggyhog
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Welcome!!!!

I agree with the above. ^

FYI: NOT all plastic plants are bad!!! I use lots of plastic plants, just because the silk ones are way to expensive. Just run a pantyhose along it and see if it snags, if it does, it will rip your bettas fins.
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Old 04-10-2010, 03:29 PM   #8 
xxabc
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If you want to do plastic, do the "pantyhose test." Take a pantyhose and run over the plastic plants. If there is ANY snagging, don't get it. (I think you can do this in the middle of the store, haha..)

Is there a reason it must be in a kitchen? 5 gallons have reputations for being able to be placed nearly everywhere in the house: desks, tables, etc. 10 gallons is where stands become recommended if there is no good place. However, that is your choice.

I agree, I wouldn't bother too much with cycling a 2.5. It may be successful, so if you are up to cycling the 2.5s, go ahead.

When taking a fish to the store, here's one thing: DO NOT move their cups too much. You may want to hold the fish yourself if you need to.

You will need to google up "acclimating a betta fish." There are great links out there that are already typed up and VERY elaborate, and it may help you hearing from multiple sources versus one person.
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