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Old 07-20-2010, 01:11 PM   #1 
jackals
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Thank god for this forum.. some questions after going to pet store!!

Hey all my girlfriend and I just got a betta fish. Well she told me there was not much to do as far as upkeep.. so we have had him for about a week now.

Now I am very much a researcher when it comes to anything new (cars, electronics, pets, etc that I buy or things that I like).

So I discovered this forum.

Up until this forum, we had a small tank it was probably 1 gallon. we had a huge decoration inside, and some gems at the bottom.. water is about a week old, and we were feeding him the betta flakes, she wears nails that are fairly long and gives him what fits under her nail...


Well after coming here I realize the poor little guy wasn't getting the best care.

So I really thank you all for the contributions and posts made here.. as I now have a pretty good idea on how to give the fish a better life/lifestyle...


We just picked up a 2 gallon tank and it comes with a lid and my gf who called me because I am at work said it also has a filter to it as well.. she got it from PETCO just before.

I also know now, that we picked up the water conditioner to rid the water of chlorine and other things.. when she got him home she put him in room temp tap water :(

In addition, we got him a silk plant, and some betta food pellets.

So now I feel he will be much better than he was for the 5 or so days we have had him.


Just a few quick questions:


A 2 gallon tank that has some sort of filter (havent seen it yet when I get home I will),should be changed how often?

I also know that 1 day out of the week will be a fasting day for him, so the other 6 days, should i rotate 1 day pellets, 1 day flakes? Or would 1 meal pellets, 1 meal flakes be better. He is a little skinny i dont think flakes under her fingernail 2 times a day was enough food for him? However it might of been because I would see the flakes there 10 minutes or so later.. so I guess he didn't want them.

Lastly, I keep my window unit AC on at 65 degrees, and the house stays around 69 degrees.. Is there a theromometer I can get for a 2 gallon tank thats little and cost effective? I would ideally want his water around 75-80 degrees?

He is doing fine though, making his bubbles, and knows when we come home, when we go up to the bowl he comes and faces us. Cute little guy. I will get pics up of the new tank and stuff in the next day or so.

Thanks for whoever can help answer my few questions.


-Mike
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Old 07-20-2010, 01:58 PM   #2 
Adastra
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I'm glad you decided to upgrade his tank. It is feasible to cycle a 2 gallon if you get him some plants and put a lot of very porous gravel in the tank--this would mean a lot less maintenance. You should never change the cartridge in the filter--this is where your beneficial bacteria lives if you cycle the tank. When it starts looking dirty, swish it around (gently) in a bit of old tank water from a water change. You should research the nitrogen cycle and how to cycle a tank fishlessly. If the tank is cycled, you will need to do one 50% change per week. If the tank is not cycled, I would probably do a 100% water change every 4 days--when you do this you should completely rinse out the tank and decor with hot water. If possible, you should get a live plant like java moss--it will help consume the fish's waste.

Most cartridges have carbon in them, which takes out discoloration in the water and some dissolved organic compounds--this carbon loses its effectiveness after about a month, and that is the manufacturer's excuse for recommending you buy more cartridges than you really need. However, the best solution to this is just to buy a bottle of carbon (I use Seachem Matrix Carbon), cut a slit in the filter floss, dump out the old carbon, and refill the beds with new higher quality carbon and then change that out every 3 months or so.

Many people do not use carbon, especially in betta tanks because they use additives (black water extract/indian almond leaves) to dye the water brown with the tannins bettas would have in their natural environment. It doesn't make sense to put in tannins and still have carbon in your filter since it will remove some tannins. If you don't want to keep adding carbon, you could cut a slit in the cartridge, dump out the carbon, and stuff the carbon beds with more filter sponge or if you have it, you could use poly fiber fill--the synthetic stuff you buy in the craft store--people use it to fill stuffed animals.

And wow if you keep your house that cold, you will need a quality heater that has an adjustable temperature dial. I use 25 watt hydor theo heaters: http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...m?pcatid=11368 this size will work for your tank and should keep the temps up around 80. Mini heaters, preset heaters, and heater pads will not get your water hot enough if the room temperature is that low, so don't waste your money on them. I highly suggest moving the fish to the warmest place possible until you can get a heater--temperatures this low can be very hard on their digestive system and immune system. It's also important that the temperature is consistent, though, so don't put the tank in the sun or by a vent/stove/hot electronics. It is also important that if the tank's light is incandescent, that you switch it out for a fluorescent. Incandescents can run very hot, causing dangerous fluctuations in temperature every time you turn the light off and on.

Remember to always soak the pellets and flakes in a little tank water before giving them to your betta--bettas were not designed to eat dry, bready, air filled foods. It's kinda like when we eat uncooked rice--it absorbs moisture in the gut and expands, and makes you feel rather awful. In bettas it can cause bloating and constipation. Flakes tend to be worse about this than pellets. Try not to overfeed while the temperature is so low--small amounts throughout the day is best.

Last edited by Adastra; 07-20-2010 at 02:07 PM.
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Old 07-20-2010, 02:17 PM   #3 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adastra View Post
I'm glad you decided to upgrade his tank. It is feasible to cycle a 2 gallon if you get him some plants and put a lot of very porous gravel in the tank--this would mean a lot less maintenance. You should never change the cartridge in the filter--this is where your beneficial bacteria lives if you cycle the tank. When it starts looking dirty, swish it around (gently) in a bit of old tank water from a water change. You should research the nitrogen cycle and how to cycle a tank fishlessly. If the tank is cycled, you will need to do one 50% change per week. If the tank is not cycled, I would probably do a 100% water change every 4 days--when you do this you should completely rinse out the tank and decor with hot water. If possible, you should get a live plant like java moss--it will help consume the fish's waste.

Most cartridges have carbon in them, which takes out discoloration in the water and some dissolved organic compounds--this carbon loses its effectiveness after about a month, and that is the manufacturer's excuse for recommending you buy more cartridges than you really need. However, the best solution to this is just to buy a bottle of carbon (I use Seachem Matrix Carbon), cut a slit in the filter floss, dump out the old carbon, and refill the beds with new higher quality carbon and then change that out every 3 months or so.

Many people do not use carbon, especially in betta tanks because they use additives (black water extract/indian almond leaves) to dye the water brown with the tannins bettas would have in their natural environment. It doesn't make sense to put in tannins and still have carbon in your filter since it will remove some tannins. If you don't want to keep adding carbon, you could cut a slit in the cartridge, dump out the carbon, and stuff the carbon beds with more filter sponge or if you have it, you could use poly fiber fill--the synthetic stuff you buy in the craft store--people use it to fill stuffed animals.

And wow if you keep your house that cold, you will need a quality heater that has an adjustable temperature dial. I use 25 watt hydor theo heaters: http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...m?pcatid=11368 this size will work for your tank and should keep the temps up around 80. Mini heaters, preset heaters, and heater pads will not get your water hot enough if the room temperature is that low, so don't waste your money on them. I highly suggest moving the fish to the warmest place possible until you can get a heater--temperatures this low can be very hard on their digestive system and immune system. It's also important that the temperature is consistent, though, so don't put the tank in the sun or by a vent/stove/hot electronics. It is also important that if the tank's light is incandescent, that you switch it out for a fluorescent. Incandescents can run very hot, causing dangerous fluctuations in temperature every time you turn the light off and on.

Remember to always soak the pellets and flakes in a little tank water before giving them to your betta--bettas were not designed to eat dry, bready, air filled foods. It's kinda like when we eat uncooked rice--it absorbs moisture in the gut and expands, and makes you feel rather awful. In bettas it can cause bloating and constipation. Flakes tend to be worse about this than pellets. Try not to overfeed while the temperature is so low--small amounts throughout the day is best.

Thanks for the detailed reply!

Nitrogen cycle..do you mean each tank has a different nitrogen cycle? If so, where would the info on mine be?

Can I get java moss at any pet store like petco?

Also, I have to go home and see the light if its flourescent it will be neon color, would incandescent be like your typical light bulb?

And I am gonig to get a thermometer tonight, and in the morning see his water temp. I truly have no idea the actual water temp... So I see 80 degrees is the prime spot, I will probably buy that heater you lniked me too.. $15 is reasonable to me.

Also thanks for the tip on soaking the food, how long is good enough before giving it to him?
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Old 07-20-2010, 02:33 PM   #4 
Adastra
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When we refer to the nitrogen cycle, we mean the process by which the tank is colonized by beneficial bacteria that turn the toxic ammonia the fish produces into nitrite, which is equally toxic, but another bacteria turns this nitrite into nitrate, which is much, much less toxic--it is not safe to have any level of ammonia or nitrite, but it is safe to maintain a constant low level of nitrate, so you don't have to do as much work to control nitrate levels as you would if you were trying to control ammonia levels. I don't know if that made sense. But anyway--it's something you should research--a bit of googling and you'll have all kinds of charts and diagrams to look at.

Petco usually sells something similar, called Christmas Moss--it's usually attached to the coconut caves they sell. It requires more light than java moss, but if you keep a small fluorescent light on it for 12 hours, it should be ok. Other easy plants are anubias and java fern--they don't take nutrients through their roots so fish waste should be enough.

If the bulb is clear and has a filament in it like a normal lightbulb, it's incandescent, if the bulb is a straight or curvy white tube, it's fluorescent.

You can pretty safely assume that the water temperature is the same as the room temperature--although you should try to get a thermometer anyway. Most Petcos do not sell adjustable heaters in this size--you should call first to make sure it's in stock before you spend a lot of time going over there. Also, do not expect to pay $15 for that heater in a pet store--Foster and Smith Aquatics generally price all their items $10-$20 lower than in pet stores, which is why I always order all my supplies from them. Their shipping is very reasonable. I ordered about 7 of those heaters, and after a couple of weeks one of them died somehow--so I went to a local store for a replacement and the same heater was over $25--robbery! So I put the broken one in the new one's box and returned that to the store for a profit even if shipping is considered, hahaha. If you can think of a few things you want to get, you can save a lot of money by ordering online. :)

If you're thinking of ordering from Foster and Smith, here are some things you might want to get: http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...54&pcatid=4454
This kit is usually at least $30 in stores, at LEAST. And it will help you immensely--it is absolutely necessary to have this if you want to cycle your tank.
http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...52&pcatid=4652
Great plant supplement if you get live plants.
http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...21&pcatid=3921
Cheap and accurate.
http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...57&pcatid=4057
Best dechlorinator for your money--it is highly concentrated. I seen the 500mL for $20 in stores before--stores way overprice this stuff.
http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...89&pcatid=3889
And you might want one of these.

You should also browse around their decor section--they have a nice selection of fake plants and decor pieces as well as gravel--pet stores mark this stuff up a lot too.

As for the food, make sure it's good and soggy all the way through, usually just a couple of minutes.

Last edited by Adastra; 07-20-2010 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 07-20-2010, 02:51 PM   #5 
jackals
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adastra View Post
When we refer to the nitrogen cycle, we mean the process by which the tank is colonized by beneficial bacteria that turn the toxic ammonia the fish produces into nitrite, which is equally toxic, but another bacteria turns this nitrite into nitrate, which is much, much less toxic--it is not safe to have any level of ammonia or nitrite, but it is safe to maintain a constant low level of nitrate, so you don't have to do as much work to control nitrate levels as you would if you were trying to control ammonia levels. I don't know if that made sense. But anyway--it's something you should research--a bit of googling and you'll have all kinds of charts and diagrams to look at.

Petco usually sells something similar, called Christmas Moss--it's usually attached to the coconut caves they sell. It requires more light than java moss, but if you keep a small fluorescent light on it for 12 hours, it should be ok. Other easy plants are anubias and java fern--they don't take nutrients through their roots so fish waste should be enough.

If the bulb is clear and has a filament in it like a normal lightbulb, it's incandescent, if the bulb is a straight or curvy white tube, it's fluorescent.

You can pretty safely assume that the water temperature is the same as the room temperature--although you should try to get a thermometer anyway. Most Petcos do not sell adjustable heaters in this size--you should call first to make sure it's in stock before you spend a lot of time going over there. Also, do not expect to pay $15 for that heater in a pet store--Foster and Smith Aquatics generally price all their items $10-$20 lower than in pet stores, which is why I always order all my supplies from them. Their shipping is very reasonable. I ordered about 7 of those heaters, and after a couple of weeks one of them died somehow--so I went to a local store for a replacement and the same heater was over $25--robbery! So I put the broken one in the new one's box and returned that to the store for a profit even if shipping is considered, hahaha. If you can think of a few things you want to get, you can save a lot of money by ordering online. :)

If you're thinking of ordering from Foster and Smith, here are some things you might want to get: http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...54&pcatid=4454
This kit is usually at least $30 in stores, at LEAST. And it will help you immensely--it is absolutely necessary to have this if you want to cycle your tank.
http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...52&pcatid=4652
Great plant supplement if you get live plants.
http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...21&pcatid=3921
Cheap and accurate.
http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...57&pcatid=4057
Best dechlorinator for your money--it is highly concentrated. I seen the 500mL for $20 in stores before--stores way overprice this stuff.
http://www.fosterandsmithaquatics.co...89&pcatid=3889
And you might want one of these.

You should also browse around their decor section--they have a nice selection of fake plants and decor pieces as well as gravel--pet stores mark this stuff up a lot too.

As for the food, make sure it's good and soggy all the way through, usually just a couple of minutes.

Thanks for the links, I am going to order the heater you posted above in 25 watts for my 2 gallon tank, and that thermometer since your saying its accurate and the price is low. Would you recommend glass or plastic?

Which of the 4 would you say?
I am thinking a suction would be best since there is a lid?
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:37 PM   #6 
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I prefer the floating glass/suction cup kind. They're cheaper and I've had problems with the stainless steel mounted ones in particular in the past--I have a couple that read two completely different things if I put them in the same spot. Dumb things. I still think you should consider the test kit, it's way cheaper online and definitely a good thing to have--and it's on saaaale~~
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:45 PM   #7 
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I prefer the floating glass/suction cup kind. They're cheaper and I've had problems with the stainless steel mounted ones in particular in the past--I have a couple that read two completely different things if I put them in the same spot. Dumb things. I still think you should consider the test kit, it's way cheaper online and definitely a good thing to have--and it's on saaaale~~

yep going to order that too. I will need that so I can see with my 2g tank with filter, heater, and a live plant or 2, with my gems at the bottom of the tank, etc.. to see if I can do the 1 week 50% cycle.. so I will need to test the water.. assuming the numbers come back good, all I will need to do is do a 50% change once a week!
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:05 PM   #8 
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Oh, I also found out the light the tank came with is incandescent (my gf said its like a regular light bulb) so I want to get a flourescent one.. can I just switch bulbs? I have yet to see the setup yet as I am at work for another hour :( but I want to go to the store tonight and will get a flourescent bulb if all I have to do is change the bulb portion out.
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:33 PM   #9 
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Adastra's got it all well covered! I just wanted to say, welcome and happy fish-keeping. :D
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:38 PM   #10 
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Yeah, you should be able to find a small compact fluorescent that can fit the tank.
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