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Old 09-18-2010, 12:32 AM   #1 
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Location: Georgia, USA
Tank Questions

I used to keep bettas off and on, in 1 gallon tanks. I haven't had one for a few years now and have been thinking about starting again, so I've been browsing around the internet to refresh my memory. There's so much conflicting information! Including some that conflicts things I had learned previously. So, here I am to hopefully get some good answers.

I've been thinking about upgrading to a larger tank. I'm thinking 2.5 gallons. Some sources say this is more than enough, some say you absolutely need at least 5 gallons... Which is it now?

If 2.5 gal is acceptable, does it need a filter?

Would java moss be okay in a 2.5 gal unfiltered tank? Or should I stick with artificial plants?

Gravel or sand substrate?

How often are water changes needed?

I think that's enough questions for now. I'm just overwhelmed by the apparent amount of change in betta care philosphy. Years ago, the sites I frequented said that one gallon with weekly 100% water changes were fine, if minimalist. Now some say (to varying degrees) that that isn't enough. Among other things. Maybe I'm overthinking, but I want to try to do it "right."

-- Ferio
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Old 09-18-2010, 08:39 AM   #2 
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Hi there, welcome back into the world of bettas. (:

There are lots of members that keep theirs in 2.5 gallons, and lots that keep 5 gallons. As long as you're willing to put in the work to change the water, 2.5 gallons is perfectly acceptable.

Not sure on the java moss, I don't have live plants in my tanks yet.. though I think you need a filter/cycled tank to properly keep live ones? Don't quote me on that, hopefully someone else will pop in here as well.

Most of us use gravel, but sand is also acceptable as long as it's stirred every so often so it doesn't compact. I think gravel is easier to clean (just get a gravel vac), and is probably the top choice.

Good luck. (:
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Old 09-18-2010, 10:40 AM   #3 
Lion Mom
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I personally prefer a 5 gal., but, yes, a 2 1/2 is acceptable. No, it does not NEED to be filtered, but kinda makes life a tad easier if it is filtered & cycled.

Yes, you can use java moss in an unfiltered tank. Matter of fact it would be GOOD to use it since the plant itself will help filter/use the ammonia secreted by your fish. If it were me, I would put in quite a number of plants in an unfiltered tank - java fern, java moss, anubius, ancharias, etc.

It's up to you really, but I prefer gravel myself. Easier to clean, IMO/E.

I can't tell you how often to do water changes in an unfiltered tank since all of mine are filtered. Sorry! :)
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Old 09-18-2010, 11:55 AM   #4 
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Thanks Capricorn and Lion Mom.

Another question about the 2.5 gallon tank: Would a 25-40% (.62 - 1 gal) water change every week be acceptable (in conjunction with scrubbing, vacuuming, and cleaning the filter)?

The tank I'm leaning toward is the Aqueon Mini Bow 2.5.

-- Ferio
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Old 09-18-2010, 12:22 PM   #5 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Northern Virginia
I always recommend getting a liquid master test kit--which you will need if you want to cycle your tank. You should look into the nitrogen cycle and how to conduct a fishless cycle. The test kit will help you establish a water changing routine, and whether or not that routine is working for you in the long term. You will never need to "scrub" a cycled tank unless something unexpected happens, but you will have to use a gravel vac and gently rinse your filter cartridge every once in awhile.

Java moss is great, it will definitely improve water quality and bettas love to rest in it. I have it in all my betta tanks in various forms. I have sand in only part of one of my tanks and gravel in all the rest. I prefer gravel because it's easier to clean.
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Old 09-18-2010, 12:32 PM   #6 
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Lets see. 2.5 is acceptable. I like at least 3 gallons, but its your choice. Make sure that you can do this, because 2.5 gallons unfiltered will be pretty hard to keep. I'm pretty sure that the mini bow 2.5 kit comes with a filter though. I don't think you can cycle a 2.5 gallon because you have to do at least 1 100% water change a week i think. Gravel is way easier to clean. Good luck!
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Old 09-18-2010, 01:27 PM   #7 
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I have the Aqueon mini desktop 5gallon tank and i love it for a first time betta fish user... and i do believe that the 2.5gallon comes with the mini bow filter on the tank... hope this helps best wishes....
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Old 09-18-2010, 02:27 PM   #8 
Lion Mom
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I don't know what the Mini-Bow 2 1/2 gal. costs, but if you are interested in a 5 gal., Wal-Mart has this Tetra 5 gal. glass aquarium kit - tank, hood, light & heater - for $47.66.

They HAD other 5 gal. kits for less (no heaters), but they don't seem to have them right now. :(
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Old 09-18-2010, 02:44 PM   #9 
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Here's the other Walmart one. You can still find it on their site if you google it and you can do "Find in store" if you're willing to go pick it up. Hopefully they come back in stock soon.
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Old 09-18-2010, 03:23 PM   #10 
Join Date: Mar 2010
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A 2.5g with a filter will cycle and with either filter or live rooted plants you don't want to do complete tear down to clean...usually not needed unless something bad happens to the water.

In 2.5g with a filter and some live plants-twice weekly 50% water changes should maintain water quality. With one of the twice weekly water changes you want to include substrate cleaning with either a stir of the substrate to bring the mulm/waste up in the water column and dip out with a cup or siphon

Unplug both the heater and filter when you do any cleaning on the tank and once you re-fill with like temp dechlorinated water and plug the filter and heater back in-the water should clear within an hour or two.

Give the filter media a rinse/swish in old tank water with a water change or in dechlorinated water 1-2 times a month and when the water flow slows to get the big pieces of gunk off to maintain good water flow.

Having and using a master test kit is always a good idea and a good habit to form, however, IMO- you don't have to have one to keep fish successfully provide that you make regular water changes and make water changes anytime the fish has a behavior change to rule out the environment at the cause.
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