I just bought two male Half Moon Betta fish (which are being kept in separate containers and rooms). The first fish has a one gallon bowl, the other has a smaller 'Betta tank' which came with a 'Betta kit'. My first question is, is this container big enough? It actually came with a divider, but I think it's much too small to hold both fish. The box doesn't say the actual size, but this is a picture of it with the divider. http://www.arcatapet.com/fullsize/8916.jpg
To be clear, we are not using the divider. Is this enough room for it?
How often should I feed these fish? I read on the instructions we were given by the location from which we purchased the fish to not feed them more than four times a week, yet I've read online that you're supposed to feed them daily.
Also, we leave on weekends (leave Friday, return either Saturday or Sunday) is this going to be ok? What is the most time we should leave the fish?
We have filled the bowls with tap water (as the instructions stated) and we're letting the water age for 24 hours. Is this correct? Also, we were told to clean the water out once a week, yet on this site I've read that people clean out their bowls every day. Is this necessary?
I'm just a little bit nervous, as I want to make sure these Betta fish have the best care possible. I had fish when I was a child, but we never cared for them properly (as I didn't know how) and I've always felt guilty about it. I'm hoping to make up for it now.
For containers of that size, I would probably change 100% of the water at least every other day, as ammonia can build up very quickly and put the health of the fish in danger. Although your fish can survive in a gallon or so, most of us here prefer larger spaces for our fish, anywhere from 2.5 gallons and up, as those are easier to heat (bettas need to be kept around 76-80F) and (with larger, filtered tanks) can be cycled, which creates a more stable environment for the fish and makes maintenance a little easier. In addition to all that, the bettas really seem to love the extra space.
Upgrading to larger tanks for them would be the best bet. There are plenty of tank kits available for 2.5 to 5 gallons that great for bettas. Keep an eye out though, sometimes you can find great buys on sites like craigslist for used tanks.
Are you using a water conditioner for the water you're adding the bowls? Letting the water sit out isn't bad, but using a water conditioner is recommended. There are plenty of good brands available, such as Prime.
As far as food goes, a lot of people here tend to fast their betta one day a week, and then feed it normally with 2-3 pellets per meal for the rest of the week. Other foods, such as blood worms can be used as well, to give your fish some variety. If you buy freezedried food however, remember to soak it before giving it to your fish. Do you go out of town every weekend, or just sometimes?
I'm not using a water conditioner, they said we don't need any, that we just have to age the water for 24 hours before putting the fish in. None of this was mentioned by the 'pet specialist' when we purchased the fish. I'm very disappointed because I feel as though I wasted my money on small bowls when I could have gotten a larger tank. Now I'll have to wait to upgrade until I get paid again...
Anyways, every once in a while I'll go out of town on back-to-back weekends, but it's usually only once or twice a month and I'm gone for a maximum of two days.
The morons at the pet store suggested I keep the Betta's in temperatures of 70-74F, which is apparently very wrong. I'm not sure when I'll be able to go back and get a larger tank with a heater/filter...do you think the fish will be okay without one? Also, do they need special lights, etc.?
The place we bought it from kept them in tiny cottage-cheese sized containers that were filthy...so we're hoping to give them a happier life than that.
I totally know what you mean about the pet store, there are a lot of myths and misinformation floating around about bettas and the way many stores treat them is just downright terrible. Your fish are very lucky to have ended up with someone who cares about them.
On to your questions...
Going out of town once in a while for two days should be fine. Bettas can go quite a while without food if they have to, so this won't do your fish any serious harm. I'm not sure about exactly how long they should go without a heater, maybe someone else here can give you a better answer, but if you can keep them in a warm room and keep an eye on them, I would think they'd be all right until you can grab an upgrade.
Bettas don't require any particular lighting, but they do need a day/night cycle. I like to keep my lights on a timer for them, to make sure I don't forget to switch the light on or off if I end up going out.
As long as your place isn't too cold they should be fine until you get them a heater and ect~ and I'd for sure pick up water conditioner. Depending on your water just aging it might not be enough and/or there are other things besides just chlorine in your water you don't know about.
For the feedings your fish should be fine with the gaps as long as the rest of the time they are fed regularly. Betta's supposedly can go two weeks without food but I really would never suggest trying that. Two days is just like a slightly longer fasting. For bowls that size I'd do just about daily water changes if you can manage it to keep him in tip shape c:
Lights - just make sure they have a day and night cycle like we do <3
By day/night cycle, do you mean having light during the day and darkness at night? Like I said, I'm a total newbie...
I found a Tetra water conditioner that came with the 1 gallon tank, which suggests a teaspoon per gallon. We've added 1/10 of a teaspoon to the one gallon, and just a bit less to the smaller one. Is this alright?
Yeah, you do need water conditioner, or more specifically a dechlorinating product like Seachem Prime. Aging the water 24 hours will allow the chlorine to evaporate, but most water companies nowadays treat the water which chloramines as well--chloramine is also toxic and it can take weeks to evaporate. Dechlorinator will get rid of chloramine, chlorine, and heavy metals--some types like the one I mentioned will detoxify the small amounts of ammonia that are often present in tap water which is very important.
You need to change one gallon containers every other day, and smaller containers every day. Fish constantly excrete ammonia through their gills as waste--kind of like their form of urine. In nature, ammonia is converted into a less toxic substance by beneficial bacteria, consumed by plants, and diluted across much larger amounts of water. Since none of these components are at work in your tank, you will have to do frequent 100% changes.
If you upgrade to a filtered tank 3-5 gallons or larger in size, you can cultivate beneficial bacteria in your filter to convert the ammonia into nitrate, which, unlike ammonia, is only toxic in large amounts. This eliminates the need for frequent 100% changes, so if you end up upgrading later, you will only have to do once weekly partial changes, which is much, much less demanding on your schedule. Keep in mind that your fish will be with you for potentially the next 5-7 years if you treat them right, so how you choose to house them will have a major impact on your lifestyle for years to come. One of the best options for you would be to find a cheap 10 gallon tank setup on craigslist--I often see used ones with light/hood/filter/heater etc for $30 or so, and then divided the tank in two so you can house both fish in there safely. This consolidates your maintenance into one simple weekly water change.
You do need a heater, especially if you're in the northern hemisphere with winter fast approaching. I don't see it as an option, personally, since we're dealing with cold-blooded animals who are adapted to a tropical climate. Keeping them in lower temperatures will cause lethargy, digestive problems, circulation problems, and a compromised immune system. For now, put them in the most stable, warmest place in your house--away from direct sunlight, drafty doors and windows, vents, fans, electronics, etc.
As for feeding, you should alternate between two or more high quality pellet brands. Good brands are OmegaOne Betta Buffet Pellets, Atison's Betta Pellets, and New Life Spectrum--if these aren't available, look at the ingredients lists on what options you have. Choose the brands with meat products as the first few ingredients, the more specific the meat and if it uses whole meats, the better the product. Never choose a pellet with corn, wheat, or soy among the first ingredients. These are just filler.
You should also consider supplementing your fish's diets with frozen food like blood worms, brine shrimp, and daphnia a few times a week. Variety is very important as no single pellet can provide your fish with complete nutrition. It's a good idea to feed two pellets twice a day or three pellets once a day as a general guideline. Remember to pre-soak any dry food that you give to your betta in a bit of tank water until it is saturated. They weren't meant to digest dry, air-filled food, so they have the same reaction to it as we would with eating uncooked rice. The food expands in the gut as it takes on moisture, causing bloating and discomfort.
If you plan on going out every weekend, you should really upgrade to tanks that are bare minimum two gallons in size--well, you should really do this anyway simply because most heaters are designed to be used in tanks that are a minimum of two gallons in volume. Unfiltered two gallon containers need to be cleaned less often--about every three days. That will give you enough wiggle room to work with your weekend schedule.
Glad you cared enough to some to this site and ask questions! =]
well... I was gonna say something but Adastra pretty much covered everything. =]
the only helpful bit of info I can add is this:
Do you mean that it said 1 teaspoon for 10 gallon? if so you're right using 1/10th of a teaspoon. If it said 1 teaspoon for 1 gallon of water then use the whole teaspoon. =]
When you do a 100% water change and clean the bowl make sure not to use soap and most DEFINITELY don't use a sponge or something that's been recently washed with detergent. Only use hot water and your hands.
Since you're doing daily changes I'd recommend keeping the tank bare-bottomed (no gravel) as it's easier to clean that way. =]
Last edited by wallywestisthebest333; 10-05-2010 at 06:00 PM.