I recently joined the betta club the other day, first time owning any fish so I splashed out and bought a new 8 litre tank (2.1 Gallons), heater, pants, ornaments etc. It seems like a decent sized tank compared to the tiny ones at the pet stores.
We're pretty tight on water down here in Australia and I wasn't aware of the large water changes needed for betta fish. From what I have gathered through threads and the FAQ, is that I should do 50% changes every second day, but that's a lot of water.
Are there any tiny filters that would work in harmony with my betta? Would they reduce the water changes?
And just another quick one... I feel terrible when I have to net him, which I have only done once. Can I cycle the 50% slowly with him still in there?
I would get some type of filter and some live plants-floating-like hornwort, wisteria (float or planted), water lettuce, frogbit, duckweed and some stem plants, any type to help with water quality.
You can even use willow branches and let them root out in the tank with the tops out of the water of course...lol.....this will help by removing the ammonia in the tank so you can limit the amount of water changes.
When doing partial water changes you don't have to remove the fish but try and get the replacement water as close to the same temp as the tank water. If you add lots of live plants you could decrease the percent to 25% weekly, but you want to watch the Betta for behavior changes and make an extra water change as needed.
The tank just came on it's own, completely bare. It is quite nice though, has curved edges on the front side which are modern looking. Can you recommenced a tiny filter? I would most likely import from overseas so any models would be fine.
As for plants, i'm not sure i'm knowledgeable and skilled enough to maintain them alongside a fish also. But I might do some research into those you listed and see what work they involve.
Oldfishlady already gave you some good advice. If you're new to plant keeping, there are a lot of websites out there with great information and tips. With a little bit of reading, I say go for it. Before you know it, your betta will be enjoying his new plants.
Actually just get some floating or bog plants and have their roots in the water - like those betta vases. (for bog plants just clip off a cutting put it in the water and it will root out eventually). Good floating candidates would be frogbit, water lettuce, and duckweed. bog plants that can grow their roots in the water are pothos, arrowhead, peace lily, dumb cane, etc. These plants are very common just do an image search if you arent familiar with the names. You dont have to have any special lighting, food, or water for these type of plants so you will be good to go.
You will also want a good filter with biological, mechanical, and chemical filtration.Pretty much any HOB filter will do this.
Foster and Smith has a great article on filter selection. Seeing that your tank is fairly small, I would recommend a Power (Hang-over-back) filter. Sponge and other types of filters would take up too much room in the aquarium to be practical.
I live in Australia too, but I'm from Melbourne so the drought sort of broke down here with all the rain we've had. Since the tank isn't cycled, you'll probably be doing very large 50 -100% water changes every few days. Adding live plants will help with ammonia levels, and fast-growing stems and floaters such as duckweed (frogbit is hard to get here) are very nutrient greedy. You just need to make sure your light is rated for growing plants and depending on the wattage and the type of plants you put in, you might need to dose something like Seachem excel daily, and do a weekly fert dose.
Also make sure you have a good liquid test kit like the one from API, since strip tests are not worth the paper they're printed on. For starters, you'll just need an ammonia and nitrite testing kit, since your tank is uncycled and if these levels get above 0 - 0.25ppm they can really harm your poor fish.
A filter will eventually reduce the need for water changes, but since you have no established biological filter, you'll need to be doing fairly extensive water changes for the next four to six weeks while your bacterial colony establishes. If you know someone who has an established tank, you could get them to donate a chunk of their filter media (not old water or a decoration since the bacteria levels are too low to make a difference), which will certainly speed up the cycling.
Also, if you're on mains water, replacing eight litres of water every few days is no more different than filling a sink to do dishes. Although it might be a little bit of a squeeze if you're on tank water and haven't had rain in a while.
LittleBettaFish, perfect, someone also from Melbourne! I'm not on tank water, just very concious of how much I used. I really didn't anticipate this much water changing but water wise and time wise in doing the changes. I don't have a light as yet, but I'll look into it depending which plant I can buy. Do you know any places which have a good range of plants to buy from? I'm in the northern Suburbs, Watsonia/MacLeod way, 40 minutes from the city.
Alex09, I like the sound of floating plants, i'll go to a few of my local aquariums and see which they have and can recommend.
jdh, thanks for that article, I have a good idea of which filters are which now and hang-over-back seems like a good choice
Tigerlily, that sure is a halo poster! I am a little obsessed!