I have a few questions, hoping someone can answer.
First know that the Betta we are PLANNING to get is for my youngest son. He received a couple of goldfish in a bowl for a birthday over a year ago. These goldfish died within the month. He was devasted. Blamed himself, confidence was low....it was awful. He has since written a report on Bettas for school and has begged for one ever since. It was his only request from Santa this year.
So Santa bought him a tank, gravel, and decorations and stuff. Told him to prepare for the fish. My son is soooo excited!!!
Okay...so you can see how my husband and I want to do this right the first time out. Neither one of us have owned any fish before....if you don't count the unfortunate goldfish last year.
We have gotten a 5 gallon tank with heater and filter. It is an Aqueon Mini Bow with attached filter. Has a hood and a light. The heater is an adjustable 25w heater by Topfin. We started out with a thermometer strip but questioned its accuracy and now have a submersible one also. Water temp is at 80/82. We have gravel and a structure that looks like Fred Flintstones house. My son also bought a decoration that is a submarine/underwater vehicle looking thing because his fish is gonna need a car to go with his house. Ha Ha. There are also two fake plants in the tank. Yes kind of crowded but still plenty of room for one Betta.
We rinsed everything out with only very hot water and then set the tank up. We have put a piece of raw shrimp inside a mesh bag in the tank to let the tank cycle. We run the heater, filter and light as if a fish was in the tank.
Now my questions, but first let me thank all of you who have posted here...I have learned a lot and I am so appreciative of the information you have shared. Thank you, thank you! Couldn't have gotten this far without you.
1. Is water too hot? Should I lower the temp a bit? The house drops to 62 at night downstairs where the tank is located and goes up to 70 during the day. The thermometer says the temp is still the same...do I trust it?
2. I have not done any water changes while the tank cycles. Is this correct? Should I be doing water changes to help it along?
3. Do I need to do a FULL water change when the tank is done cycling or just a partial?
4. For a 5 gallon filtered tank, how often do I need to do water changes? I was thinking 25% to 50% weekly with a full water change once a month. Am I off?
5. Okay, so tank is building up "good" bacteria and killing off "bad" bacteria. Once "good" bacteria is set up and going won"t I be removing it all and starting over if I do FULL water changes? Will I need to do FULL water changes once the tank is established?
6. I haven't used a water conditioner. I have a bottle of PRIME but it gives amount for a 50 gallon tank. I would have to use 0.5mL for 5 gallons but with all the stuff in the tank, I don't think there is 5 gallons of water. How much, if any, should I use? How do you guys, with smaller tanks, measure it out? Do you guess? Use droppers? I obtained a medicine dropper from the pharmacy but the smallest amount was 1mL. Would be hard to measure out amounts less than that.
7. Planning on getting our fish from PETCO but there is also a Petsmart down the street. Should I buy elsewhere if I want a nice healthy one? Any reccomendations?
I can't disappoint my son again. At least not so fast. If we can make his Betta last at least 6 months if not more....I will consider it a success. He understands that we are taking it slow, making sure we do this right. So any advices, comments, suggestions, are soooo appreciated.