Hi betta-lovers! I'm very glad to have found this forum :)
A friend of mine is moving overseas, and left her 2 adorable bettas in my care (probably indefinitely). She had them in two vase-like bowls - since I'm in Australia and grew up in Canada I have no clue about gallons. They are maybe one gallon each?
She also gave me their food, some Aqua-Cycle, and some water neutraliser stuff for chlorine etc when doing water changes. I've had them about 5 days and am already in love with them, they're utterly adorable little fish :)
However - I want to get them out of those bowls and into something nicer!! They seem a bit quiet and sad in there, I want to enrich their lives with more space, and some plants to hide in. My husband picked up a fantastic deal today, a secondhand aquarium with dividers for bettas. It has 4 "compartments" but I think I will only leave the central divider up, to give both the fish more room. I've been reading up on how to clean it safely without detergent or soap. It came with gravel - is there any chance that fish diseases could still be lurking in there, even though it looks to have been dry and empty for quite a while? Should I just get them some new gravel?
Their dividers are see-through glass - is there another divider I can make that ensures they cannot see each other and get stressed?
I also did a water change for them today (it was a week since their last one, my friend says that's how she kept them), and judging by the size of their small bowls, probably replaced 80% of the water. Is this okay? I tried to follow my friend's instructions - pour fish into large cups temporarily, emptied the rest out, rinsed the gravel (well - poured new water in and swished the gravel around until most of the fish poop came out and the water ran more or less clear), poured in new water, and added 8 drops of the water neutraliser and 3 drops of Aqua-Cycle to each bowl. Then let the water settle for 20 mins or so and poured the fish back in, with the old water they had with them in the cups - so 20% old water.
One of the fish isn't eating his dinner right now, though, and I'm a little worried that I messed something up with the water change :( Especially because he seemed to be the stronger fish who always goes right for his dinner. The other one who usually doesn't notice food for a minute or so, gobbled his right up. No, I don't think I accidentally switched them!! :) Should I just let him rest a bit and see if he will accept food a little later? One bit of his food sank to the bottom, I removed the others after they floated on the surface for over 5 mins.
(EDIT: Actually, just checked again, and I don't see the food pellet that sank anymore, he must have gotten to it and eaten something after all.)
Water temperature is 24C (I don't know Fahrenheit) - they do not have heaters yet, but it's summer in Australia so that's room temperature. I will get them a heater for their new tank.
I don't yet have a water test kit, as my friend did not have one either. I intend to get one asap, especially for setting up their new aquarium.