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Old 03-06-2011, 07:05 PM   #1 
IamOpening
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Some Questions From A Noob

Hi,

I got my betta fish yesterday. I do not yet have the adequate setup for him, but I am working on getting it all together ASAP. I have a 5 gallon tank coming by the end of this week, and a thermostat. However, I couldn't afford a heater yet! I don't know exactly when I'll be able to afford a heater, but it could possibly be in three to four weeks. I am a college student with little money. I am very concerned about taking the best care possible of my betta fish (Eustace). So, I have some questions:

1) If I don't have a heater yet, would it be okay to put my warm desk lamp right above his bowl for a bit during the day? I live in Washington, and it is still winter. I seriously don't want him to be too cold. D:

2) How can I tell when he is stressed? Generally I would expect that I could tell if he were flaring his gills out. But usually, he doesn't do that when I think he should be stressed. For example, I just changed his bowl, and he was pretty good about it. He's not thrashing about, which I take as a good sign. However, he is floating near the bottom of the bowl, not moving too much. Is that a bad sign? I deeply do not want to do something that could kill Eustace... I've had two betta fish before, and I found out that simple mistakes can ultimately lead to their demise.

3) Are there any specific ways I should change his bowl while I still don't have a net? I've been pouring out almost all of his water, and then pouring him into the tiny container he came in, and then pouring the smallest amount of that water with him into the new water.

I don't want to be a bad betta owner. I will probably be able to get the net in about a week. But I really am not sure about the heater.

So, is there any input anyone would like to give? I hope my questions weren't too complicated.

Eric

EDIT: Eustace is now swimming around his bowl, which seems to be a good sign.

Last edited by IamOpening; 03-06-2011 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:27 PM   #2 
Malvolti
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I'll start with saying good for you for trying to get it right. So many probably don't even care to bother...

1) Maybe but I'm going to say no. The temperature fluctuations and inability to monitor the temperature will stress the Betta more than being cold. Heaters can be found at most pet stores and should only be about 20$ for a 25-50 w which you'll need for the larger tank. There are some "poor man's" methods that you can try in the mean time but NOT without a thermometer. Things like putting the tank on an electric heating pad.

2) When a Betta is stressed they turn pale. Flaring is a sign that they are angry or scared, not stressed. Sitting still at the bottom and not moving can also be a sign of him being stressed.

3) That water change method does sound stressful but I've never used bowls so I don't know what to suggest. I guess if you are doing it gently it could be ok but not ideal, which I think you know. I'm assuming you're using a water conditioner which is very important and a step missed by many new owners.
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:32 PM   #3 
IamOpening
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Malvolti, thank you for your response.
I am indeed using a water conditioner! I wouldn't dare put a fish in plain tap water. xD
I knew flaring was a sign of anger or fear, so as to make himself look better and stronger. But I didn't know sitting still was a sign of stress, rather I thought it was usually just a sign of lethargy. Thank you for educating me!
I won't shine that bright desk lamp on him anymore. I will ask my parents for $20 so I can buy a heater ASAP. And I will indeed buy a net.

Again, thank you for your help! :)

Cheers!
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:33 PM   #4 
PewPewPew
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IamOpening View Post
Hi,

I got my betta fish yesterday. I do not yet have the adequate setup for him, but I am working on getting it all together ASAP. I have a 5 gallon tank coming by the end of this week, and a thermostat. However, I couldn't afford a heater yet! I don't know exactly when I'll be able to afford a heater, but it could possibly be in three to four weeks. I am a college student with little money. I am very concerned about taking the best care possible of my betta fish (Eustace). So, I have some questions:

1) If I don't have a heater yet, would it be okay to put my warm desk lamp right above his bowl for a bit during the day? I live in Washington, and it is still winter. I seriously don't want him to be too cold. D:


This is fine for now. But really- that heater is a must, and is a must much faster than in 3-4 weeks. They NEED to have a heater, even if you miss a few meals (LOL) get one! Some are great for under $20. Make sure the light doesnt overheat the water. Consider putting a piece of dark paper over the top of the tank for a few hours of this to limit the intensity of light.. Theyre not the biggest fans of intense light. At night make sure the opening is well covered to keep that heat in, but make sure he can get air.

2) How can I tell when he is stressed? Generally I would expect that I could tell if he were flaring his gills out. But usually, he doesn't do that when I think he should be stressed. For example, I just changed his bowl, and he was pretty good about it. He's not thrashing about, which I take as a good sign. However, he is floating near the bottom of the bowl, not moving too much. Is that a bad sign? I deeply do not want to do something that could kill Eustace... I've had two betta fish before, and I found out that simple mistakes can ultimately lead to their demise.

Flaring does not equal stress. Actually, its not a bad sign- a betta that refuses to flare is probably less healthy than one who does. Stripes going length wise on his body will show he is VERY stressed, too.
Your water is probably too cold or too hot. You need to acclimate him, you cant plop him in- that will kill him.

Are you using water conditioner?
You need to.

3) Are there any specific ways I should change his bowl while I still don't have a net? I've been pouring out almost all of his water, and then pouring him into the tiny container he came in, and then pouring the smallest amount of that water with him into the new water.

I don't want to be a bad betta owner. I will probably be able to get the net in about a week. But I really am not sure about the heater.

So, is there any input anyone would like to give? I hope my questions weren't too complicated.

Eric

EDIT: Eustace is now swimming around his bowl, which seems to be a good sign.

FOr the other question, please read through this- http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=64078

Actually, read all of it and learn well.

Also, please let us know the current specs of your set up, including size, conditioner, temp, water changes, etc.
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:37 PM   #5 
PewPewPew
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[quote=Malvolti;611086]I'll start with saying good for you for trying to get it right. So many probably don't even care to bother...

1) Maybe but I'm going to say no. The temperature fluctuations and inability to monitor the temperature will stress the Betta more than being cold. Heaters can be found at most pet stores and should only be about 20$ for a 25-50 w which you'll need for the larger tank. There are some "poor man's" methods that you can try in the mean time but NOT without a thermometer. Things like putting the tank on an electric heating pad.


I disagree. If the water is 68' or something, he'd die quicker than if he had like 4 hours of warmer water that slowlyish went back to temp.
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Old 03-06-2011, 07:41 PM   #6 
IamOpening
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PewPewPew View Post
FOr the other question, please read through this- http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=64078

Actually, read all of it and learn well.

Also, please let us know the current specs of your set up, including size, conditioner, temp, water changes, etc.
Thank you, I have read that page. I will memorize it.

I currently have a horrible half gallon bowl with no electrical appliances whatsoever. I am worried about this, and I am getting a 5 gal with a heater and a filter by next Friday. Also, I am getting a heater by late this week.
I am not too terrified because a friend of mine has her betta in a cube smaller than my bowl, with no appliances. I know that is basically abusive, but the betta has been *alive* since September, and frequently makes bubble nests.
But the bottom line is, by the end of this weekend my setup will be this:
https://secure.petco.com/Shop/Product.aspx?SKU=816469
This tank includes:
Eclipse Filter Cartridge and BIO-Wheel
and
Safe, Silent Epoxy-Sealed Motor

So, by the end of the week, I will have a good home for Eustace. :)
Do you agree?
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Old 03-06-2011, 08:02 PM   #7 
PewPewPew
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Just because it is alive doesnt mean it isnt miserable.
Just because it makes nests doesnt mean its happy or not in pain.

Btw- I have that tank. Its a good one, though you will, without a doubt, need to baffle the filter. Its STRONG on the outtake.

For it, I use a marineland 10w (yeah, only ten! its a beast.) and it can get mine to 86' x_x it was only 18$ not on sale with my petsmart card.

It heats my bf's ten gallon to 78. Wow.

Btw- with that tank, just use the cup your fish came in when hes near the top- dont get a net. The opening is big enough for the cup- dont waste the few bucks on it, imo... I try not to net whenever possible.
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Old 03-06-2011, 10:23 PM   #8 
IamOpening
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I just purchased the heater you recommended! It should get here by the end of this week also. :)
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Old 03-07-2011, 12:08 AM   #9 
IamOpening
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Actually, I have a question. The heater you suggested does not have a controllable dial. Is there any way to make sure that my tank stays at 78 degrees? I don't want to have to frantically be taking it out and putting it in to keep my tank at a decent temperature!
How does it work for you? Obviously, it must work fine for you, but do you have anything to say about it?

Sorry for the extreme specificity, but I just want to be safe!
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Old 03-07-2011, 01:11 AM   #10 
bahamut285
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Getting an in-water thermometer would be the best. The stick on the side ones are not as accurate, but still useable. The point of the heater with no dial usually means it is a preset heater, which means it will automatically heat up your tank to 78F.

I am aware of other people doing well with these kinds of heaters, but for some reason mine always run a little on the cold side, even with a properly powered heater, so I have an adjustable one now, XD

Good luck! Once you get set up I would love to see pictures of Eustace *_*
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