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Old 07-21-2011, 06:11 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Jul 2011
First Time Fish Owner

I'm looking to get a male betta fish in the next week or so. I plan on getting a 2.5-5 gallon tank with a filter. I've never owned a fish before and I tried to read over as much as I could but I'm just not sure on a few things.

From what I understand I need to replace 25% to 50% of the water every week. To remove the water do I just stick a tube in the tank and siphon the water out and then pour in the new conditioned water? Do you remove the fish during the water change or should you do it with the fish still in the tank?

Do I also need to clean the sides of the tank as well as substrate and any decorations in the tank? How often should I do this? How should this be done? Should the fish be removed from the tank when I clean the sides and decorations or are these done with the fish still in the tank?

Would you recommend setting up the tank a day before I get the fish or should I get them at the same time?

Sorry if these are stupid questions about removing the fish from the tank. I've just read a lot of people talk about how stressful on the fish it is take it out and put it back in the tank, so it seems like you would want to avoid it.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 07-21-2011, 06:13 PM   #2 
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Minesota USA
Before you get the fish, so you can float the cup as you gt home with your betta
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:47 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Welcome to the forums! I'm brand new here, too. I don't yet have my fish but can answer a couple of your questions.

Here is an excellent step-by-step article on taking care of your new friend:

Note that it highly recommends that you get a heater. That is one of the most important things you can do for your fishy :)

The frequency of water changes and so on can be read in the above thread. As to how to accomplish this, you can get something called a gravel vacuum. Any aquarium store should have one. If you have a Petsmart store near you, I can recommend their Top Fin "mini" vacuum. It's not the quickest, but it will enable you to take your time sucking up the yuckies.

I don't have much experience with cleaning - only that you'll only need to do it if you have algae growing on the sides of the tank. They sell specialty algae brushes for that sort of thing - just make sure you buy the appropriate tool for your type of tank. I.e., something made to clean glass will probably scratch an acrylic tank.

The substrate you'll take care of with the vacuuming. As for the decorations, I'd imagine you would only remove them if they were covered with algae. Clean with plain water and your algae brush.

I'm not sure about removing fishies during cleaning. Hopefully someone on here can respond to that.

As for setting up the aquarium, while you can do it at the same time, I would highly recommend setting it up a day or two before hand. This will let you know if your filter works, the tank doesn't leak, and so on. It will also allow the heater to bring the water up to temperature.

If you do all this before, you won't feel rushed when bringing your new fishy home :)
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:55 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Georgia
Welcome Drewdigg,

Don't worry about asking stupid questions, they are all very valid.

I would get a heater rather than a filter. In such a small tank, there really isn't much a filter could do anyways.

As for water changes, in a 2.5 gallon tank, you'll want to do two to three 50% water changes and a 100% water change a week. For the partial water changes, just siphon it out and replace. If you are careful about adding the water back in, this should not stress your betta out at all. What I do is get a cup or tubberware and scoop the clean water back into the tank to reduce splashing. :)

For the 100% water changes, remove your fish and all the water. Take an extra minute or so to clean out the gravel in hot water, and scrub the tank and decor in how water. Then fill it back up with dechlorinated water.

I highly recommend getting the tank and the heater set up at least a day before getting your betta. This gives you time to monitor the tank's temperature, make sure the heater is working correctly, make sure the tank is up to par, etc.
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