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Old 08-19-2011, 01:31 PM   #1 
mg83
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New to Bettas, help me make the right decisions!

I picked up a 16x8x10 5 gallon tank with a cover and light. I also purchased the Aqueon Quiet Flow 10, and Tetra HT10 50w heater, and some betta pellets. That's all so far.

I think we're going to go with live plants, and a plastic piece of driftwood and maybe a small cave.

Should we get gravel or sand? Petco has natural colored gravel in a 5 lbs bag on sale for $1.50. Should we grab a bag or 2?

I've looked at the plants, and really like the Java Fern. From what I've researched, I'd just tie some to the driftwood with 100% cotton? The other plant I like is Giant Hygrophila. Looking for beginner plants basically. I know with the latter, I'd have to trim it frequently. If there's anything you think would be better in a 5 gallon, please let me know. Also, do bettas like a lush tank or not?

Haven't bought any water treatments yet. But in the filter package is a coupon for $2 off Aqueon Water Conditioner. Would this be ok?

I've read conflicting reports on this next question. Can any other fish be put in the tank? The popular vote seems to be getting a shrimp if you want your betta to have a buddy.

Aside from making sure my tank is cycled properly, is there anything I'm missing?
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Old 08-19-2011, 05:00 PM   #2 
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Sounds like you've got a great start!

Gravel or sand is your choice. It's what you like the look of. The basic "rule" of substrate is 2 pounds per gallon. This is just so the gravel is thick enough to look nice. But that is up to you as well.

If you opt for a real piece of driftwood, I think the java fern will attach nicer. Some other good beginner plants are java moss, marimo ball, hornwort, wistera, anarchis and any anubius. I love anubias, they're really pretty and attach to driftwood as well. Bettas love leaves they can lay on. How lush the tank is is up to you. Just so long as they can swim.

Any water conditioner is good. Personally (and most people on here, lol) I like Prime water conditioner. It is the cheapest for the amount. It's only 2 drops per gallon. It last a long time.

In a 5 gallon, no other fish can be there. It's just too small. In a 10 gallon or larger there can. Shrimp and snails are ok though. Bettas have been known to eat shrimp, so be prepared. This varies from fish to fish. I have 2 tanks that I've added shrimp to, one ate it and one didn't. They're cheap though.

It sounds like you got most of everything. Just make sure to get a thermometer to keep an eye on the temp (they're like $2, get the suction cup one that goes in the tank). A siphon is nice to help with water changes. A net is helpful for moving your fish if you need to. Aquarium salt is good to have on hand if he gets sick. And that is all I can think of.

Good job doing research first! :)
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Old 08-19-2011, 07:59 PM   #3 
mg83
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Just got back from Petco looking at plants, half of their stuff looked terrible. I'm going to try an aquarium store a little further away tomorrow. Anyways here's what the staff at Petco told me.

I don't need a filter for the Betta because they like stagnant water. To much flow disrupts their swimming and adds stress.

I don't need real plants for the tank. I can get away with a plastic plant and a decoration.

I shouldn't get drift wood because it spikes the pH levels.

I shouldn't get water conditioner, instead I should get 3 dainos and let them cycle the tank.

I only need to do a 100% water change about every 2 weeks because they're hardy fish.

Legit info, or do I never step foot in that store again?
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:18 PM   #4 
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Dont listen to them haha....thats all I have to say. Filter is up to you, I'd suggest getting one because you need one to cycle. Real plants are also nice, they help the cycling process by eating ammonia. Driftwood will not spike your ph. (I think) You NEED water conditioner. Yes you can cycle with 3 dainos, but idk what you would do with them after. You should do a 50% water change every week if you have a live plant(s). Do this until your tank is cycled, then do 25% every week. I do this with a 6gallon. Many people will tell you thats too infrequent when cycling but Bettas are relatively hardy and mine is doing fine with that schedule. (not done cycling yet). If you dont have live plants, do a 50% maybe every 3-4 days until cycled. Then 25% per week. Im not expert, and I could get into more detail but this is long enough. Good Luck!
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:36 PM   #5 
mg83
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Thanks, every little bit helps.

I think I'm going to order some Java Fern and Java Moss from aquariumplants.com.

Petco did have a REALLY nice piece of driftwood I wanted for $4.99. I'll probably go grab it tomorrow.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:44 PM   #6 
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ouch, yeah don't listen to that.

they are right about the filter. Bettas don't need one. But I recommend one in anything 5 gallons or more. Makes it way easier to clean. Once it's cycled, do a 50-75% change once a week and you're good. The flow might disrupt your betta. But all you have to do is put a filter sponge on the output with a rubber band. Voila! No more flow. :)

You also don't need real plants. Fake are fine. Personally, I love real plants. I have them in my 5, 10 and 29 gallon. They're gorgeous and fun to have. If you do decide to go with plastic, use the panty hose test. Take some panty hose and run it over the plant and if it snags, it will rip your bettas fins. So don't use rough ones.

Driftwood can change pH levels, but not too much. Bettas can adapt to pH well. No reason to not get it.

YES YES YES get conditioner. It gets rid of heavy metals which are lethal. This is confusing, cause a tank can't cycle without a filter, and they recommended you don't get one. Weird. And don't cycle with danios. You can cycle with your betta, just do bigger and more frequent water changes til its done.

Don't do any 100% changes. A cycled tank converts ammonia into less harmful stuff. do a 50-70% change every week once it's cycled. Bettas are hardy, but that doesn't mean they don't thrive in a clean environment.

And don't let that make you never go back. Get legit info and use it. Just don't take their advice. As a general rule, pet store employees anywhere don't know what they're talking about.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:51 PM   #7 
mg83
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I just prefer real plants to fake ones.

We found a few more aquarium stores in the area. We're going to check them out tomorrow. If they have the plants on hand and they look healthy I'll just get them there.

What do you recommend for water testing? I see kits ranging from $10-$35.
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Old 08-19-2011, 09:41 PM   #8 
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I have the API Master Test kit. Get whichever one is liquid, it's more accurate than strips. The whole test kit tests ammonia, nitrites, nitrates and pH. It's like $35.
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