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Old 09-07-2011, 06:06 PM   #1 
New Member
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Specific heater, filter, new tank questions

Hi everyone,
I'm new here and I really do apologise if these questions have been answered elsewhere. I have spent the last few days reading through the stickys but I'm still a bit confused. I've kept goldfish before, but never tropical fish so I was hoping I could get some specific advice.

I'm being given an ex goldfish tank, its about 12-13 litres (which is about 3-3.5 gallons?). I thought this would be a great opportunity to get a betta.

So I need to buy a heater. A lot of the ones mentioned on these forums are brands I can't find here. This brand seems to be quite common here. I found this one:
Is anyone familiar with it? Is it suitable for my tank size? At the pet shop they showed me one where you can't adjust the temperature which I thought was weird? Also, it's coming up to summer soon and my flat gets really hot in the day. I'll be at work so I won't be able to check on the fish. I'll make sure to keep the tank out of direct sunlight, but will it be dangerous for the fish if the room gets too hot?

My other question is filtering. The tank comes with a pump and air stone. I remember with the goldfish, the pump was pretty strong and agitated the water quite a bit. The pet store told me my tank is too small for a filter as it would make the current too strong for the betta. They also said filters are not necessary for betta anyway as an air pump is sufficient? I thought an air pump and filter were two completely different things. I was thinking of getting a sponge filter instead:
I read that they are safe for baby fish, so they must be ok for bettas. If so, which size of these would be suitable? I've also read mixed views about their efficiency though. I am so confused as to what to do. Should I scrap the sponge filter and just get a gauge to limit the air supply instead?

Lastly, I know it's a personal preference on whether to do a fishless or with fish cycle, but which method is best for a betta beginner? Approximately how long should I expect it to take with my tank size? (I want to make sure I don't rush it).

This is the most informative place I've found online yet for bettas. Sorry about the long post, I just want to be prepared and make sure everything is set up properly before I get a betta :). I was eyeing a beautiful male with gorgeous maroon/red veil fins yesterday. I can't wait!
sarahny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2011, 09:29 AM   #2 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Welcome to the forum....

The heater look to be a 25w which will be fine for the tank

Filter-they don't need a filter-but if you do get a filter the sponge filter will be perfect...especially in a small tank

In 3.5gal tank with a sponge filter-it will establish the nitrogen cycle, however, due to limited surface area for the nitrifying bacteria to colonize the cycle isn't stable and you still need to make twice weekly water changes of 50% to maintain water quality...1-50% water only and 1-50% to include vacuum or stir and dip method....
The sponge needs to be removed a couple of times a month and rinsed in old tank water.

Without any filter-water changes of twice weekly...1-50% and 1-100%

If you add some live stem plants and they are actively growing-50% weekly with light vacuum with or without a filter.....

Heat-Healthy Bettas are pretty tough and tolerant....the gradual temp changes that occur from the temp change...shouldn't cause any problems-but I wouldn't have the heater on in the summer/warmer months-if it gets really hot on your area.....your goal is to maintain a somewhat stable temp in the 76-80F range....
Healthy Bettas can tolerate extreme temp for short periods...from low 50's to 100'sF.....

Look forward to seeing pics of your Betta and hearing more about your adventures in Betta keeping.....
Oldfishlady is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-11-2011, 05:10 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Thanks for your reply. I've now got all the equipment and tank set up (no water yet). Waiting to get a source of ammonia and gravel from my parents tank to start cycling mine.

My filer has a carbon pad in it (carbon bits sandwiched between two pads) and slides into the middle of my internal filter. I ripped the pad open and replaced the carbon. But I read that it's not even necessary? I've stuffed filter wool on either side of it, then ceramic noodles on top. Would it be more effective if I got rid of the pad, and just filled it with a layer of filter wool, gravel from my parents' tank, then top it up with more noodles? I feel like I'd get more surface area this way as the filter pad takes up so much room...but if it wouldn't make a difference then I'll just leave it as is.
sarahny is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2011, 11:35 AM   #4 
Join Date: Jul 2011
In my experience with bettas, a filter is definitely more beneficial than an airstone. Bettas breathe surface air about 50%, which is why they need shallow tanks and surface access. Aerating the water isn't necessary. It also creates a lot of additional current, especially at the surface where it's most important that it be calm.

I have a betta in an aerated community tank and she stays in the corner opposite the airstones most of the time.

Live plants will make a huge difference. Taking gravel from your parents tank and adding it to the filter or anywhere else in the tank is a good idea to just start the cycling process and add some good bacteria.
tf1265 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-12-2011, 05:24 PM   #5 
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Thanks for the advice. I've got my tank filled, I've planted it but it's still cycling fishless. I've got the filter going and can see from the sediment in the water that the current is still quite strong (it's an internal trickle filter). Even when I place the waterfall/trickle as close to the water surface as possible. I plan to create a simple plastic bottle baffle to combat this, hope it works!

My parents tank houses goldfish and was advised against it. I posted in a local tropical fish forum and had someone in my town generous enough to swap their old bio noodles for new. I love how friendly and generous the fish community is! Everyone is always willing to help, it's great.
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