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Old 10-03-2011, 09:21 PM   #1 
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Couple of Questions on for care on my "working" Beta

Hi everyone, I will probably be called cruel at least once here, but Here goes LOL. I have a "working" beta that during our long hot summers lives in a 50 gallon pony water barrel and happily eats the mosquito larva as well as other bugs in there. Best Mosquito fish I have had yet, and survives the 100++ degree summer temps very well, not as messy as the previous gold fish, plus he entertains the pony, "Tuffy", a American Shetland, who will sit and watch "Red" come up for air and eat bugs landing on the water for hours LOL.
Well, Its time to bring Red into the house for the winter, as the bugs have died down and its starting to get cool (mid to upper 70's for a high, dipping down into the early 50's at night)
So my Questions are:
Right now I have him in a 2.5 gallon tank, and am looking for a heater for it, any suggestions?
Also any suggestions on food for him? I have supplemented his diet with the floating "Beta Food" for the last month to make sure that he is getting enough to eat, but am worried that will be enough for him since he is used to a pretty rich diet of live critters.
How about live plants in a tank that small? I have really never kept under a five gallon before, but I do seem to remember that live plants really even things out for them?
Any suggestions or comments, so long as they are not too mean, are welcome!

Oak Run, CA
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:15 PM   #2 
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Southeast La
I personally don't think that you're cruel. 50 gallons of clean dechlorinated water sounds like a heaven for Red. He can survive by going deep when it's too hot, down to where it's cooler. It would benefit him to have some cover though, not sure if he's in shade or not. Possibly add some duckweed for him or other floating plants?

Anyway, I have used 25 watt heaters just fine in my 2.5 gallon tank. Just be sure to get one that you can adjust, not one of those pre-set ones. They never have kept any amount of water at the 76+/-1 like the packaging claims.

Live plants are always great for bettas b/c they like to play, explore and rest on them. They can also help with water quality, but in that amount of water you will need to still continue weekly water changes (with filter) once the tank is established, or bi-weekly water changes with no filter.

Hikari & New Life Spectrum are usually well recommended betta pellet staple diets. You can supplement with frozen bloodworms, brine shrimp, daphina, and glassworms once or twice a week.

Oh and welcome to the forum and thank you for caring about your little buddy!
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:38 PM   #3 
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Location: CT
Sounds like a luck guy to me! Mine would be in heaven feasting on live food all summer. ;)

I use these heaters....

Great in a 2.5g tank.
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:41 PM   #4 
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i used the one that Leeniex has as well and it works like a charm :D
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Old 10-03-2011, 10:45 PM   #5 
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Location: Colorado
50 gallons? How is that cruel! Does your Shetland drink from it though? That might be a problem. I mean, what about the bacteria, and the pony can't drink declorinator....
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Old 10-04-2011, 01:31 AM   #6 
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Thank you for the Welcome of me and my "working fish" Red!

To answer a few things,
Yes he did have a large plastic "rock" in the bottom of the pony water barrel for him to hide in, though he seemed to hardly use it except for night time, he is a very active fellow! I will have to agree with the pony, it was fun to watch him stalk prey, even sitting at the top and doing a "Im Just A Leaf" impression, then striking when the bug landed on the top of the water..... something I had never seen an aquarium fish do before. Tuffy would also drop hay on the top of the water often and Red would make good use of it, hiding and striking at bugs landing on the water though it.

I do not know about water plants in the 50 gallon barrel, we have been looking into some plants for the 300 gal trough in the back pasture but so far have not found anything that A. will not poison the ponies, and B. the ponies will not just stand there and eat like they do with the various water plants in the back creek. Though what I am reading about the Duck Weed leads me to think that it is a distinct possibility.

Of Course the pony drinks out of his water barrel, that's what it is for. I bought the healthiest Beta out of a walmart tank for all of $1, so I kind of figured that at least the pony and barrel is cleaner LOL. As for dechlorinating, we have a non chlorinated well, a good thing for the ponies as well. The biggest thing we have to watch for is making sure the water warms back up when we do our bimonthly scrubbing. In case someone here does not know this, water right out of a well is very cold!

Thank you for the suggestions on heaters, and instructions on feeding Red, he is a complete joy to have in the house so far. I am going to try to make a trip into town and see if I can find a heater there, otherwise (like most things out here LOL) I am going to have to order it online and he will have to wait for it a little longer.

Amie in Oak Run, Ca
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Old 10-04-2011, 06:45 PM   #7 
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Location: Indiana
red's life sounds just awesome!!! i've been riding/showing horses all my life and i've never heard of anyone using fish to keep mosquito larvae out of the water troughs... i'm gonna have to look into that lol
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Old 10-04-2011, 07:53 PM   #8 
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Canada
Wow 50 gallons for a Betta to swim in that sounds great. D: I want one.

Anywho welcome to the forums first of all. :>

As for a heater I would go with the Elite Submersible 25 watt one, just because it's adjustable and a very good heater brand. Diet, try to get a variety of food; flakes, pellets, frozen bloodworms, freeze dried brine, etc. Although you can just stick you one type, he might be a picky eater since he got to munch on mosquito larvae all summer. I would say if you want some live plants in a 2.5 gallon tank, unless you have a good lighting (fluorescent bulbs that are 6500K) I would go with low light plants. For example, tie some java moss onto a piece of driftwood or lava rock, and a marimo moss ball.

Hope it goes well for you and your Betta.
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Old 10-10-2011, 06:14 PM   #9 
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Hi, everyone was so nice so I figured that I would update you on red, and include a few pictures LOL.

I work two towns over (been gone for about a week, parents take care of fish and ponies) and bought him a little heater, water filter, black rock and some live plants. He so far seems to Love it, and has spent most of the day challenging the filter LOL. Unfortunately the beautiful fake rock I bought him is just too big for the tank, sigh back to the drawing board there, he will have to live with the somewhat strange looking one I already had..... though I did bury it better since my Mom "lost" him this weekend when he decided to somehow squirm under it LOL.
OK, now for pictures..... Please remember that he is really nothing special, just a dollar fish out of the walmart tank......

This one is the most accurate one of his color and condition, please excuse the artifact

And here is his tank as of today...... Everything look good?

Thank you everyone for the warm welcome!

Amie in Oak Run, CA
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Old 10-10-2011, 07:00 PM   #10 
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Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Newfoundland
Now that is one lucky boy! As much as he probably misses the unlimited feeding, it looks like he will have a good home for the winter. The only other thing I might suggest is some sort of a floating plant. Even a piece or two of anachris or anubis (forgive the spelling, it's so easy to butcher either) would make a nice top layer for him to rest in, or like my boys, nest under.
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