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Old 10-18-2011, 06:24 AM   #1 
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Hello all,

My first Betta recently passed away, and in response to that I would like for everyone who could to post everything that they know about Betta's in hopes to better educate myself and the world on how to treat them.
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:02 AM   #2 
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That is what members have been doing through out the forum. There is a sticky in this section that gives a summary of how to care for bettas. You can start there and then look through the habbitant section for types of bowls and set up.
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:11 AM   #3 
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I'm sorry to hear about your little guy =(
I can give you the basics of what I know.. some things you will have to decide based upon your new guy's personality.

Some say you need a tank 2.5g and bigger, but in reality they can live happily in a tank of 1g (but bigger is better, as well as it is hard to heat a 1g vs. anything larger). Some tanks are cheap, you can go the kritter keeper route, mediums at Petco are $8, and are roughly 2 gals, etc. As long as you do the proper water changes, the size doesn't matter whether it's a 1 or 55g.

For anything under 5g, without a filter you will want to be doing 1 50% and 1 100% water change per week. With a filter you will want to do 1 50% per week, as well as siphoning the substrate every other week or so by either a siphon or stir and dip (with a cup) to remove debris and waste from the bottom (do this in place of 50%)
For 5 - 10g unfiltered 1 50% per week with 1 100% per month. Filtered 30-50% per week, along with regular siphoning.
Always dose the full amount of water conditioner, regardless how much water you replace.

When doing water changes with fish out (keep the cup he comes in as you can use that to scoop him out of the water and hold him. Also for emergencies as a QT cup), make sure to acclimate him properly to both temp and chemistry of the tank. Such as float the cup for 20-30 mins, every so often taking out some of the water from the cup and replacing it with tank water (a turkey baster can make this easier).

Filters, it's your choice. Bettas don't need an air supply other then surface air. You just would have a extra water change per week without one. With a filter you will want to set it on it's lowest setting, or baffle it by either using an aquarium sponge in the outflow (kept in by a rubber band) or you can use a plastic bottle to baffle it. Bettas need little to no current of water as it can stress them out, and cause drag on their long fins that can result in excess stress, tail biting.

Bettas need it to be warm. 78-82*F is preferred, so unless living in a tropical climate, you should always have a heater. Not just for the warmth, but for the stability of the temp as they can not tolerate fluxes in temps. You can buy mini heaters for smaller tanks, best to get one with a thermostat that you can set yourself. If you have to get a preset, just be aware that sometimes it can go too warm and harm your fish, or it may not get warm enough. Some people never have issues with them.. but it is something you should keep an eye on.

Aquarium Salt, Epsom Salt (you purchase at any pharmacy in places such as Walmart), and Stress Coat is always good to have on hand in case of emergencies. Do not add in Aquarium Salt for plain water changes, it should be used strictly for emergencies/healing only.

Decorations should be silk. Wide/broad leaf plants are the best, anything that does not have sharp edges or points as they can rip the fins. Think of the fins as tissue paper and can easily tear on rough surfaces. Substrate is your choice, but any dyed gravel should be soaked for a few days (replacing water often) to remove excess dye that can leech into the tank. Males tend to really love caves of sorts, whether it's a decorative cave, or a coffee cup half buried. They tend to need medium to heavily planted tanks.

They do good with a variety in their diet, but some bettas are picky.
Pellets should be the main staple in their diet. I suggest 4-6 pellets a day, spread between 2-3 meals. If they are "mini/micro" then 8-10 a day would be good. If your betta is very active then I would feed on the higher end of the numbers, if he is real mellow, then the lower end as to not over feed.
Flakes are iffy.. they should be betta flakes, and fed sparingly. They can bloat and cause coloration in the tank if not taken out immediately.
Frozen foods such as blood worms, daphnia, misquito larvae, brine shrimp are very good for them. You can easily replace a few meals a week with frozen, alternating between frozen and pellets. Cut off a tiny bit from the frozen chunk, defrost in tank water and feed 2-3 of the frozen food per meal.
Freeze dried should be used as a snack, 1-2 times a week instead of a meal. Make sure you soak any in tank water prior to feeding as it can expand in the stomach and has potential to bloat. It has a good % of the good stuff, but it lacks other nutrients needed, reason why it's best that it's not the staple of the diet.

Depending upon tank size, your betta may or may not be good with other fish. Should never get multiple fish for a tank under 5g, and at 5g it's best to get shrimp or a snail or dwarf african frog rather then another fish. This thread will help in stocking.

Make sure there is a cover for your tank as bettas will jump, and they do need a day/night schedule just as us to get the proper rest/sleep.

Males cannot be placed together without a divider, females cannot live with males without a divider. Females living together is a sorority, and need a larger tank among other requirements, which is an iffy balance as it is. Should not be undertaken without much research.

Think that is about it.. good luck!
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:11 AM   #4 
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Also.. I'd suggest not making the same post in every thread as we can all easily see it in just this one.
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:30 AM   #5 
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Originally Posted by Myates View Post
Flakes are iffy.. they should be betta flakes, and fed sparingly. They can bloat and cause coloration in the tank if not taken out immediately.
Just wondering...whats the difference between Betta flakes and tropical fish flakes? My Betta loves the flakes I feed my tetras. He doesn't eat too many, maybe two, three flakes tops. I also feed him pellets.
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:31 AM   #6 
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Firstly I am very sorry for your loss.You get so close to the little guys and before you know it they're gone.Sadly they often go quickly, before you can respond.I am sorry that your little man is gone but I am glad to see that you want to educate yourself in preparation for a new friend.

Well I'm not some avid collector of bettas with my 100g divided bookcase tank with 20 different specimens,in fact I'm a bit of a newbie myself but I do work with animals and have read my betta book so what I do know is this.

Many,many lies are told about these fish.

Firstly they need warm clean water.Unless you live on the equator you will need a heater.The less physical stress you place upon the fish the healthier and longer lived they shall be.Changes in water temp cause stress and reduce life span.

They are often touted as hardy but this isn't true either.Yes they won't die at the drop of a hat like many small tropical fish but they aren't hardy like goldfish are hardy.They need clean water at all times.Once again the less stress you place upon the fish the longer it's life shall be......the happier they shall be too.This includes having a good quality water conditioner.I use api stress coat and so far I'm happy.There are better products than this but I don't have bottomless pockets.Depending upon the size of your tank and wether or not its cycled will determine how much of a water change you do.For my 10g that's cycled I do 20% every week.5g or less should be 100% every week and less than 3g 100% everyday. Do some research on this.

Bettas need space.Yes you can keep them in 2.5g tanks and lord knows I won't hassle anyone who does so as it's far better than the 1/4 gallon cubes of death that you see them in in the pet store(worse still those walmart cups...shudder)
The minimum tank I suggest is 5gs with no other fish.I have mine in a 10g with no other fish.Word of warning to the wise though,these tanks are said to be begginer tanks,they're not and can be very finicky.At the end of the day most of your tank set up dollars go towards conditioners, medications, water testers,filters plants etc the tank itself never costs that much compared to other things so just go for the bigger tank,I have heard that 20g tanks are very easy to keep.I have seen a betta in a 65g tank and he used all the space.
Bettas need filters,all fish need filters(unless of course you're doing 100% water changes every day/week)Once again making less stress upon your fish is the goal and filters mean that you can successfully cycle the tank as well as pick up any uneaten food.I have a sponge filter and these are the best filters by far for bettas in my opinion.Bettas don't like strong currents and most filters intake and outtake are too strong.My betta likes his sponge filter so much he'll sleep under it and play with the few tiny bubbles that come out the top.

Make sure you have all the things you need,water conditioner,water testers,back up medication like aquarium salt and a quarantine tank so that should you notice any change you can address it immediately.Test your water often.

Bettas need good food but not much of it.My little fellow,much to my despair,prefers flakes over pellets and this seems to generally be considered as the worst type of food to give them.I supplement his food once a week with blood worms and in the future I will give him the occasional treat of live food.I only feed him what he can eat in five minutes once a day.His stomach is the size of his eye.

Bettas are smart and territorial,give them hidey caves and plants to hide behind.Only live or silk plants never plastic as this can hurt his fins.They enjoy lots of company and games,make him work for that blood worm but making him chase it around the top of the tank for a few circuits,this is good physical and mental stimulation.A friend of mine (with the 65g tank)would place large wooden and plastic beads(to big to swallow but small enough to grab) in the top of the tank.His betta would play with them.Spend time with him as often as you can,they love people,especially the people who feed them!

You can keep bettas in community tanks but if it is a smallish tank like mine I would suggest not doing so.Once again this is simply keeping in line with my theory of less stress equals longer life.They don't get lonely if you spend time with them and besides which what kind of company is a cory cat going to give him anyway,it's not like they're going to have a polite chat about the weather or that latest block buster they saw last weekend.

Lastly and my biggest piece of advice is get a betta book.This is by far the best way to educate yourself.There's plenty on amazon and they're never big books.It only takes an hour or two to read and they are the best way to get good sound knowledge.

Good luck with everything.I hope you have an o.k night all things considered.
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:33 AM   #7 
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Originally Posted by Nubster View Post
Just wondering...whats the difference between Betta flakes and tropical fish flakes? My Betta loves the flakes I feed my tetras. He doesn't eat too many, maybe two, three flakes tops. I also feed him pellets.
There may be a difference in ingredients is the most common reason.. tropical usually has wheat or plant matter of some source as their main/first ingredient, when fish meal should be the main/first ingredient when feeding a betta. Bettas don't digest vegetable/plants since they are insectivores naturally. Some is fine in their diet, but the main ingredient should always be protein/meat of some source.

My betta flakes have fish meal, ground up shrimp, etc in it.
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