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Old 10-17-2011, 07:45 AM   #1 
Belated
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A soon-to-be betta owner... questions?

Hi! After lurking on this site for a couple of weeks, I can definitely say I've caught the betta bug! I'm planning to go out weekend after next and buy myself a fish and all the related supplies, but I have a few questions first. I'll try to make this as coherent as possible. ;)

1. I live in Brisbane, Australia. This makes it hard, because nearly everything I can find in the stickies is american - I've worked out I'll be buying a 15-20L tank, but as for things like conditioners and foods, are there any Aussies here that can help me with brands?

2. Where should I go for the fish itself? The ones at my local petstores are all fairly boring reds and blues, and I've yet to see a single one that looks healthy. (If there's anyone in the eastern brisbane/bayside area but some chance, any suggestions?) Would somewhere like a nursery be good? I've been considering a place called Nielson's, who stock fighters, but I'm not really sure if it will be worth the drive.

4. Okay, technical stuff. Say I'm buying a 15L tank - what *exactly* do I need in it - do I need a filter/filter sponge, and an airstone/pump? What type of heater is best, in terms of wattage?

Thanks in advance - sorry if a sound a bit dumb, I swear I'm doing my best to research all of this before buying a fish! x3
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:18 AM   #2 
Myates
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Private Message Banicks, as he lives in Australia as well.. and I know there are a few others too, but for the life of me, can't remember their names (sorry!)
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Old 10-17-2011, 08:39 AM   #3 
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For a 15L tank you don't really need a filter but it wouldn't hurt by any means. If you don't get one you'll have to do water changes often. 15L is about 4 gallons? Perhaps a small sponge filter would be good. That way you get some mechanical filtration but more importantly biofiltration. As for a heater, a 25w should be enough. Make sure to get some plants, real is best but fake will work. That way the betta has some hiding spots and feels secure and it will just look better.

For water conditioner, if you can get it, Prime is really good stuff. Stress Coat by API is good as well. Most stuff on the market will work with no problems. Food, try to find New Life Spectrum or Omega One. They are probably the best two out there. Some say Hikari is good, some say the quality has suffered in recent times. I don't use it so I can't really say.
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Old 10-17-2011, 11:15 PM   #4 
Banicks
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Belated View Post
Hi! After lurking on this site for a couple of weeks, I can definitely say I've caught the betta bug! I'm planning to go out weekend after next and buy myself a fish and all the related supplies, but I have a few questions first. I'll try to make this as coherent as possible. ;)

1. I live in Brisbane, Australia. This makes it hard, because nearly everything I can find in the stickies is american - I've worked out I'll be buying a 15-20L tank, but as for things like conditioners and foods, are there any Aussies here that can help me with brands?

2. Where should I go for the fish itself? The ones at my local petstores are all fairly boring reds and blues, and I've yet to see a single one that looks healthy. (If there's anyone in the eastern brisbane/bayside area but some chance, any suggestions?) Would somewhere like a nursery be good? I've been considering a place called Nielson's, who stock fighters, but I'm not really sure if it will be worth the drive.

4. Okay, technical stuff. Say I'm buying a 15L tank - what *exactly* do I need in it - do I need a filter/filter sponge, and an airstone/pump? What type of heater is best, in terms of wattage?

Thanks in advance - sorry if a sound a bit dumb, I swear I'm doing my best to research all of this before buying a fish! x3
G’Day Belated! The aussies are slowly invading!

These forums generally run off US gallons, by default 1 US gallon = 3.7 litres for us. I use this conversion calculator for ease of brain activity - http://gallonstoliters.com/ . You will probably also need a Fahrenheit to Celsius converter too - http://www.wbuf.noaa.gov/tempfc.htm . I refer to both these links to help others and get help! Keep them saved for the future :)

Brands in Australia are varied depending on what store you go to. Unfortunately we don’t have Petcos or anything quite as common as what is available in the States and Canada. You’ll mostly find locally run fish stores and pet stores stock Aqua One or custom built items, sometimes stocking high-end brands. Google maps + aquarium store/fish store is your best bet to locate a decent place near you.

Aqua One are entry level cheap but well made. You can pick up Aqua One all-inclusive starter kits or you can make your own little kit by picking what you need. Make sure you ask for a discount if you use a store and you buy everything from them. If it is a decent store, they will most likely oblige.

A mid-to-high level brand is Sera. German company that is quite widespread for their chemical products (tester kits, etc) and I have seen basic aquarium items and kits online, but not in stores.

High-end brands that I have seen, but not used personally, are Eheim and Eheim Jager – technically the same company. Eheim is a high-end filter name at my preferred fish store, and you will find Eheim Jager division make heaters.

To start out you probably won’t want to go high-end, but if you are willing to invest a little more then go for it. I myself went for Aqua One tank, heater, thermometer, filter and net. These products, thus far (4 months), I have had no issues with. They come with a 1 year warranty, and you can extend that warranty by a year for completing a survey.

Next you have food and products. Different brands for everything really. I find that most stores stock Hikari Bio Gold Betta Pellets – I personally use these and have had no issue feeding them to my guys. Other brands I don’t take notice of, usually because they just don’t look good on the ingredients listing. Water conditioners are varied, Sera make a good one - Sera Aquatan I believe it is called. I used it with no issues. But upon recommendation of these forums, API Stress Coat+ and Seachem Prime are preferred by most members. I personally use Stress Coat+, and have found this to be an excellent product. However you may not be able to find it in store – I believe the chain pet stores stock it, but it is quite expensive. You will most likely want to purchase this online.

You will find that most products can be purchased online in Australia for a lot cheaper than in store. I’m of two minds on this, #1: supporting a local store is good for the economy and if you repeat business, you will get a discount. #2: Most fish stores mistreat their Bettas, and I don’t like to support that, so savings for my pocket go online. That said I only trust and give repeat business to one store in Sydney, the rest of the time I shop online now.

It’s hard to know whether a shop is worth the drive or not, but nothing ventured, nothing gained. It might be a good idea to call ahead – ask them what Betta Splendens they have in stock. If they start calling out colours, ask what breeds they have. VT (veiltail) is the most common in reds, blues, mixtures. Next we have DT (delta tails) and SDT (super delta tails), CT (crowntails), HM (halfmoons) and Plakats (rare in store). If they don’t even know this much, then don’t hold your breath for the conditions or helpfulness of the pet store in regards to Bettas.

If you want something special, you could try Aquabid (http://www.aquabid.com/cgi-bin/aucti...0=115=120&1&cg) – this is the eBay of fish. But you will need to organise with a fish importer in QLD if she has a free spot to import for you.

Now probably confused you a bit, so in summary here is what you will need for your 15L tank:
- Tank (Aqua One are cheap and make very clean tanks)
- Substrate (Sand, pebbles, small stones or nothing at all)
- Heater (Aqua One, Eheim Jager – as long as it is adjustable) [For up to a 28L, a 25w heater is sufficient]
- Internal Suction Thermometer (Aqua One)
- Filter (optional – needed if you wish to cycle)
- Decorations (Silks plants, rocks, driftwood etc – make sure it isn’t sharp, if you can snag pantyhose on it, it’ll snag bettas fins = no good!)
- Light (optional – needed if you go for live plants)

Cycling is basically growing bacteria in a tank. Fish waste creates ammonia – ammonia is what will kill a fish if levels reach a certain amount. Over time if you have a filter, bacteria will form in the filter that likes to eat the ammonia. But this takes time, and you have to lower the ammonia levels by undertaking a certain % water change in the mean-time. Once the bacteria is formed in the filter, when it eats the ammonia, the bacteria itself has waste which causes Nitrite to be released in the water. Nitrite – toxic and not good. Ammonia – still not good either. But if we have Nitrite, this is good! It is the 2nd stage of cycling and will evolve our bacteria to complete eliminate ammonia. High levels of Nitrite kill fish. So even at the 2nd stage of the cycle, a certain % water change is done again.

Eventually ammonia levels will be completely zero. Nitrite will exist however it will then be eaten, and the end result we have is Nitrate (NitrAte). Nitrate means a tank is fully cycled – and it also means all traces of ammonia and nitrite are gone. Nitrate is the least toxic to fish, which means if you have it in your tank, your water changes are less and far apart.

Ultimately cycling allows you to do less water change %. But, cycling a tank under 5g can be difficult, some say it can’t be done at all. I leave the choice to you, if you have a 15L tank (3.9g) without a filter you should be undertaking a 50% mid-week, 100% end-week water change. If you decide to cycle, it will depend on levels, and to measure levels you will need a testing kit;

Testing kits come in strips or liquid form. They allow you to accurately measure levels of ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH and other assortments of aquarium related levels. Most people on these forums advise against testing strips, whilst they are cheap, they are apparently inaccurate. Most stores in Australia will stock Seachem testing kits or Sera testing kits. I myself was lucky and purchased a brand new Sera master test kit for half the price of the RRP via eBay.

Sera testing kits, in my opinion, are very good. Expensive though – you need 3 kits 1 for ammonia, 1 for nitrite/nitrate and pH, each kit is about $40. But you will be able to source them online for much cheaper.

Now with that said, if you chose to proceed with living plants in your tank, you may be unable to cycle. I started out cycling in Victors tank with a single anubias (living plant). I was reading ammonia levels and eventually nitrite. After placing a second anubias and some java ferns, I found I had stalled/killed my cycle. My plants are eating the ammonia before my bacteria get to it, allowing them to create nitrite or nitrate. So, that is another viable option for you.

It really depends on what you would like to do. Option 1: Just a nice little first tank without a filter (easiest). Option 2: Attempt a cycle with a filter – may be hard with your tank size (harder and will require testing kits for accurate cycling). Option 3: NPT or living plants. (moderate, but once setup very easy)

That’ll do for now, I believe LittleBettaFish lives up QLD way. Not 100% sure – she may pop in and say hello with suggestions!

Hope this helps! If you have any more questions, reply here or you're welcome to PM me. LittleBettaFish is also excellent to ask questions as well as many other members on these forums!

PS. Walloftext or what!

Last edited by Banicks; 10-17-2011 at 11:24 PM.
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Old 10-18-2011, 01:50 AM   #5 
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Pretty much what Banicks said.
I just want to add, don't be afraid to look 2nd hand. The aquarium hobby is massively expensive in Australia, and second hand stuff is generally pretty good. Here in Canberra/regional South NSW we have www.allclassifieds.com.au. There may be something similar in Brisbane. :)

AquaOne also does testing kits for ammonia, nitrites and nitrates that are cheaper than the Sera ones, but pretty accurate. :) They are liquid.

Look at Blue Planet tanks, too - the build quality is ok on everything except the light fitting (if you use any bulb other than the one they give you, it will melt), and they are generally cheaper than AquaOne. AA are their sister company. I have tanks from BP, AA and AO, and the AO is best, but the other two certainly aren't bad. :)

If you do find a good local store, definitely build up a relationship with the owner - discounts are never bad!

I use Prime as my water conditioner, and all of the Seachem plant stuff (liquid fertiliser etc). Many stores can order it in. If you have a Petbarn near you (I think they are national?) they definitely can get it. :)
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Old 10-18-2011, 02:14 AM   #6 
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If you live in Brisbane go to Fishchicks.

She is the main transhipper of imported guppies, bettas and apistos into Australia and I have purchased from her many times.

Her store from what I've seen in pictures is like an aquarist's wet dream (hehe).

She has all sorts of bettas for sale, and although they are more expensive than your usual LFS VTs, they are well worth the money. I also support her business because each betta is housed humanely and given excellent care while at her store.

AusAqua is an Australian-based betta forum with lots of useful Australian-related info. I know a lot of knowledgable individuals and breeders live up in Brisbane so I'm sure someone would be willing to help you out.
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Old 10-21-2011, 03:51 AM   #7 
Belated
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Oh, wow! Thank you so much or all the advice, guys, I really appreciate it. <3

I've found that AquaOne do 18L (4.7 gallon) tanks; that would be more than sufficient, wouldn't it?

I'll be going betta shopping next weekend - Fishchick is a little expensive, I think, for a first-time betta owner, but maybe I'll go to her in the future. (Unless I can't find healthy fish anywhere else - the search is still ongoing. xD)

Would 4.7 gallons be enough or two fish if I divided it (in the future, of course - one is fine for now!), or would I need a larger tank for that?
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Old 10-21-2011, 07:07 AM   #8 
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Hi Belated,

You're very welcome!

The 18L sounds perfect. You should be able to put some decent decorations and plants in there, fake or real up to you :)

It is possible to divide it in the future, however I'm not sure how the original betta would go from having 4g to himself, then down to 2g! Generally it is the recommended minimum 2g per betta - so it would be fine if you really wanted to divide it for a second betta.

But trust me when I say you wont want to restrict him! My dudes love their freedom, and they are such characters when they have their own space to call their home :)

Up to you!
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