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Old 11-18-2011, 02:47 PM   #1 
ksnider
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Introduction and Newbie Questions

Hi :)

First off, I wanted to thank the forum for having so much great information - I've spent hours and hours reading on here since Wednesday, and I think my fish are much better off as a result. :)

I had bettas when I was a kid, in those little cup-like tanks you could buy from Wal-Mart. They got a 50% water change once a week and usually lived about a year (less if they ended up near a window during the winter). Last week, I found out my animal behavior class would be observing betta fish behaviors for one of our lab exercises, and the professor would give away the fish at the end of the lab. So, I talked to my roommates, decided to take home a betta, and did 10 minutes of googling - that's when I decided to get a gallon tank instead of one of the "cup" tanks.

So Tuesday my professor bought a bunch of bettas from PetCo, left them overnight in our lab room (which stays pretty cold), and Wednesday morning the bettas were moved around a bunch, displayed against each other, etc. (They were moved back and forth between tanks, but they weren't actually allowed to fight.) Probably pretty stressful. We weren't supposed to finish Wednesday, but since we did, I took the two bettas home Wednesday afternoon and had to turn back around to get supplies from the pet store. (I couldn't decide which one I liked better, so I talked my husband into two. )

The first night (Wednesday) I set them up in these tanks (one fish per tank, of course): http://www.petco.com/product/104215/...arium-Kit.aspx (I'm not using the filter.) I did use a water conditioner. I offered a betta food flake that night, but after it hadn't been touched for an hour, I took it out. After a couple hours the water still seemed pretty cold to the touch, so I looked for reviews on betta fish heaters and found this site. That was an eye-opener. Before I came here, I had NO idea about ammonia levels, cycling, or how important temperature was. The temperature in my room varies between low 70s and low 60s, depending on the time of day and whether or not my door is open, so my poor fish really needed a heater.

I came up with a new shopping list, but I couldn't do anything until Thursday afternoon (classes got in the way). (They did both eat a little bit Thursday morning.) I picked up several plants (two java ferns and a pack of four small Cryptocoryne - I *think* those are both good for low-light, no-plant-supplement conditions), an ammonia test kit, an "overall" test kit, two heaters, a tank thermometer (I mistakenly thought one of the heaters had a built-in thermometer), and betta pellets instead of flakes. Last night I completely re-set-up the tanks with the heaters, plants, and the LED light that comes with the tanks. Neither fish wanted to eat last night, but I'm not surprised, given they had to be moved back to the cups they came in so I could fix up the tanks.

There weren't a lot of options locally for heaters, but I didn't want to wait the week for shipping to order one online. One fish (Earendil - not sure exactly what to call his color, his body is white with a faint red wash, and he has turquoise fins with dark red streaks; his tail is a double delta) has a BettaTherm Betta Bowl Heater. The other, Ninereeds (he's a turquoise crowntail with red tips) has a TopFin 25W adjustable heater. I know it has some really awful reviews - I've kept a really close eye on it with the thermometer, and it seems to be working fine so far. Both fish have water of about 78-80 degrees now.

That's all the background - now my questions. They both seem to have lost a lot of the intensity of their color since I first saw them - is this just the stress? Ninereeds seemed really listless this morning - just not moving around very much, a couple times I found him lying on the bottom of the tank and I wasn't sure he was alive. I put my hand in the tank to check and he'd swim away. He's doing better now, but he's still spending a lot of time just lying in one place and not moving (now he's spending more time towards the top of the tank). Since he seems to be improving, should I do anything, or just let him be and hope he recovers with rest now that he's in a decent environment? I'm pretty sure it's not a swimbladder issue - he sometimes drifts downward, and I haven't noticed him on his side.

Also, I noticed that if I look into the tank from the top, the sides seem to act like a mirror. I know bettas will display for a mirror, so I'm wondering if this is problem. I've never really had a fish tank before - I don't know if this is normal for a tank, or something peculiar to the tank I have. If it is a problem, is there anything I can do to make the sides less mirror-like until I can get another tank? I'm thinking now that I might get a divided 5 gallon tank when I have some more money, but I've already spent just about everything I can on these fish for now. Unfortunately, my budget as a college student is pretty minimal. :p

When should I get worried that they aren't eating? I know it's not harmful for bettas to not eat for a day or two. Since Tuesday afternoon, they've each eaten one betta flake. Should I keep just offering a couple pellets for a couple hours twice a day?

Finally, any thoughts on the plants I have for these tanks? It's one java fern and two small Cryptocoryn. Is this all right for one tank, or should I have more or less? If more, any suggestions?

Thanks very much for any input - I really appreciate all the help I've already had just from reading this forum. :)

Kaitlin Snider
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Old 11-18-2011, 03:21 PM   #2 
Rosso1011
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From what I've read, you're not supposed to even offer them food for that long. Could you tell us what brand you have been feeding them? I know I tried to change my bettas food once and he didn't like the new pellets. I went over to petsmart (no petco nearby) and bought a different brand of pellets and he gobbled them right up.

From what I understand, most bettas don't like flakes, however, some bettas prefer the flakes. Bettas can be fussy eaters, so maybe switching brands should help.

Last edited by Rosso1011; 11-18-2011 at 03:22 PM. Reason: grammar error
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Old 11-18-2011, 03:28 PM   #3 
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I can try offering a pellet and a flake tonight and see if they have a preference. I started with OmegaOne Betta Buffet Flakes (that's what they each ate one flake of on Thursday morning), then after my second shopping trip I switched to TetraBetta floating mini pellets. I had read that pellets were less likely to make a mess in the tank.
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Old 11-18-2011, 03:41 PM   #4 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksnider View Post
I had read that pellets were less likely to make a mess in the tank.
Pellets tend not to make as much of a mess or cloud up the tank water, but you still need to try and remove any food that's left uneaten so that it won't float down to the bottom and go bad. Before I figured out how much food he would eat, I would give him a few minutes to eat and then I would pick out the leftovers.

I personally like the Omega One brand, even though I haven't used the flakes. They carry the pellets at my local petsmart and Rosso loves them.
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Old 11-18-2011, 03:43 PM   #5 
ksnider
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I have been picking up the pellets and flakes, but I'll start doing it sooner - I wasn't sure how long it should take before they eat. :)
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Old 11-18-2011, 03:52 PM   #6 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ksnider View Post
Hi :)

First off, I wanted to thank the forum for having so much great information - I've spent hours and hours reading on here since Wednesday, and I think my fish are much better off as a result. :)
Glad you found the forums :) There are lot of helpful advice and people here.

I had bettas when I was a kid, in those little cup-like tanks you could buy from Wal-Mart. They got a 50% water change once a week and usually lived about a year (less if they ended up near a window during the winter). Last week, I found out my animal behavior class would be observing betta fish behaviors for one of our lab exercises, and the professor would give away the fish at the end of the lab. So, I talked to my roommates, decided to take home a betta, and did 10 minutes of googling - that's when I decided to get a gallon tank instead of one of the "cup" tanks.
Hurray! Gallons can make great homes if cared for properly.

So Tuesday my professor bought a bunch of bettas from PetCo, left them overnight in our lab room (which stays pretty cold), and Wednesday morning the bettas were moved around a bunch, displayed against each other, etc. (They were moved back and forth between tanks, but they weren't actually allowed to fight.) Probably pretty stressful. We weren't supposed to finish Wednesday, but since we did, I took the two bettas home Wednesday afternoon and had to turn back around to get supplies from the pet store. (I couldn't decide which one I liked better, so I talked my husband into two. )
lol it always starts with one or two..

The first night (Wednesday) I set them up in these tanks (one fish per tank, of course): http://www.petco.com/product/104215/...arium-Kit.aspx (I'm not using the filter.) I did use a water conditioner. I offered a betta food flake that night, but after it hadn't been touched for an hour, I took it out. After a couple hours the water still seemed pretty cold to the touch, so I looked for reviews on betta fish heaters and found this site. That was an eye-opener. Before I came here, I had NO idea about ammonia levels, cycling, or how important temperature was. The temperature in my room varies between low 70s and low 60s, depending on the time of day and whether or not my door is open, so my poor fish really needed a heater.
Glad you found out before any ill effects from the cold water took into effect. (Also, for a 1 gallon you won't be cycling, but it's good to know in case you decide to upgrade into something like a divided 5 gallon+)

I came up with a new shopping list, but I couldn't do anything until Thursday afternoon (classes got in the way). (They did both eat a little bit Thursday morning.) I picked up several plants (two java ferns and a pack of four small Cryptocoryne - I *think* those are both good for low-light, no-plant-supplement conditions), an ammonia test kit, an "overall" test kit, two heaters, a tank thermometer (I mistakenly thought one of the heaters had a built-in thermometer), and betta pellets instead of flakes. Last night I completely re-set-up the tanks with the heaters, plants, and the LED light that comes with the tanks. Neither fish wanted to eat last night, but I'm not surprised, given they had to be moved back to the cups they came in so I could fix up the tanks.
Sounds like they have a wonderful set up! And correct, they can sometimes take up to a week before they will start eating regularly.

There weren't a lot of options locally for heaters, but I didn't want to wait the week for shipping to order one online. One fish (Earendil - not sure exactly what to call his color, his body is white with a faint red wash, and he has turquoise fins with dark red streaks; his tail is a double delta) has a BettaTherm Betta Bowl Heater. The other, Ninereeds (he's a turquoise crowntail with red tips) has a TopFin 25W adjustable heater. I know it has some really awful reviews - I've kept a really close eye on it with the thermometer, and it seems to be working fine so far. Both fish have water of about 78-80 degrees now.
Perfect! Hopefully you won't have any of the problems you read about.. some have issues with smaller heaters, others don't. Adjustable ones tend to be more reliable and easier to keep steady.

That's all the background - now my questions. They both seem to have lost a lot of the intensity of their color since I first saw them - is this just the stress? Could be, if you used a gallon worth dose of the conditioner then it may just be the stress of the moves and changing.
Ninereeds seemed really listless this morning - just not moving around very much, a couple times I found him lying on the bottom of the tank and I wasn't sure he was alive. I put my hand in the tank to check and he'd swim away. He's doing better now, but he's still spending a lot of time just lying in one place and not moving (now he's spending more time towards the top of the tank). Since he seems to be improving, should I do anything, or just let him be and hope he recovers with rest now that he's in a decent environment? I'm pretty sure it's not a swimbladder issue - he sometimes drifts downward, and I haven't noticed him on his side.
It could be stress/shock from everything.. there really isn't much you can do since he is in a clean, warm home right now- and that is the best for him. You can keep his light off for a bit, or wrap a towel around his tank to see if that helps him relax a little easier.

Also, I noticed that if I look into the tank from the top, the sides seem to act like a mirror. I know bettas will display for a mirror, so I'm wondering if this is problem. I've never really had a fish tank before - I don't know if this is normal for a tank, or something peculiar to the tank I have. If it is a problem, is there anything I can do to make the sides less mirror-like until I can get another tank? It all depends on the light in the room as well. It shouldn't be a problem, normally they will flare at themselves (which a bit of flaring a day is actually healthy for them), or learn to ignore "the other fish". If I look at an angle of mine I see a reflection, but I don't see it looking straight through. It shouldn't be an issue.

I'm thinking now that I might get a divided 5 gallon tank when I have some more money, but I've already spent just about everything I can on these fish for now. Unfortunately, my budget as a college student is pretty minimal. :p

When should I get worried that they aren't eating? I know it's not harmful for bettas to not eat for a day or two. Since Tuesday afternoon, they've each eaten one betta flake. Should I keep just offering a couple pellets for a couple hours twice a day? I would continue offering a couple times a day, but they usually won't starve themselves to death- they are quite the pigs. It can take a week, sometimes more, for some to start eating healthy.. and since yours went through some rough experience prior to you taking them home, that is probably a big factor. As well as why one of your guys is taking it harder.

Finally, any thoughts on the plants I have for these tanks? It's one java fern and two small Cryptocoryn. Is this all right for one tank, or should I have more or less? If more, any suggestions? That sounds like a good amount. If you have trouble with any of those you could also try anubias and Java moss- which require little light, doesn't need a filter, etc either.

Thanks very much for any input - I really appreciate all the help I've already had just from reading this forum. :)

Kaitlin Snider
With a 1 gallon, planted you will need to be doing a couple water changes a week. Do you have gravel on the bottom? Or larger smooth rocks? If no gravel, you can skip the 100% and just use a turkey bastor to remove waste off the bottom.. otherwise you could try using the bastor in the gravel as a siphon of sorts- maybe cutting the tip off to make it larger. Unsure how that would work.. usually with unfiltered 1 gallons, you do 1 50% and 1 100% water changes per week, but with live plants, that changes a bit. Maybe someone else who knows more about plants will see this and help you out a bit more on the clean up.

All that being said, welcome! And we expect pictures. Lots of pictures :D
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Old 11-18-2011, 03:54 PM   #7 
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Good luck . You'll find a lot of good advice on the forum.

Myates, your post came in around the same time as this last one, lol.

Last edited by Rosso1011; 11-18-2011 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 11-18-2011, 04:33 PM   #8 
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Welcome to the forum and to the wonderful world of Betta keeping....

Along with the already great advice you have received the only thing I can add is on the plants.... sometimes the crypt can go into a normal melt of sorts-this is when the leaves will die off from either new water related or from a normal change from emersed leaf to submersed leaf....if this happens don't worry they should perk back up with new leaves within a few weeks or so-be sure to plant them correctly too-the crypt roots can be in the substrate but shallow-the fleshy crown needs to be slightly above the substrate-crypts don't like to be moved around a lot or big changes in water...so you don't want or need to make 100% water changes....twice weekly 50% until they start actively growing then 50% weekly...

The java fern-this needs to be tied to something-driftwood works well but anything will work-you don't want to bury the rhizome or it will rot and die-also, brown leaves have spores and will grow baby ferns-watch for little roots and new tiny leaves sprouting-they will detach on their own when ready.

Although you want to remove uneaten food-and this is important, however, with live plants you should leave some of the uneaten food especially the flakes at least once a week for the plants to eat....fish food is a good plant food too...but not more than once a week and only if the plants are actively growing....

Look forward to pics.....
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Old 11-18-2011, 05:34 PM   #9 
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You're in good hands concerning your plants with Oldfishlady here :) She's the expert in all things fish lol
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Old 11-19-2011, 11:32 PM   #10 
ksnider
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Thanks very much for all the replies I adjusted my java ferns last night.

The bad news: Ninereeds passed away early this afternoon. He kept getting worse, and by last night he had some white, almost slimey bits on him. I had hopes he might recover today, he swam around a bit, but when I checked on him this afternoon he wasn't alive.

The good news: Earendil has settled right in and decided to claim his new home with a bubble nest He had the nest up Friday afternoon. He's also been eating regularly, both meals today and Friday night - four mini pellets. Watching him munch down pellets has been the highlight of my day today I also have a bunch more pictures posted in a thread in the betta pictures forum.


Last edited by ksnider; 11-19-2011 at 11:32 PM. Reason: grammatical error
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