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Old 12-24-2011, 12:45 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Proud new beta owner, but have A LOT of questions!

I've just been given a betta as a christmas present from a friend, but unfortunately she didn't give me a tank, heater, filter, or any advice on how to start my tank! She expected me to keep it in the little cup it came in from the pet store, but this is SO cruel, so I need to get it in a nice home straight away!

I'm currently keeping Picasso in a half gallon flower vase, but this is way too small for my poor little guy and he doesn't have anything to interest him... plus he's not looking very healthy, so I need to get a tank/bowl ASAP... I was hoping to get a 2 gallon glass bowl because I think it would look nicer in my room than a rectangular tank would, but would it be best to sacrifice style over practicality or does it not really matter? What's easier to clean and better for my betta?

Also, I bought pellets because most people on the forum said they're easiest, but I've also read that they sink to the bottom of the tank and aren't good if the fish eats them that way... anybody willing to clear this confusion up?

I ordered some blue rock/marble things for the bottom of the bowl/tank, but what other decorations would me and my betta enjoy? I know no plastic, but should I get him a cove/castle thing he could hide in, or some silk plants, or maybe a leaf bed? Which things are practical and fun for my fish?

Lastly, I need suggestion for low cost ($10-20 range?) filters and heaters that would be good for a 2 gallon tank. And do I need a light for my tank?

Sorry for all the questions, it's just that I've been getting a lot of different answers from all the different sites I've been to, and I want the confusion cleared up... I just want to make sure I'm doing everything right so that my betta has a long, happy life. Any helpful suggestions for raising my beta the right way would be greatly appreciated also
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Old 12-24-2011, 01:15 AM   #2 
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: N. Kentucky; college in Ohio
Hi Picasso, welcome to the forum. It's great to hear that you want to give your betta a better home. To be honest, I am not sure if the shape of the tank is terribly important in betta keeping, as long as you are able to clean it (I've never had a round bowl, so I have no experience there); maybe someone else with a bit more experience could advise you there. I would make sure the top is wide enough to allow easy access for cleaning/catching your betta if you need to. Also, make sure you are able to cover the tank; I've had several bettas meet an early end by jumping out of their tanks. Pellet foods are easier than flakes (and supposedly better for the fish, due to a slightly higher moisture content, though I can't remember where I read that and if it is valid), and I don't know that it is bad for bettas to eat them off of the bottom of the bowl, as long as they haven't been left in to rot. It's a good idea to remove uneaten food (a net might work for this; I use a turkey baster) from the bottom of the tank to keep it from fouling the water. It is also worth noting that since most pellets will float for at least a minute or two, many healthy bettas will have eaten them long before they sink. Since bettas will eat until they pop, try not to feed more than two or three pellets per feeding (depending on size; if your pellets are tiny you may need more) no matter how much he begs!
As for decorations, your betta would probably love a silk plant or two, and a cave/hiding place. Many people use new coffee mugs; I use terra cotta pots. If you use the terra cotta pots, make sure to plug the little hole in the bottom, or the betta might get his head stuck and injure himself (this holds true for any decoration with small holes; if the betta won't fit through easily, plug it). Live plants are great too; some, like java fern, are almost impossible to kill even if you must do regular water changes, and marimo moss balls are both fun and easy to remove (not sure yet how hardy they are; just got one a few days ago).
Unfortunately, I don't have many suggestions for small filters and heaters. I have both, but their boxes are back in my dorm room and I don't know what brand they are. I hear adjustable heaters are best; since I'm in the market for one as well (mine is preset), I'd be interested to hear what replies you get. Hopefully some of this will be helpful to you; there are a lot of really knowledgeable people on here, and hopefully one of them will stop by to hit anything that I've missed. You'll have to post some pictures of Picasso once he gets his new home!
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Old 12-24-2011, 01:44 AM   #3 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Elk Grove, California
Hi Picasso and welcome to the forum.

The small 2g drum bowl you can get at Petco and Petsmart is fine but it has a small opening so it can be hard to clean. Also, as 7103 pointed out, your buddy can jump out. You can cover the top with saran wrap with holes poked in it but that's not super convenient either. Another good tank option is the 2.5g rectangular glass tank that you can get at Petco or Petsmart (if you get it at Petsmart, it comes with a glass lid). Other good tanks are Aqueon MiniBows. Long and shallow, not tall and thin, are best.

For heaters, I like Penn Plax Cascade 25w heaters best myself but they can be hard to find except in fish stores or online. Other good heaters for small tanks are Hagen Elite and Marineland. If you can, make sure the heater is adjustable. This will make your life so much easier. For filters . . . well, if you get an Aqueon Minibow of any sort, they come with their own filter so problem solved there. But if you choose a different kind of tank, then you'll want to get maybe an internal filter like the Marineland Duetto 50. There aren't many readily available filters for tanks that are that small and if you use too strong of a power filter, the current will wreak havoc with your guy. Other options are sponge filters and the Penn Plax SmallWorld filters. Both work using an air pump so they can be a little noisy, both air pump and the bubbling of the filter. If noise is a big issue, you can easily skip the filter. In a small tank, it's not such a big deal as long as you keep up with the water changes.

2g tank, unfiltered: 1 50% and 1 100% water change a week with gravel siphoning.
2g tank, filtered and cycled: 1 25% and 1 50% water change a week with gravel siphoning.

Hope this info helps and glad another betta found a good home. :)
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