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Old 01-08-2012, 08:29 PM   #1 
minanicole
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Talking New to the Betta Community:) A few questions..

Hello! I just recently found this site a day or so ago, and I have been poring over the forums. I have learned so much already about these fish and I'm planning on getting one soon. :)

I hope to get into aquarium work when I'm older so I figured taking a few baby steps in caring for fish and regulating their environment was a good start. Plus getting a new little friend. <3

I was hoping to research a lot on the topic so I would be prepared to sufficiently care for the betta fish, which I have now found to be largely misadvertised. I've been trying to figure out what exactly I need to get (bare minimum right now) for the fish. I don't have tons of money to invest into it at the moment. :/

I plan on getting a heater, but because I'm only getting about a 3.5 gallon tank, I only need a 10 watt. I can't seem to find any 10 watt heaters that are adjustable, and I'm afraid to get a preset one in case it malfunctions and doesn't heat the water right. Do you guys know any recommended heater brands I could look into for a small tank?

I'm also hoping to get a small filter and gravel vacuum/siphon thingy in the future because I'm hoping to eventually cycle my tank. Any tips on cycling a tank with a living beta fish in it would be greatly appreciated :) I want to get a test kit but those things are kinda expensive so I was hoping to hold off for now. I'll probably get it when I get the filter.

When doing water changes, is it necessary to test for ammonia/nitrite/nitrate/pH? Or can I just put water conditioner in and expect it to take care of everything for me? I heard Seachem Prime is a good conditioner, but I haven't been able to find it in the stores. :/ Unless I'm overlooking it.

I'd also like to have live plants in my tank. Do I need soil for this? Or can I use regular gravel/substrate to hold them down?

When doing partial water changes, do you normally remove the fish into a separate bowl or bag (with a net or otherwise)? Or keep him/her in the tank? And how would you clean algae or any green buildup? Also, without having a siphon handy, would I perform partial water changes by scooping the water out? (So as not to disrupt the gravel and stuff)

Sorry for bombarding you all with questions. I just really kinda want to spoil my fish rotten. I'm hoping to go in within the next day or so and get the stuff I need (or order online if I can't find it). I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone and I've really enjoyed reading everything and seeing the stories and pictures:)

Thank you in advance!

Marina
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:01 PM   #2 
AcrimoniousArbiter
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http://www.amazon.com/Elite-Submersi...6077677&sr=8-1

As far as heaters, I have this one heating my 1 gallon quarantine tank (it also works great on my 5 gallon!) and it's keeping the tempertaure at a constant 78 (it's adjustable).

For cycling, I'd go for at least a 5 gallon since it holds a more stable cycle.
Currently my set up is this filter:

http://www.amazon.com/AquaClear-20-P...d=QG2JO73YW1H8

and this tank:

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Hawkeye-5-...-Pets/14660258

Though the tank from walmart comes with a filter, I opted for the other filter since it has a sponge in it, which is extra helpful when cycling since it adds plenty of surface area for beneficial bacteria to grow.

For partial water changes I usually leave Cobalt in his tank, but just be aware of the water level!
You can clean the debris in the tank using the "stir and dip" method, which involves disturbing the substrate and scooping up the nasties with a cup.
Also, I don't see why just doing a partial water change by scooping water out wouldn't work, but I could imagine it would get a bit tiresome!

If you want any other info on what you can get, have a look here:

http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=89018


Take my advice with a grain of salt though, I have only owned Cobalt for about 3 weeks now but have based all of my decisions on extensive research on this site!

Hope this helps you out
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:30 PM   #3 
minanicole
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That was very helpful, thank you! I might actually get that tank because it looks cheaper than the 3.5 at petsmart. :D

And since it comes with a filter, I can start off with that and then invest in the nicer one when I get the money. Does your current filter present any problems with the flow? Or did you baffle it?

And how did you go about cycling your tank with Cobalt living in it?

Thank you again for the help, and Cobalt is beautiful! I love the name too:)
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:41 PM   #4 
AcrimoniousArbiter
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The filter I bought from amazon has an adjustable flow, and the lowest setting is like a trickle of water. I did baffle it though which helps with the current.

I did a fish-in cycle, which requires more frequent water changes during the first few weeks to get the cycle started. There should be a thread somewhere on here about tank cycling methods.
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Old 01-08-2012, 11:10 PM   #5 
gwenny
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Quote:
Originally Posted by minanicole View Post
Do you guys know any recommended heater brands I could look into for a small tank?
I agree with AcrimoniousArbiter, the 25W Elite heater is probably your best bet. It's cheap on Amazon and it's adjustable and reliable

Quote:
Originally Posted by minanicole View Post
Any tips on cycling a tank with a living beta fish in it would be greatly appreciated :)
A lot of people will say that it's basically impossible to truly cycle any tank that's less than 10gallons, but I'm not an expert on this. All I can say is be sure to do your weekly water changes! For my 2 gallon filtered tanks, I do weekly 50% water changes and monthly 100% changes (or whenever it looks really gunky). But keep an eye out on your betta's behavior! When any of my bettas look like they're acting funny, I immediately do a partial water change, no matter what day of week it is!

Quote:
Originally Posted by minanicole View Post
When doing water changes, is it necessary to test for ammonia/nitrite/nitrate/pH? Or can I just put water conditioner in and expect it to take care of everything for me? I heard Seachem Prime is a good conditioner, but I haven't been able to find it in the stores. :/ Unless I'm overlooking it.
I gotta be honest, I only test for ammonia But if you keep up with water changes, you should be good. Also, you can always take a sample of your water to your local pet store and they'll usually test your water for free. Seachem Prime is cheaper on Amazon, but I have seen it at Petsmart. It's my favorite water conditioner!

Quote:
Originally Posted by minanicole View Post
I'd also like to have live plants in my tank. Do I need soil for this? Or can I use regular gravel/substrate to hold them down?
Regular gravel is fine if you just have a few live plants. If you're aiming for LOTS of live plants that are higher maintenance, you might need to get soil to provide the proper nutrients. Otherwise, I've grown swords, anacharis, and java fern just fine with regular gravel

Quote:
Originally Posted by minanicole View Post
When doing partial water changes, do you normally remove the fish into a separate bowl or bag (with a net or otherwise)? Or keep him/her in the tank?
I normally don't remove my betta for my partial water changes, I just make sure not to scoop them up accidently, giving them stress. But if you want to remove them, just use the cup your betta was in when you got him, scoop up some tank water and net him into it for a little while.

Quote:
Originally Posted by minanicole View Post
And how would you clean algae or any green buildup? Also, without having a siphon handy, would I perform partial water changes by scooping the water out? (So as not to disrupt the gravel and stuff)
Anytime I see algae, I'll pick up the ornament or plant and scrub it off under warm water. I have a separate sponge to do this. If it's everywhere, I just do a 100% water change, clean all my gravel and ornaments. Just be sure that when you do 100% water changes, leave your filter in a cup of the old tank water to preserve the bacteria!

If you don't have a siphon, just use a plastic cup or some sort and scoop out water into a container, then dump it.


I hope this helps out a bit! And as always, everyone has their own ways of doing things so you'll get a bunch of suggestions. I'm just letting you know how I've done things. Likewise, you'll eventually find your own methods of doing things, but I hope this gives you an idea! Good luck!
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Old 01-09-2012, 06:24 AM   #6 
minanicole
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Thank you very much! :) I'll be sure to post pics when I get my lil fishy.

So I'll probably get a bigger 5 gal tank and I'll just use the builtin filter until I can afford the bigger one. I'll probably try to cycle my tank after I get all the stuff I need.

I'll also hold off on getting the water test kit just yet, because I think I'll be fine for a little bit using water conditioner minus the testing. :)

Thank you again:D
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