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Old 01-26-2012, 07:42 PM   #1 
YarnLass
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A couple of questions from a Betta newbie

Hello everyone,

I am totally new to keeping a Betta, and I wanted to ask a couple of questions that I haven't really found information on. My apologies if it's around somewhere and I just can't find it.

Background: I have a 3.5 gallon tank with one stalk of "lucky bamboo" and some artificial plants set up for a newly arrived female betta. I just introduced her to the tank today by acclimating her through bobbing her in the tank water, and gradually adding the tank water to her existing water. After approximately an hour and a half, when she was tolerating the gradual water adjustments without showing any stress lines, I introduced her to the tank.

The tank is not cycled, but the water levels were okay when I checked them. We're running at a steady 78F.

She seemed to take it well; she was swimming around and exploring for a while. She is showing some stress (stress lines, occasionally clamped fins). So far I've left the tank light off, and have let her be. She is on my dresser in the bedroom (a low traffic area) so there isn't much going on where she is right now.

My first question is: Are there any ways I can help reduce her stress? The tank is currently a little sparse due to financial constraints (I spent all my money on everything else!) but I plan to get a few more artificial plants, and a little house for her tomorrow.

My second question is: Can you cycle a 3.5 gallon tank? I see a lot of information for 2.5 gallon tanks, and then a jump to 5 gallon tanks, so I'm feeling a bit lost! I would like to be able to cycle my tank, and would love advice on how to make this work with my tank size. (It's the largest tank I could afford, and also the largest one I have room for.)

My third question is: I'm looking at gradually shifting to using all live plants in my tank. Are there any specific plants people would recommend for a happy Betta? Are there any plants to avoid? Also, is there such a thing as too many plants? I know not to obstruct the surface water, but I'm curious to see what other people have to say about plants.

Anyway, I hope I don't sound too stupid. Again, I'm new to this and am trying my best to make my Betta happy.
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Old 01-26-2012, 08:07 PM   #2 
vilmarisv
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Not stupid at all.

If you go to the Habitats sections of this forum you will find a sticky about plants.

You can cycle a 3.5galon and the process to do it is pretty much the same as any other size but the water changing schedule will be different. You just have to watch your water parameters.

To reduce her stress, try covering the tank with a towel to make it a little dark. You can just cover 3 sides of it so you can still see her but she doesn't feel too exposed.

Hope this helps.
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Old 01-26-2012, 08:40 PM   #3 
YarnLass
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Thanks very much! I will definitely check out the habitats section.

I put the towel around the tank, and her colour has already started to look better, and she's started relaxing her fins on and off.

Thanks very much!
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Old 01-26-2012, 10:21 PM   #4 
Bombalurina
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YarnLass View Post
Hello everyone,

I am totally new to keeping a Betta, and I wanted to ask a couple of questions that I haven't really found information on. My apologies if it's around somewhere and I just can't find it.

Background: I have a 3.5 gallon tank with one stalk of "lucky bamboo" and some artificial plants set up for a newly arrived female betta. I just introduced her to the tank today by acclimating her through bobbing her in the tank water, and gradually adding the tank water to her existing water. After approximately an hour and a half, when she was tolerating the gradual water adjustments without showing any stress lines, I introduced her to the tank.
Sounds like a great tank. Just watch out for the lucky bamboo - any submerged leaves will rot.

The tank is not cycled, but the water levels were okay when I checked them. We're running at a steady 78F.
The temperature is great. Do you have a filter? If not, don't worry about cycling.

She seemed to take it well; she was swimming around and exploring for a while. She is showing some stress (stress lines, occasionally clamped fins). So far I've left the tank light off, and have let her be. She is on my dresser in the bedroom (a low traffic area) so there isn't much going on where she is right now.
That's a good starting point, but she may enjoy being in a higher traffic area when she has calmed down - bettas thrive on attention. :)

My first question is: Are there any ways I can help reduce her stress? The tank is currently a little sparse due to financial constraints (I spent all my money on everything else!) but I plan to get a few more artificial plants, and a little house for her tomorrow.
As has been said, the towel is the best starting point. Try putting a mug in her tank as a cave, too. :) Rodent tunnels and caves (if you have any) can also make nice caves for bettas, if they are clean. :)

My second question is: Can you cycle a 3.5 gallon tank? I see a lot of information for 2.5 gallon tanks, and then a jump to 5 gallon tanks, so I'm feeling a bit lost! I would like to be able to cycle my tank, and would love advice on how to make this work with my tank size. (It's the largest tank I could afford, and also the largest one I have room for.)
You could, but it would be hard to maintain and wouldn't be massively stable. It might be easier to talk to OldFishLady about doing a Natural Planted Tank with a silent cycle instead. :) I believe it works for small tanks too.

My third question is: I'm looking at gradually shifting to using all live plants in my tank. Are there any specific plants people would recommend for a happy Betta? Are there any plants to avoid? Also, is there such a thing as too many plants? I know not to obstruct the surface water, but I'm curious to see what other people have to say about plants.
Actually, obstructing a bit of surface water is fine. Bettas love floating plants. A really good betta plant is anubias, as the large flat leaves can make nice resting spots. Good beginner plants are also anacharis, lacefern, rotala, ludwigia, java fern, java moss, watersprite, hornwort, cabomba (if it is legal where you are), ambulia and crypt plants. Avoid anything semi-aquatic - purple waffle, scarlet temple, aluminium (the plant, not the metal), mondo grass etc. Research before you buy to make sure. A general rule - if it looks bizarrely purple, don't buy it.

Anyway, I hope I don't sound too stupid. Again, I'm new to this and am trying my best to make my Betta happy.
You don't sound even remotely stupid and I think your little girl will be very happy. :)
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Old 01-27-2012, 12:26 AM   #5 
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Yeah. I figured out that the leaves needed to be kept above water once I brought it home. It's a bit too short to keep the leaves above level and keep a good amount of water in the tank, so the bamboo is coming out soon. (Once I have a container to put it in -- I've raised this stuff outside of aquariums, and had a lot of success which is why I picked it up, but I underestimated the height.)

I do have a filter. The tank came with one, actually. I was running it earlier, but the current seemed too strong even with the attachment it came with to reduce the current. It was pulling on her, whenever she moved out of the corner of the tank, and she eventually ended up hiding behind the filter, so I've turned it off for now, and intend to see if I can rig something up with a filter sponge to make it a bit easier.

Actually, a lot of her stress seems to be gone now that I've turned the filter off (her colour is back, and most of her fins are relaxed again) and she's swimming around/exploring more again. Not quite the level she was at before I moved her into the tank, but definitely more like "herself." (Active, and social, but somewhat timid.)

I never thought of using a mug for a house. I'll try that for now.

I've been doing some research on plants. I appreciate the direction towards Natural Planted Tanks. It's definitely something I'd be interested in learning about. Thank you also for the names of beginner plants.
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Old 01-27-2012, 01:13 AM   #6 
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For that bamboo are the leaves above the water? If not it will eventually rot and die. Until you can get other plants you could keep it in. I would return the pllant and tell them that it isn't fully aquatic and buy an easy plant. Just remember with anubias and java fern they cannot be buried in the substrate. They need to be tied down until their roots are able to hold on.
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Old 01-27-2012, 01:51 AM   #7 
YarnLass
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The leaves are not currently above water, but I do plan to resolve that tomorrow either by figuring out a way to get the plant to sit higher, or removing it completely. If I do end up removing it completely, I intend to keep the plant and grow it as a house plant much as I did the lucky bamboo I had a number of years ago. (I'd rather not take it back, as the originating store is 40 minutes away. I went there because I could get a larger tank for less money than at the local shop.)

I've been doing some research on various easy care plants this evening, and have come up with a list of plants I would like to look for. I do appreciate the tip on those two specific plants.
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Old 08-17-2014, 01:00 PM   #8 
MiriamandMoonlight
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Wow! sounds like a good temp & tank! Yes, you can cycle a tank your size.
All you need to have is a filter. You can have a filter and leave the carterage alone for about 4 weeks at least, more likely up to 8 weeks. You can change half the water once a week to start, but as the cycle ends going down to 25% is fine per week.

It is natural for a fish to show stress lines, even have little appetite for the first few days to a week. Then she should settle in. Until tommorow, if you can find any ceramic vases or pots that go inside her tank ok, rinse them well in hot water before putting them in the tank, and that should make a nice place for him. Also, you can do a little more for her by putting a plant or two right in front of the pot so she has her own little room. Bettas love attention, so although you should leave her in the dark and quiet most of the time so she can rest you could read to her so she can hear your voice and learn to recognise you. You can also leave a CD player on quietly with quiet goodnight music/luluby music, that will comfort her. Just make her as much hiding place as you can until tomorow.
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