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Old 02-01-2012, 06:06 PM   #1 
BettaChic
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Talking Ghosty & Myself are New Buddies ~ And New to the Forums =)

Hello Betta Fish Community!

[[DISCLAIMER -- I'm a very visual person, thus my thread will have oodles of pictures! Hope that is alright, thanks]]

If you'd like to skip my lengthy introduction, and get right down to the questions I have, skip down past the pictures to the question section please!!

INTRODUCTION:

First off, I would like to introduce myself, BettaChic, and my new favorite little buddy, Ghosty! I am new to the world of Bettas, aquatic plants, and aquarium keeping, but I'm very excited to be learning more and enjoying my beautiful Ghosty, while keeping him spoiled and happy of course.

Just like a few dozen other people, I was in the pet store on a different agenda (buying treats for my pet rat Tony), and was feeling a little down because I had to put my other rat Turkish down on Monday, due to old age and a growth in his intestine So of course I see the betta fish right next to the section I walk down and my heart melts. I wanted a little buddy to cheer me up, so I picked up this cutie, named Ghosty!



Now of course, it was an impulse buy, so the only choice of tanks I had were the ones at this small Petco by my house that I was at. Small .5 gal, 1 gals, and 2.5 gals. I didn't know any better and am a complete betta newbie - I bought the Betta 2.5 Bow package, with a filter and everything to start with.

Then of course I get home and want to spoil my new baby and make sure he thrives happily for years to come. After googling around my heart sinks, I had no idea the true care and dedication bettas need! I've seen them in so many small vases and decorations and thought they were cute, now I want to cry!!! :'( Now I even feel bad for having bought Ghosty a 2.5 gal tank.... I want to buy a 5 gal, but I've already invested quite a bit for this 2.5 gal setup so I'll have to wait a while, but I'm worried about keeping Ghosty happy.

Here is his 2.5 gallon filtered, uncycled tank:



After researching bettas more through Google, I've come to find that there are many contradictory articles, blogs, guides, and opinions when it comes to bettas and their habitats, food, water, etc. I've also read just about every sticky here and appreciate the work that was put into those threads! I still had some prying, newbie questions though if anyone has the spare time. I'm seeking advice/guidance!

These are the goodies I have for my 2.5 gal bowl:

Mini, baffled filter. The second sponge might be overkill, but I was worried about how strong the filter was when I had it going the first few days. I also bought one of those sponges that fits around the filter pole in the water: (Ghosty is wondering what I'm showing him!)



Bought a Mini Compact Fluorescent 10 watt light today to go along with the moss ball I bought.



I also bought fish flake food and frozen brine shrimp for treats:



Aquarium salt for freshwater fish and water conditioner:




QUESTIONS:

1) Cycling is one of my main questions! (2.5 gal bowl) I've read the stickies and the guides here, I guess I just wanted people's opinions. The reason I'd like to cycle is because it sounds more natural and healthy for the betta. Of course, I already have a fishy so I can't do a "fishless" cycle... I've read that when you cycle with a fish, they may not make it, or cause permanent damage, and it pretty much torturing the fish. This is my little baby and I don't want to abuse or lose him =( Is there a huge difference in the quality of their life if you cycle/noncycle? Should I risk cycling with my baby, or just do weekly water changes? Two 50% and one 100% per week?

2) Lighting question - I'm usually gone all day and home all night, which is usually the time I enjoy looking at Ghosty. I've ready that fish/plants need day and night just like we do (I had been keeping the light on 24 hours). Would it be ok to keep my room dark in the day while I'm gone, and then turn on their light for the night until morning?

3) Aqua plants question - As you can see, I already have a moss ball but I want to buy another live plant for the tank and take out the fake rock/plant. What plants do your bettas like? I can't find any Chinese Evergreens (which were highly recommended). What about Anubias Nanas?

4) Heaters - What type of heater would you recommend for a 2.5 gal? I've seen flat ones that hang against the glass, wands that lay submerged inside the tank, digital temp controls, and knob temp controls. What do you guys prefer?

5) Cleaning the tank - When I do my 100% water changes, do I rinse everything in hot water and scrub the toys and walls too? Some people say to scrub, and some don't due to good bacteria.

6) PH levels - I got a Ph testing kit and it says my little tank is around 7.6 ph, but I want to be around 7.0 right? Should I use those bottles for Lowering or Raising the Ph in the aquarium store? Some say those are bad and that fish can adjust to the Ph, others say to adjust your own water.

7) Full bladder? If you look at the first picture I posted of Ghosty, it looks like he has a little bulge towards the back of his tail. Is he just full of poop or is that something else, or normal?

8) Fish food! There are so many different opinions I've seen! Flakes or pellets? Some say flakes bloat the fish, others say pellets are too hard. Do you feed bloodworms normally or is that a treat food also?

9) Aquarium salt - This is only if they are sick right? I've seen many people to add a small amount to keep the betta healthy, and it even has directions on the box for 1 Tsp. per gallon for freshwater fish! Salt or no salt?

10) Tank mates - I know it is only a small little 2.5 gal, but I wanted to add some little ghost shrimp buddies to keep Ghosty company. Would it be ok to add 2 or 3 ghost shrimp?

----------------------------------------------------------------------

I know that was such a handful of questions! I appreciate anyone taking the time to read through this and get back to a fellow betta lover. Thanks again.

<3 BettaChic
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:22 PM   #2 
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i only have a few answers......
The light thing is a good idea, but don't leave it on for 24 hours, your fish needs to sleep, and it can make algae grow...
AQ salt is only for when sick yes.... others may have a better answer for this i dont know details...i had a 2.5 gallon tank and had a heater like the following pic in it, it wont over heat so you don't need to worry about that, it turns off once the water is a certain temp...while cleaning the tank, you CAN scrub, and clean ever little toy and ect... but you don't have too, its good to do it sometimes but not all the time i wouldn't think..... once again some one else may have a better detailed answer... the food thing, i use pellets because they fit in their mouths better and you only need to use like 3-5 to fill them up for breakfast and dinner :) ....and the ghost shrimp is a good idea if he won't eat them, they'll help clean and they are tiny, but when you clean it...are you going to be able to find them? will your filter eat them? ...any ways i wish you the best of luck and hope some one else answers more questions and answers better than i did, i apologize for my lack of answers but i don't know alot I'm fairly knew, I've only had my bettas for a few months :) i got the heater at walmart i think it heats like 2 or 5 gallons and up to 10 or 15 gallons, I'm not good with memory I'm sorry :/


also, i love your tank set up its very creative and cute!
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Last edited by MistersMom; 02-01-2012 at 06:27 PM.
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Old 02-01-2012, 06:51 PM   #3 
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Originally Posted by MistersMom View Post
i only have a few answers......
The light thing is a good idea, but don't leave it on for 24 hours, your fish needs to sleep, and it can make algae grow...
AQ salt is only for when sick yes.... others may have a better answer for this i dont know details...i had a 2.5 gallon tank and had a heater like the following pic in it, it wont over heat so you don't need to worry about that, it turns off once the water is a certain temp...while cleaning the tank, you CAN scrub, and clean ever little toy and ect... but you don't have too, its good to do it sometimes but not all the time i wouldn't think..... once again some one else may have a better detailed answer... the food thing, i use pellets because they fit in their mouths better and you only need to use like 3-5 to fill them up for breakfast and dinner :) ....and the ghost shrimp is a good idea if he won't eat them, they'll help clean and they are tiny, but when you clean it...are you going to be able to find them? will your filter eat them? ...any ways i wish you the best of luck and hope some one else answers more questions and answers better than i did, i apologize for my lack of answers but i don't know alot I'm fairly knew, I've only had my bettas for a few months :) i got the heater at walmart i think it heats like 2 or 5 gallons and up to 10 or 15 gallons, I'm not good with memory I'm sorry :/


also, i love your tank set up its very creative and cute!

MistersMom

Thank you so much for the quick response and taking the time to answer what you could! I appreciate it! And thank you for including a pic of your heater.

As for the ghost shrimp, I will not start cleaning the tank until the shrimp are safe and secure! My filters have sponge prefilters, so they won't get sucked up! I'm going to do some more research on ghost shrimp though, so I know how to care for them specially as well. Hopefully they won't get eaten, my betta seems like a little sweety but we shall see lol.

<3 BettaChic

P.S. To you and anyone else reading, I forgot to ask, what do you guys do to spoil your bettas? Are there toys they especially like, etc?

Last edited by BettaChic; 02-01-2012 at 06:55 PM.
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:01 PM   #4 
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Blood worms are a special treat, only once a week i forgot to tell you that, and they also like baby brine shrimp!
and i think your fishie may be constipated >_< poor guy...
very pretty fish though...
and good idea about the shrimp.... i wouldnt worry too much about them, unless your naming them lol, they are really cheap and tiny it'd be so hard to keep track...i had a few and named them all joe.... joes got eaten by my filter...fish...and sink drain...i felt horrible D:
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:19 PM   #5 
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Originally Posted by MistersMom View Post
Blood worms are a special treat, only once a week i forgot to tell you that, and they also like baby brine shrimp!
and i think your fishie may be constipated >_< poor guy...
very pretty fish though...
and good idea about the shrimp.... i wouldnt worry too much about them, unless your naming them lol, they are really cheap and tiny it'd be so hard to keep track...i had a few and named them all joe.... joes got eaten by my filter...fish...and sink drain...i felt horrible D:
Oh ok, I will keep the bloodworms for a treat! If I gave him baby brine shrimp, I would have to feed him the frozen ones, because I get too attached to anything that I buy that's alive lol! Which should probably answer your next question, yes, I will be naming the shrimpys and loving them just as much as Ghosty! I may wait...one or two days before naming though, just in case....I'm worried Ghosty might eat them after I've gotten attached!!
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:23 PM   #6 
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haha thats funny... i get attached to thing that have personality :P
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Old 02-01-2012, 08:40 PM   #7 
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Originally Posted by BettaChic View Post

1) Cycling is one of my main questions! (2.5 gal bowl) I've read the stickies and the guides here, I guess I just wanted people's opinions. The reason I'd like to cycle is because it sounds more natural and healthy for the betta. Of course, I already have a fishy so I can't do a "fishless" cycle... I've read that when you cycle with a fish, they may not make it, or cause permanent damage, and it pretty much torturing the fish. This is my little baby and I don't want to abuse or lose him =( Is there a huge difference in the quality of their life if you cycle/noncycle? Should I risk cycling with my baby, or just do weekly water changes? Two 50% and one 100% per week?

2) Lighting question - I'm usually gone all day and home all night, which is usually the time I enjoy looking at Ghosty. I've ready that fish/plants need day and night just like we do (I had been keeping the light on 24 hours). Would it be ok to keep my room dark in the day while I'm gone, and then turn on their light for the night until morning?

3) Aqua plants question - As you can see, I already have a moss ball but I want to buy another live plant for the tank and take out the fake rock/plant. What plants do your bettas like? I can't find any Chinese Evergreens (which were highly recommended). What about Anubias Nanas?

4) Heaters - What type of heater would you recommend for a 2.5 gal? I've seen flat ones that hang against the glass, wands that lay submerged inside the tank, digital temp controls, and knob temp controls. What do you guys prefer?

5) Cleaning the tank - When I do my 100% water changes, do I rinse everything in hot water and scrub the toys and walls too? Some people say to scrub, and some don't due to good bacteria.

6) PH levels - I got a Ph testing kit and it says my little tank is around 7.6 ph, but I want to be around 7.0 right? Should I use those bottles for Lowering or Raising the Ph in the aquarium store? Some say those are bad and that fish can adjust to the Ph, others say to adjust your own water.

7) Full bladder? If you look at the first picture I posted of Ghosty, it looks like he has a little bulge towards the back of his tail. Is he just full of poop or is that something else, or normal?

8) Fish food! There are so many different opinions I've seen! Flakes or pellets? Some say flakes bloat the fish, others say pellets are too hard. Do you feed bloodworms normally or is that a treat food also?

9) Aquarium salt - This is only if they are sick right? I've seen many people to add a small amount to keep the betta healthy, and it even has directions on the box for 1 Tsp. per gallon for freshwater fish! Salt or no salt?

10) Tank mates - I know it is only a small little 2.5 gal, but I wanted to add some little ghost shrimp buddies to keep Ghosty company. Would it be ok to add 2 or 3 ghost shrimp?
Welcome! Glad to have you with us. Although I am no expert on betta fish compared to the other veterans here, I can definitely help you out with a few of those questions.

1) Yes, cycling is better for the fish's health, I believe. It builds up good bacteria. But the main thing about it is that cycling = less water changes for the owner. You can't cycle a tank as small as a 2.5gallon -- I believe 5gallon is the minimum. 2.5 is just too small. Also, you can do a [betta]fish-in cycle safely -- IF you are willing to make the necessary, constant water changes.

For example, I am currently doing a fish-in cycle with my betta fish and his 10gall. I change the water 2x a week -- one 50% change with the gravel vacuum, and one 50% water only change.

I do believe there isn't a maaass difference for a betta fish if they don't live in a cycled tank, but only if you keep up with the water changes. Like I said, the cool thing about a cycled tank is that you will hardly ever have to change the water as compared to an uncycled tank. But don't try to cycle a 2.5gall, it won't work.

2. Like the person before me said, don't leave the lights on for more than 8~12 hours because then you get undesirable algae... That happened to me. Betta fish sleep at night, like us, so it wouldn't be a good idea to leave his light on all night. They have a day/night cycle, so it would be best if you can try to preserve that.

3. Anubias, amazon swords, java moss... those are some frequent names I've come across while researching plants for bettas. I know there are more, but as I'm no pro at aquatic plants someone else can probably help you better there.

4. I personally don't heat my smaller tanks because there's no need to, as my home is always toasty. xD I don't even heat my 10gall. I will leave this question as well to someone who's had experience in it.

5. Yes, you rinse everything in warm/hot water. I've never really heard of scrubbing, and I don't think there'd be much use to trying to preserve the 'good bacteria' because there's not much time for them to build up in a week with all the frequent water changes... Hmm. I'm not 100% sure on this one, but I'm pretty sure that with the hot water they'd all perish anyway.

6. Betta fish are very, very flexible when it comes to PH. As long as it's under 8.6 you are fine. Don't try to mess around with the PH ups/downs, because PH SWINGS are definitely fatal for betta fish. Your buddy will adapt to the 7.6PH, so no need to worry. Don't ever adjust the PH of your own water unless it is ridiculously high, like 9.0-status, or something.

7. That 'bulge' is just a part of his bone structure. xD On some betta fish it is more apparent. My betta fish has it visible as well.

8. Variety is the best when it comes to our little friends. Mix up whatever you can. Though I have heard that New Life Spectrum is an amazing food for betta -- lots of benefits in it, and the flavor is also apparently appeasing. Bloodworms should be a treat.

9. Yes, AQ salt is to treat them only when they are sick. Some people throw in AQ salt into their betta fish's bowl/tank after every water change, but I along with most others on this forum would not suggest that. The reason is because certain parasites may become more resistant to the salt and develop in the water. Something like that. Only use it when your fish is sick, otherwise its usefulness will backfire.

10. I personally am not sure to this question.





Good luck !
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:13 PM   #8 
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Welcome, and Ghosty is adorable! I absolutely love him!

golden has you covered really well, but I'll answer as well for my opinions, sorry if they overlap what was previously mentioned.

1) Cycling is one of my main questions! (2.5 gal bowl) I've read the stickies and the guides here, I guess I just wanted people's opinions. The reason I'd like to cycle is because it sounds more natural and healthy for the betta. Of course, I already have a fishy so I can't do a "fishless" cycle... I've read that when you cycle with a fish, they may not make it, or cause permanent damage, and it pretty much torturing the fish. This is my little baby and I don't want to abuse or lose him =( Is there a huge difference in the quality of their life if you cycle/noncycle? Should I risk cycling with my baby, or just do weekly water changes? Two 50% and one 100% per week?

The surface area of anything smaller then a 5 gallon isn't enough to hold a stable cycle. Your tank will build up beneficial bacteria in the filter, and it will do it's own "mini" style cycle.
For water changes I recommend 1 50% water only, and 1 50% substrate vacuuming per week. The filter will hide and push around the waste, but doesn't remove it. So a mini water vacuum will be needed to clean the substrate. If you add in live plants (other then the moss ball) then you would only have to vacuum once or twice a month.


2) Lighting question - I'm usually gone all day and home all night, which is usually the time I enjoy looking at Ghosty. I've ready that fish/plants need day and night just like we do (I had been keeping the light on 24 hours). Would it be ok to keep my room dark in the day while I'm gone, and then turn on their light for the night until morning?

It also depends on how long at night you are up- if you are up until 1 am, then I don't see the problem with what you said. If the room is semi light during the day, and his tank light is off, he will still get a chance to rest peacefully while you are away. They aren't going to know it's day or night.. they do need their rest times, and that happens during the night usually because it's darker- but that's because it's natural and not by choice. He will rest when he needs it during the day, and even with the light on at night if he wants to. A night/day cycle is idea as it gives them a good chunk of rest time, but it won't harm him to sleep during the day while you are away.

3) Aqua plants question - As you can see, I already have a moss ball but I want to buy another live plant for the tank and take out the fake rock/plant. What plants do your bettas like? I can't find any Chinese Evergreens (which were highly recommended). What about Anubias Nanas?

Anubias is good, but don't be fooled by a lot of "aquatic" plants being sold out there.. peace lillies and bamboo aren't meant to be in the aquarium. There is a good plant sticky on the forums in the habitat section, I'm sure you read.. otherwise I would look up different aquarium plants lists and see what would work best for your set up. Have to go by the lighting and how long the light will be on, etc.
Pewpewpew and Oldfishlady are great people to ask/pm about what plant would be safe, and the care for them.


4) Heaters - What type of heater would you recommend for a 2.5 gal? I've seen flat ones that hang against the glass, wands that lay submerged inside the tank, digital temp controls, and knob temp controls. What do you guys prefer?

I would go 25-50 watts, adjustable heaters that suction to the glass personally.. Your home may be toasty, but people tend not to run the heaters more then 70-74*F, and the tanks (regardless of size) will be at least a few degrees colder then the room temp. So if you (like me) keep the place at 68* during winter, then expect the tank to be roughly that or less. The smaller the tank, the more it fluctuates. A heater is not only to keep the water warm, but to keep it a constant temp. Fluctuations in temperature can be more dangerous then colder water. It's ideal to keep the tank heated, regardless if it's a 1 gallon, or a 100 gallons :)

5) Cleaning the tank - When I do my 100% water changes, do I rinse everything in hot water and scrub the toys and walls too? Some people say to scrub, and some don't due to good bacteria.

With a filter you don't want to really be doing any 100%s, and any algae you see growing you can easily clean up with an aquarium sponge. But if you wish to clean off the decorations, just plain hot water will work- just don't clean them off each week, as the beneficial bacteria will grow on them as well.

6) PH levels - I got a Ph testing kit and it says my little tank is around 7.6 ph, but I want to be around 7.0 right? Should I use those bottles for Lowering or Raising the Ph in the aquarium store? Some say those are bad and that fish can adjust to the Ph, others say to adjust your own water.

As mentioned above, playing with the pH can be detrimental, safer to keep it where it is and allow him to adjust as needed.
Some other fish species are very intolerant to certain pH levels, but luckily, bettas aren't one of them.


7) Full bladder? If you look at the first picture I posted of Ghosty, it looks like he has a little bulge towards the back of his tail. Is he just full of poop or is that something else, or normal?

That's normal muscle/swim bladder area :)

8) Fish food! There are so many different opinions I've seen! Flakes or pellets? Some say flakes bloat the fish, others say pellets are too hard. Do you feed bloodworms normally or is that a treat food also?

Flakes and freeze dried do not actually bloat the fish.. that's from over feeding. I personally use pellets as my main staple (I also feed live, frozen, home made, freeze dried, flake.. I have picky eaters lol), as I can be very specific of how much I am feeding, and easier to remove any uneaten. I say mix it up- betta specific flakes, bloodworms, pellets, etc.. 2-3 small meals a day is idea, and a variety will give them a balanced diet.
Some bettas are picky eaters so you may end up trying a few different brands to see what works. Frozen blood worms can be fed almost daily, freeze dried I would stick to 2-3 per week at the most.


9) Aquarium salt - This is only if they are sick right? I've seen many people to add a small amount to keep the betta healthy, and it even has directions on the box for 1 Tsp. per gallon for freshwater fish! Salt or no salt?

No salt! (expect for external treatments)
Bacteria and fish become resistant to it, all the while over exposure can lead to kidney/liver failure as it pretty much dehydrates them on the inside. Think of how too much salt affects us.. imagine living in it for a long period of time.


10) Tank mates - I know it is only a small little 2.5 gal, but I wanted to add some little ghost shrimp buddies to keep Ghosty company. Would it be ok to add 2 or 3 ghost shrimp?

Ghost shrimp create very little bio load, so a couple won't harm the system- especially if you go the live plant route then it would be great for the little things. They will eat certain types of algaes, etc. As long as the colony doesn't get out of hand, a few won't do too much harm. Just make sure you have the plants in there prior to getting them so they have places to hide.. bettas like to think of them as their snacks, so you may not be able to keep them if Ghosty wants a nibble here and there.

Feel free to ask if you have any more questions, and pictures are always welcomed here!

Last edited by Myates; 02-01-2012 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 02-01-2012, 09:44 PM   #9 
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Goldentryst,

Thanks for your reply!

Ok, well if that's the case, I will cycle my next tank when I upgrade to a 5 gal. I definitely have no problems doing frequent water changes, whatever is best for Ghosty! And darn, the reason I ask is because I'm never home during the day and would like to have the light on at night so that I could see him, but if it's better not to swap their day/night cycle then I won't! I'm going to the store again tomorrow. I think I'll pick up an anubias or java moss, but I'll do some more research and forum searching first. I didn't see any swords there.

My room generally runs cooler. When I checked the water temp, it was around 70 - 71 and I'd like to get it a little warmer so it's more like their tropical habitat, maybe 76 or 78 F. I will not mess with my PH! Less trouble for me anyways lol. I'm glad to know that "bulge" is normal =) Thank you for easing my worries lol. I will be sure to check out the New Life Spectrum food too.

<3 BettaChic

Last edited by BettaChic; 02-01-2012 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:36 PM   #10 
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Myates,

Thank you so much for your very informative, detailed answers!! You've also cleared up many questions that I had!

I will definitely be sure to purchase a siphon cleaner as well! And I will not do any 100% water changes! Lol I was about to do one this weekend so I'm glad people were nice enough to get back to me so quickly. Thank you for that link on aquatic plants, I will look through that and see if Pewpewpew or Oldfishlady have any favorites. I am definitely getting a heater tomorrow, my poor little guy is probably feeling a bit chilly at 70-71 F =(

I will be sure to only rinse toys with hot water, no scrubbing. Wow, you have such lucky bettas that you feed so well! I will pick up a variety of foods so my little buddy doesn't get bored. When you say 2-3 small meals a day, that's 1-2 flakes/pellets/chunks of food per feeding time right? They don't eat much I've read, but my poor guy keeps looking at me like "MOMMY GIVE ME MORE PLEASE!!!"

As for the ghost shrimp, I will get another plant and some rock/caves or wood for them to hide in/around. How do you go about introducing tank mates? Will I know within the first few hours if they will be ok together? Or will I wake up next week and find a shrimpy missing? :'(

Thanks again!

<3 BettaChic
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