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Old 02-06-2012, 07:51 PM   #1 
furubafan3
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Fabric flowers at your local craft store?

Hello everyone! I'm not a betta owner yet, but I've been researching heavily and trying to calculate the cost of supplies. I was wondering, is it safe to use plain silk flowers from the local craft store? Provided that there's no glitter, glue, or other sharp edges attached to it? I find these arrangements prettier, and cheaper, but I want to know if it would be safe.
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:10 PM   #2 
Myates
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Welcome!
I use them from time to time- especially when doing seasonal themes on the tanks lol (like autumn I used the fall colored leaves scattered on the bottom with ceramic pumkins, etc).

As you are well aware, make sure there is no pointy bits, glitter, perfume or wires- a lot of those plants have wires in them, and when cutting (and sometimes they come like it) you end up exposing the wires on the bottom- use aquarium sealant to cover those exposed wires so they don't rust and leech toxins into the tank. Also try to remove any excess glue you see on them and replace with the sealant.
One more tip- soak them for 12-24 hrs before putting them in the tank, as the dye will come off at first. They don't necessarily lose their coloring (unless poorly made), but there is always excess dyes.. I soak them and occasionally change the water they are soaking in so they don't "re-dye" themselves.. but that's just my paranoia.

For other cheap ideas- I buy the rocks that you sometimes find in the candle aisles as my substrate- naturally looking ones, or the glass half rounded ones that are colored.. much cheaper and you get more then you would at a pet store, and even Walmart can be pricey. I got a few pounds of medium sized gravel rocks for $2 at Big Lots not long ago and they work great.

You can use other items in the tanks such as most ceramic and glassware- candle holders, cups, etc. They tend to be a little cheaper then large caves you find at pet stores. Make sure they are either terra cotta or have been glazed and kiln fired (painted is fine as long as they were glazed after so the paint won't seep out). I use them as well for mine- sometimes you get them at good prices or clearance that I buy them up and occasionally change out the decorations in the tanks. You can get them as animals, lighthouses, etc.. never know what you will find at a Big Lots lol.
And really any glass would work in the tank..

To clean these items before use, just use hot water (as hot as you can stand it).. try to get these items that weren't holding a candle in case you miss some of the wax when cleaning, don't want to risk harming the little ones.
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Old 02-06-2012, 08:54 PM   #3 
furubafan3
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Thank you so much! As a college student currently out of a job I'm really paranoid about cost. Ideally I'd like to cycle my tank and get a five gallon one but that already brings up my total to 40 dollars. I'm not getting any fish until I have a proper set up, and until I feel like I've earned it via funds, and better grades.

Unfortunately since I am in College I'm in the city, and big cheap department
stores are hard to get to. I'll keep looking around. Thanks!
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Old 02-06-2012, 09:42 PM   #4 
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If you need to save a bit of money, go with a bare-bottomed tank. It is easy to add substrate later, when you can afford it, and your fish doesn't *need* substrate. :)
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Old 02-09-2012, 12:57 PM   #5 
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I use them all the time. I don't have any fake plants that I bought at pet stores (although I do use live plants in most of my tanks). As previous members said, be careful about sharp edges and exposed wires. Also, make sure they pass the "panty hose" test - if you run them against a pair of panty hose and they snag or tear, they will do the same to your fish's fins.

I've also used weird little candle holders from the dollar store as caves, and you can buy bags of rocks or sand that can be used as substrate. Some of the ugly "knick-knacks" that they sell for shelf "decoration" can be used in tanks as well, as long as they own't corrode. I have some very lovely tanks that house some very happy fish that were furnished almost completely by dollar stores.
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Old 02-13-2012, 12:13 PM   #6 
furubafan3
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Originally Posted by tf1265 View Post
I use them all the time. I don't have any fake plants that I bought at pet stores (although I do use live plants in most of my tanks). As previous members said, be careful about sharp edges and exposed wires. Also, make sure they pass the "panty hose" test - if you run them against a pair of panty hose and they snag or tear, they will do the same to your fish's fins.

I've also used weird little candle holders from the dollar store as caves, and you can buy bags of rocks or sand that can be used as substrate. Some of the ugly "knick-knacks" that they sell for shelf "decoration" can be used in tanks as well, as long as they own't corrode. I have some very lovely tanks that house some very happy fish that were furnished almost completely by dollar stores.
Thanks a ton! I'm still really on the fence about taking the plunge, since I can really only spare 40 dollars and the set up I want costs about 100. The decorations, food, and conditoner aren't really the killer. It's the heater, tank, and API test kit that's going set me over the edge. And I don't think those are things I can scrimp on.

Friends of mine think I'm crazy since they have seemingly perfectly happy bettas in one gallon containers with 100% water changes every week, who have lived an active long time.

Ideally, I'd want a fully furnished and cycled 5 gallon hawkeye, but I doubt that's going to happen soon. :( The job hunt continues.
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Old 02-13-2012, 12:24 PM   #7 
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For a single betta (minimal bioload) the API test kit is a luxury item. Long as you condition your new water and do your partial 25-50pct water changes 2-3 times a week you will be golden.

If you on a college budget, scope around craigslist and search for "aquarium" or "fish tank" daily. Some amazing deals to be had. Lot of them get gobbled up quick so need to check that site regularly. Also if you have a thrift store nearby, take a visit there, you'd be surprised some of the stuff that is found there for aquatics.

Last edited by scootshoot; 02-13-2012 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 02-13-2012, 12:28 PM   #8 
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For a single betta (minimal bioload) the API test kit is a luxury item. Long as you condition your new water and do your partial 25-50pct water changes 2-3 times a week you will be golden.
That doesn't sound too bad. Would a 25/50 percent water change 3 times a week be okay in an uncycled 5 gallon? Or would I have to go smaller?

If I don't get the test kit do you think a large 3 gallon kritter keeper would suffice?

Last edited by furubafan3; 02-13-2012 at 12:39 PM.
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Old 02-13-2012, 12:54 PM   #9 
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Yes, that'd be perfect for a 5.

I have never cycled any of my tanks and have ranged from a 2.5 gallon (lone male) up to a full sorority in a 15 gallon. Never lost any fish.

Just be diligent in your water changes 2-3x a week.
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Old 02-13-2012, 01:05 PM   #10 
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Managed to whittle it down

Thanks again scoot scoot. If I'm not going to cycle I may as well save the money and get a kritter keeper. This whittles my total down to 60 bucks, and I can whittle it to 40 if I get cheaper decorations! :)
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