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Old 02-10-2012, 12:23 PM   #1 
sbtlove
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Getting my daughter a Betta

Hi,
Tomorrow is my daughter's birthday and the only thing she wants in the whole world is a fish. No big deal, I don't mind "fish duty".

But I had a few questions. I'm kind of new to the fish world. We've had fish in the past without a whole lot of luck, but its been a long time.

I'm considering a beta, they are tough little fish. The only experience I have with a beta is I bought my sister one about 6 years ago when she was 12. I got a small aquarium with a filter from wal-mart, went out and picked out a fish. Set it up and put him in there that day. And he lived for a good 3-4 years and that was with her forgetting to feed him regularly.

I guess my big question is, is there anything special I need to know about the Beta. (Other than they need to be kept solitary). Anything I need to do to help this fish thrive?

Thanks
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Old 02-10-2012, 12:42 PM   #2 
SnowySurface
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Info about bettas in general is in this thread: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=20058

and care info is in this thread:
http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=49160

The most basic supplies for a betta are
2.5-3 gallon tank
water conditioner
gravel
Heater - they are tropical and need 78-80*F water
Thermometer - this makes sure the heater is working
Filter - tetra 3i is good for small tanks
Someplace to hide like a small cave - some members use coffee mugs
A few silk plants
Food - pellets and bloodworms (frozen is better than freeze dried)

Water changes would be 1 50% and 1 100% each week.

Last edited by SnowySurface; 02-10-2012 at 12:45 PM. Reason: Added a second link to basic fish care
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Old 02-10-2012, 12:49 PM   #3 
a123andpoof
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It really depends on the size tank you have. If you get anything under 5 gallons I wouldn't bother with a filter as it is difficult to hold a cycle. I have a 2.5 gallon and I just do 1 25-50% and 1 100% each week. Not a big deal.
Heat is VERY important. Get a heater.
And the person above said everything. But in my opinion save your money and don't get a filter for anything under 5 gallons. Just do the two water changes a week. And most betta's don't even like filters you would just have to baffle it anyways.
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:02 PM   #4 
sbtlove
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Yeah I was looking on Petco's website and it looks like they sell beta kits. So we may go with one of those.
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:08 PM   #5 
Myates
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Welcome, and I hope you guys will enjoy the betta once you get him :)

1 gallons and up is needed to keep them healthy and happy..
Anything under 5 I too don't use filters.. the 100% weekly replaces the need for them. If you do go with a filter then make sure it is baffled as small tank filters tend to have too strong of a current.

For under 5 gallons, unfiltered 1 50% and 1 100% water change per week with water conditioner is needed to keep him and the tank healthy.
For under 5 gallons, filtered, 1 50% water only and 1 50% substrate vacuum/stir and dip method is needed per week with water conditioner.

A heater set for 78-80*F (adjustable is preferred over presets.. for 2 gallons and up you would look for a 25 watt, for a gallon a 7.5-10 watt should be fine)

Water conditioner
Thermometer- the internal glass ones are much more reliable
Soft plants and a cave- anything that is pointy or sharp will tear their fins.
Pellets are a good staple diet, easier to feed as you can limit the amount being fed (2-3 per meal, twice a day is ideal).. sometimes you have a picky betta and will have to do some searching for the right food for him. Omega One Betta Buffet and New Life Spectrum betta pellets are very good brands for bettas and most picky eaters will eat them with no trouble. Just keep in mind as sometimes it takes days to weeks for a betta to adjust enough to eat healthy after arriving home.

I personally like to use Kritter Keepers for single bettas- safe to heat and they give them plenty of room without being expensive. I wouldn't get anything less then a medium in size- a medium roughly 1.75 gals, and a large is roughly 2.75 gallon. A desk lamp of 40 watts is enough to keep the tank lit.

Good luck!
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:28 PM   #6 
mathkid
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My experience with kits has been kinda bad. The small kits give you like a teeny half-gallon bowl and a pokey plastic plants, and the big ones tend to pick out not-as-nice stuff. I kinda think it's more fun (and often cost-effective in the long run) to pick out your own things =) My basic supplies for a betta would be:

* 2.5g glass tank - $10

* Hydor Theo 25w adjustable heater - $20

* Prime water conditioner - $5

* LCD strip thermometer - $2 (*don't* get the submersible traditional kind - they take a long time to adjust to a new water temperature, and they are less accurate - I have two of the same model that register 2 degrees off of each other) <-- Haha, Myates and I have different experiences here =)

* Brine shrimp net - $2 (*don't* get the "quick net" or basic net - bettas have delicate fins, so the fine mesh is better for them)

* You might like a gravel vac, small size, to make partial water changes easier - $6

* Food: pellets (other threads have recommended brands) and frozen bloodworms (Hikari), about $5 each

* And some basic decor - soft gravel, soft plants (the kits always come with super pokey plants, and you don't want anything that can tear your guy's fins). You can use a terra cotta pot (less than $1) for a cave, but you'll need to stop up the hole in the bottom. How much you spend on decor is really up to you!

All these things are one-time purchases - bettas eat so little that whatever you get will last you basically forever.

As suggested, I would not bother with a filter on a 2.5g - just do the weekly 100% changes + 50% change midweek.

If you want to go all out, there's certainly more stuff you can get and/or bigger/nicer versions of the stuff on this list! For example, I have recently discovered how much easier airline tubing can make water changes (my guy *hates* being cupped or netted, so anything that avoids that is helpful).
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:32 PM   #7 
SnowySurface
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Man...I was trying to make my response simple. T_T

Aw well, it's time to explain why I use tiny filters in small tanks. :D

a123andpoof is right that a filter is not 100% neccessary until you want to cycle a tank. When a betta is in a larger tank and the filter is neccessary, you baffle it by slowing down the flow through the intake or outtake of the filter. So, in my 5 gallon cycled tanks I use for my male bettas, I have a Tetra PF 10i filter . I put aquarium sponge over the intake tube and stick more aquarium sponge in the outtake shoot to make it gentle enough for my bettas.

I didn't want to use a fishless cycling method to set up my 5 gallon tanks. So I had my little guys in 1 gallon tanks I changed frequently until their real homes were stable. I noticed a protein film that would form inbetween water changes. It wasn't harmful but it did make my tank look dirty when it was actually healthy for them despite their small quaters. When I added the tetra 3i to my temporary set up, the protein film never came back.

Therefore, I suggested a filter based on my own experience with small unfiltered tanks forming a protein film that is harmless but looks ugly. If a protein film doesn't form or it doesn't bug you when it does form, then you can skip the filter. If a protein film does form and you want it gone a small filter will take care of the film without bothering your fish. :)
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:36 PM   #8 
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@SnowySurface: Oh, that's a good point! I don't like the protein film either. Here is the small-size filter (tanks up to 3gal) I have:
http://www.amazon.com/AZOO-AZ13097-M...8902504&sr=8-3

I guess it depends on how much the protein film bugs you and how much you want to save money.
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Old 02-10-2012, 01:48 PM   #9 
Myates
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If the film happens you can take a clean paper towel and lay it on the surface then remove it.. that usually picks up the protein. What I do when I get it- I tend to only get it in my female's tank within a few days of changing out her water.

External Sticker Thermometers
This is the most popular thermometer in the fish-keeping hobby. The stick on thermometer has a sticky back and is placed on the outside of the fish tank directly on the glass or acrylic.
When I say these are the most popular, I am not saying that they are the best. They are pretty accurate and usually within 1 degree plus or minus from the true temperature of the water inside the aquarium

Digital Thermometer
This type of fish tank thermometer is the one I prefer to use in my tropical fish tanks. This digital device sits on the outside of your fish tank by either a suction cup or Velcro. The temperature is measured by a probe that is attached by a suction cup on the inside of your aquarium under the water.
I truly believe that you get a more accurate temperature measurement from this device because you are taking the temperature directly from the water inside the tank instead of the temperature on the outside of the glass.

Digital thermometers use batteries and can be mounted and moved when and where you desire. Some models include a built in light to help you see the reading in a dark room. Other models include alarms that will alert you when the tank water reaches temperatures too high or too low. There are models available that measure the room temperature and include a clock also.

Glass Thermometer
These are simply glass tubes filled with mercury and most have a suction cup attached that allow you to attach to the inside of your aquarium.
This type will be in the water of your aquarium and does a good job of reading the temperature accurately.

I use the glass ones because I'm old fashioned.. and I believe you can get a quicker temperature reading on them when replacing water after doing a 100% then you would a sticker one.. the glass one with a suction cup allows you to remove it during a water change, and use it when filling up the tank, or bucket/pitcher to make sure you have the right temp going back into the tank. For smaller heaters, it's ideal to get the temp as close to the old temp as possible as some preset heaters tend to only heat up a few degrees above room temp if the water it is heating up is well below recommended temps.

Just my opinions :)
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Old 02-10-2012, 02:09 PM   #10 
mathkid
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Thanks for all the info on thermometers, Myates! I just ordered this digital thermometer online:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...00_i00_details

I am looking forward to it, 'cause right now I have to finger-test the temperature when I put in new water... and that worries me cause I know bettas are sensitive to temperature changes. I trust the accuracy of my LCD sticker thermometer, but it can't be moved. And I trust one of my glass thermometers *once it settles* (the other I trust to be 2 degrees off), but it's not clear to me how many minutes it takes to settle.

@Myates - When you put a glass thermometer in cold water, does the mercury immediately start dropping? Like, can you see it move to the new temperature? Mine doesn't... maybe I have a lemon. =(
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