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Old 03-11-2012, 05:39 PM   #1 
Jabu Jabu
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Making the best of a 1 gallon bowl...

I've never owned a fish but I ended up feeling the need to rescue this poor little betta at Walmart. I got a standard bowl I think is 1 gallon, some rocks and a cave like thing for her to mess around in. Reading up of course now I realize this is less than ideal but I'm a broke student and literally can't afford anything more right now. It's a girl, and is pretty small but looks happy and active in her bowl for the moment at least.

I have individually heated rooms and I think I can keep her at the right temperature without a problem. But I don't know the best way to deal with her water and all that. Most of the tips assume a proper container. I put her in distilled water at first (bad I guess?) and also got some of those tap water cleaning tablets in a "starter kit" with food.

How often should I change the water, with what type of water, and is there a good way to do this without stressing her out since apparently it will have to be done often with this size bowl? Also any other tips on keeping her healthy until I can afford a better set up would be appreciated.
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:53 PM   #2 
Olympia
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I'd do two changes a week- A 100% and a 50%, or two 100%. Some people say one some say the other.
Distilled water is bad because there are no minerals. Use tap water, and I guess those tablets you got? Most conditioners are liquid so I don't really know about the tablets..
Try to not have too much gravel in there, you want her to have as much room to swim as possible. Female betta are VERY active compared to males. My girl is psychotic. :p Make sure there is nothing sharp on the cave, and make sure that there are no holes that she could get stuck in (they like to squeeze through holes, and many have gotten stuck and drowned in the past..)
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:13 PM   #3 
Jabu Jabu
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I'd do two changes a week- A 100% and a 50%, or two 100%. Some people say one some say the other.
Distilled water is bad because there are no minerals. Use tap water, and I guess those tablets you got? Most conditioners are liquid so I don't really know about the tablets..
Try to not have too much gravel in there, you want her to have as much room to swim as possible. Female betta are VERY active compared to males. My girl is psychotic. :p Make sure there is nothing sharp on the cave, and make sure that there are no holes that she could get stuck in (they like to squeeze through holes, and many have gotten stuck and drowned in the past..)
Thanks, she looks to have enough room for now, or is at least happy to be out of that tiny plastic container from Walmart. I didn't get any other decorations because they all looked like they could cut her, and the "cave" has holes that she has no problem swimming through for now.

And yes she is pretty crazy, the reason I got her is she was lunging at me trying to bite as soon as I picked her up. She's mostly nibbling at her food and spitting it back out for now but I'll give her some time before I freak out about that too.
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:30 PM   #4 
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In general, I don't believe in "rescuing" fish from pet stores that have no idea what they're doing because although you think you're contributing to the solution, walmart sees people buying fish from them as "a business opportunity" to make more money off of fish. The corporations and stores that sell these fish end up buying more fish and keeping them in unethical housing because they know they could make a quick million dollars off of their horrible fish department. Anyways, that's my little rant.

Since this is an unfiltered 1 gallon bowl, I would recommend a 100% water change every other day with a 50% water change in between because toxins will build up in a tank that small. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "tablets" because most conditioners are liquid (for fish), so I can't comment on that. Keep the temperature at a minimum of 75 degrees+, and make sure you have a thermometer somewhere.

If I were you, I would ditch the bowl and just use a clear plastic bin (preferably food safe) and use that as the housing. Your betta would have more space, and there would be a little less frequent water changes.
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:47 PM   #5 
Jabu Jabu
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In general, I don't believe in "rescuing" fish from pet stores that have no idea what they're doing because although you think you're contributing to the solution, walmart sees people buying fish from them as "a business opportunity" to make more money off of fish. The corporations and stores that sell these fish end up buying more fish and keeping them in unethical housing because they know they could make a quick million dollars off of their horrible fish department. Anyways, that's my little rant.

Since this is an unfiltered 1 gallon bowl, I would recommend a 100% water change every other day with a 50% water change in between because toxins will build up in a tank that small. I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "tablets" because most conditioners are liquid (for fish), so I can't comment on that. Keep the temperature at a minimum of 75 degrees+, and make sure you have a thermometer somewhere.

If I were you, I would ditch the bowl and just use a clear plastic bin (preferably food safe) and use that as the housing. Your betta would have more space, and there would be a little less frequent water changes.

Thanks, I understand it wasn't a great reason to buy a fish, but what's done is done and I'm just trying to do the best I can for now.

The reason I ask is so far I've read between 100% change every day to just once a week. Normally I would go with the most often to be on the safe side but my natural instinct is that it might cause more harm than good with the resulting stress on her.

Also, assuming I had no tablets (which I guess no one's heard of) or liquid conditioner, normal tap water at the correct temperature is the safest bet?
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:10 PM   #6 
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Tiffanini, that water change schedule would cause a lot of stress to the fish. The schedule suggested by Olympia will keep the water clean enough without making it too clean or too stressful.

Jabu, make sure that you are keeping your room at AT LEAST 78F, warmer if possible. Water temperature is always at least two degrees below room temperature, so you've got to keep it warm for these guys. The safe range for bettas is 76-85, with the ideal being 78-82. I would invest in a good heater as soon as you can (I've heard good things about the Hydor 7.5 watt heater for one gallon tanks, but check with other USA dwellers first). I'd make this your first priority, as heat is more important than space.

For water changes, when you run out of tablets get yourself Prime, by Seachem. It is very powerful, so a tiny bottle will last you forever, and it does all kinds of wonderful stuff, such as neutralising ammonia and nitrites as well as chlorine. :)

If you have a couple of dollars to spare, a hard-to-kill plant like a java fern, some java moss or an anubias would add a little life to the bowl without taking up too much room, and would also help with water quality. :)
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:11 PM   #7 
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Sorry, just read your post. Do not use tap water without conditioner! The chlorine in it can be fatal to your fish. Make sure you get some conditioner.
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Old 03-11-2012, 08:24 PM   #8 
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If you do run out of your tablets and don't have time to get more conditioner, leave a jug of water out for 48 hours before using it, as the chlorine will evaporate with some of the water. However doing this gets annoying after a while so you'd probably want to get some conditioner ;)
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Old 03-11-2012, 08:56 PM   #9 
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Leaving water standing won't remove chloramine (info on chloramine - http://www.thetropicaltank.co.uk/chlor.htm ). Water conditioner doesn't cost much, and the one Bomba suggested is excellent and lasts a long time. It's pretty much an essential to keeping your fish alive.

Last edited by Aus; 03-11-2012 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 03-11-2012, 08:59 PM   #10 
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Hah, oh. I guess there would be that. I bought a bottle of conditioner for about $3.50 in August and I've just run out. So yes it will last a long time.
Just be sure when you buy it to read the dosage. What Bomba recommended is a drop a gallon. Don't get something that's like "one capfull every 10 gallons" or you will have a lot of extra math to do :D
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