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Old 03-12-2012, 12:23 AM   #1 
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Join Date: Mar 2012
First time betta owner - big tank and many questions

So I found this site a little too late, and am now pretty worried about our new betta fish and that we have endangered his health. This is our first fish, and we are so excited to start an aquarium for our family. Originally we had planned on guppies, but my 3 yr old daughter picked a beautiful betta for her birthday, and named him Repunzel. We purchased a 20 gallon tank with all the accessories, second hand, and have it set up with filter, heater (set at 77F), gravel, decorations of plastic plants and rock ornaments. Of course, I didn't do enough research and recieved all of our betta fish info from friends and the sales person at a local chain pet store in our area (where we bought our betta). The clerk told us that bettas are hardy, so I can put him in the tank "right away", without letting it cycle. I thought that was odd considering every other fish needs such preparation for their tank. I therefore, called another store that suggested 24-48 hours. So...we put water in, treated it with water conditioner (Aquasafe- 10ml for 20 gallons), ran it with the filter and heater for a few extra days, and put Repunzel in tonight. Now I am sitting here on this site reading about cycling the tank for 4-8 weeks!! Have I set him up for a short life? I could kick myself for not doing this properly! Also, I recently read that our tank should not have any scratchy plastic plants as they can tear our betta's fin/tail. There is only one that is a bit prickly, attached to a rock. Is it wise to take it out? If so, can anyone recommend how? (Is it safe for the health of the fish to reach our hand into the tank and disrupt its habitat?) What kind of ornaments/plants are the best for our betta to have a happy home.
Now that he is in the aquarium and has LOTS of space, he seems frisky and swimming, moving his little fins so frantically. Is this normal? He was so doscile in his little plastic cup. Is he okay? I cannot tell if he is excited and curious or scared. He'll swim quickly in all directions, but seems to me like he has a hard time swimming toward the bottom and staying there. He also seems to float around a lot even though his little fins are moving fast. Could the current in my tank be too strong, from the filter? If so, how can I fix this? I am worried about the little guy. I truly want this fish to enjoy his space. Do bettas like a place to hide and sleep, is something that I add to the tank to give him a 'happy place'?
This forum is so helpful, full of information and everyone here seems so knowledgeable. I wish I would have looked here sooner. If anyone has any advise or information, it would be so greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance for the help!
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Old 03-12-2012, 06:11 PM   #2 
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Join Date: May 2011
Well first thank you for getting a large tank! Yes, you can just reach your hand in, but try not to touch the fish. You can buy some cheap silk plants or try real ones.
Here are some helpful links. It would be best to purchase a container of some kind to put him in for the time being. A kritter keeper (or rip-off brand) or a 2-3 gallon Tupperware works well.
He may just be curious of his new home. Does he look like he's floating to the top without trying? Does he look bloated?
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:22 PM   #3 
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Australia
You can leave him in the tank, he will be fine for a fish-in cycle as long as you keep an eye on all the levels. I strongly suggest getting the API master test kit and testing daily for ammonia. If it starts to head towards o.25, do a water changes. Alternatively, you can put him in a Kritter Keeper temporarily and do a fishless cycle.

Whichever you do, I suggest planting or decorating your tank heavily with silk or live plants and caves. Bettas come from densely vegitated areas, and whilst big tanks are great, they do appreciate having lots of cover. Floating plants can also make them feel more comfortable. Something like duckweed will cover the surface easily and will help speed up the cycle, as it sucks up ammonia like nobody's business.

If you feel the filter is too fast, read the sticky on baffling. :)
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