So, I recently brought home a betta from my work. The reason being, everyone was buying bettas, I wanted this guy as he seemed very healthy, lively, and beautiful, and other than me and another girl at my work, no one ever remembered to feed the bettas. So, at the moment, he's living in his cup. I get paid next Friday, so he'll have a full sized home soon.
I've been looking at different aquarium kits and what not, and I know I want to get a ten gallon, as after he and the tank are established, I'm going to try for a community betta tank. I love the look of the Marineland Bio-Wheel LED 10 Gallon kit; at seventy dollars, it gives me a complete set up, minus decor. The hood alone if I put together the kit on my own would've cost me half of that, and due to my financial situation, I do want to keep costs down as much as possible.
On the other hand, my work sells used tanks they keep in the back for really cheap, somewhere around five dollars for a ten gallon. I've got my eye on a filter called the Marine S10 as it's inexpensive and you can set the flow of it to lower the current caused by it. (And I do plan to switch to it at a later time even if I do get the kit.) As far as a heater, I was just going to go for a cheap one that works well. However, while these alone would come up cheaper than the kit, here's the real problem; the hood. A hood with lights would cost me nearly half of the kit, and a hood without lights would cost a little more than a fourth. I know bettas are jumpers, and thus need a hood or lid, and a glass lid would not allow the use of a filter.
I don't plan to keep live plants, other than maybe a moss ball, so the lighting type is truly not an issue. I do want lights however as I would like to see my fish swimming around, and in my experience tanks can be very dark when they don't have lights.
Anyways, basically, I would like other betta spoilers to chime in with their two cents about what I should do for his set up.
Also, for the cycling, would those 'insta cycle' kits help get the ball rolling faster? I have some established water and gravel from a friend's tank, but I've seen a kit by Microbe-life for cycling a tank faster, and SafeStart. Would those help get the ball rolling so he doesn't have to live in that awful cup for too long?
I don't know about the SafeStart, never used it.
If your friends tank is fully cycled (and all fish are healthy!!) then getting some gravel will be helpful! The old water won't do much. Just keep the gravel wet in the old water until it goes in your tank, it can't sit for long since the bacteria can die pretty quick I hear.
For heaters I highly recommend doing A LOT of research, and reading a ton of online reviews, asking some people on here... a cheap heater can end up costing you a lot, some fry fish, some don't heat enough, it's better to get a good one from the get go so you don't need to buy replacements :)
You will have to provide some ammonia- fish food, or cleaning ammonia (with only ammonia and water as the ingredients) either way. Which means you need a test kit.. to measure how quickly the ammonia gets eaten. API liquid master test kit is BY far the better value (at petsmart), you get over 100 tests in each category, for $35, while 25 strip tests cost me $20, and they are less accurate. I think once the bacteria eat 3-4ppm of ammonia in 12 hours, you are good to go. I am no expert in cycling so I will stop here in case I'm misinforming.
For your little guy- once you get the big tank set up, find a way to float him in there with no way that he'll tip in, the heated water will keep his cup nice and warm. Spoiling betta- since you don't want live plants, get silk plants with no metal wires for upmost safety. Any caves and decor, make sure there is no sharp edges, you can run a pantyhose along decor, if it snags, it's bad (ripped fins are ugly, and they tend to not grow back well). For treats- brine shrimp and bloodworms- frozen is more expensive than freeze dried, but much better for them. Once or twice a week, a little bit is good :)
For the tank mates, I'd start researching now- if you decide to go with a bottom dweller (kuhli loaches or cory cats :D) you will need to put sand in the tank instead of gravel. You can buy more than enough (playsand) at a hardware store for around $5.
Yeah, I know about the silk plants, I bought a three pack of large silk plants the other day for when I do get the big tank. I've been doing a lot of research, so I feel marginally prepared.
I keep looking at that stupid cup, and I want to get him something bigger to live in until his big tank is here and ready to move into. Tomorrow I'm going to go exchange my gravel for sand, and am considering picking up a basic 2.5 gallon rectangle tank and a glass lid to protect my betta from jumping out. Would he be okay without a heater just for right now? I just want to give him a little extra swimming room while we wait for payday and for the new tank to be cycled. I could probably put in a little sand or something to weigh down one of the plants for a temporary hiding place for him, since it's not permanent and will be taken down once the big tank is ready, and I can't afford one of those nice fish hideys until payday. If the rectangle and lid are too much for right now(I'm literally down to less than twenty dollars to last until Friday, living off of the boyfriend for the moment) would a little glass fish bowl suffice for now? I could always put something on top of it to prevent jumping.
That's fine, it'd make a hospital tank for future illness.
However don't feel you need to spend your money.. As long as you carefully change the water daily he should be fine.. I don't think he'd appreciate a larger space that much ATM because betta are sluggish in unheated water. But that's your call also!
So, the boyfriend got me a 2.5 and a little 50 watt that says it's good for 2-10 gallons. I'm using a thermometer to be sure it doesn't heat the water too much before putting Zero in. Getting him back out when it's time to move will be interesting, but I'm sure all will be well. I've got his cup sitting in the warm water as well for now, so he'll feel better.
I couldn't find a top for it though, so I'm using some cardboard from the silk plants as a lid and just weighing it down lightly. It's also barebottom for the moment since the silk plants have a little stone on the bottom to weigh them down. I got some sand today for when I get my ten gallon, cause I looked up Cory Cats and I'd looooove to have a little school of them for my ten gallon. :)
Yay! You'll want to do a 50% and a 100% change on your 2.5 gallon every week until your big tank is cycled. :) Is the heater a tetra brand? :p
Did you get playsand from a hardware store or sand from a pet store? What brand is it if from a pet store? Some pet store sand (carib sea) can be dangerous to cories, since it is made out of glass shards instead of sand, and can cut their sensitive tummies.
For your cories, I'd avoid panda and bronze/albino cories.. Panda are the most sensitive, so you could try them if you want, just more of a challenge. Bronze/albinos are the biggest, you could fit 4-5 in a 10 gallon though. Other species are better suited for a 10 gallon.
It is a tetra, but I figure for a spare heater, it's not too bad. Plus it was on sale. :P It's a little on the warm side(80) but not hot enough to hurt him. He sure is liking it; he's zooming all over the place now!
Also, it's not carib sea sand, but it is from a pet store. It's not little pieces of glass, I made sure. It's a generic brand that was reduced to clear(because they changed the size of the bag). It is aquatic sand, but it is definitely not made of glass. I got it from the store I work at, as well, so I'm familiar with the products. On payday I might get another bag, cause they seem quite small, one bag would've covered my 2.5 gallon's bottom.
Thanks for the tips on the cories. :) I had my eye on albinos cause I know Petsmart has them on sale; I'm going to see if my store carries Cories. If not, I'll ask one of my managers if we can get some in, how much they'd be, and what species. We have a good fish supplier, all our fish are healthy and lively, and rarely do we have any die. It happens, of course, since some fish don't take the move well, but not often. Do cories need any kind of special food?
I use tetras for my 2.5gals and they have yet to let me down!
Cories will eat flake food, and like frozen stuff like bloodworms. I also think it may be necessary, or at least helpful, to get them sinking cat fish wafers. There's algae ones that they like, and more protein filled ones. They are omnivores :)
Also, xjenuhfur, that set up is a good deal.. but the 10i filter is a bad idea. I got one at first, and it said, "not for use with sand substrate" so it'd be useless since the OP wants a sand bottom. Just a heads up, I had to return mine :)
Ahh, good to know. I'll probably do my own setup then, since I do have a tetra heater that's appropriate for a ten gallon now, the ten gallons at my job are only twelve dollars, then I'd just need a hood and a filter. Even less money if we have a used tank I could buy and clean up. I do still like the LED set, but I do worry about the filter. Any that y'all would recommend for use with sand substrate? I'm going to look into whether I can use the Marine S10 with sand, as I still like the fact that you can set the current strength on it. If I can make my own set that suits me for the same or less than that set, that would be fine by me. ((Plus, ten percent discount at my work is awesoooome.)) It's those hoods that are going to kill me, lol.