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Old 03-21-2012, 11:44 AM   #1 
Aria
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Location: Lowell, and Amesbury depending on the time of year.
Need some advice (N00b)

Hello! So I'm a brand new Betta owner and like a responsible owner I like to do everything I can to know how to properly care for my new pets. I'm very new to betta care and I want to make sure my little guy is properly taken care of. I've had my fish for about a week now and I just have a few questions!

For now the little guy is in a 1 Gallon spherical plastic tank with some large smooth rocks at the bottom and nothing else. I am aware that he needs a bigger tank but at the moment I can't afford one. I WILL be upgrading his tank size within a month or so, but for now he seems very happy with the tank he has now.

When I bought him it was from a small pet store, and he looked very healthy. Bright colors and active, responded to the presence of my hand around his bowl (Which was a very small glass blow maybe a 1/4 of a gallon or smaller - his fins are very long and he could definitely not stretch out but the bowl did seem clean at least). There was a ring of bubbles around the rim - big ones - and I had read that this meant he was making a bubble nest? He was placed next to a female so I assume this is why he was doing that.

Anyway on the assumption that this meant he was healthy I bought him on the spot and fell in love with him. It's hardly been a week and he already swims to the front of the bowl whenever I'm around. To prepare him for the new tank I the proper dosage of BettaSafe (7 drops for a 1 gallon tank) to the water hours before I placed him in it. Before I just dumped him in there I floated the bag he was in on top of the water for a good hour to equalize the temperature (I had learned this from previously owned fish to acclimate them to the temperature) It's summer here now so on average the temperature of the room hes kept in is about 70-75 degrees so for now the water isn't too cold and hes never sluggish.

About a day or so after having him in the tank I noticed the water was rather foggy. I know this has something to do with cycling the tank and needing a special kind of bacteria or something growing to ear away at whatever is causing the fog. Anyway I had some ACUREL F my dad used to use in his 20G tank. I dosed it for a 1 G tank and it was 2 drops. Anyway I used this to try to help clear the water a couple days ago then again yesterday when I noticed no results. I heard the bacteria in this products can die and not help so I assume it's just expired. Do you recommend just throwing it out?

Anyway, yesterday I did a partial water change, about 1/4 of the water. I just scooped it out into a container, dumped it, got new water, treated it with BettaSafe then added it to the tank. The fish has been active, hanging around the bottom to look between the rocks, swimming around the middle and going to the top to breath - though sometimes he kicks around the top a few centimeter from the surface and just sits there. Never for too long, and if he sees me approach he swims around again so I don't think this is any sign of being ill.

Anyway, the tank is still pretty foggy - nothing really bad - but noticeable. There is also a growth forming on the rocks - a clear light but slightly brownish growth. I see this in tanks frequently so I don't think it's anything very dangerous but it looks dirty and I'd like to kill whatever this growth is. How should I go about doing this?

Today I noticed some clear thin growth on the fish itself. He doesn't seem sluggish or laying down a lot - still just as active as usual but I fear it may be fin rot? He has two small pin holes in his fins, but he had these when I bought him and I just assumed they were from something else since there was no visible growth or anything that looked offending of fin rot. If it is fin rot it's not sever, his fins look very healthy and long. Just this foggy sort of growth starting to string off them, also a little bit on his scales? I also noticed today hes been spending more time at the top of the tank. I can't imagine the water has already become so toxic that is hard for him to breath after the water change yesterday? Despite being active and eating, could he be sick with something?

also, if this is fin rot how can I treat it before it becomes dangerous? I heard you can use salt or epsom salt, as well as medications. Which method do you recommend and how would I use this especially in a one gallon tank?

Also, if I were to up him to a 5 gallon tank could I add a female? Would the breed if I did? I don't want them to breed and overcrowd a tank - I also don't feel like I know enough to care for baby bettas.

Also I'm a college student and home is 40mins away. How would you best recommend travel for the little guy when summer vacation rolls around? I was thinking of putting him in a well filled capped container and holding him for the ride to try to prevent too much sloshing? I don't want to stress him to death on the trip but travel is necessary.

I know bowls are bad, and that eventually I'll need a heater and a 3 or 5 gallon tank! In the meantime I need help with a 1 gallon please dont criticize my care skills based on that.
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:50 AM   #2 
Aria
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Sorry for the wall of text guys but three more questions:
1. My tank has an LED lit hood that can cycle through colors or be set to Red Blue Green or White. Are LEDs stressful to fish? I know for people they were bright and if used to lit a room can be harsh on the eyes. Is there anything wrong with using this lighting? Also when should I/should I not use the lights? Some say turn them on at night and leave them on till morning, others say use them in the evening then turn them off at bed time so the fish can sleep?

2.Could you recommend a good starter kit under 30$s for a 5 Gallon PLASTIC tank? I don't like glass, especially since I move around for college and I don't want it to break!

3. What should my cleaning upkeep routine be for my 1 Gallong tank?

Last edited by Aria; 03-21-2012 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 03-21-2012, 11:58 AM   #3 
Aria
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Note: I just checked on the fish now, the faint clear growth that had been there about an hour ago is pretty much gone... After he swam around for a bit and poked around the rocks I guess it just came off? Perhaps this clear stuff is just whatever is growing at the bottom of the tank? If I DID treat for fin rot and it's not - would this be harmful for him?

Should I do an 80% water change and clean the rocks to try to nip the growth at the bottom? I started my tank Sunday, so I wanted to hold off till this Sunday to maintain a weekly cleaning schedule but I fear the growth could harm the fish?
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Old 03-21-2012, 03:22 PM   #4 
BettasRpeople2
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Hi Aria! Welcome to bettas! I am so glad that you want to do what's best for your new little guy, and this site will be a great resource for you. It certainly has been for me!

To address a couple of your questions:

You have a 1 gallon tank, so you will not want to try to cycle that. You need to do a 50% and a 100% water change minimum per week. I have a 1.5 that I opt to do 100% every 3-4 days. Otherwise the ammonia level in your bowl will get too high for your fish. I would also recommend rinsing your rocks with hot water and scrubbing them off with your fingers to remove that slime. I use the cup my fish came in to hold him while I clean his tank, and since he comes up to meet me I can usually scoop him without even using a net. Be sure you put a top on any container you keep your fish in because bettas have been known to jump.

He would also probably enjoy some silk plants and some kind of cave to hide in/explore. It's great that you are using a dechlorinator in your water before you add your betta; that is very important as well. I would not bother with the bacteria additive, though because you are not going to establish a cycle in your bowl, so it is a waste.

I would not rush to treat him for fin rot if his fins look healthy. I would just clean his water and bowl and watch at this point. He could just be producing excess slime coat. If it gets worse, or he starts to look/act ill you can post in the fish illness section on the boards here, and some terrific experts will guide you in treatment options.

With a room temp of only 70-75, you will need to consider getting him a small heater. Bettas like their water to be near 78, and lower temps can compromise their immune systems.

If you get a larger tank for him, no you should not try to add a female. They will fight, and it is likely that one or both would be seriously injured or killed.

Transporting your betta 40 min. will be pretty easy. If you brought him home in a cup, just put him in there for the ride. With warm summer weather, you should not have to worry too much about temp, but if the car will be cold, you can wrap the cup in a towel to retain heat. That is not a very long trip, so he should be perfectly fine.

Bettas like to have some down time, so I would use the lights during the day/evening and leave them off at night. I have LED lights on three of my tanks, and they seem to be fine. The fish do have places to hide and get out of the light if they want to, though - plants, etc. Personally, I prefer fluorescent lighting just because it tends to bring out the colors of the fish more. LED's tend to wash out some of the lighter colors in my opinion. They have an advantage, though, in that they do not mess with temperature and do not require bulb changes.

I'm not really sure about a good acrylic starter kit that would be that cheap. Acrylic tends to be a little higher priced than glass. I got my 3 gal. acrylic kit from Petsmart for about $40. It is a Marineland Crescent 3. I like it, but it does have some quirks. You have to remove the light to do anything because it sits close to the top of the tank, and the lid is a little finicky. However, it is a bowfront, so you have a nice view of your fish, and the filter is pretty easy to reduce the flow on.

Anyway, I hope I have been able to help answer some of your questions. Good luck with your new friend! Bettas are the best!

Last edited by BettasRpeople2; 03-21-2012 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 03-21-2012, 03:30 PM   #5 
Aria
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Thanks so much for your response, I know I can be over detailed and my long post must have scared off a lot of people! Sounds good though, I'd be sure to clean his tank as soon as I get home from work! I've heard of people adding stress coats to their tanks as well as the water treatments to help their fins. My beta is a veil tailed fish so his fins are very ornate looking and I want them to be healthy. Will the pin holes heal over time at all, and will a stress coat help them along?

I actually planned to stop by a petshop this weekend for some caves and silk plants. I'm weary of caves though, it seems like all the ones I've ever seen are scratchy and would dammage his fins more.

I've also looked into a temporary 1 gal. tank heater but the ones I find have terrible reviews and are known to not work well. Do you think he would be ok without a heater for a couple weeks until I get paid so I can up his tank size?
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Old 03-21-2012, 03:55 PM   #6 
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I had that trouble with caves also, so I switched to terra cotta pots. You can get small ones at craft stores. I bought mine at JoAnne Fabrics for about $0.70, and they work great. Just be sure to bury the hole or plug it with something aquarium friendly to keep him from getting himself stuck.

If you keep his water nice and clean, his fins should heal themselves, especially if they are just tiny holes. If they don't heal after you have given them a little time, you can try treating with AQ salt, but I would wait to see if they heal first. I only use Stress Coat when I handle my fish in a way that may remove slime coat (like if they make me net them). Some people add it as their regular dechlorinator; it's kind of a matter of preference. As far as whether it will help him heal, I couldn't tell you for sure. If he is producing a healthy slime coat naturally, it is probably not terribly necessary to add it.

Water temp is pretty important. He may be alright if it is going to be a short time before you switch him, but it isn't the best for him. You could maybe bump up your room temp or try some other methods to raise his water temp. Depending on what size tank you are looking at, you could possibly just buy the heater you will use in the bigger tank and place it in the bowl for now. Make sure you have a thermometer to monitor the temp of course, but the ranges on a lot of heaters would allow you to do this safely if you are only planning to go to a 3-5 gal tank. Most people recommend heaters that you can adjust temp because the factory preset ones can be a little ify. If you get one with an adjustable thermostat, you will want to figure out where it needs to be set to maintain the correct temp. The scale on them is not always accurate. Most of my tanks have the preset ones though. Two of them have been pretty good; one of them is between OK and junk because it allows the temperature to fall several degrees before it decides to kick on. That is the one I have in my 1.5, so it's probably one that has a low review.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:06 PM   #7 
Aria
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That's a good idea, I'll probably go with a pot for a hiding spot for him, it seems a lot safer then most caves. I'll be sure to plug it too, though im not sure what with yet haha! I have a really nice heater already, one that you can set, its a glass stand up one that suctions to the side of the tank. However, because his tank is a sphere I cant really use it. I'll check the pet store when I go regardless.

So how do you feel about the LED lights and when they should be on or not on?
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:47 PM   #8 
Shirleythebetta
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Just to add Aria, when a betta's fins heal they will often come back clear at first and then color up over time. So if you see clear regrowth with the holes its normal. Also, I have see those little holes in the fins widen and become a split. It's okay if they do, just keep the water clean and try to get it to the temp that is mentioned above and the splits and holes will heal.
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Old 03-21-2012, 04:54 PM   #9 
MaisyDawgThirteen
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BRP is doing a really good job answering your questions, but I thought I'd answer your question about keeping a male and a female in a 5 gallon. Males and females should only be kept together for breeding/spawning, as they would fight and one would most likely die. :/ Males should not be kept with males as they would also fight. Females can be kept together, as long as they are in a group of 5+ (spreads out the aggression) in a 10+ Gallon Tank that is heavily planted with live plants. You can't have other fish with a betta in a tank less than 10 gallons as there would not be enough space. In a 5 gallon you could have a few shrimp or a snail.

Hope I helped and Good Luck! :D
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Old 03-21-2012, 05:05 PM   #10 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aria View Post
So how do you feel about the LED lights and when they should be on or not on?
I was editing to add some extra info when you posted your response, so you may want to check it over. I did put some in there about lighting. I keep my lights on during the day and off at night, so they can have some rest time. I would not suggest leaving the lights on over night. Also, you want to limit the time you use lights to less than 12 hours per day to discourage algae growth. Some even say 8 hours, but I can't bear to turn my lights off until I have to because I want to see my fishies!
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