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Old 04-01-2012, 01:08 PM   #1 
nutmeg
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Red face Help! Questions from first-time Betta owner!

Hello - we just purchased a male crowntail betta for our daughter as a birthday present. We have some questions as to how to properly care for him, because we get different opinions/advice from the PetSmart workers in the store, and are now confused as to what we should or should not be doing.

We have our betta in a mini-bow 2.5 gallon tank with a quiet flow filter (it is the Aqueon mini bow desktop aquarium kit). There is also a light in the hood of the tank. We have 2 plastic aqueon plants and a decoration with a little cave-like tunnel for the fish to hide out in. We used the water conditioner that came with the kit and had the tank set up for about 2 days before putting our fish in it. (We did bring a sample of our tank water to PetSmart for them to test it and they said it is fine).

So now we have our fish in there - someone at the store said to feed him once a day. Another person said twice a day. We put a few betta food pellets in the tank and they all immediately dropped to the gravel on the floor of the tank. One of the pellets, the fish gobbled up - but then spit it back out - and then gobbled it up again. Most of the pellets are now sitting in the gravel on the bottom of the tank. Is that okay to let that food sit there? We are afraid to overfeed it and don't want to give him anymore. Will he be able to pluck those pellets off the floor if he is hungry?

Also - I am reading contradicting things on this forum and am confused about when and how often to change the water. I am completely confused about cycling water (no one at the store even mentioned this) and I am not entirely sure if cycling the water is even necessary. As I mentioned above, we do have a filter in the tank. So I think I read somewhere in this forum that with a filter in a 2.5 gallon tank, we should change 50% of the water once per week. If that is accurate - HOW do we change only 50% of the water? Do we put half the existing water into a bowl and let the fish swim in that? And then do we dump out the remaining 50% of water and put in fresh tap water (with the conditioner added) to make up for the 50% that we dumped out? Tips on how to actually change out the water would be appreciated!!! And again, if we are doing this once per week, is cycling necessary?

Would appreciate some clarification on this as we want to keep this little fish healthy!
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:38 PM   #2 
Sena Hansler
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Hi there! Sounds confusing Okay, well for a 2.5 it's very hard to keep a "cycle". Cycling, someone else will have to explain xD but basically, ammonia is dangerous...comes from waste. waste is broken down, and eventually in a "cycle" everything evens out, and fragile fish have a better time living in a "stable environment" which is what the cycle provides.

Some bettas do not eat between 5 minutes and 3 weeks when they are new. It's okay! Don't feed him today and tomorrow, then give him a pellet and make sure he eats it. Remove from the water, or else it can cause an ammonia spike... making it dangerous for your fish.

Do you have a heater? I recommend one. Bettas love warmer water! They are tropical, and prefer about 76-84, with 78-82 being the best zone. They can live between the mid 50's and high 90's no problem, but best to stick to the safe zone :) I have mine at 78-80.

Get a gravel siphon. Walmart has them cheap! You'll need a bucket as well. Gravel siphons help get the gunk from beneath and between the gravel (stirring it), and you do not have to stress the fish out because you will not have to move him.

All tanks above...I'd say....3 gallons once a week is usually the norm. For a 2.5, I recommend 50% per week if you wanted.

Your betta's tummy is the size of his eye... feed him about that much.
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:32 PM   #3 
Bombalurina
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I agree with Sena. Definitely a good idea to get a heater. :)

Don't bother with the cycle in a 2.5 gallon. Definitely worth understanding in more than 5 gallons, but you don't need to worry about it. :)

When he starts to eat again, feed him 1-3 pellets twice a day (it depends on your pellet size. Like Sena said; eyeball-size meals).

Most members here will recommend 2 50% changes per week for a filtered 2.5 gallon. :) Definitely get a gravel vacuum/siphon, as they are extremely useful! You use it to siphon out 50% of the water, whilst getting the gunk out of the gravel. You then add in the same amount of water (dechlorinate it in a seperate container first!) making sure it is roughly the same temperature as the tank water.

The only thing I disagree with Sena on in that they can live between the 50s and the 90s "no problem" - lower temperatures (below 75) compromise their immune systems and will cause them to be more lethargic, less colourful and less inclined to eat.
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:03 PM   #4 
nutmeg
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Thank you so much to both of you for replying! I sure wish the people in the store explained this stuff better! I am going to the store tomorrow to see about a heater and the gravel siphon.

So with this gravel siphon... this is to be used while the fish is in the tank?? This doesn't disturb the fish? And this also can remove some of the water? Does that mean that the fish never has to be removed from the tank while changing water and cleaning? Forgive me for my stupidity but I am so clueless about these things!!!

Also, am I to test the water prior to changing it out? Or just automatically change it the same day each week?
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:53 PM   #5 
Bombalurina
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It is always a good idea to test your water every few days, just in case. A liquid test kit is best. :)

Yep, the gravel siphon works with the fish in the tank. It should have instructions on how to start it off. Whilst it is in the tank, dig it around in the gravel to suck up yuckiness. It will suck the water out at the same time. The fish should only be removed if you need to do a 100% change. :) You could do one every few months if you wanted to be on the super-safe side.

It's not stupidity at all! It's just not knowing stuff yet. :) You'll pick these things up with experience and you'll soon be dishing out your own advice to newbies. :p
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Old 04-01-2012, 09:58 PM   #6 
Sivan
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You can remove 50% of the water without removing the fish from the tank. I did this by getting a siphon, which is cheap like everyone has said. A siphon is usually a clear tube that uses gravity to work. You place on end just below the surface of the water on a high surface and the other end of the tube in a bucket beneath the tank. Suck air on the end of the tube not in the water and the water will naturally flow out. The fish will not realise what is going on but you have to do so carefully and keep an eye on the water. Also, try not to get any of the water in your mouth...it can come out fast if you are not careful.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siphon

This link should help you visualize what it is. You might have seen it before but not known the name of it.

As for testing the water, I like to do so after a water change before acclimating my fish back into the water. I remove the fish only when doing 100% water changes and keep him in the cup that he came in with old water from the tank. After a full scrub down (remember, no soap!) I let his cup sit in the new water for 10 minutes (acclimating him, or else the change in water temp will shock him and that can be harmful) and during this time the test can be done. Make sure all the levels are good and then release him back into the tank, without the dirty water of course.

If you have a filter, which is something I have not had to deal with yet, then you may not have to do a 100% water change. I know plenty of people here do not do so with the help of a filter. If you do not have to then test the water about once a week when you have time, just to make sure the levels are where they should be.
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Old 04-01-2012, 11:32 PM   #7 
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haha I said low 50's and high 90's no problem, meaning sure they can survive but it's better to stick to the better rangex.x I wasn't paying attention, sorry xDD

Some people keep their's at 68. However, they are tropical so I like 76+ :) And trust me... testing the water isn't severely needed.... Sorry, but unless there is a problem or you are cycling a bigger tank it is not needed and I won't say you need to. Have a water change schedule, stick to it.... the siphon does not disturb the fish, especially since he can be left in the tank =D Mine get angry, or scared in a cup or net... But, whatever works for you! Find what you like to do, if you want to test your water there is no harm in it :) And don't fret if you do get water in your mouth you won't get warts or die.
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Old 04-01-2012, 11:49 PM   #8 
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Regarding your Betta not eating... I assume you are using the food that came with the Minibow? If so, I know that it's flake food, and a lot of Bettas are not partial to flakes. At least in my Petco, they are fed bloodworms - meaning flakes are quite a step down from the normal dish. I highly recommend Hikari Betta Bio Gold food pellets. They are among the most nutritious on the market, and yummy for your Betta. :) Well worth the price!

I have four Bettas and I do not use a gravel siphon. Perhaps I can provide you with an alternate cleaning method if you choose not to spend on the siphon. Personally, I use a standard turkey baster! I have a plastic bucket (just like a kids' shovel and bucket from Rite-aide) and another small plastic tank (the "Kritter Keeper"). I use API Stress Coat as my water conditioner. If you take any of my advice here, USE API STRESS COAT. Best buck for your dollar, and assures you a much easier transition into your Betta's new home.

So here's how I do it: Take the Kritter Keeper and fill to top with water, then put in the appropriate amount of conditioner (check the back of the API bottle for measurements per gallon). Let it sit and then go back to your tank, with the fish inside. I baster out 50% twice a week with the same type of tank as yours, making sure to get all the waste at the bottom among the pebbles, and put all this excess water into the plastic bucket as previously mentioned. Then just pour the bucket out, pour the Kritter Keeper water in, and whala! No need to move the fish. Although I would suggest a full water change once a month, in which case put your Betta back in his store cup while you clean his home.

I hope this was helpful!
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Old 04-02-2012, 12:21 AM   #9 
Zero186
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I'm honestly not a fan of the mini bows filter and just opt for 100% water changes. One of my boys lives In the mini bow it's a great tank, and from the sounds of it you are off to a better start than most!
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Old 04-06-2012, 10:33 PM   #10 
gbose
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I would say -- use the filter and frequent (2-3 times/week) water changes. Over a few weeks, your aquarium will 'cycle' and you can cut down the water changes to once per week.

I'm not personally a big fan of 100% water changes- too stressful for the fish. I go for 80% changes. I siphon out everything except the last inch of water and then add fresh water (with dechlorinator). I leave the fish in while doing the change -- 1 inch is enough for him to swim in around for the few minutes until I put in the fresh water.

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