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Hi guys!

My name is Chris and I got my first Betta this week. I moved into my new place about 3 months ago and back then I saw the "Aquafarm" and really liked it.
My girlfriend paid attention and got me the "Hydrofloria" for christmas. After we came back from our Holiday trip we set out to get the Betta. We named it Stuart. He is a blue and red crowntail.

I am so excited and very enthusiastic about my new fishtank.

Now the "Hydrofloria" comes with a 2.1 gallon tank, substrate, betta food, good bacteria, water conditioner, and 3 little pots to grow herbs in.
I'm sure you heard about it and that the plants and the fish in the water are supposed to create their own litte ecosystem.

So when I went to get Stu, I also bought him a castle to hide in and a live plant from Petco as well. I came home and started setting everything up. The plants were very tricky to put in, since the lava rock substrate is not really designed to house a live plant I guess. After some more research I got him a heater for his tank.

I got the fish settled in (get him used to the water and the tank) and he was one happy fella. He liked it and started building his bubble nest within the next day. He didn't seem to notice the fod I gave him though and most of it just sank to the bottom.

The plants really started to fog up the water and after 2 days it seemed like they were rotting away. I also got him a zebra snail as a tankmate but it died and just added to the rotting water.

So last Saturday I set my tank uo the first time and on Tuesday I did the whole thing over again, because I got overexcited and got more stuff than I could handle at the time. I also got rid of the live plants and got him a fake betta plant.

Since I set the tank up new on Tuesday the water has been clear. Stu still builts his bubble nests but now he hides more than before. He swims into his castle every time anyone approaches. I get it that he must be a little scared after putting him through those last few days.

I have some beginners questions.

1) How often do I have to change the water in my 2.1 Gallon tank?

2) Should I keep the fake plant or try to get a new one?

3) How long does it take for Stu to get comfortable in his new house and he will stop hiding?

4) How do I know if he eats enough if he hides and doesn't notice the pellets I drop in?

5) Are there any tankmates appropriate for a 2.1 Gallon tank?

6) Does anyone have some experience with the hydrofloria?

I am pretty sure all those questions have been answered somewhere in the forums on this site, but I just wanted to share my story and have all my questions answered at once.

Thanks for helping me guys!

I'm excited for my future as an aquarium owner!
 

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1. Typically, in a normal tank set up, you would need to change your water 3-4 times a week for your size tank. With the Hydrofloria, I know the basic idea is that his waste fertilizes your plants. I'm not sure the water changing schedule for that, but I wouldn't go less than 2 times a week.

2. I would go with a fake plant that passes the "pantyhose test". Basically, fake plants, and any decorations you buy need to be smooth enough to not rip his fins. If you take a pair of pantyhose and rub it all over the plant or decoration and it snags, even just a little bit, it is too rough for your Betta.

3. It can take weeks for a fish to get used to its new home. That being said, Betta fish LOVE to hide and will take any and every opportunity to do so. He may never stop hiding, but he may begin to feel more comfortable with you and his home soon.

4. If he's hiding, don't feed him. Only feed him when he is visible or if you can coax him out. He's not comfortable enough yet with his surroundings to associate you with food. Betta fish can go weeks without eating when they are healthy. Don't worry, unless he's sick, he will come out when he's hungry enough. Offer 1 pellet twice a day until he begins to associate you with food and comes out of hiding when you come. If he doesn't eat the pellet, take it out immediately before it begins to rot.

5. There are no tankmates appropriate for that size tank. The absolute minimum size tank to add a snail or small frog would be 5 gallons.

I hope these answers helped, and if you have more, don't hesitate to ask. That's what we're here for, to help each other be the best Betta owners we can be.
 

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For your size tank at the end of week one do a 25% water change. Week 2 do a 50% change. Week 3 a 75% change and week 4 a total change. A 5 gal is better for bettas but your good with the 2.5. Dont add tankmates. Males prefer to be alone. I prefer live plants over fake. Try the Primerose. If you go live plants you want TRUE aquatics. Most plants sold in petstores are actually house plants which is why they die. Bamboo also nice for bettas but the leaves need to stay out of the water to grow. Dont feed till he comes out of his cave. He wont see it and will just be waste. Only feed a couple pellets at a time. Wait for him to eat it then add couple more. Feed no more than 2x a day and dont fret if he misses some feedings. I feed mine only 1x a day. Show him the canister before feeding. He will learn what it is and will surface to eat. Also if you use filters, turn them off before feeding. Not only will he not have to chase his food but he will learn that still water means dinner time. Yes...they can be trained sonewhat. Im not familiar with your tank choice. Is it acrylic? On a personal note I prefer glass because acrylic will eventually scratch with cleanings and it looses that pristine look. My oldest betta is turning 7. Ive owned bettas for many years. They are my side hobby as Im all about Discus. Please get many opinions because everyone has their own tips and tricks thats worked for them. Ddont worry...bettas are easy keepers. You and Stu will learn eachother soon enough. Welcome to the wetside.
 

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I worried often about feeding it too when I first got mine. Just try every day with a couple pellets or whatever you bought. You don't need to put much in at all! If it doesn't take notice its not interested in eating. When it starts to take interest it will race to the food. In the beginning when you try to feed your betta, food is often wasted (Cause it didn't eat) if you have a turkey baster I suggest you sucking the food before it falls the bottom. This reduces the amount of rotting food and waste at the bottom of the tank. I'd also recommend doing water tests to know when its time to change the water. When ammonia levels and ph are too high its time to change. Do this instead of blinding changing the water every week. Its more time efficient.
 

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I forgot to ask if you have a heater. They are tropical, and cold water can also make them more prone to hiding and make them more prone to diseases.
 

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For your plants, I prefer live over fake plants any day. Some of the plants sold at pet stores aren't true aquatic so you have to do a little research beforehand. Also, sometimes, when you get a new plant it will need to adjust to your water. It's leaves will go translucent and fall off (it's called melting) but as long as the roots or stem is healthy, it will grow back all acclimated to your tank.

I personally dislike the Aquafarms, but if you treat it more like a tank than an aquafarm, I'm sure your little guy will come out healthy.
 

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I have one guy who is always hiding. I've taught him if I tap on the lid it's time to eat and he comes up.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Thanks for all the quick answers guys! So helpful!

I was just wondering about the water change because I want him to get settled in, yet aren't water changes very stressful for the fish?

I will get myself a test kit and check the levels. How do I know when it will be too high?

I do have a heater. It adjusts itself and the water seems to be a very comfortable temperature. The heater is sitting beneath the lava rock gravel the hydrofloria came with!

It is a glass cube and looks very pretty. Should I post a foto?

How long does it take for a fish to learn when it is time to eat?

I often drop in pellets next when he is on the surface and I manage to sneak up to him. He won't eat and just lets them sit there.

I am just scared that one day he is dead when I check on him.

Also what kind of test kit do you guys use for your water?

Again, thanks to all of you for helping a newcomer.
 

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Hello Fenix!
you should start with small partial water changes within the week until you replace all the water, by this method, you ensure your fish will get used to the water parameters in your tap water.

most of the users here use the api master test kit, which is liquid and is more accurate than the strips. about feeding time, keep trying, he will be hungry one day. you can try soaking the food in garlic juice so Stu finds it more appealing.

ammonia and nitrites must be at 0

at what temperature is your heater set?

is your tank filtered?

please post a photo, he might be shy because of the current (if it is filtered)
 

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The heater is a heater that is supposed to be for betta bowl. It says it heats the bowl above about 10 degrees over room temperature.

I will go and get the water testing kit tomorrow. You say it has to be at 0, do I have to change the water right away when it is higher?

My tank is not filtered since it is a Hydrofloria tank, where you can grow herbs on top.
 

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Ok a few things.

You tank size actually needs a 50% water change twice a week. I don't know where other people are getting the water change schedule from....

Ammonia and nitrite should be zero or as close to zero as possible. They will never be zero because you do not have a filter. You should change the water when they reach .25-.50ppm.

next, you cannot grow herbs on a tank like yours. You also cannot eat the plants either. The reason why your plants rotted the first time was because you used the wrong type of plant. You need to find a plant that is okay with having its roots constantly in water. Look at Asian Water plants or Umbrella plants.

Also you cannot have a snail in your tank. The 2 gallon just big enough for a betta alone.
 

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+1 Viv - 2 water changes a week. I would actually say without a cycled tank the second change per week should be 100% not 50%. With a cycled 2 gallon, 2 50% changes should be enough though.

On that - I'd recommend getting a small filter and attempting to cycle your tank. It would be less work and a more stable environment in the long run.
 
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