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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So, about 4 months ago, my 18 yo son and his GF bought a Betta fish with a small 1 gallon round tank. No filter. Just the fish. He is really pretty but his tank gets nasty in just 2 days of changing water.

So, today I purchased a new 3 gallon tank with a filter, and have been researching how to keep the tank clean. I read suggestions of getting ghost shrimp or a Zebra snail to go in there with the Betta to clean the bottom of the tank. Having difficulty finding these w/o driving all over God's green earth and online they want more for the cost of overnight shipping than they do for the snails/shrimp. Oh, think I also read maybe little African frogs are good for Bettas. Is this true?

So, I have a few questions.

I read not to change all the water, but it is so gross, how do you not change all the water? When this new tank comes (later today) I will put new water in it with these drops to make tap water safe. How often and how much water do I take out to keep it looking clean?

Can I put anything in this 3 gallon tank with the betta to help with cleaning? If so, what, and how many?

I am doing this because my son has seemed to lose interest in this fish and he had his tank so dirty, and didn't feed him for like 2 weeks, so I kind of took over. I don't know how he survived. The water was so dirty I don't think the fish could see out of his tank.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

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Rapidly changing water conditions are really stressful on a fish's body, even if the conditions are going from bad to good. Do a partial water change of about 50% one day, then another 50% the next and so on and so forth. Once the water's cleaned up, you're going to need to cycle the filter, which means building up beneficial bacteria that will consume ammonia in the water as well as convert nitrite into nitrate. The standard way to cycle a tank is to let bacteria build up in the water by introducing some kind of waste, like fish food, but to cycle the filter quickly, you can buy a bottle of Quick Start from the pet store which contains the bacteria you need. Be aware that ammonia spikes before the tank is cycle can injure or even kill your fish, so don't neglect the cycling process.

From there, you can change about 50% of the water every week. Remember to never neglect water changes in a tank that small. Small water volume means dangerous water conditions arise quickly.

Snails can't be housed in a tank that small. Snails produce a lot of waste, which will quickly overpower the the tank. African dwarf frogs can't be housed in anything less than 10 gallons, and they have to be kept in schools to thrive; they can also be aggressive towards fish. Shrimp might be possible, but the tank needs to be heavily planted with either real or silk plants for shrimp to thrive in such a confined space with a predator (the betta).

To keep waste out of the tank, use a gravel vacuum to suck excess debris out. Water changes + filtration + gravel vacuuming with keep the water clear.

Your tank will also need a heater. Bettas are tropical fish that have to be kept at temperatures of 78 to 81F. A small adjustable 25 watt heater will work. I use a Marina 25-watt in my 3 gallon tank. You will also need a thermometer.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Rapidly changing water conditions are really stressful on a fish's body, even if the conditions are going from bad to good. Do a partial water change of about 50% one day, then another 50% the next and so on and so forth. Once the water's cleaned up, you're going to need to cycle the filter, which means building up beneficial bacteria that will consume ammonia in the water as well as convert nitrite into nitrate. The standard way to cycle a tank is to let bacteria build up in the water by introducing some kind of waste, like fish food, but to cycle the filter quickly, you can buy a bottle of Quick Start from the pet store which contains the bacteria you need. Be aware that ammonia spikes before the tank is cycle can injure or even kill your fish, so don't neglect the cycling process.

From there, you can change about 50% of the water every week. Remember to never neglect water changes in a tank that small. Small water volume means dangerous water conditions arise quickly.

Snails can't be housed in a tank that small. Snails produce a lot of waste, which will quickly overpower the the tank. African dwarf frogs can't be housed in anything less than 10 gallons, and they have to be kept in schools to thrive; they can also be aggressive towards fish. Shrimp might be possible, but the tank needs to be heavily planted with either real or silk plants for shrimp to thrive in such a confined space with a predator (the betta).

To keep waste out of the tank, use a gravel vacuum to suck excess debris out. Water changes + filtration + gravel vacuuming with keep the water clear.

Your tank will also need a heater. Bettas are tropical fish that have to be kept at temperatures of 78 to 81F. A small adjustable 25 watt heater will work. I use a Marina 25-watt in my 3 gallon tank. You will also need a thermometer.
Is Tetra BettaSafe not the same as Quick Start?

Heater huh? So 2 plugs to plug in, filter and heater. Why don't the Walmart's tell you this when you buy their Betta's that are sitting in cups?

Oh, I don't know. A bit over my head and I am an animal lover. Have 4 cats, a dog (Basset hound) a Senegal parrot, a lizard, and they seem to thrive. I just feel horrible for this fish and am trying to make him more comfortable.

When you say heavily planted, what does that mean exactly? Like does the whole bottom of the cage need to be covered in green plants? They (the son and his GF) have 2 fake plastic things in there now. Any plant name suggestions and where I might get them from online? I was going to get the little moss balls for shrimp and just get one shrimp.

OH thank you so much for reading and answering me.
 

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By heavily planted, I mean the tank needs to be pretty much a jungle. Not only is that necessary for shrimp, but it's great for the betta too. Trust me when I tell you that your fish wil come alive when he has a ton of foliage to play in. Here's a video of one of my tanks, showing what I mean. There's around 10 or 11 fake plants in this tank:


Quick Start is cycling bacteria that you can just put in the tank to start up your nitrogen cycle (the nitrogen cycle, as I mentioned, removes ammonia and nitrite from the water through a process called biological filtration). The nitrogen cycle will start on its own eventually, but that takes weeks, and you don't want your fish swimming in ammonia until then. One thing that can help you naturally cycle faster is putting the dirty, unrinsed gravel into the new tank with clean water. Gravel also accumulates cycling bacteria, so that's useful to transfer over. The water conditioner you're using is designed to remove chlorine (which is also deadly to fish), but it doesn't cycle the tank.

And yeah, a heater is a necessity. Bettas can't thrive at lower temperatures, and being housed at the wrong temp shortens their lifespans and makes them lethargic, less colorful and more susceptible to disease. When your tank is heated, you'll see so much personality you didn't before.

Walmart doesn't tell you this stuff because by and large, the staff just doesn't know. There's a lot of myths floating around about bettas that are just 100% not true. Further, most Walmarts don't have anyone managing the fish at all and the staff are completely apathetic to them. A lot of my bettas came from Walmart (I have 7 bettas!), and the deplorable conditions they're kept in there sicken me straight to my core. I wish I could take them all. I hate supporting the Walmart fish trade... but on the other hand I'm glad to have taken the beautiful fish I have away from that hell.

I can also recommend some useful cheap stuff to help you (plants, heater, etc) if you want.
 

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Welcome to the Forum! :wave:

The first thing I would do is to work on cycling. Here is this sites tutorial on fish-in cycling.

http://www.bettafish.com/30-betta-fish-care/507585-cycling-two-sentence-tutorial.html

I would not add any other critters in a three gallon. To keep the tank clean get a piece of airline tubing and vacuum the substrate when you do water changes. Easy peasy. ;-)

After the tank has been cycled and stable for at least two months you could add shrimp. The problem is shrimp are extremely delicate and the slightest amount of Ammonia can kill them. "Heavily planted" means you cannot easily see your Betta if you glance at the tank. This offers protection for the shrimp. Stress of living with a predator in insufficient cover/protection also kills shrimp. People make adding shrimp sound so easy but it isn't.

African Dwarf Frogs are fine with Betta; however, you need at least a 5.5 to house three and a 10 to house six and so on. I've had them for years in tanks 5.5-20 with no issues in the preceding numbers. Some sites say a minimum of a 10 gallon but the breeders I know say that's not true; however, you do not want them in anything less than a 5.5. You do need at least three as they are very social.

You do need a heater as fluctuations in temperature can compromise a Tropical fish's immune system and lead to illness.

If you want silk plants I would recommend www.drsfostersmith.com. They also have a Hydor 25 watt adjustable heater.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Okay, so today, so far I bought the below and am working on picking out a heater I can get here today or at least tomorrow.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Tetra-Bubbling-LED-Half-Moon-Aquarium-Kit/16940357

Bought extra filters for it too.

Trying to find the Quick Start to get here today or tomorrow. Hard to do you know.

Bought these to add to what is already in the tank https://www.walmart.com/ip/Penn-Plax-Purple-Bunch-Plant-Pdq/401161588

Bought 2 of these: https://www.walmart.com/ip/Aquarium-Moon-Rocks-Ceramic-Rock-Cave/277320356

A stone decoration thingy.

I want live plants but I know nothing about them.

Was gonna buy these

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00L1A0ESG/ref=ox_sc_act_title_5?smid=A131SO7MHPCPON&psc=1

I can add this onto my already pending order for pickup today but it says 5-10 gallons and I do not want to fry him.
https://www.walmart.com/ip/Tetra-Submersible-Aquarium-Tank-Heater-5-15-Gal/10291808

The Quick Start is harder to come by today.

Thanks so much.
 

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Seachem Stability is my choice for helping cycle aquariums. I've used it to successfully cycle tanks from 2.5 gallons and up in around 14 days. Don't know if Wal-Mart carries it. You don't really need anything; but the additives help cycle tanks faster.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I will wait on any added critters till the water is right.

I also have a ferret forgot to mention before.

May go up in size if tank eventually as I figure this critter out and how to properly care for him.
 

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That heater is a preset (it's not adjustable) and is too high wattage for a tank that small. You would need a 25 watt preset for that small of water volume, though a 50 watt adjustable heater would work fine. Walmart carries the Marina 25 watt adjustable I think, that's what I use in my small tank.


https://www.walmart.com/ip/Hagen-Marina-Marina-Mini-Submersible-Aquarium-Heater-25-Watt-6-Up-to-5-5-Gallons/128600594


You will need a thermometer to use this as it doesn't have temperature labels, so be sure to pick one up. Walmart sells them for like $2.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
By heavily planted, I mean the tank needs to be pretty much a jungle. Not only is that necessary for shrimp, but it's great for the betta too. Trust me when I tell you that your fish wil come alive when he has a ton of foliage to play in. Here's a video of one of my tanks, showing what I mean. There's around 10 or 11 fake plants in this tank:

Cirrus 2 - YouTube


sniped for space
That tank is gorgeous!!! Fishy looks very happy in there.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
That heater is a preset (it's not adjustable) and is too high wattage for a tank that small. You would need a 25 watt preset for that small of water volume, though a 50 watt adjustable heater would work fine. Walmart carries the Marina 25 watt adjustable I think, that's what I use in my small tank.


https://www.walmart.com/ip/Hagen-Marina-Marina-Mini-Submersible-Aquarium-Heater-25-Watt-6-Up-to-5-5-Gallons/128600594


You will need a thermometer to use this as it doesn't have temperature labels, so be sure to pick one up. Walmart sells them for like $2.
Okay, I have no way to get there so was trying to sort by what is available in my local store for pickup today by my son on his way home from work. There are only 2 available and that was the smallest one. I'll look more, maybe amazon has one and I can pay for next day delivery or something.

How about this? This is available.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Interpet-Life-Thermal-Flat-Aquarium-Heater-4-gal/55317014#read-more

Wanted to add, the one you linked cannot be delivered for another week.
 

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That tank is gorgeous!!! Fishy looks very happy in there.
Thanks! Those plants all came from Drs. Foster and Smith and were very cheap. The big ones were only $1.75 and my fish love them. I use them as filler in all of my tanks.

I've never used a heater like that, so I have no idea, but it looks like it could work until you have a way to get something better eventually.

I would hold out on live plants for now. There's a ton of stuff to learn about raising them, as all live plants are different. Good reason to start some new research!
 

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That should work well for you. It has auto-shutoff when not submerged, too, which is good. Random pro-tip: never remove a glass aquarium heater from the water while it's turned on/plugged in. Rapid temperature changes can cause glass to crack, and if that happens you'll have water flowing into electrical components when you put the heater back in the tank, which is bad. Extremely bad. Always unplug the heater and let it cool down for 15 minutes before removing it from the water.

Also, I want to see photos of your fish. Here's one of my Walmart guys! His name is Mellow. The first pic is him looking depressed on his first day home. The second is what he looks like now in heated, clean water. Bettas make such incredible turn-arounds when they're treated right.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
OMGosh DZIM, your tanks are all so beautiful. You must spend a ton on them. I spent over 100 today for 1 Betta fish. Crazy. But, hope it makes him happy.

Question on heaters. Do they need them in the summer?

Oh and thanks on the heating info about unplugging it and letting it cool down before taking it out completely.

Also ordered more plant stuff, even though not the best, and a thing that looks like an anemone coral, so I can jungle it up. Will check out Dr. Fosters plants too, but wanted to get some fast for new tank. I can always change them out for better ones when I take my time picking them out.

King does not like pellets at all. They just sit there. He only likes the flakes. I think he will eat the little shrimps but I am not sure because my dog ate the bottle so need to get more.
 

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I actually don't spend much on my tanks, believe it or not. I'm pretty thrifty. I scour eBay for good deals, and stalk Foster and Smith for their regular 25% off sales and no-minimum shipping. I grab stuff opportunistically when it's as cheap as possible. Pretty much all of those plants cost between $1.75 to $2.30 each, and even then they were cut down by discounts. It's possible to be a cheap fish owner. You just have to be patient!

Bettas do enjoy leaf hammocks. I had one for a while and my (now deceased) betta used it a lot. They're best positioned near the surface of the water, as that's where bettas enjoy lounging the most.

And yeah, unless you live in a tropical climate, they'l need the heater in the summer. Rom temperature water is always a few degrees lower than the air in the room, so your house would need to be consistently in the upper 80s to keep the water at the right temp without a heater. Some betta keepers live in climates where they can do that... I don't envy them. I can't stand the heat.

Your betta's adorable! His tail looks strangely short though. Is it just the angle, or is his tail actually that short?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I don't think his tail is short, but I am no expert. When he is all clean (because you cannot see him through the water with a camera right now), I will try to get better pictures. He seems to know me, he comes to the side I feed him on. He's cute.

I hope this new tank with the filter and water changes keeps his tank clear. I just have to figure it all out when it all gets here.

You know how they sell that water for Bettas in the Walmarts? Is that water better to use and cycled or is it a crock and waste of money?
 

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The reason I mention the length of the tail is because it could indicate a couple of things. If his tail is shorter than average for his breed (likely he's a veiltail), it could mean he's actually female, or that he has a disease called fin rot, which can happen when a fish is housed for extended amounts of time in dirty water. Fin rot will always cause raggedy and blackened edges on the fin, though. A healthy tail that's naturally short won't be discolored or extremely uneven. Fin rot is curable, though. Usually it will clear up when the fish is kept consistently in better conditions.

As for pellets, he may find them too difficult to eat. If he swallows them and then spits them out, that would suggest perhaps the pellets are too big, or too dry. I soak my fish's pellets in liquid vitamins (a product called Vitachem) for about 5 minutes until the pellets are essentially a soft mush, and they have a much easier time with them. You could try soaking his pellets in a cup of tank water to soften them up before feeding and see if he takes to them then.

"Betta water" is pretty much a scam. Unless there's something seriously wrong with your tap water (IE, you can't drink it yourself), then conditioned tap water is all they need. The thing about cycling is that the bacteria actually doesn't live in the water. It grows in the water and then attaches to the gravel, and to the sponges inside your filter, where it then stays permanently. When the water gets sucked into the filter, it passes through the bacteria colonies in the filter sponge, where the bacteria proceed to consume the ammonia and nitrite, and then ammonia and nitrite-free water flows back out. So any kind of "betta water" type of product wouldn't have anything you needed, even if it came from an actual established tank.

Speaking of that... something I forgot to mention: Don't change your filter sponges, and never rinse them out with clean water when you're removing gunk. You can literally use the same filter sponge for years. Further, never let the sponge dry out. If the sponge has to be taken out of the filter for some reason, scoop out some tank water into a bowl and float the sponge in it. To clean the sponge, again wring it out and swish it in dirty tank water to remove debris. Treat your filter bacteria like another tank inhabitant. Drying out the sponge, or rinsing it with clean water, will kill the bacteria and cause your cycle to crash, which will cause ammonia spikes that will kill your fish.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Okay, I do not think he is a girl, but I could be wrong. I do not think he has any disease process going on but again I could be wrong.

I just woke him up in his filthy water, made him come to the front of the tank, and tried to get a better picture.



Do you still think his tail is too short?
 
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