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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I just got my Betta yesterday and had a catastrophe this morning when I woke up he had gone from a very deep turquoise to almost slate gray ... the water temp was drastically low, around 69degrees, and he was very lethargic. I ran to PetSmart and got a 2.5 gallon tank with a filter (i need to dampen it as it creates a pretty good current) and a 10w light bulb.

I got him situated in the new tank but I can't help but think something is amiss. The water temperature is stable at ~76.5 and holding but his ventral fins are curled up under him. He also looks to go between a nice turquoise to a weird "marble-ish" color in depending on how the light hits him. He is swimming all around and seems happy its just those two things that have me a little concerned still. He also tends to stay at the top of the tank closer to the lamp and occasionally goes down to gravel level and under his little bridge.

I am not sure how to tell how healthy he is by his color alone his fins look fantastic no tears or fin-rot that I can identify though the tips are a bit black. I'm not sure if that's natural or what either. I did see the forum with all the different pics of Betta's but I wasn't able to really identify mine. The tips of his fins look almost pointy like a Crown Tail but when he flares out it looks like a half-moon, but he has two tails, its odd but cool looking.

My question is, is the lamp enough to heat the tank or should I by a small heater? I did buy one but I am not sure I want to use it as it would heat 2.5 gallons pretty fast and I don't want to boil him out with not being able to accurately control his water temp. The package says that it can heat tanks up to 5 gallons, but it fails to say what the max temp that the heater actually puts out.
 

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Without a picture, it's hard to say but that might be his normal coloring. I had one that his color would change depending on the angel you looked at him.

I wouldn't worry about his color unless he is lethargic, has clamped fins, laying at the bottom or top of the tank, rapid gill movement, or a case of the fuzzies.

For a 2.5 gallon, you don't really need a filter unless you want to use it. I would get a heater though. Look for one an adjustable 25 watt heater. It won't overheat in 2.5 gallons. Several of my Petco Petkeepers are about 3 gallons and I use 25 watt heaters - most are Hagen Elite 25 watt adjustable heaters. They are short so they work well for smaller tanks. I also have a Marineland Stealth 25 watt as well. I got my assortment of heaters either off ebay or amazon.com as the local selection in Alaska was horrible and way too pricy.

An yes, every time u do a water change - add more conditioner.

EDIT:

What heater do you have?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I have a Aqueon 10w mini heater. I looked it up online and it says for tanks 2-5 gallons it would never heat above 80degrees.

I would have posted a pic but my camera SUCKS. I put it in the tank and the temp is up to 80 and holding solid. And he is swimming like crazy to boot.

What are "clamped fins"? Because his Ventral Fins are kind of curled up, at least that's what it looks like. Are they more for decoration or are they actually a directional type fin?
 

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Sometimes their color changes. It's not usually an indicator of disease.

No need to use the filter right away. For a 2.5gal tank, you should be changing the water 50% once a week and 100% once a week. (I just do 50% every three days with gravel-vacuuming)

When you do a water change put in the full amount of conditioner. If it says 2 drops/gal, put in 5 drops every change.

You might have a "double-tail," there. Look it up using that name.

Tiki (who posted same time as I did) is right about heaters. But if your Aqueon is holding at 80* it's fine. He should be swimming around like crazy; that's healthy. How's he eating?


"Clamped" means holding the fins closed and in close to the body, as opposed to spread out and relaxed. The ventral fins are functional for steering and stopping. Ever see him stop dead from a full-speed swim ? Ventrals.

It's good that you know to ask questions. Welcome to the forum.
 

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Clamped fins are when the tail fin looks like it is clamped or closed shut.
Like her tail fin (caudal fin) is here:

usually its an indication something is wrong. In her case the ammonia in her cup was off the charts.
. sometimes hard water can cause fins to curl but i see that more with crowntails.

He could be a double tail or a double tail plakat. I have hard there are even double tail crown tails but i never seen pics of any.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I am getting a new thermometer tomorrow. I am using a digital baking thermometer right now. The water temp is at 81 so I turned off the lamp. Or should I unplug the heater and leave the lamp on?

I read on some other forums that people are having pretty good results with the same heater I am using. I live in Washington state and its been nice but chilly at night and I sleep down stairs so my room is significantly cooler as well.

@Tiki, no clamped fins here. They are bloomed out like a flower right now.
 

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The water temp is at 81 so I turned off the lamp. Or should I unplug the heater and leave the lamp on?
I just remembered, I have one of those Aqueon 10w. It held my 1 gal quarantine tank at 79*-81*. Leave the heater on. It sounds like it's doing the job.

The thermometer you have is better than anything you'll find at the pet store, except another digital. I like mine. It helps matching temperature for water changes.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
How much should the temp fluctuate? I have the heater unplugged as it was getting close to 82 and I think that might be a bit high. And the lamp is back on. I swear I am driving this fish balls but I want him to be okay over night. This morning was a big wake up call and I don't really feel like reliving it again.
 

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As far as I know (from reading around here), 82* is still fine. Breeders condition their fish around 82*. Up to 84* is still safe. As little variation as you can manage without going nuts.

Perhaps a more experienced member could verify.
 

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Up to 84 is definitely safe. My tank has hit 90 before in the summer (combination of the tank light and being in a west-facing room on a 35 celcius day) and all of my fish were fine. I wouldn't want them at over 85 long term, but under that is fine.

It is quite possible that your light is causing the temperature to rise as well as the heater. Unless you have live plants, or your room is really dark, I wouldn't bother with the light. If you want the light, I'd switch the bulb for one that doesn't give off heat, or it will cause some variation in water temperature. :) Just keep the heater on.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yeah, I just got some live plants today. An Anubis and some African Swords... and a Black Mystery Snail.. I have my filter dampened so there is almost no current I got some Fluval foam and just cut it to fit and it works like a dream. I made sure to get a pretty porous foam to not really kill the impeller. Right now Frostbite, as he is so aptly named from the a fore mentioned incident is swimming just fine and exploring the plants.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Actually the light did just fine today with no heater. it held the tank to 79.8 all day long. So light stays lol. Just gonna stay on is all the time lol. Or is that a bad thing?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Adn one more thing I just noticed. Frostbite is very active and swims all the time but some times he just goes sideways for few seconds and then rights himself and continues swimming... what is that all about?
 

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Actually the light did just fine today with no heater. it held the tank to 79.8 all day long. So light stays lol. Just gonna stay on is all the time lol. Or is that a bad thing?

Yes it is. Bettas need sleep time too, for which they need darkness (no eyelids, after all), so if the light stays on all the time you will have a tired, stressed fish. That's why a heater is better. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Yeah, I kinda figured that. I took the lamp assembly off as I turned off the lamp last night, temp dropped to about 75*. I put the heater back in this morning and I am using an LED desk lamp for the light source. I just threw some cellophane over the top of the tank so he wont jump out. Its putt on loosely so he can still get air.
 
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