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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone! I am excited to have finally gotten my first Betta! My sister has one and I grew to love it so I have set one up in my apartment. I researched a lot ahead of time, and tried to start her off right. I do have a lot of newbie questions that I would love some help with so that hopefully things can go great for my new red Betta female, Baconator! lol

1) I have a 10 gallon tank filled with 8 gallons of water without a filter. I purchased a basic 10 gallon tank from Walmart without the starter kit, so it's a large glass tank. I read that Betta can jump (do females jump as much or as high as males too?) so I only added 8 gallons of water so there is plenty of space despite the fact that there is no hood, or lid on it. Is this okay?

2) I purchased a Tetra-O submersible heater from Walmart as well that claims it will hold the water temperature steady at 78 degrees. It's rated for tanks that hold 10-30 gallons of water. I would prefer it a touch higher but it's not adjustable so it's ok. As long as things are consistent, the fish should be ok right? I read that if the heater is placed horizontally near the bottom of the tank that it wouldn't need to be removed during water changes. I placed it near the bottom horizontally, yet when I plugged it in, nothing seemed to happen. Is it on, and will just come on as needed? It's summer here in NC so it's warm, and I guesstimated what room temperature was when I filled the tank so I guess it could already be warmer than 78 degrees but I'm not sure. Heaters are brand new to me so does anyone have any advice for me on the best way to deal with them with my setup (8 gallon/no filter)

3) Now that the fish has slowly been allowed to adapt to the water, and allowed to swim from her bowl, when should I feed her? I read where overfeeding is horrible, and to only feed her what she can eat in 2 minutes. I am motivated to stick to that. I started with betta pellets from Walmart (cheaper now due to being on a college budget lol) but will be able to get frozen blood worms soon. I also plan to give her a pea with her first round of treats this weekend to try to help her system out as much as possible while she adapts to the change in environment.

4) I realize that my choice to go filterless means more water changes. I am motivated to stick to that. I have read that 2 25% changes twice a week is better than 1 50% change, because it doesn't stress the fish as much. I plan to work on a basic schedule of 25% change on the 1st day, 25% change on day 3, and 100% change on day 5/6, then start the process over after day 7. Does this seem logical? I would love any advice on this. I will not be using a filter at any point with this current setup so please keep posts focused on proper upkeep without a filter so that they will be the most helpful!

5) I have one tiny female betta in a 10 gallon tank (8 gallons of water) with a skeleton skull in the middle with holes big enough to swim in and a plant that covers a quarter of the tank from top to bottom, and a smaller plant to the left that is entirely underwater. I read where bettas like to explore new regions so I got the skull, and they love to hide and sleep in plants, so I got the fake plants. I really want to try to create the perfect setup for her because if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right lol. Do any of you have an idea for ways to improve my system even more so that she is in the best possible situation?

6) What is the best food to get to feed long term? I understand that frozen bloodworms are ideal, but maybe won't be economical. I purchased cheap pellets at Walmart tonight just to start her off, but I'd love to hear reccomendations!

Those are all that I can think of for now. I'm sorry for all of that, but I'm so excited about it and I really want to do it right lol. I'll post pics soon of the setup so you all will have a better idea what I'm working with!

Hope to hear from you all soon!

-Patrick
 

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Hi Patrick! Welcome to the forum! What is your betta girl's name?

I'll let others address most of your questions, but I'll cover two of them. Your tank really should have a cover, even if that cover is plastic wrap with some small air holes cut into it for now. It will keep some humidity in the air that your betta breathes, and it will prevent her from jumping out, you would be surprised how much distance they can get!

Also, an adjustable heater is preferable to a preset one. However, a glass thermometer is necessary, otherwise how can you tell if your heater is getting the temperature where it should be? Preset heaters sometimes don't heat the water enough, or heat too much. Get a glass thermometer, they cost about three bucks and are worth their weight in gold. If your preset heater truly keeps the water consistently at 78, you are okay. If not, you should get her a 50 watt Hydor Theo, they work well.
 

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Hey! Welcome to the world of bettas! Just a warning though... they're addicting and there is a high chance you'll end up with lots of them! :)

1) A 10 gallon is great! Yes, females can jump. In fact, they can jump higher than males because they don't have the long finnage. I would think that filling it to 8 gallons is enough to prevent jumping outside the tank, but someone else might have more insight

2) 78 degrees is perfect for a betta. I have the smaller version of the heater (for 2-10 gallons) and it only goes on when it needs to (when the water gets lower than 78). The red light will come on when it's heating. I also recommend you get a thermometer if you don't already have one!

3) I totally understand the college budget thing... lol I'm a fellow student :) You can feed her whenever. I feed mine a combination of pellets, flakes, and frozen brine shrimp (but blood worms are a great treat too!). A lot of people on here don't recommend the pea thing actually. You can just not feed the fish for 1 day to help get it's system cleared out :) I fast my 5 bettas once a week-- every Sunday. I've never had an issue *knocks on wood*

4) Someone else could probably recommend a better water change schedule than me :) I have smaller tanks so I have to do more frequent changes

5) Lots of plants! Someone on here told me that if you can look in your tank and immediately see your fish, you need more plants! Make sure that they aren't sharp so they won't snag her fins. To test this, you can run a piece of nylon over the plant and if it catches, it will also snag the betta's fins. You could also get some plastic mesh from a craft store and put together some cool tubes and whatnot. I have a floating tube in each of my tanks and they are constantly swimming in and out and sleeping in it. Look through this thread to see some DIY tank decorations: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=245289

6) Bloodworms and brine shrimp should only be given as a treat, not an entire diet. Good news for you lol it saves money! New Life Spectrum pellets are great, but can be a little tough to find. I also use Omega One Betta Buffet flakes.

Whew-- that was a lot! Hopefully I helped ya a little bit! :) Post pics of your fishy and tank!
 

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1. It really depends on their personality. I take the lid off my tank when I'm home because my betta, Arrow, doesn't jump. I even tried training him to jump for food but nope. He refuses to jump. I keep the lid on when I'm not around/sleeping just in case he ever changes his mind and decides to jump. I'd definitely get a lid/hood because it's better to be safe than sorry.

2. I have no experience with automatic heaters but invest in a thermometer so you can keep an eye on the temp. If you see that the heater's not working properly, I'd recommend getting an adjustable one. Also, a lid will help trap the heat and moisture in your tank so that's another plus for getting one.

3. What brand is it? Most people recommend Omega One, New Life Spectrum, and Hikari Bio-Gold because they have a high amount of protein in them. Feed her twice a day (morning and evening) two pellets each. If she's more active you can maybe increase it to 3 in the morning. Also, you should fast her once a week to prevent constipation (don't worry she won't starve).

4. Oldfishlady recommends a 50% weekly water change for 5-9gal with a filter. Without a filter, try 1-50% and and maaaaybe a 1-25% (I don't think it'll be necessary though) weekly. Believe it or not but the bigger the tank, the less water changes you have to do. This is due to the fact that small tanks build up ammonia and nitrites levels more quickly than larger ones. One betta in a 10-gallon will not make enough waste for the water change schedule you have in mind.

5. Fake plants are great! Make sure they're silk, not plastic, because your betta can tear her fins on them otherwise. As long as she has plenty of hiding spots, you are good to go. If you do get a cave or something, make sure it doesn't have any sharp edges and make sure all openings are large enough for her. A betta will try to swim through any opening it sees and if it's too small, it can hurt them.

6. Again, Omega One, New Life Spectrum, or Hikari Bio-Gold. Bloodworms should only be treats.

Good for you on trying to give your betta the best life possible! You're on the right track!
 

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+1 to what BettaBeau

next - Return the cheap pellets. Her main diet should be from high quality pellets that contain a high level of protein and contain as little fillers as possible. Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets and New Life Spectrum pellets are recommend. Never feed your betta flakes or any sort of freeze dried foods. Frozen bloods should be used as occasional treats since they are basically dessert for bettas. So if you just feed her frozen blood worms it would be like if you only ate dessert. It would taste good but it is not healthy.

-You can feed her whenever. Try feeding her the first night she is in the new tank. You should feed her 3-4 pellets every day. Some do 2 in the morning and 2 at night. Don't be concerned if she doesn't eat for the first few days. it make take her awhile to get settled.

- do NOT feed her ANY peas. Since bettas are insectivores they cannot digest plant fiber so feeding peas will actually hurt her digestive system. If you want to feed her a natural laxative then feed her frozen daphnia.

- For the water change schedule since she is in a 10 gallon I would do 50% water change the first week, 100% water change the 2nd week, 50% water change the 3rd week, 100% water change the 4th week, and so on. You are going to want to buy an ammonia liquid test kit so you can check the ammonia levels. Do not get the strips because they are not accurate.

- your decor sounds ok. you can always buy more plants if you want. or you can get a moss ball
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thank you for all of the great advice already everyone! I will read through it all now and respond after I post these pics of my setup!

Here is my basic setup so far!



Here is my red betta female named Baconator lol



She's tiny! She's been all over the tank already and appears to be working up the courage to explore the skull haha. She's drifted close to the eyes, but always swims on after looking it over. I really want to see her go inside and explore it!

Let me know what you think, and as always, feel free to leave me any advice on ways to improve things for her!

-Patrick
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
@BettaBeau- Thank you! I am looking forward to being active on this site so that I can stay up to date on information and ways to improve things for my betta! That's a great point about the humidity, and I'll be sure to get some clear wrap tomorrow so that she doesn't leap out lol

@Taylor9424- That's wild about females being able to jump higher than males! It makes perfect sense though! I'll definitely work on trying to teach her to jump once she settles in! Thanks for the advice about peas, and fasting! That seems like a much simpler approach to get the same result, and as a fellow college student, I'm sure you appreciate saving money as much as possible lol

@RadiantStarr- You are definitely right about creating a lid of some sort. I would be upset if my betta hopped out and died or was injured. I'll make sure it's covered tonight, and will get something to keep it covered long term tomorrow! Thanks for the advice on the decor too!

@VivianJean- Thank you for sharing that information with me about how peas are bad! I will not do that then. Will fasting serve the same purpose as providing a natural laxitive? If not, where can I get the frozen food that you mentioned? I also took your advice and fed her! She nibbled on two different pellets, so she probably consumed about a half of one total. I will be sure to get a more quality betta food that will be better for her.

Thanks for all of the feedback and advice! Keep it coming!

-Patrick
 

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Yes, fasting serves the same purpose as natural laxatives. She's so tiny it's adorable! Your plants look like they're plastic so you might want to think about replacing them. I actually have a similar (but smaller) plastic plant but it passed the nylon stocking test so I've kept it in there. You're definitely going to want to add more plants. The skull's holes major opening are big enough but be careful with the openings in the teeth. From the looks of it, it's too small for her right now anyway so she probably wouldn't try going through it but keep an eye on it all the same.

If you want to give your betta tank mates, I recommend ghost shrimp! They're excellent for picking up leftover food, leave little to no waste, and are pretty cool to watch since they're almost transparent. You should definitely waste no time in getting them because some bettas are aggressive and will attack and eat ghost shrimp buddies. But since your girl is small, getting some adult ghost shrimp should be no problem. Introduce them now before your girl establishes her territory (that's only if you want them of course). For ghost shrimp care, just feed them a few sinking pellets every other day (maybe half per ghost shrimp) and make sure they have plenty of places to hide. They usually go for 50 cents per ghost shrimp and you can get about 1 ghost shrimp per gallon. They are pretty sensitive to ammonia and nitrites though, much more so than your betta. So if they start dying, it's a good indicator that something maybe wrong with your water quality. Also beware, I've heard stories where some ghost shrimp have jumped out of tanks (the bettas probably scared them and they rocketed out of their tanks) but you're getting a cover anyway so that shouldn't be a problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you for the suggestion! I really appreciate it!

I was very curious when I first decided to get a betta, in terms of what would work as tank mates with it. I came across ghost shrimp (They are awesome, I love that you can watch them eat something and then see it inside them lol) but a lot of people say that it doesn't always work out. I saw some sites that suggested to never put ghost shrimp into a tank with an aggressive fish. Also, I read on a site where ghost shrimp basically required a filter and air pump, whereas betta can be successfully kept without these. Is it the same difference as going filterless with a betta, or do ghost shrimp require one?

As for right now, I am not strongly considering a tank mate. I elected to get a female just in case I change my mind down the road, but I really love that she is free to explore the vast tank in her own comfort without being stressed. I also plan to interact with her during feeding time, and maybe try to get her to swim through a pipe cleaner hoop or get her to chase a straw, so I don't think she'll be lonely, but rather way more chill when it's just her and her huge tank haha

I have another question for everyone as well, I read on a site that showing a betta a reflection of itself in a small mirror from time to time was good because it got them to flare and "got the juices pumping", is there anything to this, or does it simply stress the fish? Also, is this a male-only thing, or do females respond the same and the jolt of bowing up at the reflection help it too? I would never do this unless I knew for a fact that it wouldn't stress the fish, so don't worry, I haven't been stressing her out lol

-Patrick
 

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The main reason a fiter is needed for ghost shrimp is to keep the water oxygenated enough for them. But since you don't have a filter, a simple air stone should do.

Females flare too but of course it's not as big of a display. I've also heard that it can be good exercise and it keeps bettas from being bored but anything longer than 5mn a week can start stressing them out. In short time spurts, it should be okay. I have my betta flare for less than a minute every other day to check his fins for any signs of disease or infection. It's easier to look at when he flares. When my tank is cycled, I'll be doing this less often.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for that information! I'll likely stay with my lone female betta for now, but it is good to know that I have options when it comes to having a tank with bettas and other interesting creatures. Is it bad that I would be really interested in a ghost shrimp only tank? They are so cool! lol

That is pretty awesome about how flaring is good for bettas in small amounts here and there. That is an excellent idea about checking for fin damage when they flare. I'll definitely try to hunt down a cheap mirror to keep around for rare times to get her to flare! haha
 

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A lot of people have a shrimp only tank actually. Go for it whenever you have the time, space, and money! And I use my old compact makeup mirror that broke in half. A picture of another betta or even a bright colored pen may work too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That figures, ghost shrimp are really fun to watch. I can see how people would like to have them! That's a great way to use the broken mirror. I could see how the bright pen may work too because it seems that Bettas are set off more by color than anything else according to the reading I did prior to purchasing the betta, because some guppies seem to do okay with them, while bright ones never work out.

I really wasn't expecting the female to behave so closely to the male, I thought that she'd be way more docile and laid back. All of the information that you all are giving me is making me think that this might be even more fun then I had initially thought! haha
 

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Your set up looks good but I do recommend replacing the plants with silk plants. They are less harsh on her fins. I know Petco sells a pack of 3 different silk plants for $10.

Some people have said they see frozen daphnia at Petsmart. However my petsmart doesn't carry it. I found mine at a local fish store (not a chain store). Another local fish store in my area also offered to order it in for me so that is another option. Fasting alone is fine as long as she is still healthy. However if she does become bloated then you will want to get some frozen daphnia.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for the advice, everyone! I will definitely utilize that to try to ensure that my little betta has the best possible experience!

What are signs to look for of her becoming backed up? Is this a product of overfeeding? Is it as simple as she swells up? I definitely will declare a fasting day to try to be proactive with this.

I'll be getting higher protein food for her as well as maybe some blood worm treats! lol. She nibbled a little bit last night, and only consumed roughly half of one pellet (which are huge compared to her mouth lol) and she did the same today. I fed her about 4 pellets last night but luckily scooped them out when it was clear that she had lost interest, that way they wouldn't sink. I took that into account today and only fed her 2 pellets. She ate most of one, and snapped a little off the other before swimming off. Is this a typical quantity for tiny female bettas to eat, or is it probably a little off due to her still trying to settle in? As mentioned above, these pellets are small but they are still way bigger then what she could comfortably bite without snapping a piece off.

I'm hoping that either the new higher quality, higher protein food will either taste better and be more appealing to her, or it will maximize the effect of the little amount that she's eating. I guess she is tiny, so maybe the food she's eating is about right. I just have always heard to feed them what they can eat in a 2 minute window of time, and she's usually done within 1 minute after a few snaps at the pellets, so I was wondering if this is what I needed to expect, or if she'll get hungrier as she goes lol
 

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The most obvious sign is that her belly will swell up. You will be able to see it immediately. She will also poop less since her system is backed up. If I fed my betta all he could eat in two minutes, he'd be pretty constipated and dangerously so. Bettas are notorious for eating everything no matter how full they are. Keep in mind that their stomachs are the size of their eyes. I don't own a female betta but I'm sure they do eat less than their male counterparts. On top of the fact that she's just been introduced to the tank, that is probably why she isn't eating much. Also keep in mind that she's pretty young too. She might start eating more when she gets more comfortable with her surroundings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
*Day 2 Update*

Thanks to all of the advice and information from this post, I have made adjustments to help improve things for my betta!

I switched her to Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets, and she ate everything I put in her tank! Maybe she really liked it, and hopefully it means that she is adjusting well to her new home! I was careful not to over feed her, but after watching her only nibble a little bit last night, and earlier today, seeing her chow down made me happy!

I also purchased a water thermometer from Petsmart. I just put it in within the last hour so I'm trying not to get too excited but the temperature reads 78 on the dot! My heater has been popping on and off throughout the day so I'm glad to know that it's working!

I also picked up a siphon hose for when it comes time to switch the water out. I plan to do a 50% change in week 1 split over 25% Tuesday, and 25% Thursday. Then I'll swap out 25% on Wednesday of week 2, and change 100% on Saturday of week 2, then start week 3 like week 1 and alternate from there. The sites that I've seen seem to suggest the 25% water changes don't stress the fish much, so doing so only improves things in terms of water conditions. Water changing will be easy now, so I don't mind the schedule, even if it's a little more then is required in a large tank. I just don't want to do too much! lol, but since I'm running without a filter, this is a pretty solid schedule right? Any advice would be appreciated on this!

I have a new question also after watching her eat tonight. She would bite at the pellets, and actually swallow them, but would quickly go to the surface. After getting a breath she'd swim around, and chew some more before the pellet popped back out of her mouth. She actually had 2 pellets fly back out once. Is this normal? She seemed very lively, and she chased the pellets all the way down to the bottom and eventually ate them. Everything about the way she looks seems like she is happy, and settling in, but that was something I hadn't seen before. Any information on this would be greatly appreciated!

As always, thanks for all of the input. I really feel that this site has helped me out tremendously in terms of giving my betta the best possible life, so for that I am thankful! Feel free to leave more tips, or advice! I'm always looking for ways to improve haha

-Patrick
 

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The pellets might be too big for her so trying crushing them before feeding her. That should help her break them down into smaller pieces. If she's still spitting them out, try putting her on flakes (make sure they'r for bettas! I'm pretty sure Omega One sells some). Some fish prefer flakes over pelllets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thanks for answering my question!

During my search for the new items today, I saw that freeze dried blood worms were offered, along with freeze dried brine shrimp. Do bettas like these as much as frozen bloodworms etc? If so, I'll definitely get some, but it seems like I remember seeing some people posting to stay away from freeze dried bloodworms etc. What's the reason for that if that is the case? I'd really like to give my betta a treat this weekend to hopefully seal the deal on her adapting successfully to her new home! haha
 
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