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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! I'm new here, but have had Bettas in the past. I'm awaiting a new Betta from a Thailand breeder:



I'm preparing his tank setup while I wait for his arrival. Since it's been a while since I had my last Betta (which I had to give up when I moved), I did some research to make sure I do everything I can to give it the best home within my resources.

Here are the items I've bought so far:
1. API Mater Freshwater Test Kit (tested my tap water, which has a 7.2 pH level)
2. Kordon Water Conditioning Kit (includes AmQuel Plus & NovAqua Plus)
3. API Aquarium Salt
4. Thermometer
5. 2 large Anubias stems & 6 small/medium Wisteria stems (which are quarantined untreated tap water, chan) from Petco. I'm also awaiting an additional 3 large Wisteria stems & 10 Anubias stems
6. Omega One Betta Buffet Pellets

For the tank I'm debating between the Fluval Spec III 2.6Gal & the Marina Style 5 Glass Tank 5Gal. I want to make sure my new Betta has enough horizontal swimming space, without taking up too much of my own living space (I live in a NYC apartment).

Other items I'm planning on buying:
1. A few Anacharis stems to float & suck up ammonia
2. Penn Plaxx Hide-Away Stackable Stone Aquarium Oranment
3. Aqueon Aquarium Plant Food
4. San Francisco Brand Freeze-Dried Brine Shrimp
5. pH Up & pH Down (depending on pH testing when Betta is established)
6. Betta Leaf Hammock

I'm also debating which substrate to buy. I was originally planning on getting natural river rocks (aquatic-safe) with some slates stones. After reading thru the forum & other sites, I'm intrigued by the planted aquarium substrates since I'll have live plants. However, I've read a lot of reviews that it can cloud up the water & can get sucked into the filter. I guess one option would be a layer of aquarium planted substrate topped by a layer of river rocks. I'm open to suggestions. I'd like to keep the setup as natural as possible, so I don't want anything painted or dyed.

Another item I need suggestions on is the heater, since I've seen so many mixed recommendations. I'm going to keep the tank in my small bedroom, which stays relatively warm. In the summer, I keep my A/C set at 75-78F (depending how hot my room gets). In the winter, my building sometimes blasts the heat to the point that I need to turn on the A/C. The water I'm quarantining the plants in has stayed at 78-82F. So I'm debating on foregoing the heater, unless there is a significant temperature drop after the Betta is settled. Either way, I'd appreciate any advise on heaters (preferably an adjustable one) for both tanks I mentioned.

I'm open to any other suggestions, or a heads up if I missed anything. Thanks in advance!
 

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Suggestion: Do not buy the pH up or the pH down. Your pH is more than fine for a betta. What you can do is test the pH of the water he comes in and see what it is, and then adjust how long you acclimate him for based on that.

By "acclimate", I mean basically this: float the bag in your tank and add in a little bit of the tank water every 5-10 min for at least an hour. Take out the water in the bag with him bit by bit as you do this. That will help him adjust to your pH, TDS, temp, etc in a way that will not harm him. A turkey baster is a cheap and super easy way to do this. Then you can also use it for spot cleaning your tank. :)

PH is dangerous to mess with, especially with chemicals like pH up and down, because they do not address the root of the problem and will cause fluctuations which are very bad for your betta. It's better the whole way round just to slowly acclimate him to your pH. Bettas are fine in a variety of pH levels. Mine are kept in a pH of 7.8, and there is at least one member here who breeds who has a pH of 8.2, I believe.

A heater is a must. Not only do they keep the water warm enough (76-82) they prevent temperature fluctuations which will lower your bettas immune system. Adjustable ones are the best.
This is a nice heater for a five gallon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B006M...att+heater&dpPl=1&dpID=41N+0YRVkNL&ref=plSrch
And this is a nice one for a 2.5: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0006...att+heater&dpPl=1&dpID=41MpurjBm8L&ref=plSrch

I personally like 5 gallon tanks for several reasons:
More swimming space for the fish
Less water changes for you
More options for decorations/plants

They really don't take up too much room. I'm in a 2 room apartment myself, and it was really easy to find a place for my first tank, which was a 5 gallon. (Now I'm up to 7 tanks, with my five gallons being the smallest, but that's another story, lol!)

But a 2.5 is totally fine if that's what you want to go with. Sounds like you're off to a great start! :) Your betta is very handsome, by the way. Love that red!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the suggestion on the pH up/down! I was considering the heater you suggested for the 2.6Gal tank. I'm planning on setting up the tank on my dresser, so the 5Gal would take up half the surface area. That's the only reason why I'm debating between the two size models I mentioned.

Thanks for the compliment on my Betta! My favorite color is red & my last Betta was also red. I can't wait to see the new one in person! I'm thinking of what I'll name him, but I'll wait until I meet him & see his interactions before I pick one.
 

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I have the Fluval 2.6 gallon and moved my Betta to 5 gallons. I found the smaller tank just too small for him to properly explore and the water quality difficult to manage once I had turned the flow down enough. He loves his 5 gallon Aqua One cube and I like the sleek design. Water quality stays far more stable too. I converted the 2.6 to a planted desktop tank. Looks lovely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah, I'm leaning towards the 5Gal tank. It'll make him a living focal point in my bedroom, as I have a painting & some of my drawings on the wall my bed is against.

BTW, Elleth I've been reading your journal thread. It's really good, I might start my own when my Betta arrives! I also got mine thru Aquabid (technically, lol), just like my previous Betta. I like your use of the hamster tunnel. I've been struggling with the available aquarium decor, worrying about the dangers they pose to Betta fins/tails.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
So now the only thing in question is the substrate. These are the options I'm considering:

1. Natural river stones maybe with some slate stones (both aquatic-safe).
2. Planted aquarium substrate (recommendations welcomed) only.
3. A layer of aquatic aquarium substrate topped off with river stones & slate stones.

Also, how do I calculate how much I'll need to cover the Marina Style 5 Glass Tank 5Gal?

Thanks!
 

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Thank you! :) Yeah, decor is hard. I've currently got all silk plants, hamster tunnels, craft mesh floating tunnels, and a few mugs as decor in my tanks. I am starting to switch to live plants, though, and I've got some lovely floating DWL in one tank.

For substrate, I advise against rocks. I did that with my first tank and I could never get it clean. All the poop sank down in them and I couldn't get to it. I like this sand personally, and have it for the substrate in all my tanks, except for one bare bottom: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=3578+9805+21432&pcatid=21432

I think the ratio to go by for a planted tank is 2x as many lbs as your tap holds gallons of water. But there are plenty here more experienced than me who might correct me, lol. I'm not sure I remembered that right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Today I received the Marina Style 5 Quarium Kit. I'd like to switch the lightbulb to a compact fluorescent or LED bulb. Any suggestions?

I should be receiving the hideaway oranmanet, the Betta Hammock, the heater, & aquarium water food tomorrow. The freeze dried brine shrimp should arrive on Tuesday & the CaribSea Instant Aquarium Tahitian Moon Substrate on Wednesday. Once I have everything, should I set up the tank & let it run before I get my Betta? He's being shipped from Thailand on 7/18, so I should receive him by the end of the following week. I can't wait!
 

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Whoops, sorry I didn't see your previous post. It tends to leave the water a little dirty, but changing it a few times clears it right up.

I don't have much experience with changing lightbulbs yet, lol. The two light fixtures I've had the longest are LEDs and don't need it, and my two with bulbs I've only had a very little while, so I'm afraid that I am no help there.

I would definitely recommend setting everything up and letting it run before he gets there. That will give you time to double check to make sure there's no leaks, make sure the heater is working correctly and adjust it to where you want it at, get the decor how you like it, etc.

Edit: Whoops again, I'm a bit spacey today. :p I use a siphon, and just hover above the sand to clean it. If you accidentally suck up sand, you can kink the tubing to make the sand fall back down into the tank.
 
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