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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In a couple weeks I will be moving into a very small studio apartment (300 sqft, maybe). I wanted to get a pet, as growing a few orchids didn't seem like quite enough to keep me company in the apartment. I thought about fish, dwarf rabbits, sugar gliders, etc. None really seemed like they would really work and keep me company. But... I do really want a betta, so I will probably end up getting one within a week or two of moving in. The only betta I have ever owned was years ago when I was a kid. My mother bought it and set it up in a vase with peace lilies or some other plant. Needless to say, it didn't live very long, but I was stricken by how beautiful the fish was. I still remember its sapphire color, all these years later.

My questions to all of you are:
1) What would you say is the best tank setup? A small 2-3gal tank, or upwards of 10gal?
2) Would a community tank be recommended?
3) If so, what are the best fish possible? (Neon Tetras? Bristlenose Plecos?)
- along those lines, are Bristlenose Plecos the smallest pleco? Would it be fine in a 10gal tank?
- should I quarantine these fish? If so, how?
4) Live plants or fake plants?
- Any specific plant recommendations?
5) Do they need freshwater, saltwater, or doesn't it matter?
6) What kind of of water conditions? - pH, hardness, etc.
- if my tap water isn't sufficient, how can I alter it or what other water source should I use?
- best ways of testing my tap to see if it is adequate? (would Petco test my water for me?)

7)Does anyone have anyone have any tank/heater/filter combo recommendations? Keep in mind I don't have a lot of money to spend on equipment and fish. The best possible compromise between price and quality would be great. Links would also be great! (I've got a Petco near here, so if you have a Petco link, that would be awesome)

Honestly, I've never kept fish in an actual aquarium before. Just fishbowls when I was little. I have a friend who used to keep bettas, but I wanted other outside opinions.
 

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1. If you want a 10 gallon, that's great!!! But you could also get the 3 gallon. 2.5 is the least. Bigger is always better, though!!!
2. If you want one, you could do a Sorority, or a Community with 1 Male
3. Some Neon Tetras, Cory Catfish, etc.
4. Live Plants are Better, otherwise, silk. Some Anubis. Duckweed. Hogwort.
5. Betta Fish are Freshwater.
6. Betta Fish are REALLY hardy. Ph-6-8. PetCo will help you. My tap water is good enough. Not sure for you.
7. i have a PetSmart. They sell 10 gallons ( empty not a kit ) for $15.
Buy a heater that you could control the temperature. A Beneficial or a Carbon Filter is Best.
 

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Congrats on your decision! (if you ever decide to get a small dwarf rabbit, keep in mind they require more exercise than a large breed!! And they're more hyper and more destructive)

I keep my bettas in a 2.5 and a 3 g. I think it's plenty of room to add hidey holes and toys and plants.
I have marimo moss balls (one split though so its just moss) And they haven't died yet. My java fern is struggling. Still no money for fertilizer. Research live plants before you get them!! I hated hornwort but some love it. Mo is a good member here on plants. (that I can think of, I know there's more!)
Silk plants are always beautiful and can accomodate any decor you wish (from natural to neon!) Just make sure they're silk, without metal in the stems.
Heaters can go as low as 7.5w (wear out faster and not very reliable) to 250w (for seious giant tanks!! lol) I have a 10 watt from Aqueon and a topfin 25w. Both have been reliable and everything since day 1. My mom got a 50w pre-set from walmart and it cost like 11$. They can be cheap if you look around.
I don't know about filter brands. All I know is to be careful about the input and output of the water bc betta are not very strong swimmers (esp the heavy fin ones) and they don't like strong output. There are tones of people here to help with baffling it. In a tank smaller than 5 gallons though, a filter will only keep debris from the water and disrupt the surface (which reduces protein buildup). It will not be easy to maintain a cycle in a small tank with a filter and also it will NOT remove ammonia so regular cleanings is still required.

Betta are freshwter and only require salt water treatments when they are sick with external disease. So regular tap water is fine AS LONG AS it is treated with a store bought conditioner (like Prime or Aqua-Clear etc) or stored in bottles. Most tap water is treated with chlorine to make it safe for drinking. Always treat it.
 

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) What would you say is the best tank setup? 1 gal is the standard minimum. For me, My minimum is 2.5, though I only put in 2 gal water. If you think you want to do a community tank, 10 gal +. Or if you don't want to change the water 2 times a week, get a bigger tank. lol.
2) Would a community tank be recommended? It depends on you. lol.
3) If so, what are the best fish possible? (Neon Tetras? Bristlenose Plecos?) I hear corydoras and ember tetras are good choices. You can do shrimp too, but the betta might eat 'em.
- along those lines, are Bristlenose Plecos the smallest pleco? Would it be fine in a 10gal tank?
- should I quarantine these fish? If so, how? Only if they're sick and in a different tank (like a small one gallon)
4) Live plants or fake plants? I prefer live. If you go fake, get silk.
- Any specific plant recommendations? marimo moss balls, anacharis, anubais.
5) Do they need freshwater, saltwater, or doesn't it matter?
It will always matter. ALWAYS.
They're freshwater.
6) What kind of of water conditions? - pH, hardness, etc.
7.0 pH is the ideal. The reality, Mine's been in 6.2 and fine, and now they're in 7.4. It depends on the betta and their sturdiness. There's a user that has theirs in 8.0.
Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates need to be zero. This is managed through water changes.
- if my tap water isn't sufficient, how can I alter it or what other water source should I use? Use the API master kit to test, and API has all kinds of stuff to improve it depending on what is wrong.
- best ways of testing my tap to see if it is adequate? (would Petco test my water for me?) Yes they would. But do you want to go to petco several times a week to test water? Spend like 25 and get a test get. XD

7)Does anyone have anyone have any tank/heater/filter combo recommendations?
My new tank is a Marina 2 gal with a built in bio-wheel filter and a top fin 25 watt adjustable heater.
Always go for the adjustable heaters. It's easier.
The tank was only $30 (like $30.50 after tax, but the pet store I went to was AMAZING on prices.) And the heater (at petsmart) was 19 or so after tax.

Altogether (including a 2 drawer chest-like stand thing from walmart) I spent $110. the stand was 31 after tax. So I spent about 80 or so on a tank, heater, plants, gravel, decor, and The Rev. =3
 

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Lots of different ways to keep this species of fish...it is more of how deep you want to dive in and spend....

If you have thrift stores near by-these are great places to check for second hand tanks and containers suited for Betta for a lot less.
You want at least 1gal size container so that you can safely heat if needed-along with proper water changes to maintain water quality-but this is with any size container with or without filtration.

You may or may not need a heater, however, its a good idea to have one on hand-your goal is to keep the water temp somewhat stable in the 76-80F range.

You do need a thermometer to monitor both the tank water temp and the temp of the replacement water used for water changes to ensure that the water is within a few degrees of tank water to avoid temp shock problems with water changes.

Live plants-vs-fake plants-this will depend on the lights on your setup-proper lights are really important for success with live plants-otherwise silk are the better choice.

Filters-IMO/E are optional for this species-especially in smaller tank since the filter itself can sometimes be the cause of fin damage on the long heavy fin males. If you opt for a 10gal or larger tank with other species of fish along with the Betta- you will need some type of filtration as well as establishing the nitrogen cycle.

Test products-it a good idea to have test products on hand-understand how to use them, how to read results and what to do with the results, however, you don't have to have them either-you can always take water to the pet shop for test-especially since test products are pretty expensive.

Usually your tap water is fine for this species of fish since they adapt easily, you want to avoid extremes.
Just be sure and acclimate properly to both chemistry and temp as well as use a good dechlorinator to make the water fish safe.

The only chemical additive you need is a good dechlorinator

This is a freshwater species and freshwater fish thrive best in fresh water.

Most important.....enjoy....thats what its all about......
 

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Hey there, welcome to the forums. :)

1) In my opinion, anything above 2.5g makes a good home for a Betta, but bigger is always better, and at times cheaper too. My 10g set was way cheaper than my 2g, kinda sad. ):

2) Having a 10g tank and above opens the door the a community tank with a Betta. In a 10g you could have one schooling species I would recommend; Ember Tetras, Pygmy Cories (you'll need sand substrate), Endlers Livebearers, Guppies, some species of small rasboras, and so on and so forth. Snails and shrimps also make great tankmates. But before choosing a tankmate you'll have to find out your water's hardness and pH, different species of fish live in different water parameters, so I suggest you do some research on that.

3) Bristlenose Plecos get quite large, length wise they need a 2.5 foot tank. Which a 10g cannot provide. :)

I would suggest buying your Betta's tankmates first and quarantine them in the tank itself, after one or two weeks of quarantine some may have died off, if so replace the ones that have died off and quarantine again, maintaining a shoal is very important in a community tank, or else fish will get nippy and aggressive.

4) Up to you, live plants are beneficial aquariums as they suck up ammonia, nitrItes and nitrAtes which are harmful to fish in excessive amounts. But they require the correct lighting and fertilizers in order to thrive. :) Fake plants I wouldn't go with the pet store's plastic plants, they're expensive and often rip delicate Betta fins, instead search around in the dollar store for silk plants, they're soft and cheap. Just soak them in hot water overnight to leech out any extra dyes.

5) Bettas are freshwatrer fish, don't add salt.

6) Bettas can tolerate a wide range of pH and hardness, you'll just have to worry about your tankmates if you're having any. :p

7) There's a lot of those "kits", just look around. They're really cheap and inexpensive, my 10g was a kit. Tank came with a hood, lights, and filter, it was like $40 I believe, way cheaper. But I did switch out a lot of things, I bought a better filter, and I changed the bulbs from incandescent to fluorescent 6500k bulbs for my plants.

Hope that helps. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I know better than to have two males in the same tank :D I know basics about bettas, but not enough to keep them alive without research!

So far here is my plan... 1 male betta. 3 Otos and 3 Cories (not exactly sure what kinds yet, looking for bottom and algae eaters). Would 3 of those two kinds of fish be too much for a 10 gal, or could it fit more? Anywho. If I can find live plants that would work in my conditions (I'm growing Phalaenopsis orchids in the same room I'm keeping my aquarium) then I'll get them, especially to help with the nitrate and nitrite levels. Otherwise, I'll see if I can find some silk plants in some of the stores around here. I'll see if I can't find a pack that comes with a 10 gallon, adjustable heater, and filter. If I don't do Pygmy Cories (but go with another kind), then I'll try and find an under gravel filter. Or, with Pygmy Cories and Otos, would I not need a filter?

Me moving into my apartment is still quite a ways away (about 3 weeks), but I want to make sure I've got an idea of what I want to do so I can have company in my apartment sooner rather than later!
 

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I would say to the Otos. :) Mainly because Otos are algae eaters and they rip through algae really fast, they need to be in a stable, cycled tank that's heavily planted.

You could do Cories though! Please remember that in order to house Cories you'll need a sand substrate, not gravel. :) You could house 8 Pygmy Cories easily. I wouldn't do an undergravel filter, and yes you will need a filter. In order to cycle the tank you'll need a filter and also filters are just needed if you want tankmates. I recommend the AquaClear 20 filter, even though it's recommended for 20g tanks. If you can't find Pygmy Cories, maybe Bronze, Sterbai, or Julii Cories could work too. :) 5 of them or so.
 

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Regardless of whether or not you need a bottom feeder or algae eater (in this case Otos were mentioned), you still might want to keep corydoras in mind for tankmates. They are extremely peaceful, adorable, and full of personality. As for what Laki mentioned about the corydoras needing a school of 4+, that would be accurate.

Also keep in mind that Otos do need to have a source of food, that usually being algae and other supplemented foods. Otos can clean quite a bit of algae in only a matter of hours.

Ehh... should've mentioned earlier along with this post. For the corydoras you will want to feed them some sinking shrimp pellets and either algae wafers or frozen food (easily obtained from local pet stores) for variety.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The more I think about what kind of tank I want, the fewer fish I'm adding with my Betta XD I started with quite a number of fish in mind, then reduced the number to just the Cories and Otos with the Betta. Now I'm down to just the Betta! Considering I've never really tried my hand at having an aquarium, I might start with a simple ~5 gallon tank with just a single Betta with a few plants and deco. After looking through a thread that went into some detail on plants, I was thinking just some Java moss and an Anacharis or two. I know Petco has a bunch of different Anubias, but I didn't really see the other two (I was looking online, so in-store might be different). They had lots of fake plants, but if live plants help the tank-life, then that's definitely what I want to try for.

With time, I'll probably upgrade to a larger tank and will start putting in other fish like Otos, Cories, and Tetras. But... for now, it will probably be best to start with just a ~5 gallon and one fish. Then, when I upgrade, the ~5 gallon can be a large quarantine tank for my new fish if/when I get them.

I'm having a hard time finding a suitable Petco or Walmart aquarium for a Betta. I don't think I'd want something as small as a 2.5 gallon (which are their 'Betta' tanks), but I don't know if the filters on the other kits on the Petco website would be too strong for a Betta? Being pretty much broke at the moment, I really want to be careful with the equipment I buy. I'm very big on not wasting my money when it comes to hobbies and other such things. It tends to make me stress out, but I usually figure things out in the end XD So, I'm feeling a bit lost right now going through all the different aquariums and such on Walmart and Petco's websites. There just doesn't seem to be enough information on all of the aquariums to give me an idea if they'd be adequate for a Betta without risking its life with the filtration system.

One thing that came to mind while I was browsing around... would I need an air pump system? I think I read somewhere that Betta's actually have a hard time breathing the dissolved oxygen in the water, and usually take a few gulps of air from just above the waterline. Is this true?
 

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Nothing wrong with starting off with just a Betta. :) That's what I did, started off with those lousy Betta tanks which doesn't even hold a gallon, upgraded immediately to a 2 gallon, with a heater and all that jazz. Later down the road got a 10 gallon tank set for a cheap price, then upgraded my Betta to a 2.5g for more swimming room.

I'm sure there are those 5 gallon tank kits out there. Just look for them, brands like Tetra and Top Fin make them extra cheap, I know Marina is pretty expensive as well along with other brand names. Try looking online as well, secondhand tanks are way cheaper and all you gotta do is give them a good cleaning and it'll be brand new. :p

And yes, where Bettas come from they live in shallow rice paddies with little to no oxygen in the water, so they have a labyrinth organ, which allows them to breathe surface air. They won't need those bubblers like Goldfish do. :)
 

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Well, if I have a under gravel filter, I suppose I won't need the Cories to clean up the mess XD would that few Otos keep the algae in check, do you think? Or should I up the ante a bit?
Just want to bust this myth for you. :) Catfish don't make your tank cleaner. Sure, they eat leftover food, but you also need specific food for them. They won't eat waste, but they will produce it. Just like with any fish, the add to the total amount of waste produced in a tank, and definitely can't replicate the job of a filter. :)

In terms of filters, an internal or HOB filter is going to be a lot less mess and fuss than a UG.

Definitely wouldn't go with otos. They are sensitive little critters and hard to keep. If you want an algae eater, go with a nerite snail, but really, you shouldn't need one. It's is best to deal with algae with a sponge and your own strength, rather than adding extra bioload to the tank. :)

I would recommend cories though - gorgeous little critters!
 

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My questions to all of you are:
1) What would you say is the best tank setup? A small 2-3gal tank, or upwards of 10gal? I think 5 gallon is the magic number for a betta. It's big enough for less maintenance, but its small enough to have a very gentle filter that is still strong enough for the tank size.
2) Would a community tank be recommended? I would recommend just a betta. Much easier.
3) If so, what are the best fish possible? (Neon Tetras? Bristlenose Plecos?)
- along those lines, are Bristlenose Plecos the smallest pleco? Would it be fine in a 10gal tank?
- should I quarantine these fish? If so, how?
4) Live plants or fake plants? Fake plants are a little less maintenance, but live plants help with the water quality
- Any specific plant recommendations? I dont know, never had them.
5) Do they need freshwater, saltwater, or doesn't it matter? They definately need freshwater.
6) What kind of of water conditions? - pH, hardness, etc. I think 6-8 is okay. soft to hard is okay, ammonia ideally 0, nitrites ideally 0, nitrates below 40ppm
- if my tap water isn't sufficient, how can I alter it or what other water source should I use? Just put water conditioner in the tapwater. Seachem Prime is highly recommended by many.
- best ways of testing my tap to see if it is adequate? (would Petco test my water for me?) A liquid test kit like the "API freshwater test kit"

7)Does anyone have anyone have any tank/heater/filter combo recommendations? Keep in mind I don't have a lot of money to spend on equipment and fish. The best possible compromise between price and quality would be great. Links would also be great! (I've got a Petco near here, so if you have a Petco link, that would be awesome)
http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11459461&lmdn=Fish+Aquariums+&+Bowls

http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4239991&lmdn=Fish+Filtration+&+Circulation

http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=4282556

OR
http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2752191
 

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I'm having a hard time finding a suitable Petco or Walmart aquarium for a Betta. I don't think I'd want something as small as a 2.5 gallon (which are their 'Betta' tanks), but I don't know if the filters on the other kits on the Petco website would be too strong for a Betta? Being pretty much broke at the moment, I really want to be careful with the equipment I buy. I'm very big on not wasting my money when it comes to hobbies and other such things. It tends to make me stress out, but I usually figure things out in the end XD So, I'm feeling a bit lost right now going through all the different aquariums and such on Walmart and Petco's websites. There just doesn't seem to be enough information on all of the aquariums to give me an idea if they'd be adequate for a Betta without risking its life with the filtration system.
Just need to know real quick if you have a Petsmart near you. I know of a tank that comes with most everything, with the exception of food and a heater that runs $20 - $30, if I remember correctly. I think Walmart may actually have a fairly reasonably priced 5 gallon kit that comes with a filter and you can get a heater there fairly cheap as well. I just wouldn't recommend the food they carry there (just my personal opinion).
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
There's a Petsmart in a city about 20 miles away, maybe a bit more. If I can't find anything at Petco or Walmart, I'll probably check out the Petsmart. I do know I'm going to a TJMaxx up there for some trinkets after I move in, so maybe I'll stop by then :)

Thank you all for all your help so far!
 

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Petsmart generally has better stuff than petco. But I found a 2.5 gal kit at petco for 10 dollars less. I'd recommend calling before you go to check out prices, instead of running all over. =3

(I have all the petsmarts/petcos/walmarts/other local fish/pet stores saved as contacts in my phone. lol )
 

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If you find a cheap kit great! Keep in mind, most kits come with the filter, not a heater. Since a filter is not necessary for bettas anyway in a small tank, you could save money by buying a kritter keeper and a cheap 16$ heater. Dollar stores have decorations (silk plants in the craft section) and in the pet isle. I did one of my setups for 40$ fish included.
 
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