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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone! I'm new to these forums, but so far this is looking like a great place for a wealth of fish knowledge, which I believe I'm in need of. The stickies were a great help, but I have more questions.

My current situation:
About a week ago I came into the possession of a male betta when one of my friends said they no longer wanted their betta, that it was just 'too much work' and that they 'didn't like the fish anymore.' They were simply going to flush the poor thing, so I volunteered to take him instead. Alas, it's been more than five years since I took care of any aquariums (Marine Science class, and those were all saltwater), and I'm more than a fair bit rusty.
He came with his tank (3.5 gallon), light and food. I got some water conditioner and did a complete water change in his tank as soon as I got him home, as I don't believe that they ever changed the water in the tank (seriously, it was red and full of floating red muck - surely the uneaten flake food leftovers) and it was quite disgusting, had to wipe down the sides of the tank, they were covered in a brown film, and I just completely replaced the substrate, as the pebbles they had in there were equally coated in... goo. He has some smooth glass stones in the bottom now, I believe they will be easier to keep clean, and just all around look better.

I began looking for information on the web after that on info to care for the little guy, and I'm wondering, was I perhaps too rash in doing a complete water change and cleaning the tank? Did this cause even more unnecessary stress on this fish? He has become considerably more active over the course of the past week, but I am not sure if this is because of the cleaner tank making him happier, or is he just stressed out over his new environment?:shock:
His tank is unfiltered, but I am going to be sticking to 40-50% water change twice a week, which I believe will be sufficient to negate the need for a filter. I do not have a heater for his tank, but I have been monitoring the temperature and it is the same temperature as my room temp, which has been hovering between 75 and 77 degrees. I live in Florida, and it stays fairly warm here, and I like to keep my house on the toasty side, even in summer (house is normally 80+ in summer), will a heater be necessary if the house is kept at this temperature range anyhow?

The betta came with flake food, which he eats with no problem, but my research so far seems to indicate that betta pellets are the preffered feeding method. I went and got a bottle, but so far all he's done is swallow the pellet and spit it out half a dozen times before ignoring the pellets completely. Should I not bother feeding him pellets and stick with the flakes? Should I persist in trying to switch him over to pellets?

Also, I've read on several sites around the 'net that in Thailand betta-keepers would often place a dried banana leaf or indian almond leaf in their betta's tank, as this was supposedly a natural remedy to help improve their betta's health? Well I don't have Indian almonds, but I have an abundance of banana trees growing in my back yard, and I am considering trying this with my betta. Do any of you have advice or experience on this? Should the leaf be submerged in the tank, or left floating at the top? My trees are free of pesticides so I'm not worried about any poisons tranfering to the tank's water, but honeslty this is the first betta fish I've ever kept and I dare say their requirements are a fair bit different than what I remember when I cared for brown-banded bamboo sharks and oyster toadfish. :oops:
 

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Tetra Whisper 3i In-Tank Filter - Filtration & Circulation - Fish - PetSmart Here is a filter I reccomend.... I no you said you didn't wanna get one, but this would be good for your fish, and ou wouldn't have as much work. I don't think u will need a heater with the water temp. higher that 75. Also, do you have any water conditioner? If not I would get top fin plus. Its cheap and works really well! Also, if you do get a filter than you could get a snail and some live plants or something and it would be really cool! :) I have never heard of the banana leaf thing... Also, pellets are better for bettas' swimbladders. If you have any questions just ask! :))
 

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I would keep trying the pellets. It may take him awhile to get use to them. You can also feed him freeze dried or frozen bloodworms, daphnia, which is good for bloating and constipation, or brine shrimp. Freeze dried food needs to e rehydrated to prevent digestive problems. A heater would be good and a filter would be good to have, too but not a necessity. It helps to keep the water cleaner. I think you did the right thing by changing all the water and cleaning everything out. I don't know anything about the banana leaves but I know that a lot of people use Indian almond leaf and that it is supposed to be very good for bettas. I hope we answered your questions. Please feel free to ask more if you need to. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you everyone for the responses.

Cody - the range I gave was my room temp fluctuation, it gets to a low of 75 at night, and is normally 77 during the day, perhaps a few degrees higher between 1 and 3 in the afternoon when the temperature of the day is hottest - my heater comes on in the evening to compensate for the outdoor cooling, I'm rather picky myself about it being warm. I hate the cold, I really do. I sleep at very odd and random hours due to my job, so I've already been awake to measure the temperature difference at night and compensate. Would a heater for the tank really make that much of a difference if the water is already kept at room temp?

I'm not really intending to get him any tankmates, I know that bettas are one fish-one tank sorts of creatures, and the thought of a snail just isn't appealing. I've been eyeing these 'betta bulbs' I've seen in Pet Co. does anyone know if these plants are difficult to cultivate, or if these plants in particular are something a betta really likes or benefits from? They don't unfortunatly give the name of a plant on the packages that I saw, so I really have no idea what they are actually advertising. Would there be some other kind of plant out there that may be better to go in a betta's tank? He currently has two fake plants in there, but I may switch those out for something of the living sort if I can find something that's not terribly difficult to take care of and won't try to grow right out of the tank.

I will continue with my attempts to get him to eat the pellets - tonight's feeding was another failure, more of the eat/spit/repeat/ignore routine. I hope he'll get the hint if I start weaning down the amount of flakes he gets over the next week. If anyone has any tips or tricks on how to convert a betta from flake to pellet, please do tell!
 

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What kind of flakes? If they are made for betta fish, then it shouldn't be a problem. The problem with flakes arises when they are just normal community flakes which contain too much vegetable matter which can lead to constipation and malnutrition in bettas. Mine don't like pellets either, so I feed them bettamin flakes and have never had a problem.

As far as a filter goes, it is not necessary unless you are planning on cycling the tank. Really, in an uncycled tank a filter is just one more thing to clean because it will collect gunk which will cause ammonia problems. In a cycled tank a filter is a must to keep water clean and provide ample space for bacteria to colonize. If you don't want to get into the whole cycle thing I would just skip the filter.

As for the heater.....75 is right on the border of what is comfortable. I keep all mine at 78-80. I'd probably get a heater just in case. A small adjustable one (I love the 25 watt visi-therm stealth model) shouldn't cost too much, and is an added insurance if you happen to have some unexpected cold weather one night.

As for live plants, what kind of lighting do you have? I've heard about 50/50 concerning those betta bulbs. Sometimes they grow, sometimes they just rot. If you want a really easy live plant, go with java moss or java fern. That stuff will grow nearly anywhere!
 

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I have had some betta bulbs, an they didn't grow in the filterless tank, but they did grow in my 10g with a heater, filter, and lighting. Then my snail ate them! lol
 

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You could try crushing the pellets to see if he will eat them if they are in smaller bites. Or you may have to switch brands. They can be picky eaters. I have thhe 25 watt visitherm stealth heater that Kim reccommends and it works great. Mine is set at 78. I have also heard that java fern or java moss are good plants for bettas.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The flakes are in a yellow bottle labeled "BettaMin Tropical Medley" by the brand Tetra, so same as yours I believe Kim? The pellets I got are called "Betta Bites" by a brand named HBH. The store had another choice of betta pellets, but I choose the Betta Bites instead as the other brand had 'wheat meal' listed as the primary ingredient, which didn't seem right if bettas are supposed to be consuming large amounts of protein.

The light is this little thing that hooks into the hood of the tank, and the only info I can find on it is a little sticker on the inside of the molding that says "Max Type C 7.5 wat" ...so, a 7.5 wat light? Hmm, sure seemed stronger than that to me, it certainly gets hot when you turn it on. Oh well, that may just be from faulty manufacturing, it's probably made in China like everything else today. Is it sufficient to grow plants? If not I'll either need to Mcguyver a whole new lighting system without electrocuting myself, or just stick with the fake plants.

I'll look into a heater. The last time I went to the store (two days ago?) the only heaters they had were 75 wat+ ...this seems like a fish fry to me in the small tank I have? Not to mention I don't even think I could fit the whole thing in the tank. Maybe they'll have restocked when I go over there again later this week with something on the smaller side.
 

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f you can't find the heater that you want at the petstore, you may have to order one online. Thats what I had to do.Unfortunately, I had to pay a 9.99 shipping charge, ugh! But I had no alternative. "sigh"
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So I placed a section of a dried banana leaf in the water yesterday evening to see how that went over. This morning I woke and found that he had built himself a fairly impressive bubble nest under the entire length of the leaf. I'm guessing that's a good sign, although I imagine he'll be somewhat disappointed when the leaf comes out in a few days. The site's a read on about the banana leaves say one should not leave them in more than seven days. I'll try four if he tolerates it that long.

DramaQueen - I sure hope I won't have to resort to that. Our postal delivery out here on the island is... less than satisfactory. I think the store does have them, there was a fair share of empty hooks at the store with stickers on them that indicated heaters more the sizes I'd like, I'm hoping they're just in between orders or stocking. If they aren't there when I go next I'll be poking some employees to see if anyone will get their bums up and restock them for me.
 

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I hope you're able to get one at the store. I'm not always able to get out so sometimes I have to resort to ordering stuff. My Petsmart didn't have what I wanted and I didn't want to buy something that I knew I wouldn't be happy with so I ordered it from Drsfosterndsmith.com.
 
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