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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,
I bought my son a Betta last night that we have named Billy. I set up the tank in advance and conditioned the water before we brought him home. He's been in there for close to 24 hours now and appears to be adjusting well. I previously had 2 made bettas that I rescued from Wal Mart but I kept them in small bowls and cleaned the tanks improperly as I had not read up on the subject of how to care for them properly. I was a bad fish momma :(

This time however I am determined to do it right. I only have a 2.5 gal tank but am hoping to soon bump it up to a 5 gal. I do not have a heater, but do have a small light. I can buy a heater but don't want to spend *alot* of money. Anyone have any ideas for an efficent but economical choice? I have gravel in the bottom and a small filter on low. The filter has not yet appeared to bother him, he moves around it with ease, only staying close when my children get too close to the tank and he wants to hide.

How do I clean the tank properly, including gravel, and switch water? How much should I switch? I'm hoping to do this on a weekly basis but will do twice a week if needed. I can buy a gravel hose thing (whatever that is) if it makes cleaning easier.

Also his tank is currently empty. I had some plastic plants but took them out before I put Billy in his tank as I was worried they would damage his fins. Again, I don't want to spend much money and it is a small tank, so something small and cheap is what I'm looking for. I want something he will enjoy (i'm thinking something with hidey holes), but is not too large.

How often should I feed? I have pellets and the container says several times a day. I fed him twice since brining him home and he doesn't seem too interested in the food. A lot sank to the bottom and was never cleaned up by him when I looked later. I am only feeding *very* small amounts at a time as a I know they don't eat much per feeding.

Any advice would be appreciated!
Thanks!
 

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Okay, you should get a heater that stops when it reaches a certain temperature, such as 78F or 76F, so it could not overheat your tank. This heaters for small tanks would probably be between $10-$20.
You could buy a Gravel Siphon. It takes out water, and cleans debris from your Gravel. You should do a 30%-50% Water takeout.
Do NOT use plastic plants as you said, would rip his fins. You could use Silk, or even Live. If you want like a hollow Decor, you could use like a Barrel or a Pirate Ship, or something. Make sure it's Aquarium-Safe.
For your food, what brand of Pellets are you using? Aqueon? New Life Spectrum? Hikari? Omega One? Tetramin? Bettamin? There are a lot of kinds as you can see. It is normally 2-3 Pellets per day. Make sure it's throughout the day though. Like, One at Morning, One at Night, if you want to feed 2x.
Good Luck with your Betta Fish!
 

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Welcome to the forum! It's great that you want to upgrade your little guy in the future. Since you want to be economical on the heater, get one strong enough for a 5 gal. The Hydor Theo 25w heater should do. Unfortunately, heaters are one of the more expensive parts of fishkeeping and finding a cheap one that does well is difficult. You are also going to want to get a thermometer so you can tell just how warm the water is. The thermostats on heaters are notoriously unreliable. The glass thermometers are best.

Right now, you are going to need to do 2 water changes a week. Since you have a filter, you will be doing two 50% water changes. You should get a gravel vacuum as those are really handy for getting debris from the substrate as well as making water changes. When you upgrade to your 5 gal tank and get it cycled you will only need one water change per week.

Male betta are very fond of caves. For some cheap decor you could get some drinking water quality PVC pipe large enough for him to comfortably fit in and place it on the gravel. This will give him a hiding place from your kids. Silk plants will also give him some cover and comfort. Brand new coffee mugs will also work.

For feeding: if he isn't eating, don't offer him food. Many times betta need a few days to adjust to a new home, and they won't eat in this time. It is nothing to worry about. He could also be refusing food because he is cold. Betta metabolism is dependent on water temperature, and when the water temp is really low, they often have no appetite. Also be sure to get out any uneaten food as it will foul the water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks! So how exactly do I change the water? I have a vague idea but am not sure how to go about it. How often should I vacuum the gravel and is a vacuum different than a siphon? Which is easier to use to keep things clean?
 

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Thanks! So how exactly do I change the water? I have a vague idea but am not sure how to go about it. How often should I vacuum the gravel and is a vacuum different than a siphon? Which is easier to use to keep things clean?
A siphon is just a hose and can suck up gravel, fish and decorations. A vacuum has a larger-bore piece of plastic on the end which prevents it from sucking up what you don't want it to. The vacuum is definitely easier because you don't have to worry about sucking up your fish! I have a mini-vacuum which is fine for 1-10 gal tanks.

I 'dip' the end of my vacuum in the gravel slightly until a few chunks of gravel start to go up the tube, then I move it to another spot on the gravel until I've covered the entire bottom of the tank. It doesn't take long in a smaller tank.

One thing I do is I arrange the gravel so it's deepest at the back of the tank, sloping down towards the front. This way, debris tends to collect more at the front of your tank. Plus when you look at the tank from the front, the tank looks deeper from front to back than it really is.
 

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Thanks! So how exactly do I change the water? I have a vague idea but am not sure how to go about it. How often should I vacuum the gravel and is a vacuum different than a siphon? Which is easier to use to keep things clean?
Vacuums and siphons are the same thing. I use the generic ones from Petsmart, and they work just fine. The easiest way to start siphoning is to put the large end in the water, and suck the air from the other end. When you see the water coming, drop that end into a bucket. And gravity will do the rest. Be sure to move the large end around in the gravel so it has a chance to suck up more gunk. If my instructions weren't that clear, I think the siphons come with instructions, too.

For refilling the tank, you can use the same bucket if it has never been used for anything else like soapy water or recyclables. I use one gallon jugs that people would normally use for tea or kool-aid. Fill your refill bucket or jug with tap water, add the dechlorinator, and then slowly pour it into the tank.
 

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Hello..and Welcome to the fun..very informative..I have learned a lot here..I am curretly using a Tetra 2/10 heater for my Sammy's 3 gal cylindrical tank ..keeping his water @ 76/78d..and give him Haikari Gold pellets..3 pellets 3x a day..they are very small..but he prefers over a else:)
 
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