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Hi Everyone--

I've tried searching for answers but apparently my search terms aren't sufficiently specific.

Question 1:

My dear daughter purchased a betta for her mom (yes, I'm touched, she's 20 so it's a big deal) and last night I washed out the largest container I currently have to house the fish until I can get out and find something more suitable. I put a large vase in the dishwasher, then rinsed it under running water for about two minutes.

I have one of those octagonal, very small plastic containers of unknown origin. It looks like this.



The container was very dirty so I washed it thoroughly in hot soapy water and rinsed it thoroughly.

While reading the forum today I've learned that I can't use either container because both have been washed with soap.

Is there any way I can make the glass vase suitable for a short-term betta container? I hate to keep the little guy in the tiny little cup and I'm guessing the plastic container can't be adequately cleaned of all soap traces.

Question 2:

I am physically limited and can't maintain a large aquarium. I've seen some small (2-5 gallon) outfits but they have questionable reviews.

I am home all day and can change water as needed, so do I require a full aquarium setup with pumps and all? Or can I find a large (2-3 gallon) container and change the water as required to keep the fish healthy? I can draft my younger kids to help with a complete cleaning once a week but if I can avoid that, I'd like to. I thought that frequently changing water was bad for fish but based on what I've read I think I am wrong.

Can you recommend a setup suitable for a single betta and an ambulatory but physically limited owner?

Thanks in advance for all your assistance!
 

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I'm not sure about the first one, I personally would say give it a really good scrub using warm water, or even put boiling water over it and let it soak in that for a while, the second one, you can get a lot of good 2-3gal fish tanks on the internet, which have built in filteration and some come with the additional option of a heater, I would say one of these would be best. Check reviews first because I just bought a fish tank that comes without instructions (I complained and amazon now have a technician working on some instructions for constructing the filteration system thank god!) make sure that it is a good quality tank that will last a long time and do the job properly!!!Good Luck!!!
 

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I would run the container under hot water for a long time. Then wash with vinegar and rinse again.

This is going to sound odd, but your best bet is actually a 5-10 gallon tank for easiest care.
I have a 2.5 gallon, and every week I have to carry it to the sink and rinse out all the gravel.
In a 5-10 gallon tank you could complete the nitrogen cycle, which would mean never having to empty more than 40% of the water inside. To me it sounds much easier, since you don't have to lift the tank. In a 5 gallon that's cycled you're only changing out about 2 gallons a week.
I'd look into these kits at walmart. A lot of people on here have the hawkeye, it's acrylic and light weight. The other one is glass so a bit heavier, but doesn't scratch as easy. Just remember you need a heater since these don't come with one.
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Tetra-Aqu...s-Fish-Aquatic-Pets/12177653?findingMethod=rr
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Hawkeye-5-gal-Tank-Aquarium-Kit-Fish-Aquatic-Pets/14660258
The cycle takes about a month, I'd do it without the fish inside, he can stay in the vase a bit longer, maybe buy one of those small bowl heaters.
:)
 

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Welcome to the forum and to the wonderful world of Betta keeping.....This is a great hobby and the Betta is a great species to keep-especially if you have physical limitation.....I too am physically limited...so I understand....

Depending on how deep you want to dive into Betta keeping-you have several options. This is a pretty easy species to keep and pretty forgiving as well.

With the two container you have-Both will work fine-just give them a good vinegar rinse to cut any soap residue-then tepid running water rinse.

As Olympia post-going the larger tank route is also an option and will work fine-Lots and lots of different ways to successfully keep this species-its finding what works for you.

IMO/E the long fin male can be kept in 1-2 gal unfiltered tank long term-provided that you maintain water quality.

You may or may not need a heater, however, its a good idea to have one on hand-your goal is to maintain a somewhat stable water temp in the 75-80F range. The gradual temp changes from day and night are generally tolerated by a healthy Betta.

You do need a thermometer to monitor both the tank temp and the temp of the replacement water used for water changes.

The only chemical additive needed is a good dechlorinator if you are on city water supply to neutralize chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals.

IMO/E- filters are optional for this species especially when kept in small containers. Often the water movement in the smaller tanks can be the cause of fin damage and stress with the long heavy fin males.

In 1-4gal unfiltered containers-water changes of twice weekly...1-50% water only and 1-100% to maintain water quality-provided that the Betta isn't overfed and uneaten food is removed within a reasonable time.

No need to carry the tank to clean-use a 1gal bucket and a plastic cup for the stir and dip method.

Also adding live plants can help with water quality-even in small tanks-and depending on number, species and growth state-plants can change water change needs as well.

Betta don't produce as much ammonia/byproducts as most think-most water quality issues are related to overfeeding and/or poor quality fish food that are the source of contamination/water quality issues.

Nutrition-good quality varied diet fed in small frequent meals are best.

Most important.....Enjoy.....
 

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I am physically limited and can't maintain a large aquarium. I've seen some small (2-5 gallon) outfits but they have questionable reviews.

I am home all day and can change water as needed, so do I require a full aquarium setup with pumps and all? Or can I find a large (2-3 gallon) container and change the water as required to keep the fish healthy? I can draft my younger kids to help with a complete cleaning once a week but if I can avoid that, I'd like to. I thought that frequently changing water was bad for fish but based on what I've read I think I am wrong.

Can you recommend a setup suitable for a single betta and an ambulatory but physically limited owner?
How much can you lift? In the long run, a 5 gallon tank that has completed the nitrogen cycle would be less work for you as you only need to remove 50% of the water each week. However, before the cycle is completed you need to have an ammonia, nitrIte and nitrAte test kit. If you do a fish in cycle, you need to carefully monitor each one to make sure the levels stay low enough that it won't kill the fish and you would have to do a water change every time the levels get too high. it should take about a month for the cycle to complete. I did it this way for a divided 10 gallon with 3 bettas and a snail. You need a filter for the cycle to work.

If its under 5 gallons, you don't really need a filter as the cycle isn't stable enough to be established. You would then need to be doing 2 water changes a week - one 100% with gravel cleaning and one 50%.

For smaller tanks, I like the Petco kritter Keepers in the large size. Its about 3 gallons - plenty of room for decor and a heater. Lee's creiiter keepers are very similar.

or you can go with a complete set up like one of these:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Hawkeye-5...t-Fish-Aquatic-Pets/14660258?findingMethod=rr

http://www.walmart.com/ip/Aqua-Cult...m-Kit-With-Full-Led-Light-2.5-Gallon/17248151

the one above is good for ONE betta
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you so much Beckyfish97, Olympia, and Tikibirds! I thought there had to be a way to make the vase suitable despite being in the dishwasher. I used a half vinegar, half hot water rinse to clean it out well. I'm going to reply to Oldfishlady below with details of how it shook out and a couple of photos, but I wanted all of you to know how much I appreciate your help.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Welcome to the forum and to the wonderful world of Betta keeping.....This is a great hobby and the Betta is a great species to keep-especially if you have physical limitation.....I too am physically limited...so I understand....
Thank you for the welcome! I'm rapidly learning why these little critters become addictive. I've been watching mine all morning!

It's hard to explain the logistical problems associated with day to day activities to someone who doesn't have to deal with it. It's great to know there's someone here who gets it.

Depending on how deep you want to dive into Betta keeping-you have several options. This is a pretty easy species to keep and pretty forgiving as well.
Yesterday I'd have said I just want to keep the fish my daughter purchased for me alive but now. . ..hmmmmmmm. . .. ;)

With the two container you have-Both will work fine-just give them a good vinegar rinse to cut any soap residue-then tepid running water rinse.
I used the tiny little plastic for last night while the water was settling after using a vinegar rinse and it seems to have done the trick. Thank you so much everyone who suggested vinegar!

As Olympia post-going the larger tank route is also an option and will work fine-Lots and lots of different ways to successfully keep this species-its finding what works for you.

IMO/E the long fin male can be kept in 1-2 gal unfiltered tank long term-provided that you maintain water quality.
I am really hesitant to get anything larger than two gallons. My lifting limit is a gallon of milk--anything much more than that and I'm eating pain medication like sweet tarts--so I have major reservations about the larger tanks.

I thought I recalled an old tank used for hamsters many years ago and I did find it. It's a ten gallon tank and I pulled it out to ponder its future use, but being brutally honest (and I hate having to do that when it comes to my limits!) I don't think I can handle anything that large. I'm still pondering however.

My daughter brought the fish last night, along with a one gallon mini setup. It is almost identical to this one but not exactly, it's a different brand.



I have some complaints about this tank, particularly that it doesn't provide a very good viewing experience but since my daughter took the time to find and purchase it, I'm going to use it, at least for a while.

The fish, whom I've named Jack (as in Bauer, chosen after he flared at my fingers all morning), seems to really like the tank. This morning Jack was trying to do some serious swimming in that tiny octagonal plastic container and since the water temperatures were equalized I decided to go ahead and put him in. So far so good!

I have a list of items to purchase, including a silk plant for the tank. I don't want to overdo it since square inches available for swimming seem more important than silk plants and similar decoration. Because the air pump produces a slight current, and I've read here that they like to have a nook to rest in, I cleaned (properly!) a small unused fake terra cotta pot about two inches in diameter and put it at the bottom of the tank. He was suspicious of it for a few hours, then gradually explored it while flaring for a while, then went inside. He hasn't stayed in it for any length of time but at least it's there for him.

I had to modify the air pump. It was pushing out a LOT of air and given the consensus that bettas prefer still water, I decided the flow was too high. The pump can't be adjusted to lower the output so I crimped the hose and used a twist tie to keep it crimped. It's now putting out a gentle flow of small bubbles that Jack appears to thoroughly enjoy.

Is this normal betta behavior? He goes into the bubbles and seems to swallow some, then floats to the top of the water while flexing his gills. He goes off to swim and explore, then returns to the bubbles.

He's also doing a lot of flaring at his reflection, at me, and sometimes at nothing at all. It's not constant but frequent. I'm guessing that indicates a happy betta?

I'm posting pictures. Forgive the photo quality, it's not easy getting a shot of him while not moving! He has a few hundred dollars of orchids to look at, BTW. ;) Orchids are my passion.

You may or may not need a heater, however, its a good idea to have one on hand-your goal is to maintain a somewhat stable water temp in the 75-80F range. The gradual temp changes from day and night are generally tolerated by a healthy Betta.

You do need a thermometer to monitor both the tank temp and the temp of the replacement water used for water changes.

The only chemical additive needed is a good dechlorinator if you are on city water supply to neutralize chlorine, chloramines and heavy metals.
I'm getting a heater and thermometer this weekend. I checked water temperature using my cooking thermometer--I know, not terrible accurate--and it says the water temperature is about 75°. I'm going to check it again after having the light on for a while. The light makes the aquarium lid quite warm so it ought to have some warming effect on the water over a time.

I am on well water so I don't have chlorine issues. Should I purchase a water conditioner anyway? My orchids do well on the well water, which is used about half the time. I did add a quarter teaspoon of Epsom salts to the aquarium water last night to give Jack a better shot. So far it seems to be helping.

When my daughter brought him to me last night, he was in three inches of water in a lidded cup maybe four inches in diameter. He was pretty lethargic so I added a half a cup of my aquarium water to the cup, let him adjust for an hour, and then moved him to the octagonal container for the night. As I said earlier, he was very active this morning so I guess he liked the water addition.

IMO/E- filters are optional for this species especially when kept in small containers. Often the water movement in the smaller tanks can be the cause of fin damage and stress with the long heavy fin males.
Jack is, according to the container he came in, a Crowntail Betta. When I had the air pump going full bore his tail was being pushed around pretty good--that was my cue to reduce the air output. He definitely wasn't happy and when I crimped the air tube he immediately resumed swimming about.

Question: if the small tanks can't support the bacteria required for a nitrogen cycle, what's the point of having the filters? Do they just extend the time required between water changes? Are the really beneficial for the bettas in small tanks?

Another question: why should I keep the tank out of direct sun? I ask because right now the tank is getting an hour or so of filtered morning sun among the orchids and I'd like to keep it there. I'm guessing it's due to the risk of the water overheating but I can't see an hour or so of morning dappled sun causing that. What am I missing?

In 1-4gal unfiltered containers-water changes of twice weekly...1-50% water only and 1-100% to maintain water quality-provided that the Betta isn't overfed and uneaten food is removed within a reasonable time.
Dumb noob question: how does one remove uneaten food and what is considered a reasonable time? I'm guessing removing it means cleaning the tank but I confess to a heap of ignorance in this arena.

Also, is changing smaller quantities of water more often the equivalent of a 50% change? Would changing a portion of water every other day be too hard on the fish? I thought changing water was hard on fish but after reading here I know I was wrong.

No need to carry the tank to clean-use a 1gal bucket and a plastic cup for the stir and dip method.

Also adding live plants can help with water quality-even in small tanks-and depending on number, species and growth state-plants can change water change needs as well.
Can you recommend a small live plant species that would do well in this scenario? Also, how does having a live plant in the tank impact weekly 100% cleaning? Should the plant be kept in a net pot so it can be removed from the tank without damaging the roots?

Betta don't produce as much ammonia/byproducts as most think-most water quality issues are related to overfeeding and/or poor quality fish food that are the source of contamination/water quality issues.

Nutrition-good quality varied diet fed in small frequent meals are best.
What do you feed yours? My daughter left the food she purchased in her car last night so I have no idea what she got. Also, are there any other foods good for them? For example, my dog loves citrus fruits and that's good for her in moderation. Are there similar non-processed foods good for the bettas?

Most important.....Enjoy.....
Thank you! I've really enjoyed watching Jack this morning. Of course I'm watching closely for signs of illness or injury but also just because he's neat to watch. I wish I could capture the color on my camera. He's dark overall but has both red and blue iridescent hues under the lights. He's very active and curious and I'm really getting a kick out of him.

Thank you, Oldfishlady and everyone else who are so generous with your experience and expertise!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I just checked the water temperature with my cooling thermometer and it's up to 79°. I'm going to keep an eye on it throughout the afternoon and if it goes up much farther I'll have to turn off the light.
 

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My mom has that same tank. For a better viewing experience turn it so the flat front part is facing out. Hers was in a corner. It's actually a pretty good little tank, and it was on sale when she got it too. As far as the lamp heating up the water, she keeps her room cold, so overheating was never a problem. If it's really a problem you might want to look into propping it up off the tank and covering the tank with seran wrap or something to keep him inside.
 

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My mom has that same tank. For a better viewing experience turn it so the flat front part is facing out. Hers was in a corner. It's actually a pretty good little tank, and it was on sale when she got it too. As far as the lamp heating up the water, she keeps her room cold, so overheating was never a problem. If it's really a problem you might want to look into propping it up off the tank and covering the tank with seran wrap or something to keep him inside.
Great idea, thanks! I turned it so that one of the flat sides is facing where I sit, and the long side of the triangle is skewed to the left and that's better than it was with the 90 degree point facing.

I have the tank among my orchids. The orchids I grow don't like it too cold, so I keep it around 75-78° in this part of the house during the day, and 73° at night (spring/summer temps). I might have to limit use of the light if it causes the water to heat too much.

How long did your mom's tank last?
 

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I can't answer everything but I can answer two of your questions! :)

Re: filters-- basically my rule of thumb is that if you have a tank that's 5 gallons or more, you'll want a filter, and if not, don't bother. Filters are used to help establish the nitrogen cycle in your tank (you can't really maintain one in a tank under 5 gallons), but in a less-than-5-gallon tank all they really do is remove the little bits of food and poop that might be floating around, and due to the size of the tank the filter current is often too strong for the betta and they'll get stressed. TL;DR, if the tank is under 5 gallons, filters usually do more harm than good.

Re: uneaten food-- go to the dollar store and buy a turkey baster. No, really. :) Let's say you've just changed your boy's water and he's decided to give you a present in the form of a huge poop-- just grab the turkey baster and suck it up. A reasonable amount of time to remove uneaten food would probably be about half an hour-- usually your boy will eat absolutely everything he's given, but sometimes he might miss one and it'll float to the bottom of the tank. Just suck 'er up.

Also, additionally: if you have an uncycled less-than-5-gallon, as mentioned, you'll want to do 1-50% and 1-100% water change a week. Personally, on my 50% water change day, I'll just scour the bottom of the tank looking for little poops and suck them up with the turkey baster. It's really great for keeping water quality up.

(I feed mine Hikari Betta Bio Gold pellets, which I know a lot of people recommend, and once or twice a week they'll get a treat of freeze-dried bloodworms, mysis, or daphnia.)

Also: your boy is beautiful, and welcome to the slightly crazy world of betta keeping!
 

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I just wanted to stop by this topic and say hello :) I also have physical limitations and understand how frustrating it can be when trying to maintain yourself daily without over-doing it. I hope Jack proves to be a good move - and a theraputic one for you! I know my bettas have certainly been that. It's absolutely wonderful watching them explore their home and learn to associate you as their food source (I can't wait for him to start dancing for you!).

You have a beautiful fish and it was very thoughtful of your daughter to pick him out for you :) I wish you all the luck in the world with him!

Both of my aquariums are planted with low-light low-maintenance species. Some are easier to care for than others, though I do highly recommend anubias - anubias is not a plant that is buried in the substrate of your tank but can be attached to objects like driftwood or lava rock. It's great because this means you can simply lift the object out of the tank when cleaning. Bettas have also been known to rest on the leaves!

I don't think you would have too many problems keeping easy to grow species of stem plants in plant pots (stem plants feed from the water column and some are great for sucking up ammonia), though I'm not entirely sure. Oldfishlady is fantastic when it comes to anything natural and planted so I'm sure she can help you! :D

Good luck!
 

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Great idea, thanks! I turned it so that one of the flat sides is facing where I sit, and the long side of the triangle is skewed to the left and that's better than it was with the 90 degree point facing.

I have the tank among my orchids. The orchids I grow don't like it too cold, so I keep it around 75-78° in this part of the house during the day, and 73° at night (spring/summer temps). I might have to limit use of the light if it causes the water to heat too much.

How long did your mom's tank last?
It's still going, she just doesn't have a betta right now. (I might give her one for mother's day or something.) The air pump was a little loud, but I sure liked it, and my mom was glad she could get a larger betta tank for her budget, as it was on sale when we got it.
 

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It's still going, she just doesn't have a betta right now. (I might give her one for mother's day or something.) The air pump was a little loud, but I sure liked it, and my mom was glad she could get a larger betta tank for her budget, as it was on sale when we got it.
My daughter didn't specify that Jack is a Mother's Day gift but I would've been happy with it. Like I said I'm learning the joys of bettas today, had I thought about it yesterday I might have said otherwise. ;)

I screwed the air pump tight where it separates in the middle and that settled the vibration noise a lot. I think the noise has been exacerbated by my crimping the hose, though.

Thanks again!
 

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I can't answer everything but I can answer two of your questions! :)
Thank you underdebate!

Re: filters-- basically my rule of thumb is that if you have a tank that's 5 gallons or more, you'll want a filter, and if not, don't bother. Filters are used to help establish the nitrogen cycle in your tank (you can't really maintain one in a tank under 5 gallons), but in a less-than-5-gallon tank all they really do is remove the little bits of food and poop that might be floating around, and due to the size of the tank the filter current is often too strong for the betta and they'll get stressed. TL;DR, if the tank is under 5 gallons, filters usually do more harm than good.
That's what I was thinking after my reading but most of the better quality small tank kits have filters of one sort or another. I suppose I could just not use it if I were to get one of those kits but I hate to purchase something I know I'm not going to use.

Re: uneaten food-- go to the dollar store and buy a turkey baster. No, really. :) Let's say you've just changed your boy's water and he's decided to give you a present in the form of a huge poop-- just grab the turkey baster and suck it up. A reasonable amount of time to remove uneaten food would probably be about half an hour-- usually your boy will eat absolutely everything he's given, but sometimes he might miss one and it'll float to the bottom of the tank. Just suck 'er up.
LOL That's a great idea! I never would've thought of that use for a turkey baster. I'll give it a try, thank you!

Also, additionally: if you have an uncycled less-than-5-gallon, as mentioned, you'll want to do 1-50% and 1-100% water change a week. Personally, on my 50% water change day, I'll just scour the bottom of the tank looking for little poops and suck them up with the turkey baster. It's really great for keeping water quality up.
Every fish tank I've ever seen had tons of stuff on the bottom in the gravel. Are the bettas cleaner? Or is it just a matter of one fish in one gallon changed completely once a week?

(I feed mine Hikari Betta Bio Gold pellets, which I know a lot of people recommend, and once or twice a week they'll get a treat of freeze-dried bloodworms, mysis, or daphnia.)
I saw those on the website of the store I purchase dog food and supplies at so at least I know where to go!

Also: your boy is beautiful, and welcome to the slightly crazy world of betta keeping!
Thank you. :D I'm really, really enjoying him! I may be getting a bit paranoid though. Ph problems perhaps? Is that a first sign of illness? I gotta stop freaking and just chill!
 

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I just wanted to stop by this topic and say hello :)
Hi SpookyTooth! :wave:

I also have physical limitations and understand how frustrating it can be when trying to maintain yourself daily without over-doing it. I hope Jack proves to be a good move - and a theraputic one for you!
I'm sorry you have to deal with it as well, SpookyTooth, but it's nice knowing there are others out there who understand.

That old hamster tank I mentioned earlier? It's sitting there tempting me! "Oh it isn't that big, you could get the kids' help, so what if it takes all morning to move five gallons of water out of the tank?" LOL I'm sure you've heard that voice too. ;) Gotta resist!

I know my bettas have certainly been that. It's absolutely wonderful watching them explore their home and learn to associate you as their food source (I can't wait for him to start dancing for you!).
Dancing? Really? Oh wow, that'll be cool! So far all Jack has done is flare at my hands like I'm coming to get him.

You have a beautiful fish and it was very thoughtful of your daughter to pick him out for you :) I wish you all the luck in the world with him!
Thank you. I thought it was very sweet too, even when I was a bit ambivalent. She and I had some problems after she turned 18, and just recently she's decided I might not be so bad after all. ;) Jack is sort of a peace offering I think, or something along those lines. She's a sweet kid, no question, but you know how the 18-21 years are.

She called a little while ago to see how the fish is doing. Given how lethargic he was when she brought him to me last night I think she was worried he wouldn't make it. She got him at Walmart, she said they must've had a new shipment and he looked good at the store, but even she knows Walmart isn't a good source for animals.

I can't let him die. Other than I really like the little guy, his death would surely bring an unneeded angst in our newly resumed relationship.

Don't fear--if I have a question or concern about Jack I'll be posting posthaste!

Both of my aquariums are planted with low-light low-maintenance species. Some are easier to care for than others, though I do highly recommend anubias - anubias is not a plant that is buried in the substrate of your tank but can be attached to objects like driftwood or lava rock. It's great because this means you can simply lift the object out of the tank when cleaning. Bettas have also been known to rest on the leaves!
Can I find that plant at a place like Petsmart? Or would I need to find an aquarium store?

I don't think you would have too many problems keeping easy to grow species of stem plants in plant pots (stem plants feed from the water column and some are great for sucking up ammonia), though I'm not entirely sure. Oldfishlady is fantastic when it comes to anything natural and planted so I'm sure she can help you! :D

Good luck!
Thanks again SpookyTooth, for the welcome, understanding and the advice.
 

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Food-I feed a lot of mosquito larva I collect on a daily basis using a brine shrimp net-rinse and feed-I do feed some processed foods-but not a lot on a regular basis-generally only when I am weaning young Betta off my homemade and live food before they go to market.

I don't buy Betta specific foods-I am a fan of Ocean Nutrition flake food and Hikari micro wafers/pellets to wean and sometimes supplement.

Other member can give you better ideas on Betta specific foods.

Sunlight-the limited diffused light along with the plants should be fine-just monitor the temp and excessive algae. I keep several of my smaller tank near windows without any issues.

Since I am more on the naturalist side of keeping-my view on some algae species in the tank is that....Its a good thing.....its normal and expected to have some algae and it can even be a sign of a healthy system, it can help make the tank look more natural by softening edges and it a place for microorganism to colonize and feed-this in turn will give the Betta extra nutrition as they enjoy grazing on this, however, since this is a closed system we have to keep it controlled by manual removal on a regular basis along with our water changes.

You thermometer you used should be fine and provide accurate temps-one of thermometer I like to use is a digital thermometer I found in the housewares dept intended for cooking....It works great for quick checks and I often will place it in a zip lock bag so that I can check temps at different depths-I do a lot of experiments and so I monitor at different levels-not something you have to do or anything.....

Plants-with rooted plants you don't want to disrupt the roots and plus active growing plants can function as filtration and help keep water safe as they use ammonia for food. Good rooted plants for small tank are naja grass and water wisteria both of these can be used rooted or floating-long list a good plants to use but these two are great in lower light tank, however, along with the diffused light you may not need any added light with a hood-don't remember if the tank you have has a hood with a light or not.....

If you add live plants you won't need to make any 100% water changes-provided that the plants are thriving.

I use well water too....I don't use any additives since I don't have chlorine/chloramine issues-I do have heavy metals but they have never caused any issue with any of the species of fish, inverts or plants I keep/reproduce-My water is really hard-I call it liquid rock....lol.....I don't have any issues keeping the long fin Betta, however, I do have a bit of trouble keeping CT-the rays tend to erode in my hard water and I can't afford an R/O unit and I can't rely on rainwater since we have frequent droughts.....so I don't keep them....

Betta will adjust to your pH and hardness and its not recommend to add chemical product to change it-Other than fin erosion with CT and Betta that are more sensitive-but with these issue it is more of a hard water issue and you would want to cut the well water with R/O, DI, rainwater-but I wouldn't so anything unless you start to see problems with fin erosion-then check the KH/GH-the sudden extreme chemistry changes can be deadly.

Filter or airstone are really not needed in the small tanks-often in the small tank it can cause fin damage...Kinda like the flag in the wind effect.....same thing can happen in too much space and the long heavy fin males......the more they use the fins the more tattered they can become....Not with all long fin Betta-but some are more delicate than others-genetics has a lot to do with it and overall health, nutrition, age etc...can all be factors.....
 

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Just wanted to add something to the betta specific foods. In addition to Hikari, two other good brands are New Life Spectrum (easily found at Petco), and Omega One Betta Buffet (found at Petco, Petsmart, and sometimes local pet stores).

It is optimal to try to feed a variety of food from time to time, whether alternating between pellet brands or feeding live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods. I personally give my boys a pellet staple and give them frozen brine shrimp from time to time. Poseidon also gets treats of freeze-dried bloodworms from time to time (a very small amount). Hopefully, someone can explain it better, but keep in mind that certain foods should be used more occasionally (especially freeze-dried treats, which can cause bloating in large amounts - so I've heard).

When getting the pellet of choice, also take the time to look at the labels. Learn a little bit about the food. Look for fish ingredients at the beginning of the label (bettas are insectivores and prefer "meatier" foods) and also look for protein content. Higher protein content is good.

Hope this helps out a little and good luck on your journey to betta keeping!
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Food-I feed a lot of mosquito larva I collect on a daily basis using a brine shrimp net-rinse and feed-I do feed some processed foods-but not a lot on a regular basis-generally only when I am weaning young Betta off my homemade and live food before they go to market.

I don't buy Betta specific foods-I am a fan of Ocean Nutrition flake food and Hikari micro wafers/pellets to wean and sometimes supplement.

Other member can give you better ideas on Betta specific foods.

Sunlight-the limited diffused light along with the plants should be fine-just monitor the temp and excessive algae. I keep several of my smaller tank near windows without any issues.

Since I am more on the naturalist side of keeping-my view on some algae species in the tank is that....Its a good thing.....its normal and expected to have some algae and it can even be a sign of a healthy system, it can help make the tank look more natural by softening edges and it a place for microorganism to colonize and feed-this in turn will give the Betta extra nutrition as they enjoy grazing on this, however, since this is a closed system we have to keep it controlled by manual removal on a regular basis along with our water changes.

You thermometer you used should be fine and provide accurate temps-one of thermometer I like to use is a digital thermometer I found in the housewares dept intended for cooking....It works great for quick checks and I often will place it in a zip lock bag so that I can check temps at different depths-I do a lot of experiments and so I monitor at different levels-not something you have to do or anything.....

Plants-with rooted plants you don't want to disrupt the roots and plus active growing plants can function as filtration and help keep water safe as they use ammonia for food. Good rooted plants for small tank are naja grass and water wisteria both of these can be used rooted or floating-long list a good plants to use but these two are great in lower light tank, however, along with the diffused light you may not need any added light with a hood-don't remember if the tank you have has a hood with a light or not.....

If you add live plants you won't need to make any 100% water changes-provided that the plants are thriving.

I use well water too....I don't use any additives since I don't have chlorine/chloramine issues-I do have heavy metals but they have never caused any issue with any of the species of fish, inverts or plants I keep/reproduce-My water is really hard-I call it liquid rock....lol.....I don't have any issues keeping the long fin Betta, however, I do have a bit of trouble keeping CT-the rays tend to erode in my hard water and I can't afford an R/O unit and I can't rely on rainwater since we have frequent droughts.....so I don't keep them....

Betta will adjust to your pH and hardness and its not recommend to add chemical product to change it-Other than fin erosion with CT and Betta that are more sensitive-but with these issue it is more of a hard water issue and you would want to cut the well water with R/O, DI, rainwater-but I wouldn't so anything unless you start to see problems with fin erosion-then check the KH/GH-the sudden extreme chemistry changes can be deadly.

Filter or airstone are really not needed in the small tanks-often in the small tank it can cause fin damage...Kinda like the flag in the wind effect.....same thing can happen in too much space and the long heavy fin males......the more they use the fins the more tattered they can become....Not with all long fin Betta-but some are more delicate than others-genetics has a lot to do with it and overall health, nutrition, age etc...can all be factors.....
Thank you so much OldFishLady! Though I have to admit if I start farming mosquitos my husband will have me committed. ;) In the spirit of larvae, though, we always have gnats in the house in the summer--the darn things grow straight out of the soil and every time the door opens a hundred come in--and they like to fall into liquids. Perhaps Jack will get a few gnats as a treat?

Are naja grass and water wisteria standard in any pet store? The tank has a 7.5W standard bulb, so between that and the filtered morning light there should be enough to support one of those plants? Given that the tank isn't huge I'm going to have to select one. Which do you think would be best in this particular situation?

I found some small river rock to replace the large glass pieces I had to use last night when I had nothing else to work. They're soaking now.

Question
: since I'm going to be moving Jack out of his 1 gallon tank tomorrow to change substrate and figure out how to set the air line (and I am considering removing it altogether, but he sure seems to enjoy it and I hate to take it from him), should I use the low-dose Epsom salts again? I used 0.25 tsp in a gallon of water last night, and have set out more water with the same dosage. I've read some conflicting information about using aquarium versus Epsom salts, and whether to use salts at all, so any advice you can give on that front would be very much appreciated.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience and wisdom so freely with a rank amateur. Jack and I can't thank you enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Just wanted to add something to the betta specific foods. In addition to Hikari, two other good brands are New Life Spectrum (easily found at Petco), and Omega One Betta Buffet (found at Petco, Petsmart, and sometimes local pet stores).

It is optimal to try to feed a variety of food from time to time, whether alternating between pellet brands or feeding live, frozen, or freeze-dried foods. I personally give my boys a pellet staple and give them frozen brine shrimp from time to time. Poseidon also gets treats of freeze-dried bloodworms from time to time (a very small amount). Hopefully, someone can explain it better, but keep in mind that certain foods should be used more occasionally (especially freeze-dried treats, which can cause bloating in large amounts - so I've heard).

When getting the pellet of choice, also take the time to look at the labels. Learn a little bit about the food. Look for fish ingredients at the beginning of the label (bettas are insectivores and prefer "meatier" foods) and also look for protein content. Higher protein content is good.

Hope this helps out a little and good luck on your journey to betta keeping!
Thank you Rosso! I started looking at betta nutritional requirements and then the ingredient labels on foods. Yikes! So many have wheat and gluten and soy (?!?!) as second or third ingredients. My dog is sensitive to wheat, corn and soy so I'm used to watching for those ingredients in her feed. I never would have guessed I'd have to watch for the same in fish food. Thanks again!
 
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