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  1. #1
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    Default Best Betta Setup?

    The other thread on Bettas got me thinking that I really do miss those little guys! When I was a kid I had a Betta (I think it lived for a year or so too!) and now I'm really thinking I need another one.

    But I have no idea how to get started. I think I want a larger aquarium (not a bowl) that is 5 gallons. Not too big, but big enough for a filter. I'm also thinking about doing a live plant or something. I've always wanted to have an aquarium with something besides those plastic plants. I'm trying to keep my budget total under $100 for this set up, which from looking online I think can be done...but maybe what I'm looking at is low quality stuff.

    Basically I'm looking for which aquariums are good and what kind of plants I should be looking into that are hardy and won't die because of some beginner mistakes. I want my tank set up before I start looking at the bettas.
    come what may

    Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013



  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAcres View Post
    The other thread on Bettas got me thinking that I really do miss those little guys! When I was a kid I had a Betta (I think it lived for a year or so too!) and now I'm really thinking I need another one.

    But I have no idea how to get started. I think I want a larger aquarium (not a bowl) that is 5 gallons. Not too big, but big enough for a filter. I'm also thinking about doing a live plant or something. I've always wanted to have an aquarium with something besides those plastic plants. I'm trying to keep my budget total under $100 for this set up, which from looking online I think can be done...but maybe what I'm looking at is low quality stuff.

    Basically I'm looking for which aquariums are good and what kind of plants I should be looking into that are hardy and won't die because of some beginner mistakes. I want my tank set up before I start looking at the bettas.

    Have you spent any time doing any research yourself? Like books or websearching?

    Because that's the best way to start & will give you a lot more info to sift through rather than waiting for folks here to post what could be literally pages of basic "setting up an aquarium" info that they probably could spend better then doing your research for you.

    I'm not being snarky, but it's kind of presumptious to ask people to give you all of the steps re: setting up a basic aquarium when that info is right at your fingertips. That's assuming you're interested enough to want to do the research yourself before rescuing a Betta...

    Sorry - but it really rubs me the wrong way when folks sit back in their chairs & expect other people to do all the basic research for a subject that's been covered up the wazoo in books & on the internet. Sit up in your chair & do some websearching (if you're not into books). Type in "Setting Up a Betta Aquarium" or similar topics. You'll save a lot of folks a LOT of typing here, & will have had the satisfaction of actually learning something all by yourself.



  3. #3
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    I think a 5 gallon would be a mansion for a Betta! If you can get a hood with light that would also be great.

    I know real plants are favored because they don't tear the fins, and I think filters are a no no. I think frequent partial water changes and a complete wash down at regular times in necessary as well.

    And Barcardi1, I am glad she asked here, even if I don't know a lot....I'm happy to share.



  4. #4
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    threedogpack - YOU may be happy she asked here, but her Betta may not. Filters are definitely NOT a "no no". Where did you get that from? Do you think having a gentle filter in the tank is less stressful than a "complete wash down at regular times"? Where the heck have you been getting your fish-raising info from?

    Your info is EXACTLY why I advised SAcres to do some some serious research from serious aquarium sites. Relying on people here who say "I "think" this" & "I "think" that", is worthless info. Go to the pro's.



  5. #5
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    Lake Norman, NC USA
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    We have kept Bettas for a few years (usually they live a year or two) in a 10 gallon aquarium along with some tetras and other non-aggressive fish and they've all gotten along well. We do have a filter, a heater, but no live plants, a largish rock and a shipwreck (gotten for the kids when they were younger).

    No, I'm not an expert, but this has worked for us.



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacardi1 View Post
    threedogpack - YOU may be happy she asked here, but her Betta may not. Filters are definitely NOT a "no no". Where did you get that from? Do you think having a gentle filter in the tank is less stressful than a "complete wash down at regular times"? Where the heck have you been getting your fish-raising info from?

    Your info is EXACTLY why I advised SAcres to do some some serious research from serious aquarium sites. Relying on people here who say "I "think" this" & "I "think" that", is worthless info. Go to the pro's.
    then help the OP instead of telling her/him to go elsewhere and do research.



  7. #7
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    If you're looking for easy, you really can't go wrong with a little Eclipse tank. It's all built into the hood, and it comes with a decent enough light that you can grow some plants. Look for LOW light plants like java fern or anubias.

    Read about cycling a tank and water changes and go from there.



  8. #8
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    5 gallons on up, filtered, with a heater. 78-82 is the normal range. After having one of these guys and seeing how much they swim, I would recommend at least a 5 gallon tank. They like plants so planted is the best followed by silk. Never use plastic plants. If you want real plants, you're going to need a better light than what comes with most tanks.
    I have a Fluval Edge which comes with an ok light bar for low light plants. I bought another light bar that destroys the zen look of the Edge, but I wanted more light. Marineland makes a nice light kit, but I suggest you read up on planted aquariums at www.theplantedtank.net
    Plants need either root tabs or liquid ferts to be their best (and some need CO2 injected into the tank!) I use both and my plants are actually growing. I have a brown thumb when it comes to terrestrial plants.
    I could write pages about lighting and the difference between reef lighting and freshwater lighting, but it's all on that site. They have a nice plant guide too. It's a great resource.

    Buy a test kit. Keep your ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites low. If they're high, do a partial water change (use conditioner) everyday until they aren't. Figure out what the source of the problem is and fix it. It's usually over feeding or overstocking. I don't worry about pH. Steady pH is better than constantly trying to mess with it.

    A lot of this is basic fish keeping.

    Some great resources are:
    www.theskepticalaquarist.com
    www.monsterfishkeepers.com
    nippyfish.net
    bettasplendens.com
    www.ultimatebettas.com
    www.bettafish.com

    There is good advice and bad advice everywhere, but don't be afraid to ask questions.
    Basically just read, read, read.

    I think what Bacardi is angry about (and she is welcome to correct me) is the person whose first post on a Betta forum is: "Help!! The Betta I just got is really sick and I don't know why!"
    And then you find out the Betta is kept in 2 cups of water, no heater, and the water has never been changed because they are trying to cycle it. Oh, and they got it at a wedding reception where it was a table decoration.

    I dont mind answering general questions and showing you where to get answers, and I hope you'll take a look at some of those sites I listed. Almost all of them have a "how to get started" or a "betta 101" section. Most of the sites have forums as well.

    Hope this helps.

    P.S. I don't consider myself an expert by any means. A lot has changed in the years since I kept reef tanks and WAY more since I last had freshwater tanks and under gravel filters were all the rage. I am still learning about Bettas, but they are a pretty easy fish to keep. The misinformation passed around and the conditions they are kept in at petstores continue to dog the little guys. I learn something new everyday either about Bettas or planted tanks. It's an endlessly changing hobby and very rewarding.

    I'd love to discuss reef tanks with anyone who has one too. I fantasize about having one again, even a nano, but then I think I could just set a pile of money on fire and recreate the feeling of owning one.
    Last edited by GotGait; Feb. 23, 2012 at 08:36 PM.



  9. #9
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    GotGait, all great advice. Only thing I'd mention--with a 5 gallon, the light will usually provide enough heat and the tank will stay in the desired range, even at night when it's off. It can also be tough to find a SMALL enough heater for such a small tank, if you do think you need extra. At least, that's been my experience I've had tiny tanks all the way up to a 120 gallon stocked with Tanganyikan cichlids, with maybe a dozen in between at my high point, and I never needed a heater for the little ones.

    I am down to one five gallon eclipse on my desk at work, with anubias and--wait for it--one betta fish His name is Fish. I am very original.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simkie View Post
    GotGait, all great advice. Only thing I'd mention--with a 5 gallon, the light will usually provide enough heat and the tank will stay in the desired range, even at night when it's off. It can also be tough to find a SMALL enough heater for such a small tank, if you do think you need extra. At least, that's been my experience I've had tiny tanks all the way up to a 120 gallon stocked with Tanganyikan cichlids, with maybe a dozen in between at my high point, and I never needed a heater for the little ones.

    I am down to one five gallon eclipse on my desk at work, with anubias and--wait for it--one betta fish His name is Fish. I am very original.
    Good point about the heater. I went with a 50 watt PetCo submersible. Honestly I'm surprised since it was one of the cheaper heaters, but it has kept the temp really steady. Our house gets down to 61 at night in the winter and 67 during the day. I have a stick on thermometer, but Ive also been testing the temp with a real thermometer, and it is always right on.

    Fish is a good name. My dog's name means cat in Japanese.



  11. #11
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    Apr. 1, 2008
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    Default

    after getting smacked down by Barcardi1, I was going to just lurk and read, but following a link put up by GotGait I found this really interesting set of emails about training a trick. I do a lot of OC with my animals and when I read the part that said "Bettas are a lot smarter than I would have ever given them credit. " I had to post.

    http://www.waynesthisandthat.com/trick.htm

    back to lurking....



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by threedogpack View Post
    after getting smacked down by Barcardi1, I was going to just lurk and read, but following a link put up by GotGait I found this really interesting set of emails about training a trick. I do a lot of OC with my animals and when I read the part that said "Bettas are a lot smarter than I would have ever given them credit. " I had to post.

    http://www.waynesthisandthat.com/trick.htm

    back to lurking....
    No, you're not allowed to lurk.
    If you've ever looked at my thread in the Equestrians With Disabilities forum, you'd know that I can't do much of anything except lie in bed and type on my iPad. So that explains my tldr type posts. And since I still can't get out to my barn (my horse probably thinks I'm dead at this point) the only thing I can talk about is my dog and my fish - so I really enjoy the fish threads.
    Seriously, my MiL brought me a cane today. I feel officially messed up.

    Bettas are smart. Mine will jump up and grab a bloodworm from my fingers now. SQUEE!



  13. #13
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    Nov. 13, 2010
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    Seriously Bacardi? How could you possibly know if I have or haven't done research?? I've looked at several betta sites and looked on petsmart and petco websites for tanks. I've read the reviews but I'm still not sure what I want...so stop being a jerk. If you have something helpful, please contribute, if not, leave me the heck alone.

    I found this tank which although only 2.5 gal seems to fit the build. It has an LED light and the site said It should be good enough for low light plants. I'm just nervous about the filter being too strong, but I could just leave it off some of the time.

    I haven't looked into plants yet but there was one site that mentioned a "betta bulb" as a good plant? I have no idea what it is or if the site was at all reliable.

    I was planning on testing for ph and putting all the drops and aquarium salt bettatalk recommended, since that seemed to be the best site.

    I'm still confused on heaters though. If the tank is only 2.5 gal and I have an LED light, would a heater really be necessary?
    come what may

    Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013



  14. #14
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    I would be hesitant to recommend an LED. They really don't produce much light. Do they use LEDs to grow any sort of plant now? I'd google to investigate.

    LED's also don't produce heat--see the many cities that swapped out to LEDs for their traffic lights and then had problems with snow. If you go with that tank, I'd run it for a week before you add any fish and monitor the temp. At only 2.5 gallons, you're going to be hard pressed to find a heater that won't cook your fish, though.



  15. #15
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    I have an eclipse all-in-one tank that I really like for keeping bettas. It has a gentle filter, a light, and flip top lid for feeding. Lately, I've been using aquarium sand for the bottom instead of gravel, and I think it's easier to keep the tank clean with it. It packs down so debris sits on top where you can vacuum it out instead of settling amongst the rocks where it's harder to get to. this helps the water quality too. Remember the adage that the smaller the tank, the less stable everything is - temp, ph, etc. You have to be a little more vigilant with a 5 gal vs a 50 gal tank regarding water changes etc.

    Bettas in general are hearty, but do prefer a warmer water temp. They do make tiny heaters for tiny tanks. I have one that is a flat pad that you can put under your gravel, or just hang it anywhere on the side of the tank. It's meant to raise the temp a few degrees above room temperature. There is no thermostat, so if your room is super cold, it might not heat enough, and if it's super hot out, obviously you'll have to turn it off manually/unplug. I have mine at work, where we have a stable room temp, and it works great.

    There are lots of live plants that are hearty. I have one that either IS or looks like duckweed. Not sure. It wasn't labeled at the store. I also have a jade leaf plant that is quite hardy. A good fish store can help you out with what kind of plant might work for the amount of light you'll have.

    Have fun!



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAcres View Post

    I found this tank which although only 2.5 gal seems to fit the build. It has an LED light and the site said It should be good enough for low light plants. I'm just nervous about the filter being too strong, but I could just leave it off some of the time.
    For a wee bit more you can get this tank which is better:
    http://www.petco.com/product/4598/Ma...-Aquarium.aspx
    Same tank that mjmvet has.
    It comes with a 6 watt fluorescent that will put out more heat than an LED, but I still wouldn't use it as a heater.

    LED light will not heat a tank or keep the temp steady which is important. Major fluctuations can really stress fish.
    For a tank less than 5 gals, it is hard to find a heater that will fit. Many people with little tanks use this type of heater:
    http://www.marinedepot.com/heaters_hydor_mini-ap.html
    The same one mjmvet is talking about. I sense a trend.

    Also, smaller tanks need frequent water changes because its difficult if not impossible to get them to cycle. People who try, frequently kill their fish. I just saw a post today from someone who gave her fish ammonia burns from trying to cycle a 1 gallon.
    These tanks need 50% twice a week, or 100% once a week at least. As you can probably tell, I'm not a fan of these little tanks. Many people have success with them, but I think the tanks require too much maintenance and are too easy to get into trouble with. The bigger the body of water you are dealing with, the more stable the system.

    Quote Originally Posted by SAcres
    I haven't looked into plants yet but there was one site that mentioned a "betta bulb" as a good plant? I have no idea what it is or if the site was at all reliable.
    I haven't heard good things about bulbs although I've never tried them. I've read that they almost never grow and just mold up and decompose. In fact, be suspicious of any plant at the big box stores. At each of mine, they have houseplants in their plant tank. Lucky Bamboo and another type of Dracaenia are usually in there. They look real cool, but all they'll do is rot. I recommend Dr. Foster and Smith for live plants. If you want to get him something to sleep on, a lot of people use this:
    http://www.zoomed.com/db/products/En...oyOiIyMCI7fQ==
    It's really cute, and Bettas seem to dig it. They also have a Betta log, but I think it's probably too big for a small tank. I don't think it would fit in my 6 gallon.

    Quote Originally Posted by SAcres
    I was planning on testing for ph and putting all the drops and aquarium salt bettatalk recommended, since that seemed to be the best site.
    Be careful with aquarium salt. If you use if for more than 10 days it's bad for fishy. It will also kill your plants.
    Here's a great article about salt:

    http://wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex...FWArtNeale.htm

    Personally, I would not dose my fish with anything unless he was actually sick. The only time I took precautions with a fish was when I purchased a new fish for my already established reef tank. All of my fish went into a quarantine tank for 2 weeks before they went near my reef. Since you are going to have a single fish, you don't need to worry about dosing him. If you are still worried, buy any real plants you want after week two. Just watch him. Any disease should show itself in that time.
    If your fish does come down with something like Ich, the best way to treat it now is by just slowly raising the tank temp to 87 degrees and keeping it there for 10 days. Easy, non-stressful, and no chemicals. If only getting rid of it on saltwater fish were so easy!
    Last edited by GotGait; Feb. 24, 2012 at 01:27 AM.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simkie View Post
    I would be hesitant to recommend an LED. They really don't produce much light. Do they use LEDs to grow any sort of plant now? I'd google to investigate.

    LED's also don't produce heat--see the many cities that swapped out to LEDs for their traffic lights and then had problems with snow. If you go with that tank, I'd run it for a week before you add any fish and monitor the temp. At only 2.5 gallons, you're going to be hard pressed to find a heater that won't cook your fish, though.
    LEDs are great for growing plants now! I am ecstatic about that. It is so great not having to buy freakin expensive compact fluorescents and metal halides that heated up my water so much that I had to install a freakin expensive chiller... and the electric bill. OMG.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by GotGait View Post
    LEDs are great for growing plants now! I am ecstatic about that. It is so great not having to buy freakin expensive compact fluorescents and metal halides that heated up my water so much that I had to install a freakin expensive chiller... and the electric bill. OMG.
    HA. Okay, it's obviously been awhile since I was a diehard. I still have several CF setups. Never got into the MHs, since I didn't do the huge plant tanks or salt.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simkie View Post
    HA. Okay, it's obviously been awhile since I was a diehard. I still have several CF setups. Never got into the MHs, since I didn't do the huge plant tanks or salt.
    MH were pretty much the only lights back then that worked for reef setups. CF were ok for light corals. We had a giant clam that needed the strong lighting from HMs. Aw, my giant clam..
    Killed by a microwave burrito in 2000.
    His name was Clamato.


    shut up





  20. #20
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    Jun. 30, 2009
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    Eheim came out with these fabulous little kit tanks with decent enough LED's to actually grow plants

    (not all LED's are created with the same wattage & light spectrum, hopefully Eheim will motivate Hagen (Fluval) to step up their game wrt nano tank lighting)

    If you really want to see a Betta rock a tank, put 1 in a 70+ gal tank - hilarious -
    & no, a heavily planted 70+ gal tank is NOT big enough for 2 Bettas


    Also, smaller tanks need frequent water changes because its difficult if not impossible to get them to cycle. People who try, frequently kill their fish. I just saw a post today from someone who gave her fish ammonia burns from trying to cycle a 1 gallon.
    These tanks need 50% twice a week, or 100% once a week at least.
    It's really no more difficult to cycle a small tank than a larger tank - nowadays there are many products available (especially in the US) to assist with tank cycling (read the Tim Hovanec papers to discover which bacteria are actually doing the deeds in aquariums - as opposed to waster management plants!) & test kits to monitor nitrogen cycle products, fishless cycling is something that every pet shop should be conversant with ... it amazes me that with the advent of BioSpira (& it's subsequent sale to Tetra to be remarketed as Safe Start) that shops are not managing to sell this with every new tank/fish etc ...

    10 - 20 gal tanks are easier for people to deal with as there's a bigger "noob" safety margin, but with knowledge, the 1 gal tank is not inherently any more difficult than the 10 gal.

    Because of the way in which fish swim, a tank that is long/wide & short is better suited to fish quality of life, than the surprisingly popular narrow & tall tanks.



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