Advise.....Trying to plan a happy home for new Betta

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Flymommy38

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Hello all! I have decided to get a Betta for our home. I have a 10 gallon tank at home, and I was going to make sure that I have everything I need (new filter, heater, plants) to make the Betta happy. This time, I will let my aquarium cycle....does it really take 3 weeks for the tank to cycle??

I see where a lot of people have fishmates for the Bettas such as cories or otos. Is it necessary to have fishmates? Also, why would you add a snail to the tank? Will fishmates (esp. snails?) make the Betta happier? I want to make sure that our fish is happy...should I also get 3 cories? Should I get all the fish at the same time?

Also, is it a good idea to get my Betta from stores like Walmart or Petsmart??

I just want to be a good fish mommy!
 

Stradius011

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You can keep other snails and fishes with your betta, but it is not necessary. If you want tankmates for your betta you can get corys, snails, and ottos but don't place them with other bettas. I advise against getting your betta from Wal Mart. Their bettas are in poor condition, but maybe if you're kind you can rescue them from death. You should get bettas from other pet stores if the bettas are in clean cups and look healthy and active. Hope this helps!
 

chickadee

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First of all, have you read the article on cycling the tank fishless?  https://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm  It lists a few ways to go and I have done the ammonia method and it did not take more than a week to cycle but my tank was smaller and so I would guess depending on the type of filter you have it may take longer in a 10 gallon.  But there have been a couple of others here who have had good luck with it also.  Just important not to have fish in the tank at the time.  What type of filter are you planning to use?  This is an important question when it comes to determining how long or how difficult the cycle process is going to be.  There are some filters that have media that do not work as easily as others.  Bio-wheels are the easiest in my opinion as the media that holds the biological bacteria is never touched or moved.  The only part that is removed is the chemical or mechanical filtration media.  Get the best heater you can get, one that will allow you to set an actual temperature - not just a high/low setting.  Be sure for a 10 gallon tank to get about 100 watts of heater and if it is a long tank, you may want to consider using an air pump and airstone to make sure that the air moves the water around enough to keep the whole tank warm.  

Now for the betta, he is going to do just fine alone.  You see, he does not know he is a fish so he does not need other fish around him.  In fact, he is a little peeved when some of the others invade his home.  He will be your friend and wants you to be his and will try to please you because you feed him and care for him and have probably been the first one to be nice to him, but basically he wants everything else to leave him alone.  They don't get lonely because they are not used to being surrounded by others.  It would scare them to death to be put in a huge community unless you have a very unusual betta.  You do not need a snail, or otos, or cories, or anything but you do need to spend time talking to him and cooing over him and making him feel loved and mealtimes are the perfect times to do this.  He also needs to be on a STRICT diet and not to be overfed and to have some control on how fast he gulps down his food.  Make him chew each pellet before you give another.  You will find it cute to watch believe me.  It is not mean, it is a way of ensuring that you will not have a constipated betta and have to worry yourself sick like many of us have had to.

He needs love and he needs attention but you are going to find that he wants those from you, not from other fish.

I bought one fish from Walmart and the rest of mine have been bought from breeders online.  Others have had good luck at Petsmart.  The key is to go in and look the fish over good and look for one who is still a little feisty and has some spunk.  I know they will not have a lot of room to move about but you can tell if they are just floating or if when you tap the cup or lift it, they do a bit of fighting back.  If you are lucky, you will have as Poe did one that looks you in the eye and just lets you know that he is the one.  (and Rusty has had him hopping ever since) (and I believe he came from Petsmart)  The last time I was in our Walmart, they had increased the size of the containers of the cups that the bettas were in and they were clean and not piled on top of each other but put in a special section where they had a shelf for each group of a few and they had decent light and airflow around them instead of being on a dark shelf with no air but through the lid and then being stacked so even that was cut off.  It was so nice to see the change.  The fish looked so much more alive.  The Petsmart nearest to me is wonderful to their bettas.  I would not hesitate to buy from their bettas but I do not live close enough to shop there.  My advice is Shop, Shop, Shop until one captures your heart and you will know when it is right.
If you are not confident about shopping at the chain stores then wait and get one from a breeder but that will not happen at this time of year from a respectable breeder usually.  The ones who are really caring about their fish do not like to take the chances with their fish during this time of year with the chance of cold weather.

You sound so much like you are so ready for a betta and you will be a good betta mommy I am sure so just relax and let us help you if you need us.  The shopping for the fish is the fun part.  But get the tank all ready for the little guy first.  Do you have your Master Test Kit to keep track of the cycle progress?  If so then let us know of the readings on the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates so we know how things are going.  Tell us about your tank and what style of filter you have and so we know about what you are looking at.

Good luck and we are all pulling for you.  Welcome to fishlore.com and to the betta board.  It will be a pleasure working with you.

Rose
 

gammerus

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make the tank as diverse as possible. create slopes in the gravel, make little hills of rocks, add caves and plants. 10gals is nice, but if their is nothing to explore you will find yourself with a bored betta.
 

Stradius011

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chickadee said:
It lists a few ways to go and I have done the ammonia method and it did not take more than a week to cycle but my tank was smaller and so I would guess depending on the type of filter you have it may take longer in a 10 gallon.  

Rose
Which ammonia way did you do?
 

Phloxface

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I would keep the Betta alone. As long as you spend time talking to him and keep his tank in a room that you use a lot and he sees people he will be just fine. I have two 10 gallon tanks and I added a large Mystery Snail to one tank. I regret that decision now... While the snail is cute and my Betta gets along okay with him (except when the snail has food he wants) the large amount of waste the snail produces is downright alarming! When I gravel vacumn the tank with no snail I get very little waste, only small amounts of fish poo. When I vacumn the tank with snail I actually have to remove the fish and snail because of the insane amount of debris that gets stirred up. (I vacumn every week) Even after making a large water change it still takes an hour after I finish for the filter to clear up the water enough for me to put the fish back in. I don't even need to remove my other fish as vacumning his tank stirs up very little debris.
I'm seriously considering taking the snail back to the store or putting him in a separate small tank...
Put lots of LIVE plants and rocks/driftwood/ornament etc in the tank to create a nice playground for the fish. He'll be happy exploring his home and will never miss having a tankmate.
 
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Flymommy38

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Thank you everyone for the great words of wisdom! I great appreciated the kind words! I definitely plan on just one Betta.

I have printed the article on the nitrogen cycle. I am going to re-read it again. I have a filter, however, I don't think its the best. I definitely plan on getting the bio-wheel.

I am going to have a ball looking for decor. I wanted to stick with the sunken treasure/pirate ship theme.

I will definitely post pictures when I have everything complete!

You guys are great!
 

chickadee

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https://www.fishlore.com/NitrogenCycle.htm

Under the paragraph that starts with "Starting the Nitrogen Cycle Fishless" I used the Option 3 with the Pure Ammonia.

I found the ammonia at the grocery store in the cleaning supplies where the window cleaners were kept. Just be careful not to get any thing saying "lemon scented" or with "scents" of any kind. The kind I used did have "surfactants" and it did not do any harm to the fish although I have heard some people say that this should not be used either. I had a pharmacist tell me that this was as close to "pure ammonia" as one could get.

You may want to check with Gwenz as I know that her tank was cycled using the same method.

Rose
 

Phloxface

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When you get ornaments make sure you don't get any with sharp or rough edges as Bettas like to rub against things and they can shred their fins causing finrot. Also plastic plants have sharp hard edges and Bettas will burrow into the plants and damage their fins. I found live plants to be cheaper, safer and also much better looking than plastic. Just don't get Hornwort or any of the ones with fine furry needles as they shed like crazy and clog up your filter. Also, regarding ornaments, be careful not to get any of those things that open and close, like treasure chests and coffins with skeletons popping out because Bettas are so curious and will get too close and possibly get their long tail stuck when the ornament opens and closes. Make sure any holes and tunnels and more than large enough for him to swim through so he doesn't get stuck. My Bettas love to swim through things so I have to make sure they never get stuck and can't get to the surface for air.

I got my Bettas at Petsmart and both needed treatment for finrot after bringing them home. I imagine this is the case with most store bought Bettas. I've heard really bad things about Walmart but I guess each store may be different in how well they care for their fish.  All the poor Bettas in the cups at the store will be lying around on the bottom almost motionless. What else is there to do? They are all probably very depressed. They should liven up when you pick up the cup. If it doesn't then it could be very sick. 
I would get a small bottle of both PimaFix and MelaFix to have on hand after you bring him home. Watch his tail carefully for any signs of fraying, thinning out or ragged spots. Use a flashlight to examine him closer. If you see anything that looks like finrot treat with PimaFix and MelaFix right away before he loses too much of his tail.

I'm so glad you are putting him in a large tank! You are going to notice a HUGE difference in his personality after taking him out of that horrid cup. He is going to be SO happy and grateful to you!

Please post up some pictures here of your tank and fish when you get him! We'd love to meet him!
 

chickadee

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I do agree, just be cautious of sharp corners and remember that betta fins are fragile. And it is SO true that your little one is going to get into every nook and cranny he thinks he can possibly squeeze himself into so do give him a lot of room so he can get out too. You would be so surprised at how small they THINK they are. (and they do not swim backwards so they need two holes to go straight through or a lot of room inside to turn around and get back out.)

Good shopping, this is indeed the fun part and they have a lot of fun things out there. It is what makes our tanks and theirs a reflection of ourselves and gives them a bit of the personality that they will develop. It sounds like you are looking for a bit of a pirate. Let us hope you will share his swashbuckling experiences with us.

Rose
 
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