First time betta owner!

  1. NESQUIK Initiate Member

    Hello! Currently I own a 5 gallon single-planted and heated TopFin aquarium with a male red-and-white half moon betta; this is my first time owning a betta! I've done plenty of research into betta care and tank setup, and I only have a few questions that I couldn't find the answers for. My little betta (named Apollo) is active and is eating, but hasn't begun to build bubble nests, and he likes to swim towards the very bottom of the tank. I always read that male bettas would build bubble nests over periods of time and swim near the surface; could something be wrong? I'm absolutely in love with little Apollo, and it would be devastating to lose him so soon. The aquarium's nitrite, nitrate, and ammonia levels are at 0 ppm, and the pH is at 7.2. I only feed him small betta pellets from Tetra; I plan to give him weekly bloodworm treats. Have I been doing anything wrong?


  2. Flowingfins Fishlore VIP Member

    Welcome to the forum:)
    Here's a betta care sheet I wrote up:)
    Your tank is not cycled, you should have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 20 nitrate, there's a link in the link above that explains it.
    Some bettas won't build bubble nest's, some will. The fact that your tank isn't cycled could be playing a part in that.
    I would add more decorations for him to rest on, halfmoons have heavy fins that can easily tire them.
    What temperature is his tank?
  3. NESQUIK Initiate Member

    His temperature stays around 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit, where I live it's usually hot. I had been planning to cycle the tank, but restrictions placed by my parents (no hard feelings!) made me be unable to. What sorts of decorations would Apollo prefer?
  4. FallenOwl Well Known Member Member

    Taller plants, and decor seems to make mine happy
  5. NESQUIK Initiate Member

    Okay! What are some good tall plants that I could easily plant as a beginner?
  6. Flowingfins Fishlore VIP Member

    Amazon sword is a pretty plant, it is low light and easy to grow. Another option is anubias, which needs to be tied/glued to decorations. Moving his betta leaf higher(an inch below the water level) and getting him a cave to hide in are also some ideas.
    I still live with my parents as well, I understand! I'm curious why you can't cycle it though, it's still possible to do so with him in there.
  7. NESQUIK Initiate Member

    Oh thank you! I've been looking at amazon swords and I'm definitely getting one, how many could I plant the aquarium with? I'll be picking up a cave soon. I didn't even know that I could cycle it with him in there! My parents just bought him so quickly that I had no time to cycle beforehand. How could I cycle with him in the tank?
  8. NESQUIK Initiate Member

    He's been in his tank for a day and a half and the filter is too powerful for his delicate fins...
  9. Flowingfins Fishlore VIP Member

    I would put sword in, they get huge! Some smaller plants that would look good are crypts.
    I would buy a bottle of tetra safe start(TSS) do a water change, wait 24 hours, dump the whole bottle in(you can't add too much), wait 2 weeks(14 days), don't do any water changes and feed lightly during those two weeks. After 2 weeks you should have 0 ammonia, 0 nitrite, and 20 or so nitrate. You can start feeding regularly and doing water changes after the 2 weeks.
    Edit: if possible try ordering a sponge filter on eBay. You hook it up to an air pump with airline tubing. I have these in my betta tanks and they do great with them.
  10. Mcasella Fishlore VIP Member

    Try and baffle the filter, that way his fins can heal - I have one in one of my shrimp tanks made from an old light cover (tank light cover, plastic type for normal lights) and it does pretty well, makes the water at the surface swirl around but prevents the small betta that is in there from getting knocked around by the filter.
  11. NESQUIK Initiate Member

    Okay, thanks! After the first water change I'd put the entire bottle's worth in or just a little bit? And we do have a filter on the way, an external Fluval Nano; the flow rate won't harm Apollo. If that doesn't work I can pick up a sponge filter!

    Edit: How do I baffle the filter? I can't seem to find any guides...I feel bad that i'm asking so many questions but I wanna give him the best life possible!
  12. Flowingfins Fishlore VIP Member

    The entire bottle, wait to put it in until 24 hours after the water change. No water changes for two weeks after adding the bottla and you should be cycled.
  13. Saphirae Initiate Member

    Sometimes I use old/spare plastic parts (kind of like what Mcasella said with the light cover) and tie them on with rubber bands in front of the filter output so that a smaller stream of water comes out from the sides. Or I'll drill holes into the plastic. It depends on how your particular filter works and where the water comes out of.

    By the way, don't feel bad for asking questions! It's great that you're doing research. Too many people don't research bettas at all.
  14. Mcasella Fishlore VIP Member

    I wired mine on with crafting wire, you can get about 9-12ft of it for a dollar at walmart. I can still remove mine if I want too - you can use a water bottle (plastic) to do the same thing; there are a couple youtube videos on how to do that - just search fishlore filter baffle and it should be the top result.
  15. NESQUIK Initiate Member

    Thank you everyone! I can baffle the power filter until my Fluval Nano comes in the mail. Tomorrow me and my girlfriend can pick up the amazon sword and other decor for Apollo. I'll also definitely follow Flowingfin's advice on cycling!
  16. Annie424 Well Known Member Member

    I'd put more plants in, definitely. Swords are good, as are floating hornwort (grows like a weed but good for nitrates!) and java ferns. You may not need to get a new filter if yours is not adjustable - I've found if you put a sponge pre-filter on the intake, it lessens the flow considerably. Plus it's a much cheaper option to at least try - a few bucks for the sponge vs 20+ for a new filter. :)
  17. jamielands Initiate Member

    More plants! I Have a half moon currently, he rests A LOT. Their tails are very heavy and make swimming tougher, so don't be alarmed if you see him hanging out in one spot pretty often. IME they rest and sit still more often than other tail types. Although mine is a double tail half moon, I think that's even worse ha ha. Is there a lot of water movement on the surface? He may not be able to build a bubble nest if there's too much agitation. But not building one doesn't mean he's unhappy, I've had bettas who never bubble nested and lived long and happy. :)

    I don't know what the outflow of your filter is like, but mine has foam stuffed right into the outflow for a baffle. On my old top fin filter I bought or cut a rectangle of foam that covered the whole front of the outflow and held it in place with a rubber band around the back of the filter. Worked really well.