Hi! I've been trying to find answers online but it seems these days everyone has a different answer so I finally decided to join the forum! I have a male betta fish whom I got in memory of my nephew who passed away in January so it is very important to me that I make sure I am taking the best possible care of this fish. I did do my research prio to getting my little fish. I puchased this 5 gallon aquarium kit from Petsmart: ( ) Even on its lowest setting the filter was a tad strong but when I angled it upward it created a nice trickle into the tank that is perfect for my fish. And I purchased a heater. I don't recall exactly which one or how many watts it is but I was sure to do my research on that as well. It consistently keeps my tank at 78*F. Now onto my questions: Currently my tank produces a LOT of algae because it is next to my bedroom window that doesn't have curtains up. I hope to get curtains up soon. I've been doing 50% water changes every 2-3 weeks. I was wondering if I'm doing to large of water changes too infrequently? Is there a difference in doing 50% every 2-3 weeks and 15-20% weekly? Also, I wipe the algae off the sides with paper towels when I do my water changes but it seems useless. There is always some algae left. I'm pretty sure it would be bad to do a complete water change but I want the opinion of someone who knows better than me. Is this a bad idea? Also, if complete water changes are bad, can I take out half or so of the gravel and thoroughly rinse it? I feel as if it may be stressful to my fish to do this, but the gravel is really gross. I know the bacteria in the gravel is healthy so that's why I was thinking only half. Next, I feel extremely bad about this but there is nothing but gravel in my tank. Originally I had this log from petsmart: ( ) and two live plants (a sword plant and an anubias) but the paint on the log began to decay and flake off and I feared it would be toxic so I quickly removed it. I thought I knew how to take care of live plants but the leaves were turning brown and dying. So I threw them out. So my questions are: Are there any quality videos or links that are useful for how to plant the betta tank. I know they need lots of hiding places, but many of the ornaments are very expensive. Can I do some silk plants and live plants? And what could I have done wrong and how can I better care for live plants? Thirdly, my fish had some jagged fins due to fin rot. I had hoped that his fins would naturally heal once I got him out of that awful cup and into a nice large, warm tank. His fins have improved, but its been 5-6 months and his fins are still tarnished. My uncle who knows quite about fish said frequent water changes will help. Will it? The fin rot medicine is very expensive and I don't want to spend the money if it won't work. Is it worth the investment? And lastly, my fish flares A LOT. I know its stressful for them and its bad if he is flaring all the time. I had thought that he was seeing his reflection so I tapped a piece of paper to one of the sides yet he still does it. He is pretty sassy too. He will swim to me when I'm near the tank as if to ask me to feed him (he eats a lot, about 5 pellets twice daily) and flares at me then, especially when I put my face close to him. But when I observe him from far away, out of his sight, he swims back and forth by the walls of the tank flaring, even where I put the paper up. I have noticed he tends to build bubble nests (usually) when he does this. Is this just him being territorial? I heard that putting lots of plants and toys in there for him will distract him and make him stop flaring. Is this true? I'm sorry for all my long questions. I hope I provided enough detail that someone can provide me with useful answers. It is very important to me that my little guy lives a long life. I've worked very hard and I believe his tank is a solid home for him. All I need is to fix these small problems. I want him to make him as happy as possible. Thank you so much.