Well, I just bought my first aquarium, ever!!!

  • #1
Okay you guys,

I ended up getting a betta and didn't know what I was getting myself into!

Every pet (and fish!) store that I have called about my betta has repeated "a bowl, no heater necessary, no filter, no problem."

I'm talking tropical fish stores saying this!

But after semi-falling for my betta (I think she's a girl, but she's purple and has huge beautiful fins- can she be a girl?) endless posts on here that all say "just wait till you get your betta into a 5 gallon tank"

I pinched myself as this $5 fish just became the owner of a 5 gallon hex tank (Eclipse- because almost everyone speaks so highly of it and it's smaller footprint) and a 50W titanium heater (because Chickadee said that would be better than 25 watt- and because I read about glass one's (even stealth's sometimes breaking)

A thermometer, a freshwater master test kit, some stress coat and some bio-spira (thanks Drs. foster and smith)

So that's it. Part of me thinks I have been suckered into all this and that the pet supply co's get everyone believing that fish need these gigantic aquariums when they could be happy in bowls (mine seems to be)- part of me can't wait to have a cool aquarium in my room with my happy beautiful gorgeous purple fish who eats bloodworms from my finger, and part of me wonders about how to "cycle" the tank when it finally arrives.

I'm still (after tons of reading) very unclear about how all this works and the pet-stores seem to know even less than I do [I just called a place called "strictly fish" in los angeles, the only place where you can buy bio-spira and when I asked the guy on the phone about his recommendation for tanks for housing a betta, he said "just a bowl."]

So we will see if the wisdom of the fishlore forum leads me to needless spending of money, or increased betta-happiness.

Let's hope the later.

In the meantime, thanks for all the caring. I hope to get a nicer camera and send y'all some pictures of my betta. In the meantime he is in a 1/2 gallon (or perhaps a full gallon, not sure) fishbowl. Do I do complete water changes or partial? Every day or every week?

So I'm looking for:
1) Reasurrance that I did the right thing by springing for an aquarium setup when it was the last thing I wanted (and that I'm not a sucker)
2) temporary fish-bowl care and water-changing tips
*3) once the eclipse hex5 comes, how to prep it with bio-spira, how long to wait before introducing the fish, and also effective aquarium-keeping information.

Thanks you guys!
  • #2

You did the right thing. Every forum, and care guide I read says a 5 gallon is great! Don't let ANYONE make you feel silly cause you wanted to give this fish the best life possible.

Water changes in bowl.....up to 50% a day, until the new tank comes....use water conditioners to take out chlorine, and make sure the temperature is about the same in the bowl.

Now....setting up the aquarium. Again use water conditioners, put in gravel, decorations (no jagged edges to rip fins), add bio-spira and a little fish food. Let it run overnight, take tests, If it were me, using bio-spira I would put the fish in on the second day. The tank won't be 100% cycled, but safe, and if you check the water every day and do 25-50% water changes if ammonia or nitrite are above 0, then when things settle down, do a minimum of 25% water change every week. Don't over feed. give a variety, and a frozen (thawed) skinned pea twice a week.

Water temp for a betta should be stable at between 75 & 86 degrees. 82 or above will kill any ick, so that won't be a problem. Enjoy your fish, and hope you post often.
  • #3
the pet-stores seem to know even less than I do

This is a sad fact. I can say that in over 20 years, I've come across ONE pet store employee who actually knew about fish. Pet stores are like any store, and care only about the bottom line of profit/loss and most will not pay to hire someone who knows what they're talking about.

You are not a sucker to want to take proper care of a pet you brought into your home, no matter if that pet cost only .50. My four 2.99 bettas have cost me hundreds of dollars so far! Giving the best care possible is our obligation.

Yes, a betta can probably survive in a tiny bowl with no heater, filter etc.(just as we could survive in a 4 x 6 cell) but we don't want our pets to live at bare subsistance level. We want them to thrive and be happy and healthy.
  • #4
Hi, you are not a sucker at all just a decent caring pet owner!! You will see you fish flourish and the warm water will bring out more colour.

Keep reading posts on here,even go back through old ones, i've learnt SSSSSSSSSOOOOOOOOOOOOOmuch here and ask ANY question no matter how small. One thing I will add is only feed a piece of pea about the size of your bettas eye!! When I was still learning i'd give my poor buggers these huge chunks that they struggled with AND were way too food for their stomachs!!

Post pics ASAP!!!! Michelle
  • #5
Welcome to FishLore!

A Betta can survive in a bowl, but they are more at risk of disease and a shortened lifespan. The tough ones make it, but a lot of them are dead within a month, often not even a week. Plus, the personality and curiousity that comes with their intelligence is supressed greatly in a small bowl. Colder water can extend their live some (maybe), but it definitely increases lethargic behavior.

We have each of ours in a tank and even recently moving a few of them from 2.5g tanks to 6.6g tanks has shown a difference in how they act and how much fun it is to watch them, even my favorite "Angel" who we've had since March.

You definitely did the right thing to move out of the bowl.

For the bowl and the tank, I'd recommend "Prime" for the tap water conditioner. You can get one of the little empty squeeze bottles in the travel items at walmart, target, etc and measure 1 drop of Prime for each gallon of water.

When the tank is setup. Add the Bio-Spira and follow the directions on the pouch for adding fish. I believe it's 24 hours after adding it that the fish can go in, but it may be less - like right away.

We keep our Bettas at 78-80, use flat glass marbles for the substrate and feed them Betta Pro pellets, thawed frozen Hikari-brand bloodworms and pellet-sized pieces of thawed & peeled frozen peas. I change 25-40% of the water weekly along with cleaning the tank. We add 1 drop per gallon of Vitachem to the tanks daily.
  • #6
I always shake the pouch of Bio-spira and open it, then pour the whole pouch into the tank and put the fish into the tank immediately as the Bio-spira needs the ammonia that the fish puts out to feed on to establish itself in the tank. You also do not want to test the water for ammonia, nitrates or nitrites for the first 7 days as you will scare yourself. They will be present and you will want to do water changes, but do not let yourself do it! All that is happening is the bacteria is establishing itself in the filter. The ammonia and other readings will NOT hurt your fish, I PROMISE. It has to cycle to complete the process and the bacteria is already there to protect your fish. Do not get nervous and do water changes or you will delay or stop the cycle. People who do not have luck or just plain have failures with Bio-spira usually do so because they became nervous and did a water change before the first 7 days were over. Once the stuff is in the water and the fish is in there, forget the water changes for 7 days, forget the water testing for 7 days....THEN you do a 50% water change and start with the weekly water testing for ammonia, nitrates, and nitrites. Until then just let the Bio-spira do its work. I have used it many times and it has always been fine. I get an Ammonia meter and hang inside of my tank and it registers ammonia for the first 7 days and then it clears up on its own but it does not hurt the fish, it never has. The ammonia has to build up and then spike and go down and if I tested for the nitrites and nitrates they would be there too as the cycle has to happen but it does not happen in such a way as to harm the fish and I have never had a fish become sick or die. The fish that have gone through the process have never been sickly or died young on me. In fact they are still with me and doing well.

  • Thread Starter
  • #7
awesome! thanks
  • #8
I guess all your questions were answered except one and I will do my best......

If your fish has huge fins it is more than likely that it is a boy. female bettas have way smaller fins than the males. It is the males that you see in your mind when you think betta.
  • #9
Yes this is usually true but lately the new plakats are making it hard to tell. The male plakat is usually not full finned the way the splendens are. Some have less finnage than the females of say the halfmoons or deltas. This makes for buying in the petstores very tricky. If you do not know when the fish is very tiny you could end up with either as it is getting very hard to tell sometimes until they really begin to develop their fins later in life.
Study the bettas for sale on some of the sites like ebay or aquabid and get to see the different types before going shopping in the petstores and maybe you will have a better idea of what you are looking for. A reputable dealer will know whether the fish is male or female and be more knowledgeable than a cup at a petstore.

  • #10
to you for taking a betta from the perils of the pet store! Like others have said, you will see so much more from your betta, with proper care. Once you find out boy/girl, do pick out a name. Yeah, we name our fishes, and we hope to see some pics and find out betta's name
  • #11
You're definitely not a sucker! You can't guage how much to spend on making a pet's home comfortable by the cost of the pet - any more than you can with your kids and the hospital bill!

And don't go by stereotypes of bettas as "just fish". Play with him and find out what awesome things he can do, and how great a pet he can be! They're ALL different!

I'd also have some medicines available, everyone gets sick and usually on a weekend when you can't go out and find something right away. Pet store bettas are kept in appalling conditions so don't just cross your fingers that he doesn't get sick!
  • #12
Bettas' are nice peacfull fish as long as you don't have two males together, that would resualt badly, but you aren't a sucker to buy a five gallon tank for one that just proves that you care for your fish. As for the rest I have no clue, the only bettas' I ever had got eaten by my cat Sox. He's Old now, but still likes to try to steal a drink form my fish tank now and then. Good Luck Later On!

Similar Aquarium Threads

  • Locked
  • Locked
  • Locked
  • Locked


Top Bottom