Jump to content

New Betta Owner? Read This Quick-start Guide!


selythe

Recommended Posts

  • Regular Member

Please delete, move, or correct this post as needed. I hope to help people out, which I can assuredly not do if I'm telling them incorrect information. :ignore

Bettas ? A Quick-start guide by Johnny Five

So! You just got home with a carton of betta, a goofy grin, and maybe even a bowl.

I won?t even assume you?re one of those hideously responsible types, who cycled a tank and had everything waiting and ready. Lord knows I never am.

?So!? You say, rushing to get your new friend home before the thrill of the impulse sale wears off and you realize what you have done. ?How do I get this thing set up to ROCK??

It is a simple process, my friend, and I will tell you from beginning to end.**

First of all ? required equipment. I mean seriously, really, required. Then I?ll get down to how to put it all together.

EQUIPMENT:

BOWL OR TANK

1.) Half gallon or larger covered bowl, no filters required. Try for at least a gallon if you can swing it. Also, try to get a Hydor or similar mini-heater rated for a couple gallons. It?s $15, but makes a big difference in how active my own fish are, and how perky they get. The strip thermometers are awesome, and $2-3.

2.) 2-3 gallons per fish, or a 10 gallon tank for 4 female bettas. A sponge filter is optional, and needs to be weak if it?s there at all. A heater is a very good thing, though it doesn?t need to be very strong? My bettas seem happiest between 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit. Again, a thermometer, sticky ones are my personal favorite.

WATER TREATMENT

1.) Find a water conditioning product that removes chlorine and chloramine ? it?s a lot cheaper in the long run than using distilled water instead, trust me.

2.) Find a water conditioner likewise, possibly an ammonia removing product also. It might be worth it to invest in a water testing kit, the master 5-in-1 kits are probably in the low to mid $30s depending on where you live, and last quite some time.

PLANTS OR PAGODAS

Add at least one silk or live plant, or something else he can hide behind and underneath. Especially with more than one fish in a tank, decorations to hide from one another are essential? preferably ones that won?t catch on their fins. You celestial owners know the drill.

BETTA FOOD

1.) Hikari Betta Bio-Gold is one I like, it?s sold next to the betta stands. A little goes a long way.

2.) Hikari or another product as a staple, though some owners don?t like dry foods. Wingless fruit flies, bloodworms, or daphnia are all favorites for the live food fiends.

MEDICATIONS

1.) I wouldn?t bother just yet, though sea salt or kosher salt can come in handy for quite a few things. And if it doesn?t, hey! It?s good for humans too! Just be sure that you buy a kind that doesn?t have any preservatives or additives whatsoever? yes you guessed it, it poisons the fish.

2.) Bettaqueen on our very own forums recommends Bettafix, and I would also mention kosher salt more strongly for those of you who aren?t timid about medicating your tanks. I?ve read anecdotal evidence from an Australian on Koko?s Forums (Can?t remember your name, sorry! Email me if you read this!) that tea-tree oil may have beneficial properties. But I haven?t tried it myself, or read any studies.

SET UP:

I. Bowl / Tank

A.) Clean out the betta?s future home with water and without soap. Soap?ll kill him, like it does most fish.

B.) Add tap water to the bowl to the desired level, and however much water treatment the bottle recommends. Let it sit out for an hour to adjust to room temperature. If you have no heater, skip i.) and ii.)

i.) If you have a heater, put it in the water after the first hour, and plug it in after another fifteen minutes. Yes, I know, your betta is staring at you impatiently through the plastic, but he?ll be far less stressed going to a good environment, than going to a new environment that?s going to be changing often.

ii.) Check the temperature after another half hour to make sure the tank?s not going to fry your fish.

C.) Almost there! Float the betta?s bag or cup in the tank for a few minutes, then gradually add a little tank water into the bag.. then keep floating a few minutes.. keep adding more water to the bag? and in a little while, you?ll be able to tip him into the bowl and let him run free. Don?t bother feeding him the first night, since he?ll probably spend most of it hanging out towards the bottom and sides?. Well if you wanted a fish that bounced up to the front to love on you frantically, why didn?t you get an oranda? :D

Don?t worry, he?ll perk up by the end of the day, or by the next morning. If he doesn?t, or any white fuzz or odd things appear on him, drop a line in the 911 forum and the lovely betta experts are usually around to set things right.

That?s about it, surf around for the more detailed stuff. Happy bettakeeping!

**The segment titled #1 on each topic is the ?basic don?t bother me and I?m on a budget/Welfare/have little space/it?s just a betta dang it? option,

while segment #2 is of the ?My therapist says I can?t lose any more fish/it?s my grandmother?s dying wish I take care of her betta/I need something to do with these hundred dollar bills now that I don?t use them to light my cigarettes? variety.

The rhyming was unintentional. Honestly.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member
Float the betta?s bag or cup in the tank for a few minutes, then gradually add a little tank water into the bag.. then keep floating a few minutes.. keep adding more water to the bag? and in a little while, you?ll be able to tip him into the bowl and let him run free.

There really isn't a need to add water as long as you float the bag until the temp is the same. If you say this because you are trying to get the fish use to the water, it takes days for a fish to get use to the water in your tank, not minutes or hours.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

It -was- the pH thing, but if it takes them longer to adjust... I'll definitely take it out if or when I get a final version up. Thanks for the tip!

Is there anything else you can think to add or take out?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Yup, I was talking about PH and everything else. You should always test and have the tank ready before adding the fish. Make sure the parameters are good for the type of fish you are buying, that way they should adjust quicker than a fish throw into a tank with a ph way off of what they need.

You don't have it in there but you could add how to disinfect a tank bought from a sale or a tank that had fish die in it. Is it 4 parts water one part bleach? I can't remember right now.

As for medicine, I recommend maracyn. It works great! I had a female with pop eye and she was all healed in one week because of maracyn.

As for plants, only things like lucky bamboo can work in bowls or containers without filters. Other plants will just screw up a bowl with no filter and could kill your fish. Plants are hard to care for. Most need a nice amount of light and Co2.

If you wanted to you could right a guide for recognizing betta illnesses or how to breed bettas and raise fry. I've been working on a breeding one. Maybe we could make a whole set of guides?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

The Maracyn -- I'll definitely have to add that into the 2.) version of medications.

Preferably, yes, running and cycling the tank.. though I was more intending for people who, either have never had a betta before, or had only guessed and put them in cups..

The kind who already have their betta next to their computer staring at them going "okay, what now?" :)

Lucky bamboo, and java fern... I'll add in to go for fake plants if someone's just doing a tiny bowl, maybe?

Disinfecting used tanks, I think the bleach was some ratio like that... I hadn't considered the people who were getting a handmedown tank. Good idea!

I personally have not had a lot of experience with betta diseases, or treatments, so I might not be the best one to write one along those lines. Similarly with the breeding, though I AM making a more spacious betta barracks for my two new guys that'll probably be arriving in a few days...

Hmm.. I could make an article about how to build a simple betta barracks, maybe, or add to your breeding article when or if mine seem to successfully breed?

I really like your idea! We definitely should join forces, the series of guides could be a very good thing...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Thanks Sushi.BTW like you new avatar.

JohnnyFive your post is fairly informative but I need to disagree about a couple things. First of all bettas should be housed in a minimum of 1 gallon not a half gallon. As for no sponge filter in a sorority 10 gal tank of 4 females. You suggest it is not neccessary,however I beg to differ with you . With that many fish you need a sponge filter to filter out some of the waste produced by the fish or you will have your amonia level climb and constantly be changing the water. If you get a filter with a gentle flow or one that has an adjustable flow this will not be a problem.

As for meds. Any good fish keeper should be prepared and keep on hand various meds in case their fish develops an illness. Here are a list of meds good to keep in a betta first aid kit ( btw it is also listed at the top of this betta forum). Tea Tree oil is beneficial. It is melucea oil which is the main ingredient in bettafix and Malafix. Bettafix is a form of tea tree oil ( melafix) that is calculated for use with your betta so you don't have to do all those math calculations to figure out how much melafix to use. it makes it simpler)

I did a lot of reading about bettafix and researching before I used it on my betta. He was elderly and ill and heat and salt had not improved him and I believe he was near death. I used the bettafix in conjunction with salt and now he is back to normal. I read it is good for elderly bettas.

http://www.bettatalk.com/betta_diseases.htm

If you scroll down past the list of meds and their uses on that thread you will also find at the bottom ways to tell if you fish is ill- symptoms etc.

As for foods . They also can eat and often enjoy freeze dried blood worms, frozen brine shimp and an occasional pea to solve or prevent constipation.

As for the water. Treated tap water is fine. You make a coment on distilled water . Distilled water is never o.k. for a betta. It is basically nothing water with all the mininerals etc distilled out. A safe alternative to treated tap water if you do not have a big tank is spring water. It has all the minerals but no chlorine etc and can be used straight out the bottle without treatment.

here is some info on water from betta talk as well

http://www.bettatalk.com/water.htm

Not trying to be a downer but thought you might could add these things to your post. Sushi suggestions were right on as well.

I know a betta breeder who I can email a copy of the pic of your fish if would like me too and see what she thinks it is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Cool, what kinds of behaviors do they tend to show? I know goldfish do the "food wiggle," or peck at your hands... And I read about someone training her betta to swim through a hoop or do loop-the-loops, but as far as what the average person can expect from a betta, or some common behaviors?

A couple of mine already drift over to greet me when I lean towards their tank, after less than two days for one of them.. fast association!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Here you go:

Breeding Betta Fish

The stuff you will need:

1. 5 or 10 gallon tank for breeding

2. Live Plants

3. Sponge Filter

4. Heater

5. A mix of different foods

6. Bubble wrap

7. A bucket

8. Air line Tubing

9. A guppy breeding box

10. Small ornament

The Set up:

If you are using a 5 gallon tank you will need to upgrade to a 10 gallon once the babies start to get big. If your spawn is large enough you may even have to upgrade to an even larger tank. Set up your tank in a dark and quiet room. Put about 6 inches of water into the tank and add water conditioner. Hook up you sponge filter and get it running. Let this sit for 3 days and then place the live plants and small ornament or rock into the tank. Tape a small square of bubble wrap to a corner of the tank and put the breeding box next to it.

The bubble wrap will encourage the male to build his nest under the bubble wrap. There are many other things you can use too. Like Indian almond leave, banana leaves, plastic wrap, or styrofoam.

The plants will cause micro organisms to grow in the tank. It is called infusoria. The fry will feed on this the first week or two. The plants also provide hiding and rest places for the female and fry.

I use a small ornament that my females also used as hiding places. You can also tie the plants to the rock or ornament so they stay in one spot instead of floating around the tank.

I found that guppy breeding boxes work great for keeping females in. The male can see her at all time and so can she. It also has holes in the side so that the water can flow freely.

Conditioning:

Your pair will need to be conditioned before you breed them. Keep the male and female in separate heated containers that are next to each other. Make sure they can see each other for a few hours each day. Feed the couple food like bloodworms, tubifix worms, and daphnia.

Introducing the Pair:

After about a week or two of conditioning you can place the male in you tank with the live plants. Give him 24 hours to get use to the place and then place the female into the breeding box. Make sure the female is fat with eggs before putting her in. If she isn?t then you need to condition the pair longer. Once again, leave the pair for 24 hours. If the male has blown a bubblenest after the 24 hours go ahead a release the female. If he hasn?t built a nest make sure he is showing interest in breeding and not aggression. If he is interested go ahead and take the female out of the breeding box and put her with the male. She should have plenty of hiding places in the plants incase the male gets a little ruff.

Breeding:

Dark bodied female betas will show vertical bars and may flare or swim in a ?S? shape when they are ready to breed. Light bodied females won?t have bars that show up but they show other signs like, swimming in the ?s? shape, flaring a little, rubbing against the male, or swimming under the nest.

When both are ready the male and female will embrace. At first you might not see eggs or they might not get the embrace right, but after awhile you should see lots of eggs. The female or male may float up and lay still almost like they are dead but after a few seconds they will swim down and collect the eggs, then spit the into the nest. There is a chance that the male and female will eat the eggs and then you have to start all over and go back to reconditioning for a couple of weeks.

Once they are done spawning the female will swim off and at that point you should remove her. The eggs will take anywhere from 1-3 days to hatch. Once the eggs hatch the male will still be needed. He should be picking up the babies that fall out of the nest and place them back into the nest. After 3 days or so the babies will be free swimming and you can remove the male. Some leave the males in but since they are so exhausted I take them out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Raising Betta Fry

The stuff you will need:

1. 10+ gallon tank

2. Live Plants

3. Sponge Filter

4. Heater

5. A mix of different foods

6. Bubble wrap

7. A bucket

8. Air line Tubing

Feeding:

The fry will have their egg sack to eat for the first 3 days. As soon as they hatch you should set up some brine shrimp eggs to hatch. Even thought the fry are still young, some can eat brine shrimp. You should feed them twice a day.

Cleaning:

Take a piece of air line tubing and a bucket filled halfway with water. Use the air line tubing to create a siphon and suck up any old nasty stuff off the bottom of the aquarium. Do this once a week. Make sure you check the bucket before dumping it out. You might have sucked one of the babies up! If you did, take a small cup and catch him then put him back with his siblings. In the first month you should on do tiny water changes. No more than 5% water changes.

The first 4 weeks:

You can feed your fry, daphnia, egg yolk, liquid fry foods, Hikari first bites, and brine shrimp.

Your babies should be reaching a nice size by 4 weeks. They should start developing fin and looking more like betta fish.

4-8 weeks:

You can feed your fry, micro pellets, mini algae wafers, frozen bloodworms and for the smaller guys, Hikari first bites.

By 8 weeks your babies should look like mini betas. They should also start yo be getting color.

8-12 weeks:

You can feed micro pellets, frozen brine shrimp, frozen bloodworms, and if they are big enough you can feed them normal sized betta pellets.

Your fry might be attacking each other and so you need to separate the ones that are attacking each other.

Growth:

Some fry grown fast and some grow slow! Food and water are very important to getting fry to grow really fast. Some fry are big by 12 weeks and some aren?t big until 16-20 weeks! If you keep your water clean and provide lots of good food then you should have fry that grow like weeds.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

As for plants, only things like lucky bamboo can work in bowls or containers without filters. Other plants will just screw up a bowl with no filter and could kill your fish. Plants are hard to care for. Most need a nice amount of light and Co2.

Maybe I'm the exception to the rule.

Water volume just under 4.5 US Gallons.

No filter.

25 watt heater.

50% water changes every second day (temperature matched tap water conditioned with Prime).

3 live plants; Java Fern, Ozelot Sword, and Brazilian Sword.

With a happy male Red Dragon Half Moon Butterfly Betta.

20061213-233009-640.jpg

It's been over 1 month and the plants are healthy and growing, the water is good, and the Betta is healthy.

I think with the right plants and good broad spectrum lighting, live plants seem to be ok with no filter.

Oh! and Sushi... Great introduction to breeding by the way. Well done!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

You keep up with 50% water changes every other day! Thats why yours is looking so nice and your vase is 4 gallons, when I say bowl I mean things like goldfish bowls.Do you give your plants fertilizer? They may be fine for now but you should give them co2 and plant tabs to make sure they continue to do fine. The reason most plants ruin bowls is because people plant them right into the bowl, you have your is vases. This makes it a lot easy to clean the water and bowl. With gravel and sand in thw hwole bowl its very hard.

Your vase looks a little green, are you getting algae or is it just the reflections of the plants? If its algae, cut back on your lights for away. It should kill it.

As long as you stick with your routine I'm sure you won't have much to worry about. Most of the time what kills fish is when the water is left to sit for a long time, like a week. It, like any water, becomes stagnate when left sitting for to long. Rotting and dying plants also kill fish so make sure you keep the dead leaves trimmed off whenever you get some.

BTW- swords are very strong and good for beginners or anyone who wants strong plants. I've seen people stick a lot of plants like christmas moss, creeping jenny, and driftwood in an unfiltered tank! The creeping jenny quickly died and the driftwood began to rot. There was a nasty white slime about 1 cm thick, all across the top of the tank and it killed the baby oscar that was in that tank.

I once put a piece of water wisteria and grass into a bowl. The water wisteria died and the bowl got all cloudy in a week even with 25% water changes everyday and plant tabs. Lucky it was just for show and not for fish.My other water wisteria did great in my filtered 2.5 gallon. I think it depends on your types of plants. Water wisteria is sensitive and needs a lot of light while java fern is strong and doesn't need that much light.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Your vase looks a little green, are you getting algae or is it just the reflections of the plants? If its algae, cut back on your lights for away. It should kill it.

The green light in the water is reflexion from the plants, and I just did the water change so there was gas in suspension emphasizing the green reflected light.

The green on the bottom of the container is a light layer of algae. I'll leave it alone for a while because it should help consume excess nutrients.

I wasn't arguing with you by the way. And you gave great answers for why live plants in an unfiltered container was working. Thanks!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Maybe I'm the exception to the rule.

Water volume just under 4.5 US Gallons.

No filter.

25 watt heater.

50% water changes every second day (temperature matched tap water conditioned with Prime).

3 live plants; Java Fern, Ozelot Sword, and Brazilian Sword.

With a happy male Red Dragon Half Moon Butterfly Betta.

20061213-233009-640.jpg

It's been over 1 month and the plants are healthy and growing, the water is good, and the Betta is healthy.

I think with the right plants and good broad spectrum lighting, live plants seem to be ok with no filter.

Oh! and Sushi... Great introduction to breeding by the way. Well done!

No your not the exception. I have two betta 1g (pickle) jars. Both are planted. No filter no heaters (kept in a warm place) and my plants are going wild. I keep having to trim them about once every two weeks. They just get indirect light. They look great and my VT's love them.

FYI it has been my experience that the fancier betta's like HM's and Delta tails do much better in at least 2g or more water with LOTS of water changes. I have both my HM and Delta in 5 gallon tanks now cuase in the smaller tanks the fins get curly and splits in them. I dont have that problem in the 5g tanks. The five gallon tanks have plants too and more on the way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Regular Member

Your vase looks a little green, are you getting algae or is it just the reflections of the plants? If its algae, cut back on your lights for away. It should kill it.

The green light in the water is reflexion from the plants, and I just did the water change so there was gas in suspension emphasizing the green reflected light.

The green on the bottom of the container is a light layer of algae. I'll leave it alone for a while because it should help consume excess nutrients.

I wasn't arguing with you by the way. And you gave great answers for why live plants in an unfiltered container was working. Thanks!

Oh, I know you weren't arguing with me, I hope it didn't sound like I felt that way. I was smacking myself because I should have included more info anyway.

If your algae gets to bad, just turn your lights off for a week or scrub it off with a sponge. Thats how I handle it. If it just a little and not out of control, you don't have to worry. Sometime algae is pretty but I hate when I get that thick slimey green kind. Yuck!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...