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mariposa
09-12-2006, 02:18 AM
Hello everyone. I have one betta, Pedro in a 1 gal bowl. My birthday is coming up and I'm planning on asking my hubby for a bigger tank for him. I'm mulling over a 10 gal and also adding maybe a couple of other fish and a snail or 2. I just am at a loss as where to begin. I've been reading these older posts but I'm still confused. I cant read about cycling and nitrates and such without getting a head ache. Is there some idiot proof way of doing this...preferably without the chemistry involved!?! What about the filters being aged and such? Does he need bubble stone, b/c I've heard they dont like a lot of movement in their water? Exactly what would I look for in a tank mate for Pedro? Should I get live plants instead of plastic? Do I change the water all at once or like I've heard about just a bit at a time? I guess I really need to get a betta for dummies book. lol. I was reading an article recomended and it mentioned 100 liter tanks and 120 liter tanks and I dont know what size that is. Someone HELP. I dont want to kill Pedro. I love him. He's the best! One more thing. I gave him live mosquito larva from outside before and he loved it. Can I get any other live food for him so that he gets to hunt and chase them? He seemed to love the stimulation. Pedro is a great fish, he is friendly and interacts with me and the kids, I really love him and I really want the best for him so here I am begging advice. I'm sorry this is such a long post, I'm just a really lost betta Mama. I'm gonna try to include links to a couple of pics of my sweety Pedro.

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b288/nichollerodriguez/DSCF1560.jpg

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b288/nichollerodriguez/DSCF1547.jpg

http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b288/nichollerodriguez/JrlovesPedrothefish.jpg

kimmers318
09-12-2006, 12:40 PM
Wow...alot of questions at once mariposa...so lets see what everyone can come up with. I personally love my 5 gal eclipse tank for my daughter's betta, Rainbow. It is a corner tank so it fits nicely on her dresser, the water kinda rolls out of the filter unit so it isn't a strong current, and Rainbow actually likes to sit in it. I bought a larger silk plant to put right under the current to divert it some and that seems to be one of his favorite spots!
As for other tankmates...it is a trial and error thing with bettas...alot of people, Rollie included, have had it work alot, and others have had bettas not get along with tankmates. I have a rescued betta in my 64 gal community tank who gets along fairly well with various tetras, gourami's and corydora. He does chase and flare at the dwarf gourami quite a bit, but I have never seen him bite. When I first put him in there he flared at everyone, but most just ignored him so he gave up.
Reading about cycling can be confusing, so lets see if we can make it easier...once you understand a basic simple idea, it is easier to understand the more complex information. When you start a tank it is with clean water...when the fish produce waste (pee and poo) and leftover food starts to get added to the water it becomes ammonia as it breaks down. Ammonia is very dangerous to fish health. Good bacteria will start to grow that feed on the ammonia and that will turn it into nitrItes, which can still be harmful to fish. The next type of bacteria to grow will take the nitrItes and turn it into nitrAtes, which is not as harmful to fish unless you have high levels of it. When you have enough bacteria in your water to use up the levels of ammonia and nitrItes and are only seeing nitrAte levels your tank is said to be done cycling. The nitrAtes can be kept in check with water changes, and live plants also use nitrAtes as a food source. Fish that go thru this whole process of ammonia, and waiting for the bacteria to utilize the ammonia...and then nitrIte levels..and waiting for the bacteria to utilize the nitrItes are said to have gone thru the cycling process, which can be harmful to the fish. The good bacteria grow in your filter media, and on gravel and decor in the tank. There are ways to speed up the process since it can take weeks, one way is to get established filter media or "gunk" from someone who has a well balanced, healthy tank. That helps you put in bacteria right away instead of waiting for it to grow. Another is with a product called biospira, which although I have never used it have heard good things about it. It can be expensive and hard to find since it has to be kept refridgerated the entire time. If you wish to cycle without having fish that could be damaged by the process you need to do a fishless cyle by feeding the tank with something that will break down and create an environment for the good bacteria to grow. Some people use the fish food, others use pure ammonia, and I have heard of others using a shrimp that they just left in there to decay. Since bettas survive (survive, not thrive) in bowls and cups, which doesn't have much to provide for a cycled environment, they might be okay in a cycling tank....but wait for others who have much more experience with bettas than I do to comment.
Live plants or fake is a decision you have to make for yourself. Live plants often (not always) have other needs that might be harder to handle as far as lighting, substrate, and nutrients. I only have a couple of live plants in smaller tanks, which although are doing okay, I wouldn't brag about them....I don't have a green thumb! Since they use nitrates alot of people like to use them, and it is something that in my opinion can make a tank look beautiful....it is just not something I can succeed at. I personally prefer the silk fake plants. They are nice and soft so no torn fins or scratches, plus they have a weighted base which makes keeping them in the substrate easy. All of the plastic plants I have don't like to stay "planted" too well. I am slowly picking up silk plants when I have the $$$, or see a sale, and replacing my plastic.
As for water changes.....you will probably have to do more if you allow the tank to cycle with Pedro in it because you will want to keep things in check, but once all is done a weekly water change of about 10-20% is fine if your filter is keeping up. The weekly water changes keep your nitrates in check for the fish. When you siphon the water out for your water change, just finse the filter media in that water to remove the solid gunk and only replace the media if necessary.
Check out Williams calculater link on the side to find out how many liters=how many gallons to give you a better idea of what someone is recommending if they use the liter system.
As for live food to offer a betta...again, talk to more experienced betta keepers...I offered Rainbow live mosquito larva and he looked at me like I was crazy! He is quite content with his betta bites and the occasional frozen treat of bloodworms and such.
As you have already seen, there is a lot to learn, but take it one step at a time and you will do fine.