intake filter

Betta Care Guide: All About Bettas!

The “Betta Basics”
-2.5+ gallon tank
-heater (76-82F)
-thermometer
-low-flow filter
-1+ hide
-decor
-silk/live plants
-quality food

A More Comprehensive Guide

***Tank Size***

2.5 gallons:
The absolute minimum, I do not recommend keeping a betta in anything less than this because even in a cycled 2.5, keeping a *stable* cycle is very difficult, and requires more frequent water changes. In a tank this small, you’ll most likely need to buy an adjustable heater as well, since the smallest (trustworthy) heaters on the market are 7-7.5 watts, and depending on where you live or how hot/cold you keep your house/room, the heat will fluctuate too often, or be too hot or too cold since the volume of water is quite small. A 2.5 gallon betta tank is doable.

5 gallons:
A great median for those who want to give their bettas a wonderful environment, but may be cramped on space, move around often, or whose living arrangements have aquarium-related restrictions. A cycled 5 gallon tank with a betta generally requires a water change 1x a week. A 5 gallon is also easier to heat and keep a stable cycle with a 5 gallon than a 2.5 gallon. I still recommend an adjustable heater (I’ll always recommend an adjustable heater), though, as I’ve found that even with an appropriately-sized preset heater/non-adjustable heater, the temperature fluctuates too often and by too much. A 5 gallon is a perfectly good choice!

10 gallons:
A palace! Your new betta would love to have a 10+ gallon tank! They’ll swim over every inch of it, I promise its not too big. A fantastic choice for those that have the space and can afford to set up a 10 gallon or larger with all the bells and whistles (décor, filter, heater, etc.).

note: If you feel you can’t give your betta a 10+ gallon tank, and you can only afford a 2.5 or 5 gallon setup (or something in between), that DOES NOT mean I (or anyone else) think you’re a bad fish parent ❤ as long as you can provide the basic necessities your fish requires and keep on top of water quality, then do what you can when you can! Maybe it’ll be a few months before you can buy your fish that new hide or a few extra plants, or maybe you’ll have to wait ‘til xmas or your bday to be able to afford a larger tank if that’s what you want, and that’s okay. As long as you do the best within your means (provided your animal’s basic needs are met), that’s all your fish would ask of you ❤

***Temperature***
Bettas are tropical fish! That means they require temperatures of 76-82F.

Why do they need this temperature range, though? Well, fish are ectothermic (“cold-blooded”) meaning that they depend on their surrounding environment (the water) to regulate their body temperatures! Your human body also requires a certain body temperature to optimize all those bodily functions it performs. Think about frostbite (affects circulation) or hypothermia (affects body temperature and bodily function). Your fish can suffer similar effects when its water is kept too cold. A cold betta will be more prone to fin rot/melt (the tips of the fins become necrotic) because their circulation is affected. A colder fish will also have a slower digestive process and slower metabolism, meaning that it will become lethargic because it’s organs can’t work fast enough to produce energy it needs to be healthy and active. You wanna see a bright colorful active betta? Give them a heated tank! 😃

***Thermometer***
Even if you have an adjustable heater, you should invest in a thermometer (1.50$, glass, Walmart)! I personally use an adjustable thermometer, which has an internal thermostat which tells it when to shut off/on, but when I set the heater to 79, my tanks stay around 82F, but I wouldn’t know that unless I had a thermometer to let me know what the actual tank temperature is! I definitely recommend spending the extra buck for one :)

Also, those sticker ones that go on the outside of the tank are not reliable, seeing as they go on the outside of the tank, and show a range of temperatures more or less. They cost about the same as a glass one (which is much more accurate), so I recommend either glass or digital, but not the stickers.

Filtration:
Bettas aren’t fond of tons of flow, which can present some challenges to your friendly neighborhood aquarist. Luckily, there are plenty of options when it comes to betta-safe filtration.

HOBs:
Hang-On-Back style filters. Some have an intake pipe, which should be covered with a sponge to keep your bettas fins (or the betta itself) from being sucked up and shredded/injured. You can search for “pre-filter sponge” or “intake filter sponge” on amazon, google, or find a fluval prefilter sponge at your local petsmart/Petco. You can also DIY one out of cut-to-size filter foam/sponge. HOB filters can also have a strong out-flow. Some have spray bars, some have spickets, and some just have a wide-mouth waterfall-style opening. If you find that the flow is pushing your betta around, or your betta is struggling to swim against the current, you can baffle it! Some common techniques for baffling filters are the “water-bottle baffle”, using a shower loofa/pouf, covering the out-flow opening with filter sponge/floss, or an intake sponge. I have the fluval spec v and I use an intake sponge on the out-spout since it’s a short spigot.

Sponge Filters:
These are block sponges which usually sit on the bottom of the aquarium and are hooked up to an airline tube and air pump. They push air through the sponge, creating a vacuum and pulling water through. The air bubbles that come out of the top of the sponge don’t create much horizontal flow that pushes bettas around, but instead the water flow is directed upwards. The bubbles provide oxygenation and surface agitation as well.

***Décor***

Hides:
Bettas like to feel safe (as do all fish and other pets) and giving them at least one cave to retreat to will give your fish that sense of security. You can buy something from the fish store, a local pet store, or a pet chain store. Besides the pre-made ones (logs, rock caves, skulls, etc.), you can buy terra cotta pots for around a 1$ or so. Just make sure that the pots aren’t just painted brown, but that they’re a terra cotta material all the way through. Fish have also gotten stuck in the small drainage holes at the bottom of these pots, so be sure to plug it up with some aquarium-safe silicone or something. Also, be sure to make sure that your hides don’t have sharp edges your betta could tear his/her fins on, and that the hide doesn’t have holes that your betta may get stuck in. Usually you can sand down rough edges though :)

Plants:
Plastic plants are generally a no-no, as they can tear your bettas fins. Usually, if they pass the “panty-hose” test they are deemed “betta-safe” but it’s still better not to chance it when there are plenty of gorgeous silk plants out there! “silk” plants are made from material (not necessarily silk) instead of plastic. Silk plants may have plastic stems, but that’s ok so long as there aren’t any sharp seams; the silk leaves are what’s important here!

Live plants are also an option. Anubias, anacharis, java fern, moss, and banana plants are all low-light plants which require no CO2 and no special substrate. However, this is not a plant guide so you’ll have to research how you can plant them or add them to your tank on your own.

***Food***
There are lots of food which is marked specially for bettas, but don’t fall for marketing gimmicks! Know what’s in your pet’s food before you buy. If the first few ingredients are “meal”s (fish meal, wheat meal, etc.) or the first few ingredients are plant-based, then this is not the food for your betta.
What you want to look for is whole ingredients, or specifically-named ingredients (whole fish, halibut, salmon, krill, etc.). New Life Spectrum and Omega One are good brands to check out. Hikari is ok, but their ingredients are not as quality as they used to be, and if you read the ingredients on their current “Betta Bio-Gold” you’ll see what I mean. Foods with fillers/freeze-dried foods don’t have a lot of nutritional value, and while a freeze-dried food may make a tasty treat, it shouldn’t be your fish’s staple diet. You can also feed frozen/live blood worms, mysis shrimp, etc. Bettas are insectivores, and cannot digest plant matter, so they should not be given any type of algae wafer or vegetables (this includes peas; an alternative to feeding peas for bloat is to feed daphnia!!).

***Tankmates***
I’ll preface this section by stating that bettas don’t need tankmates! :) Tankmates are more for you than for your fish, and should be chosen carefully.

Tankmates in General:
-please remember to make sure that your tank is suitable for the tank mates you wish to house; you wouldn’t keep your betta in a 1 gallon unfiltered/unheated tank, so don’t do the equivalent to your betta’s tankmates  your fish are all equal, so please, please, please make sure that you put in the same amount of research and care for the tankmates that you do for your betta! make sure your tank mates have the same requirements are your betta, and their temperament won’t put your betta at risk.
-ALWAYS DO RESEARCH ON THE SPECIES YOURE CONSIDERING BEFORE PURCHASING!! :)
-always have a backup plan in case your tankmates don’t get along with your betta, or your betta doesn’t get along with his tankmates 
-a 20 gallon is the best minimum choice for a community-style betta tank, as it opens up more options and gives your betta and his/her tankmates plenty of space!
-be prepared to separate/rehome/etc. “problem fish” or a “problem betta”. if your betta isn’t really the community type, don’t try to force him/her to be; it won’t work out well for anyone. Get that betta an individual setup as soon as possible, or if your tank is large enough, divide it so that your betta has his/her own space. 

Good Tank Mates:

 Corydoras:
shoaling, 6+ to a group - keeping them in groups smaller than this will stress them to death…literally sometimes
10+ gallons (dwarf/pygmy), 20+ gallons (regular)
tropical, lots of species to choose from
sand/barebottom is a MUST - p they have soft bellies and sensitive barbels, and gravel can scratch up their bellies (which leads to stress or infection) or damage their barbels o.o also, they sift through sand to find little bits of food naturally, so sand lets them display this natural behavior and you get to see it too!

Rasboras:
schooling, 6+ to a school – keeping them in schools smaller than this will stress out the fish
10-15+ gallons – depending on the species
tropical, lots of species to choose from
note: “galaxy rasboras” are NOT rasboras (rasboras belong to the boraras genus). Galaxy rasboras are actually a species of danio (other common name: celestial pearl danio) and are not tropical.

Snails:
under 10 gallons: nerites, ramshorns, horned nerites, and other small snails
10+ gallons: mystery snails & other snails listed above – mystery snails get quite large and have a bioload as large, if not larger, than your betta’s, so a mystery snail is more suited to living in a 10 gallon tank than in something smaller

shrimp:
not all bettas are “shrimp-safe”, meaning that if you want to try shrimp, you should be prepared for the worst case scenario: your betta eats them! if youre okay with the possibility that you may lose some shrimp, then i suggest starting out with a few shrimp.
Amano shrimp are larger, great for algae, should be kept in groups of at least 3-5
cherry shrimp (and other neocardinia sp.) are hardy, but small (most likely to be a tasty snack), colorful/many variations to choose from!
ghost shrimp can actually be nippy, so I’d recommend against them, even though they’re pretty cheap~
putting shrimp in a 2.5 gallon tank is doable, but a 5 gallon tank would be much better

otocinclus:
do best in groups, 3+ - they’re not traditional shoaling or schooling fish, but are still social
20+ gallons - otos are sensitive to water quality
if your tank doesn’t have a ton of algae for them to eat, then I suggest supplementing their diet with cucumbers/zucchini/algae wafers/etc.  

plecos:
tank size depends completely on the species your considering, there are a ton!!
I suggest supplementing their diet with cucumbers/zucchini/algae wafers/etc. 

ember tetras:
schooling, 6+ to a school – keeping the in schools smaller than this will stress out the fish
10+ gallons – they do ok in a 10, but would prefer a 15 (long) or a 20 gallon! 😊

Bad Tank Mates:
danios:
NOT tropical (max temp is like 74F), they’re schooling (6+ fish in a group), and are insanely active! this means they need at least a 20 gallon, and need to be with other cooler/temperate water fish like other danios and minnows :) Also, even if they could do ok in a heated 10 gallon, their active nature tends to stress bettas out :/

White Cloud Mountain Minnows (or any other minnows):
NOT tropical (max temp is around 74F), they’re schooling (6+ fish in a group), and are insanely active! They’re smaller, around 1”, but they need at least a 10 gallon, and should only be housed with other cooler/temperate water fish such as other danios and minnows :) Also, even if they could do ok in a heated 10 gallon, their active nature tends to stress bettas out :/

Neon Tetras:
they’re tropical, could do ok in a 10 (but would do better in a 20). Enough people have had fin-nipping/aggression issues that they’ve made this list. Not everyone who houses bettas with neon tetras will have these issues, but if there’s a possibility of putting your fish’s health and wellbeing at risk, why take the risk? There are plenty of other safer, more suitable tank mates out there 😊

all other tetras not mentioned:
tetras tend to be nippy in general (black skirt tetras, for example) and there are safer options out there; dont risk it! <3

mollies:
get too large to be housed safely with bettas
can be aggressive/attack/bully your betta

platies:
some peoples bettas seem to do ok, some do not, as they can be nippy or aggressive towards your betta

Guppies/endlers:
their flowing tails and bright colors also tend to bring out aggression, and since they have such pretty tails, they may be nipped at by your betta, or vice versa

/*Thanks for giving that book a read! If you feel as though I’ve provided inaccurate information, could make an improement, or have an addition to suggest, feel free to let me know! :3*/

HAPPY FISHKEEPING

Fun with marbled bettas

Zigra the day I brought him home:

Two weeks later:

Today:

Shots from the side don’t really do his colors justice because he’s all backlit.  Look at that blue!

His fins got a little tattered a few weeks ago because he became obsessed with his filter intake, but I’ve baffled it better and he’s kinda lost interest.  It’s not as tatted as it looks in some shots, though, because there is still a bit of clear edging to his fins.  It gets a little darker every day.

I think the best form of self-care is to refine your intake filter. You’ve already got one. It’s the part of you that receives input of what you wish you were, what you wish you had, and what you hope will come to be. Valuing growth, change, progression, and the further development of your soul is good, but this can so easily become a source of anxiety than of pleasure and it’s a fine line. It’s why you scroll on tumblr, it’s why you shop, it’s why you listen to others’ opinions, etc. It’s the tension of being hopeful for growth, but content with the process. When we’re discontent with the process, I think this is the indicator that we need to refine our intake filter. Weed out the excessive bits, and keep what’s worthy of your time, your effort, and your passion. I think this is what Paul was getting at in Philippians 4:8. I think he’s talking about what I consider the intake filter. Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. He’s pointing out that it isn’t a lack of desire, but a selectivity of what you desire that’s important. This is self-care: to listen and to watch, and then to choose what to keep and what to toss out. This is how you grow–you don’t grin and bear it all, you don’t blindly swallow everything that’s put before you. No, you taste and you see, what to keep and what to set free. If you’re discontent, if you’re insecure, if you’re bored, if you’re tired, it may because you’re letting too much in. Paul knows what’s up because he emphasizes that we have a way with our mind instead of it having its way with us. You can choose what to dwell on, you can choose what to strive for, you can be selective, and I think that’s the best form of self-care. 

L, thoughts of a therapist.

anonymous asked:

How do I take care of a baby betta??

Hey there. The answer is: with a lot of difficulty. Under no circumstances does this blog advocate the buying or selling or baby bettas as it is both inhumane and unethical (buying supports and enables this practice to continue).

We also do not support the breeding of pet store bettas (genetic issues). This article will concern the care of a singular betta fry. 

(Source)

Why We Don’t Support Buying/Selling of Baby Bettas

First, to clarify: Baby bettas are actually betta fry. Understand that the reason this blog considers the selling and buying of betta fry to be unethical is that they are, well, babies. The cup system used for most bettas is fine for the large part. It breaks down when you consider betta fry. The cup system is already difficult for adults. Adding tiny little creatures with a poor immune system, usually require live foods, and need a system almost completely free of ammonia (a fully cycled tank) in order to mature in a healthy way is utterly disgusting (on the part of pet stores and breeders).

So, what you have potentially acquired is a little being who is already going to have trouble living and may not be able to mature to a healthy size or have other issues due to its first few weeks or months of life in poor conditions. Keep that in mind as we move on. Many fry do not reach maturity due to these issues and will die. There is very little you can do to prevent this, the damage was done before you even got your new friend. 

Environment

Baby bettas actually need smaller environments. Larger ones can cause stress for various reasons. 2-3 gallons is usually the recommended size. The temperature also needs to be higher than that of an adult betta, 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius). 

You will also need a fully cycled tank. As mentioned previously, betta fry have weak immune systems. You MUST be on top of your water parameters and maintaining them at pristine. 

Filter

Depending on the size/age of your betta you may need to get a sponge filter. If it is small enough to be sucked into the filter, then you have an issue. Usually they are sold old enough that this is not a huge problem. You may simply need to wrap your filter intake with a microfilter sponge for a few weeks. 

Food

You should focus on feeding fry live foods. Daphnia is the best, but brine shrimp is also great. If you can’t do live food in a pinch, frozen will work, but you should try to get your hands on live (Brine Shrimp Direct is a great resource for this, as is this article on daphnia). 

The live food has a lot of fat and other things that will help betta fry thrive to maturity. 

Stress

Betta fry can become stressed very easily. Doing water changes is extremely difficult under these circumstances. Thus, if you need to do many water changes in order to maintain the cycle: you may kill the betta through stress. 

Try your best to avoid stressing the betta as much as possible. Be careful when handling it or removing it from the tank for maintenance. No loud noises around the tank, etc, etc.

Resources

Other Resources: [x] [x]

anonymous asked:

Do you have any recommendations for a five gallon tank with a betta? I've looked online and have heard a range of answers from a terta whisper 3i to a sponge flitter. My betta is a halfmoon and I would like something that doesn't obstruct his ability to swim. He's currently in an aqueon desktop tank with its original flitter but it's too strong. Thank you for your time!

You’re still going to get a variety of recommendations from me as well, haha, since a lot of it has to do with personal preference.

For example, a Tetra Whisper 3i can work – however, it’s the intake that’s a problem with those since they’re more open. The solution to that is to simply get aquarium sponge and cut it so that it fits over the intake as a pre-filter sponge. This not only prevents the fins from being sucked up and torn but may also help reduce the outflow. You can also use another piece of filter sponge in the filter itself near the outflow to obstruct the flow. Additionally, you can control the outflow with minor tweaks using valves.

And then sponge filters are great because they don’t run the risk of fins being torn and fish getting sucked into them. However, their output can be very strong at the surface. You may be able to adjust the flow with valves, but another handy thing is just to put tall decorations directly over the sponge filter to help disperse the surface agitation.

So, honestly, you’re going to develop your own preference the more filters you have experience with. I have a personal preference for HOB filters with pre-filter sponges. I currently use the Fluval AquaClear (with a pre-filter sponge I purchased separately) and like them as a whole because they are quiet, easy to maintain, and have a lot of room for various filter media.

It’s important to keep in mind that a large-finned betta is always going to struggle somewhat because those fins are a massive strain on most fish. In addition to reducing the strength of a filter, you’ll have to take other steps, such as having lots of soft plants for your betta to rest in, especially near the surface. Large-finned bettas are not only vulnerable to having their fins torn on whatever’s in the tank, but are prone to damaging their own fins through tail biting as well.

But, yes, you will need to do some tinkering with your filter and tank to make it easiest for your betta to swim. Reducing the flow through valves and aquarium sponges, and strategically using plant and decoration placement, as well as being mindful of where you actually put the filter, can make big differences.

Grandpa's revenge: Why doesn’t my Chevy Nova get 30 MPG anymore?!

(warning: long story)

This tale is from my grandfather, who was in his early 40’s in the 1970’s during the big gas crunch.

He was an upper-mid level employee at a fuel-service station. The way he tells it he wasn’t management but just a veteran employee.

So a new guy gets hired, we’ll call him Jason because I’ve never met a Jason I liked, who immediately claims to know how to do everything. He tells grandpa on day one that he already knows how to do everything. Jason mostly ignores grandpa’s training/orientation and claims to have a better, faster, or more efficient way to do everything. After two weeks of being on the job Jason offers to train the other guys—guys who have been working there for years—for only a pay raise. Management declines his offer. Jason manages to piss everybody off right quick.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

How do you keep khulis from going in the filter intake? I've heard horror stories and I don't want that to happen to my future loach babies

That mostly happens with HOB filters, where the salmon style swim up the outflow and into the box. I use a canister filter that has no such outflow for them to swim up, and the slits on the intake hose are much too small for any of my fat noodles.

If you have an HOB, just shove some cut to size filter sponge on top of the waterfall and hold it in place with rubber band. That’s how I used to slow down the output of my old 5g betta tank. Also prevents anything from swimming up

2

I just nearly saw one of my guppies die!!! 😦
Be aware any guppy/small fish owners who have a filter intake cover something like this!!!

It’s been in our tank for two months 100% fine. The cories and guppies would swim under it not getting pulled up at all. But today as I was sitting eating my breakfast in front of the fishtank, one of my more pregnant females. Got sucked up under that cover. Stuck as I watched her panic to get out then go limp as she couldn’t turn around. I had a burst of adrenalin and switched off the filter which allowed her to float back down. It was a very scary experience for me. So now we’ve taken the cover off (the tube in picture 2 has a solid base so it can’t suck anything into it.

2

Over the holidays i transplanted my components over to a new case. I wanted one that separated the power supply from the other hardware, had better frontal air intake (with a dust filter), and had a full size panel window. The Air 540 delivered on all of that. Behind the motherboard is an adjoining compartment where the power supply, extra hard drives, bluray drive and the bulk of the wires are stored. It was a tight fit and time consuming to install, but i got it all in there.

-Corsair Carbide Air 540 Case
-ASUS Z97-Deluxe Motherboard
-Intel Core i7-4790K overclocked to 4.8Ghz Cpu
-Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB 2400MHz CL10 Ram
-Nvidia GeForce Evga GTX 980 Ti Hybrid overclocked to 1410Mhz Videocard
-Samsung 1TB 850 Evo SSD
-Crucial MX100 512GB SSD
-Crucial C300 128GB SSD
-Western Digital 6TB Caviar Black HD
-Western Digital 2TB Caviar Black HD
-Western Digital 1TB Caviar Black HD (External Backup)
-Western Digital 3TB Red HD (External Backup)
-Western Digital 3TB Green HD
-Evga 1000w G2 Supernova Power Supply
-Corsair Hydro Series H105 Liquid Cpu Cooler
-LG Bluray Drive
-3 Corsair SP 120mm High Static Pressure Fans
-2 Corsair 140mm Fans
-Evga White Power Supply Cable Set Individually Sleeved

truebluedreamer  asked:

Wow! Your tank for your pretty fishies is amazing! Have any tips for a good tank environment? I just bought my beta a new tank and things, but I would like to simulate a realistic environment for him if possible

Thank you so much! After giving it some thought, I’ve made quite a long list. I consider making a tank look pretty to be a lovely addition to all the things you should consider a priority in making a tank environment safe and comfortable, so I have combined both health/safety and visual tips here. I don’t know how much you already know, so just in case (and for the benefit of anyone else who comes across this post), I’ve started at the beginning! So, here are the main things I consider important in a safe and naturalistic tank environment:



1. No sharp edges. Bettas have delicate fins that can very easily tear. The best method for making sure your decorations are safe for your fish is by running a piece of pantyhose over them. If the pantyhose snags, then your fish’s fins could tear on it as well. Just use sandpaper to sand down any sharp or rough spots.

2. Safe filter intake. If you have a filter that hangs on the back of the tank, the intake might be built in such a way that your fish’s fins could get sucked in. You can fix this with a prefilter sponge, or just by rubber-banding a piece of cloth mesh over it.

3. Sand substrate. While substrate is a personal choice, I am a huge advocate of sand because it’s much easier to plant plants in it and it is infinitely easier to clean. When you have gravel, all of the waste filters down through the gravel and sits in there forever. With sand, all the waste sits right on top so it’s easy to just siphon it off when you are doing a water change.

4. Heater and thermometer. This is super, super important! Bettas are tropical fish and prefer water between 73 and 80 degrees. The temperature of your tank will always be slightly lower than the air temperature without a heater, so unless you keep your house at 80 degrees your fish is probably a little chilly. I recommend this heater (In anything under 10 gallons you want the 25w version), which I’ve found to be strong and reliable (though I will caution that it tends to heat to a temperature a bit higher than what you set it at).

5. Water conditioner. Tap water contains minerals and metals that could harm your fish, so with every water change you will want to add water conditioner so the water is safe for your fish.

6. A cycled tank! This can get long and complicated, but it’s especially important for a new tank, so I will link you to a good resource here.

7. Nothing neon. Bettas can be stressed out by extremely bright colors, so it’s best to have decorations that mimic (or better yet, are) objects with natural tones like rocks, wood, and plants. Besides, coming from a visual standpoint, it’s more aesthetically pleasing when your betta is the brightest thing in the tank and nothing is competing for attention with super crazy colors.

8. Test your rocks. Some rocks may have minerals that can change the pH and/or hardness of your tank. If you are planning to put rocks in your tank, take an eyedropper with vinegar and drop the vinegar onto the rock (or if they are small rocks, submerge them in a container of vinegar). If they fizz or give off any bubbles upon contact with the vinegar, they are not safe for your aquarium! If they are not, they are safe to put in as soon as you’ve made sure they’re not too sharp.

9. Good places to hide. No animal feels comfortable in its environment if it doesn’t have a safe spot to hide where no one can see it. A rock or wooden cave or a particularly dense area of plants are good things to add to make your fish more comfortable.

10. Places to sit near the surface. Bettas are labyrinth fish, which means they need to breathe air at the surface. When they are resting, they often like to do so near the surface so they don’t have to swim all the way up and down for air. I give my fish spots to sit by having particularly tall pieces of wood and plants, but some people do this by adding a floating betta log (you can find them at most big box pet stores) or a plastic leaf attached to a suction cup that can be stuck onto the side of the tank nearer to the surface.

11. Driftwood. Mopani driftwood and malaysian driftwood are your best options- always buy wood sold specifically for aquariums, because putting any other kind of wood in your tank can put nasty things in it if you don’t know where it comes from. It always helps to boil the wood first to double check that it’s safe and to help it sink better. When you add wood to your aquarium, it may turn the water brown. Don’t worry- it’s just releasing tannins, which are actually beneficial for your fish. Some people add tannins deliberately by putting indian almond leaves in their tank, which really help to reduce stress in fish.

12. Lighting. A nicely lit tank looks lovely and provides light for your plants. If you aren’t interested in going out and buying a tank hood that includes a light, just get a clamp lamp and clip it on to your tank or something nearby (make sure that you always have some kind of cover on the tank, though, as bettas can jump out!). Look for a bulb that advertises as being full-spectrum (meaning it mimics the full light spectrum of natural daylight), somewhere between 5000-7000k, and 2 watts per gallon of your tank (so in a 10-gallon tank you want at least a 20 watt light). These specifications are the ideal ones for growing plants. Once you have your lighting, I’d personally also recommend investing in a light timer. Fish have a day and night cycle and if you leave your lights on too long you will get algae growth, so setting up a timer scheduled to turn your tank light on for 6-8 hours per day will save you the trouble of having to turn it on and off at the proper times yourself.

13. Low-tech plants! I use a very basic fertilizer in my tank, but it’s possible to grow plants perfectly well without even bothering with that- they’ll just grow a little slower. Some great plants for beginning setups include: Amazon sword, anubias, cryptocorynes, java moss, and java fern. A couple of my favorites which are doing well in my setup are hygrophila corymbosa, ludwigia repens. Keep in mind that plants that are grown out of water (which is the case for most plants in big box pet stores and some online plant stores) will start dying when you put them in water. They’ll eventually bounce back from this and put out new leaves! Plant maintenance is easy- just pull off dead and dying leaves so they don’t rot and trim plants if you want them shorter.

14. A well-rounded and healthy diet. Flake food and anything freeze dried is not good for bettas as they very easily bloat. It’s best to feed them pellet food like Omega One Betta Buffet pellets, and it’s even better to occasionally supplement this diet with treats of frozen blood worms, brine shrimp, or mysis shrimp.

Phew. I think that’s everything I’ve got! Feel free to message me more if you have questions or need clarification; I am more than happy to help out!

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The water is finally clearing up… literally the second day we had the aquarium the water became really murky (see first photo) and now it’s day 4 and It’s finally looking clearer… Although the water is tinted yellow from the mobani wood piece we have in there now. We also put a bio sponge around the filter intake so that when we do replenish the school fish, they won’t get dangerously sucked in. There isn’t a whole lot showing up on the titration slip so we’re not even half way done cycling the tank. The lobster has been hiding for a few days now, we were worried he was trying to molt, but he came out last night for a little adventure, so we’re thinking he’s just adjusting to the new decorations. Aquariums are super stressful… my poor boyfriend was having trouble sleeping because he was so worried the lobster would die.