Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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Karmarules 02-26-2008 08:57 AM

Newbie here
Hey guys, my name is Jenn, and I just got a 2.5 gallon tank from a friend of mine. I have nothing for it other than the pump, and some filters. A friend of mine suggested I come to this site, for advice first, so I can learn as much as I can before I get my first fish.
With that said, here is what I've learn so far. I've learned that cycling the tank is good for the fish, but I am still unclear as to what it does exactly, or how it helps the fish. But that is what I am doing with my tank, right now.
My kids have hearts set on a Betta, I think I would like to have some real plants too. I do plan to upgrade to a bigger tank, but I don't want to spend the kind of money it takes to upgrade, before I know what I am doing.
So any suggestions on what I can get for my 2.5 gallon tank, as far as live plants, fishes, and also different kinds of test kids, and water softeners, ect. ect, and basically anything else I will need to make my tank a comfortable home for a fish.

tran2255 02-26-2008 09:52 AM

Hey jenn. congrats on starting your first tank. I'm sure you and you're kids will find it a rewarding hobby. Anyways, for your betta, i suggest you get a heater. bettas are tropical fish and require water temps around 72-80 F. However, if you dont want the hassle just put it in a warm room, since bettas are relatively hardy. As with chemicals and test kits, you MUST get a water conditioner and pH adjuster. You can buy a 3-in-1 at wal-mart for like $5 that does all your water conditioning needs (its by wardley's if you wanna get it). You MUST get an ammonia test kits if you dont want your fish dying within a week, again cheap ($6-$10), and an nitrite nitrate tester later on. your tank is probably only big enough for your betta, so dont put anymore fish in there or risk overcrowding. Bettas dont like company anyways as they are very territorial animals. As for plants, any are fine.

Karmarules 02-26-2008 11:06 AM

Thanks for the advice. I want to gte a heater for sure. I would also like to get lots of decals, It is a small tank, but I've already got my eye on a bigger one. I've decided against using real plants, for now. I might try to talk my kids out of the betta, and into something else. but either way I know it will be an exciting adventure for us all.

willow 02-26-2008 12:43 PM

hello and welcome aboard,
well done to start to find stuff out before you begin,
it saves heartache for you and the little ones :)
what size larger tank are you thinking of ?
it would benifit you to get the largest that you can afford
and have the room for.
I must say that if you decide on a comunity tank a Betta fish
is better on his own.

Flashygrrl 02-26-2008 05:12 PM

Re: congrats
Just a few things...

Around here we all suggest getting the liquid master kit from API or Red Sea, test strips usually aren't worth the few bucks you spend on them and if you plan on getting a bigger tank later on it will be very useful. You don't always need a pH adjuster, in fact it can cause more problems than it's worth. Generally the only chemical you should be adding is a little bit of water conditioner (unless you have an illness that needs meds). Buy quality right off the bat and have it last longer and work better. Otherwise you just have to replace it or throw it away anyways when it doesn't work or causes harm.

And welcome to FishForum! You're sure to learn a LOT! :wave:

SKAustin 02-26-2008 05:51 PM

Please do not use chemical buffers. There are natural ways to raise and lower your ph. I recommend you draw up a glass of your tapwater, let it sit out for 24 hours, then test the water for ph. (While youre at it, and if you have the kits available, you should test your tap for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, and phosphates. It would behoove you to know what your tapwater tests at so you know where youre starting from.) After youve set up the tank, test the ph again. Research the types of fish you wish to keep, and see where your ph should be. If your tank's ph is higher then ideal, driftwood or bogwood will help naturally buffer the ph down. If the tank ph is high, crushed coral or seashells will help buffer the ph up.

chemical buffers can adversly affect the Kh (carbonate hardness) of the water which can result in what is called a Ph crash.

scottysgirl 02-26-2008 06:04 PM

Just want to second the two people's opinions above me. Please do not buy any pH adjuster, I really wish people would stop telling others to do this. It is asking for disaster. If all you want to keep is a betta (which is really all you can keep in that size tank) chances are you won't need to change your tap at all. Definitely think about getting a liquid test kit, I know it is expensive but it is worth it. Also try and get a little heater for your tank. Fish stores usually sell a really small heater that is just a few watts. Sounds like you're off to a good start, keep asking questions.

Titan416 02-26-2008 08:08 PM

I am new to owning fish as well and have yet to setup, but I have been researching a lot about Bettas for the last couple weeks.

Buy a Betta from a Betta breeder. Don't buy it from a pet store. The ones in pet shops are usually 1-2 years old and many have been shipped long distances and are past their prime. Many have Veil Tail (a non desired tail from mutation). They are still good fish, but to make sure you get a healthy Betta that will thrive in proper conditions, go to a breeder.

Buy a heater for your tank, and set it to mid to high 70's. In the 80's is fine, but to hot is not good for the Betta unless it's sick and even then it must be controlled.

Use real plants or silk plants. Plastic plants will, in many cases, rip up the fins of your Betta.

Avoid Flake food. Lots of Flake food is labeled as "for Bettas", but it's just a way to make money. Some breeders prefer Small pellets and then every three days some frozen bloodworms. It helps their digestion to have a variety of food.

Make sure your Aquarium has a top, some Bettas can jump up to 3-4 inches out of the water.

Don't mix Male Bettas. You can keep Female Bettas in groups of 3 or more (Sororities) but they should have been together since youth, or it's hard for them to get along.

Karmarules 02-29-2008 02:45 AM

Thanks everyone, I will pick up a heater today, and my kids and I are going to seek out a betta fish, I also thought about getting a few snails. I've been doing a lot of reading and I think I am ready.
As for the tank I want to get, it is a 20gallon tank from walmart, it costs like $100 but it is a starter kit.

Flashygrrl 02-29-2008 08:06 AM

Just a few suggestions (you probably already read all this but just wanna make sure the bases are covered):

When you get your tank kit, also pick up the API freshwater master test kit. It's a few more bucks but it's worth it.

Get your tank up and running, heater and all and let it run for a couple days.

Now, here you have two options.

1) Let the tank run for about a month with no fish in it, every couple days throwing in a few flakes of food and testing the water for ammonia, nitrites, and nitrate. You'll see the ammonia start first, then the nitrites, and then finally the nitrates. When your ammonia and nitrites go back down to zero your tank is safe for a few new occupants.

2) Since your getting a 20 gallon it's probable a Betta you pick out could survive the cycle (unless he comes from a cup in Wal-Mart which we strongly discourage). However, you cannot be two weeks into the cycle and find a Betta and put him in there then. The ammonia will kill him. It's important to test the water and do small water changes (probably 15% every few days). You need to decide which method you will use before set up.

In a 20 gallon you could also have a few Cory Catfish. Those do best in groups and are pretty funny to watch. Add the Betta first, then the snails and decide which cories you want (if you're gonna get them), then add them a couple at a time with about a week in between, otherwise the bioload is too much at once.

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