Heater and Filter questions??
I know I might soung like a... how do you want to say it... Noob? asking this, but do you really need a filter in a 1.5 gallon tank? I have an aeration tube, (you put a little bubble stone in it, which is connected to a piece of tubing, the other end is connected to, duh, the pump), but what is that really doing? I know it's helping with my O2 levels, and allowing my Betta to get more air.
Anyways. As for the heater. I have two questions. What is a heater, that works well, and can be used in a 1.5 gallon tank, that you reccomend, and have used before? Second, is it even okay to use a heater in a 1.5 gallon tank?
I'm sorry for being so naive when it comes to fish care, but I've had two bettas in the past that were healthy, and I never had a fliter or heater on either one of them, and both lived in the same tank. So are they really necessary?
That depends, are you willing to do a 3 quart water change on a daily basis? With a 1.5 gallon tank finding a suitable filter will be difficult, the tank is just physically so small that getting a filter in will be difficult. Some sort of water filtration is always preferable for a fish but in your situation you may just have to do water changes. A small sponge filter might fit though, and would be run from your existing air pump. Foam Aquarium Biological Filters: Oxygen Plus Bio-Filter 11
Your air stone is not really doing a whole lot for your betta. They're fish from warm climates adapted to living in stagnant low oxygen water. They have a labarynth organ that give them the ability to breath air directly. That doesn't need to be their only source of oxygen but unless you have them in a bowl with only a tiny patch of water exposed to the air they should be fine.
Bettas are tropical warm water fish, in fact they're adjusted to live in much warmer waters than even most tropicals are. A heater is likely necessary to keep the water's temperature up. A heater like: Aquarium Heaters & Temperature Control: Marineland Shatterproof Heater and a simple thermometer should be in the tank in order to keep the temperature up.
I'd also recommend getting rid of the 1.5 gallon tank and moving up to a 2.5 or 5 gallon tank. With more room your betta will be happier, the aquarium more stable, and in general things will improve. You can get a tank that size for about ten bucks at most any pet shop.
For such a small tank the water will become polluted quickly, and the natural biological filtration will be minamal. A long time ago I had a filter that was a box about the size and shape of a 4oz. stick of butter in my goldfish bowl. It had a replaceable carbon cartrage and a sponge, it ran off a very small air pump, and had suction cups to stick to the side of the bowl. somthing like this would be better than a sponge filter because in a small tank sponge filters can make quite alot of water movment and surface agitation = bad for betta. keep in mind, if you add a filter you will still need to do large and frequent water changes until the filter has matured, at least a few weeks. once matured you may cut back to say twice a week IMO. for comparison sake I have a betta all by himself in a 5.5 gallon. My filter is a whisper 10 however I have choked the intake to reduce the flow. I change the water every other week when I do all my tanks, but for this paticular tank I could get by with less. you see with a larger tank not only is there more water to dilute the pollutants, but there is more oppertuniety for "natural" filtration to occour so its a double plus.
Only problem with a filter is, is I'm afraid he's going to get sucked up in it. And yes, I know I'm paranoid, but I love my Betta.
Most filters I've seen are set so that very few things can get inside of them other than what's meant to. But they're right, a bigger tank would be better for your Betta. I have one in a 3 gal tank now and another one in a 10 gal. Both are much happier. I'd recommend moving it to a bigger tank when you can along with adding a heater and a filter of some sort. Just my advice. I'm kinda new to it to. I've only had my first one for about 3 months (just got moved to the 10 gal tank) and my newest one for less than a week (3 gal tank).
The intake strainer on most filters will keep your betta from being sucked up to it. If you're really paranoid the sponge filter I suggested won't have enough grunt to suck the betta to it guaranteed.
It sounds like you have an undergravel filter in your tank. Is there a plastic slotted plate in the bottom of the tank, under your gravel, with a plastic tube sticking out of it? Most of the small aquarium kits come with this kind of undergravel filter. They actually aren't a terrible form of filtration. How it works: the air stone in the bottom of the tube has bubbles coming out of it, which rise up the tube. This creates a current of water up the tube as the air pushes the water upwards. This water has to be replaced, so water gets sucked down through the gravel and into the filter plate beneath. Water moving through the gravel brings oxygen to the bacteria living in your gravel so that they can process the ammonia and nitrite in your water that the fish has created. Undergravel filters are decent biological filters (which is the most important type of filtration) but don't do much in terms of mechanical filtration (i.e. removing particles of fish poo and other detritus from your water). I don't think you really need to add another filter to a tank that small.
As for a heater - you're really not going to be able to get one for a tank that small. In a tank of only 1.5 gallons, the water can change temperatures very rapidly. A heater is likely only going to make these fluctuations worse. As others have recommended, getting at least a 2.5 gallon tank will allow you to have a much more stable environment for your fish that can be kept at the proper temperature.
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