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This is for my cousin, not me, as I always keep the tank heated before putting my bettas in. I'm visiting my cousin (my 7 year old cousin) and his betta is extremely sluggish. He has a filter, but no heater. My aunt and uncle keep their house cold, even if the upstairs is slightly warmer.

My question is how would you add a heater to the tank? I want to buy him one while I'm here, but I don't want to kill his fish with a sudden temperature spike. It's a 2 gallon tank (told them to get a 5 gallon, but you know) with plain gravel and anarchis planted in it. There's also 2 cherry shrimp in there (also advised against that).

Help?
 

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If the house is always cold you should do a 10 watts per a gallon as the minimum so the heater can keep up with temps easier.
Hydro Theo Adjustable 25 watt heaters is one of the most recommended heaters by betta owners. Its compact, can adjust temp, and won't over heat like some pre-set heaters or 'betta heaters'. I'd recommend getting the Hydro Theo.
You can acclimate the fish like a new fish to a warm tank (coming from a cold store cup).
Remove the betta and live plants, turn off filter, do a large water change (75%+)and add new water in that is at warm temp 78-82F, restart filter. Adjust dial to 78-82F and put the heater in the tank. Wait 15 minutes for heart to acclimate to water, then plug it in. Put betta and plants in either a plastic cup or zip style bag (or pet store fish bag if you have) and float them on the tank. Add a little bit of tank water every 5 minutes of so. After an hour release betta and put plants back in and you're done. Check thermometer temperature after another hour to ensure it its keeping proepr temp.

I recommend the large water change and adding new water to betas holding cup/bag water gradually as I'd guessing the cousin doesn't do water changes. Unless the tank is THICKLY planted with healthy anacharis there will be nitrates.
 
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