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Over the Christmas break my buddy has me watching his Betta. I do not think I've ever put a fish into an unplanted, uncycled tank in my life. When I saw his setup, I felt really out of sorts. I guess I am looking for some advice.

Basically what I'm dealing with is a 1g bowl with no heater. First thing I did was put my 25w heater in there, because the ambient temp in my house is 68F. I know this causes big temp swings in a 1g, but it's better than the thing freezing to death. Second, I test for ammonia and sure enough, 0.5ppm. He told me he usually changes the water 100% (aged and declor'd) every 4-5 days. Based on what I'm seeing, that is not nearly enough.

Should I be testing for ammonia daily, or just changing 50-100% daily, etc.? This is a little crazy to me. I am half-tempted to go out and buy a bigger tank and filter, but it's not like I have time to cycle it, and it's not my fish.

At the risk of beating a dead horse, it really sucks that pet stores sell people fish without explaining their requirements. I guess if they did that, they would sell less fish. People who let customers believe a betta should live in 1 gallon bowl drive me nuts. Would you put a full-grown pearl gourami into a 5g, uncycled tank? Bettas really get the shaft in the Anabantoidei suborder.

*sigh*
 

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The betta should actually be fine at 68F so you can remove the heater. It sounds like your friends betta is much better off than most. I mean the typical betta tank is less than 1/2 gallon, and the owner probably never changes the water, just tops it up with chlorinated tap water when it gets low. Since there is no filter, there's not much hope for cycling the tank. Just imagine what those bettas at walmart are experiencing, in probably 100 ml of water, that hasn't been changed in weeks.

What you could do for your friends betta, would be to get a few plants for the tank-they will absorb the ammonia and make that betta much happier, and maybe add small desk lamp from the thrift store with a screw in LED or CFL to put over it. Good plant choices would be dwarf water lettuce, frogbit, hornwort, various Moss sp., crypts, anubias.
 

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How long are you supposed to watch the betta for?

At 68 degrees, the betta will be slightly lethargic. Keep the temperature about 76-78 degrees

What kind of food did your buddy give you to feed the betta?

Sounds like you are somewhat familiar with fish, correct?

You could just feed it less than normal. Bettas can go without food for at least 1-2 weeks.

Just be careful you don't cook the fish. 25W heaters can heat up a 1 gallon bowl quite a bit.

Also throw something on top of the bowl just in case the betta tries to make an escape.
 

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^what MSG said

I would also add some plants in to help keep the toxins down.

I have my betta currently in a 1/2 gallon, heated with a 25w adjustable heater (which works quite well) It's got enough plants in there that i wont ever have to change the water (but I still do >.>)

Being on the higher end of the thermometer of tropical fish, Bettas are happy in temperatures from the mid 70-80F, providing the temperature is constant :3

goodluck!
 

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ohhhh pretty

I LOOOVVVVEEEE those fish. :flick:
As a proud man living in ashburn VA, it excites me to know there are other betta lovers out there. Definitely keep the tank at 68 degrees, feed it but they are a resilient little fish. So cute.
Interested in a fish date?

We can meet for coffee and bring our mini fish bowls and have our fish meet.
 

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The betta spledens you see today is a manmade fish. at 68F (water will be colder) there will be problems such as bloat and constipation. immune system will drop and metabolism will slow down.
Just because you can keep this species in 66F water you definitely should not. Betta fish despite their reputation in your lfs is a lively fish that loves to zip from one end of the tank to another...

This is a video of mine when he was younger. He's still just as active despite being in a half gallon right now. but the size really doesnt do him justice.

http://i7.photobucket.com/albums/y256/aoshiryu/0fc1e24f.mp4
 

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I broke down my tanks when we moved, otherwise I could instant-cycle a small tank for the betta and/or add plants. My old main tank was a 40g breeder with pressurized c02, the works. I was moving away from pressurized C02 though. Like Tom Barr says, I am one of those people who claimed they want high growth and then complain at all the work it causes. C'est la vie.

In any case, I have been told (and believe) that ammonia levels above 0.0ppm are unacceptable for any wildlife... and for that reason I do not understand why a betta can be kept in an uncycled tank with no plants. Just how I'm wired I guess. :/
 

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I broke down my tanks when we moved, otherwise I could instant-cycle a small tank for the betta and/or add plants. My old main tank was a 40g breeder with pressurized c02, the works. I was moving away from pressurized C02 though. Like Tom Barr says, I am one of those people who claimed they want high growth and then complain at all the work it causes. C'est la vie.

In any case, I have been told (and believe) that ammonia levels above 0.0ppm are unacceptable for any wildlife... and for that reason I do not understand why a betta can be kept in an uncycled tank with no plants. Just how I'm wired I guess. :/

At my brothers house when he changes the water for his betta, he does straight tap water 100% change! I know this is the wrong way of doing things but his betta has been living for almost 2 years now so maybe he's lucky? idk
 

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When I first started keeping fish I kept bettas in unfiltered, heated, 2.5g tanks. I did 100% water changes every few days. Basically when I'd get a fish what I would do is change the water, then test it each day. On the day I saw an ammonia reading - say day 5 - I would then know to do changes every 4 days to keep ammonia at 0. It would differ for each fish. So I'd scoop him up into the cup he came with, dump out the water, add new dechlored water at about the same temp as the old, and add him back in. I kept them like this for a few years before I finally decided to take the step into cycled tanks. This is actually pretty common in betta keeping - your buddy just needs to change the water more often.
 

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what a lovely fish you have got Nice choice Plants add beauty to your tank You must put some plants in your tank And try to change water after every few days But keep in mind that the temperature of new water and the old one must be almost same
 

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Maybe show your friend the ammonia test and explain to him what it means and offer to go to the store with him to get a better setup? Do you have a running tank? If so you could put some filter media into the new filter to cycle it; I pulled a small filter pad from my large tank when I got my betta and it cycled his tank instantly. Good job of adding the heater at least; bettas do best in mid -high 70s. I keep mine at 78 and he seems happy (although he has a 10 gal to himself lol). How is the betta acting? I imagine he might not have enough room to really show his personality, maybe explain to your friend that the fish will be more fun to watch when it has more room to move. In the meantime, I'd do a 50% change every day or two.
 

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Hooboy. You can stop by bettafish.com for a lot more detailed information but I'll hit a quick rundown.

Bettas are tropical fish. The normal water temp range should be between 76-82 degrees. Under that and they're prone to digestive problems and fin rot.

Bettas are air-breathing fish, so they need access to the surface of the tank. If the tank is full to the brim with a lid, lower the water level a bit. If there is no lid, keep in mind that bettas can jump (although non-plakat males will jump least) and it's not unusual for them to go up and over the side of an uncovered tank.

Bettas do best with a high-quality protein-based pellet food, like New Life Spectrum.

Bettas are prone to health problems when in an ammonia-rich environment. Anything higher than 0.25 is bad news.

A single betta does well in a 2-5 gallon tank with heat and filtration, once cycled. A cycled tank of this size shouldn't need more than a 25% water change every week or so. Smaller cubes or 1 gallons will require a change daily or almost daily.

Bettas, like nearly all other fish, cannot tolerate chlorine. Water conditioner should be used with every water change. Also, a water treatment like Prime will help detoxify ammonia, which can help in those very small tanks.

Any other questions, let me know.
 
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