I have just joined the forum as I am new to aquariums and can definitely benefit from your collective experience!
I started with an impulse buy of a betta last autumn. Now, I didn't just get a fish in a cup, but it was close. I have a 3 gallon fish bowl with a heater and I had it set up for a couple of days to make sure I had all my stuff (dechlorinator, temp steady, etc). Alfred, my crown tail came to the office after that. He seems very happy, blowing bubble nests and exploring his environment. I do about 20% water changes around twice a week, and about a 50% change once a week or so to clean his gravel and change around his bowl. I have a few different ornaments and fake plants for him and I like to keep things fresh. I found that if I didn't mix it up a bit, he took to hiding out in his temple and never coming out except to eat. As long as I change things around, he stays very active and keeps on blowing bubbles.
My son wanted a betta too and without talking to me or doing any research, my husband bought him one of those silly little 1/2 gallon betta kits and a gorgeous crown tail (my son named him Jupiter) in December. He also bought be a 20 gallon long tank set up. So, though I was concerned about Jupiter, I figured I could help my son be very regular on the water maintenance and as soon as my tank cycled, we could move him into it. Sadly, Jupiter is now ill, but I will ask about that in the right forum.
Meanwhile, my tank is cycling, slowly but surely. I am trying not to get impatient as my nitrite levels remain very high, though my ammonia levels seem to be consistently low. I put a small capful of ammonia in the tank every two days, and check my levels on the days in between. My pH is sitting at a steady 7.0, my ammonia goes between 1.2 and 0.1 (it has stayed steady at 0.1 since Jan 31), but my nitrites are at 3.3 and holding. Slow and steady wins the race, right? *sigh* Temp is steady at 26/27 degrees.
Oh, and I have some lovely looking plants, though I did a poor job of layering in retrospect. I have java fern and java moss on my bog wood. Some cabomba and something else I have forgotten the name of. And a wee bit of frog bit on the surface. The fern and moss have taken well, but the cabomba and the other one were planted as single stems and every now and then they seem to come loose and need replanting.
What else? Filter is a marineland penguin biowheel 200. Have a pair of t5 ho
bulbs for good plant lighting. Had a bit of brown algae, but I wiped the rocks and heater (where it was concentrated) and it seems to have gone away. Oh, but I just noticed that my heater is turning bright green since last night... What's that?
Looking forward to 'meeting' you!