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Old 05-17-2006, 02:49 PM   #1
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Setting up a 5.5 gallon for a Betta

I have a 5.5 gallon tank that I want to set up as a betta tank. I'd like to get a crowntail, but I can't get them locally.

I have a few questions, so I'll just list them in numerical fashion.....

1) is a standard hood/light fixture with one of those screw in compact neons good enough lighting for both the betta, and any live plants I add to the tank.

2) I heard that bettas like bamboo plants, and enjoy swimming in the roots. Is there some kind of special bamboo that I need to buy, or will something like they sell at Meijer or Wal-Mart be sufficent. Also, do I plant it in the substrate, or do I let it float or suspend it somehow

3) what types of plants would be best for a betta tank.

4) what is typically the best substrate to go with for both the betta and live plants

5) where is the best place online to buy quality crowntails at a reasonable price (including shipping).

For filtration I was thinking of using the extra aqua-tech 5 - 15 power filter I have, but if there is something better I am open to suggestions there as well.

For decoration, I had been considering a small piece of drifwood to compliment the plants, but I want to try to stick with something that will be both safe and comfortable for my betta.

Since I'm going to be putting the tank together slowly due to a limited budget, I'd like to keep costs to a minimum, but I'm willing to spend more for quality over affordability.

Thank you in advance for any and all advice.
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Old 05-17-2006, 03:02 PM   #2
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I will answer what I feel I can based on my knowledge

1) It will be enough light for the betta, the types of plants you want to grow is based more on wpg...how many watts is the light?

The drifwood is fine for decoration...what you want to avoid is anything too jagged that will tear the delicate fins.
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Old 05-17-2006, 03:14 PM   #3
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The compact neon I have (and the only one I've seen for sale near me) is a 10watt.

I'm not sure how much info you need but the full stats are:

120v~60Hz 10W
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Old 05-17-2006, 03:17 PM   #4
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A sponge filter is the best for a betta tank. I also run mine through a gang valve to further reduce the current. A 25-watt heater is a good idea too.

The only plant that I've read that is too rough for a betta is an aponogeton (bulb) plant.

For your light/substrate questions, read the stickies at the top of the Planted Tank forum. That will get you off to a good start. There are also some excellent planted tank articles in the Articles section.

You could look here for crowntail bettas: http://www.ibcbettas.org/members_sites.htm

I have browsed this site - there are a lot of good links here - but shipping, packing, etc. can get costly. The bettas are going to be priced much higher than your lfs, and if you only want a male betta, you may have to pay a "split pair" fee.
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Old 05-17-2006, 05:33 PM   #5
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Re: Setting up a 5.5 gallon for a Betta

1) I've never seen a standard hood/light fixture for anything smaller than a 10 gal. I use a small 10 W fluorescent under-kitchen-cabinet fixture to illuminate my 2.5 gal betta tank. It's mounted some distance away from the tank so I don't get an explosion of algae. It's on a timer so that the betta and the plants get about 8 hours of light per day.

2) Bamboo isn't a true aquatic plant, but cuttings available at WalMart and other places will stay green for a few weeks - just jab it into the substrate.

3) Java fern and Java moss are easy to grow, hard to kill plants that my betta likes to rest upon. Both of these plants can be free-floating, stuck into the substrate, or anchored to something with cotton thread. .

4) For the plants I mentioned, plain old aquarium gravel works fine.

5) I bought my betta at a local fish club auction. Do a google search for clubs in your area - you get great deals, and get to speak with the breeders themselves.

6)A cheap sponge filter or corner filter driven with a small air pump is best for bettas because they don't like currents.

7) Decorations must be smooth. Bettas are clumsy swimmers and easily get their delicate fins hung up on protruding objects. Driftwood would be great if you round off all the edges first. Big, round, smooth river stones work well too.

8) The filter and air pump run a few bucks each at Big Als and 5 lbs of aquarium gravel is about 5 bucks. Smooth stones are probably plentiful in the rivers and lakes where you live - be sure to boil them first to kill any nasty microbes.

HTH
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Old 05-17-2006, 08:20 PM   #6
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All the advice has been both helpfull and appreciated.
I have a piece of driftwood coming soon for the tank, now I just need to decide on a substrate and find a source for the plants.

By the time I have the tank ready and fully cycled, the very helpful and polite AA memeber I'm getting the driftwood from should have some CT for me.

I'm really starting to like it here, everyone is helpful and knowledgable. Which makes it much easier for me to avoid the mistakes my enthusiasm would otherwise have me blowing right by withtout even realizing I've made one.

Thank you AA founder, thank you AA memebers and thank you Laser for bringing me in.

Oh, another quick question. I had considered painting the back of the tank like LoneWolf has done (couldn't find the threads but I know they're here). Would that be harmful to the betta in any way?

Also I like the idea of using tahitian moon sand, and was wondering if the darkness of the substrate would affect the fish.

Edit: poked around a bit on google, and found a fish club in my city, but I couldn't find anything listed about auctions. I'll look into it further and inquire with the club itself.

Second Edit: took a picture of the tank to show you the light fixture, it is an incandecent I bought at Wal-Mart, but I like to use the CN lights.

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Old 05-17-2006, 11:20 PM   #7
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Tahitian moon sand would be fine. Fish generally like darker substrates.

Here are some links for the equipment I'm using for my 5.5 gallon betta tank.

Glass Versa Top

Freshwater Aqualight

I only use one bulb in this fixture. I think both together would be too bright for a betta. I use CO2 and all the plants are outgrowing the tank.
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Old 05-17-2006, 11:38 PM   #8
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I'll have to make room in the budget for that aqualight.

Do you know if they make those nifty moon light bulbs for that?
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Old 05-17-2006, 11:59 PM   #9
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I think you would like the light that I linked. I first had a hood-light combination that was similar to your picture on my tank. It was an 8 watt, normal output fluorescent light. You could barely tell when that light was on! 8O

I actually tried each Coralife fixture on that page that I linked. I bought one mini freshwater (two 9-watt, 6700K bulbs) and one mini aqualight (one 9-watt actinic and one 9-watt, 10000K bulb). I have two 5.5 gallon betta tanks so I bought each light. I ended up using just one 9-watt, 6700K bulb in the fixture for both tanks. Since the freshwater light came with two 6700K bulbs, I kept one bulb in the fixture and just snapped out the actinic and 10000K bulb in the other fixture and put the second 6700K bulb from the first fixture in. The hoods themselves are identical. I gave the actinic bulb and the 10000K bulb to a friend with a 10 gallon SW tank.

The actinic and 10000K combo is usually meant for SW. Some people do run actinics in FW to bring out the color of fish but it won't do much good for FW plants. I preferred the color of the 6700K bulb to the 10000K bulb. The 6700K was warmer and the 10000K was brighter white. I thought the 6700K enhanced the betta's, and the plants', colors better. In the tank that was running the 10000K for awhile, I had algae. I had the same CO2 system, the same foods, fertilizers, and water change schedule, and the tank with the 10000K bulb got more algae. I removed the actinic first, and a few weeks later, changed the 10000K out for the 6700K. The algae then went away quickly.

I don't think that fixture comes with a moonlight. The only bulbs available for it are shown below the picture - the actinic, 10000K, and 6700K.
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Old 05-18-2006, 12:08 AM   #10
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I just thought a moon light would be cool, but I don't really need one.

The only thing I'm really confused on now is the CO2 system. I've never set one up, so I have no idea what is involved or what I need. Or if one is even necesary. Though I would assume that if I'm going to have plants it would be a good idea if I plan on keeping them.
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Old 05-18-2006, 03:22 AM   #11
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If you use the light I have, with just the one bulb you probably will be borderline-CO2. You may not need it to combat algae but the plants will still benefit.

You could easily do a DIY CO2 system or use the Hagen system. I use the Hagen system, but not the ladder - I put the output line right into a Kordon airstone.

Hagen system: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Produc...&N=2004+113779

You could use Flourish Excel instead in a small tank. It is not CO2 but it is a carbon source. I would caution, though, that IME, some bettas appear to be sensitive to it. I don't pour it directly into the tank. I dissolve some in a cup of tank water first.

Excel: http://www.drsfostersmith.com/Produc...&N=2004+113779
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Old 05-18-2006, 04:34 AM   #12
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All the advice has given me a pretty good idea of what I'll need to aquire to set this up.
Now to just plan ahead a bit and figure my overall costs.

Thanks all!
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