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Stop with Tiny Bowls!

I don't care what petstores, backyard breeders or whoever tells you that a betta can live a content and healthy life in a tiny unheated bowl. Bettas are hardy fish and there have been cases where they live out their entire existence in these setups but there also thousands of cases where the fish perishes premature of their full lifespan. Do you keep a dog in a closet? So why do we keep bettas in a tiny bowls that fall short of their needs? If you can't afford a proper setup, don't get a fish, just like if you can't afford to feed or have a yard for your dog, its not right or humane to keep them in a tiny room all day with their poop/pee everywhere. Just because a fish cannot cry, scream or tell you its in pain, it does not mean they don't suffer. So please, no more tiny glass bowls the size of my palm, the min. size is a heated 1 gallon.

PROPER BETTA SETUP

Many people do not realize that if your setup is perhaps the number one deciding factor of your betta's longevity and health. Bettas are cold blooded and completely submersed in their enviroment making them very vurneable to enivromental inadequacy. A proper setup can prevent 90% of diseases, prevent your betta from suffering and letting it live to its full lifespan.

Must haves

You will need around $40-50 for a basic setup, bare min. or you will have a sick fish

1. A 1 gallon can work given you find a heater and change it regularly. However, a tank at least 2.5 gallons to 10 gallons (preferable with a lid or you will need to make some sort of covering!) is preferred. Usually range around $20. 2.5 gallon is the smallest size for a adjustable heater to work efficiently and small enough to fit almost anywhere. Possible candidates: 2.5 gallon Basic Marineland or Topfin 10 gallon Basic, for basic tanks, the tanks are similar in price regardless of size. Remember to change the water on time!

2. A adjustable heater, betta's health and wellbeing are extremely dependent on temperature. Most cost around $20 or less. A betta can be kept between 76F-84F with the best temperature being 78F-80F. A betta's digestion, metabolism, activity and immunity is affected by temperature. Higher temperatures allows for faster metaoblism, digestion and better immunity keeping your betta healthy. Wattage is important, it tells you how strong a heater is, a 25W is great for 2.5-5 gallon tanks, a 50w will work for 5-10 gallons. Bettas tend to live longer and healthier when kept at a steady 78F-80F. Possible candidates: Hydor Theo 25W or Elite 50W (both brand have 25W/50W). If you have a 1 gallon, something such as the Hydor 7.5w mini might work but remember these heater simply continously add heat, you may need to do extra monitoring to prevent overheating.

3. A glass thermometerm, you must be able to tell the actual temperature is. Cost $5 or less. Avoid digital ones, they are expensive and not anymore accurate than a glass one but can break from water. Water temperature does not always equal air temperature (due to evaporate cooling), humans are warm blooded so the temperature will 'always' feel roughly the same - your body temperature. What feels like 25 degrees or 74F may not be the actual case. These thing are super cheap, skip a coffee and get one for the sake of your fish's whose life depend on it. Possible candidates: Topfin Glass Thermometer

Should haves

In addition for a basic setup, for stimulation and wellbeing, have the following

1. A decoration or cave your fish can hide and explore. They can range from $5-$20, try to have at least 1 or 2. If you live in Canada, Dollarama sells fish decor for only $2, if don't, check out your local dollar store. Possible candidates: Rough hollow log or Rock Cave.

2. Silk plants (NOT plastic, they are notorious for tearing the fins of bettas) which are soft and can be safely rested on bettas. Cost around $12-$15 per pack. Silk plants are very popular among betta owners who do not want to have live plants but still want their betta to have resting places. Many bettas will grow very attach to a silk plant, often sleeping/resting on it regularly. You can also have live AND silk plants, its not a one or the other kind of thing. Possible candidates: Blue Ribbon 3 pack silk plants

3. Lighting, lighting helps stimulates your bettas. If your tank comes with a hooded light fixture lid than you already have a source of light. If you don't, consider buying a clip on desk top lamp. They cost usually under $10 and great if you have live plants. Possible candidate: Mini Clip Lamp

Recommended

These are things bettas really really enjoy and should have a chance to have!

1. Live plants, bettas love live plants, the more the merrier for bettas. They generally cost under $20 for lots of plants, especially if you get a pack. Bettas or any fish enjoy swimming through mass of plants, it provides them with a sense of security and helps makes their tank feel less empty. The best thing about live plants is that it grows, releases oxygen and can readily asborb nitrate and some ammonia. Bettas are often known to sleep in plants. Live plants does require a little extra care but hardy plants are very easy to care for. Check out my live plant guide. Possible candidates: Java Fern, Water wisteria or Hornwort

2. Stimulating toys like a ping pong, mirror or a hoop ring. These little toys are great to entertain your betta with and help redirect some excess energy that can sometimes be destructive such as the case of tail biting. You can find small mirrors at dollar stores, simply set them up by your tank.

3. A weak bubbler or filter, this is not for every betta, some fish with very large tails such as halfmoons are very sensitive to current and can start tail biting if the drag is too strong. opt for a small filter/bubbler that is underrated for the tank. Water movement can encourage swimming and help reduce algage/protein build up on the surface. Possible candidate: Whisper 3i.

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