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  #1  
Old January 20th, 2006, 06:16 AM
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Small Tank Heater?

Hi all, first post here. Great forum, lots of helpful info!

anyhoo, the GF bought me a small 1/2 gallon Betta tank. I have it set up at my office. I have a single Betta, an African dwarf frog, a minnow and an apple snail in there right now. Everyone seems quite content. My question is regarding heating the tank. It has a small 7.5w light bulb for the heat. this is what they sell to go with this tank. With the light on the water gets up to about 77deg. But when its off it dips down to high 60s.

So is it a bad idea to leave the light on 24/7? I thought they needed a normal cycle of light and darkness. But obviously, if i shut it off at night then the water goes cold again, which I understand is stressful on the fish to be changing often. So what to do?

I found a small heater. Its 7.5w. Says its good for small tanks up to 2 gallons. But I'm worried it may be too much for my 1/2 gallon tank. I cant really upsize my tank as its on my desk at work, so space is at a premium.

Heres a link to the heater

http://www.bigalsonline.ca/catalog/p...d1=3231;pcid2=

Also has anyone ever ordered from BigAls? I'm fairly new to this fish stuff.

Thanks again guys!
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Old January 20th, 2006, 09:38 AM
Lucky Rescue Lucky Rescue is offline
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HI and welcome!

Yes, the extreme temperature fluctuations are not good, nor is leaving the light on 24/7.

But the main thing is that you have too many creatures in 1/2 gallon of water. The apple snail alone can grow to 6 inches in diameter and the pollution from all these animals in such a small and unfiltered container will probably cause their demise.

Minnows - what kind, by the way? - are schooling fish and a single one should not be kept. Small schooling fish get very stressed when kept alone.

I suggest you keep the betta in the 1/2 gallon, and set up a new home aquarium for the others. That way you can get more of the minnows.
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Old January 20th, 2006, 11:02 AM
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The heater should be ok, but I also agree
with Lucky. You have significantly more animals in that tank
than that tank allows for. A 1/2 g is a little small for betta
alone in my opinion, but the betta will be fine.
With the other critters you have, the minnow, which I assume
is a White Cloud Mountain Minnnow, an ADF, a snail (probably an apple snail, which grows to the size of a golf ball or larger), and a betta,
these fish together are much more suited for a 10g tank.
White Cloud Minnows are indeed schooling fish, and will become
severely stressed and not live very long if kept alone.

I would remove all but the betta or the snail, either one of those is
even overstocking a 1/2g tank. You would be best to upgrade to a 10g tank.
If you cant (10g tanks only cost about 10.00 with nothing, or 30.00 with everything),
then you could easily sell these other fish/critters back to the pet store.

BigAls is a great company, they have excellent policies including on returns, and I have been ordering from them for 2 years now. They have great fish food.

Remember in such a small tank you will need to do 100% water changes every 3rd or 4th day espescially with the huge bioload you have in there. Otherwise the ammonia levels will rise too high and start killing or sickening your fish.
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Old January 20th, 2006, 02:55 PM
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Yeah, i do a water change ever 4-5 days. usually 3/4 change. I actually had two minnows but one died, so thats why i have the single. Of course the pet store sells this as a complete package, fish, snail, frog and all. I'll look into the larger tank. Thanks guys. I suppose with the larger tank a larger heater will be needed as well. Thanks againgor the warm welcome!
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  #5  
Old January 20th, 2006, 05:23 PM
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hmm, i think a 10 Gallon is gonna be too big. Ya think a 5 would do? I mean thats alot better then the 1/2 lol
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Old January 20th, 2006, 05:33 PM
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5g would definitely be better than the 1.5g. A ten would be better even but if all you have room for is a five then just be sure to not get anymore fish, change the water often, if not 100% every few days, 10-15% every day may help to keep the tank balanced. If the light is an incandescent light you can switch to a power compact or a screw in flourescent, make sure the wattage is not too high or you'll have algae like crazy! Some plants would do well in that tank, stick to java fern, anubias (nana petite), java moss, some crypts do well in low-light and stay small. Plants will help with excess nitrates a bit, you still need to do water changes though. Hope it all goes well with the small tank. There are lots of people keeping what is called nano tanks out there. They are small planted tanks with either very few small fish or no fish. They look really neat.
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Old January 20th, 2006, 06:01 PM
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thanks. I have Java moss in the tank now. We plan on getting a tank for our house when we move in, but at my office on my desk there isnt alot of room. Was a nice thought though from the GF.
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Old January 20th, 2006, 08:46 PM
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You could definetly do a 5g tank.
I suggested 10 just because a hood is easy to find.
For 5g tanks hoods are not common. A 5g tank measures
only 4 inches less long than a 10g though, unless you go for a taller
tank, which may be more to your liking anyway.
A filtered tank would be less work, and you could keep
all your little friends, and a 7.5 w heater would be fine for a 5g tank,
as would a 10w as well.
there are many small filters, such as sponge filters that are great
for small tanks. Then you wouldnt have to change the water so often,
nor change 100% of it.
I would go to your pet store and ask them what on earth they think is ethical about selling people enough stock of animals for the base start of a 10g tank in a 1/2 g.
Good Luck Scott!!
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  #9  
Old January 20th, 2006, 09:34 PM
Lucky Rescue Lucky Rescue is offline
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If you're planning to get into fishkeeping, buy the biggest tank you possibly can right away. This is an addictive hobby, and you'll end up buyer more and bigger tanks anyway. Instead of having a bunch of 5 and 10 gals around, go all the way!

Big tanks are much easier to keep as the environment and temperature in them are much more stable.

Please do research online or buy aquarium books before you do anything. I have a real beef with most petstores, in that the staff often knows nothing about fish. Obviously the store that sold you this tank and creatures either knows nothing or just wanted your money and couldn't care less.

In all the years I've been keeping fish (around 20) I found ONE petstore employee who actually wanted to know what and how many fish I had, what size tank, etc before she would sell me any fish.

Please don't rely on petstore staff to guide you. Many people have done that and ended up with failed tanks and dead fish and gave up on the hobby.
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Old January 21st, 2006, 07:36 AM
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Thanks again. Yeah we have a small specialty fish store that I think I'll pay a visit too. I agree, the pet store employees know little to nothing about what they sell.

Where do you find a 10w heater? The smallest I can find locally is a 50w. I see they sell 25w online, and that 7.5w, but never a 10. Thanks again!
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  #11  
Old January 21st, 2006, 09:33 AM
Lucky Rescue Lucky Rescue is offline
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It's always better to get a larger heater than you need. That way, it's not overworking and will last much longer!
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Old January 21st, 2006, 08:01 PM
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Scott youre right,
I mean 25w. The general rule of thumb is 5 watts per gallon.
A 25w heater would be perfect for a 5g tank.
I use a 50 w on my 10g and a 25 on my 5 when it is set up. (its a quarantine tank)

Also, just a comment, but when you buy a heater there are several kinds, one is a preset heater which you cannot adjust the temp on, it will set the tank to about 76F, but is not adjustable. These heaters are often the first to go wrong and cook fish.

The second kind is a calibrated adjustable heater with a dial at the top. This is better, and more reliable, and you can raise or lower heat as needed. Be sure to submerge any heater for 15 minutes before turning it on to adjust it to ambient water temperature.

The third kind of heater is fully submersible. This means the whole thing, including cord goes under the water. These are the absolutely best heaters possible, and the price reflects this. You can lay this heater on its side or diagonal, providing much more space to warm the water, resulting in less power use, more efficient heating, and a longer lasting heater.

Again, remember to submerge any heater for 15 minutes prior to turning it on, and set the dial (if there is one) to a suitable temp.
Bettas are tropical fish, so 78F would be best, but 76 is also suitable.

HTH - Koran.
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Old January 21st, 2006, 10:17 PM
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Well, after looking around today, and getting a better idea of size, I ended up getting a 3 gallon tank. I looked at the 5 & 10 and honestly theyd be too large for my office. So I got it all set up today and will transfer everyone over tomorrow night or Monday morning. But I must say the 3gallon is much larger then the 1/2! It has a filter system & light, but no heater yet. The store only had 50w heaters and the guy warned that it may melt the plastic tank.

Im not sure if that 7.5w heater will be enough now for the 3g tank. Bigals has a 25w heater.

http://www.bigalsonline.ca/catalog/p...d1=3231;pcid2=

or

http://www.bigalsonline.ca/catalog/p...d1=3231;pcid2=

Which of these two would work best do you think?

Also, its a plastic tank. Do you think i'll have a problem with melting it?

PS, i got another minnow so hes not alone
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Old January 22nd, 2006, 05:53 AM
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A 7.5 watt heater should be fine for the 3g tank.
Nice that it has a filter and light!
The heater shouldnt melt the plastic, it wont get hot enough
to.

This tank because it is filtered is going to go through a cycle - the conversion of ammonia to first nitrItes and nitrAtes.
Heres an article with more info:

http://faq.thekrib.com/begin-cycling.html
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Old January 22nd, 2006, 07:29 AM
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Good link! Thanks!

After looking at the directions its says to use the optional 25w heater with it, so yeah, i guess it will work. Only problem is they dont sell a 25w heater locally lol. So out of the three, 7.5, or the two 25w heaters above, which would you advise? I dont believe the 7.5 is adjustable like the others.

thanks again!
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Old January 22nd, 2006, 07:03 PM
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Personally, i find visitherm makes a good heater.
Submersibles are always better.
I dont know though if 25w might be a little much.
Maybe you should put a post on fishprofiles and
ask there, then you can get some more input than
I have given you. Id probably go with the smaller
one, but thats cuz id be afraid of it creating too much heat
and boiling the fish unintentionally - however, a larger
heater would be more efficient, and if it worked
well, would always keep the tank stable with no problems.

http://www.fishprofiles.com
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  #17  
Old January 23rd, 2006, 04:53 AM
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I agree. Hmmm, well the small heater says in a 5gallon tank will raise the temp 4deg above room. 4gallon, 5deg. So I assume a 3G will go 6deg. That puts the temp at 75deg with the small heater. I think thats a good temp but is it enough? I was thinking closer to 80. So maybe the 25w will do. Its adjustable too, so i should be able to turn it down, should I not? Plus in the instructions, they recomend a 25w heater if you need to heat the tank. So I think I'll go that route. Thanks again man!
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 08:13 AM
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Well, i went to the link you provided and did a search. Someone else asked about a proper size heater for a 5gallon if they could use a 50w heater and they where told yes. So the 25w should be ok. So i ordered the Visi-therm stealth. All the reviews on the other forum seemed good. So hopefully I have no problems with Big al's!

Thanks again guys!
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 12:29 PM
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Most fish are happy at 75, bettas are often kept cooler though they like it warmer. Minnows on the other hand won't be happy at 80, they have evolved to cooler temps and in warmer temps they can't use oxygen as well and will go through O2 starvation. So 75 would be an ideal temp to set the tank to.
Have you decided to add more plants? If so fish profiles also has a planted tank section with loads of advice from many planted tank keepers.
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 01:13 PM
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I havent added any more plants just yet. Just the Java moss for now. Although its looking kinda empty in the larger tank lol. Its weird, with the small tank and light bulb/heater the tank would stay around 75 or so. But at night would get down to 69. With this new tank it seems to be staying around 75. Even when i came in this am it was around that temp. Dunno why its staying warmer

Thanks for the advise. i'll keep it around 75 or so.
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 04:57 PM
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Larger bodies of water hold the temp better than smaller bodies of water.
When you do a water change be sure to match the temp to the new water as best as you can and add the water gradually to avoid causing any imbalance. You will want to do small water changes but not gravel vac while the tank is cycling. Also pick up tests
for ammonia, nitrite, nitrate and pH. The ammonia will spike in a few days, then nitrite will spike and ammonia will drop, when nitrates start showing up and nitrite begins to disappear the cycling is done. This can take as long as 3 weeks. Watch the fish for signs of stress, gasping at the surface, losing colour. Change 20-30% of the water if you see this happening, you can do this three days in a row if need be, be sure to treat it with a tap-water conditioner and add 'Cycle' to the tank at each water change as well. Aqua-plus and Cycle are available at most places that sell fish and also at Wal-Mart, another good combination is Seachem Prime and a product called Bio-Spira, both are said to be superior to the Hagen products but I haven't noticed a difference yet.
Good luck with the new tank at the office and for the one at home buy the biggest you can afford and have space for, larger tanks are really easier to care for than the smaller ones.
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 06:47 PM
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Thanks for the advice!
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Old January 23rd, 2006, 10:21 PM
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just wanted to mention, I keep my white cloud minnows at 82F.
They do very well indeed! ;-)
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Old January 24th, 2006, 08:11 AM
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Well I guess I should have waited before ordering the heater lol

Came in today and the temp is still staying right around 75deg! Oh well lol
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Old January 24th, 2006, 02:11 PM
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This winter is unseasonably warm and office buildings don't tend to change in temp too much as a rule. The heater will help keep the temp from dropping if the room temp should go down suddenly, or if somebody decides to start an energy conservation program of turning the heat down at night. During the summer it is important to leave it on as well, it won't kick in as long as the room temp is above the water temp but it will kick in if the room temp drops due to air conditioning or whatnot.

I think my white clouds also did fine when the temp went up to 32 C, I didn't like the temp swings that the tank underwent when the lights went off and the house temp was around 18 C and the tank dropped rapidly to 15 C. That's what started the whole get a bigger tank thing and now look at me, I want an even bigger tank so I'm playing in other peoples tanks now! It's an addiction Scott, you only have to do it once and you're hooked!
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Old January 25th, 2006, 08:19 AM
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lol same thing today. 75 almost bang on! Never dropped a bit! I almost wish it did so Id know the heater wasnt a waste lol
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Old January 25th, 2006, 08:17 PM
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You could try changing the room temperature, believe me if it got cold in the room the temp in the tank would drop. What lights are on it? Incandescent or flourescent? The light could be keeping the temp steady if it is on all the time. Turning the light off may drop the temp a bit as well. You really don't want the temp to drop then rise again, so often that will cause an ich outbreak. I really don't think the heater will be a waste of money in the long run.
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Old January 25th, 2006, 08:26 PM
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Nope, the heater wont be a waste of money.
As Colleen mentioned, fluctuations in temperatures can
cause outbreaks of the Ich parasite, as well as
other health conditions. The goal of a heater is not just
to keep the temp at a certain temperature, but to prevent fluctuations.
For your betta, frog, and minnows, I would highly suggest a temp of 78F.
Bettas are tropical fish, and ADF's can become ill if the temp drops too low.
Cold temperatures cause a disease in ADFs called Red Leg - which is fatal.
These frogs come from africa, from a lake where the temperature is often well over 84F.
I think you were very wise to buy the heater.
Good Luck Scott,
Koran.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 11:49 AM
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Hey Koran, is there a really good reference book about ADF's that you could recommend. I had them in the 2g and then the 25g when I first got it and couldn't get any info on them. Mine both died and I never knew why, they had lived for so long. I am wondering if it was Red Leg that killed them as they both had red-legs before they passed.
I would love to keep them again in the future, I know my brother was also interested in them.

Scott, I would also recommend picking up a book or two on tropical fish so you can get a good idea of what their needs are, I have some books from Barron's that have been very good info sources, they are very easy to follow, I also made sure to get a species book for each species I have, bettas, barbs, & cichlids. I find they come in handy in so many ways.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 01:06 PM
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Thanks all. Well i believe its a flourescent light. I must look at the box again and see. Anyhoo, I turn that on at 630am and off around 430pm. My office light stays off as well at night so its pretty dark. The small tank would go up and down but this tank holds the heat well. I agree the heater will be good, as a safe measure.

Thanks again.
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