My 5 Favourite Things
Eheim Jager Heaters
A good-quality heater is an essential part of keeping bettas for those of us not lucky enough to have a heated fish room or live in a tropical climate.
An aquarium heater is one piece of equipment you should never try and cut corners on. Personally, I have read too many horror stories on malfunctioning heaters to trust anything but the best. I could imagine few scenarios worse for a fishkeeper, than to come home to a tank that resembles a bowl of fish soup.
My Eheim heaters have survived the worst a clumsy and impatient fishkeeper like me can throw at them. Really the only fault I can pick with them, is that their suction caps tend to lose their suction faster than some of the other brands I have used.
After stuffing around wasting time and money on the cheap and nasty, Eheim Jagers are the only brand of heater I would trust, and the only brand I recommend.
Rimless tanks are extremely popular right now, and with good reason. They look sleek and modern, and are generally of a far superior quality to the standard rimmed tanks available at most local fish stores.
However, rimless tanks also tend to have a price tag to match. ADA is probably the name most synonymous with this recent rimless craze, but here in Australia the cost of one of their tanks is about twice that of those sold in the US. If you do the math, it makes for a very expensive 'investment'.
Therefore, I couldn't believe it when I found YiDing brand aquariums being sold at my local aquarium. There is talk online that Yiding are OEM ADA tanks, and for intents and purposes they are exactly the same... you just don't get the fancy sticker or the whopper of a price tag.
So now I have a fishroom full of rimless tanks, without having had to sell my first born.
Hang-on Glass Thermometers
I absolutely HATE the traditional 'suction-cap' thermometer that cost a couple of bucks each and are designed to have their ugly self stuck to the front glass of your aquarium. Then there is their less obtrusive but usually fairly inaccurate cousin, the 'stick-on' thermometer.
I understand why both of these thermometers are so popular, and why people still purchase them. I am just saying that there are other options out there.
Namely, the next to invisible, ultra simple 'hang-on' thermometer that is showcasing itself so beautifully in the photo above.
Now we all know, anything branded ADA is going to cost $$$. So this is one of those times I will suggest that you have a look at some of the cheaper knock-offs floating around. All my tanks use imitation branded thermometers after I stepped my way through about $100 worth of ADA ones.
I have had no issues with the accuracy or quality of my knock-offs, as they are still manufactured by a fairly well-known company. It just costs me a lot less to have that 5mm piece of glass hanging in my tanks.
External Breeding Boxes
I am going to be presumptuous, and guess there have been times when we have all had more fish than tanks. I am sure some of you have scrabbled around for a spare tank or heater, only to realise that what you have is a leaky tupperware container and the desiccated suction cap from that heater you tossed last month.
It's at this point in time, that the external breeder box really comes into its own.
As long as you have a tank big enough to hold one, and an airpump to run the filter, you can comfortably house a betta in one of these breeding boxes for quite a while. Although I would recommend lashing out and getting one of the 4L sized boxes if you intend on keeping a betta in there long-term.
With these handy external breeding boxes, you don't have to make room for it inside one of your tanks. Instead you can just hook it up to the side or back of your tank, attach the airline tubing to your pump and sit back and relax. Your betta can now enjoy the luxury of clean, heated water thanks to the constant circulation of water from the main tank into the box.
I usually have around 15-20 tanks running at any one time in my fishroom. Because these tanks are all heated, most of my powerboards were running at or near full capacity. Add to this that most internal filters need baffling to be safe for bettas, and it was becoming more of a hindrance than a help.
This was when I discovered the benefits of the simple sponge filter.
Essentially, the main advantages from my perspective were that sponge filters are cheap, fry friendly, adjustable and don't need a power cord. Instead of doing my best to burn our house down with overloaded powerboards, I now have one main pump that runs all of the sponge filters in my fishroom.
But wait there's more!
With the aid of a few 50c valves, I can easily control the flow of my sponge filters so I can have as much or as little surface agitation as I require. This helps when you have fish that insist on building their bubblenests in completely impractical places.
So if you are sick of tripping over powercords or running extension leads from one end of your house to the other, sponge filters could very well be your answer. Either that, or marry a sparkie!
Going Au Naturel:
Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, I currently keep and breed a number of species from the coccina complex.