Hey there, Just stumbled across your website and i think its great. I am a first time owner and am so excited. We named him Jean-Michel, after the famous eighties art star:) So we did decide to go with a 1 gal. bowl. I understand that is a little small now and will be changing soon, but for now I wanted to know if there are any recommendations for keeping the bowl heated? The water reads at about 75, but if the whether cools off... I will be going to get a pH kit this week too. Thanks for the site.
A: Thanks for writing in and congratulations on your first Betta fish. Small fish bowls can be pretty difficult to maintain a stable, warm temperature. As you mentioned, the best way to keep the temperature stable is to increase the water volume, which will slow the rate that the temperature fluctuates. In the meantime I recommend placing the bowl in a warm location away from drafts. I have heard some people keep their bowls on top of the refrigerator or in the bathroom. Unfortunately there are no aquarium heaters made for bowls as small as one gallon and placing small bowls on a reptile mat or heating pad can quickly cause the heat to raise to unsafe levels. If you can move him to a larger container between 2 and 5 gallons then you open up other options like a mini heater.
One common mistake aquarists make when heating small bowls is to use a lamp light to warm the water. This method creates several dangers including raising the temperature too quickly, too high, and creating drastic, dangerous fluctuations when the light is turned off at night.
While not ideal, it will be better for your fish to be kept at a slightly cooler temperature that is stable then one that is warmer but fluctuates.