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Old 08-26-2012, 12:05 AM   #1 
drummer914
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Read so much info I'm not sure what's right.

I've owned birds for many years. This is my first experience with fish except for some guppies when I was little. I need advice from people who know what's up!

Yesterday I got a nice 2 gallon tank and a young beta from the pet store (was labeled "baby" but I think young is a more accurate). I put one small live plant in the tank, as well as a couple bulbs. I filled it with purified drinking water from the store (reverse osmosis), put in the drops of water conditioner and let it run overnight before I put the little guy in.

He/she has been doing great all day. Ate the 3 crushed pellets this morning and a few crushed flakes this evening. Seems very active.

Now I've been reading all kinds of info about bettas and have found wildly varying info. Some of it makes me wonder how this little guy is still alive. I need some clarification.

1)First off, the lady at the pet store said I should only feed bettas every couple of days, and that most deaths occur from overeating. The bottle of food says several times per day. I've read twice a day. I've read about mixing food. I've read about the 3 minute rule. I just want a happy, healthy fish! I crushed and fed it 3 pellets this morning and some flakes this evening. Is that ok for a young betta? What should I change when it gets bigger?

2)Secondly, putting hands in the tank. Wash first? Is there such a thing as putting your hand in too much? Would'nt even a trace amount of soap left on your hand be dangerous?

Today I went and got a ten gallon tank because the 2 looks depressingly small for the fish and where I have put it. I did the same steps as I outlined above for the 2gal, but haven't got plants for it yet. Haven't put the fish in either...then I read about cycling.

3)The importance of cycling sounds a little questionable to me. I'm sure 99% of betta owners (probably all fish owners) have no idea what that is, and very few fish have died from not doing so. If it was THAT important, I'd think more fish would be dying and it would be more well known. No one does, nor wants to, wait 3 weeks to put fish in their new aquarium. Isn't the filter supposed to take care of waste? I plan on putting lots of plants in the 10 gal so I should be fine anyways right?

4)Live plants. What do I need to keep them alive besides sunlight and water?

5)Since I have a young Betta, is this a better or worse time to introduce it to the appropriate tank mates, or does it not matter?

Last edited by drummer914; 08-26-2012 at 12:24 AM.
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Old 08-26-2012, 02:20 AM   #2 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drummer914 View Post
I've owned birds for many years. This is my first experience with fish except for some guppies when I was little. I need advice from people who know what's up!

Yesterday I got a nice 2 gallon tank and a young beta from the pet store (was labeled "baby" but I think young is a more accurate). I put one small live plant in the tank, as well as a couple bulbs. I filled it with purified drinking water from the store (reverse osmosis), put in the drops of water conditioner and let it run overnight before I put the little guy in.

He/she has been doing great all day. Ate the 3 crushed pellets this morning and a few crushed flakes this evening. Seems very active.

Now I've been reading all kinds of info about bettas and have found wildly varying info. Some of it makes me wonder how this little guy is still alive. I need some clarification.

1)First off, the lady at the pet store said I should only feed bettas every couple of days, and that most deaths occur from overeating. The bottle of food says several times per day. I've read twice a day. I've read about mixing food. I've read about the 3 minute rule. I just want a happy, healthy fish! I crushed and fed it 3 pellets this morning and some flakes this evening. Is that ok for a young betta? What should I change when it gets bigger?

2)Secondly, putting hands in the tank. Wash first? Is there such a thing as putting your hand in too much? Would'nt even a trace amount of soap left on your hand be dangerous?

Today I went and got a ten gallon tank because the 2 looks depressingly small for the fish and where I have put it. I did the same steps as I outlined above for the 2gal, but haven't got plants for it yet. Haven't put the fish in either...then I read about cycling.

3)The importance of cycling sounds a little questionable to me. I'm sure 99% of betta owners (probably all fish owners) have no idea what that is, and very few fish have died from not doing so. If it was THAT important, I'd think more fish would be dying and it would be more well known. No one does, nor wants to, wait 3 weeks to put fish in their new aquarium. Isn't the filter supposed to take care of waste? I plan on putting lots of plants in the 10 gal so I should be fine anyways right?

4)Live plants. What do I need to keep them alive besides sunlight and water?

5)Since I have a young Betta, is this a better or worse time to introduce it to the appropriate tank mates, or does it not matter?
You are wrong about few fish dying from lack of this knowledge. a LOT of fish die for this very reason. Picture your room steadily filling with ammonia. How long before you drop dead. Not to mention getting sick and your lung burned along the way. Fish same way. EVERY tank must cycle and it will be unhealthy and require your regular attention till it does. If not you will soon be posting what is wrong with my betta posts.

As far as the feeding both are actually correct. Fish do not need a lot of food all the time and it contributes to the ammonia and nitrItes in a tank. And many fish die from over feeding not for what it does to the fish but the water. That said.. several small feedings a day will be fine. If you need to head out of town for a weekend the fish will be fine with no feeding till your return. When I ship to a show the fish are fasted and do not eat till their return home. My show fish did not get fed tonight. They will be bagged and shipped out monday for a show next weekend. The fish will be rebagged and sent home to me. I will get them the following thrusday.. and that is when they will eat again. Eleven days from now. And the fish will be fine. Make sure you get a quality food like new life spectrum. And untill the tank cycles go easy on the feedings.

I stopped spraying perfume on my wrists before work because after work my hands go in tanks. If you just scrubbed some floors you need to really make sure hands are rinsed clean. I like a bleach solution for cleaning my fish stuff and it also is good for getting anyting off my hands. A good rinse and the bleach is gone.

Do not recommend straight RO. Need to do a mix with your tap and use some dechlor. Pure RO has NO minerals in it and the fish DO need them. And if you have live plants they will rot quickly with no minerals. For where you are in the hobby reconstituting the RO is nothing you should try to do. Work with your tap or a mix with the RO.

Now.. for the cycling.
Fish produce waste. Just read and article that say fish urinate an incredible amount all the time [who knew.. and who measures ] This breaks down and produces ammonia. Get a test kit. You have any fish problems we will want to know the parameters of your water.. so get a kit and use it. Most sickness and health issues are because of poor water quality. I recommend testing your ammonia and nitrItes daily in the beginning. If the ammonia is anything but zero do a water change. Probably along the lines of 90% to get back to zero.

At first the ammonia will climb and nitrIte will be = 0. Then, with water changes, you will see the ammonia start to level out and stay around zero and the nitrItes will climb. Again water change. Anything over 0 for either of these is toxic. You will weaken the fish and open it up to disease.. plus make fin rot your next problem. If you stay on top of everything in time ammonia and nitrIte will stay close to 0 for a bit.. maybe 4-7 days. You WILL have to do water changes.. just not as often. Plan on it taking a few months to go thru this cycle. There is NO shortcut. Live plants take up the next part of the cycle.. the nitrAtes. But regular water changes are how you get them out of the tank. With one fish and lots of regular water changes you should be fine to cycle with the fish in the tank.

Untill the tank is cycled you do not want to add a lot of fish. The more fish, the more ammonia and nitrItes.. and more water changes as water gets toxic quicker. You can not short change this. And you are right.. 99% of betta owners probably do not know and understand this cycle.. and their fish have paid with their lives. If you put them in beanies like breeders and change that water 100% every other day you don't have to cycle. Other wise.. you cycle.

Here is a good read.. http://www.theaquariumwiki.com/The_Nitrogen_Cycle
and Google search for more. Read and reread till you understand it so you give your fish best possible chance to survive and you enjoy the hobby.
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