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Old 07-30-2011, 10:27 PM   #1 
honeyfish
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Question I feel a little silly asking this question, but...

How often should I be cleaning my tank? It's a 5 gallon filtered tank, with just my one betta in it. I was cleaning it once a week, 15% water changes, but then he started biting his tail and I was told by a girl at the pet store that I was cleaning too much (?). So now I'm cleaning once every 2 weeks, 15%, but the biting has not stopped. I've had him for over a year and he's been biting his tail for so long it's almost like I can't remember his beautiful long fins he had when I first took him home. In any case, he lives by himself in a 5 gallon tank with lots of hiding places. It's got a filter system, but I keep the tank pretty full so there's not a whole lot of current throughout his tank. I've also wrapped some pantyhose around the intake part of the filter to slow the current a bit. Um. I don't know if there's any other information you need to know. But any help would be appreciated. I just need to know, am I cleaning too much, not enough, or what? Someone else also suggested I give him a roommate but I don't know what to put in with him and I'm super scared to hurt either my betta or the other fish, so... yeah. Help?
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Old 07-30-2011, 11:46 PM   #2 
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How often should I be cleaning my tank? It's a 5 gallon filtered tank, with just my one betta in it. I was cleaning it once a week, 15% water changes, but then he started biting his tail and I was told by a girl at the pet store that I was cleaning too much (?). So now I'm cleaning once every 2 weeks, 15%, but the biting has not stopped. I've had him for over a year and he's been biting his tail for so long it's almost like I can't remember his beautiful long fins he had when I first took him home. In any case, he lives by himself in a 5 gallon tank with lots of hiding places. It's got a filter system, but I keep the tank pretty full so there's not a whole lot of current throughout his tank. I've also wrapped some pantyhose around the intake part of the filter to slow the current a bit. Um. I don't know if there's any other information you need to know. But any help would be appreciated. I just need to know, am I cleaning too much, not enough, or what? Someone else also suggested I give him a roommate but I don't know what to put in with him and I'm super scared to hurt either my betta or the other fish, so... yeah. Help?
Oh, people at the petstore. They really dont know anything!

I would say not enough, unless your tank is fully cycled and mature.

If its cycled, I would do a 15-25% change a week, getting the gunk from the bottom.

If not, a 30-50% should be done every week.. If the filter is left on, always, you will not have to do 100% changes.

Are there any live plants in the tank?

Also, consider putting the bite-y guy into a mild salt bath (1tsp/gallon) if his fins look ratty or begin to look fuzzy/bloody or infected.
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Old 07-30-2011, 11:51 PM   #3 
fishcurl
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I am by no means an expert, but did have a few points/questions for you :)

1. Don't listen to the pet store girl :)

2. Bettas love clean water. In a cycled 5 gallon, the minimum weekly change should be 50%. Since your tank has been running for a year, it's likely your tank is cycled - water tests will tell you that. If it's *not* cycled, you should be doing 50% water changes twice a week or whenever ammonia reaches .25 ppm.

3. Do you have a water testing kit? If so, what are the parameters? (Ammonia, nitrate, nitrate). If you don't have one, it's highly recommended to get one.

4. Some bettas are naturally prone to fin biting - do a search of the forum for this and you'll see other people's experiences and solutions.

Hope this helps :)

EDIT: I'd listen to Pew over me any day of the week XD
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:07 AM   #4 
honeyfish
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Thanks, guys. I sometimes feel like I'm overdoing it with the cleaning as it is, because when I clean the tank, there's almost nothing to clean. There are no live plants in the tank, just my betta. The filter is always on (except, of course, when I'm cleaning the tank). I've tried giving him a salt bath, but it did absolutely nothing. And he still continued to bite his tail. Luckily, he hasn't started looking fuzzy or anything the whole time. I don't have a water testing kit, but I suppose I will buy one so that I can make sure things are going OK with his tank. I do clean from the bottom of the tank when I clean it. But like I said, there's almost nothing there. I still make sure to clean as much as I can, but, you know, when it looks like you're cleaning a clean tank... =/

I do think that my betta just enjoys the taste of his tail, if you will. It's annoying, but I can't think of anything else to do to stop it. I've even tried suggestions from this forum like adding more plants and drawing pictures on his tank. Those were fun distractions for him but he still kept biting. =[
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:45 AM   #5 
bahamut285
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he started biting his tail and I was told by a girl at the pet store that I was cleaning too much (?)
I lol'd


I have a 5 gallon filtered tank, and I clean 50% of the water once a week if your betta is alone (as per recommended by a bunch of people I asked). Some people do less, but I sometimes miss a day or two because of my unpredictable schedule so the 50% makes up for it. Make additional 25% changes for extra beings in the tank.

In a 5 gallon the only "roommates" you can get are:
- Marimo moss ball (BEST RECOMMENDATION XD)
- Snail (might be attacked/eaten)
- Shrimp (might get eaten)
- Divide it and get another betta (SECOND BEST RECOMMENDATION XD)

If you are planning on purchasing a water testing kit (strongly recommended, in all seriousness), then please take a quick peek at my Water Chemistry guide in my signature, written in the easiest terms possible. I am also willing to answer more questions!

Also, maybe get him a new decoration or new plant? Usually they tail bite because they're bored. :D
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:47 AM   #6 
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Ahh, bettas do that... Theyre neurotic sometimes. He may never stop, and yet, he may!

It may not seem like anything is coming up (like if you use a siphon and see only one poop or whatnot), but what youre also removing is ammonia and nitrites, which are really harmful and do eventually get high in a tank that isnt cycled.

Do you know if its cycled or not? Take a sample of your water to a pet shop or Petsmart/co where they test for free. If you have nitrAtes, its cycled. It probably also is if the tanks been running for a few months and you havent done 100% water changes, rinsed the filter media out/replaced it or havent shut off the filter for more than a few hours.

I actually will disagree, Fishcurl, when your tank is properly and fully cycled (a 5 gal with one fish) you only need at max about a 25% change a week, if that. I usually went 25% or less a week, even when unplanted :)
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:19 PM   #7 
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Bahamut, I do want to divide my tank and add a second betta, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how to do that. Obviously, I can't find and 5gal tank dividers, but I'm also wondering how to make one that will work in this minibow tank I have him in. It's got that bow on the front of the tank, instead of being a straight line. I've also considered taking one of the empty 10gals I have and dividing it a couple of times and putting my betta in there with a couple more. It doesn't help that I'm very indecisive about the whole thing.

Pew I will admit I have no idea if it is cycled. I'm guessing it is, but only because it's been running for a year and a half and I've never done 100% water changes or turned the filter off for an extended period of time. I have, of course, replaced the filter media, though, so...

Honestly, I"m not much of a pro when it comes to fish caretaking. =/ My former roommate had two big tanks (a 45gal and a 55gal), and he wasn't much help, either. He didn't clean his tanks ever until the water was green and after about 25% of the water had evaporated from them. Poor fishies.
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:26 PM   #8 
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I actually will disagree, Fishcurl, when your tank is properly and fully cycled (a 5 gal with one fish) you only need at max about a 25% change a week, if that. I usually went 25% or less a week, even when unplanted :)
Please, disagree away! I got confused between % when cycled and when not cycled. I did add an edit to say listen to you over me because let's face it, I'm the keener newbie
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:49 PM   #9 
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@Honey: Ahhh, if it's a minibow it would be almost impossible to divide due to the bow front. The guide a lot of people use to divide tanks is this one: http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/d...ividers-21866/ but that is for rectangular tanks.

If it were me, I would definitely grab the empty 10 gal you have instead, then you'd have more options:

Option A: Divide it into THREE sections...for 3 betta
- Advantage: more bettas :D
- Disadvantage: Because 10 gallons are usually higher/deeper, more sections will be thinner and less viewing space. No tank mates recommended other than snails/shrimp

Option B: Divide it into TWO sections...for 2 betta
- Advantage: 5 spacious gallons for each
- Disadvantage: No tank mates recommended other than snails/shrimp

Option C: 10 Gallons with your ONE current betta
- Advantages: Large spacious mansion for your betta. Can have a nice variety of tankmates. More space for plants/decorations. Water changes will be easier if filtered.
- Disadvantage: Can only have one betta

Option D: Keep your current betta in the 5 gal and make a 10 gal sorority
- Advantages: LOTS OF BETTAS. Space for plants/decorations.
- Disadvantages: you may/may not have physical space for both these tanks to exist in your current living situation
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:27 PM   #10 
honeyfish
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Bahamut, I actually was wanting to make a 10gal sorority tank, but stopped for a couple of reasons. 1. (And the biggest) Not very much space. I don't know where I would put yet another tank (we currently have 3 - Andrew's 5gal, a 10gal with mollies, and a 14gal with .. whatever can survive in that tank), so I've stalled on that. 2. I read somewhere that sororities need more space than a 10gal? Even with only 3 girls? I'm not sure about that (like I said, I'm not the most pro at fish caretaking), but I didn't want to go out and adopt 3 girls just to torture them in a teeny space. 3. Time - having a bunch of tanks and a cat already, I don't know how much time I'll be able to devote to a new tank of bettas (even though I want to do it so badly!!!) Of course, the whole reason I went out and bought several 10gals was because I wanted to fill them with fishies. lol It was a poorly planned move. Now I have 2 empty 10gals and am hesitant to fill them. 4. Money. Yep. I'm poor (surprise!), and it's expensive to set up a new tank!!

In any case, I have thought abot transferring my Andrew to a 10gal, to not only give him more space but to also open up the option of roommates (tankmates is a better term? But I like roommates. =] lol). The only problem is that the stand that Andrew's tank is on is the perfect size for the 5gal, and I don't know where I could put the 10gal if I decide to do that.

Sigh. Why does life have to get so complicated?!
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