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Old 11-30-2011, 11:40 PM   #1 
steftravels
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Location: BC Canada
What can I do to make my tank better?

Hi All
My name is Stef and I'm new to the site

I've had bettas off and on over the years. A few months back I bought my last one, unfortunately he died yesterday from possibly a stupid, stupid mistake of purchasing a "aquarium" plant from the dollar store..needless to say I think it did something to my water, he started to recover, then poof.

Well after throwing out my stupid mistake plant, I have cleaned up all my stuff (it's a 5.5 gallon tank) and restarted it all over again. So I am planning to go get another betta and try again. What I'm wondering is how can I make my tank better?

I currently have it set up with a Marina Slim S10 Filter, which I like because I can restrict the flow, and sometimes turn it up a bit for the betta to play in. , I only have large decorative quarter size rocks in the tank because I find it hard to get the debris out of the rocks otherwise, and I have two ornaments (one is a large cave) and some plastic plants (I had some fabric ones but they started to smell strange) .

Would it be better if I had more rocks at the bottom of the tank? I made my own rock cleaner out of a turkey baster & aquarium tube and it is oh so handy, drains my tank right into the sink & vaccumes debris very well! Also if I got a natural plant would that be better?

The pet store said since I am using cycle (liquid) I could cycle for only 3 days and go get a new fish, although last time I let the tank cycle for 10 days before adding my fish. What is everyone's opinion on that? I know years ago the pet store would make us buy feeder fish for cycling but I felt guilty about letting them go so I would go buy them another tank ( ended up with a very large 4 inch spawning goldfish at one point!!)

Sorry for writing so much but I want to do the best I can for my new betta. I had one back around 2000 for 4 years, and another I had for about 2 1/2 years and even took him on an RV trip with me & on a road trip!
Thanks!
- Stef
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Old 12-01-2011, 01:28 AM   #2 
Kytkattin
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First off, I am sorry for your loss. It is always hard to know what is and isn't safe, especially when things are labeled that they are supposed to be safe for aquarium use.

The substrate is completely up to you, unless you want live plants. While there are some that won't need anything more than you currently have, others will need to root. Of course with a planted tank you don't need to worry as much about getting the fish poo out because the plants basically eat it (depending on how heavily planted the tank is...). You have to be careful with plastic plants, as they can sometimes rip a bettas fins. That can also be true of silks ones, as they also tend to have plastic bits!

The liquid cycling products don't actually cycle your tank. A tank is cycled through a process of bacteria breaking down fish waste. First the waste is converted into ammonia (toxic!), then to nitrite (toxic!), and then to nitrates (not toxic in small levels). The only way to know if your tank is cycled is to have the water tested (which you can do yourself in a kit (recommend API Liquid test kit), or many stores will test it for you). A cycled tank has 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites, and about 10ppm nitrates. A cycle takes about 2 weeks to 3 or more months to actually be set up. If you have another tank that has been up and running with a filter for a while you can seed a new filter with some of the media from the older tank.
Never do 100% changes on a cycled tank, or you will lose the good bacteria. This is also why you never want to leave your filter off for more than 3 hours, max.

Is your tank heated?

I hope I helped a little, and good luck! Feel free to ask as many questions as you want!
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Old 12-01-2011, 01:38 AM   #3 
steftravels
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Hi! thanks for the condolences on my little betta. His name was Graffiti. He was a red and blue faded betta.

Yes I do have a heater, it has a little control on the top so I set it to stay at about 75 since the tank can get a little warmer in the house when I have all my heat on.

Do you have any tips on how I can somewhat cycle the tank before putting a new fish in? or do you think I would be able to maintain it with a new betta as long as I keep changing the water? I threw out all my old filter medium and water because I am not 100% sure why Graffiti died and I didn't want to spread it to my new fish if it was something bad.

I don't have a ton of cash to put into my aquarium but I find it pretty easy to pay for a little betta and his supplies. I also have 2 thermometers on the aquarium. One that I can take out and one that is attatched to the glass.

one more quick question, are the old ceramic decorations still ok to use? I have a couple of them in good condition and I really like them. One looks like a pipe and my bettas have always liked it.

- Stef
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Old 12-01-2011, 03:19 AM   #4 
Kytkattin
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Sometimes they just come to us a little off. I had one boy who was never quite right and passed after about 4 months of acting weird. :(

Try to get the heat up to 78-80. That is an ideal temp for bettas. They really do like it quite warm, and can even tolerate temps into the mid 80's. From my experience, warmer is better than cold because cold compromises their immune system, warmer just speeds up their metabolism.

There are a number of fishless cycling methods. Personally, I recommend the one where you just let some fish food decay. There are a number of topics on this website, and here is another that goes over some of the basics.
http://www.algone.com/aquarium-artic...shless-cycling
At the very least, try to get an ammonia test kit. It will help, especially to determine if something is wrong with the water quality if your fish gets sick. Liquid test kits are better than strips, though many people have used both with success. I understand why you might not want to invest a lot. I have probably invested over $500 in just 2 tanks with live plants, special lights, substrate, decor, and other miscellaneous items like vitamins and premium foods. There are ways to do things cheaper though, so don't worry about that! There are actually ways to set up your tank so that it would basically take care of itself (no filter even!), with live plants. And now I am going off track... You don't have to aquire everything all at once. You have most of what you need already, and you can pick up other things here and there as you go! :)

The decorations should still be just fine. :)

These pictures are dreadfully old by now, but here are my 2 tanks.



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Old 12-02-2011, 10:13 PM   #5 
steftravels
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Wow your tanks are so nice! Especially your betta. I can really see a purple and pink color -wow! Also the blue is such a unique shade, and lovely tail shape..great tanks & betta!
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