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Old 05-09-2012, 10:48 PM   #1 
Tikibirds
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So what's the deal?

There seems to be A LOT of conflicting information on how to go about caring for bettas - what's popular on here in regard to betta care seems to be the opposite of what some other forums suggest. So, I want to know - what's the deal with these - what do you suggest and why

1) The PEA method - I have always heard it does more damage then good for bettas and it is more for goldfish
2) can tanks under 5 gallons cycle? Some people insist that they can safely keep a cycle in tanks as small as a 1 gallon but I have also heard that nothing under 5 can hold a stable cycle
3) water change schedule for both filtered and non filtered. Some say everyday, some say 2X a week some say 25% a month. Personally, I usually do the 2X a week for non cycled that OFL suggests...

Tank size also seems to be a big issue of content as well...From under 1 gallon from clueless petstores to over 10 gallons from clueless PETA (who I really dislike, by the way). I know 2.5 seems to be the standard but if you use smaller or larger tell me why..and a pic of cool tanks would be awsome too.

And yes, I am very bored tonight. :P


Last edited by Tikibirds; 05-09-2012 at 10:52 PM.
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Old 05-09-2012, 10:55 PM   #2 
jeffegg2
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Cool

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tikibirds View Post
There seems to be A LOT of conflicting information on how to go about caring for bettas - what's popular on here in regard to betta care seems to be the opposite of what some other forums suggest. So, I want to know - what's the deal with these - why do you suggest and why

1) The PEA method - I have always heard it does more damage then good for bettas and it is more for goldfish
2) can tanks under 5 gallons cycle? Some people insist that they can safely keep a cycle in tanks as small as a 1 gallon but I have also heard that nothing under 5 can hold a stable cycle
3) water change schedule for both filtered and non filtered. Some say everyday, some say 2X a week some say 25% a month. Personally, I usually do the 2X a week for non cycled that OFL suggests...

1: I've never had a contipated betta. I don't over feed dry food, perhaps thats why. I don't see how feeding frozen peas can hurt though.

2: get a water test kit and you determine what is acceptable levels of ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate for you and your fish.

3: see above.

There are lax standards, and then higher standards. A rule of thumb is just that. If you don't want to depend on the experience of others, then test the water and see how long and under what conditions you go "out of spec". Some feed their fish more, so that will require more frequent water changes.

Disease is mostly caused by the lowering of the fishes immune system by stressing with ammonia, nitrite, and nitrate. Keep the water healthy and your fish will stay healthy...

Jeff.

Last edited by jeffegg2; 05-09-2012 at 10:59 PM.
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:00 PM   #3 
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I'm not sure about #1, but I will answer #2 and #3 to the best of my ability along with scientific evidence (not to be confused with PROOF)

(This is for unplanted tanks) #2: Any size "tank" can cycle if given enough time. The problem being lies in juggling fish safety and bacteria safety. If you change too much water in a small tank, the bacteria will not have enough to eat, and will die. If you change too little water in a small tank, you run the risk of a spike that may harm livestock.

The reason why it is easier to do in a LARGER tank is because there is more room for "mistakes". Forget to change the water because you're feeling tired? No problem, you can do it tomorrow. The large amount of water is capable of holding a certain amount of ammonia/nitrite/nitrate (not to be confused with concentration) to be able to keep bacteria happy.

Regarding amount vs concentration:

Let's say that bacteria like to eat 100 molecules a day (for arguments sake)

100 molecules of ammonia/nitrite in a 1G tank = deadly (high concentration)
100 molecules of ammonia/nitrite in a 10G tank = no problem (low concentration)



(Again, unplanted tanks) #3: This depends on your bioload, tank size, amount of food fed, how quickly your betta metabolises food, etc.

I conducted tests on a small, uncyced 2G tank by measuring ammonia at the same time everyday, feeding my betta the usual amount, water heated to 80F. I came to find a "perfect" schedule, in which I can do as little water changes as possible. It ended up being a 50% water change either WEDS or THURS and a FULL water change on SATURDAY.

However I do not do this many water changes in my cycled 5 gallon.

The whole 2x a week, etc. is just a guideline for those who do not have access to master kits or other testing devices.
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:20 PM   #4 
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1) I would try it I guess in dire circumstances. But they're really more meat-eaters biologically, so I think not feeding so much plant matter makes sense.
2) My 3 gallon will cycle on occasion. Not often. I usually just have to keep up with water changes.
3) All my tanks are filtered. My 20-gallon gets a 25% water change once a week. Maybe more if the ammonia pops up. My 3-gallon is just dependent on ammonia levels. I usually end up doing a 50% change at least once a week.


I only have issues with anything that is not filtered or heated and is smaller than maybe a couple of gallons. My QT is 1.5 gallons, but it's a temporary thing for easy and thorough treatment. I have the 20 gallon to divide up for multiple fish just to make tank maintenance easier for myself. I'm lazy.
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Old 05-09-2012, 11:20 PM   #5 
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When I'm bored I usually dream about a 200 gal discus biotope and setting up a riverine tank. Your bored evening sounds a lot less costly than mine!

1: As for it actually harming the betta, I don't think it does. They can't digest the plant matter, so it is just pushed through the gut. I think the problem with this is people assume it can be an-instafix to a bloating problem. People just treat the symptoms not the cause. I've had bloated bettas before, and I found the best solution is to just not feed them for a few days. This particular betta that is prone to bloat I feed very small amounts of food 3x daily to instead of the usual for my other boys. --As an aside about the goldfish, peas do work to help constipation but blanched spinach works better.

2: Bahamut answered that one pretty well. I personally have never kept a fish in anything under 5 gal, so I can't really tell you if anything under that will hold a stable cycle.

3: At a minimum weekly water changes are needed in all but the most specialized tanks (like OFL's NPT). This is something that every reliable source for fishkeeping agrees up. Water changes not only remove nitrate; they also remove hormones, dissolved organic matter, and other "gunk" that we can't test for. When we add fresh water, you replenish the supply of dissolved minerals and keep the GH and KH steady. And as we know a steady environment is essential for fish health. Byron over at TFK is preparing an article on the importance of weekly water changes, and I look forward to reading this as it will greatly expound on the points I have made.
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:08 AM   #6 
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In terms of peas vs daphnia, I think it is comparable to sennakot vs a laxative in humans. Sennakot just causes the bowl to work harder to flush stuff out - the laxative actually makes the contents liquid so that they go through easily. I think of a pea as being sennakot and daphnia as a typical laxative.
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:09 AM   #7 
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Quote:
When I'm bored I usually dream about a 200 gal discus biotope and setting up a riverine tank. Your bored evening sounds a lot less costly than mine!
oooh - I would love a discus tank. They are so odd looking I love them but I heard they are hard to keep?

Quote:
Any size "tank" can cycle if given enough time. The problem being lies in juggling fish safety and bacteria safety. If you change too much water in a small tank, the bacteria will not have enough to eat, and will die. If you change too little water in a small tank, you run the risk of a spike that may harm livestock.
That makes sense.

I don't have alot of outlets at my disposal so only the 10 gallon and the 20 gallon have filters but the 20 isn't set up. Im having a hard time finding a shelf for it..Everything else gets the 2X a week change...usually. I forgot one guy for 2 weeks and I did test his water just out of curosity. There was .25 ammonia which is normal for my tap..and 0 for the other 2 as well. I expected the ammonia to be higher. He is in about 4 gallons, it's a veggie krisper I stole from my alaska apt
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:17 AM   #8 
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Please don't bash me for this because it is not my tank and I don't live with or near the owner.....but....

Someone I know has a betta in an unheated, unfiltered, 1/2 gal bowl. She only changes the water when it gets dirty, and cleans the bowl with dish soap.

You know how long she's had him?

5 Years.

So I think people just like to follow standards. It makes things easier for our brains to process. Obviously not all bettas are as hearty as my friends', so the standards are higher than that.

I have a heated, filtered, 5 gallon with only one betta. It is no longer cycled, but I change about 40-50% of the water once a week. I will check it right before a change and nitrites and nitrates look like 0. So that works for me.

A lot of things in petkeeping, particularly betta keeping, are a matter of opinion.
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:24 AM   #9 
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I had a fussy betta once in a filtered one gal who absolutely had to have a 100% WC everyday or he will start to look all sad... despite the water testing out to be perfect and all.

I really think it's up to the visible, invisible elements we can't see and the betta. The other one ( Also in a gallon) got the typical two changes a week and was always happy. Both tanks had plants that were easily removable. but the first betta grew to be such a headache that I removed all the plants in his tank.
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Old 05-10-2012, 12:36 AM   #10 
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oooh - I would love a discus tank. They are so odd looking I love them but I heard they are hard to keep?
Well they are more sensitive than your average fish. But I don't think they are out of the ability of most experienced fishkeepers (certainly not a beginner fish, tho). Money is one of the things that set discus apart from most other fish. The fish themselves can run as much as $300, and the large setups they need can be thousands of dollars. A lot of the tanks I'm finding in my research have automatic water change systems in order to keep the water in tip-top shape. Those are also a pretty penny, but they do allow large daily water changes to keep the water in excellent condition. Right now I see the goal of a discus biotope setup as something for when I'm retired and will have the time and money to devote to them. But in the meantime I can look up videos and drool. Let me know if you want to see some that I found.

Interesting comparison, Bomba. That's a great way to think of that.
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