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Old 05-20-2012, 01:59 AM   #1 
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: San Diego, CA
Question New Aquarium Water Change Question

Hi everyone,
I recently got a betta fish named Chibitalia (Chibi for short) and I've been reading through this site. Super helpful and everyone seems really nice!
I had a couple questions about the water changes. I've seen a lot of different numbers on the internet for how often I should change it and how much I should change.
I have him in a "Aqueon Betta Mini Bow 2.5 Gallon Aquarium Starter Kit" that has a filter. I want to keep him healthy, so I was just wondering how often and how much water to change.
In the aquarium's guide it says to do a 25% change every month and to never empty it 100%.
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Old 05-20-2012, 06:58 AM   #2 
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I have a 2 gallon filtered tank for one of my bettas. I change it usually twice a week - one 50% change and one 100% change. Sometimes I do 50% three times a week. I vacuum the gravel once a week during a water change.

RE the aquarium instructions - those are really more applicable to a larger tank 20 gal and above. They say not to do 100% change because in larger tanks there is a bacterial cycle that takes ammonia (produced by fish as a waste product) out of the water, and removing all water could disrupt that cycle. In a small tank less than 5 gal the cycle doesn't take place. Ammonia builds up faster, and doing a 100% change is the most efficient way to get all of the ammonia out of the water.

The 25% change per month again is only meant for larger aquaria with the bacterial cycle going. In theory the bacterial cycle cleans the water so you don't have to change it. In practice (at least MY practice) I like to change about a third of my 26 gal tank water once a week; this allows me to vacuum debris from the bottom. That said, I use a good water testing kit (API Master Freshwater) to test my water every couple of days. That way I can do a change whenever it's needed.

Last edited by Cattitude; 05-20-2012 at 07:08 AM.
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Old 05-20-2012, 07:18 AM   #3 
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Well, it's not actually whether it's filtered that determines the water change schedule, but whether it is cycled. Since you're new to bettas, reading this article on the aquarium cycle will make everything less complicated for you:

For a cycled tank you never need to do a full clean out- usually you change 25-50% of the water weekly. However, for an uncycled tank, doing full water changes at least once per week is essential. Most people recommend one 50% and one 100% (where everything gets cleaned out really well) each week. The best way to determine if your water change schedule is sufficient is to get an ammonia test kit (which I highly advise everyone to do) and test the water just before each water change for the first several weeks. You always want ammonia to be below detectable levels, which equates to a reading of 0 ppm on your test kit.

Since your tank is new (and therefore uncycled), I would stick to the water change schedule for uncycled tanks rather than trying to cycle it. It can be difficult even for experienced fishkeepers to establish a stable cycle on a 2.5 gallon, so it will be a lot easier for both you and your fish to just stick to more frequent and larger water changes. Hope this helped. Welcome to the forum!
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Old 05-20-2012, 10:25 AM   #4 
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Despite the tank's instructions, you may actually want to do a 100% change. If you knew what the nitrogen cycle was, you would understand why.

I would recommend doing two 50% changes every week. So change 50% Monday and 50% Friday.
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Old 05-20-2012, 10:28 AM   #5 
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25- 50% percent twice a week. Welcome to the forums, I can't wait to see little Chibi!!
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Old 05-20-2012, 08:05 PM   #6 
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Two 50% changes a week, cleaning the gravel for one of them, is what is recommended for a 2 gallon filtered tank by one of our most experienced members, OldFishLady, who has conducted experiments on this. :)

Just want to check - you didn't mention a heater, which is a pretty important part of betta care. :) If you don't have one, make sure you get one ASAP. I'd go for a 25w adjustable one.
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Old 05-20-2012, 10:16 PM   #7 
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Thank you guys so much! Went out and got an ammonia test kit today. And thank you Bombalurina for the info about the heater.
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