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Old 06-06-2012, 03:28 PM   #1 
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Heating a tank without stressing out my fish?


I am taking care of my friend's betta over the summer (aka forever because I might never give this fishy back) and he had it in this tiny unfiltered, undecorated, unheated 0.5 gallon tank because petco is the WORST at telling people how to take care of their pets. They told him to clean the tank "when it looks dirty," and to just put a pinch of food in once a day, and he didn't even know that you aren't supposed to change all the water at once. (Don't be hard on him, he's a really good guy, he just trusted what the pet store said!) So the poor little fishy was all stressed and lethargic and he barely ate. :( He was so small and finless I thought he was a girl! I still have to crumble his flakes up or he can't eat them.

Anyway, I got him into a 2.5 gallon tank about a week ago (I know it's still a bit small, it's all I could afford) and he's grown a LOT (you should see his beautiful fins!) and is swimming around and eating and playing, which is awesome! But since I only had a half gallon of old water, he had to adjust to about 80% new water all at once, and for a few days he was pretty scared and didn't eat much at all. He's a very sensitive little guy.

I want to start him on a heater now that he's in his nice decorated tank and swimming around, but he's already been through a lot of change... he's doing so well, I don't want him to get stressed again. How can I ease him into heated water? I don't think my heater has temp adjustment, it's just on or off, so I can;t really start low and gradually increase. What do you guys think? Haaaalp!
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Old 06-06-2012, 03:44 PM   #2 
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You could change all the water in a 0.5 gallon tank.. the nitrogen cycle doesn't occur in a tank that small, so your friend IS right to change all the water.
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Old 06-06-2012, 04:11 PM   #3 
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Well, fair enough, I'm not a scientist, just following the advice of the internet. Doesn't matter now, seeing as I got him a bigger tank, so there's really no need to be so nasty... I've never had a fish before, so when I first got him I just changed the water the way he told me to (all at once) and the fish went into shock. That's why I looked up all this info in the first place. I'm not an expert and neither is my VERY lovely, smart, and caring friend, so, that's why I came here and asked for help. Ok?
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Old 06-06-2012, 04:25 PM   #4 
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Woo, this forum is so harsh all of a sudden, everyone used to be so kind.

Anyways, good on ya for getting a bigger tank. That really shouldn't have been your responsibility! The best I can suggest is to find an adjustable heater, you can slowly raise the temperature up over the course of a week or so, so he can adjust properly, since he's been kept in subideal temperatures for so long... He's adapted but it's obviously taking a toll on his health. Get a thermometer, note the temperature.. You can increase it 2F the first day.. Not sure how long the process actually goes on because I've never done this, lol.
Hope that was some help! You should see him feeling better once he's fully adjusted!
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Old 06-06-2012, 04:29 PM   #5 
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I think he went into shock because of the change in water temperature when his water got changed :D
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Old 06-06-2012, 05:00 PM   #6 
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What you can do is cup him, take out 50% of the water, and start the heater in the tank while floating him. Then after the water hits the temperature you want, you can let him out, then slowly start dripping in the rest of the water.

Or you can wait for all of the water to hit the temp you want and float him for 15-30 minutes. Add some of the water into whatever your floating him in from the tank and see how he reacts. If he doesn't seem bothered by it, add more water and more water until you know for sure he won't have a negative reaction.
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Old 06-06-2012, 05:25 PM   #7 
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What I usually do if a fish isn't used to being in heated water is cup them in their tank. I then set the heater to the proper temp (around 78F) and float them while the tank heats up. If the tank is already heated, it takes time for the water in the cup to reach the same temp as the water in the tank. Being cupped can be a little stressful some fish (like my Hannibal because he is so large or Gwynfor because he is a plakat) but they end up happy in their nice warm water. ^_^ Hannibal got the shock treatment, unfortunately. He was biting and trying to jump. Bought him at PetSmart and his water was so dirty that I couldn't leave it in it and he was making it dangerous to try to change it. He did fine going straight into his tank.
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Old 06-06-2012, 06:10 PM   #8 
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You're probably right aokashi, at the time I didn't know fish were so sensitive so I just poured treatment fluid into water right out of the tap.

^_^ Ok, thanks for your help guys! I'm going to have to give him a lot of treats after I catch him or else he's going to be mad.

I just had an idea actually-- tell me if you think this would work or if it would be too fast. I could put the heater in a smaller container and siphon out a little bit of his water (about a half gallon) and heat just that, then pour it in the tank? Then every 10 minutes or so, I'll repeat the process 5 times (in order to get all of the water heated once). Then I'll install the heater, which is set to always heat to 78-80 degrees and then automatically shut down. I think that as long as I siphon from the bottom this would work because warm water is denser than cold and therefore will stay at the bottom (that is, the warmer water will "float") as long as you dont think it will be too dramatic.
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Old 06-06-2012, 06:12 PM   #9 
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I only ask because he hates being caught so much, but if you think its a bad idea I will justfloat him :D
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Old 06-07-2012, 04:09 PM   #10 
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Thanks you guys! Puddles is going great in his 78 degree water. Actually he hangs out by the heater all day! You rock :)
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