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Old 06-04-2012, 10:24 PM   #1 
fuhombrechu
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Warning: Rant (Stressed out betta fish keeper)

About 6 months ago I bought my girlfriend a betta fish. It's lived in a 1 gallon bowl pretty happily from what I saw while it stayed at her place. She did 100% water changes weekly and rinsed the glass pebbles, 2 fake plants, and a tiki head.

We guesstimated the temperature of the new water that we would put in the bowl so it would be close to the previous water temp. We then added bettasafe to dechlorinate the water and then put the betta fish back in the bowl. She feeds him bettamin twice a day about 10 of the red specs and 1 of the dried hard things each time. We have caught fruit flies a few times which we fed him.

Now it's summer and my girlfriend took a job out of state that requires a 2 month stay so I'm taking care of the fish. I do the same routine she does and the fish seems all right. I get really paranoid that it's not all right though sometimes. It scares me when he swims into the rocks and the side of the tank really fast. I've also stumbled upon "clamped fin" when reading online and now I'm paranoid he has it because his fins aren't spread all the way out.

It floats at the top of the bowl and then randomly swims really fast around the bowl and through the plants and sometimes hard enough into the bottom to make the pebbles move (which startles me every time). It's consistently active and is never still for very long. It is very aware of when I get close and starts to swim around. It eats every time I feed him and comes up to the top for air often which makes that pop noise.

Anyway, I've been reading online and 90% of the searches I've done resulted in people saying "5 Gallon is the minimum for any fish!" like it's a hard fact. So I went out and bought a eheim 6 gallon tank used from a store because I didn't want to wait for a new one to be shipped. Little did I know that created more problems for me than I wanted. The tank previously had gravel and real plants and wood that took up about 1/3 of the tank so it had a pretty good ecosystem and there were several fish and crabs and other fish that would "clean the algae".

Now I have this 6 gallon tank that has grime and stuff all over it and the filter is very dirty and has the same grime is in every crevice I can see. I don't trust that I can wash it thoroughly enough to remove all of it. I'm also very intimidated by the cycling process and all the maintenance and testing etc. that comes with having a larger tank, but I'm also worried that the betta fish isn't very happy in the 1 gallon bowl (reading online with people saying 5 gallon is the minimum has made me very paranoid).

My house water also goes through a water softening system so I'm not sure how that will affect the fish in the 1 gallon bowl. I did a 50% water change today using an outside hose that should be regular tap water. I bought a PH test kit and for all the water that my fish has been in, apparently the ph is 7.6 (could be higher because the max reading the kit shows is 7.6) So I'm all stressed out about that.

I'm also worried that if it gets used to the 6 gallon tank, it won't be happy in the bowl again if my girlfriend can't keep the 6 gallon tank at her new place.

I bought a thermometer for the 1 gallon bowl and the temperature is consistent around 75 which eases my stress a little.

If I miss a spot when I clean the filter, will it harm the fish?

The fish seems happy right now and I don't want to kill it by putting it in a 6 gallon tank that I have no idea how to maintain.

I don't know what to do. Please help me.
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:50 PM   #2 
LebronTheBetta
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Okay, 1st things 1st. 5 Gallons is NOT the minimum. I have my Betta in a 3.5 Gallon for almost 3 months, he's still Happy and Healthy. Anyways, some people think that THIS is the minimum or THAT'S the minimum. There isn't really a minimum. Well, my minimum is 1 Gallon so to speak. But it really depends if you can do enough Water Changes, and if you think he has enough space. You should really try to get the Biggest Tank you can get for him so you don't have to hassle upgrading.

Okay 2nd, you have to ask yourself. Do you want this Tank just for your Betta? Of course you can add Tankmates like Shrimp or Snails to make it not Empty much, but that's not the Point. The point is, is that your Betta can have the WHOLE 6 Gallons to himself. You could just clean the Tank with Heavy Aquarium Safe Cleaners. I've heard something about using Bleach, and let the Tank Sun-Dry? That's what I've heard to clean it.

You could check with your Local Pet Store to see whats the ph. I think the Range was 6.0-8.0.
Anyways, just keep your Bowl to see if your Girlfriend still wants it. Oh, and when you clean the Filter, you have to use your Tank's Water. Chlorine would kill the Beneficial Bacteria. You should also get a Heater. The Sweet Spot is 78F - 80F. Good Luck with your New Tank!!! :D

Last edited by LebronTheBetta; 06-04-2012 at 10:53 PM.
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Old 06-04-2012, 10:52 PM   #3 
Sena Hansler
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Oh my!

Okay, slow down

1. No you DON'T need 5 gallons minimum. There is no size set in stone. However, some of us like our bigger tanks for a few reasons... cycling...plants... room.... temperature...

2. a 6 gallon will cycle with the betta in it. Properly cleaning, with gravel siphoning per week should be done, even after it is done cycling. You can get an API liquid test kit - I'll swear by it!

3. The darting, I've noticed more in bettas who are colder... They tend to be lazier, their metabolism being used more for surviving than thriving. Then the darting is the random burst of energy they give! They can also be startled, and in smaller spaces slamming into things is very common.

4. Bettas are hardy. 7.6 is what I have, and I haven't had a problem. Some have had theirs to 8.0, others at 6.5... and we own bettas.

5.Cleaning the 6 gallon: let it cycle. 25% weekly water changes should be alright, don't rinse the filter. If it gets algae, keep it away from direct sunlight. Scrape off any algae once you see it bloom. I am not sure if a SIAMESE algae eater would fit in that tank with a betta (NOT to be confused with the more aggressive and larger CHINESE algae eater).... Anyways, if you don't want it to cycle, just empty, rinse, add water, add conditioner, add fish. But trust me it's less work the other way :P No need for bleach or vinegar.. there is a thing as TOO clean!
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:30 PM   #4 
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A lot of people are FANATICAL about tank size, and some fish, like goldfish really do need large tanks because they produce ALOT of waste. However, bettas aren't that messy and in MY opinion as long as the water is heated and weekly water changes are made, 1 gallon is OK. Personally, I like to give my bettas at least 3 gallons each - more room for them. If you go to PETA's webpage they insist that one betta MUST have 10 gallons...

Cycling isn't as bad as it sounds. I put off having filters for a long time for my 10 and 20G tanks but in the long run, it makes things alot easier on you. Basically, all you have to do is keep the filter running and test the water every 3 or so days. Keep an eye on the ammonia, nitrite and nitrAte levels. If any of them get to high, do a 50% water change. First the ammonia will rise and drop off, then the nirItes will do the same and then the nitrAtes will come along. When you get nitrAtes but no ammonia or Nitrites, you are cycled. You want to keep the nitrAtes under 40, I think. Ammonia should be at 0 but you need to have some of it in your tank for the ammonia eating bacteria. I changed my water when it got to 1.0 as I have ammonia in my tap so it will always read .25. If you by the API master test kit - it will be easy to tell when to change the water

clamped fins do mean something is wrong but it could be anything - like being too cold, the water is too dirty or possibly there is too much open space and he feels vunerable. It does not necissarly mean the fish is sick but almost all sick fish will be clamped.

with 6 gallons, you can divide the tank and have 2 bettas or you can add a snail or some shrimp. However snails are poop machines and shrimp may become snacks for the betta. Plus some snails are asexual and reproduce like mad, while others need a male and female. I think snails are neat :)

Ditto on not rinsing the filter one you have it in the tank. The bacteria you want will colonize in the filter. They also live in the gravel and on any decor in the tank so you shouldn't do too much cleaning unless its an emergency. ALso, what filter do you have? if it has the removable cartridges that are supposed to be replaced ever 4 weeks, do not replace them. Just swish them around in old tank water and put them back in the filter. Most of the bacteria you want will be on them and if you replace the cartridge, there goes the majority of your helpful bacteria and your cycle. This may or may not be true depending on the filter you have. Some, like the marineland penguine have a biowheel that holds the bacteria and aqua clear ones have several different types of filter media that can be removed.

Last edited by Tikibirds; 06-04-2012 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 06-05-2012, 12:13 AM   #5 
fuhombrechu
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Thanks guys. I feel a lot better now.

Ok, so my plan now is too buy some more glass pebbles to fill the base and a bigger shelter for the fish to feel safe and a few more fake plants.

I have a siphon hose already; will that work with the glass pebbles that are about the size of a penny? Or should I just put some smaller rocks in it for the base?

I know I need a lot of ammonia to start a cycle so I was thinking about draining the water from the 1 gallon bowl into the tank when I do water changes. Will that work? Then once it gets filled up I'll run the filter and test the water and if every thing is good, add the fish.

I don't know how to thank you guys, and the only thing I can think of is keeping you posted on the progress so you can see how much you've helped if you want.
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:13 AM   #6 
Nutt007
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Originally Posted by fuhombrechu View Post
Thanks guys. I feel a lot better now.

Ok, so my plan now is too buy some more glass pebbles to fill the base and a bigger shelter for the fish to feel safe and a few more fake plants.

I have a siphon hose already; will that work with the glass pebbles that are about the size of a penny? Or should I just put some smaller rocks in it for the base?

I know I need a lot of ammonia to start a cycle so I was thinking about draining the water from the 1 gallon bowl into the tank when I do water changes. Will that work? Then once it gets filled up I'll run the filter and test the water and if every thing is good, add the fish.

I don't know how to thank you guys, and the only thing I can think of is keeping you posted on the progress so you can see how much you've helped if you want.
Um, correct me if I'm wrong but isn't ammonia bad? But you should definitely add the gravel from the old bowl. Bacteria is good for the cycle, ammonia, not so much.

Please do post pictures!
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:23 AM   #7 
fuhombrechu
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I thought a cycle needed to start with a lot of ammonia so the filter absorbs it and then turns it into nitrite, then into nitrate, so the cycle is complete and any new ammonia, from new fish, is more easily converted into the less harmful substance.
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:30 AM   #8 
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Originally Posted by fuhombrechu View Post
I thought a cycle needed to start with a lot of ammonia so the filter absorbs it and then turns it into nitrite, then into nitrate, so the cycle is complete and any new ammonia, from new fish, is more easily converted into the less harmful substance.
I don't know really. I'm not too knowledgeable on cycling. All I know is ammonia=bad :P
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Old 06-05-2012, 05:48 AM   #9 
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I'm no expert, but this is what I've learned through my research.

The cycle does need a lot of ammonia to start. I'm currently cycling a 6.6, and hoping it works XD Anyway. From what I've ready, you want a rather high ammonia level - of about 4.0 ppm, which is WAY too high for any fish. Most reccommend getting pure ammonia that you would use for cleaning, and adding some of that to the tank that's cycling. Others use fish food, which produces ammonia as it decomposes. That's what I'm doing currently, and a full cap of betta flakes shot my ammonia levels up to 4.0 ppm. The ammonia is NEEDED to start a cycle. So, if you are doing a fishless cycle (keeping the betta in the 1 gallon while the 6 cycles), either pure ammonia or fish food will be your best bet for dosing the 6 gallon. If you're doing the fin-in cycle (having the betta in the 6 gallon as your source of ammonia), then don't dose it. I don't reccomend the fish-in cycle, as its dangerous to the fish.
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Old 06-05-2012, 08:18 AM   #10 
Sena Hansler
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You can use fish food, or raw shrimp...which is messy, and I use it mainly for bare bottom tanks (adding gravel later). Fish in requires a hardy species like minnows (who are cold water), or like mentioned pure ammonia.
I recommend a liquid test kit, which is more accurate than test strips (environment changes the outcome, such as humidity, light, heat, dampness, water damage, expire date, etc) and watch it for the next 4-6 weeks doing a weekly cleaning.
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