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Old 07-16-2012, 08:20 PM   #1 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Advice, please...

Hello all,

I have come looking for advice.

In the past 4 months we have lost 3 betta's. GordonBob lived with us for a year and a half before passing. Right after him we got Sunkist who only lived for 6 days. Right after him we got Spike and Spike passed today.

GordonBob was one tough fish. I was a new Betta owner when we (he's a work fish in a library) got him. I knew very little and learned over the course of the past 2 years that I did a lot of things wrong (such as scubbing the tank clean of algae and cleaning the filter with tap water and he had no heater for the first year), but he was hearty and tolerated a lot of my ignorance.

Sunkist, we believe, was sick when we got him and never had a chance.

Spike was happy and healthy for what seemed like only a week or two when we first got him and it was downhill thereafter. He battled fin rot and fungus and bloating. He was medicated, he was given clean water. aquarium salt, a new heater, daily 25% water changes and several different courses of action to help him live.

Somehow the tank became "sterile' in that no beneficial bacteria grew. No algae, nothing. The high ammonia levels were not helped by this.

So, to make a short story long, what advice can you give me when we're ready to get another fish (if we do indeed as we're divided on that right now).

We have a 2.5 gallon tank.
We have a great heater.
We have gravel.
We have a hidey hole for the fish and Betta plant.
The tank has a filter.
We have water conditioners (severl different kinds).
We have food - pellets, freeze dried bloodworms and betta flakes.

Do I need to cycle the tank? This has always confused me.

Any other advice you can offer such as how should I clean the tank now that Spike has passed. Is there one type of Betta that is heartier than another? GordonBob was a veil tale. Sunkist was a delta tail. Spike was a crown tail.

Thank you in advance of any and all advice. I really want to get things right the next time.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:02 PM   #2 
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Join Date: May 2012
A tank of 2.5g is kinda too small to cycle.

It would be helpful if you could actually list the make & model of the ....

A picture or a link to the hidey hole thing.

I find a lot of decorations are not safe for fish.

I had to use a pair of wire snips and needlenose pliers to break off any sharp edges on some decorations the bettas are using. I would have taken a nail file to smooth out certain sections, but I misplaced it.

I'm actually in the process of cycling a 10 gallon tank right now. There's 4 filters in there now & I just tossed in a 25w heater in there and turned it up all the way to 89 degrees.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:30 PM   #3 
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Join Date: May 2012
Location: Phoenix, AZ
I'm sorry, GBS, for your recent sad times in the fish department. So much of this is really unavoidable, disease especially is difficult to manage even with the greatest expertise. You are now familiar with some of the worst pathogens, but it has been my experience that once they manifest any of the usual maladies, bettas' days are numbered.

I hope this will not discourage you from keeping bettas again. I did not notice that you mentioned how often you change 100% of the water in your 2.5 gallon tank: this should be done at least once a week with such a small tank, and others here may advocate even more frequent water changes. Having a filter does not remove the necessity of frequent water changes, because the ammonia and nitrogen derivatives still accumulate to hazardous levels over time.

Also, I would caution you to scrub the tank and the hidey hole and the gravel and the heater and the filter surfaces, because they likely are harboring disease pathogens from Sunkist's and Spike's recent tenures there. I have heard on this forum that using vinegar in the scrubbing maximises pathogen obliteration, while vinegar is in turn easier to wash off the implements before introducing them to the betta's home, than are other solvents you may be tempted to use.
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Old 07-16-2012, 09:44 PM   #4 
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Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: MD
I'm so sorry from all the losses that you've experienced... This time, I hope none of them get sick or be unhappy. Diseases are hard to cure so don't feel bad. I hope you can still continue Betta keeping from your experiences.

In a 2.5 gallon, you can actually cycle. It's just hard to keep the ammonia and nitrite and nitrate down because of it's size. But it's still possible. For a filtered 2.5 gallon, you should do 2 50% changes per week. Whenever a tank is cycling or cycled, do NOT do 100% changes. It will get rid of all the good beneficial bacteria on the gravel. Ammonia and all those other nasties will build up and go into dangerous levels. A filter does 1/3 of the work. You have to do water changes to get to those 2/3. You could add plants if you like. It will help with the ammonia and nitrites and nitrates.

Stick to 1 conditioner. It's going to mess up your fish. Make sure that they can't rip their fins by testing pantyhose on it. If it rips, it could also rip your Betta's sweet little fins. If your Betta died of a sickness, I suggest to clean it hard. Use vinegar or bleach. However, if you use bleach, wash it down in hard water multiple times after you cleaned it and dry it in the sun. The diet seems to be well and varied. Variety is key so good job on that. :) Good Luck!
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