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Old 08-25-2012, 07:51 PM   #1 
goshinkansen
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Newbie Petstore Mistake - upgrading to bigger tank

Hi,

I took my 3 yo to Petsmart last Sunday to buy a fish. We picked the tank first and then asked the store clerk which fish would like to be in there. We got the 1.5 gallon Tetra LED kit that has a filter. Saleslady suggested a betta, and we found a really beautiful one. I haven't kept fish since the ones I had when I was a kid in the 80s, so basically I have no clue.

So, I went home with the kit, some water conditioner and food and NO other info except a pamphlet that explained almost nothing. So, I start looking stuff up online and I find your forum. Now I realize I need to start over with the set up, but I'd like to do this without killing our beautiful "Pretty Fishie" <-- named by my daughter (they're not super creative at 3). To make matters worse, we also added snails (even the guy at the proper aquarium store said it was OK, but now I'm not sure). So I'm doubly worried about ammonia. I got some test kids (liquid and paper) and PH, Nitrates and Nitrites, hardness, etc are all good. Ammonia is about .5ppm right now after a 50% water change. We're going to change all the water tonight.

Questions:

1) By 100% water change, do we move the fish (and the flippin snails) to another container and literally replace all the water in the tank or do we leave water in and replace what we can?

2) I want to upgrade to a 5 gallon tank with a whisper filter. Pretty Fishie doesn't seem to mind the current. Is it better to cycle the fish in the 5 gallon (freeing him from the perils of the 1.5 gallon) or try to do a fishless cycle? Maybe sacrifice the snails for cycling? How long does it take to cycle a 5 gallon tank sans fish? I have to admit that this whole cycling worries me even after reading all the info.

3) Can 1 betta and 3 snails live in harmony (and health) in a 5 gallon tank? I kinda like the snails and Pretty Fishie doesn't see to care that they're there.

4) What's the best way to clean the gravel? Hopefully you'll tell me the snails will do the job. ;)

THANKS!!!
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Old 08-25-2012, 08:38 PM   #2 
Jully
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Never listen to Pet Store owners unless they are actually Betta keepers, because usually there information are wrong and they just want you to buy :P

1) By 100% water change, do we move the fish (and the flippin snails) to another container and literally replace all the water in the tank or do we leave water in and replace what we can?

Question 1: [Here is a little guide]

1. Get a cup, bigger then your betta which can fit in, or a bowl like a plastic container which is bigger and higher then a betta. ALSO get a zip-lock bag and fill it up with some of the OLDER tank water, enough for a betta.

2. Fill it with some of the tank water, make sure there is enough water for your betta.
3. Get a net

4. Catch your betta gently, make sure the net is bigger then the betta and then put him in the bowl/cup as quick as possible, make sure you do NOT drop him. Another way to catch him without hurting him is to scoop him in with a cup, so just put the cup in the water and scoop him up gently.

5. Put him in a safe place, where he wont fall, jump, or get touched, and is warm.

6. Pour out all the the water since it's a 100% water change, if you have a gravel vacuum use that to clean the gravel, if not rinse the gravel out and then rinse the gravel, I recommend using a strainer for better cleaning.

7. Fill the tank up with warm water, not to hot, not to cold so because if you don't have the heater it helps to give your betta a bit warm water for a while.

8. Put water conditioner in the tank to make it safe, like for example "Aqua-Plus" it's a has a stress coat formula which stops fish from stressing AND conditions the water to make it safe.

9. Remember the zip-lock bag in 1.? Well, pour your fish in a zip-lock bag remember you should of put the older water in the bag enough for a betta to float, do NOT fill the hole bag just half, then pour your fish in it, do this UNDER a bowl, and then close the bag and let him float. After 10 minutes of floating scoop some of the tank water and pour it in the bag, wait 15 minutes then net him out of the bag and put him in his tank. THIS is because he wont get stressed I do this so it doesn't stress my betta out then just throwing him in there and it doesn't shock him.

2) I want to upgrade to a 5 gallon tank with a whisper filter. Pretty Fishie doesn't seem to mind the current. Is it better to cycle the fish in the 5 gallon (freeing him from the perils of the 1.5 gallon) or try to do a fishless cycle? Maybe sacrifice the snails for cycling? How long does it take to cycle a 5 gallon tank sans fish? I have to admit that this whole cycling worries me even after reading all the info.

2. I would cycle the tank, when I got a 3 gallon people told me I shouldn't bother cycling the tank, since it's a smaller tank. But because your is a 5 gallon I would do a cycle, it could take up to 3 - 6 weeks to cycle a tank maybe longer. Keep a test kit with you :)

3) Can 1 betta and 3 snails live in harmony (and health) in a 5 gallon tank? I kinda like the snails and Pretty Fishie doesn't see to care that they're there.

3. As long as your betta doesn't get annoyed by the snails, they are fine to be in a 5 gallon tank and it doesn't effect them because the tank is big enough.

4) What's the best way to clean the gravel? Hopefully you'll tell me the snails will do the job. ;)

4. A gravel vacuum is a very easy way to clean the gravel. And everything poops, I have never had snails before so I believe they may not :P
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Old 08-25-2012, 08:54 PM   #3 
goshinkansen
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Yeah a bit late to dis on the Petsmart too much at this point. I won't listen to them again.

I just changed the water, rinsed the gravel several times and put conditioner in the water. It's a total guess as to how much conditioner b/c the measurements on my AquaPlus bottle are based on a 10gal tank.

Could the conditioner have something in it to raise the ammonia levels or create a false positive? I'm gonna test my regular tap water too just to see wht it's like.

Sorry, somehow I deleted the ammonia reading after testing the water was somewhere between .25mm and .5mm, so I'm testing the tap water without the conditioner. After only two minutes, it's showing an ammonia reading too. argh.

Last edited by goshinkansen; 08-25-2012 at 08:57 PM.
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:00 PM   #4 
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No, I never had troubles with Aqua-Plus, for a 1/2 gallon I would put 2 drops, I think 5mL, should be fine, or put some drops in the measuring cup it comes with from the bottle, put some drops in it but not exactly 5mL.

I don't think it will exactly kill the fish, if you add conditioner but if you were to add 2 - 3 full bottles, yeah probably. I would go with the 5mL for a 5 gallon.
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:06 PM   #5 
goshinkansen
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OK, I tested my regular tap water for ammonia and it came up with more ammonia than the tank water. Not sure what's up. We have to go to the aquarium shop tomorrow, so I'll ask them if they know anything dodgy about our local water supply.

Thank you for your advice! Looking forward to getting the bigger tank established. This small one is stressing me out.
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:12 PM   #6 
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the ammonia reading is easily explained. tap water contains chloramine which is ammonia bound by chlorine. adding a water conditioner breaks these bonds, neutralizes the chloramine and releases ammonia.
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:23 PM   #7 
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My Betta loves his 5 gallon and I just finished doing a fish in cycle with him. It took my tank a month and half to cycle but I have a bio-wheel as the filter and I have heard they take longer to cycle which I did not know when I brought the tank. Like you I had no idea how to cycle and thanks to the forum and people I could always message and ask questions I did it....yeeeaaa !

You can do it just be prepared to alot of 50 percent water changes and smaller ones and the API Master Water Kit is the one I used and I could not have done it without it, I checked the levels everyday so I knew how much water I needed to change. A gravel vac is also wonderful not only does it clean the gravel but water changes are so much faster and easier using one. The water conditioner I used was Prime cause it detoxifies ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.

I do have snails but not in my tank, I found some on live plants I got so I put them in a large bowl with lid cause they were so tiny and Yes they poop alot ! A couple I missed and well Perseus eat them, but like I said they are very tiny and are pond snails. They are cute and I like to watch them but they lay alot of eggs so that is why its best they are in their own bowl with conditioned water and I clean the eggs out of the bowl when I change the water.

Good luck.. Betta are amazing little guys I love mine so much ! Be sure and ask questions if there is something you need to know or dont understand there are plenty of great people here always willing to help ! I am sure your little girl is going to love to watch Pretty Fishie swimming around and they can learn their name, Perseus will be somewhere behind one of the plants or in his cave and I call out his name and he peeks his sweet little fishie head out and looks at me...lol..Its so adorable, so they are also smart little guys !
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:31 PM   #8 
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I put my fish in very clean, large yogurt containers with lids when doing large water changes on the smaller tanks. And then float them in the cup to acclimate.

Prime is a fantastic water conditioner. It's safe to use in double (and up to 5 x!) doses, so if your tap water has ammonia you can use a bit more than if it didn't, and is easy to dose for smaller tanks as you only use a couple of drops per gallons (and it comes in a dropper bottle).

I would house two of the snails in the smaller tank temporarily and cycle with the fish in-tank, as bettas don't have much bioload - and if you keep up water changes for the first few weeks as if it isn't cycled (which it won't be..) then you can keep the ammonia down and the tank will cycle naturally on its own - it just might take a bit longer, is all. You can cycle it more quickly without the fish or snails using pure (non-surfactant) bleach.. but all my tanks have been cycled fish-in and really (since I enjoy water changes), it's less headache to just change the water a lot, imo.

Snails are poopy. All my tanks have a few small snails in (MTS, baby ramshorns, pond snails - I really like snails), but the ones with larger snails (wh snails, blond snails, large ramshorns) require a lot more water changes. So it's up to you, whether you're willing to do more water changes to compensate for the poopiness.

Snails will clean algae off the tank. They won't eat fish poo, though, so you'll have to vac the gravel. You can get a siphon vac for maybe $5 - it means getting the occasional mouthful of fish water, but really it's not too bad. And probably has less bacteria in it than the average take-away meal.

Or you can stir-and-dip (without the fish in the tank) - empty most of the water, stir the gravel, scoop out the gunk, etc. I find the siphon vac much quicker and easier.

Sounds like "Pretty Fishy" (this is adorable) has found a wonderful, caring home. :)
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:53 PM   #9 
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Quote:
Can 1 betta and 3 snails live in harmony (and health) in a 5 gallon tank? I kinda like the snails and Pretty Fishie doesn't see to care that they're there.
I would think it depends on the type of snail - some get bigger then others and on how often you do water changes. They do poop ALOT. I have one black mystery snail and about 50 or so Japanese Trapdoor snails and those guys get up to 3 inches as adults. A gravel vac is a must if you want to keep the snails. I got the basic Aqueon one where you have to shake it up and down to get the water to siphon but they also sell ones that have a pump you squeeze which is probably at lot easier. If you keep the snails, you will most likely end up with a bunch of them - depending on the species. Some are asexual egg layers, others you need a male and female but they also lay eggs, some (like mine) give birth to live young and I think nerites lay eggs but they can only hatch in salt water?

Last edited by Tikibirds; 08-25-2012 at 09:56 PM.
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Old 08-25-2012, 09:57 PM   #10 
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Yeah the betta would have been okay in the 1.5 gallon alone, but with the snails a 5 gallon would be great! I agree with Aus; you can do a fish-in cycle with just the betta and maybe a snail and then slowly add the other snails. Good luck and enjoy your betta!! I bet he is a "pretty fishie" ;)
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