Sea salt and aquarium salt are not the same thing. Sea salt is for saltwater fish. The API aquarium salt directly says freshwater fish. I believe the sea salt is more potent than aquarium salt. http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=74431
Most people recommend leaving the light on for 8-12 hours today at fairly regular times. It imitates the day/night cycle they would have in the wild.
Scaleless fish like Corydoras cannot hadle aquarium salt.
Is the bottled water distilled? If so, it's lacking minerals and nutrients that the fish needs to survive. There are conditioners that remove ammonia from the tap water - Seachem Prime and Amquel plus both remove ammonia, nitrIte and nitrAte from the water. I have ammonia in my tap water as well. I use stress coat and a dash of Prime.
Also, if you are cycling the tank, it takes about a month or more to get the nitrogen cycle to complete. Most people say those bottles that claim to cycle the tank do not work.
Establishing the nitrogen cycle for the Betta in 1gal-10gal filtered tank can be safely completed with a healthy Bettawith or without testing products.....provided that you make the needed water changes......
No matter what container you have your Betta in...You will need to make water changes due to the byproducts produced.....
The difference when cycling is that you are growing beneficial bacteria that can help keep the water safer with limited water changes once established.
Since the filtered tank is a closed system-you still have to make water changes.
Nothing leaves the tank until you remove it manually with the water change, however, once the nitrogen cycle is established-the BB can convert the most harmful byproduct (ammonia) to a less harmful byproduct(nitrate).....
You don't want to base water change needs on water test alone-due to the DOC's (dissolved organic compounds) that can be harmful when they buildup to high levels.
You can establish the nitrogen cycle in 1-4gal filtered tanks, however, due to limited surface area the cycle might not be stable and twice weekly water change will be needed to maintain water quality.
You don't have to have water test kit on hand to safely establish the nitrogen cycle for the Fish-in cycle method with a single Betta in a small filtered tank, however, having one can take the guess work out of the game...Plus, its a good idea to know how to properly run water prams test, understand what they mean, how they interact, what to do with test results and its really good overall to have this knowledge base for fish keeping in general and you can look cool and impress your friends....
Sadly, due to the cost of a freshwater master test kit-sometimes we can't always afford one and this is when you can take your water to the pet shop for a Free test-Just always get numbers-don't accept "Fine" or "Okay" and find out what type of test product they used too-watch them do it if you can.....
Understanding the beneficial bacteria:
The beneficial bacteria (BB) you are colonizing for the nitrogen cycle are self limiting. What this means-you can only grow a colony large enough based on- Food source-byproducts from anything organic-like the Betta, fish food, live plants, shrimp, snails...etc.... Oxygen-when the water flow from the filter disrupts the surface you have gas exchange Surface area-all areas inside the tank-like the walls, decorations, plants-both real and fake, in the top layer of the substrate and in the filter media.
The BB are sticky and adhere to all the surface areas within the tank-very little are in the water column itself.
The BB are alive..and many things can kill or slow the BB growth/colonizing.
Like dehydration, suffocation, chlorine/chloramines and some medications
If the BB dry up they die
If they are buried in mulm/debris that limits access to dissolved oxygen they can suffocate.
If the filter is turned off longer than 6 hours the BB will start to die
Both chlorine and chloramine will kill the BB
Many different medications will kill the BB
With pH 6 and less the BB can't colonize
It is important to vacuum the substrate in all areas that can be reached without moving anything or disruption of plant roots- at least weekly to keep the mulm/debris from suffocating the BB
It is important to rinse/swish the filter media in old tank water or fresh dechlorinated water a couple of times a month to maintain good water flow to the BB. The filter media should look dirty-this is normal and good.
The fishless cycle is intended for community tanks-this method was developed so that you could safely fully stock large tanks. Since we are only stocking our smaller filtered tanks with a single Betta and maybe some shrimp and/or snails. The Fishless method isn't always needed.
Once you setup your tank and properly acclimate the Betta.
Your first water change should start on or about day 3 and schedule the second weekly from that point.....
In a 1gal-4gal filtered tank-without live plants:
Water changes of twice weekly 50%...1-50% water only and 1-50% to include the substrate by vacuum or stir and dip method.
Filter media needs swish/rinse in old tank water a couple of time a month *The long term care and established cycle care will be the same on 1-4gal filtered tanks.
In 5gal-10gal filtered without live plants:
Water changes of twice weekly for the next 4-6 weeks
Of... 1-50% water only and 1-50% with vacuum in all areas you can reach without moving anything or disruption of plant roots. *The 50% with vacuum will be the water change schedule for the life of the system to maintain water quality once the nitrogen cycle has established. Filter media needs swish/rinse in old tank water a couple of time a month
*If you have water test kit-base the water only change on: ammonia, nitrite 0.25ppm or greater.
With a low bioload often you don't need the second water only-I always recommend it when you don't have test kit to err on the side of caution...its the safety net....
Live plants can change the cycling process as well, however, you have to have enough of the right species of plants that are actively growing.
Not all plants can use enough of the byproducts fast enough to help keep the water safe for the Betta.
Using lots of fast growing stem plants and floating plant you will have a silent cycle. The active plant growth can use the ammonia before conversion and it can take a long time if ever to see the nitrate reading we look for to tell us cycling stages/completeness.
With enough of the right species plants that are in active growth can also decrease water change needs in 1-4gal filtered tanks to 50% weekly.
*Remember-some additives can change or skew water prams results-
Like some dechlorinator products can change ammonia to ammonium so its not harmful to the Betta-but, live plants and BB can still use it as a food source to colonize.
Some plant foods can cause false readings in ammonia, nitrite and nitrate.
Its not uncommon to have ammonia, nitrite and nitrate in the source water
When using test kits-they test at a ppm level (parts per million) so you will always have some ammonia in the water at very low levels that can be used by the beneficial bacteria.
Once the nitrogen cycle has established your water prams should read:
Nitrate 5-10ppm ideally...You want to keep this under 40ppm
pH-can vary- Betta can adapt to most source water pH without issue and use of chemical to altar the pH should be avoided-except in rare cases......
Does his fins have an outline of black around the torn parts? In the first pics, to me, it looks like he has some new fin regrowth. He may of been stressed out in the pet shop that he started bitting his fins. If it is fin rot, you don't really need the aquarium salt. Clean, warm water should do the trick but i you want to use it that OK too. It's recommened to not use AQ salt for more then 10-14 days as it can start to wreck havoc with their internal organs.
Oh yeah - Bamboo is not truly aquatic. The leaves need to be above water. Your tanks looks kinda tall so you would probably need a tall stalk of it.
For low light plants - you might want to look into anubias and Java fern(which does not get planted into the substrate). You can let it float or tye it to a rock or peice of driftwood. I think most crypts are low light plants as well.
If you want to do a planted tank, I would check out the planted tank section . Marimo moss balls are pretty neat but they are actually made of algae. I'm not sure if they help with ammonia absorbtion or not. Supposedly they help keep other algae from growing because they use the nutrients that the other algse would need to grow. I like them because they are kinda cool looking and you don;t have to do anything to them other then give them light and turn them over once in a while so the side touching the floor dosen;t die off.
It looks like we have fin growth people at least I hope so. Its very hard to get photos of on a moving fish. But I think the jagged edges of his tail have started to fill in with a clear web. I think it might be too soon to celebrate and stop the salt treatment, so I will continue with the salt in tomorrows water change as well. Its definitely more clear than white so I am hoping its growth. His colours have also intensified and today joy apon joy he said hello when I came to the tank so I opened the lid and he danced for me. I gave him a pellet as a treat and he hung around for a bit. Happiness
I am going away for friday night but will be back on saturday afternoon so I think I will still do a 100% water change on friday but in the morning even though I normally do them in the evenings so that I don't have to worry about him. I don't want him to suffer any more damage especially after the traumatic experience of moving between breeder, store and home. He has also found some favourite hiding places in the tank.
A couple questions though - Does leaving your water out to air for a couple days allow the ammonia in the tap water to evaporate? and does aeration in the tank increase the growth of good bacteria.
I would advise against having the water sit and use water conditioner instead, because it gets rid of metals in the water, as well. It does not get rid of ammonia.. There are only two conditioners I know of that nuetralize ammonia. Prime is one of them. BUT, they only neutralize it for 24-48 hours.
Water changes are important for that reason, but cycling and live plants will also help with ammonia.
Oh no which one I will take it out. The big leafy one, the little leafy one or the grassy one? I feel so lost when it comes to aquatic plants. I was reading the old fish ladies post about NPT with soil substrate and I really want to try it but I feel so out of my depth. Is there a book or something I can order to help teach me?