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Old 12-22-2012, 03:53 PM   #1 
Asymetric
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Lets try this again

and put some actual effort + a few dollars into it this time.

My wife came home from Meijers monday evening with a beta and a little half gallon cube "kit" for it to live in. We followed the instructions, of which there werent many. And 4 days later, it died. It looked like a miserable death too. It was swimming around like it was panicked. Rubbing its sides on the gravel and stuff. I had my doubts about this prison cell from the beginning, but they live in a cup at the store. Well, i am an animal lover and dont want to see things suffer under my care, so i have been reading here most of the morning. I am going to get another one, but want to be ready for it.

I bought an aqueon 5 gallon tank kit, a heater, some gravel, somthing for it to hide in, and a small package of "live gravel". The live gravel is in a package with liquid. It says it has the bacteria in it to "instantly cycle" a tank. I sanded the sharp edges off of the inside of the car decoration, rinsed everything in hot water and filled it up with treated tap water. I have it running without the cartridge in the filter.



A few questions on how and when to put a fish in there. I have read about and think i understand cycling a tank. But with this live gravel stuff, can i just put that stuff in and add a fish? The filter can take care of any nitrogen spikes untill things get settled?

A friend of mine has 2 really big fish tanks with chiclids in them. Could i just fill this with 5 gallons of water from his and be ready to go?

Advice here would be great. You have no idea how painfull it will be for my boy to look at an empty tank for weeks. Trying to explain death to a 2 1/2 year old. Paitience is even more difficult of a concept.

And after its running, i just need to change a gallon of water every weekend. And how often do i change the filter?

Thanks in advance. I frequent a number of forums, and after reading some posts here, it looks like theres some helpfull people here and not alot of riffraff. Thats hard to find on the internet in recent years.
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:04 PM   #2 
Jessa24
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I wouldn't use water from anyone else's tank because you don't know what could be in it and if it's compatiable with your betta. You can cycle a tank with a fish in it because your fish will provide the amonia for you. During cycling you'll be doing more frequent water changes (like 50%) a couple times a week. But once you're done cycling you can do 50% water changes once a week. You should keep the cartridge to your filter as long as possible because it will contain beneficial bacteria. I say change it like every 2 months or so. Make sure you keep an eye on your water temp...I say 78-80 is the best. When you pick out a betta be sure to pick one that seems healthy. No clamped fins...pick one that seems to be fairly active and responds to you. When you get the fish home make sure you acclimate them to the new water. So every 15 minutes add some water from your tank to the cup so your betta can get used to the water quality. Also float the cup or bag in your tank to help them adjust to the temp change. Might take an hour or two and then it should be fine to put the betta in there.
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:07 PM   #3 
Kithy
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Welcome! :D

Make sure you use water conditioner. Prime is a popular choice. They make tap water safe by removing chlorine, chloramines, heavy metals and other impurities. I have a conditioner and stress coat for just in case.

Using your friend's water won't really do you much good but if he can loan you some filter media or a decoration, that would be better. There isn't much bacteria in the water as compared to the media or a piece of decor.

There is nothing that will "instant cycle" your tank. But there is plenty of things you can do to boost it. Borrowing gravel or that live gravel is a good boost. I've no experience with that stuff but I saw it at Pet Supplies Plus. This process is called "seeding", I believe.

The most important thing you can do is slowly acclimate. There are many methods that can be quick or long. Longer is usually a tad less stressful. When I acclimated mine I floated the cup in the tank and after 10 minutes I siphoned out some water from his cup and replaced it with water from the tank. It took me about two hours because I tried to do it gradually.

Looks like you have a heater so that's good :3 If it's adjustable set it to 78-80.

I would add in a silk plant just for a touch more cover. Rinse it in hot water. If you aren't sure about apiece of decor you can do the pantyhose test. Basically you just run the decor over a pair of hose and if it catches it will tear your fish's fin.

Check the current from your filter. If it's strong you will need to baffle it somehow. I tried doing it with mine and it was a pain, I could not get the water flow to be weaker. But I did manage to redirect the flow to the back glass rather than right front. There is a sticky with a step by step how to baffle. Personally, I never change my carbon filters. They have so much good bacteria.

You'll want to do at least two water changes a week, changing at least 50%. Some suggest a 50% and a 100% each week. The idea is to keep ammonia and other bad things down while giving some nutrients from the water into the tank.

As far as cycling goes.. there are two main methods. Fishless and live fish. Fishless can take less or more time, it depends. If you are using all kinds of things that already have bacteria on them like the gravel or media from an established tank or something like that it should take less. I believe you will still want to provide some ammonia to feed your bacteria. You can use something like fish flakes (just a pinch or two) and let it rot at the bottom.

You can guess the benefits of fishless; no fish death or stress. Using live fish to cycle will mean you will have to watch closely (getting a test kit is a good idea or if you're close to a pet store that will test water for free) and you will have to do a watch change if/when ammonia spikes.

If you've not had a fish successfully before I'd do a fishless. Especially with a two year old (my son is the same age) it's easier.

It's so hard to find good information on the net about fish. The same website can feed you very conflicting information. This is a great place with tons of experienced and newbies alike who are willing to help :3 If you ever have a problem, don't be shy and ask!

Last edited by Kithy; 12-22-2012 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:11 PM   #4 
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Oh also I would try getting a couple small silk plants for your fishie friends because bettas love plants. Oh and your first betta that died sounds like it may have been suffering from velvet. I hope this info and site helps you this time around. Sorry for your loss. Good luck! Don't feel bad though because everyone has to start somewhere and when we're first learning that's all part of becoming a good betta keeper.
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Old 12-22-2012, 04:15 PM   #5 
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Sorry you are having so much trouble, it sounded more like the first Betta either was sick to start off with and/or the behavior you describe sounds like a reaction to a toxic substance or even osmotic shock or temp-IMO-it had nothing to do with tank size...Anyway....

Since you have a 5gal filtered tank and plan to stock with a single Betta and maybe shrimp and/or snails-since it doesn't provide enough space for other fish along with the Betta.

I would do the fish-in cycle-you can safely establish the nitrogen cycle with a healthy Betta-provided that you make the needed water changes.
Here is a link to a Betta specific cycling method
http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=107771

You could seed your tank from your friends tank by using a piece of his filter media or a handful of his gravel-very little beneficial bacteria are in the water column to do much good-Be sure he has a healthy tank.

And a water change recommendation once you are cycled
http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=115758

These should answer a lot of your questions, however, don't hesitate to ask more questions on what you don't understand....
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:16 PM   #6 
Asymetric
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Thanks for the quick replies. I treated the water with Tetra BettaSafe at the recomended 7 drops per gallon. So for right now i am going to make a plan to Put in the "live gravel" and the filter cartridge tonight. Then in the morning i will go pick out a few plants and a fish. Stop on the way back and grab a plant or bag of gravel from buddies tank. And ditch the flakes for pellets. Its probably easier for Junior to help feed if there is a set number of pellets to feed each time. I will pick up a test kit if they are not rediculous expensive.

I just have to find a pet store with nice fish. I was at pet suplies plus today. There were 2 dead ones, a couple that looked like they werent far from death. And a couple nice looking ones, but none of them moved. They were all just resting in the bottom corner of the cups. Theres a tropical fish store a few miles away that might have better ones.
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:26 PM   #7 
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Good luck and I believe everyone here has given you great advice I also think you should for food viriety purposes buy some Frozen Blood worms or Frozen Brime Shrimp and cut it in small sizes to give him at least twice a week. You 2 year old can give it to him with your supervision or mommys supervision. Other than that welcome to the wonderful addicting world of Betta Keeping!
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Old 12-22-2012, 05:37 PM   #8 
Kithy
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With a little kiddo at home I'd find a very healthy one, the best you can. Toddlers can't really understand what's going on when the fish isn't there anymore and as a parent.. I really don't want to have this conversation. I'm fortunate enough that we have so many cats that when one was put down my son didn't notice. But I think he'd notice if one of the fish was gone.

Test kits aren't necessarily a cheap investment but they last for a long time. I believe the API Master Test kit, the liquid one, has enough for 800 tests? It's about $30 but you'll have it awhile.
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Old 12-23-2012, 02:50 PM   #9 
Asymetric
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Well i brought home "Mack" today. Got an API test kit. I learned from my swimming pool that strips and cheap water test kits are garbage. Also got some pellet food. Its not labeled specifically for bettas, but i read in another thread that if the first 3 ingreedients are protiens, then its good. As you might expect, everything in the tank measured 0ppm.

A local tropical fish store had a selection of bettas. Not housed in cups either. They had a huge tank with a bunch of black dividers. They all looked happy and healthy. Some were just stunning, but the prices went up into the high $30 range. I got a 5 dollar one.

Its kinda hard to get a picture of a fish. So its a lousy shot and he looks a little shabby from the ride home, but the fish dude at the shop told me that would happen and his colors will bounce back in a few days. He is at least active and inspecting every inch of his new home.

Thanks for all of the help!

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Old 12-23-2012, 02:53 PM   #10 
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aww niice loking little guy.
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