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Old 01-06-2013, 07:33 PM   #1 
Tashaj46
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Help with getting a tank ready for a new betta!

I recently bought a beautiful red veiltail male from petco (Charlie). He was doing amazing until he a few days ago. He went to little fishy heaven today I believe he died of ich as he had some white fluffy mold like substance on his fins and some white spots on his body

After doing some research I realize that I shouldn't have listened to the people at petco and just put him in a tank without cycling it or anything.

So I am posting this to find out EXACTLY what I need to do to clean my 2.5 gallon tank and get it ready for a new betta. So basically my questions are this:

1) How do I clean my tank to get rid of the ich parasite? I have already dumped the water

2) What items do I need to get? I have a 2.5 gal mini bow tank with lid and a mini bow filter. How can I make the filter less strong or should I get a different one since the filter pops out completely? I also have a 50W heater that is supposed to keep the tank around 78 degrees. I am going to be switching my sand to fine gravel.

3) How do I do a fishless cycle? How long should it take? What items are necessary to do the cycle?

4) Should I get live pants or silk? What about rocks (I have a lava rock that has a hole in it; Charlie loved it )

5) I bought 4 ghost shrimp the same day I got my betta; 3 have died and I am trying to keep the 4th. What do I do to save this ghost shrimp? Should I get a couple more or a snail?

6) Should I order a betta from a breeder instead of getting one from petco? Will it be better as far as potential diseases go?

7) What medicines do I need to keep on hand in case of sickness? The actual names would be nice.

Please add anything that you can! I appreciate all your help. I know a 2.5 gallon tank is small but I really don't have room for anything bigger. I am willing to do whatever I have to make sure this next betta lives.
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Old 01-06-2013, 07:50 PM   #2 
Laki
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1) How do I clean my tank to get rid of the ich parasite? I have already dumped the water
You did not deal with ich if he had fuzzy cotton stuff. Probably columnaris or some other form of advanced parasite infection. Which means he likely had the infection before you brought him home. TO prepare the tank for the new fish clean everything in 1 part bleach + 5 parts hot water. RINSE so much it feels OCD. Make sure there is no residue of the bleach. If you used a filter dispose of all media and replace it.

2) What items do I need to get? I have a 2.5 gal mini bow tank with lid and a mini bow filter. How can I make the filter less strong or should I get a different one since the filter pops out completely? I also have a 50W heater that is supposed to keep the tank around 78 degrees. I am going to be switching my sand to fine gravel.
The 2.5 is a great size for one betta. Some people on here might have better suggestions in terms of filters. I use the Whisper10 which has an adjustable valve. In the meantime, if it helps you can attach some sponge to the water output with some elastic band.
3) How do I do a fishless cycle? How long should it take? What items are necessary to do the cycle?
http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=111960 This is the forum sticky on cycling. However, in a 2.5 gallon you will be doing twice weekly water changes anyway to keep ammonia levels down. It would be hard to maintain a cycle in that tank, some might even suggest you remove the filter altogether since it does not actually clean water.
4) Should I get live pants or silk? What about rocks (I have a lava rock that has a hole in it; Charlie loved it )
Silk or live plants are great! Lava rock?? Might be too rough for a bettas delicate fins-I would discard the lava rock since it was in the tank with the sick fish and the pourous surface of the rock will likely hold on to bacteria. Think smooth surfaces like terracotta and glazed decorations. THe holes in dec should be as large as a quarter.
5) I bought 4 ghost shrimp the same day I got my betta; 3 have died and I am trying to keep the 4th. What do I do to save this ghost shrimp? Should I get a couple more or a snail?
Ammonia levels in the tank might kill the last ghost shrimp. I know they like to eat little bacteria from established filters and bits of food left in the gravel and shrimp food. HOwever, since he was exposed in the sick bettas water, I would keep the shrimp alive in a separate tank for a while. Most medications are not safe for inverts. Maybe someone here can help you with shimp meds?

6) Should I order a betta from a breeder instead of getting one from petco? Will it be better as far as potential diseases go?
This is up to you. Local breeders can ask a hefty price for a well bred betta. Stores can sell them so cheap because they buy them in bulk from shady "breeder" mills. The health is not guaranteed on a pet store betta and there is sometmes high chance of contamination to current tanks and set ups. Some people refuse to buy from pet stores because it supports the sale of live animals in horrid conditions- I am of the belief that bettas make pet store such little money/profit that buying a betta is fine from most locations. Granted, if you buy from a local or online breeder you will get a well bred, healthy betta but there are cons associated along with doing that. I have no distance experience. I prefer to buy almost everything local but that's because I don't like paying shipping prices lol
7) What medicines do I need to keep on hand in case of sickness? The actual names would be nice.
You will get a list from other members which will run your bill. I prefer to stay holistic and use Indian Almond Leaf for preventative purposes and have on hand aquarium salt and plain epsom salt. IAL are available online for extremely cheap on ebay. Keep some in the tank at all times. It does not prevent disease but it helps strengthen their immune systems and overall health.

Hope this helps in any way :)
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:40 PM   #3 
AyalaCookiejar
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It will be difficult to hold a stable cycle in that small of a tank. Filters are optional for bettas... But shrimp will generally not survive in an uncycled tank. At least two 50% changes a week would be needed for a 2.5 gallon and one 50% and one 100% for an uncycled tank, but many members will suggest an additional 50% change per week for that size.

As long as you have a heater (25watt adjustable such as the Hydor Theo brand), an in-tank glass thermometer(the tank needs to stay at a consistent 78-80 degrees), and plenty of decorations such as silk or live plants and a cave or two (no holes that you can't fit your thumb into as they could get stuck) that have no rough or sharp parts on them, you should be okay (and also the basics like water conditioner and food).

I suggest Seachem Prime conditioner and Stress Coat is also a popular one but any kind will work as long as you have one. Omega one or new life spectrum pellets are great as they are nutritious for your Betta. A gravel vacuum will be a good investment if you want to cycle the tank. Also, some people prefer to keep meds on hand for any diseases that may pop up. Bettas sometimes will get sick even with the best care. Aquarium salt and Epsom salt are usually the two big ones you want to start with. There are a lot of medications out there and it's not really possible to get them all. Indian Almond Leaves are good preventative measures as well.

Another thing that isn't mentioned a lot is lighting. If your tank has a light it's good to provide light for your fish about 8-12 hours a day at a consistent schedule to simulate day/night or allow your fish to get natural lighting from a window. There are lots of little things you can do for your fish's well-being.

Edit: have you tested the 50 watt heater? It's a little large for that tank size. Another good thing to invest in for cycling would be a test kit. I recommend the API Master Freshwater liquid test kit. I would also be careful with lava rocks because I believe they can affect the pH along with the Indian Almond leaves. And you probably already know this but I want to make sure: aquarium and Epsom salts should only be used on sick fish and should be dissolved before adding to the water if you ever need to use them for any reason.

Last edited by AyalaCookiejar; 01-06-2013 at 08:45 PM.
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:51 PM   #4 
Tashaj46
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I do have a gravel vaccum :) my tank does have a light and I did about 10 hours a day with that light on. The food I have are both by Aqueon. One is just Betta Food (Daily nutrition for all bettas) and the other is Betta Treat Freeze-dried Bloodworms. I don't think I can adjust the heaters temperature at all (I will have to check again). The only medicine I have is Betta Fix (which I heard is pointless). I also bought Kordon NovAqua Plus Water conditioner and ammonia detoxifier. Does anyone have any experience with these? How do you use them?
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Old 01-06-2013, 08:57 PM   #5 
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Oh, good! The Aqueon food is okay but the omega one and NLS are slightly better if you ever want a change or an upgrade.

The water conditioner should be added following the directions to all new water before adding it to the tank. Also, if you have a thermometer and the 50watt doesn't overheat the tank I guess it's okay, but I would seriously consider upgrading to a 25watt adjustable heater sometime. With certain illnesses such as ich or other external parasites, increasing the temperature of the water can help rid the tank of the parasites faster and its just difficult to do if your heater is not adjustable. 50watt heaters are also rated for like 7-14 gallon tanks, whereas the 25watts are rated for 2-7 gallons.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:01 PM   #6 
Tashaj46
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Hmmm...stupid petco! I just bought the heater and it said good for 2-10 gallons. Will for sure go get a thermometer to check it out. So the right temperature is 78 - 80 correct? If I am doing a fishless cycle with real plants do I put everything in (plants, rocks, etc.) first and then start the cycle? Or do the cycle then put everything in?
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:06 PM   #7 
AyalaCookiejar
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Yeah the proper temp is a STEADY 78-80 degrees. You don't want to be seeing large temp fluctuations!

Personally, I would cycle with the decor in tht size of tank because its such a small tank. The BB grow on surface area, meaning the filter and filter media as well as the gravel and decor and the sides of the tank, etc... Be sure to add conditioner while cycling because the conditioner also makes the water safe for your good bacteria. If you want, just to be cautious, you could buy a filter sponge or something to shove inside the filter so that you have even more places for your bacteria to grow. The reason it's more difficult to cycle a smaller tank is because a smaller tank doesn't usually have as much surface area, so any extra media you could fit in the filter would be beneficial.
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:22 PM   #8 
Tashaj46
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How do you do a proper water change? I've heard people just pouring water in, some putting in conditioner then putting it in the tank and some leaving it out for 24 hours in advance. Whats the best way?
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:28 PM   #9 
AyalaCookiejar
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Well it depends if you are talking partial water changes or 100%s... A 100% would require you to re-acclimate the fish to the new water.

What I personally do for 50% changes is I have a separate bucket I put the new water and conditioner in. I use the same thermometer from in the tank to get the water to the same temp as the tank. This sometimes requires a bit of patience. Try testing the water from the tap with your hand to get it to approximately the same temp as the tank and using the thermometer, add more cold water if its too warm and more hot water if its too cold. I mix the water up with a skewer to get it the same temp throughout and get the conditioner mixed in well. When I have it at the right temp (maybe a degree or two off sometimes) I just pour the new water into the tank after I remove 50% of the water.

Some people do not think the conditioner works instantly so they let it sit out, but I find it hard to get it at the right temp if I do this. I've never had a problem though using water that hasn't sat out for awhile..
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Old 01-06-2013, 09:34 PM   #10 
Tashaj46
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Thank you so much! I am sure I will have more questions soon. I'm reading a lot of the threads on this sight and my mind is just going nuts lol For now I am going to clean the tank the best I can tomorrow and let it sit. I did read something about people getting water from a LFS. Any thoughts on that?
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