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Old 03-15-2013, 08:43 PM   #1 
Cliffy
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What am I doing wrong?

Hey guys,

I'm new to bettafish.com and have been reading threads/posts from a lot of you and decided to register myself here.

I bought a red/orange-looking betta fish and his name is Clifford aka Cliffy. I have had him for 2 and a half weeks. This is my first pet that I have ever had. I am 24 years old, college student, with a Betta fish living in a 1.5 gallon tank. Now, I know betta's are well suited in 3 to 5 gallon tanks, I understand that. But, I'm not going to be living here long so 1.5 gallon is suitable for me at the moment.

I first had a 1 gallon bowl with one decoration (a dragon), and as I read through this website, I learned that bettas need a filter and especially a heater to thrive and keep moving. I live in New jersey, so the weather has been cold mostly, so I have a heater that keeps it at it's right temp (74-82). So I went ahead and bought a 1.5 tetra aquariam with filter and thought I made the right decision.

A week later I got really nervous when I read so many other things about Bettas. I went ahead and bought a pH test kit and aquarium salt. My pH test always test 7.6.

Another thing is, I've been doing at least a 25-50% change of water every few days.

So... Since I wrote down the basics.. I want to know what's wrong with my Betta. Since I got him, near his gills are turning gray-ish and under his chin is a little off-red, sorta white-ish.
his fins are also shredding. Is it the current? Is it the water?
I have done everything I could for this little guy.. (To the T.. Read hours of articles/comments/topics about every little thing) I just want him to be living the perfect little life in his tank.

He is also so very calm.. He doesn't flare at me or his reflection. He does play with his reflection however. I picked him up at Petco and he was the most chill fish, and he also paid more attention to me than the rest of them. He appreciates my attention overall and it seems like he is happy. :)

P.S. before you comment about his little tank size, I just want to say that I am pretty sure I can't afford a bigger tank size right now. :( I wish I could..

Here is a pic.



Appreciate any help or comments from you all.
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Old 03-15-2013, 09:07 PM   #2 
veggiegirl
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Hey there and welcome to the forum!

Cliffy is a beautiful little guy but it does look like he has some issues. I cannot really see anything wrong with his gills/cheeks but it is a bit difficult to tell from the photo cause it isn't crystal clear. It is obvious however that he seems to have fin rot. This is a bacterial disease that is commonly caused from poor water quality. Being your guy is in such a small tank this is likely to have contributed to the fin rot because it is more difficult to maintain water quality in a tank of this size.

However if you can't afford a larger tank for him at the moment then the best way to prevent this from happening again is regular water changes. A tank of this size would need a 100% water change about every two days. This will help to prevent further problems and I do understand your current situation but when you can afford it I would definately be looking at getting him maybe a 2.5 or 5 gallon tank as he will be much healthier and it will be less work for you too

Now in a tank of this size a filter is likely to cause a current that is too strong for your betta so I would remove the filter and keep up the water changes, the filter may also be contributing to his damaged fins. Also as you mentioned a heater is critical in keeping your betta healthy so if you do not have one you really need to get one as soon as possible. Until you buy one you could wrap his tank in a blanket at night to help to insulate him however there is no substitute for an aquarium heater. It would be more important to buy him a heater before you worry about a larger tank.

His in rot may clear up if you keep his water extra clean and if you don't already have one once he has a heater he should also pick up. If his condition worsens try treating him with Mardels maracyn two.

Okay so I hope this is of some help to you. I am sure you are very excited about having your first pet! Cliffy is beautiful and with a few smalls changes to your routine and some new equipment when you can afford it he should live a long and happy life with you
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Old 03-15-2013, 09:14 PM   #3 
Cliffy
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Thanks veggiegirl for your fast reply.

Do you think it's the current that's making his tail go that way?

I can post more pics if that helps to get a clear idea.

Also, I have this heater: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/...uL._SY300_.jpg

I clean the water every 2-3 days at least about 25% or so using a gravel siphon. 3 days ago I did make a 100% change because I fed him brine shrimp that shredded up so quickly and made a mess in the tank. Today I fed him his usual pellets, and a brine shrink snack that I only gave him a portion of because last time he didn't eat the leftovers in less than 5 minutes.
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Old 03-15-2013, 09:52 PM   #4 
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No Problem

A tank that size really needs at least one 50% water change and one 100% water change every week. 25% isn't really enough. The filter may have caused the damage to his fins but it may also be fin rot.

Remove the filter and if his fins get no worse then you know that was the cause however is further damage continues to occur we are probably looking at fin rot which may need to be treated with Mardels maracyn two.

That is great that you have a heater for him, it will help to keep him comfortable and healthy not to mention happy. Just remove the filter and up the water changes to what I have suggested and see how he goes. If his fins get worse then treat with maracyn two.

Good Luck
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Old 03-15-2013, 10:11 PM   #5 
Cliffy
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The whole point of getting the Tetra Aquarium 1.5 was for the filter.. I put the plant leaves near the current to slow it down.. It's the 3i whisper filter s it isn't that strong but still something to clean the water out. 50%-100% water change every few days to a week seems kind of rough since I already have this tiny whisper filter and I already feel like I OCD water-change because of all these worries I get...

(I also forgot to mention I do condition his tap water before I refill his water changes.)
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Old 03-15-2013, 11:00 PM   #6 
callistra
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Unfortunately, your filter is doing more harm than good. You're also not doing enough water changes and the tank temp is not okay either. He's stressed. He may also have a bacterial infection, but I think it's mostly stress and snagging on the filter. Are there any black/gray or brown edges on the fins?

Bettas need to be kept in 2 gallons minimum. In these twice weekly water changes of 50% and 100% are needed. Bettas kept in 1 gallon containers live an average of about 2 years compared to double that+ in larger containers. The 1 gallon would need 3 weekly water changes of 50%, 50% and 100%, and even then they will be subjected to ammonia.

If you can't increase tank size at this time you will need to increase water changes, and I suggest using Prime as your conditioner as well.

The 50% changes the betta can be kept in the bowl and use a turkey baster to remove half the water and as much of the debris as possible. For the 100% you need to remove him - scoop him out with a plastic solo type cup and set aside while you thoroughly rinse the bowl and gravel to remove the debris. Then he should be acclimated to the new water by floating for an hour while you slowly add a couple tablespoons of new water to the cup every 10 minutes. When you release him, try to let as little of the old cup water back into the tank as possible. All water changes should use same temp water, matched to running tap using the in tank thermometer and the water needs to be premixed with conditioner before adding it to the betta tank. If you don't already have anything, you can use gallon water jugs from the grocery store - rinsed thoroughly in hot water but no chems.

Most people will tell you that you can't ever fully cycle a less than 5g, despite your filter, and you will always need these changes.. you can try, but careful daily monitoring and reliable test kits should be used. This is for something 2.5G+, though. Anything less is pointless, and actually stresses your betta because there is no way for him to get away from the current created from the filter.

Another issue is that most filters designed for these small tanks also have fatal flaws that will not allow the biofilter to establish in them as well. You should never replace all filter media at once. You should only replace one type of filter media within a month, and the best filters have 3 different types of media. However, most of these small only contain one type of media that needs to be replaced monthly due to it containing carbon. Every time you replace all the media at once you wipe out most of your biofiler and basically start your cycle over again. The surface area available to grow this biofilter is also usually completely inadequate to support the load of the fish, especially in anything under 2.5g.. it just becomes pointless. I would suggest removing the filter, sorry.

Bettas are tropical fish and must be kept at a temp between 76-82, with 78-80 being ideal. The temp must be stable and not be dipping or jumping around. The huge 74-82 degree swing you have posted is a big problem. The swings cause stress and weaken their immune system, making them more likely to get sick. Also the low temps (lower than 76 and even this is borderline) also weaken their immune system. Also, these low temps slow down their digestive system making them prone to constipation. Overtime, chronic constipation can lead to internal infection, even dropsy.

As a side note, since we don't know how you're feeding your fish, flakes aren't good nutritional value, and especially with something this small they muck up the water quickly causing excess ammonia. You should look for a good quality pellets whose first two or three ingredients are whole fish, not fish meal or wheat. He should be fed two small meals a day (how many depends on the pellet you pick up) and one fast day a week.

Last edited by callistra; 03-15-2013 at 11:02 PM.
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Old 03-16-2013, 09:30 AM   #7 
Cliffy
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Thanks for the info, callistra. It really helps.
Really appreciate you typing all of that to me. This is exactly the reality I wanted to know about my betta. I knew something was up with the set up I had.

I'm gonna give in and get a Hawkeye 5 gallon aquarium. It's in my budget range. Do you think this is worth getting? It's 4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/Aquarius-Aq150...cmu_pg__header

I want to make sure he is settled in the right tank this time. This will be his third transfer since I got him and I want to be right.
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Old 03-16-2013, 09:47 AM   #8 
Cliffy
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Or this?

http://www.amazon.com/Marineland-Ecl...+eclipse+hex+5
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:08 AM   #9 
Cliffy
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I'll be going with the Marineland Eclipse 5 gallon.. Unless someone can tell me otherwise. :D (Sorry for spam.. Didn't allow me to go back and edit past posts.)

Last edited by Cliffy; 03-16-2013 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 03-16-2013, 10:29 AM   #10 
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You're very welcome.

5g is a great size for a betta.

I wouldn't go with the hex because betta's like shallow long water and the hex is narrow and tall.

The other one I don't know much about.. I know betta's need complete black out at night and the moonlight blue lights are a concern. Hopefully you can turn them off and they're not oddly connected to anything else like the filter.. some tanks have this..

Also I don't know anything about the filter.. types of media.. if it might be too powerful.. Several reviews did talk about it being surprisingly powerful and that it was too much for a betta.

I would probably put together my own kit. If you go to any fish store, including petco or petsmart you can get standard glass rectangular tanks for about $15. Usually they're by Aqueon. They look like this http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y39/tnnsman7/lid.jpg The hood is sold separately, but I have those glass hoods on all of mine. You could also opt for a black hood with light if you wanted, but bettas don't need or like direct light so it's not necessary unless you want to add plants.

As far as a filter you could go a few options. You could also not buy one. If you choose not to cycle the tank you will need once weekly 100% change at least, but I do highly suggest either adding a mid week 50% or doing the complete change day 5. I also suggest an airpump, airline, couple of control valves (placed in airline to turn down stone to a light mist) and an air stone placed underneath the heater. Otherwise you will have pockets of hold and hot water in your tank instead of even heating. Cost wise, it's probably about the same to cycle it as it is to get all of these things.

You could go with an Aquaclear 20:
http://www.amazon.com/AquaClear-20-P.../dp/B000260FVG

This one has also gotten good reviews: http://www.amazon.com/Hagen-A285-Mar...qid=1363446697

Or to have complete biofiltration but not as much mechanical you could go with a sponge filter. There are many out there. Here is a popular one: http://www.amazon.com/ATI-SPONGE-FIL...rds=hydro+mini

Then you'd need a heater. I suggest one of these, in 50w:http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...m?pcatid=23952
http://www.drsfostersmith.com/produc...m?pcatid=23726

For the first two I would turn the flow all the way down (it's adjustable). I would add a prefilter sponge on the intake so your betta cannot be hurt: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...efilter+sponge It will also add additional biolofical filtration. You only need to squeeze it out once a week in some of his old tank water after a change. It only needs to be completely replaced about once a year.

I would also sponge baffle the outflow by taking a piece of very porous sponge and a silicon or rubber band and attaching it around the outflow. I used this folded over personally but it's not the only one you can use: http://www.petco.com/product/113670/...er=22567628995 It just has nice big holes that slow down the flow and but do not. I don't even really rinse mine out with a water change, and I may never replace it unless it looks like it's wearing down.. so far so good since november. Fll the water that comes through it is already the cleaned/filtered water so it shouldn't get gunked up. You may give it a swish every month or few months if you notice the flow reducing.

Inside these filter are large sponges. These only need to be swished in the old tank water along with a water change, and only need to be replaced probably years, and no more than every 6 months. There is also a bag of black carbon that needs to be replaced monthly. Make sure you really rinse it very very well before placing in your tank because it will release a lot of black dust for a while. Or if you don't want to use carbon you can get an extra sponge and fill the space with it. I have done this. Others use carbon. I use it the first month and then switch to an extra sponge. Then there's a little bag of rocky stuff called biomax. It's just more surface area for the biological filter to grow. It should be maintained like the sponge.. wrinsed etc but only replaced infrequently.

Also only replace one type of media within a month of eachother and you should never have a breakdown.

Hopefully you already have one of these: http://www.amazon.com/Marina-Floating-Thermometer-

Suction-Cup/dp/B0002AQITK/ref=sr_1_1?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1363446909

Then if you are cycling your tank you need gravel, but if you are not that is optional. You should have at least one good cave for your betta to hide in and lots of oversized soft plants, especially ones that reach all the way to the surface because that's where most bettas like to relax and sleep. Anything you get should be tested out by taking a pair of women's panty hose and dragging across and through. If anything catches it is too sharp for your betta. Especially check inside ornaments as sometmes there are rough spots. Sharp stems can be pruned and sharp ornaments can be sanded with paper that has never been used for anything else.

Oh and this is how you can do fish in and fishless cycling:

Quote:
Fishless: Get a bottle of ACE Pure ammonia and an eye dropper. You also need a reliable drops kit for ammonia, nitrite and nitrate. Add 10 drops pure ammonia, wait 24 hours and test for ammonia. If it is at 4 ppm, wait another 24 hours and test again. If it's less than that add 10 more drops, wait 24 hours test. Basically you want to test every 24 hours and add another dose any time you see it below 4ppm. After about a week you can start testing for nitrites. The nitrites you ignore, but just keep track of. One day, after 24 hours, ALL ammonia will be gone to zero and you will be left with only nitrites. At this point, dose half - 5 drops a day to keep nitrites around 4 ppm. One day all the nitrites will vanish overnight to zero and you will be left with only nitrates. At this point I would keep dosing an extra couple few days to make sure all ammonia and nitrites still disappears within 24 hours - actually at this point it should all be gone by 12. Then you do a HUGE.. like 99.9% water change with your siphon all the way down to the gravel, but don't disturb the gravel. Fill it up with same temp water use the in tank thermometer to match temp, mix up buckets with conditioner than add so you don't shock your bacteria. Test your nitrates. If they are 5ppm or lower you're good. If they are still too high (mine took a 90% and 2 or 3 50%s) do more water changes until they're down low. From here fish can be acclimated and a once weekly 25%-50% with siphon should keep nitrates <20ppm.

Fish-in:You need to be testing daily with a reliable drops kit for ammonia and nitrite and doing an extra 50% change any time you see either. In addition to this a weekly 50% with siphon is needed. First you will see ammonia, then nitrite. Eventually, hopefully, you will see ammonia fall and stay at 0 even after a week of no water changes, and finally nitrite. At this point you will be left with only nitrates after a full week of no changes and these can be kept <20ppm by weekly 50% change with siphon
That's a lot.. let me know if you have any questions :)

Last edited by callistra; 03-16-2013 at 10:33 AM.
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