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Old 04-02-2013, 10:20 PM   #1 
tngirl92
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Question Betta Water Quality

Just tested Mr. P's water again (am testing once a day since the tank is fairly new, and Mr. P is a new fish) and I'm a little concerned. The pH is just as low as it can be, reading 5.5 on the test strip. Alkalinity is hovering between 80 and 120. Water is very soft. Nitrate, nitrite and ammonia are all fine. Should those other readings be a concern? I actually have not begun testing my water until now, with this new fish (yeah, yeah I am a n00b) and I don't know whether bettas like hard or soft water, if low pH is bad for them, or even what alkalinity is. Help?
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:33 PM   #2 
kyle89
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pitch the test strips and get a master liquid test kit. Strips are not accurate. The master kit is pricy but will last longer an is much more reliable

Last edited by kyle89; 04-02-2013 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:48 PM   #3 
tngirl92
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pitch the test strips and get a master liquid test kit. Strips are not accurate. The master kit is pricy but will last longer an is much more reliable
If I can pee on a very similar strip of paper from my local Dollar Tree and get an accurate picture of the pregnancy hormones or lack thereof in my body, I feel quite sure that quality test strips specifically designed for this purpose from a reputable company will give me a good general idea of what my fish's water is like. Not striving for perfection, just doing my best with what I have to give the little guy a happy and healthy home. Will definitely look into a master kit as soon as I get my next pitiful paycheck. In a perfect world, I would have waited to save up for all the right supplies and a 20 gallon tank for little Parli, but I've noticed there is not a fast turnover rate for bettas at my local Petsmart. Some of the fish sit on the shelves for months until they die. He was the only one that looked like he still had a spark in him, and I couldn't leave him behind.

So imagine with me for a moment that these results are in the right ballpark. What pH level do betta fish prefer, is soft water problematic, and what level of alkalinity is best for the fish?
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:54 PM   #4 
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http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=131589
Makes a BIG difference. But natural around 7ish
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:59 PM   #5 
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It's pretty accepted among most fishkeepers that strips are fairly useless. You will find in this hobby a lot of stuff gets sold that is absolutely bunk or rubbish so just because it comes from a reputable company does not mean there is any guarantee.

Bettas prefer soft-neutral water, but are able to adapt to a wide variety of water conditions. 5.5 sounds a little low, but if it is holding stable then it is best to leave it and not try and add any products to change it.

A stable pH is more important than the 'right' pH.

Only problem with an extremely low pH is your tank won't cycle because the beneficial bacteria don't like an acidic environment to grow in.
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:01 PM   #6 
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So imagine with me for a moment that these results are in the right ballpark. What pH level do betta fish prefer, is soft water problematic, and what level of alkalinity is best for the fish?
If anyone could help a new betta owner out and answer these questions, I'd really be appreciative. Even if I could afford a new master test kit, it's midnight here and all the petstores are closed. I'm worried about my fish, would love helpful answers about water quality from an experienced (and kind) betta keeper.
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:04 PM   #7 
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I read an article in Tropical Fishkeeping Hobbyist and in tests that they ran, the strips actually were as accurate as the liquid tests. The only reasons people may think a strip isn't as accurate is if the bottle is outdated or the strips become damp and thefore don't work. Also, the parameters that a strip reads are a little broader than the liquid test. For pinpoint numbers, the liquid tests work but for maintenance and day to day testing, strips are fine. And if you really want pinpoint accuracy, you can spend $250 on electric probes like these.

Nitrate Monitor: Electronic nitrate monitor: Pinpoint Nitrate Monitor

In answer to your question, bettas are comfortable in pH from 6 to 8 and a little above and below those numbers. What they don't like are fluctuating pH so one thing you may want to do is this:

1) Test the pH of your tap water to see if it matches that in the tank
2) If not, set up a gallon of dechlorinated water. Test it every five hours or so, at intervals, to see if the pH fluctuates and if it does, how much.

If your pH fluctuates a lot in a 24 hour period, you may need to "age" your water by filling up a bucket of dechlorinated water and letting it sit for 24 hours before you use it in a tank.
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:05 PM   #8 
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Originally Posted by LittleBettaFish View Post
It's pretty accepted among most fishkeepers that strips are fairly useless. You will find in this hobby a lot of stuff gets sold that is absolutely bunk or rubbish so just because it comes from a reputable company does not mean there is any guarantee.

Bettas prefer soft-neutral water, but are able to adapt to a wide variety of water conditions. 5.5 sounds a little low, but if it is holding stable then it is best to leave it and not try and add any products to change it.

A stable pH is more important than the 'right' pH.

Only problem with an extremely low pH is your tank won't cycle because the beneficial bacteria don't like an acidic environment to grow in.
Thank you so much, this is helpful. Do you suggest trying to raise the pH with additives or leaving it be for the time being?

Additionally, how does the alkalinity of the water affect my fish? Never heard of this before and not sure what the ideal level should be.
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:05 PM   #9 
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Originally Posted by tngirl92 View Post
If anyone could help a new betta owner out and answer these questions, I'd really be appreciative. Even if I could afford a new master test kit, it's midnight here and all the petstores are closed. I'm worried about my fish, would love helpful answers about water quality from an experienced (and kind) betta keeper.
I already did in my post above yours.

And I see that you saw that as I posted haha

But best not to mess with the pH of your water. If you have a filter and are concerned about a low pH and hardness value, you can slowly bring it up by adding a very small amount of crushed coral. Otherwise just make sure the pH isn't fluctuating because if your water has a low carbonate hardness value (KH) it has a poor buffering capacity and can be prone to pH crashes, which can be stressful to fish.
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:10 PM   #10 
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Originally Posted by LittleBettaFish View Post
I already did in my post above yours.

And I see that you saw that as I posted haha
Yes, I was just a little bit behind the game there. :) Thank you again for your helpfulness.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sakura8 View Post
I read an article in Tropical Fishkeeping Hobbyist and in tests that they ran, the strips actually were as accurate as the liquid tests. The only reasons people may think a strip isn't as accurate is if the bottle is outdated or the strips become damp and thefore don't work. Also, the parameters that a strip reads are a little broader than the liquid test. For pinpoint numbers, the liquid tests work but for maintenance and day to day testing, strips are fine. And if you really want pinpoint accuracy, you can spend $250 on electric probes like these.

Nitrate Monitor: Electronic nitrate monitor: Pinpoint Nitrate Monitor

In answer to your question, bettas are comfortable in pH from 6 to 8 and a little above and below those numbers. What they don't like are fluctuating pH so one thing you may want to do is this:

1) Test the pH of your tap water to see if it matches that in the tank
2) If not, set up a gallon of dechlorinated water. Test it every five hours or so, at intervals, to see if the pH fluctuates and if it does, how much.

If your pH fluctuates a lot in a 24 hour period, you may need to "age" your water by filling up a bucket of dechlorinated water and letting it sit for 24 hours before you use it in a tank.
That's kind of what I thought. I'm not exactly a science person, but I've had enough chem and bio to know that while test strips are not the MOST accurate, they are certainly not inaccurate. For example, it is not going to tell you your water pH is 8.0 when it's really 6.5. Hopefully when I get my next paycheck, I can upgrade to a better testing medium. Luckily, the pH was exactly the same yesterday so hopefully it is not fluctuating. Testing my tap water is next on the to-do list. Thank you for your advice!

Last edited by tngirl92; 04-02-2013 at 11:11 PM. Reason: spelling error
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