Yikes. I don't have LED lights or live plants. I was actually just online shopping for some live plants.but someone recommended moss balls to me too. They said it would take the algae away, so I am definitely going to try that.
Now the algae is well established just turning the light off will not cure it, you will need to follow all the steps I suggested and turn the light off for a few days. The moss won't remove the algae it just competes for and removes the nitrates and phosphates in the tank so it deprives the algae of it's "food". However if your nitrates and/or phosphates are high, in fact they don't even need to be very high, moss and plants still can't remove it all.
People think because they have a filter they don't have to do water changes as often because the filter cleans the water but that's not true. Your filter just stops your fish from dying of ammonia or nitrite poisoning (if you cycle the tank properly). Then people eventually get problems with nitrates because of algae or other fish issues that they can't easily identify so they stock the tank with plants. However even with a tank stuffed full of plants and moss, if you have room left for fish then you will still get rising nitrates if you don't do water changes. If you let them rise above certain levels one partial water change won't get it down, you will need to do several large scale water changes and clean the filter as suggested.
As I mentioned before its not just the algae that comes with high nitrates. Nitrates to fish is like smoking is to people; 1 cigarette won't kill you but if you smoke regularly and increase the amount over time it will stunt your growth and give you an early death. Many people have reported Betta living 5 - 10 years, I bet they are the ones that did very regular water changes to keep nitrates levels low.
Plants and moss can help but it's not a cure. Water changes cost you next to nothing and they are guaranteed to remove more nitrates and phosphates more quickly than any plants or moss.
Yeah, to be quite honest I hardly do water changes because I DID think they completely cleaned the water, but now that I read that, I can see your point. I will try what you 're doing with the half water change every 2days, and see if that helps!! Thank you so much dude!!!
You're welcome. I learned a lot during the time I was breeding discus and learning how sensitive some fish (and the tank system generally) can be to nitrates. Just because Bettas are more tolerant and survive better in difficult environments doesn't mean they are happy about it. I used to think the same as you and it lead to me buying bigger and more complicated filters, I even created a huge sump filtration system in my fish house for breeding and raising Discus but I learned the hard way that bigger an better filtration is great but only to a certain extent and you just can't cheat on consistent and regular water changes. Remember to only add conditioned water at the right temperature.
One other tip is to consider reducing or removing your substrate/sand/gravel. It will increase the amount of water your fish will have and it can harbour all kinds of crud even if you clean it regularly. The substrate will trap dirt and this will break down an create more nitrates. You can still use fishing line to tie plants to some bog wood but you will be able to move it and vacuum under it. There is a reason most breeders use bare tanks and don't like lots of gravel/sand etc. Your fish won't miss it.
Haha! I bet your right! I'm sure Sparkey would be happy to have his poo clumps not so highlighted against his white sand. but I only have,well, if you were to measure aginst the glass, it would be AROUND a half an inch deep, and an inch at its highest. I was on a budget when I got his tank and supplies, so I didn't get much sand.
I want to say thank you for posting. Your posts have taught me so much about betta care and tips.
Just wanna say that Dude knows what he's talking about. I wish I could have stayed more active on your thread, since I'm studying limnology (freshwater ecosystems) in my environmental degree. I know a lot, and he's went into great detail on the phosphate and nitrate issues. More than I did. Lol ol.
And I imply have 2.5 gallons and have 3 plants in there, you can't really have too many plants unless your fish can't swim. Lol ol. They love to hide, so they're going to love the plants. :)
Sorry I should have made myself a bit clearer about the plants, I still think you should get some to help with your algae problem. I was just trying to point out this was just one small step in the right direction but regular water changes are more important. But still consider what was suggested by myself and others about testing your tap water for phosphates and nitrates.
On the sand/substrate: IF I was to have any substrate I would only have 1/4 inch max to cover the bottom of the tank and I would tie plant roots to bog wood with fishing line so you can move and vacuum under them regularly. Most of the common plants like java fern and Anubias do very well like this. Keep in mind that even just an inch of sand is enough to enable anaerobic (bad) bacteria because it doesn't allow enough oxygenated water to flow through right to the bottom of the tank.
Do you know what kind of light bulb is in your aquarium hood? If it's an incandescent (which I assume it may be due to you using it as a heater, incandescents emit tons of heat) then that may contribute to your problem and it will very likely not be the right colour spectrum for the live plants.
If you are able to you may wish to change the bulb in your aquarium hood with a Compact Fluroescent Light (CFL); these are also known as energy saving bulbs and they do not emit much of any heat (they're also cheaper to run than incandescents which is a bonus in this expensive hobby haha). For a 5 gallon aquarium, an 11 or 13 watt bulb should be fine and should be able to support most low-light plants and perhaps even some medium sized ones as well. You have to make sure the colour spectrum is right or the plants will not be able to use the light properly.
The colour spectrum is measured in kelvin, so look for the K rating on the bulb box - you're looking for between 5600 - 6700K with 6500K being ideal. It sounds complicated but I assure you it isn't. If you can't find the kelvin rating look for "daylight white" or "cool white", they'll be close to the right spectrum. These bulbs are usually very cheap and available from department or DIY stores. Make sure your aquarium hood can handle the bulb (they have a wattage limit but this is usually around 20 - 60 watts).
Slower growing plants like Anubias may become choked with algae if it's prevailant in your aquarium so you need to make sure you choose the right plants. It's also always good to quarantine them to make sure they don't have any hitch-hikers (like snails which will add to your problems, don't get any more apple snails as they produce copious amounts of waste) and it will also allow any potential diseases to die off.
One species of plant I cannot recommend enough is Anacharis (also known as Elodea densa/Egeria densa). Not only is it a beautiful, low light and fast growing plant (it's commonly considered a weed in ponds) but it also exudes an anti-bacterial enzyme that can reduce blue-green algae/cyanobacteria and is a fantastic oxygenator (though that's not as important with bettas as they breathe atmospheric air like humans). I love this plant!
An aquarium siphon may help remove the algae on the surface of the substrate, too. If using deep sand, poke it regularly with a chop stick or something to prevent reduce the risk of the production of the bad bactera that dude very rightly mentions.
Last edited by SpookyTooth; 04-06-2013 at 02:40 PM.
Ok thanks!! I think your right about the incandesant light. It does emit tons of heat, but to is the only thing I have right now that keeps the tank at a decent temp. It a couple days or even today I will try to go to my petsmart soon