I have a Betta in a unfiltered larger size Kritter Keeper. Once when I brought home Anacharis to add to the tank there were a few tiny snail stowaways on board. I decided to keep them after I called the pet store and they said that snails were not harmful and would help keep the tank clean by eating algae and uneaten fish food.
Well the Anacharis died because it didn't get enough light but the snails flourished which I thought was a good thing even though I struggled to keep the tank clean with constant water changes.
I wanted to buy a live plant for the tank again but knew the only thing that could live without lots of light was moss which is hard to find, so I tried a variety of artificial plants that did not work out. Then a few weeks ago I found a moss ball, I was told that not only would it help keep the water clean but Bettas loved to lay on them.
I was excited to add it to the tank but my Betta wanted nothing to do with it and started acting funny right away. I thought he was just upset about something unfamiliar being added to the tank and would get used to it, although he never had a problem with the fake plants.
But he continued to avoid it and despite being informed that it would help keep the water clean it appeared to do the opposite. I would do a water change only to find the water very cloudy and dirty the next day and Red began to act like he didn't feel well. He would perk up a little right after a change but continually got worse until during one change, to my horror I found that he showed signs of having fin rot and acted so sick he could hardly swim.
So I put the moss ball and all of the snails in a smaller container by themselves and began treating Red with saltwater but he was so sick that I also had to make him a bed close to the surface so he didn't need to swim up to breath.
I was sure that something so simple wouldn't help but to my surprise in less than 48 hours he was much better after only 2 saltwater changes. Now after the 3rd he's acting better than he did before he acted sick. The ends of his fins are no longer dark; the pieces that fell off are still missing but they'll grow back. He's also allover the tank swimming with his fins opened fuller than I've seen in a while.
Then there's the water; even though I'm doing daily changes for the saltwater treatment the water looks very clean the next day and I know why. I didn't put any rocks or stones in the container with the snails so I am able to see how much waste those little boogers make. They're pooping machines, it's everywhere. Yea, they may eat algae and excess fish food but I've decided the waste they make undoes the good they do. They and the moss ball need to go.
The problem is what to do with them. My DH says to flush them but I can't do it. I've come to see them as aquarium pets too and I can't kill them. I'm not interested in keeping up a tank just for them, so does anyone have any opinions of what to do with them?
I also want to ask about the saltwater; can Bettas stay in saltwater permanently or does Red have to return to fresh water once his treatment is done?
Before anyone replies to my questions; please do not blast me for having a Kritter Keeper instead of a big 10 gallon tank. I do my best to take good care of my Betta.