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Old 05-30-2013, 12:38 AM   #1 
Wynn
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New Betta, a few questions.

My girlfriend anted the Betta and since death is not her favorite thing in the world I am trying to educate myself on his care.
I noticed it is a lot harder then the common person knows.
Currently I have most of the things, such as a water coditoner/heater/filter and ten gallon tank. I think I have a crappy water tester and only 1 type of food for him so far.

So the few questions I have,
1. Is gravel needed? We were nervious of sharpness so we got water gems. Are both ok, or is either fine, is is gravel better?

2. The GH and KH are something I am not sure what are and what are prefered levels for a Betta, I tested the water before adding him(I got most of the stuff together so I only waited about 1 hour after set up to add him) the water tested 180(Max on the strip) GH, 240(Max) KH, 6.5-7.5(Not sure where but near there on PH) and 0 on both nitrite and nitrate. The water tester I had didn't have anything for anomia is this bad?

3. He has been in his tank for 1 day so far since the tank is 10 gallon, when should I do his first partial water change?

4. Is there any method to testing his water for the first few weeks? Should I test more often to be safe? This morning his water seemed cloudy is his normal the first day? I am not sure if it was just an optical illusion?

Thank you for all your help in advance :D
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Old 05-30-2013, 07:28 AM   #2 
Mr Degausser
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1. Gravel isn't needed, but I prefer it. A lot of people prefer it, so I would personally recommend it. If you get gravel, make sure you get a gravel vacuum so you can clean off the poo easily.

2. No ammonia is a good thing. HOWEVER, since he's in a ten gallon tank, a nitrogen cycle will begin, which will mean that eventually there will be ammonia until there are other bacteria that develop that destroy the ammonia. Definitely read the sticky on cycling a tank as I can't explain it terribly well.

3. For a 10 gallon tank, a 50% water change once a week is pretty standard.

4. I would definitely test maybe once a day for the first few weeks while the cycle begins. This will be explained more in the cycling sticky. I would invest in the API Master Liquid Test Kit since it's extensive and accurate. And the water might be a little cloudy, it could just be a bacterial bloom?
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Old 05-30-2013, 08:04 AM   #3 
shellieca
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Congrats on the new Betta & good for you,to do some research! You'll want a complete liquid water test kit it'll test for ammonia, nitrites, nitrates & Ph. The strips are not as accurate, don't last as long & in the end more expensive. The test kit is typically less expensive online, Amazom has it usually for $20 or so. Since the tank is new you'll want to test daily & then do a water change if you see ammonia or nitrites >.25. Fish in cycling, which is what you're now doing, can take 6-8 wks give or take. Ammonia will build up first so its important to have a test for that. A substrate isn't necessary & it really is a personal preference as to what kind. I personally like pea gravel, others use sand, & some use the glass beads. Does he have silk or live plants, some tall with broad leaves? Does he have a cave or two? They like places to rest & sometimes to hide in. As for food most on here recommend Omega One or New Life Spectrum pellets & the occasional frozen foods such as blood worms, brine shrimp or daphnia. Unless you have exceptionally high Ph I wouldn't worry about it, trying to adjust the Ph can cause problems, you want it stay stable. Good luck & ask questions any time!
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Old 05-30-2013, 11:20 AM   #4 
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Congrats on the new betta! If he's the boy in your avatar he's quite a pretty one!

1. As mentioned, gravel isn't really needed. There are a few people that do bare bottom, I personally use sand (it traps less food so is easier to vacuum in my opinion), and I've seen people use the water gems with no issues. The only trouble you may run in to is that water gems tend to have very large gaps between them, meaning food and waster can easily drift to the bottom and get stuck, so during water changes you'll want to make sure you really gravel vac well or you're going to have rotting food left buried in the substrate. The large gaps between the gems are generally why I only use them as accents in my Socrates' Atlantis-themed tank, but with thorough cleaning they'll be fine.

2. My water is extremely hard and my PH tends to be really high (Yay city water) but I have never had any problems with my bettas (or my soft water fish for that matter). As long as you acclimate them properly most fish can adapt to those conditions fairly well, especially seeing the great majority anymore are captive-bred, and if you bought your boy locally chances are the water he's been living in is fairly close to what you have anyway.

3. As mentioned, once a week is pretty standard for ten gallons (or really anything that can establish a cycle) though seeing you are essentially doing a "fish-in" cycle you may have to do them more frequently until everything stabilizes as far as your bacteria. I did a fish-in with my boys, and I typically did small changes (like 10%) every other day with one larger change during the week to keep the ammonia levels at a safe amount until the cycle was completed. Just make sure you don't super-scrub anything in the tank and avoid rinsing your filter bio sponge (usually the black, coarse sponge in the filter) under tap water or you're going to kill all the bacteria you have built up.

4. Test every day at least once. Cloudy water in the beginning is fairly normal, as it could just be residue from the tank/gems if they weren't washed off, or, as mentioned, a bacterial bloom. It could also just be your water. Up at school the water out of the tap tends to start out a bit cloudy (made me double take at first, but fortunately the fish seemed to be fine and it wasn't due to chemicals or something that couldn't be neutralized by Prime) but it settles in a couple hours. You can do some water changes if you are concerned about it, but it should settle in a few days otherwise I imagine.
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Old 05-30-2013, 11:44 AM   #5 
Wynn
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Thank you all for your advice but in response I have a couple questions.


1. with GH and KH is there a good range for a betta? I noticed it was hard for me to find what is a good range on those 2. with the others like PH and nitrate I found an easy it needs to be here sort of thing. To me it seems that high or low on both of those have costs/rewards. Is there one that is better for a Betta?

2. With the aquarian cycle, I remember reading the first while(week or 2) is for everything to adjust, but isn't it constantly adjusting? When I add new water wouldn't the cycle be looping? I can't quite yet completelty grasp what a aqurian cycle is. Anyone here could explain it to be a little more? Also major things to look out for? I currently have those crappy strips(They didn't even test amonia >.<) but I intend to get a better tester as I am able to.
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Old 05-30-2013, 12:04 PM   #6 
lilnaugrim
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I don't know much about GH and KH yet but I know Betta's are highly adaptable to pretty much any water chemistry.

As far as the Nitrogen Cycle, what you're doing is growing a colony of Beneficial Bacteria that is going to help keep ammonia, nitrites and nitrates down safely. So while you are cycling, there needs to be a source of ammonia, this is what the BB feeds off of. So if you're doing a cycle with a fish in there, keep the ammonia under .25ppm so it's not stressful for your fish but also there's enough food for your BB to eat and grow.

Then, nitrites are going to join the party after a while, this will take a few weeks. Many people suggest doing this without your fish just because it can be stressful. Here's a link to the Nitrogen Cycle and how to do it the Fishless Method: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=111960 Comment #2 and #3 are what you are looking at.

So to continue as if you are doing this with your fish in there, your BB will start to convert ammonia to nitrites who join the party. And then nitrates come join in the party! The nitrite will spike and eventually come down as ammonia does. Once both Ammonia and Nitrites have hit 0, your tank is cycled! Your nitrates will still be giving reading but that's okay, you will do a very large water change, about 75% and then your tank has been successfully cycled!

I hope that helps
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Old 05-30-2013, 12:12 PM   #7 
Wynn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilnaugrim View Post
I don't know much about GH and KH yet but I know Betta's are highly adaptable to pretty much any water chemistry.

As far as the Nitrogen Cycle, what you're doing is growing a colony of Beneficial Bacteria that is going to help keep ammonia, nitrites and nitrates down safely. So while you are cycling, there needs to be a source of ammonia, this is what the BB feeds off of. So if you're doing a cycle with a fish in there, keep the ammonia under .25ppm so it's not stressful for your fish but also there's enough food for your BB to eat and grow.

Then, nitrites are going to join the party after a while, this will take a few weeks. Many people suggest doing this without your fish just because it can be stressful. Here's a link to the Nitrogen Cycle and how to do it the Fishless Method: http://www.bettafish.com/showthread.php?t=111960 Comment #2 and #3 are what you are looking at.

So to continue as if you are doing this with your fish in there, your BB will start to convert ammonia to nitrites who join the party. And then nitrates come join in the party! The nitrite will spike and eventually come down as ammonia does. Once both Ammonia and Nitrites have hit 0, your tank is cycled! Your nitrates will still be giving reading but that's okay, you will do a very large water change, about 75% and then your tank has been successfully cycled!

I hope that helps
I see thanks for the tip :D
But the thing I am not sure on is well when amonia hits 0 and the cycle is done, doesn't it start again? What makes the first cycle soo different then the others?
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Old 05-30-2013, 12:30 PM   #8 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wynn View Post
I see thanks for the tip :D
But the thing I am not sure on is well when amonia hits 0 and the cycle is done, doesn't it start again? What makes the first cycle soo different then the others?
Actually, this is what gets people confused and no worries it took me a long time to understand, the only reason we call it a "Cycle" is because of it's full name, the Nitrogen Cycle. In fact, it should only happen once during a tank's lifetime, however there are things that can stop the cycle, such as taking the filter out or using heavy medicines on it.

Here's a cute picture to help illustrate what's going on in your tank: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/F...ogen_Cycle.png

So you're cycling your tank, you're growing your BB, beneficial bacteria. You should only have to grow that once, they live on things in your tank such as your filter, filter media, ornaments and gravel. They do not reside in the water itself though.

Adding new water to your tank won't make it go through the "Cycle" process again because your BB isn't in the water...does that make sense?

Now I think I'm just getting confusing >< sorry.

But when you've grown your BB, your tank is cycled and that's done. There's no more "cycling" because your BB eats up all the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates as well as some of them taken out with a water change.

But this is why you need a liquid testing kit, in a Fishless cycle you will see ammonia spike and start to come down (this happens over a few weeks thouhg) and then the nitrites come in, start to spike, spike and come down. When you test you will get readings of 0 once the cycle is done. That's when you know it's done. Nitrates are eaten by plants and will only be taken out of your tank with water changes.

Hopefully this picture will also help: http://www.theaquariumwiki.com/File:Cycling_graph.png

Cycling takes about a month to complete, less time with other methods like the Fishless method. But after your tank reads 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and somewhere around 20-40ppm nitrates...your tank is cycled.
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Old 05-30-2013, 02:01 PM   #9 
Wynn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilnaugrim View Post
Actually, this is what gets people confused and no worries it took me a long time to understand, the only reason we call it a "Cycle" is because of it's full name, the Nitrogen Cycle. In fact, it should only happen once during a tank's lifetime, however there are things that can stop the cycle, such as taking the filter out or using heavy medicines on it.

Here's a cute picture to help illustrate what's going on in your tank: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/F...ogen_Cycle.png

So you're cycling your tank, you're growing your BB, beneficial bacteria. You should only have to grow that once, they live on things in your tank such as your filter, filter media, ornaments and gravel. They do not reside in the water itself though.

Adding new water to your tank won't make it go through the "Cycle" process again because your BB isn't in the water...does that make sense?

Now I think I'm just getting confusing >< sorry.

But when you've grown your BB, your tank is cycled and that's done. There's no more "cycling" because your BB eats up all the ammonia, nitrites and nitrates as well as some of them taken out with a water change.

But this is why you need a liquid testing kit, in a Fishless cycle you will see ammonia spike and start to come down (this happens over a few weeks thouhg) and then the nitrites come in, start to spike, spike and come down. When you test you will get readings of 0 once the cycle is done. That's when you know it's done. Nitrates are eaten by plants and will only be taken out of your tank with water changes.

Hopefully this picture will also help: http://www.theaquariumwiki.com/File:Cycling_graph.png

Cycling takes about a month to complete, less time with other methods like the Fishless method. But after your tank reads 0 ammonia, 0 nitrites and somewhere around 20-40ppm nitrates...your tank is cycled.
The links sort of confused me but the idea seems to be that the reason the first cycle is important is because the one that gives the tank BB(Good germs). So water changes won't elimate all of this? Does this mean if I did a 100% water change then it would restart this cycle? If not how come?

Thanks for the advice :D
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Old 05-30-2013, 02:25 PM   #10 
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Originally Posted by Wynn View Post
The links sort of confused me but the idea seems to be that the reason the first cycle is important is because the one that gives the tank BB(Good germs). So water changes won't elimate all of this? Does this mean if I did a 100% water change then it would restart this cycle? If not how come?

Thanks for the advice :D
Lol okay, maybe someone else can jump in too to help, I'm not always the best at wording things lol.

Yes the first cycle grows your BB, they mostly grow in your filter on your filter media so if your media doesn't dry out, you keep your BB.

However if you let the filter media dry out you risk killing off your colony you just made. That's when you would worry but if you did a 100% and it didn't take too long, I'm not sure exactly how fast it will be to dry up your filter but I just had it off for two hours while I was cleaning out some plants and doing a large water change and my BB are absolutely fine.
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