Hi, all. I was wondering if anyone else uses Atison's Betta Spa. I was really hesitant to use it because I had read that it would turn the water tea-colored, but my new betta seemed so unhappy in his Chi that I tried putting some in there to see if it would help him.
It definitely did change the water color--it's somewhat greenish-brown now and certainly not attractive. (I'm attaching a picture so you can see what I mean.) However, I'm honestly amazed at the difference in my betta! He perked up immediately when I put in the conditioner, and he has been swimming around more in the last few hours than he has since I got him! Has anyone else had this experience?
I used to add 1tsp. of salt to the tank each time I did a 100%wc. Then I got some Atison's BettaSPA, which said on the label not to add salt concurrently. I put the BettaSPA in along with an IAL, and the water turns yellow/brown, but my fish now and the one I had before him have really enjoyed the stuff. I also noticed some dark, granular matter that comes out of the bottle of BettaSPA. It doesn't seem to do any harm--the granules are water insoluble--so I don't worry anymore. I tried getting BettaSPA on Amazon.com, but found a better deal by Googling "Atison's BettaSPA."
I started to use it because I heard such good things about it, but had to stop for my own health. Carbon filters Betta Spa out, so I removed the carbon from the filter. The odor of the water (probably the extra organics) without carbon in the filter makes me really sick. So I had to add the carbon back.
I did learn something I can share, though. It affects water chemistry, at least for the very soft water I use. I use spring water, and these are the changes it made:
Spring H20 after adding Betta Spa:
These changes are not bad, mind you. The water quality parameters with the betta spa are fine. I actually appreciated an increase in KH and GH because it added a little buffering capacity to the very soft spring water. I'm pointing it out because fish don't like fast shifts in water quality. A fish could do just fine with a large shift all at once, but I'm a better-safe-than-sorry gal, so I would add it (or change the amount) slowly while monitering water quality. Your water could be very different than the spring water I use, so Betta Spa would affect your water differently, if at all. It's just something to watch for.
I used to use it. Then, I ordered IA Leaves from Malaysia and now, make my own. It's no different than adding betta spa, and stress coat/prime with it, except, you are paying big bucks for the little bottle, which costs about 10.00 a month if you continue using it.
As of right now, I use IAL extract that I make myself, from the leaves and, it costs me about 3.00 every 3 months. Since I prime with every water change, they are getting all the benefits of the Spa but, at a very cheap rate.
And, my tanks are tea colored but, I breed so, it helps with conditioning. However, if you make your own, just add a small amount to the water you are adding..just enough to see the light cloud in the water of the IAL going in that you have brewed yourself. They get the benefit but, the water color isn't dark.
If your carbon didn't clear the tannins, then it's probably exhausted and needs replacing. It seems like the carbon included with the Fluvals isn't very good. Mine lasted 2 weeks and was done. And that was with very little to do: no fish in the tank at that point. It filtered the Betta Spa out the first time I tried it, but not the second time.
As for tinted water affecting the reading of water quality tests, I don't know the answer but I suspect it doesn't. The color is produced by chemical reaction between the testing reagents and their targets (ammonia, nitrate etc.). Yes, there's a brown tint in treated water, but the color gradations are different enough that I don't think the brown tint would affect them enough to make a difference. Just a guess.
I actually did put in a brand-new Chi filter right after I put in the Atison's Betta Spa--I didn't know that carbon might clear it. It honestly hasn't done that at all. It's lightening now because I've been doing water changes without renewing the betta spa, but the filter hasn't touched it at all between those.