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Old 10-14-2013, 11:04 AM   #1 
thendeathsaid
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Newbie here--general inquiries

Hi everyone, I got a betta two weeks ago. These are the details of my tank:
  • 2.5 gallons
  • three small live plants
  • sponge filter
  • some gravel (not enough to cover the base of the tank)
  • pH level around 7.0-7.6 (it varies)
  • 11 W lamp

I'm in the process of cycling it right now.

Some questions:

1) I had been using bottled water at first, but switched to tap water when I started cycling because it was more convenient. But I noticed that the nitrite level went up after my first water change (using part tap water part bottled water). I tested my tap water and found it has a nitrite level between 0 and 0.5 ppm (the test kit I have right now only has intervals of 0.5).

Should I switch back to bottled water? The nitrite levels had been 0 ppm when I tested the water while it was still bottled water. Or is there a way to get rid of the nitrite in the tap water?

2) Is 11 W too bright? I don't have a way to adjust the lamp brightness, except by using a translucent paper to cover it. What is the ideal wattage to use for a betta in a 2.5 gallon tank? How many hours per day should I leave it on?

Edit: 3) Because the pH varies (it goes up), when I make water changes, should I align the new water's pH with the current pH of the water in the tank? Or should I make the fresh water a lower pH?

Thank you!

Last edited by thendeathsaid; 10-14-2013 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 10-14-2013, 11:29 AM   #2 
TiffanyP
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1. I would continue with the tap water, unless you get the bottled water that has 'added minerals for flavor'. If you use distilled or other bottled waters they aren't getting the minerals they need. Be sure to always use a water conditioner too, even with bottled water :) As for the nitrites, I'm guessing the levels are probably close to zero - the strip tests aren't very accurate. If you can get a liquid testing kit that will be the most accurate way to know what the levels are.

2. I'm not really sure if 11 watts is too bright, I guess I'm not sure how bright 11 watts is haha If you think it's too bright, see if you can raise the lamp up a few inches so that the light is more spread out and not concentrated on the tank.

3. As for pH I wouldn't mess with it too much. If you are using water from the same source for every change then it should be okay. Bettas adjust to a wide range of pHs :)

Hope that helps you!
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Old 10-14-2013, 11:37 AM   #3 
Laki
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Hi and welcome!

I agree, bottled water is expensive and unnecessary in terms of quality and nutrients.
Tap water needs to be conditioned and you pick from a vast array of brands.

Your boy is very handsome!
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Old 10-14-2013, 11:58 AM   #4 
thendeathsaid
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Hi Tiffany, thanks for the advice! I am using a liquid test kit for the nitrites, though. Should I be worried then? He seems to be fine, I can't see any change in his activity level, and he's eating very well.

And thank you Laki! :)
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Old 10-14-2013, 12:11 PM   #5 
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I guess I would just monitor it every day or two and if the level looks like its closer to .5 than 0, then do a water change to get it down :) and then test again.
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:20 PM   #6 
Hallyx
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If your nitrite is a concern you can double-dose Prime to detoxify it. That would be 4-drops.gal of tank size = 10-drops.

But I have a feeling it's a measurement error. Until someone tells me differently, I think nitrite is a byproduct of ammonia. Ammonia in tapwater is common. Nitrate (from agriculture) is common in some areas. Nitrite?...not so much.

As long as you're keeping your ammonia down <0.25ppm and are using Prime, you're safe.

Tiffany is right. Don't mess with the pH.

As for lights, 11W is just right for a 2.5g, assuming the color temperature is around 6500K (Kelvin) It should say on the package. Nine hours a day to start. Watch for algae. Use the least time you can that grows healthy plants.
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Old 10-14-2013, 07:54 PM   #7 
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Ditto as what Hallyx says. If adjusting the height of the lamp is a problem you can adjust the time the lamp is on. I and some of the others on here use a timer to control the lights. I had to reduce the duration of the lights because I haf algae problems. Am in the process of reducing more, different algae showing up. Plants are going gangbusters, I have to trim plants frequently so the fish have some room.
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Old 10-14-2013, 10:45 PM   #8 
thendeathsaid
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Thanks for all the advice :) I won't worry so much about the nitrite then. But I couldn't find Prime in the aquarium stores around me, I'm not sure if they sell it in my country. I'll try looking for it in some of the bigger ones but for now I'm using another brand. Besides Prime are there other brands I could look out for?
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Old 10-15-2013, 04:47 AM   #9 
Hallyx
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We like to recommend conditioners that detoxify ammonia as well as neutralizng chlorine/chloramine. Two others that meet those criteria are Amquel plus and API Ammo Lock.
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Old 10-17-2013, 07:35 AM   #10 
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Hi, I have another question. Is it possible to have too many plants? And if so, how would I estimate when I have too many, for a 2.5 gallon tank?
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