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Old 02-13-2010, 03:11 AM   #1 
ThirdPotato
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Question Water Changing Questions: Myth or Fact?

I had some questions on changing the tank's water, how often and how much?

I noticed under the FAQs it says that one should never need 100% water change, however I've noticed that other sites and owners say otherwise in regards to a small tank.

I'm currently in a dorm, and have a 1.5 gallon, which this site recommends to do 100% water change http://www.healthybetta.com/betta-ca...-water-changes especially for 1 and less gallons. Any takers on that? What are really the worst that could happen, and the best that could happen with a 100% water change of a tank of 1.5 or less gallons?

I guess the reason I ask is because I and several colleagues of mine all have bettas from the same place; two of us have the exact same tanks, we all use the same API betta conditioner, and we all use the same tap water from my dorm for water changes. We all have been doing 100% changes, we all have 1.5 or less gallon tanks. 3 out of 4 of us have no problems with this method, however it is my male betta, Giles, that seems to be irritated by the water change. By irritated, I mean itchy, but otherwise healthy. Ammonia is at 0ppm, temp at 76 for mine, anyway. Haven't gotten a reading on the PH or Nitrite/trate yet, though all of our conditions, I would suppose would be the same, at least me and my friend who have the same tank. We all have live plants, no filter, my friend has a heater, I keep a lamp on mine 24/7. The last possible reason I could see why my fish is still itchy while the others' remain fine is that he is simply more sensitive than others.

This site again mentions something that perhaps I could get a general consensus on: Water conditioners containing Aloe can cause some fish stress or gill irritation.

http://www.healthybetta.com/betta-ca...ners-additives
"Some water conditioners contain aloe, suggesting that it protects the fish’s stress coat. There has been some debate as to whether aloe actually works against bettas and irritates their gills; which can in turn cause labored breathing and stress in the fish. If you find this to be the case, it is advised that you switch to a brand without aloe."

Do you think this could be a possible cause to my fish's itchiness? Is it possible that he has an allergic reaction to the aloe in the API brand Water Conditioner? I will definitely be buying a new brand to check it out for the next water change, but there are so many factors in what could be causing his irritants: either the shock of a 100% water change, or even the aloe in the conditioner. I've ruled out parasites, at least.

Timeline of his behavior: Since I first bought him, he's always been HIGHLY active, and it took me a while to realize part of this activity was him "ramming into rocks," so much so that he's turned sidewise, flipped around, or wound up vertical by the sheer force at which he rams into the rocks. He used to do it all the time when I first got him, to the point where it seemed lke he was knocking himself out, as he would float to the top shortly after the behavior. It was so extreme I was worried, and after a couple water changes, and an attempt to use Parasite-Clear, he seemed to be doing a lot better than when I first got him. However, he was still doing it only occasionally. But now that I just changed his water, as in, this night, he's been doing it severely once more. My only possible reasoning for that being that it was a 100% change; my only reasoning for the continued behavior regardless of severity, is the aloe in the conditioner. Any takers?
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Old 02-13-2010, 08:04 AM   #2 
Chicklet
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Quote:
fish's itchiness?
Add aquarium salt to his water, can be from an electrolite imbalance or

And this has been a big one for me,
Every fish I have that itches gets a parasite treatment, The salt oft times lessons the itchiness but doesn't stop it until I treat with a good parasite med.
Where I live there has been alot of parasites comming into our pet stores and so many people are unaware of it, parasites can cause alot of different symptoms which will given time end up killing your fish.

I believe alot of unexplained fish deaths are a direct result of parasite infestations. Many times there is no obvious symptoms unless you know just what too look for that sometimes is just to hard to explain.

I'm kinda bad for skimming over while reading

But in your
Quote:
Timeline of his behavior: Since I first bought him, he's always been HIGHLY active
Parasites will cause this, all the other behaviors your quoting there in the timelime tells me you have a parasite,
And thru my experience with the parasite that seems to be the big time hitter where I am located, Parasite clear or any of those others sold as fish meds for parasites won't kill it....
I don't know where your located, Hopefully in the usa, because you can get the needed parasite meds there. canada you can't, I had to ship out and get it brought in from Usa and Australia.. I just had to treat a new betta last night from the same things your describing to me, Within hours he was already acting differently,..

Last edited by Chicklet; 02-13-2010 at 08:15 AM.
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Old 02-13-2010, 08:26 AM   #3 
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I've learn the hard way, All fish I get or purchase goes thru a parasite treatment before they ever get near my main stream of fish.. Spent a fortune learning that small lesson! approx 1 in every 4 fish has a parasite, the biggest parasite problem is the "cammalanus worm" waste of money trying other meds, Levamisol is the true treatment from this parasite, and even that has to be done correctly or it will come back again until it wipes the whole tank out.
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Old 02-13-2010, 09:20 AM   #4 
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You'll need to do at least two 100% wc weekly with a tank of that size imo.

Your fish could have ich...doeshe have small white spots on his body?
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Old 02-13-2010, 11:37 AM   #5 
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I would do a parasite treatment as well. I use natural parasitics because I try to keep my tanks as "natural' as possible... garlic is a great natural parasitic. You can buy some fresh garlic.. mash it up put his pellets in the garlic mash then microwave for 30seconds (if you have a microwave.. I'm not sure how your dorms are laid out) then take the pellets and feed. It takes a while but it will flush most parasites out. This in conjunction with 10 days of aquarium salt and 25% water changes should really help.

On the issue of water changes I usually do 2 100% changes a week with 50% changes in between.. so basically you are doing a water change every other day (100%, skip a day,50%, skip a day, 100%...).. but if you just do at least 3 water changes a week you *should* be good. While he is undergoing treatment I would highly recommend doing daily or every other day water changes because fresh water is the #1 best medicine to help a fish heal.

Also.. its not good to leave the light on 24/7.. fish need a natural photoperiod.. just like us. I leave my lights on 8-10 hours a day.
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Old 02-13-2010, 12:49 PM   #6 
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I think a huge point of confusion is that in these instruction the pinheads never mention whether they are talking about cycled or uncycled tanks. 100% water changes in a cycled tank are a huge no-no but in an uncycled tank they are a necessity.

Also, any 'slime coat enhancing' water conditioner works by the addition of an irritant that makes the fish itch and therefore stimulates the skin into producing more slime coat. So yes, in that sense it probably would irritatethe gills depending on how much you added.
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Old 02-13-2010, 10:18 PM   #7 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jupiter View Post
You'll need to do at least two 100% wc weekly with a tank of that size imo.

Your fish could have ich...doeshe have small white spots on his body?
No to the spots; I'm pretty sure he's ich-free. For the most part he looks and acts healthy with the occasional slamming into rocks. However he seems to be doing it less today, but still doing it somewhat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1fish2fish View Post
I would do a parasite treatment as well. I use natural parasitics because I try to keep my tanks as "natural' as possible... garlic is a great natural parasitic. You can buy some fresh garlic.. mash it up put his pellets in the garlic mash then microwave for 30seconds (if you have a microwave.. I'm not sure how your dorms are laid out) then take the pellets and feed. It takes a while but it will flush most parasites out. This in conjunction with 10 days of aquarium salt and 25% water changes should really help.

On the issue of water changes I usually do 2 100% changes a week with 50% changes in between.. so basically you are doing a water change every other day (100%, skip a day,50%, skip a day, 100%...).. but if you just do at least 3 water changes a week you *should* be good. While he is undergoing treatment I would highly recommend doing daily or every other day water changes because fresh water is the #1 best medicine to help a fish heal.

Also.. its not good to leave the light on 24/7.. fish need a natural photoperiod.. just like us. I leave my lights on 8-10 hours a day.
When it comes to the lamp, I made sure he had dark spots of his tank in which to hide, but that won't be a problem as I just picked up a heater for his tank so I won't need the lamp.

Just did a water test today too, I don't know if this is important but here are the results: after the conditioner was added:
Nitrates/trites are both safe
Hardness: 300 ideal
Alkalinity 300 high
PH 8.5

I noticed the PH was really high, though I also read somewhere that it is okay as long as it is stable, however if not, they don't recommend using PH up or down because it could burn the fish if done incorrectly. What would be a better way to balance the PH; Do you even think the pH is the problem since ALL of our fish have the same water, and they all seem normal except mine?

Okay, assuming the water is otherwise not the problem, and assuming it is a parasite and Parasite clear indeed hasn't fixed anything, you recommend garlic, ja? Is there any negative side effects that may happen due to garlic? I'm very weary on using anything that could harm him as I just lost my female betta to using aquarium salt... I don't know what happened, all I know is after I added 3 single grains of aquarium salt to her small tank, she died within a few hours Does the salt kill the parasites more so than Parasite-clear would? I'm just so afraid of introducing new things to his tank after I just lost my other fish. Anyway any advice is great help; thank you all so far!
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Old 02-13-2010, 10:43 PM   #8 
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A higher ph makes nitrates and ammonia more toxic so make sure you keep up with a decent water change schedule, like 1fish recommended. 100% is the way to go. You can use a thermometer and match the tap water to your heated temp in the tank to make it easier on the fish while doing changes.

Try Prime water conditioner. I think it's much better and cheaper in the long run as you only need about 2 drops per gallon and it'll remove any nitrates or ammonia that might be in your tap water to begin with. My tap water has a nitrate level of 5.
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Old 02-13-2010, 11:53 PM   #9 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThirdPotato View Post
When it comes to the lamp, I made sure he had dark spots of his tank in which to hide, but that won't be a problem as I just picked up a heater for his tank so I won't need the lamp.

Just did a water test today too, I don't know if this is important but here are the results: after the conditioner was added:
Nitrates/trites are both safe
Hardness: 300 ideal
Alkalinity 300 high
PH 8.5

I noticed the PH was really high, though I also read somewhere that it is okay as long as it is stable, however if not, they don't recommend using PH up or down because it could burn the fish if done incorrectly. What would be a better way to balance the PH; Do you even think the pH is the problem since ALL of our fish have the same water, and they all seem normal except mine?

Okay, assuming the water is otherwise not the problem, and assuming it is a parasite and Parasite clear indeed hasn't fixed anything, you recommend garlic, ja? Is there any negative side effects that may happen due to garlic? I'm very weary on using anything that could harm him as I just lost my female betta to using aquarium salt... I don't know what happened, all I know is after I added 3 single grains of aquarium salt to her small tank, she died within a few hours Does the salt kill the parasites more so than Parasite-clear would? I'm just so afraid of introducing new things to his tank after I just lost my other fish. Anyway any advice is great help; thank you all so far!
Good one on the heater! That will really perk him up

What type test are you using? The strip kind can be very inaccurate. I wouldn't worry about the pH just yet.

The garlic works great and has no ill affects. Breeders who have been breeding fish for decades highly recommend garlic for parasites.

I don't think the aquarium salt killed your girly.. I couldn't say what but I've used aquarium salt tons of times with out negative effects. Your tank is 1.5 right? So you would add 3/4 tsp of salt(1/2 tsp per gallon). Make sure you dissolve it before putting it in the water because the crystals can burn your fish (but wouldn't kill him). The salt does not evaporate out so if you do a water change you have to put the same amount back in. Since your only doing 100% changes you don't have to really worry about figuring out how much you took out. Just don't add more unless you do a water change.

If your worried about the salt you can just start by adding 1/4 tsp at a time over a week or so (just remember how much you add and don't go above 3/4tsp without doing a 100% change.

The salt doesn't kill parasites but will kill bacteria and help prevent infection. It also helps with stress relief which is good when your betta is sick.
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Old 02-16-2010, 02:56 AM   #10 
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Originally Posted by 1fish2fish View Post
Good one on the heater! That will really perk him up

What type test are you using? The strip kind can be very inaccurate. I wouldn't worry about the pH just yet.

The garlic works great and has no ill affects. Breeders who have been breeding fish for decades highly recommend garlic for parasites.

I don't think the aquarium salt killed your girly.. I couldn't say what but I've used aquarium salt tons of times with out negative effects. Your tank is 1.5 right? So you would add 3/4 tsp of salt(1/2 tsp per gallon). Make sure you dissolve it before putting it in the water because the crystals can burn your fish (but wouldn't kill him). The salt does not evaporate out so if you do a water change you have to put the same amount back in. Since your only doing 100% changes you don't have to really worry about figuring out how much you took out. Just don't add more unless you do a water change.

If your worried about the salt you can just start by adding 1/4 tsp at a time over a week or so (just remember how much you add and don't go above 3/4tsp without doing a 100% change.

The salt doesn't kill parasites but will kill bacteria and help prevent infection. It also helps with stress relief which is good when your betta is sick.

I got the Mardel brand strips, as well as Seachem Alert Series Amonia and PH aleart dials, which both seem to match up to each others' results at least. Yeah the PH is really high though I have heard that changing the PH so immediately is also bad for them, that it's better for them to be stable than continuing to change hte PH, especially if they were in such a high PH at the petstore (I figure Savannah all gets our water from the same place.)

He seems to be doing better as far as "parasites" go. With the last set of water I tried the Parasite Clear again just because I had it on hand, and then figuring it was the aloe, I just tonight changed him into a new tank of water with Aqueon brand BettaBowl Plus, but I dont think I saw the brand you mentioned. He seems to be doing a lot better as far as not smashing himself into rocks, though now he seems to be floating near the top of the water with his mouth out of the water, or sitting listless at the bottom so I'm even MORE concerned now. I just don't know if Im being overly paranoid or what! Because otherwise he seems healthy as far as his colors, his weight, and that he still flares up at mirrors and things. Is it normal for them to sit listless for long periods of time throughout the day? The floating thing I know is a problem, because his fins seem clamped. But as soon as I mention this to my friend, of course my fish stops acting that way. It's like an on-off behavior. It's very hard to judge, and I was recommended to just stop changing the water condintions and to focus on maintaining stability; Would that be advisable?

I've noticed that the tank has tiny bubbles stuck to the things in the tank and the glass when I do a water change; I've heard this has something to do with the cycling of the tank though my strips tested twice for no nitrate or trite levels at all! And the ammonia levels are safe according to the strips and the AmmoniaAlert.

Gah, I feel so helpless!
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