Hello, I am new to betas and have a couple questions.
(Please feel free to re-direct me to a sticky/website if these questions have been asked many times before and it would save your fingers from typing a whole lot.)
I have noticed that my fish's tail is ripped looking, and I have removed a plastic plant and the bowl it was in, and now it's in a small hexagon shaped tank that it came in. There is some gravel and a treasure chest for it to hide behind, but I have bought a used 10 gallon tank with a small heater, gravel filter, and an air-pump for the fish to live in. I also bought aquarium salt & ammonia tester.
The 10 gallon tank has white crusted stuff on the lid, around the case that holds the light, and a bit around the tank itself. I was told the whole set-up was a year old, if it helps.
I'm wondering if there is anything that may remove this safely without harming my fish in the future. As of now, I have used an algae sponge and a wire sponge with hot water.
Also, since I only have 1 beta to go in the tank, will I need to do anything to the tank to get it ready for my fish?
I have read a bit about a process called cycling, which if I understand correctly is done fish-less and it helps to establish beneficial bacteria to help change the ammonia from fish to nitrates.
I have yet to wash the gravel that came with the tank, and I have read that beneficial bacteria live in already established tanks, the tank I obtained was from a pet store that was closing.
Will the gravel still have bacteria I need to prepare the tank for my fish?
I feel horrible about the fish being in such a small space, is there anything that would help possibly speed up the process but still be safe to place the fish in afterward?
Also, concerning his tail, the plant was cloth with plastic sticks under it for support - I removed it because of the sticks, but his tail is still torn looking but there is nothing else that I can see on the tail.
Is there anything else I should be looking for?
I change his water 50% 2 times a week, is that okay for such a small tank?
Does fin rot have other symptoms besides a ripped looking fin?
May I treat him with aquarium salt, or wait until I find out whether or not he has this ailment?
If I am treating a sick fish, how much should I feed him?
He is usually fed 2 pellets in the morning and 1-3 at night, 2 blood worms once weekly.
How much salt would be recommended for a small tank?
The tank is a hexagon-shaped "Betta Keeper" from a company called Lees Aquarium & Pet Products.
The gravel would have to be in water, with (I believe) aeration for it to still be alive. As you set the tank up, you could possibly go back to the petstore, ask for some gravel from an established tank and immediately put it into your tank. This will have beneficial bacteria on it and will help make the process a little faster.
As for cleaning the tank, a 10% bleach solution with water should do the trick. Use it, let it soak, or scrub. Probably a bit of each. Make sure you rinse VERY thoroughly, and then rinse again. Hot water with scrubbing may do the trick also.
http://www.aquahobby.com/articles/e_fishless.php: Here is a link on cycling. There are also lot's of discussion topics on the board about cycling. The toolbar at the top of the page has a search option. Type in cycling and you'll get hundreds of posts.
As for feeding. That sounds alright. 2 in the morning and 2 in the evening seems to be a popular choice, or feeding 3 or 4 once a day. The blood worms are a good treat. Many betta owners fast their fish one day a week.
Also, remember to remove the chlorine and chloramine from the water before you use it. You can use tap water, but be sure to add the appropriate amount of chemical.
Fin damage can be from a number of different sources--one possibility is that it ripped on something in the tank, another possibility is that it fell off due to poor circulation caused by low temperatures along with ammonia burns, and the last possibility is that the fish bit and ripped his own tail (which is not unusual). We would need to see pictures to help figure out which is most likely.
Sometimes stains can be removed by scrubbing the tank with baking soda. These white lines you're seeing are probably just mineral deposits caused by hard water--these can be tricky because it is possible for hard water stains to actually etch the glass--thus becoming permanent. But if these lines are minimal and you don't care about the aesthetic appearance of them, it should be fine. If the staining is extensive and too unsightly to bear, you can get a new 10G tank at most pet stores for around $15.
The most important thing for fin rips and wounds is clean, clean, clean water and stable warm temperatures. I suggest adding 1 100% change a week to your schedule--this is the only way to remove 100% of the ammonia. If you think about it, if you do one 50% one day, and then the next day do another 50% change, inevitably there is still some of the water left that did not get removed, thus there is still ammonia left in the tank. The only way to remove 100% of the ammonia is through 100% changes. As long as the fish is slowly and carefully acclimated to the new water, stress should be minimal.
As for cycling the tank, MoePaac is correct in saying that the bacteria in the gravel is almost certainly dead. In order to stay alive the bacteria need to be in aerated water with a food source. If one of these elements is missing, the bacteria will die off. I suggest getting some mulm, gravel, or filter pad from an established aquarium--if you cannot, you can try these supplements: Tetra SafeStart or Dr. Tim's One and Only. However, keep in mind that there are products similar to these that are nothing but snake oil and do not work. I would trust only these.
It would certainly be best if you decided to do your cycle using the fishless method, it's less difficult, faster, and kinder to your fish. You will also get a larger bacteria colony. If you don't like the idea that your fish is in such a small tank, but don't want to put money into a whole new tank before you put him into the 10 gallon, I suggest going to wal-mart or target and getting a 2-4 gallon rubbermaid/sterilite plastic storage bin. These bins are safe to use with any heater, and are ideal for housing bettas because they are long and shallow and extremely light and durable for water changes. They are great hospital/quarantine tanks as well. The best part is, they're only like $2-$4.
Make sure that if you buy a heater, you get an adjustable one. They are only slightly more expensive but they are infinitely more valuable than pre-sets or heater pads.
Welcome to the wonderful world of Betta keeping....
The mineral deposits on the tank can be removed by using vinegar and elbow grease, also a razor blade will help too if the tank is glass.
Clean fresh dechlorinated water is the best medication IMO/E-lot of water changes-100% daily while in the smaller tank and remove anything that might snag his delicate tail.
IMO-the only chemical additive you need is a good dechlorinator if you are on city water supply or if you use bottled water( bottled water not recommended)
Do you have a filter? unless you have a filter you will not get a true cycle because the good bacteria need a stable oxygen source.
You can safely cycle the 10g tank with the fish as long as you are dedicated to making the needed water changes to keep the fish safe during the cycling process.
Having a master test kit to test the water for: ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, pH are good to have and will be helpful, however, it can still be done without a test kit.
If you decide to get one look for the API master test kit- it has everything you need and will last forever, fun and easy to use.
Do you plan on any live plants?
Would love to see pics of your Betta and new set-up
I think I might use a 10% bleach solution with water, as I will make sure to rinse throughout with hot water. That and good ol' fashioned elbow grease. (:
Here is a close-up of what I am working with (note that this is the worst part- the lid- I've been at it with a square of steel wool & hot water for a day, got some sediment off)
I use water from the tap, with a couple drops of water conditioner from a company called Splendid Betta.
The filter I got with the tank is one with an under-gravel filter and plastic tubing, one on each side of the tank. I've heard many mixed reviews about it, but as long as Mr. Fishy doesn't get caught in it or anything bad like that happens as a result of the filter - I think I might keep it.
API master test kit lasts forever & are easy to use? I'm in. :D
How would one do a 100% water change with minimal stress to the fish?
What I've done before was scoop Fishy up into a cup with some of its water in it, while I rise out the poop from the gravel, then scoop fishy into his clean tank. I didn't think he enjoyed that very much, I kept using the same cup but he would still decide to swim around in circles and then hang out near the top of the water to stare at me as if saying, "what are you doing to me?" I might be a wimp though.
The storage bin sounds like a great idea, especially since you say it can be heated safely without harm to my fish.
The heater came with the tank, it's about a year old as well and has some sediment on the sides and a whole lot crusted on the bottom.
I think it is pretty adjustable, I've played a bit with it.
I just hope that if I cannot take this stuff off, my fish won't mind or get sick from it.
Here's a pic of Mistuhr Fishy and his tail:
His tail I think would classify him as a veil tail, it was long with rounded blue tips.
(sorry for the blurry pic, he likes to stare but not be stared at)
Last edited by PwnCho; 07-03-2010 at 12:25 AM.
You may have better luck using vinegar or that stuff, let it sit on it and it will eat it away.
The mineral deposits are harmless to fish, they just look ugly
If you have an underground filter-that should work great with a Betta and a 10g tank
With UGF-they work best when you make good deep vacuuming weekly with your 50% water changes-once cycled
Thanks, I've started changing his water 100% everyday. Hopefully his tail won't get any worse.
I'm glad that the crusty sediment won't harm my fish, I was worried that he would try eating it out of curiosity and get sick.
What kind of aquarium vacuum do the experienced Betta keepers on this forum recommend?
I've been considering a live plant (something floating I think, because of the filter I have) to place in my tank, would placing a plant after the tank has been cycled affect the bacteria or the fish?
Some cute snails would be nice friends for Fishy, but do they have different needs? Temperature, food, the possibility of having to add aquarium salt to help the fish, and the type of filter I'm going to be using, are some of the things on my mind.
I hope to post happy, healthy pics of fishy and his mended tail sometime soon!